The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Special Collections & University Archives
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Collections: UMass faculty

Melcher, Dale

Dale Melcher Papers

1975-1981
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: FS 178

The labor educator and activist Dale Melcher was both a graduate of UMass Amherst and a longtime member of staff and faculty. Melcher began her career at UMass Amherst as a student and then staff member in the newly formed program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, before joining the Labor Relations and Research Center in 1987 as its Labor Extension Coordinator. Interested in leadership development for union women, she taught courses over the years on women and work, immigration, and race and gender. She also maintained an array of other commitments to social justice organizations, including the Northeast Summer School for Union Women, the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD), and the Professional Staff Union/MTA.

Focused on the year just prior to the Reagan era, this collection contains an assortment of manuscript and printed materials relating to Melcher’s involvement with Socialist feminism and the women’s movement, economic justice, and he movement for Puerto Rican independence. The collection includes particularly valuable materials on feminism in the Pioneer Valley and the Valley Women’s Union, records of the People for Economic Survival, and a significant body of material for the Puerto Rican Solidarity Committee.

Gift of Dale Melcher, Aug. 2016

Subjects

Feminism--MassachusettsPeople for Economic SurvivalPuerto Rico--History--Autonomy and independence movementsSocialism--MassachusettsValley Women's Union
Mosher, Harold E.

Harold E. Mosher Papers

1942-2001
18 boxes 27 linear feet
Call no.: FS 196

A landscape architect and extension horticulturist, Hal Mosher was born in Sterling, Mass., in August 1920. Mosher started his undergraduate studies at Mass. State College in the fall of 1942, but after an interruption while he fulfilled his military obligations, he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees after the war. Beginning his academic career at the University of Missouri, Mosher returned home to Massachusetts in 1960 as an associate Extension Professor of Horticulture, joining the Department of Landscape Architecture in 1969. He was an enormously popular instructor, known particularly for his introduction to landscape ecology, nicknamed by students ‘Hiking with Hal.’ Mosher retired to emeritus status in 1987 and remained in Amherst until his death on October 3, 2019, aged 99.

Documenting the career of a popular faculty member and distinguished landscape architect, this collection contains materials from throughout Mosher’s career, with an emphasis on the years 1960 through 1987. Volumetrically, almost half of the collection consists of 35mm slides taken during Mosher’s numerous travel throughout the United States and Europe, but there is a good cross-section of materials relating to his teaching, landscape projects, and research, and small number of photographs and ephemeral items from his undergraduate years.

Subjects

Landscape design--Study and teachingUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Landscape Design and Regional Planning

Types of material

Photographs
Niedeck, Arthur E.

Arthur E. Niedeck Papers

ca.1875-1984
18 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: FS 029

A Professor of Speech in the English Department at UMass Amherst, Arthur Ellsworth Niedeck was born in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1910, and educated at Ithaca College (BS) and Cornell University (MA). He began his career teaching theater in Ithaca schools prior to the Second World War, and after a stint working with the USO, joined the Speech Department at UMass in about 1947. An advisor to the Roister Doisters, the UMass theatre troupe, Niedeck became Professor and Head of Speech Department by the late 1950s and was involved in producing and supporting theater on campus for nearly four decades. Niedeck died in Amherst in June 1984.

Joining a small quantity of memorabilia, handbills, and fliers, the Niedeck collection consists primarily of audio recordings of theatrical productions he oversaw at UMass Amherst. Copyright was retained by Niedeck.

Gift of Vincent Brann, May 1989 (89-018)

Subjects

Roister DoistersTheater--Massachusetts--AmherstUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Speech Department

Types of material

Sound recordings
Restrictions: Copyright was retained by the donor.
Paynter, Robert

Robert Paynter Papers

ca. 1970-2015
17 boxes 25.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 175

After graduating from Brown University with an A.B. in 1971, Robert “Bob” Paynter received his M.A. (1975) and Ph.D. (1980) from the Anthropology Department at UMass Amherst. He taught at Queens College and the Graduate Center at CUNY before returning to UMass in 1981 as an Assistant Professor, where he conducted research and taught for the remainder of his career. Paynter studied and practiced historical archaeology on sites throughout Western Massachusetts, most notably Deerfield Village and the W. E. B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington. Throughout his tenure at UMass, he was active on several university and departmental committees, including service to the Massachusetts Society of Professors (MSP), as well as a member of the Historic Northampton Board of Trustees and a member of the Academic Advisory Board of Historic Deerfield. Bob Paynter retired from the Anthropology Department in 2015.

