The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Special Collections & University Archives
CredoResearch digital collections in Credo

Collecting area: Political activism

Chamberlin, Judi, 1944-2010

Judi Chamberlin Papers

ca.1970-2010
38 boxes 57 linear feet
Call no.: MS 768
Depiction of Judi Chamberlin, 2000
Judi Chamberlin, 2000

A pioneer in the psychiatric survivors’ movement, Judi Chamberlin spent four decades as an activist for the civil rights of mental patients. After several voluntary hospitalizations for depression as a young woman, Chamberlin was involuntarily committed for the only time in 1971, having been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her experiences in the mental health system galvanized her to take action on patients’ rights, and after attending a meeting of the newly formed Mental Patients’ Liberation Project in New York, she helped found the Mental Patients’ Liberation Front in Cambridge, Mass. Explicitly modeled on civil rights organizations of the time, she became a tireless advocate for the patient’s perspective and for choice in treatment. Her book, On Our Own: Patient Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System (1978), is considered a key text in the intellectual development of the movement. Working internationally, she became an important figure in several other organizations, including the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilition at Boston University, the Ruby Rogers Advocacy Center, the National Disability Rights Network, and the National Empowerment Center. In recognition of her advocacy, she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities in 1992, the David J. Vail National Advocacy Award, and the 1995 Pike Prize, which honors those who have given outstanding service to people with disabilities. Chamberlin died of pulmonary disease at home in Arlington, Mass., in January 2010.
An important record of the development of the psychiatric survivors’ movement from its earliest days, the Chamberlin Papers include rich correspondence between Chamberlin, fellow activists, survivors, and medical professionals; records of her work with the MPLF and other rights organizations, conferences and meetings, and her efforts to build the movement internationally.

Gift of National Empowerment Center, 2012

Subjects

AntipsychiatryEx-mental patientsPeople with disabilities--Civil rightsPeople with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.Psychiatric survivors movement

Contributors

Mental Patients Liberation FrontMental Patients Liberation ProjectNational Empowerment Center

Types of material

Videotapes
Citizens for Participation in Political Action. Franklin and Hampshire Counties

CPPAX Franklin and Hampshire Chapter Records

1982-2006
3 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 558

Founded in 1962, the mission of Citizens for Participation in Political Action (CPPAX) was to increase citizen involvement in politics and policy making, and to promote social and economic justice both within the U.S. and globally through U.S. foreign policy. The Franklin and Hampshire Counties chapter of CPPAX has been active in a number of issues of both local and national significance.

Minutes of meetings, subject files, and newsletters reveal issues of importance to the local chapter of CPPAX, issues that include clean elections, peace, nuclear abolition, and health care.

Subjects

Activists--MassachusettsMassachusetts--Politics and government--1951-Peace movements--Massachusetts

Contributors

Citizens for Participation in Political Action. Franklin and Hampshire Counties
Cohen, Alvin P.

Alvin P. Cohen Collection

1957-1968
2 boxes 1.6 linear feet
Call no.: FS 145
Depiction of Free Speech Movement newsletter
Free Speech Movement newsletter

As an undergraduate at the University of California Berkeley in the late 1950s, Alvin P. Cohen planned on a career in engineering, but after earning his bachelors degree and working as a laboratory technician, he returned to undergraduate status and then to graduate school in Chinese. Cohen’s time at Berkeley coincided with the turbulence of the first wave of student revolt, the civil rights and antiwar movements, and the Free Speech Movement, however as a married man with children, he was more an observer than activist. After completing his dissertation, The Avenging Ghost: Moral Judgment in Chinese Historical Texts, in 1971, he joined the faculty at UMass Amherst, initially with a split appointment teaching Chinese and working as East Asian bibliographer in the library. Over the next three and a half decades, he helped build the Program in Asian Languages and Literature, becoming its Chair in the 1990s and President of the Warring States Project.

