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

Collecting area: Women

Judy Polan Papers

Judy Polan Papers

1962-2019 Bulk: 1979-1995
6 boxes 5.84 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1178
Judy Polan playing acoustic guitar
Judy Polan, ca. 1984

Judy Polan was a folk musician who performed primarily throughout Western Mass and New England in the 1980s and 1990s. Born in 1948 in Albany, New York, she graduated from Barnard College in 1970 with a degree in Russian. She worked as a translator in Cambridge, Massachusetts and taught guitar lessons part-time before eventually moving to teaching and performing full time. She married Michael Schonbach in 1975 and moved to Western Mass two years later, living first in Northampton and then Chesterfield. During this period, her music career blossomed. She quickly became a favorite at local coffeehouses and other venues such as the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton the Sounding Board Coffeehouse in West Hartford, and Passim in Cambridge, playing both original songs and covers from a wide variety of genres. She was a four-time recipient of the “favorite musician” award in the Valley Advocate Reader’s Poll in 1985, 1993, 1994, and 1995. She was frequently played on radio stations throughout New England and Upstate New York. Polan also performed at weddings and children’s events. Her husband, Michael Schonbach often accompanied her on violin.

She released her first album, Judy, Judy, Judy in 1984 on her own record label, Ruby Slippers Records. The name was an homage to her love of the Wizard of Oz, songs from which would often feature in her shows. She was known by her fans as the “Folk Glitter Queen of New England”, due to her eclectic style of both music and costume, which often featured glittery red high heels fashioned after Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz. Over the course of her career she released two more full-length albums and one EP, Look to the Starsin 1986, Dream Dances in 1992 and Daffodils in 1996. Also in 1996, she released a musical interpretation of the poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth, which was used in a tourism campaign for the Lake District in Northwest England. During the early 2000s, Polan’s career shifted to writing, and she worked as an editor and writer for magazines such as Style 1900, Modernism and Jewish Ledger. She mainly wrote about design and travel and maintained a website and blog, Mad for Mod, throughout the 2010s. She also wrote humorous audio memoir essays that were featured on the Albany, NY NPR affiliate, WAMC. She also published a book of poetry, Glasgow Colours at a Decorative Arts Programme at the University of Glasgow. Her husband Michael passed away on June 16, 2022.

The Judy Polan Papers contain material from throughout Polan’s career as a working musician. This includes promotional materials such as concert flyers, profiles in local publications, business and personal correspondence, sheet music, and lyrics. It also contains several dozen recordings contained on different formats such as reels, cassette tapes, records and CDs. These consist of commercial releases, live shows, radio appearances, demo recordings, and master tapes. Polan’s ruby slippers, that she wore during performances, are also part of the collection.

Aaron Mintz, 2022

Subjects

Folk music--MassachusettsFolk musicians--MassachusettsMusic--Massachusetts--NorthamptonWomen folk musicians--Massachusetts

Types of material

AudiotapesConcert programsCorrespondenceMusic postersNewspaper clippingsOpen reel audiotapesOptical disksPhotographsPoetry
Restrictions: none
Karen Lederer Political Button Collection

Karen Lederer Political Button Collection

1978-2018 Bulk: 1980-1998
1 .05 linear feet
Call no.: 1167
Assortment of buttons from the Karen Lederer Political Button Collection

Collection of 38 political buttons donated by Karen Lederer, UMass Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Department faculty member, covering several social change issues including: gay rights, political candidates, unions, anti-nuclear activism, women’s rights, campaigns at UMass, racism, anti-war movement, AIDS, single payer health care, the environment, domestic violence, the Equal Rights Amendment, and other assorted events in Western Mass.

Gift of Karen Lederer, July 2022

Subjects

Anti-nuclear movements--MassachusettsGay Liberation MovementLabor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

Karen Lederer

Types of material

Buttons (information artifacts)
Kerewsky-Halpern, Barbara

Barbara Kerewsky-Halpern Papers

ca. 1942-2000
8 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1067
Depiction of Kerewsky-Halpern teaching ca. 1980
Kerewsky-Halpern teaching ca. 1980

Barbara Kerewsky Halpern was an adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Massachusetts. She was also a prodigious writer, researcher, and lecturer. After earning a bachelors in geography from Barnard College (1953), she accompanied her new husband, Joel M. Halpern, to Serbia, helping him with his field project which would later result in his Ph.D. thesis and book, A Serbian Village (1958). She continued to work with her husband on numerous projects. After her youngest daughter was school age, she went back to college, earning a Master of Arts degree in Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts, followed by a Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1979. In 1983, she published a book entitled “These Are Your Neighbors” published by the Cambridge Book Company. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the mid-1970’s, which motivated her to investigate various medical issues within Anthropology, eventually becoming a medical anthropologist. She became a certified practitioner of the Feldenkrais method, establishing her own practice under the name, “Mind Over Movement”. She gave presentations throughout her life, lecturing on various topics. In 1992, she served as an expert witness in the trial of Sadri Krasniqi, an Albanian man falsely accused of sexually molesting his daughter. In 1995, she was interviewed on the television program 20/20 by Hugh Downs about the case.

