Abstract

During the early phases of second wave feminism (1968-1978), the Pioneer Valley served as a center for lesbian and feminist activity in western Massachusetts, and was home to over 400 hundred, often ad hoc, groups, such as the Abortion and Birth Control (ABC) Committee, ISIS Women's Center, the Mudpie Childcare Cooperative, and the Springfield Women's Center. The records of the Valley Women's History Collaborative document the activities of these groups as well as the efforts of the founders of the Women Studies program and department at UMass Amherst to preserve this history.

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English
Valley Women's History Collaborative Records
1971-2008
15 boxes (10 linear ft.)
Call no.: MS 531

Background Note

The Valley Women's History Collaborate (VWHC) was formed in 1998 by Susan Tracy, Joyce Berkman, and Kaymarion Raymond in order to preserve contemporary local women's history through a collaboration among those who participated in the history and those who had the resources to document it. The Pioneer Valley has served as a center for lesbian and feminist actvity in western Massachusetts, with over 400, often ad hoc, groups known to exist from 1968 to 1978, many continuing onwards with new groups ever forming.

The focus of the Collaborative is the history of feminist, lesbian, and progressive people's efforts to promote female equality and social justice as well as the freedom to express a variety of gender and sexual orientations. The VWHC seeks to document the period from 1968 to the present in Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden Counties. With the passage of time, there is an increased urgency to preserve the early history of the women's movement in this region. The VWHC hopes to capture this history before there is a significant loss of these memories as members of the community begin to age and die, relocate to other parts of the country taking their knowledge and stories with them, or discard documents of value to researchers and activists.

In 1999 an oral history project was established at the Collaborative through grants from the MacArthur Foundation awarded by Hampshire College and from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. In recent years, the focus of the Collaborative has steadily shifted from collecting physical documents to actively pursuing oral history interviews of feminists. While there are various projects underway, the collection currently includes oral histories of women who provided abortion counseling pre-Roe vs. Wade, lesbian musicians and DJ's, pioneering therapists, several politicians, a rural lesbian "matriarch," and members of the Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League, a lesbian softball league. With the help of historian David Cline, the group has collected and transcribed 23 interviews with the women and men involved in reproduction rights activism from 1960-1990s.

Contents of Collection

The collection of the Valley Women's History Collaborative (VWHC) contains the group's organizational papers, including materials relating to events organized or sponsored by the VWHC, as well as the records of the Abortion and Birth Control (ABC) Committee, ISIS Women's Center, the Mudpie Childcare Cooperative, the Springfield Women's Center, Springfield Women's Union, and the Valley Women's Union. Also present are the personal papers of VWHC organizer Susan Tracy and of Collaborative partipants: Alice Dembner, Robin Dizard, and Lorna Peterson. The collection contains, too, background information on feminist theory, socialist feminism and women's health issues.

In addition, the collection offers brochures on women's health issues and newspaper clippings from the Amherst Bulletin and the Daily Hampshire Gazette, and full issues of the Valley Women's Voice. The 23 oral histories are preserved as audio recordings with both full transcipts and edited versions. Oral history interviewees include: members of the Amherst Women's Liberation Movement and Abortion and Birth Control Group, Jean Baxter, Merry Boone, Robin Dizard, Rev. Franklin A. Dorman, Ruth Fessenden, Lorraine Florio, Elaine Fraser, Dr. Robert Gage, Dr. Merritt F. Garland, Rev. Samuel Johnson, Rabbi Yechiael Lander, Leslie Tarr Laurie, Meridith Michaels, Elizabeth Myer, Lawrence Siddall, Springfield Women's Health Collective, Ellen Story, Sam Topal, Susan Tracy, Rev. Richard Unsworth, Carol Wall, Dr. Jane Zapka D.S.

Finally, the records of the Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League, a women's modified fast-pitch softball league based in Northampton, Massachusetts, are also part of this collection. Formed in 1976 to provide lesbians and their friends a feminist sports center for social activity in the Pioneer Valley, the league's primary goal is simply to offer women a chance to enjoy the game. The league's founders, Jean Grossholtz, Eileen Stewart, Susan Tracy, and Maryann Jennings, initially fielded six teams: Common Womon, Hot Flashes, Woman Rising, No Nukes of the North, and a team from College Church and from Hatfield. Under Mary Vazquez's organizing efforts and skills, the league grew from six teams to sixteen at its height. Each team has its own personality, level of competitiveness, variety of sexualities, and unique history, but all have the common goal of having fun on the field while improving softball skills and playing fair.