Consisting of newsclippings, fliers, and other ephemera collected as the Free Speech Movement was at its height, the Cohen collection provides a valuable window on 1960s activism and the cross-fertilization between the various student movements. The materials cover a range of issues from free speech on campus to the California legislature, civil rights, the war in Vietnam, and the House Un-American Activities Committee. Of particular interest is a letter received by Cohen from a friend Doug Wachter in 1960, shortly after Wachter had been called before HUAC.

Subjects

College students--United States--Political activityStudent movements--CaliforniaUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Asian Languages and LiteraturesVietnam War, 1961-1975

Contributors

Cohen, Alvin P.
Construyamos Juntos

Construyamos Juntos Collection

1986
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 052
Depiction of Parrot in Nicaragua
Parrot in Nicaragua

In May 1985, a group of activists in Western Massachusetts opposed to the interventionist U.S. foreign policy of the Reagan era formed a construction brigade to assist with basic human needs and express solidarity with the people of Central America. Modeled on the Venceremos Brigade, Construyamos Juntos, Building Peace of Nicaragua, raised over $20,000 for construction supplies in addition to funds for individual travel. Between January and March 1986, the 17 activists joined a smaller brigade from West Virginia in constructing the Carlos Armin Gonzales elementary school in San Pedro de Lovago. During their first month in Nicaragua, they witnessed a Contra assault on the town that left one assailant dead and two residents of the town wounded.

This exhibit includes 55 mounted images and 99 35mm slides taken during the brigade’s time in Nicaragua, documenting the brigade’s construction work and providing a valuable visual record of life in Nicaragua during the Contra war. Used in public talks about Contruyamos Juntos, the collection includes exhibit labels that explain the purpose and activity of the brigade, the history of Nicaragua, and the Contra attack in January 1986.

Subjects

Nicaragua--History--1979-1990

Types of material

Photographs
Crowe, Frances, 1919-

Frances Crowe Photograph Collection

ca.1969-1987
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: PH 092
Depiction of Frances Crowe, ca.1983
Frances Crowe, ca.1983

A founder of the Western Massachusetts branch of the American Friends Service Committee and the Traprock Peace Center, Frances Crowe was a legendary peace activist. Born in Missouri in March 1919, Crowe became a committed pacifist in 1945 after learning of the devastation of the bombings in Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. Moving to Northampton in 1951 with her husband Thomas, a physician, she began organizing for peace and against nuclear weapons, increasing her peacework during the Vietnam War, she she worked as a draft counselor in Northampton. A member of the Society of Friends, she joined the War Resisters League, SANE, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, among many other organizations, and was arrested dozens of times for civil disobedience during protests opposing war and militarism, nuclear energy, American imperialism in Central America, and apartheid, and she became a war tax resister after the first Iraq War. An activist to the very end, she died on Aug. 27, 2019, at the age of 100.

This small collection of photographs was kept by Frances Crowe in her role as contributor to Peace Work, the newsletter of the American Friends Service Committee, or for inclusion in the AFSC files. Concentrated in the early 1980s, they depict a range of peace and antinuclear protests in western Massachusetts. The majority of the images were taken by Crowe’s associate, Miriam Leader.

Gift of Eugene Povirk, Oct. 2019

Subjects

Anti-war demonstrations--Massachusetts--PhotographsAntinuclear movements--Massachusetts--PhotographsDemonstrations--Massachusetts--PhotographsPeace movements--Massachusetts--Photographs

Contributors

Leader, Miriam

Types of material

Photographs
D'Annunzio, Gabriele, 1863-1938

Gabriele D'Annunzio Collection

1919-1920
1 box 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 763
Depiction of Seal of the City of Fiume
Seal of the City of Fiume

An Italian poet, journalist, novelist, and dramatist, Gabriele D’Annunzio enjoyed a flamboyant career in international affairs after the First World War when he raised a small army and seized the port of Fiume (now Rijeka, Croatia). Failing in his attempts to annex his territory to Italy, D’Annunzio reigned as Duce over the micro-state for over a year before being forced to relinquish control.

