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Burgett-Irey Family Papers, 1832-2010 (Bulk: 1929-2008)

4 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 605

Born in 1908 to Louis and Sarah Kessel Burgett, Katherine grew up on the family farm outside of Oquawka, Illinois. In 1924 her parents purchased their own farm in Monmouth, which they later lost due to the devastating impact of the Depression on agriculture, and it was there that she first met her future husband, Kenneth Monroe Irey, a student at Monmouth College. The newlyweds moved to New Jersey in 1931 where Kenneth was transferred for work. As a chemical engineer, Kenneth enjoyed a successful career and comfortably supported his wife and two children. Retiring in 1970, he and Katherine spent their later years pursuing two passions: traveling and bird-watching. Kenneth and Katherine’s eldest daughter, June Irey Guild, spent most of her adult life in Massachusetts where she has married twice, raised six children, and operated her own business. During her retirement years, June focused on preserving her family’s history by collecting letters and recoding family narratives.

The Burgett-Irey Family Papers chronicle the changes that many twentieth-century American families experienced as the nation descended into an economic depression, entered into a world war, and emerged as one of the most powerful countries in the world. The collection, which will continue to grow, includes approximately 65 letters between Katherine Burgett Irey and her family. Most of the letters exchange family updates, particularly precious after Katherine relocated to New Jersey. Among the earliest letters is an account of Katherine and Kenneth’s first meeting described as “fast work,” since he asked her out on the spot. Also included are autobiographical writings by Kenneth describing his cross-country trip to California in 1927 and a brief history of his life and career.


  • Bird watching
  • Burgett family
  • Irey family
  • Marriage--United States
  • Motherhood--United States--History--20th century
  • Mothers--United States--History--20th century
  • Women--United States--History--20th century


  • Guild, June Irey
  • Irey, Katherine Burgett
  • Irey, Kenneth Monroe, 1905-1994

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Slides

Cannabis Reform Coalition Records, 1993-2013

2 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 045/80 C3
Extravaganja poster
Extravaganja poster

The Cannabis Reform Coalition at UMass Amherst was founded in 1991 and is considered the oldest student-run organization devoted to ending the prohibition on cannabis both locally and nationally and advocating for its industrial, medicinal, and recreational use for moral, environmental, and economic reasons. The CRC is one of the more active student organizations on campus and among other events, it sponsors the annual Extravaganja in April, which has attracted as many as 10,000 participants.

The CRC collection contains an assortment of fliers, posters, ephemera, and photographs, documenting the organization’s activities and activism, along with a small number of published and unpublished essays on the utility of hemp and cannbis products.


  • Marijuana--Law and legislation
  • Marijuana--Therapeutic use--Social aspects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students

Types of material

  • Fliers (Printed matter)
  • Photographs

Stanley Charren Papers, 1973 (Bulk: 2000)

3 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 900

Called “the Howard Hughes of the wind business,” Stanley Charren played a crucial role in the development of the modern wind power industry. A native of Providence, R.I., and an engineering graduate of Brown University (BS 1945) and Harvard (MS 1946). After marrying Peggy Walzer in 1951, who later became famous as founder of Action for Children’s Television, Charren embarked on a career that merged a penchant for innovation with an entrepreneurial streak, working with Pratt and Whitney, Fairchild, and Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton before becoming CEO of Pandel-Bradford (later Compo). Although he successfully developed products such as the swim spa and carpet squares, Charren is best remembered for his role in commercializing wind power. Taking an interest in wind during the Nixon-era energy crisis, he and his partner Russell Wolfe founded US Windpower in 1974, working on the idea of linking arrays of intermediate-sized windmills into a single power plant tied to the grid. US Wind built the world’s first wind farm in 1978, consisting of 20 units at Crotched Mountain, N.H., and after relocating to northern California in 1980 and changing name to Kenetech in 1988, the company emerged as the largest wind energy firm in the world. However the collapse of oil prices in the 1980s and federal regulatory hostility to alternative energy seriously impinged upon the company’s growth, ultimately contributing to its bankruptcy in May 1996. Charren retired from Kenetech in 1995.