Collection inventory
Oral histories
1999-2004
4 boxes
Abramson, Doris, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2001

Box 1
Abramson, Doris and Johnson, Dorothy, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2001

Box 1
Adams, Maurianne, Interview by Gigl, Erik: transcript
2001

Box 1
Amherst Birth Control, Interview by Tracy, Susan: transcript
1999

Box 1
Amherst Women's Liberation, Interview by Tracy, Susan: transcript
1999-2001

Box 1
Amherst Women's Liberation, Interview by Fonsh, Judi and Backes, Ruth: transcript
2000

Box 1
Avakian, Arlene, Interview by Cutler, Amy: transcript
2001

Box 1
Baxter, Jean, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2004

Box 1
Berkman, Joyce, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2000

Box 1
Boone, Merry, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2004

Box 1
Brown, Joanna, Interview by Thorton, Mike: transcript
1999

Box 2
Crosson, Pat, Interview by Peters, Catherine: transcript
2002

Box 2
Culley, Margo, Interview by Mohan, Jen: transcript
2002

Box 2
Demmin, Julia, Interview by Mitchell, Betty: transcript
2002

Box 2
Diamond, Arlyn, Interview by Berkman, Joyce: transcript
2004

Box 2
Dizard, Robin, Interview by Smith, Marilyn: transcript
2001

Box 2
Dizard, Robin, Interview by Cline, David, Marilyn: transcript
2004

Box 2
Dorman, Franklin, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2004

Box 2
Dykewomon, Elana, Interview by Hope, Tryna: transcript
2001

Box 2
Edwards, Lee, Interview by Whitehouse, Suzanne Judson: interview
2000

Box 2
Ferguson, Ann, Interview by Berkman, Joyce: transcript
2004

Box 2
Fessenden, Ruth, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2002

Box 2
Florio, Lorraine, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2004

Box 2
Ford, Mary, Interview by Backes, Ruth: transcript
2000

Box 2
Fraser, Elaine, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
1999

Box 2
Fraser, Elaine, Interview by Fonsh, Judi: transcript
1999

Box 2
Gage, Robert, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2002

Box 2
Garland, Merritt F., Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2004

Box 2
Gorman, Cleo, Interview by Hope, Tryna: transcript
1999

Box 3
Green, Pat, Interview by Fonsh, Judi: transcript
2000

Box 3
Green Pat and Jones, Jeannie, Interview by Fonsh, Judi: transcript
2000

Box 3
Heath, Mary, Interview by Pasternak, Stephanie: transcript
2000

Box 3
Johnson, Samuel M., Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2004

Box 3
Lander, Yechiael, Rabbi, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2004

Box 3
Laurie, Leslie Tarr, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2002

Box 3
Laurie, Leslie Tarr, Interview by Woll, Kris: transcript
2002

Box 3
Lewis, Patricia Lee, Interview by Berkman, Joyce and Tracy, Susan: transcript
2004

Box 3
Lillydahl, Sandy, Interview by Backes, Ruth: transcript
2001

Box 3
Lowenstein, Susan, Interview by Backes, Ruth: transcript
2000

Box 3
McCord, Ann, Interview by Raymond, Kaymarion: transcript
1999

Box 3
Melcher, Dale, Interview by Cutler, Amy and Haley, Sandra: transcript
2000

Box 3
Michaels, Meredith W., Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2000

Box 3
Myer, Elizabeth, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2002

Box 3
Nettler, Lydia, Interview by Tager, Gina: transcript
2000

Box 3
O'Brien, Judy, Interview by O'Hara, Meghan: transcript
2000

Box 3
Page, Anita, Interview by Backes, Ruth: transcript
2001

Box 3
Power, Bet, Interview by Hope, Tryna: transcript
1999

Box 3
Pritchard, Marietta and Crowe, Frances, Interview by Fonsh, Judi: transcript
2000

Box 4
Raymond, Kaymarion, Interview by Kaplowitt, Beth: transcript
1999

Box 4
Rosel, Deliah, Interview by Raymond, Kaymarion: transcript
2000

Box 4
Rossi, Alice, Interview by Backes, Ruth: transcript
2000

Box 4
Siddall, Lawrence, Dr., Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2004

Box 4
Stewart, Eileen, Interview by Tracy, Susan: transcript
1999

Box 4
Stewart, Eileen, Interview by Tracy, Susan: transcript
2000

Box 4
Story, Ellen, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2004

Box 4
Topel, sam, Dr., Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2004

Box 4
Tracy, Susan, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
1999

Box 4
Unsworth, Richard, Rev., Interview by Cline, David: transcript
1999

Box 4
Vazquez, Mary, Interview by Raymond, Kaymarion: transcript
2000 Feb 12

Box 4
Restrictions on access:

Uncensored transcript and recording closed until 2025. Censored transcript open without restrictions.

