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

Collecting area: Women & feminism

Norsigian, Judy

Judy Norsigian Collection

1953-2002 Bulk: 1967-1976
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1071
Depiction of SDS pamphlet, 1969
SDS pamphlet, 1969

Judy Norsigian is a prominent advocate for women’s reproductive health and was a co-founder of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, better known by its later and the title of its best-known book, Our Bodies, Ourselves. Editor of each of the nine editions of the book and executive director of the collective from 2001 to 2015, Norsigian is an important public intellectual on women’s health issues and has served on numerous boards and advisory groups relating to reproductive health, contraception, and medical research.

Consisting primarily of the sort of ephemeral political literature that abounded in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Norsigian collection offers insight into the feminist movement and the early milieu of Our Bodies, Ourselves. Many of the publications are devoted to issues in contemporary feminism or pertain to women’s conferences, however several (especially those published by the New England Free Press) take on other political and social movements.

Gift of Judy Norsigian, Jan. 2017

Subjects

Feminism--MassachusettsOur Bodies, Ourselves

Types of material

BrochuresEphemera (General object genre)NewspapersPamphlets
Rodin, Phyllis

Phyllis Rodin Papers

1950-2014
ca.50 boxes 75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 894
Depiction of Phyllis Rodin
Phyllis Rodin

Temporarily stored offsite; contact SCUA to request materials from this collection.

Born into a Jewish Lithuanian family in Williamsburg., N.Y., on May 10, 1914, Phyllis Rodin was drawn to the struggle for peace and social justice from early in life. Her widowed mother set an example as an antiwar activist and advocate for women’s rights, and after marrying at age 18, Phyllis and her husband ran a dairy farm that they reorganized on cooperative principles in the 1930s. A watershed in her life came after witnessing the suffering of war first hand while engaged as a psychiatric aid worker for the Red Cross during the Second World War. From that point, Rodin was an unrelenting activist for peace, traveling internationally and remaining vocal through the McCarthy era and Vietnam War and diving headlong into the second wave of the feminist movement. Returning to school late in life, she completed an undergraduate degree at Wisconsin before moving to Amherst in 1980 to study for a doctorate in Future Studies through the UMass Department of Education. Her activism barely skipped a beat as she worked closely with Quaker groups and stalwart activists such as her friend Frances Crowe to oppose nuclear weapons and violence in all forms. Rodin died in Amherst on Jan. 2015.

The Rodin Papers are the product of a long life of a woman devoted to the struggle for peace, feminism, and social justice. Richer in documenting Rodin’s latter decades and the philosophy of world peace she honed, the collection contains an abundance of correspondence, ephemera, and audiovisual materials related to international work in peacebuilding.

Acquired from Anne Griffin, Dec. 2015

Subjects

Antinuclear movement--MassachusettsFeministsPeace movements--Massachusetts
Rural American Women’s Conference

Rural American Women Conference Records

1978-1981
5 boxes 2.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 146

Feeling the frustrations of millions of women and girls in rural America who lacked the support or resources necessary to combat unemployment, inadequate medical care, and domestic violence, Jane Threatt along with several other women decided to form a non-profit organization that would unite these women and give them a national voice. Established in 1978, Rural American Women (RAW) was organized to promote the interests of rural women in the areas of equal rights, employment, education, family life, and freedom of all forms of discrimination.

In 1981 RAW held a series of five regional conferences throughout the country, and the bulk of this collection consists of records relating to the New England meeting. The records also include some materials documenting the group’s activities at their national headquarters in D.C., such as minutes, correspondence, newsletters, and pamphlets.

Subjects

Rural women

Contributors

Rural American Women
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
Seneca Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice

Seneca Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice Collection

1979-1992
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 839
Depiction of

Concerned women in upstate New York joined together in the summer 1983 to form the Seneca Women’s Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice, occupying a site near the Seneca Army Depot in Romulus, N.Y., where nuclear weaponry was stored. Taking a radical stance against militarism, violence, and oppression and modeling their approach after the women’s encampment at Greenham Common in England, the Seneca Encampment drew participants from a large number of women’s peace groups. In 1994, the Encampment transitioned into the Women’s Peace Land, remaining an active center of resistance to militarism and nuclear power for several years.

Maintained by attorney Alaine T. Espenscheid, the collection consists primarily of legal records relating to the Seneca Encampament, including filings documenting health and saftey, sanitation, water, and finances and materials relating to the arrest of several women for civil disobedience in 1985. Also included is a folder of ephemera and clippings on the Encampment from local media.

