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

Collecting area: Political activism

Ross, Laura

Laura M. Ross Papers

1945-2003 Bulk: 1967-1990
13 boxes 6.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 515
Depiction of Laura Ross
Laura Ross

Born in the coal mining town of Blossburg, Pa., in 1913, Laura Ross (nee Kaplowitz) grew up in poverty as one of seven children of Lithuanian immigrants. In about 1932, Ross married Harry Naddell, a wine merchant, and settled into a comfortable life Brooklyn, N.Y., raising a son and daughter. During the Second World War, however, she became intensely politicized through her work with Russian War Relief, joining the Communist Party and eventually divorcing her les radical husband. Moving to the Boston area, she married Max Ross in 1963, an attorney for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and became a noted presence in a wide range of political activities, working for civil rights, the antiwar movement, and for many years, helping to run the Center for Marxist Education in Central Square , Cambridge. Perhaps most notably, between 1974 and 1984, Ross ran for Congress three times on the Communist Party ticket, taking on the powerful incumbent Tip O’Neill and winning almost a quarter of the vote. An activist to the end, Ross died in Cambridge on August 5, 2007.

The Ross papers are the legacy of a highly visible activist, organizer, educator, and member of the Communist Party USA. Heavily concentrated in the period 1967-1990, the collection includes material relating to her affiliation with CPUSA and her work with the Center for Marxist Education in Cambridge, Mass., including information on party membership, platforms, and conventions, minutes from various district committee meetings, material relating to the People’s Daily World, and course information and syllabi. Scattered throughout the collection are materials pertaining to contemporary political issues and elections, particularly the policies associated with Ronald Reagan. Ross was a vocal and persistent opponent of Reaganomics and the nuclear arms race that Reagan accelerated.

Gift of Eugene Povirk, 2007

Subjects

Center for Marxist Education (Cambridge, Mass.)Communist Party of the United States of AmericaPeace movements--MassachusettsPeople’s Daily WorldUnited States--Politics and government--1981-1989

Contributors

Ross, Laura
Sarti, Roland, 1937-

Roland Sarti Papers

1964-2002
11 boxes 5.25 linear feet
Call no.: FS 011

Born in Montefegatesi, Italy, in April 1937, Roland Sarti began his academic career as a teaching assistant and instructor at Rutgers University from 1960-1964. In the fall of 1967, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Italian History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, becoming chair of the University Seminar on Studies in Modern Italy five years later. A scholar of the fascist movement in Italy, Sarti also wrote on topics ranging from rural life in the Apennines to the life of the revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini. During his tenure at UMass, he served on the Personnel, Curriculum, and Graduate Studies Committees, and played a prominent role in the Faculty Senate and the International Programs Office, particularly with respect to the summer programs in Italy. A past president of the New England Historical Society and the Society for Italian Historical Studies, he was a board member for the European History Quarterly and the H-Italy Network. He retired from active teaching in 2002.

The Sarti Papers document Sarti’s distinguished career as professor, author, and chair of the History Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. They consist of professional correspondence, history department records, records of major crises at the University, Italian studies newsletters, student publications, and historical society records. A significant amount of the materials, particularly among the correspondence and periodicals, are in Italian.

Subjects

FascismItaly--History--20th centuryItaly--Politics and government--20th centuryUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History

Contributors

Sarti, Roland, 1937-
Science for the People

Science for the People Records

1966-2014 Bulk: 1969-1992
6 boxes 7 linear feet
Call no.: MS 859
Depiction of

At the height of the antiwar struggle in the late 1960s, a group of scientists and engineers based in Cambridge, Mass., began to turn a critical eye on the role of their fields in the larger political culture. Calling themselves Scientists and Engineers for Social and Political Action (SESPA), the group took the slogan “Science for the People,” which in turn became the name of their organization. With a collective membership that spread nation-wide, Science for the People was a voice for radical science and an active presence framing several of the scientific debates of the day. Through its vigorous publications, SftP explored issues ranging from the impact of military and corporate control of research to scientific rationalization of racism, sexism, and other forms of inequality; and they contributed to the discussions of recombinant DNA, sociobiology, IQ and biological determinism, women’s health care, nuclear power, and the rise of biotechnology. Many members were engaged in supporting anti-imperialist resistance in Central America and Asia during the 1980s. The organization gradually waned in the 1980s and published the last issue of its magazine in 1989.
Donated by several members of the organization, the Science for the People collection provides a window into the organization and operation of a collective devoted to radical science. In addition to meeting minutes and notes, and some correspondence, the collection includes a nearly complete run of the Science for the People magazine, and a substantial representation of the national and Nicaragua newsletters and topical publications. Photographs from the group’s trip to China and other areas abroad in 1978 are available online, along with videos of the talks and sessions from a 2014 conference on the history and legacy of SftP.