The Charren Papers include scattered but valuable materials on the founding and operations of US Windpower and Kenetech, including early business plans, correspondence, technical reports, and informational brochures, along with materials documenting some of the legal challenges they faced in the 1980s and 1990s. The collection also contains ephemera relating to some of Charren’s work outside of the windpower industry.


  • Kenetech
  • U.S. Windpower
  • Windpower industry

Clamshell Sun Quilt Collection, 1978

1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 916
Winifred Sayer and the Sun Quilt, 1978
Winifred Sayer and the Sun Quilt, 1978

To raise funds for the restoration/occupation of the nuclear power plant at Seabrook, N.H., and to support the young Clamshell Alliance, antinuclear activists raffled off a hand-made quilt, a bicycle, totebag, and t-shirts at the 1978 Towards Tomorrow Fair at UMass Amherst. Designed by Carrie Dickerson in a multi-color sun pattern and sewn by the Oklahoma Citizens for Safe Energy, the patchwork quilt (74 x 82″) was won by Winifred D. Sayer, who also took home a totebag.

This small collections the Clamshell Sun Quilt, photographs of Dickerson with the quilt, of Sayer with the quilt (by Lionel Delevingne) and Sayer with her prize, a piece of ephemera announcing the raffle, and a copy of the Clamshell Alliance songbook, Songs to Stop Seabrook (1978).


  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Antinuclear movement--Oklahoma
  • Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant (N.H.)
  • Toward Tomorrow Fair


  • Delevingne, Lionel
  • Dickerson, Carrie

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Quilts

Gloria Xifaras Clark Papers, 1943-2015

20 boxes (9.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 865
Gloria Xifaras Clark and student, 1964
Gloria Xifaras Clark and student, 1964

Gloria Xifaras Clark was working as an elementary school teacher in her home town of New Bedford in 1964 when she answered the call to enlist in the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. A recent graduate of Wheelock College, she was assigned to teach in the Benton County Freedom School in Holly Springs for several months, and stayed on to help organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and to teach literacy and Negro history in Benton, Tippah, and Union Counties. She continued on the activist path after returning to Massachusetts, devoting her energies to economic justice initiatives and work with the Friends of SNCC and the NAACP, and diving headlong into the antiwar movement as head of the Greater New Bedford Draft Information Center. After spending three years in England with her family in 1972-1975, she resumed her civic and educational work in New Bedford, eventually earning appointment as head of the Commonwealth’s Office for Children under Michael Dukakis in 1983. With a keen awareness of the historical importance of the civil rights struggle, Clark became a key organizer of an oral history project during the 1990s that included her fellow veterans of the civil rights movement in northern Mississippi. The results are available digitally through the University of Southern Mississippi.

Documenting the evolution of one activist’s career, the Clark Papers offer valuable information on the Freedom Summer and Freedom Schools in northern Mississippi, particularly in Tippah and Benton Counties, and civil rights activism more generally. The collection includes communiques among civil rights workers in the region, a variety of correspondence, pamphlets, newsletters, and ephemera, plus a small, but noteworthy collection of photographs. Of particular significance among the later materials is a thick body of material from the Draft Information Center in New Bedford (1967-1968), the Vietnam Summer project (1967), and relating to Clark’s role in the Harvard Strike of 1969.


  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Civil Rights movements--Mississippi
  • Council of Federated Organizations (U.S.)
  • Draft resisters--Massachusetts
  • Harvard University--Student strike, 1969
  • Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
  • Mississippi Freedom Project
  • Peace movements--Masachusetts
  • Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (U.S.)
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts

Types of material

  • Photographs

Alvin P. Cohen Collection, 1957-1968

2 boxes (1.6 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 145
Free Speech Movement newsletter
Free Speech Movement newsletter

As an undergraduate at the University of California Berkeley in the late 1950s, Alvin P. Cohen planned on a career in engineering, but after earning his bachelors degree and working as a laboratory technician, he returned to undergraduate status and then to graduate school in Chinese. Cohen’s time at Berkeley coincided with the turbulence of the first wave of student revolt, the civil rights and antiwar movements, and the Free Speech Movement, however as a married man with children, he was more an observer than activist. After completing his dissertation, The Avenging Ghost: Moral Judgment in Chinese Historical Texts, in 1971, he joined the faculty at UMass Amherst, initially with a split appointment teaching Chinese and working as East Asian bibliographer in the library. Over the next three and a half decades, he helped build the Program in Asian Languages and Literature, becoming its Chair in the 1990s and President of the Warring States Project.