The Barbara Halpern Papers consists of many letters received from her childhood pen pals, college friends and family members. Documents from her early schooling as well as those of college and professional work as a lecturer and Feldenkrais practitioner form the bulk of the collection. Correspondence with Ethel (nee Russell) Breen, a young British girl, began in 1942 and continued to Breen’s death in 1996. The bulk of these letters, dated from 1942 to 1952, mention World War II, and other elements of daily life at that period.

Subjects

Feldenkrais methodMedical anthropologyMultiple sclerosisWorld War, 1939-1945--Children
Kingsbury family

Kingsbury Family Papers

1862-2006 Bulk: 1881-1902
10 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 504
Depiction of Kingsbury children, ca.1910
Kingsbury children, ca.1910

The family of Roxana Kingsbury Gould (nee Weed) farmed the rocky soils of western New England during the late nineteenth century. Roxana’s first husband Ambrose died of dysentery shortly after the Civil War, leaving her to care for their two infant sons, and after marrying her second husband, Lyman Gould, she relocated from southwestern Vermont to Cooleyville and then (ten years later) to Shelburne, Massachusetts. The Goulds added a third son to their family in 1869.

A rich collection of letters and photographs recording the history of the Kingsbury-Gould families of Shelburne, Massachusetts. The bulk of the letters are addressed to Roxana Kingsbury Gould, the strong-willed matriarch at the center of the family, and to her granddaughter, May Kingsbury Phillips, the family’s first historian. In addition to documenting the complicated dynamics of a close-knit family, this collection is a rich source for the study of local history, rural New England, and the social and cultural practices at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.

Gift of Conrad and Michiko Totman, 2006

Subjects

Conway (Mass.)--GenealogyKingsbury FamilyShelburne (Mass.)--GenealogyTotman family

Contributors

Drew, Raymond Totman, 1923-1981Lewis, Gertrude Minnie, 1896-Totman, Conrad DTotman, Ruth J

Types of material

GenealogiesLetters (Correspondence)MemoirsPhotographsTintypes
Knott, Janet

Janet Knott Collection

ca. 1984-2007
20 boxes 30 linear feet
Call no.: PH 088

An award-winning photojournalist, Janet Knott was one of the first woman to become a staff photographer at the Boston Globe. Over a 31-year career, she covered a broad range of topics, from local assignments to longer-form photo essays and international coverage, producing iconic images of the space shuttle Challenger disaster, the late 1980s famine in the Sudan, and the violence accompanying the Haitian elections of 1987. She was only the third woman recognized with the Robert Capa Gold Medal and, among many other awards, won first place for spot news from the World Press Photography Foundation. After leaving the Globe in 2007, she became Chief of Staff for Boston City Councilor Salvatore La Mattina, representing East Boston and the first district.

The Knott Collection contains an array of letters, ephemera, and photographs documenting both her photographic and political careers. There is an extensive body of work from her years working as a photojournalist at the Boston Globe comprised of slides, negatives, prints, and contacts sheets.

Gift of Janet Knott, 2019-2024.

Subjects

Boston (Mass.)—Politics and government
Kotker, Zane

Zane and Norman Kotker Papers

1956-2016
54 boxes 27 linear feet
Call no.: MS 948
Depiction of Zane Kotker, photo taken by her husband Norman, ca. 1972
Zane Kotker, photo taken by her husband Norman, ca. 1972

The writer Zane Kotker was born Mary Zane Hickcox in Southbury, Connecticut, in 1934. After graduating from Middlebury College (1956), Kotker led a busy life working short stints in and out of Manhattan as a secretary, researcher, writer, teacher, and editor, collaborating on the side with a friend to publish a little magazine while earning a master’s degree in history from Columbia University. In 1965, she married a fellow writer, Norman Kotker, and while raising their two children, David (born 1967) and Ariel (1969), the couple began writing in earnest. An editor at Horizon Books, Norman used his weekends to write his first book, The Holy Land in the Time of Jesus (1967), following up with two novels, Miss Rhode Island (1978) and Learning About God (1988). A stay-at-home, free-lancing mother, Zane used her “free” time for writing as well, completing her first novel by taking advantage of a babysitter on Tuesday and Friday mornings, and going on to publish five other novels, numerous short stories, and a volume of poetry. Norman Kotker died in 1999 years after first being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Zane Kotker continues to write and publish; her novella Goodnight Ladies was released in 2016.

The records of a highly productive literary couple, the Zane and Norman Kotker Papers contain manuscript drafts, notes, research materials, correspondence, and reviews. Reflecting both the co-operation and the competition connecting married writers, the collection offers insight issues ranging from the financial challenges of supporting the writing careers of two novelists to the challenges of a woman attempting to define herself professionally during the early 1970s and the publishing scene in New York City in the 1970s through 1990s. The collection also include materials related to the founding of the Well Spouse Association–Zane was a founding member of the organization created to provide a support system for individuals caring for chronically ill and/or disabled spouses–including her nonfiction writing published under the name Maggie Strong.