Subjects

Science--Social aspectsTechnology--Social aspectsVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
Simon, Peter, 1947-2018

Peter Simon Collection

ca. 1945-2016
10 boxes 20 linear feet
Call no.: PH 009
Depiction of Peter Simon in mirror photographing Jennie Blackton at the Bitter End Cafe, 1968
Peter Simon in mirror photographing Jennie Blackton at the Bitter End Cafe, 1968

Peter Simon’s life and work as a photojournalist follows the quintessential arc of the counterculture, baby boom generation. The son of Richard Simon, founder of Simon and Schuster, Peter grew up in the New York City suburb of Riverdale and attended Boston University, graduating in 1969. While a student at BU, he began documenting the political turmoil in the US when he became photo editor for the radical student newspaper, the BU News, and later as a press photographer for the Cambridge Phoenix. In 1970, Simon left Boston to form Tree Frog Farm, a back-to-the-land commune in Guilford, Vermont, and after leaving there in 1972, he immersed himself in the New Age, forming a close relationship with spiritual leader Ram Dass. Among the most constant threads connecting his work throughout these changes was music. Simon’s sisters, Carly, Lucy, and Joanna have all been involved in music, and through a partnership with longtime friend Stephen Davis and his association with Rolling Stone magazine, Simon enjoyed unique access to many of the most important musicians of his generation. He spent time on the road with the Grateful Dead; went backstage and at home with Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and many others. His early forays into the world of reggae with Bob Marley and other Jamaican recording artists resulted in one of his nine books, Reggae Bloodlines. Simon’s other photographic interests are as wide-ranging as his background. A visitor to Martha’s Vineyard since the 1950s and a resident since 1974, his work reflects the changes and cultural richness of that island; his family’s friendship with Jackie Robinson has driven his lifelong documentation of baseball, and he is in high demand for portraits, weddings, and other work for hire.

The Peter Simon Collection houses the original negatives for Simon’s complete body of work as a photo journalist and also includes many photographs taken by his father Richard, an avid amateur photographer, which documents the Simon family and life in Riverdale and Stamford, Connecticut, where the family had a summer home.

Subjects

Boston (Mass.)--PhotographsCommunal living--VermontCounterculture--United States--20th centuryMartha's Vineyard (Mass.)--PhotographsMusicians--PhotographsSimon, Carly--PhotographsVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements

Contributors

Simon, Richard L. (Richard Leo), 1899-1960

Types of material

Photographs
Smith, Robert Ellis

Robert Ellis Smith Collection

1938-2014 Bulk: 1965-2014
35 boxes, 948 books 83.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 829

An attorney, writer, publisher, and journalist, Robert Ellis Smith is a leading expert in privacy. A graduate of Harvard (1962) and Georgetown University Law Center (1975), Smith has published Privacy Journal since 1974, a newsletter dedicated to the individual’s right to privacy, and several books, including Privacy: How to Protect What’s Left of It (1979), Workrights (1983), The Law of Privacy Explained (1993), and Our Vanishing Privacy (1993). An adjunct Professor at Roger Williams University School of Law, he is often called upon to speak on and testify concerning privacy rights. Smith’s other activism has included work in the Civil Rights movement and in environmental protection.

The Smith collection consists of publications and research files relating to Robert Ellis Smith’s long interest in the law and culture of privacy. In addition to a complete run of Privacy Journal and Smith’s publications, the collection includes material on topics ranging from cyber security to privacy in employment, medical care, identity theft, electronic surveillance, and telecommunications, and a thick run of correspondence relating to Privacy Journal, including letters seeking advice on issues in privacy and privacy invasion. Also included is a small collection of material relating to Smith’s civil rights work in Alabama during the mid-1960s.

Gift of Robert Ellis Smith, 2014, 2016

Subjects

PrivacyPrivacy and identity protectionPrivacy--Law and legislation
Social Change Collection

Social Change Collection

1937-2008
5 boxes 2.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 457
Depiction of Join the SMC, 1970
Join the SMC, 1970

The term social change is used in SCUA to refer to individuals and organizations who actively seek to better the world around them, as well as to individuals experiencing shifts in economic, cultural, and social life. Few movements for change exist in isolation. Following W.E.B. Du Bois, we recognize that seemingly disparate issues in social justice are often intrinsically and deeply interconnected, so that to create change in one area requires close attention to others. It is the flow of ideas, people, and organizations that constitutes the warp and weft of social change in the twentieth century.

Created to collocate small groups of manuscripts, documents, letters, and other unpublished materials relating to the history and experience of social change, the Social Change Collection is focused largely on movements of the 1960s and after. While entirely miscellaneous, the collection includes interesting material relating to the peace and antiwar movements during the 1960s, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the conflict in Vietnam, antiimperialist movements in Central and South America, and a small number of items relating to sexuality, gender, and feminism.

Acquired variously.

Subjects

Anti-imperialist movementsCommunismFeminismPeace movementsVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements

Contributors

Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
Social Change Periodicals

Social Change Periodicals Collection

1969-2006
14 boxes 21 linear feet
Call no.: MS 306
Depiction of Peace and Freedom, Mar. 1980
Peace and Freedom, Mar. 1980

Assembled to bring together short and broken runs of periodicals produced by activists and movements for social justice, the Social Change Periodicals Collection touches on a wide variety of topics. Much of the original collection came from subscriptions held by the Everywoman’s Center at UMass Amherst, however the collection has grown to include materials supplied by many other donors. The bulk of periodicals come from the period 1965-1990 and the subjects covered range from feminism to gay rights, and political radicalism, to peace, prison, labor, antiracism, and the counterculture more generally. The collection has been organized thematically into 19 series.