The Robert Paynter Papers span the length of his career from early articles and presentations given in the 1970s to his more recent research, writing, and teaching. Materials include grant applications, lecture notes, drafts of articles, and committee work, including contributions to the Massachusetts Society of Professors (MSP). Paynter’s ongoing efforts to preserve the Du Bois homesite in Great Barrington are also documented, both his archeological site work and his service on the Advisory Board of the W. E. B. Du Bois Foundation.

Gift of Robert Paynter, 2016

Subjects

Archaeology--MassachusettsDu Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Homes and haunts--Massachusetts--Great BarringtonUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Anthropology

Contributors

Paynter, Robert
Pellett, Peter L.

Peter L. Pellett Papers

1995-2007
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: FS 163

A member of the UMass Amherst Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, Peter Pellett was educated at Borough Polytechnic in London (BS 1952) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (PhD 1956). After several years in research in London, Beirut, and MIT, Pellett came to UMass as head of the Dept. of Nutrition in 1971, where he worked on problems in nutrition and international development. He consulted frequently with the World Health Organization, USAID, and UNICEF. Pellett was granted emeritus status after his retirement from UMass in 2000, but remained active into his early 80s.

While working on UN development missions to Iraq, Pellett witnessed the dire health consequences of the sanctions imposed on the country and became active in critiquing US policy. This small collection relates primarily to Pellett’s work on the Iraq sanctions.

Platt, Gerald M.

Gerald M. Platt Papers

1961-2004
8 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: FS 174

Born in Brooklyn in 1933, Gerald Platt worked his way through Brooklyn College as a stevedore at the Navy Yard and went on to earn a PhD in Sociology under Ralph Turner at UCLA in 1963. Interdisciplinary in approach from the outset of his career, Platt became known for linking psychoanalytic theory and sociology in analyzing large-scale events, such as revolutions and mass social movements. After beginning his academic career at Harvard, he joined the Sociology Department at UMass Amherst in1970. He was the author of two noted works in psychoanalytic sociology, The Wish to Be Free: Society, Psyche and Value Change, with Fred Weinstein (1969) and Advances in Psychoanalytic Sociology, with Jerome Rabow and Marion Goldman (1987), and was co-author with Talcott Parsons of The American University (1973). Platt died of complications of Alzheimers disease on May 7, 2015.

Active in his academic field and in departmental and university administration, Platt left a substantial record of his years on faculty at UMass Amherst. His collection includes substantial professional correspondence, research materials on his study of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, and other topics, grant applications, and annual reports. As chair of the Department, Platt also left a body of materials relating to his administrative duties, including work on university committees.

Gift of Gerald M. Platt, Apr. 2015

Subjects

Civil rights movementsSociologists--MassachusettsUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Sociology
Shapiro, Seymour

Seymour Shapiro Papers

1959-2005
10 boxes 15 linear feet
Call no.: FS 176

Born in 1924, the botanist Seymour Shapiro studied at Brooklyn College and the University of Michigan. After positions at Brookhaven National Laboratory, where he worked on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and the University of Oregon, Shapiro was recruited to UMass in 1964 to become head of the Botany Department. A specialist in radiology and the physiology of higher plants, he served as acting dean of two colleges during his time at the university and was one of the administrators credited with reducing tensions during the student unrest in the spring 1970. A recipient of the University Medal for Outstanding Service (1973) and the Distinguished Teaching Award (1984), Shapiro retired in 1990. He died in Henderson, Nev., on March 24, 2016, at the age of 92.

The collection contains the professional correspondence, miscellaneous papers, photographs, scrapbooks, and realia of former UMass botany professor Seymour Shapiro.