Vazquez, Mary, Interview by Raymond, Kaymarion: transcript
2000 Apr 2

Box 4
Wall, Carol C., Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2000

Box 4
Wentworth, Mary, Interview by Backes, Ruth: transcript
2000

Box 4
Wolff, Sara Starr, Interview by Backes, Ruth: transcript
2000

Box 4
Women's Health Counseling Service, Inc., Interview by Tracy, Susan: transcript
1999

Box 5
Zak, Anne, Interview by Gensler, Sharon: transcript
2000

Box 5
Zapka, Jane, Interview by Cline, David: transcript
2002

Box 5
Series 2: Administrative
1999-2008
2 boxes
Abramson, Doris
2001, 2008

Box 5
Advisory Board by-laws
2000

Box 5
Advisory Board meeting
2001

Box 5
American History Association Roundtable
2000

Box 5
Correspondence
1999-2000

Box 5
Correspondence: Miller, Marla
2000-2001

Box 5
Curriculum vita: Berkman, Joyce
1999

Box 5
Curriculum vita: Miller, Marla
ca. 1999

Box 5
Curriculum vita: Raymond, Kaymarion
ca. 1999

Box 5
Curriculum vita: Redmon, Sherrill
ca. 1999

Box 5
Curriculum vita: Seidman, Linda
1999

Box 5
Curriculum vita: Tracy, Susan
ca. 1999

Box 5
Documentation project repository visitsurvey form
ca. 1999

Box 5
Finances
2000-2002

Box 5
History brainstorm
2000

Box 5
Grants
1999-2001

Box 5
Grants: final report
2000-2001

Box 5
Grants: interim report
2000

Box 6
Guide to Donating Your Papers
ca. 2000

Box 6
Meetings
2000

Box 6
Notes
ca. 1999-2002

Box 6
Oral history project
2001

Box 6
Oral history training
1999-2002
2 folders
Box 6
Photographs
2000

Box 6
Planning documents
1999-2000
5 folders
Box 6
Raymond, Kaymarion: cartoon
ca. 1999

Box 6
Series 3: Research Materials and Subject Files
1971-2008
4 boxes
Abortion and Birth Control (ABC) Committee
1971

Box 6
Alliance for Economic Justice, Protest and action flyer
1995

Box 6
Bourne, Kristina, The Paradox of the Green Street Shops
1999

Box 7
Brown, Judith, Toward a Female Liberation Movement
1968

Box 7

Co-authored by Beverly Jones.

Chodorow, Nancy, Oedipal Asymmetries and Heterosexual Knots
1975-1978

Box 7
Cline, David, Creating Choice: A Community Responds to the Need for Abortion and Birth Control, 1961-1973
2000

Box 7
Cline, David, Public History and the Politics of Empowerment: the Public Historian as both Moderator and Activist
2000

Box 7
Communism
1971-1981

Box 7
Correspondence: Brown, Joanne
1972-1973

Box 7
Cuba Review: Women in Transition
1976

Box 7
Directory of Arts Activism
1984

Box 7
Dizard, Robin, Speeches and notes
1971-1987

Box 7
Dudley, Barbara, Wages for Housework?
1975

Box 7
Ehrenreich, Barbara, The Politics of Housework
1975

Box 7
Ehrenreich, Barbara, What is Socialist Feminism?
1976

Box 7
Feminist theory
1975-1978

Box 7
Greenfield Popular Union, More of the Same: Millers Falls Tools Threatens to Runaway
ca. 1977

Box 7
ISIS
1980-1982

Box 7
Kady, Panhandling Papers
1981

Box 7
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews: Acklesburg, Martha
2007

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews: Babize, Mollie
2007

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews: Carney, Maureen and Shaw, Linda
2007

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews:

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews: Griffin, Pat
2007

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews: Grossholtz, Jean
2007

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews: Pisano, Linda
2007

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews: Higgins, Mary Clare
2007

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews: Jennings, Mary Ann
2007

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews: Johnston, Lacey
2006

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews: Marchesani, Linda
2007

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews: McClintock, Mary
2008

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews: Schmidt, Maxine
2006

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews: Sortino, Elaine
2006

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews: Tyler, Sue
2006

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League interviews: Vazquez, Mary
2007