Subjects

African Americans--Suffrage--PeriodicalsCentral America--Politics and government--PeriodicalsDisarmament--PeriodicalsFeminism--PeriodicalsGay liberation movement--PeriodicalsLabor--United States--PeriodicalsLesbians--PeriodicalsNonviolence--PeriodicalsPeace--PeriodicalsPrisons--United States--PeriodicalsRadicalism--United States--PeriodicalsSocialism--PeriodicalWomen--Periodical

Types of material

Periodicals
Stack, Jonathan

Jonathan Stack Collection

1992-2000
36 boxes, films 65 linear feet
Call no.: MS 969
Depiction of Gabriel Films logo
Gabriel Films logo

A renowned independent film maker and founder of Gabriel Films, Jonathan Stack has written and produced over two dozen documentary films and fifty television programs. Born in New York City in 1957, Stack graduated from UMass Amherst in 1979. From the time of his film Damned in the USA (1992), Stack has taken on challenging subjects, earning a reputation for gaining access into forbidden and often dangerous situations, from crack dens in Harlem to war-torn Liberia. The recipient of numerous honors in his career, Stack has been awarded five Emmy Awards, has twice been nominated for the Academy Award, and his film The Farm, on Angola Prison, won Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize in 1998.

The films and videos in the Stack collection include copies of his work in Liberia and Haiti and material from his documentary on prison rodeos at Angola Prison. The collection includes film from Damned in the USA (1992), Final Judgment (1996), and The Farm (1998), as well as footage from Harlem, Angola Prison, St. Gabriel Women’s Prison, and on body piercing, rodeo, and the prisoner Vincent Simmons.

Gift of Jonathan Stack, April-Dec., 2017

Subjects

Documentary filmsLouisiana State PenitentiaryMotion picture producers and directors

Types of material

Videotapes
Steindl-Rast, David

Brother David Steindl-Rast Papers

ca. 1928-2015
60 boxes 75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 892
Depiction of Brother David at Mount Savior Monastery, ca. 1956
Brother David at Mount Savior Monastery, ca. 1956

Brother David Steindl-Rast was born Franz Kuno in Vienna, Austria, in 1926. He discovered The Rule of St. Benedict as a young man, which sent him on a search for an authentic version of Benedictine practice. This search brought him through the Second World War in Vienna, where he earned a Ph.D from the University of Vienna in 1952 and to the Mount Savior Monastery in Elmira, New York, where he became a monk in 1953. Along with his friend Thomas Merton, Brother David is one of the most important figures in the modern interfaith dialogue movement, leaving Mount Savior in the mid-1960s to study Zen Buddhism with Hakuun Yajutami, Shunayu Suzuki, and Soen Nakagawa. He was the first Benedictine to learn directly from Buddhist teachers and received Vatican support for his bridge-building work in 1967. Through Merton, Brother David met Thich Nhat Hanh, who introduced him to the peace movement and grounded Brother David’s spirituality in a tradition of activism. When not in seclusion, Brother David has served as a teacher of contemplative prayer, the intersection of Zen and Catholicism, and gratefulness as a spiritual practice. Through many books and articles, lectures, and residencies in spiritual centers like Tassajara and the Esalen Institute, Brother David has developed an influential philosophy and much of the current popularity of mindfulness and Zen-influenced living and activism owes a debt to his teachings.

The Brother David Steindl-Rast Papers include Brother David’s extensive published and unpublished writings, sermons, memoirs, personal journals, correspondence, photographs, recordings, and videos of his teachings. His papers extend back to his youth in Vienna, documenting his childhood and experience during the war, including a complete run of Die Goldene Wagen, the children’s magazine published by Brother David’s mother Elisabeth Rast.

Subjects

Benedictines--United StatesBuddhism--RelationsChristianity--RelationsPeace movements--United StatesPeace--Religious aspectsSpiritual life--BuddhismSpiritual life--Catholic church

Contributors

Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968Steindl-Rast, David

Types of material

Photographs
Tax Equity Alliance of Massachusetts

Tax Equity Alliance of Massachusetts Intiative Collection

1988-1989
1 folder 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 321

The Tax Equity Alliance for Massachusetts (TEAM) was formed in 1987 as a coalition of tax reformers made up government groups, civic and business leaders, human services advocates, unions, and others who shared the conviction that fair taxation and quality services must go hand-in-hand and who opposed extreme tax reduction for the dire impact it would have on state budgets and support for state programs.

This small collection contains a copy of “Talking Tax,” a publication of the Tax Equity Alliance for Massachusetts, along with brochures for their volunteers and for the public.

Gift of Ken Fones-Wolf, 1990

Subjects

Taxation--Massachusetts