Subjects

Botany--Study and teachingUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Botany

Types of material

PhotographsScrapbooks
Strickland, William, 1937-

William Strickland Papers

1988-1997
4 boxes 4 linear feet
Call no.: FS 159

A native of Boston and graduate of Boston Latin School and Harvard, Bill Strickland was a scholar, activist, and longtime member of the Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst. After fulfilling his service with the Marine Corps, Strickland became active in civil rights and Black liberation work, serving as Executive Director of the Northern Student Movement, working in Mississippi for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and then as Northern Coordinator of the Party’s Congressional Challenge. He was a founding member of Malcolm X’s Organization of Afro-American Unity in 1964 and in 1969, was also a founding member of the Institute of the Black World in Atlanta. An exacting scholar, Strickland was a key member of the faculty in Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst teaching history and politics and held a number of important roles, including acting as Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Papers. He retired in 2013.

The Strickland Papers contain materials from two of Strickland’s many commitments during his time at UMass: the presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow People’s Party in 1988 and an initiative to commemorate the complex life and legacy of Jackie Robinson in 1996-1997. Additional materials for Strickland are included in the records of the Department of Afro-American Studies.

Gift of Bill Strickland, 2013-

Subjects

Elections--United States--1988Jackson, Jesse, 1941-Rainbow People's PartyRobinson, Jackie, 1919-1972
Swedlund, Alan C.

Alan C. Swedlund Papers

1971-2016
4 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: FS 197

Born in Sacramento, Calif., but raised in Colorado, the biological anthropologist Alan C. Swedlund received each of his degrees at the University of Colorado Boulder (PhD, 1970). After a brief stint at Prescott College, Swedlund joined the faculty at UMass Amherst in 1973, where he helped to develop the doctoral program in biological anthropology and chaired the department for five years in the early 1990s. A prolific scholar, he drew upon diverse methodologies drawn from demography, epidemiology, and physical anthropology to explore interactions between cultural processes and human biological conditions in populations ranging from the Ancient Pueblo of the southwestern United States, to contemporary Central America and Yucatan, and historical New England. Among dozens of publications, he was author or editor of seven books, including Shadows in the Valley: A Cultural History of Illness, Death, and Loss in New England, 1840-1916 (2010), Plagues and Epidemics: Infected Spaces Past and Present (2010), and Beyond Germs: Explorations of Indigenous Depopulation in North America (2015). He was granted emeritus status upon his retirement in 2008.

The Swedlund papers include extensive professional correspondence from his first professional appointment at Prescott College through the time of his retirement, along with numerous grant applications, unpublished papers and talks, and research data. Of particular note are extensive records and data files for his study of nineteenth century demography in the Connecticut River Valley and Franklin County, Mass.

Gift of Alan C. Swedlund, August 2019.

Subjects

Connecticut River Valley--PopulationDemographyPhysical anthrpologyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Anthropology
Thorne, Curtis B.

Curtis B. Thorne Papers

ca.1976-1989
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: FS 153

Before joining the faculty of the microbial genetics department at UMass Amherst in 1966, Curtis B. Thorne worked as the branch chief at the biolabs in Fort Detrick from 1948-1961 and 1963-1966 where his research focused on Bacillus anthracis, the microbe that causes anthrax. During his tenure at UMass, Curtis applied for and received numerous grants for his continued research on the bacterium, including funding from the U.S. Department of Defense. While his research was centered on the genetics and physiology of the anthrax bacillus, with an emphasis on developing a vaccine, it garnered the unwanted attention of local peace activists in 1989. Protestors, who feared Thorne’s research was linked to germ warfare, picketed outside of his laboratory and demanded that the university reject Pentagon funding. Even though the university and the town of Amherst refused to limit Thorne’s research, he decided not to seek an extension of his contract with the Army in 1990, a decision he regretted having to make. Four years later, Thorne retired from UMass and was honored by his former students with a symposium and dinner. Thorne died in 2008 at the age of 86.

Thorne’s papers consist of lab notebooks and materials relating to the classes he taught at UMass Amherst. Many of the notebooks are related to his research on Bacillus anthracis as well as other microbes including Bacills thuringiensis. His papers do not contain any information related to the funding of his research or the controversy that later surrounded it.

Subjects

Bacillus anthracisBiological weaponsGeneticists--MassachusettsUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Microbiology

Contributors

Thorne, Curtis B