Russell K. Alspach Papers, 1950-1978.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 025
Russel K. Alspach earned his PhD in 1932 from the University of Pennsylvania where he taught English from 1924-1942. After four years of service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he spent eighteen years as head of the Department of English at West Point Military Academy before retiring in 1965 with the rank of Brigadier General. A specialist in Irish literature with wide ranging interests running from William Butler Yeats to Percy Blythe Shelley and William Faulkner, Alspach published prolifically throughout his career. He took a post-retirement appointment at UMass in 1966, but hardly retired, eventually becoming Head of the Department of English, and teaching until his final retirement and death in 1980.
The Alspach Papers consist of professional correspondence, drafts of writing, and reviews written by Russell K. Alspach. The small collection includes grant applications and notes for Alspach’s Yeats Study Series, as well as a 3.75 inch monographic recording of readings and music by unidentified artists. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives is also home to the Alspach Yeats Collection of rare books.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
- Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939
- Alspach, Russell K. (Russell King), 1901-
The American Revolution Documentary Collection, ca.1968-2010.
On March 15, 1968, a failing classical music station, WBCN-FM, was reinvented as Boston’s first voice in radical underground radio, and its influence quickly spread nationally. Its characteristic blend of cultural chaos, including rock, folk, blues, and jazz, interspersed with news, radical politics, and community programming, provided a soundtrack for a generation fighting to remake its world. WBCN earned its nickname, “The American Revolution.” The station’s eclectic and unpredictable broadcasts included music from little-known performers who would emerge into the biggest acts of the day; regularly scheduled live musical performances from local clubs; trenchant political analysis and newscasts of the major events of the day; interviews with legendary cultural figures; and innovative new shows including one of the first women’s programs and the Lavender Hour, the nation’s first regularly broadcast LGBT radio show. Music, politics, culture, and community were intensely interconnected through WBCN, while its “listener line,” which took calls and answered questions on any subject, helped make it a virtual two-way hub for countercultural Boston.
While producing a documentary film about WBCN, and the music, politics, and social change during the period 1968-1974, former WBCN newscaster and announcer Bill Lichtenstein recognized the importance of archiving the wealth of primary materials that told the story of WBCN, its community and the dramatic changes of the era. The American Revolution Documentary Collection is the product of Lichtenstein’s energy, serving as an umbrella for a suite of interrelated collections focused on the impact of underground media in the Boston area and the profound social, political, and cultural changes of that time. These collections include the work of photographers, journalists, and writers who would go on to prominence, as well as activists, artists, and everyday people who witnessed and took part in an extended public conversation on the direction of our nation during the period of profound social, political, and cultural upheaval and who used media to help change it.
TAR collections include:
- Alternative radio broadcasting--Massachusetts
- Boston (Mass.)--History--20th century
- Cambridge (Mass.)--History--20th century
- Nineteen sixties
- Rock music
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
- WBCN (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
Types of material
- Sound recordings
Antislavery Pamphlet Collection, 1725-1911.
(7.5 linear feet).
Call no.: RB 003
The Antislavery Collection contains several hundred printed pamphlets and books pertaining to slavery and antislavery in New England, 1725-1911. The holdings include speeches, sermons, proceedings and other publications of organizations such as the American Anti-Slavery Society and the American Colonization Society, and a small number of pro-slavery tracts.
- Antislavery movements--United States
- Slavery--United States
- American Anti-Slavery Society
- American Colonization Society
Arcadia Players Records, 1989-2005.
18 boxes (27 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 451
Since 1989 the Arcadia Players have been performing Baroque music with the aim of providing an authentic experience both for the musicians and the audience by employing instruments and performance practices that draw from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In residence at the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies at UMass Amherst, the ensemble performs an annual series of concerts in several communities throughout western Massachusetts.
The collection consists of brochures, programs, photographs, videorecordings of performances, and financial and administrative records. Together the items provide a behind-the-scenes look at the operations of a small but successful professional ensemble of musicians.
- Music--17th century
- Music--18th century
Eric Bascom Collection of Jazz Recordings, ca. 1940-1950.
ca. 500 phonograph records (10 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 882
When he was fifteen or sixteen, Eric Bascom’s life changed forever when he saw renowned jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery perform. Though Bascom had been playing guitar himself since he was young, seeing Montgomery opened his eyes to a completely new way of playing guitar and a completely new approach to music. Since that time, Bascom has been an avid listener, collector, and practitioner of jazz. He is currently performing as the Eric Bascom Trio with Ed Brainerd and Genevieve Rose.
The Eric Bascom Collection of Jazz Recordings consists of hundreds of jazz 78 rpm records from the 1940s and 1950s, including a number of 78 books with beautifully illustrated covers. In addition to the records are player piano rolls, several of which were punched by Fats Waller, and a portable Walters Conley Phonola 78 record player.
- Bop (Music)
- Jazz musicians
- Basie, Count, 1904-1984
- Christian, Charlie, 1916-1942
- Fitzgerald, Ella
- Parker, Charlie, 1920-1955
Types of material
- 78 rpm records
- Piano rolls
Mark A. Baszak Papers, 1991-1992.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 653
Born in Springfield in 1960 and raised in the Pioneer Valley, Mark A. Baszak received a bachelors degree in music composition and MEd. from UMass Amherst. Beginning shortly after completing graduate study, Baszak played a prominent part for over two decades in promoting the arts at his alma mater, serving as Acting Director of the Performing Arts Division (1987-1989), Coordinator and then Director of the Jazz in July program (1990-2008), Associate Director of Multicultural Programs (1993), and organizer of the Black Musicians Conferences and Festival (1989-1999). As an arts and culture representative of the Massachusetts Hokkaido Sister State Association in the early 1990s, Baszak helped foster exchanges between the sister states, visiting Hokkaido with the first official state delegation in 1991. Baszak died after a brief illness on September 25, 2008.
