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

Collecting area: Women & feminism

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
Wulkan, Ferd

Ferd Wulkan Collection

1968-1985
8 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 841

A 1968 graduate in mathematics from MIT, Ferd Wulkan has been a fixture in activist circles for many years. A member of SDS in college and a rank-and-file clerical union leader at Boston University, Wulkan moved to Amherst in 1989. His passion has been the intersection of the labor movement with other progressive movements; he served for 15 years as a field representative with Locals 509 and 888 of SEIU, working with non-faculty professional personnel at UMass Amherst and Boston, and then as a representative and organizer for the Massachusetts Society of Professors from 2004 to 2016. In 2007, Wulkan became organizing director for the Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM), a grassroots advocacy organization for affordable and accessible public higher education.

The Wulkan Collection consists of a fascinating array of material from Leftist and radical political movements during the late 1960s and early 1980s, with an emphasis on the Cambridge-Somerville area. In addition to a rich assemblage of formally published pamphlets and magazines, the collection includes a large number of fliers, handouts, informally published works, and underground newspapers on Socialist, Feminist, and anarchist topics and relating to the war in Vietnam, the labor movement, civil rights, and Black Power. The collection also contains three unprocessed boxes of material related to the clerical/technical union at Boston University. This union was affiliated with District 65, UAW, and District 65 had been part of the Distributive Workers of America, and affiliated with the United Auto Workers in the early 1980s. Related to this collection is a thesis by Leslie Lomasson, who worked at BU and completed her Master’s at UMass Amherst: “We Built the Union Ourselves: A Feminist Model of Unionism at Boston University” (1994).

Subjects

Cambridge (Mass.)--HistoryFeminism--MassachusettsRadicals--Massachusetts--CambridgeSomerville (Mass.)--HistoryUnderground press publicationsVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements

Contributors

Black Panther Party