Gift of Zane Kotker, Sept. 2016

Subjects

Judaism and cultureJudaism--HistoryMotherhood--FictionMultiple sclerosis--PatientsReligion--FictionWell Spouse AssociationWomen writers

Contributors

Kotker, NormanKotker, Zane
Kotts, Norine

Norine Kotts and Cheryl Lewis Papers

Ca. 1982-2013
2 boxes 2.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1177

Longtime partners in work and life, Norine Kotts and Cheryl Lewis met in San Francisco in 1980. Kotts, daughter of a law enforcement officer and a homemaker, whose family who moved frequently, was a freelance photographer; Lewis, a biracial Chicago native and daughter of a furniture maker and a schoolteacher, who grew up in Rockland County, N. Y., was an art student in the Bay Area and a lifelong cook. They moved back to the house Kotts was sharing with a group of lesbians, in Somerville, Mass., and eventually into the world of food collectives, restaurants, and hospitality. In 1982, along with two co-founders, Kotts and Lewis opened the cafe Beetle’s Lunch in Allston, a Boston neighborhood. Named “1983 Best Punk Restaurant” by Boston magazine, Beetle’s Lunch became known as a welcoming alternative community space situated at a convergence of queer and feminist politics, new concepts in art and music, and the changing food scene, with a dash of idealism, especially on the part of its young feminist founders. Relocating to Portland, Me., in 1985 Kotts and Lewis opened Café Always, playing a significant role in fostering and shaping that city’s burgeoning food culture: as Portland’s first restaurant to employ local farmers and incorporate local ingredients into the daily menu, Café Always garnered national attention. After selling the business in 1995, the couple opened Aurora Provisions, a gourmet food and wine shop with an in-store restaurant and catering service, which they ran until selling it in 2001. As consultants they continued to participate in and influence the food scene in Portland, helping to launch Portland favorite El Rayo Taqueria in 2009.

The Kotts and Lewis Papers provide glimpses into the formation and operation of several notable New England food establishments, documenting the creative, professional, and personal aspects, as well as the food itself. The collection contains menus, photographs, business plans, correspondence (including a set of letters Kotts wrote to her mother on the backs of menus), recipes and cookbooks, memorabilia, and a guest book filled with diners’ comments. Kotts and Lewis are also the subjects of a series of oral histories conducted by sociologist Janice Irvine.

Gift of Norine Kotts and Cheryl Lewis, Nov. 2022

Subjects

Lesbian businesswomenLesbian cooksRestaurants--Maine--PortlandRestaurants--New EnglandRestaurants--Social aspectsRestaurateurs

Contributors

Irvine, Janice M.Lewis, Cheryl

Types of material

Letters (Correspondence)MenusOral historiesPhotographs
Lauman, Mary W.

Mary W. Lauman Papers

1944-1945
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 534

Mary W. Lauman, a 1937 graduate of Cornell University, served in the United States Marine Corps from March 1944 through December 1945. During her 10 months of active duty, Mary wrote numerous letters to her mother detailing her everyday life from boot camp in Lejeune, North Carolina, to her work with the United States Army Personnel Department.

The Lauman letters contain interesting insights into the life of a woman Marine during World War II, including behavior, dress, and social interactions.

Subjects

Camp Lejeune (N.C.)Women marinesWorld War, 1939-1945--Women

Contributors

Lauman, Mary W
League of Women Voters of Amherst (Amherst, Mass.)

League of Women Voters of Amherst Records

1939-2001
60 boxes 33 linear feet
Call no.: MS 296

Non-partisan political organization based in Amherst, Massachusetts that influences public policy through education and advocacy by registering voters, organizing candidate forums, publishing voting guides, and disseminating general information on the legislative process and the functioning of government on the local, state, and federal levels.

Includes minutes, annual reports, financial records, publications, extensive files on specific programs, photographs, video- and audio-tapes, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings. Also contains information on two league members who rose to national prominence: Lucy Wilson Benson (Under Secretary of State in the federal government in 1977) and Jane F. Garvey (Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration in 1997).

Subjects

Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and governmentEducation--Massachusetts--Amherst--HistoryHousing--Massachusetts--Amherst--HistoryMassachusetts--Politics and government--1951-

Contributors

Benson, Lucy WilsonGarvey, Jane FLeague of Women Voters of Amherst (Amherst, Mass.)

Types of material

Oral historiesPhotographsScrapbooks
League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire

League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire Records

1959-2001
9 boxes 4 linear feet
Call no.: MS 478

First founded as a chapter for Pittsfield and later for all of central Berkshire county, this local league is one of many Massachusetts chapters of the national non-partisan political organization, League of Women Voters, that influences public policy through education and advocacy by registering voters, organizing candidate forums, publishing voting guides, and disseminating general information on the legislative process and the functioning of government on the local, state, and federal levels.

The bulk of the collection documents the activities and topics of interest to members of the League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire during the last three decades of their work before disbanding in 2001. The chapter consistently served to educate the public on voter registration, the voting process, and on the functioning of local and state government. Other issues of importance included child care and rights, prison reform, clean water, and health care.

Subjects

Berkshire County (Mass.)--Politics and governmentDrinking water--MassachusettsMassachusetts--Politics and government--1951-Prisons--Massachusetts

Contributors

League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire