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John J. Fitzgerald Collection

1964-1975
1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 938

A graduate of Holyoke High and UMass Amherst (BA 1963), John J. Fitzgerald entered the Army after graduation and served in Vietnam as a Captain in the 25th Infantry Division. He earned a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service, having been wounded at Cu Chi in June 1966, before leaving active duty in 1968. Returning home to Holyoke, Fitzgerald entered the master's degree in political science at UMass (MA 1978) and renewed his longstanding interest in politics. Taking an interest in the progressive, antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy, he became head of the McCarthy campaign in Holyoke and won election as a delegate to the Democratic national convention. Fitzgerald remained involved in local Democratic politics, and in addition to teaching history in local schools for many years, he wrote and lectured on topics ranging from nuclear power to his experiences in Vietnam.

The Fitzgerald collection contains four scrapbooks relating to his involvement in politics in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Two of the scrapbooks document national and local reaction to the McCarthy campaign and include some articles on Fitzgerald and some ephemera. The other scrapbooks document the McGovern campaign in 1972 and politics in Holyoke in mid-1970s. The collection also includes a copy of Fitzgerald's commission as a Reserve Commissioned Officer in the Army (1964) and two posters: Jack Coughlin's, Weapons often turn upon the wielder. . . (1968) and Viet-nam veterans speak out. . . Viet-nam Veterans for McCarthy (1968), an antiwar petition signed by Fitzgerald. Books that arrived with the collection have been transferred and catalogued into SCUA's general collection.

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Background on John J. Fitzgerald


An image of:

A graduate of Holyoke High and UMass Amherst (BA 1963), John J. Fitzgerald entered the Army after graduation and served in Vietnam as a Captain in the 25th Infantry Division. He earned a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service, having been wounded at Cu Chi in June 1966, before leaving active duty in 1968.

Fascinated with politics since high school, Fitzgerald returned home after his military service and enrolled at UMass Amherst to study for a master's degree in government. His attention, however, was soon diverted to applied politics. A young progressive, frustrated with the war and the political dissembling surrounding it, he began contributing his time in January 1968 to help Eugene McCarthy's bid for the Democratic nomination for President. As head of the campaign's office in Holyoke, Fitzgerald stumped all across western Massachusetts and as a veteran, he became a public spokesman for a "break with the tired and unsuccessful policies of the past," as stated in a petition he signed as a member of the group Vietnam Veterans for McCarthy. Elected as a delegate to the Democratic national convention in Chicago, Fitzgerald agreed to support the winning nominee, Hubert Humphrey.

After the election wound down, Fitzgerald remained involved in Democratic politics in Massachusetts. A history teacher in the local public schools, he went on to earn his masters in political science at UMass in 1978, and wrote and lectured on topics ranging from nuclear power to his experiences in Vietnam. He, Marilyn Young, and Tom Grunfeld collaborated to edit a book with Oxford University Press, A teacher's guide to The Vietnam War: a history in documents (2002).

Scope of collection

The Fitzgerald collection contains four scrapbooks relating to his involvement in politics in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Two of the scrapbooks document national and local reaction to the Eugene McCarthy campaign and include some articles on Fitzgerald and ephemera, including a program for a political dinner signed by McCarthy. The other scrapbooks document the McGovern campaign in 1972 and politics in Holyoke in mid-1970s. The collection also includes a copy of Fitzgerald's commission as a Reserve Commissioned Officer in the Army (1964) and two posters: Jack Coughlin's, Weapons often turn upon the wielder. . . (1968) and Viet-nam veterans speak out. . . Viet-nam Veterans for McCarthy (1968), an antiwar petition signed by Fitzgerald. Books that arrived with the collection have been transferred and catalogued into SCUA's general collection.

Inventory

Scrapbooks
1968-1975
4 vols.
McCarthy campaign scrapbook
1968 Jan.-Sept.
Contents:

Newsclippings, primarily from local and regional media in western Massachusetts.

McCarthy campaign scrapbook
1968 Jan.-Nov.
Contents:

The scrapbook includes separate sections for national coverage and regional coverage of the campaign, ending shortly after the election.

McGovern campaign scrapbook
1972
Contents:

A thin scrapbook held in a three-ring binder, now disbound. Includes a copy of "Statement of John J. Fitzgerald to Mass. Democratic Convention Delegates, 14 June 1972" expressing the need for the Party to oppose the war and deal with basic issues of social justice at home.

Holyoke scrapbook
1974 Nov.-1975 June
Contents:

Clippings from local newspapers on Holyoke politics and issues confronting the city.

Posters
1968
Coughlin, Jack: "Weapons often turn upon the wielder, an army's harvest is a waste of thorns -- Lao Tzu"
1968
Contents:

Semi-abstract black and white drawing.

Viet-nam veterans speak out. . . Viet-nam veterans for McCarthy
1968
Contents:

Poster originally printed as a full-page newspaper advertisement; signed by Capt. John J. Fitzgerald at top of second column.

Fitzgerald, John J.: Commission as officer in the Army reserve
1964

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Provenance

Gift of John J. Fitzgerald, September2016.

Processing Information

Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, September 2016.

Separated Material

The following books were received with the collection and are catalogued with SCUA's books:

  • Bluhm, Raymond K., The Vietnam war: as chronology of war. New York : Universe, 2010
  • Fender, Michael and Staughton Lynd, The resistance. Boston : Beacon Press, 1971
  • Goldstein, David and Martha Moore Avery, Socialism: The nation of fatherless children. Boston : Thomas J. Flynn, 1911
  • Hallock, D., Hell, healing, and resistance: veterans speak. Farmington, Pa. : Plough Publishing House, 1998
  • Hammer, Elen J., The struggle for Indochina. Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1954
  • Kirkpatrick, George R., War -- what for? West Lafayette, Ohio : the author, 1910
  • Senate Republican Policy Committee, The war in Vietnam. Ithaca, N.Y. : Glad Day Press, ca.1967
  • Stoddard, Lothrop, The rising tide of color. New York : Blue Ribbon Books, 1920.
  • Uhl, Michael and Tod Ensign, GI guinea pigs. New York : Playboy Press, 1980
  • Wayman, Dorothy, David H. Walsh: Citizen, Patriot. Milwaukee : Bruce Publishing, 1952
  • Young, Marilyn, John J. Fitzgerald, and A. Tom Grunfeld, The Vietnam War: A history in documents. New York : Oxford University Press, 2002

Language:

English

Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: John J. Fitzgerald Collection (MS 938). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms

Subjects

  • Holyoke (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • McCarthy, Eugene J., 1916-2005
  • Presidents--United States--Election--1968
  • Presidents--United States--Election--1972
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Contributors

  • Fitzgerald, John J., 1941- [main entry]

Genres and formats

  • Posters
  • Scrapbooks

Link to similar SCUA collections