The fifteen imprints comprising this collection of scarce broadsides, all printed in the short-lived Free State of Fiume. During the brief period of his reign in Fiume, D’Annunzio issued propagandistic broadsides, proclamations, and leaflets almost daily, often distributing them by airplane drop over the city. Included is a rare first edition of D’Annunzio’s most famous piece from the Fiume period, Italia e vita.

Acquired from Steve Resnick, Jan. 2013
Language(s): Italian

Subjects

Free State of Fiume--History--20th centuryItaly--History--1914-1922Rijeka (Croatia)--History--20th centuryWorld War, 1914-1918--Baltic StateWorld War, 1914-1918--Italy

Contributors

D'Annunzio, Gabriele, 1863-1938Druscovich, MarcoZoll, Corrado

Types of material

BroadsidesFliers (Printed material)
Diamond, Stephen

Steve Diamond Papers

1960-2004
10 boxes 6.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 542
Depiction of Steve Diamond and border collie at Montague Farm, ca.1980
Steve Diamond and border collie at Montague Farm, ca.1980

An author and activist, Steve Diamond worked for the newly formed Liberation News Service in 1968 covering stories like the student strike at Columbia University. After more than a year of internal strife resulting from ideological differences, the alternative news service split into two factions, with Marshall Bloom and Raymond Mungo leading a new division of LNS in rural New England. Diamond, among those who left for New England, settled into life in a commune on old Ripley Farm in Montague, Massachusetts. His experiences during the first year on the farm are recorded in his book, What the Trees Said. Diamond later worked as a writer and consultant for Green Mountain Post Films, editor of the Valley Advocate and Boston Phoenix, and as a contributor for The Atlantic Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Village Voice.

This collection consists chiefly of Diamond’s correspondence and writing, including drafts of his book chapters, stories, and articles; research notes; and diary entries. The collection also contains printed articles by and about Diamond, digital images, and audio recordings.

Subjects

Activists--MassachusettsBloom, Marshall, 1944-1969Communal living--MassachusettsLiberation News Service (Montague, Mass.)Liberation News Service (New York, N.Y.)Mungo, Raymond, 1946-

Contributors

Diamond, Stephen
Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

W.E.B. Du Bois Papers

1803-1984
328 boxes 168.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 312
Depiction of W.E.B. Du Bois
W.E.B. Du Bois

Scholar, writer, editor of The Crisis and other journals, co-founder of the Niagara Movement, the NAACP, and the Pan African Congresses, international spokesperson for peace and for the rights of oppressed minorities, W.E.B. Du Bois was a son of Massachusetts who articulated the strivings of African Americans and developed a trenchant analysis of the problem of the color line in the twentieth century.

The Du Bois Papers contain almost 165 linear feet of the personal and professional papers of a remarkable social activist and intellectual. Touching on all aspects of his long life from his childhood during Reconstruction through the end of his life in 1963, the collection reflects the extraordinary breadth of his social and academic commitments from research in sociology to poetry and plays, from organizing for social change to organizing for Black consciousness.

Acquired from Shirley Graham Du Bois, 1973

Subjects

African Americans--Civil rightsAfrican Americans--History--1877-1964Crisis (New York, N.Y.)Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on democracyNational Association for the Advancement of Colored PeoplePan-AfricanismUnited States--Race relations

Contributors

Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

Types of material

Photographs
EarthAction

EarthAction Records

1992-2008
26 boxes 39 linear feet
Call no.: MS 562

Established by Lois Barber in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1992 with their first campaign at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, EarthAction has been organizing international campaigns ever since. As the world’s largest action network, the group’s campaigns address a variety of global issues from climate change and nuclear weapons to children’s rights and empowering women to protect the land. With a mission both to inform people about pressing problems facing the world and to move them to action, EarthAction creates and distributes information kits aimed at different audiences: individuals and groups, policymakers, and journalists.

The collection includes administrative files that illustrate the process of building a campaign, financial records, and publications, as well as action, legislative, and media kits created for many of the group’s international campaigns.