Box 16
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League: minutes and schedules
1985-1996

Box 7
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League: photographs
1977-1987

Box 7
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League: Team Common Womon I
1989-1997

Box 8
Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League: Team Common Womon II
1983-1996

Box 8
Morris, David, Worker Self-Management
1978

Box 8
Mudpie Childcare Cooperative
1973-1975

Box 8
Newspaper clippings
1999-2000
2 folders
Box 8
Newspaper clippings: Student Homophile League, UMass
1970-2000

Box 8
Newspaper clippings: violence against women
1988-2001
3 folders
Box 8
New Unity (Springfield, Mass.)
1973, 1975

Box 8
Panel on Reproductive in the Valley: transcript
2003

Box 8
O'Hara, Meghan, Judy O, Dyke on the Mike
2000

Box 8
O'Hara, Meghan, Notes on Women in Radio in the Valley
1999

Box 8
Pioneer Valley organizations and events
1987-2000

Box 8
President's Interagency Council on Women, America's Committment to Women 2000
2000

Box 9
Queer Nation
undated
vol. 1, no. 2
Box 9
Raymond, Kaymarion, Notes on Wendell (Mass.) lesbian history
1998-2000

Box 9
Raymond, Kaymarion, Student Homophile League
2000

Box 9
Slater, Miriam, Keynote address, Alumnae Symposium, Hampshire College
1999

Box 9
Social feminism
1967-1981

Box 9
Social Feminism Conference
1975

Box 9
Southwst Residential College course
1973-1976

Box 9
Springfield Women's Center
1965-1975

Box 9
Springfield Women's Union
1975

Box 9
Stewart, Eileen
1999

Box 9
Valley Women's Movement: a herstorical Valley Chronology
ca. 1984

Box 9
Valley Women's Union
1975-1976

Box 9
Valley Women's Voice
1988 Jul-1992 Mar

Box 9
Valley Women's Voice
1992 May-1993 Fall

Box 9
Valley Women's Voice
1993 Dec-1995 Feb

Box 10
Valley Women's Voice
1995 Feb-June

Box 10
Wentworth, Mary, What is Patriarchy and Why Is It the Most Powerful Force in the World Today>?
2008

Box 10
Wingspan: Journal of the Male Spirit
1991

Box 10
Wolff, Sara Starr, Phenomenology of Feminism
1975

Box 10
Women
1973-1976

Box 10
Women's health: printed materials
1969-1976
2 folders
Box 10
Women's Studies: Five Colleges
1978

Box 10
Series 4: Audio
1999-2008
4 boxes
Abramson, Doris: audiocasette
2001

Box 11
Adams, Maurianne: audiocasette
2002

Box 11
Amherst Women Liberation, Reproduction Rights: audiocasette
1999

Box 11
Amherst Women's Liberation: audiocassette
2000

Box 11
Anderson, Kelly: audiocassette
2002

Box 11
Avakian, Arlene: audiocassette
2001

Box 11
Averett, Brett, on Isabell Arnorld: audiocassette
undated

Box 11
Berkman, Joyce: audiocassette
2000

Box 11
Brown, Joanna: audiocassette
1999

Box 11
Crosson, Pat: audiocassette
2002

Box 11
Culley, Margo: audiocassette
2002

Box 11
Demmin, Julia: audiocassette
2002

Box 11
Diamond, A: audiocassette
2004

Box 11
Dizard, Robin: audiocassette
2001

Box 11
Dykewoman, E: audiocassette
2001

Box 11
Edwards, Lee: audiocassette
2000

Box 11
Ferguson, A: audiocassette
2004

Box 11
Fessenden, Ruth: audiocassette
2002

Box 11
Ford, Mary: audiocassette
2000

Box 11-12
Fraser, Elaine: audiocassette
1999

Box 12
Gage, Robert: audiocassette
2002

Box 12
Gorman, Cleo: audiocassette
1999

Box 12
Green, Pat, Abortion Clinic: audiocassette
2000

Box 12
Green, Pat, Florence Health Care Project: audiocassette
undated

Box 12
Heath, Mel: audiocassette
2000

Box 12
Laurie, Leslie: audiocassette
2002

Box 12
Lesbian Bazaar: audiocassette
1998

Box 12
Lewis, Patricia Lee: audiocassette
2004

Box 12
Lewis, Sara: audiocassette
2000

Box 12
Lillydahl, Sandy: audiocassette
2001

Box 12
Lowenstein, Susan: audiocassette
2000

Box 12
McCord, Ann: audiocassette
1999

Box 12
Melcher, Dale: audiocassette
2000

Box 12
Merrigan, Kate: audiocassette
2002

Box 12
Nettler, Lydia: audiocassette
2000

Box 12
O'Brien, Judy: audiocassette
1999

Box 12
Page, Anita: audiocassette
2001

Box 12
Pritchard, Marietta and Crowe, Frances re: Isabel Arnold: audiocassette
2000