Documenting the early efforts to build upon the 1990 designation of Hokkaido and Massachusetts as sister states, the Baszak collection includes materials concentrated on the first Hokkaido Week in Amherst and the delegation that accompanied Gov. William Weld to Hokkaido in 1991. In addition to correspondence and memos, the collection includes ephemera collected by Baszak during the various ceremonies and transcripts of speeches delivered.
- Massachusetts-Hokkaido Sister State Association
- Baszak, Mark A
- Weld, William F
J. William Belanger Papers, 1932-1986.
3 boxes (3 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 117
A leader in organized labor, William Belanger began as an organizer for the AFL’s United Textile Workers in 1932, eventually becoming the New England Regional Director and International Vice President of the TWUA and in 1958, the first President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.
The Belanger Papers provide insight into the long career in labor activism, and include correspondence, writings, subject files, and printed materials. Of particular interest is a series of four oversized scrapbooks that cover Belanger’s career from 1934 through his final position as Director of the Massachusetts Department of Employment Security. These are especially enlightening on labor’s political activities, the CIO’s success in thwarting anti-labor referenda in 1948, and the efforts to expel Communists from the labor movement.
- Elections--Massachusetts--History--20th century
- Labor leaders--New England--Biography
- Labor unions--Massachusetts
- Massachusetts--Politics and government--1865-1950
- New England--Economic conditions--20th century
- Textile Workers Organizing Committee
- Textile Workers Union of America
- Textile industry--Massachusetts
- Textile workers--Labor unions--New England
- Belanger, J. William, 1907-1986
Types of material
Black Mass Communications Project Collection, ca.1970-1985.
10 boxes (15 linear feet).
Call no.: RG 045/30 B4
The Black Mass Communications Project was founded as an educational and informational outlet for Black students at UMass Amherst in 1968 and authorized in the following year as a Registered Student Organization. Over the years, BCMP played varied roles on campus, hosting cultural events, lectures, workshops, and social gatherings as to help keep black music alive. Many of its early members were also affiliated with the student radio station WMUA, and throughout the 1970s, the organization played a prominent role in providing programming to the station, offering programming highlighting African American music and current affairs.
The BCMP collection consists of many dozens of reel to reel audiotapes of radio broadcasts aired over WMUA during the 1970s and early 1980s by and for the university’s African American community. Included is a range of locally-produced public affairs, cultural, and music programming, with some content licensed from around the country. A few of the tapes are associated with the Five College’s National Public Radio affiliate, WFCR.
- African American college students
- African American music
- College radio stations--Massachusetts
- WFCR (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)
- WMUA (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)
Types of material
Ella Dot Martin Blake Sheet Music Collection, 1902-1941.
1 box (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: RBR
Assembled by Ella Dot Martin Blake, this collection consists of eighty pieces of sheet music, more than half with illustrated covers. Dating from the early 1900s, the collection covers both World Wars as well as the rise of Broadway and Hollywood’s golden age. Selections include military sheet music, “Good-Bye, Little Girl, Good-Bye” (1904) and music from Hollywood films, such as “Daddy Long Legs” dedicated to Mary Pickford (1919), and “By a Waterfall” from Footlight Parade (1933).
Boston Jazz Society Records, ca. 1973-2014.
6 boxes (10 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 880
Founded in 1973, the Boston Jazz Society grew from a small group of enthusiasts listening to music in living rooms to a thriving organization that “kept Jazz alive” in New England. As Jazz’s popularity began to fade in the late 1960s, local Jazz societies formed to provide support to artists and give them the means and venues to continue to perform on the road. The Boston Jazz Society was originally inspired by one of the earliest, the Left Bank Jazz Society of Baltimore. Like the Left Bank, BJS produced concerts in clubs, theaters, and hotels but expanded their efforts to include exhibits, television and radio shows, and a Jazz education program for grade school students. The longest running BJS activities, however, were the annual Jazz Barbecues and starting in 1975, the BJS Scholarships. The scholarship program raised funds for young Jazz musicians to attend the New England Conservatory of Music’s Jazz Department and the Berklee School Of Music and began the musical careers of many important musicians, composers, and teachers. BJS was also deeply connected to the local music scene, celebrating Roxbury, Mass. natives Alan Dawson and Roy Haynes, whose brother Vincent was a long-time board member, among many others. After 42 years of promoting Jazz music in Boston, the Boston Jazz Society, Inc. dissolved in 2015.
The Boston Jazz Society Records extensively document BJS’s meetings, events, business dealings, and scholarship administration through meeting minutes, posters, correspondence, photographs, recordings, videos, and BJS’s own propaganda and publications. The majority of the BJS records came from the collection of founding member and longtime president Aureldon Edward Henderson and also represents his involvement in promoting Jazz in the Boston area.
- Jazz musicians--Massachusetts--Boston
- Berklee School of Music
- Haynes, Roy
- Henderson, Aureldon Edward
- New England Conservatory of Music