Gift of Lois Barber, 2008-2017

Subjects

Environmental justiceEnvironmentalismPeace movementsSocial actionSocial justice
Ellsberg, Daniel

Daniel Ellsberg Papers

ca. 1935-2020 Bulk: 1950-2000
Call no.: MS 1093
Daniel Ellsberg is seated at his desk with a telephone in his left hand while reaching for a paper on his desk.
Ellsberg seated at his office desk ca. 1982

For the latest updates and information about this collection, visit our research page on Ellsberg.

Author, Activist, Veteran, Civil Servant, Whistleblower, Cold Warrior, Academic, Patriot. Daniel Ellsberg has spent the bulk of his 89+ years asking questions and seeking truth. From his beginnings in government service as a marine operations officer, where he first received top secret clearances and saw war plans for the Suez Crisis in 1956-57; to his time in the Pentagon where he was involved in high level decision-making around nuclear policy and the Vietnam War; and to his moral awakening in 1968-69 when he decided to begin copying the Pentagon Papers for public release; Daniel Ellsberg has utilized his whip-smart intellect to dissect and disseminate complex government policies for those seeking to understand and critique the moral failings of their leaders.

In his singular career, Ellsberg traced an arc from Cold Warrior to antiwar and antinuclear activist. Initially, he seemed primed for the soft chair of the academy. As an undergraduate at Harvard, he produced a brilliant thesis in economics on “Theories of Rational Choice Under Uncertainty,” which fed decades of further research—his own and others—on the questions of ambiguity and decision-making. A prestigious year as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Cambridge would ordinarily have led to the next logical step toward an academic coronation, a doctorate at Harvard, but with his educational deferment running out and conscription looming, Ellsberg applied to become an officer in the Marine Corps. By the time he resumed doctoral research (on game theory), he had acquired a personal understanding of the military from the perspective of a platoon leader that would in the years to come leaven his scholarship.

As he wrapped up his dissertation, Ellsberg accepted a position with the RAND Corporation, placing him in the cold heart of where Cold Warriors honed their thoughts. An analytical mind and keen insight into decision-making fit neatly into the demands of understanding the problems of command and control in nuclear war. At RAND, Ellsberg found himself drawn into assignments such as the formal review of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, which he conducted as a consultant to the Pentagon. What he witnessed from the privileged perch of top-level clearance was unsettling: he saw a shocking and persistent gap between what the best intelligence indicated and what the political establishment said and did.

Dan Ellsberg emerging from a hole in the ground with his left hand on the ground looking at the camera
Ellsberg emerging from a National Liberation Front tunnel system. ca. 1966

Vietnam emerged as a particular focal point for Ellsberg in 1964, establishing a powerful symmetrical concern with the nuclear threat that had been consuming his days. That summer, Ellsberg was attached to the Pentagon to assist in a strategic analysis to contribute to escalating the war, beginning his assignment ominously on the day of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Less than a year later, he traveled to Vietnam as a high-level official of the State Department to work under Maj. Gen. Edward Lansdale, tasked with reviewing “pacification” efforts in the provinces. This was no desk job, nor would he be a mere observer. For much of 1966, Ellsberg traveled the country, machine gun in hand, often engaging in forward combat operations with U.S. forces. By the time he returned to RAND, his experiences had led him to conclude that the war was simply not, as many had argued, a civil war in which the U.S. had intervened, but a war of foreign aggression—American aggression. Having been an official of both the Defense and State Departments for years and having had high-level, authorized access, he had a unique perspective on the backdrop of official dishonesty, of secrets and lies and pro-war manipulations on the part of the military and political establishment, and he began to find common cause with the antiwar movement.

The germ of what would become the Pentagon Papers was planted at a War Resisters League conference at Haverford College in 1969, when Ellsberg encountered a draft resister, Randy Kehler (whose papers are also ensconced in SCUA). Kehler’s deliberate, direct confrontation of the system and his unstinting, willing acceptance of the consequences were moving, and by October, Ellsberg lit upon the idea of copying the secret, and deeply revealing reports on the war that he was reviewing for RAND. He knew well that if discovered, his actions could result in decades behind bars. For several weeks, Ellsberg and his colleague Anthony Russo surreptitiously photocopied a trove of 47 volumes and thousands of individual pages of sensitive documents that clearly revealed the extent to which four presidents over two decades had concealed and misrepresented the war and its dim prospects in the hopes, in part, of gaining electoral advantage and out of fear for being seen as the man who lost the war.