Box 13
Power, Bet: audiocassette
1999

Box 13
Raymond, Kaymarion: audiocassette
1999

Box 13
Rossi, Alice: audiocassette
2000

Box 13
Redmon, Sherrill: audiocassette
2000

Box 13
Slater, Miriam: audiocassette
1999

Box 13
Smith, Helen on Isabel Arnold: audiocassette
2001

Box 13
Stewart, Eileen: audiocassette
1999-2000

Box 13
Springfield Women's Health Center: audiocassette
1999

Box 13
Unworth, Richard, Original: audiocassette
2002

Box 13
Vasquez, Mary: audiocassette
2000

Box 13
VWHC, Interview with Amy Brown: audiocassette
2000

Box 13
VWHC, Panel on Reproductive Rights in Pioneer Valley: audiocassette
2003

Box 13
VWHC, Training: audiocassette
1999-2000

Box 13
VWHC, Training: audiocassette
2002

Box 14
Wenworth, Mary: audiocassette
2000

Box 14
Wolff, Sara: audiocassette
2000

Box 14
Zak, Anne: audiocassette
2000, 2008

Box 14
Zapka, Jane: audiocassette
2002

Box 14
Series 5: Memorabilia
1977-1997
1 box
"50 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians": t-shirt
undated

Box 15
"Amherst Food Coop: Financial Coordinator": t-shirt
undated

Box 15
"Common Womon: Every ball missed helps another womon": t-shirt
1997

Box 15
"Common Womon": t-shirt
1997

Box 15

Off-white t-shirt.

"Common Womon": t-shirt
1997

Box 15

Red t-shirt.

"Common Womon": t-shirt
1997

Box 15

Red t-shirt with flying baseball

"Common Womon": t-shirt
1977

Box 15

Picture: women eating a star

"Girl Sleuth: an Original Musical Comedy": t-shirt
1977

Box 15
"Honey, I Shrunk the Team": pillowcase
undated

Box 15
"Never Again": banner
undated

Box 15
"New England Learning Center for Women in Transition": t-shirt
undated

Box 15
"People Power: Unarmed Forces of the Philippines": t-shirt
undated

Box 15
"Radical History Review: Earn Big Money": t-shirt
1978

Box 15
"Smith: School for Social Work": t-shirt
undated

Box 15
"Sojourn": t-shirt
undated

Box 15
"University of Massachusetts Amherst: Women's Studies": t-shirt
undated

Box 15
"Western Mass. Womens Softball League: M.V.P 10th Anniversary": ribbon
1986

Box 15
"Women of the Quad": t-shirt
1980

Box 15
"Womenrising": t-shirt
undated

Box 15

Blue t-shirt

"Womenrising": t-shirt
undated

Box 15

Purple t-shirt

"Womenrishing: From Victimization to Empowerment": t-shirt
1978

Box 15

Maroon t-shirt

"Womenrishing: From Victimization to Empowerment": t-shirt
1978

Box 15

Blue t-shirt

"Womenrishing: From Victimization to Empowerment": t-shirt
1978

Box 15

Yellow t-shirt.

"Yellow Fever": t-shirt
undated

Box 15
"Yellow Sun Natural Foods Co-Op-Amherst Mass.": t-shirt
undated

Box 15
Administrative information
Provenance

Acquired from Susan Tracy in August 2007 and 2009.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Penni Martorell, November 2007. Addition to collection processed by Kristen Johnson, 2009

Accruals

Since the Valley Women's History Collaborative is an ongoing organization, additions to the collection are expected.

For additional material related to feminist activity in western Massachusetts in the Special Collections and University Arhives, see:

  • Valley Women's Union Records (MS 201)
  • Social Change Periodicals Collection (MS 306)
  • PFLAG Pioneer Valley Records (MS 397)

Websites:

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Valley Women's History Collaborative Records (MS 531). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms
Subjects
  • Birth control--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History--20th century
  • Abortion--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History--20th century
  • Feminism--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History
  • Feminists--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--Political activity--History
  • Women--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--Political activity--History
Genre terms
  • Oral histories
  • Posters