Subjects

Antinuclear movements--New York (State)Peace movements--New York (State)

Contributors

Espenscheid, Alaine T.
Shaw, Carolyn Martin, 1944-

Carolyn Martin Shaw Papers

1962-2017 Bulk: 1972-2010
10 boxes 12.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 974
Part of: Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive
Depiction of Carolyn Martin Shaw in Kenya, ca.1972
Carolyn Martin Shaw in Kenya, ca.1972

From a childhood spent in a tenement in Norfolk, Va., Carolyn Martin Shaw went on to enjoy a distinguished career as a pioneer in Black Feminist anthropology. Educated in segregated schools, she was an outstanding student, winning scholarship funding to Michigan State University, where she received both her BS (1966) and PhD (1975). Shaw’s dissertation on Kikuyu kinship morality marked several themes that she developed through subsequent research projects in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Based in the Department of Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz throughout her career, she was a productive scholar, publishing dozens of articles and chapters, and two important monographs, Colonial Inscriptions: Race, Class and Sex in Kenya (1995) and Women and Power in Zimbabwe: Promises of Feminism (2015), and she filled a variety of administrative posts, including department chair, Provost of the Kresge residential college, and Chair of the UC system-wide Committee on Privilege and Tenure. She has received numerous awards in her career, including a Fulbright Fellowship to the University of Zimbabwe in 1983-1984, a Danforth Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and a McHenry Award for Service to the Academic Senate at UCSC. Shaw retired from UCSC in 2010.

Documenting her work in Black feminist anthropology, the Carolyn Martin Shaw collection includes published and unpublished writing, correspondence, and a wealth of information on her research in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Along with her fieldnotes, research data, and photographs, the collection also includes records of her faculty service at USCS, and awards received for teaching and university service.

Gift of Carolyn Martin Shaw, May 2017

Subjects

Anthropologists--CaliforniaEthnology--KenyaEthnology--ZimbabweFeminismUniversity of California Santa Cruz--FacultyWomen--Africa
Sleeveless Theatre Company

Sleeveless Theater Company Records

1989-1996
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1087
Depiction of Channer, Nugent, Halpin and Futtner (from left), ca.1992. Photo by K.D.Halpin
Channer, Nugent, Halpin and Futtner (from left), ca.1992. Photo by K.D.Halpin

The Sleeveless Theatre Company was an innovative political theater company with a strong feminist slant. Founded in 1989 by UMass Amherst alumnae Lisa Channer, Maureen Futtner, K. D. Halpin, and Kate Nugent, and Smith alumna, Terianne Falcone, Sleeveless was an actor-centered, highly collaborative ensemble company that wielded humor in staging original, socially- and politically-charged theater. Based in Northampton, Mass., the company toured nationally and internationally, presenting sometimes controversial works on themes ranging from reproductive rights to the Gulf War. As they evolved, they refined their mission to focus on telling stories about the lives and perspectives of women, but under the strains of growing within their collaborative model, they made the decision to disband in 1997.

In addition to minutes for the company’s formative years (1989-1992), the records of Sleeveless Theater Company include a small selection of production notes, background research, fliers, reviews and newsclippings, and a handful of publicity photos. Among the plays represtened are Womb for Rent (1989), War: The Comedy (1991), The F Word (1992), Emily Unplugged (1995), and Mill America (1996).

Gift of Lisa Channer, Maureen Futtner, K. D. Halpin, and Kate Nugent, June 2019 (2019-093).

Subjects

Feminist theater--Massachusetts--NorthamptonTheatrical companies--Massachusetts--Northampton

Types of material

Fliers (Printed matter)Photographs
Slonecker, Blake, 1981-

Blake Slonecker Collection

2008
4 items 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 795

An historian of twentieth century social movements, Blake Slonecker received his doctorate at the University of North Carolina in 2009 and joined the history faculty at Waldorf College soon thereafter. In a dissertation examining the utopian impulses of the New Left (published in 2012 as A new dawn for the New Left: Liberation News Service, Montague Farm, and the long sixties), Slonecker explored how the political and cultural activism of the 1960s helped reshape American political culture in the decade following.

In June 2008, Slonecker conducted oral historical interviews with four individuals who were part of the extended community centered on the Montague Farm and Packer Corners communes during the late 1960s: Tom Fels, Charles Light, Sam Lovejoy, and Richard Wizansky. In wide-ranging interviews, the former communards discuss topics ranging from the fraught politics of the era, political and cultural activism, gender roles and sexuality, and daily life on the communes.

Gift of Blake Slonecker, Aug. 2013

Subjects

Amherst CollegeBabbitt, Elwood, 1922-Bloom, Marshall, 1944-1969Brotherhood of the Spirit (Commune)Clamshell AllianceGreen Mountain Post FilmsJohnson Pasture Community (Vt.)Liberation News Service (Montague, Mass.)Montague Farm Community (Mass.)Musicians United for Safe EnergyPacker Corners Community (Vt.)Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)

Contributors

Fels, Thomas WestonLight, CharlesLovejoy, SamWizansky, Richard

Types of material

AudiocassettesOral histories (document genres)
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