Initially, Ellsberg sent copies of the Pentagon Papers to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and sympathetic members of Congress in the hope of creating a political momentum against the war from within the system. None spoke up. Only when the strategy of drawing congressional support failed did Ellsberg leak copies to the media—nineteen newspapers in all. To make a long (and frequently cinematized) story short, The New York Times struck first, publishing excerpts from the papers beginning on June 13, 1971, leading to the first four injunctions in American history constituting prior restraint against publication, and ultimately to prevailing in the Supreme Court over by the end of the month, voiding those injunctions. To make another long (and frequently cinematized) story short, Ellsberg set off a chain of events that played a catalytic role in the Watergate scandals and the undoing of President Richard Nixon.

Daniel Ellsberg holding an arrest card being photographed by police in front of a school bus
Ellsberg holding an arrest record in front of a school bus ca. 1982

In January 1973,  Ellsberg went on trial for his part in copying and distributing the Papers. Facing decades of prison time, he waged a resilient defense over the next four months and eventually won. Having survived the full force of the governmental onslaught, Ellsberg persisted. With the charges against him dismissed on the grounds of governmental misconduct, he returned to the front lines of opposition to tackle nuclear weapons, war, and governmental secrecy. He speaks, writes, and educates in the cause almost continuously, and he has taken part in protests and civil disobedience at sites such as the Pentagon, the Department of Energy, the Rocky Flats Nuclear Production Facility, and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories.

The scope of the Ellsberg collection is vast; from family mementoes and correspondence during his time in the Marines in the 1950s, to research material collected during the War on Terror in the early 2000s. The collection provides researchers with a trove of valuable material on U.S. Government decision-making and secrecy from the Cold War to War on Terror eras, as well as Ellsberg’s personal life. Ellsberg’s time at RAND is well represented with unclassified reports and studies as well as notes, correspondence, analysis, and clippings. His trip to Vietnam in 1966 is chronicled with notes, correspondence, photographs, reports, and a series of reel-to-reel tape recordings. There are a voluminous amount of legal files and material acquired through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from his Pentagon Papers trial in 1973, which also bleeds into material on Richard Nixon and the Watergate crisis. His post-government anti-nuclear efforts are represented with correspondence, subject files, clippings, notes, and drafts of his 2017 book, The Doomsday Machine.

Anchoring much of the material are Ellsberg’s period notes taken during meetings, briefings, phone calls, and writing sessions while he worked at RAND and the Pentagon. They provide firsthand evidence of statements made by various government officials in the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations as well as Ellsberg’s own observations and insights at the time.

The collection rounds out with clippings,  magazines, newspapers, audio recordings, and video/film documentaries about Ellsberg, personal correspondence with friends and family, and  material related to his advocacy on behalf of 21st century whistle blowers Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and Julian Assange.

Acquired from Daniel and Patricia Ellsberg, May 2019

Subjects

Afghan War, 2001-AmbiguityAntinuclear movementArab-Israeli conflict -- 1948-1967Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962DisarmamentEllsberg, DanielIraq War, 2003-2011Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994Pentagon PapersPersian Gulf War, 1991RAND CorporationSecrecySecurityUnited States--Officials and employeesVietnam War, 1961-1975WarWar on Terrorism, 2001-2009Watergate Affair, 1972-1974

Contributors

Ellsberg, DanielRAND Corporation

Types of material

Clippings (information artifacts)Drafts (documents)Electronic mailFliers (Printed matter)Legal documentsManuscripts (document genre)Motion picturesNewslettersPamphletsPersonal correspondencePhotographsReportsSound recordingsVideotapes
Restrictions: collection in-process. available upon request.