The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
CredoResearch digital collections in Credo

Collecting area: Spiritual change

Williams, Paul, 1948-2013

Paul Williams Papers

ca. 1958-2005
53 boxes 79.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1158
Depiction of Paul Williams, ca. 1973
Paul Williams, ca. 1973

Born in 1948 in Boston, Paul Williams was an avid reader of science fiction and published his first fanzine, Within, in 1962 at the age of 14. A few years later, after completing his first semester at Swarthmore, Williams hitchhiked to New York City. There he wrote and published—typing up the mimeo stencils himself—the first issue of Crawdaddy! With the birth of this publication, Williams is widely recognized as the founder of serious rock and roll journalism. He left Crawdaddy! in 1968 and went on to establish Entwhistle Books with David Hartwell, Chester Anderson, and Joel Hack. Williams continued to write, collecting his early works on rock and roll in two books and contributing articles as a freelancer for Rolling Stone. During the early 1970s, Williams lived on several intentional communities, including the Fort Hill Community in Cambridge, and wrote the surprise best seller Das Energi and its follow-up, Apple Bay during this period. In 1975, his profile of friend Philip K. Dick launched P.K.D. to a national audience, and Williams later served as the literary executor of the Dick estate following the death of his friend in 1982. His extensive writing on Bob Dylan spanned forty years and resulted in a significant body of publications including a multi-volume work on the artist. In 1995, Williams suffered a near fatal bike accident that left him partially disabled. A remarkable initial recovery proved to be short-lived and within a few years after the accident, Williams began exhibiting symptoms of early-onset dementia, a result of the traumatic brain injury he sustained. He died in 2013 leaving behind a tremendous legacy as author, editor, and publisher.

The Paul Williams Papers is comprehensive collection of materials that documents the writings and relationships that shaped the field of rock and roll journalism. Alongside manuscripts of the numerous books and articles Williams wrote are notebooks, correspondence, and media. Early issues of Crawdaddy! and Williams’s writings on science fiction author Philip K. Dick (including audio cassette tapes of the 1974 P.K.D. interview) are featured as well as his working files on Bob Dylan. Correspondence includes Theodore, Sturgeon, Chester Anderson, David Hartwell, Susan Ann Protter, Julian Moody, Raymond Mungo among many others.

Subjects

Communal livingCrawdaddy! (New York, N.Y.)Rock musicScience fiction

Contributors

Williams, Paul, 1948-2013

Types of material

CorrespondenceManuscriptsPhotographs
Willis, F. L. H. (Frederick Llewellyn Hovey), 1830-1914

F. L. H. Willis Papers

1806-1974 Bulk: 1856-1921
13 boxes 7.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1116
Depiction of F. L. H. Willis, ca.1887
F. L. H. Willis, ca.1887

In 1857, Frederick L. H. Willis earned the singular distinction of being expelled from Harvard Divinity School for acting as a spirit medium. An important figure in the post-Civil War Spiritualist movement, Willis lived a long and eclectic life in which he was at turns an intimate of the family of Bronson Alcott, an ardent proponent of Spiritualism, a lecturer, preacher, homeopathic physician, and writer.

A wide-ranging intellect and steadfast opposition to orthodoxy suffuse the Willis Papers. The heart of the collection is an extensive collection of sermons, lectures, and essays by Frederick L. H. Willis dating from the late 1850s to the turn of the twentieth century. These works veer into commentary on ancient history, art and aesthetics, medicine, astrology, Eastern religion, and social reform, but are rooted firmly in the framework of a Spiritualist worldview. The collection also includes a large number of family photographs, some correspondence, and a few works by Willis’s wife, Love, and daughter, Edith.

Acquired from Michael Brown, Jan. 2020

Subjects

AstrologySpiritualism--MassachusettsUnitarian churches--Clergy

Contributors

Forbes, Edith Willis Linn, 1865-1945Willis, Love M. Whitcomb

Types of material

LecturesPhotographsSermons
Wilson, Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir Wilson Papers

1975-2012
6 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1059

A philosopher, writer, activist, and artist, Douglas Wilson founded the Rowe Conference Center affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist camp in Rowe, Mass. Born in Vancouver, B.C., in 1946, but raised primarily in California, Wilson earned degrees at UC Santa Barbara (1967) and the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley (1970), before being ordained at the First Uniarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn. He first came to Rowe in 1971 to work as assistant director of the Junior High summer camp, but soon proposed building a center at Rowe modeled on the Esalen Institute which would offer year-round retreats and workshops founded in Unitarian Universalist principles of equality, justice, freedom, peace, and the respect for the interdependent web of all existence. Serving as Executive Director (and after 1985, as co-Executive Director with his partner Prue Berry), Wilson brought together people who were “politically aware, psychologically sophisticated, and religiously based,” ranging from the Berrigans and Nearings to Jean Houston and Abbie Hoffman. The Wilsons retired from Rowe in December 2012.

The Wilson collection contains nearly forty years of files accumulated during Douglas Wilson’s time as Director of the Rowe Conference Center. In addition to a nearly complete run of the Center newsletter, Wilson retained materials on dozens of the thinkers, writers, and activists who came to Rowe, with each file containing correspondence (usually both directions), background notes and clippings.

Gift of Douglas Fir Wilson and Prue Berry, Nov. 2018

Subjects

Peace movements--MassachusettsUnitarian Universalist Rowe Camp & Conference CenterUnitarians--Massachusetts

Types of material

Newsletters