Consisting of newsclippings, fliers, and other ephemera collected as the Free Speech Movement was at its height, the Cohen collection provides a valuable window on 1960s activism and the cross-fertilization between the various student movements. The materials cover a range of issues from free speech on campus to the California legislature, civil rights, the war in Vietnam, and the House Un-American Activities Committee. Of particular interest is a letter received by Cohen from a friend Doug Wachter in 1960, shortly after Wachter had been called before HUAC.


  • College students--United States--Political activity
  • Student movements--California
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Asian Languages and Literatures
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975


  • Cohen, Alvin P.
Frank Waugh's doves
Garden (white fan tailed doves in bird bath) by Frank Waugh, ca.1920

“… there must come vast social change in the United States; a change not violent, but by the will of the people certain and inexorable; carried out ‘with malice toward none but charity for all'; with meticulous justice to the rich and complete sympathy for the poor, the sick and the ignorant; with freedom and democracy for America, and on earth Peace, Good Will toward men.”

W.E.B. Du Bois, Chicago, June 29, 1951

In pursuit of our mission, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives collects materials of enduring historical and cultural value relating to four major thematic areas: the history and experience of social change in America; the histories and cultures of New England with an emphasis on Massachusetts; innovation and entrepreneurship; and the broad community associated with the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Our collections are highly integrated and span all formats, including personal papers and organizational records, books and periodicals, maps, photographs, audio and video recordings, and digital materials of all kinds.

Our approach to collecting

Echoing the philosophy of W.E.B. Du Bois, SCUA collects original materials that document the histories and experiences of social change in America and the organizational, intellectual, and individual ties that unite disparate struggles for social justice, human dignity, and equality. Our decision to adopt social change as a collecting focus emerged from considering one of Du Bois’s great insights: that the most fundamental issues in social justice are so deeply interconnected that no movement — and no solution to social ills — can succeed in isolation. Rather than focus on individual movements, we therefore focus on the connections between and among movements and the flow of people, organizations, and ideas, all in the hope of better representing the true histories of social engagement in America and laying the foundation for a deeper understanding of the experience of social change.

A related feature of SCUA’s approach to collecting is our commitment to documenting “whole lives and whole communities.” Rather than focus just on a person’s “significant” actions or ideas, our goal is to represent the person’s entire life in all its complexity: the person’s background, the events themselves, and the aftermath, as well as the range of colleagues and organizations engaged. Our goal is not to highlight simply the great achievements and great people, but to reveal the broad underpinnings of influences, interests, and organizations that shaped them and the communities in which they operated.

While not exhaustive, the following is a synopsis of the primary focal points for SCUA’s collections:

Social change

Emphasizing the cross-fertilization between social movements and centers of activist energy, SCUA collects materials from individuals and organizations involved in the struggles for peace and non-violence, social and racial justice, economic justice, agricultural reform, environmentalism, sustainability, alternative energy, organized labor, gay rights, disability rights, spiritual activism, antinuclear activism, and intentional communities. Our collections branch out to include anti-fluoridation activism, campaigns for voting rights and clean elections, community and charitable organizations, and the history of revolutionary-era Europe (1789-1848).

  • African and African American history and culture: The history of race and ethnicity in America, with particular emphasis on the struggle for racial equality and social justice.
  • Agriculture, horticulture, botany: Including agricultural science and practice, horticulture, animal husbandry, natural history, organic farming, sustainable living, and heritage breeds.
  • Antifluoridation movement: Including right-wing, left-wing, libertarian, popular, and scientific opposition to fluoridation of public water supplies.
  • Antinuclear movement: SCUA holds numerous collections documenting grassroots opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weaponry.
  • Arts management and arts administration:
    In partnership with the UMass Amherst Arts Extension Service, the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and several other arts agencies, SCUA documents the history of arts administration in America. Collecting the records of state and national arts agencies, we will provide a foundation for research into the evolution of arts policy, strategies for supporting the arts, and the economic and cultural impact of the arts on our communities.
  • Cold War Culture: The culture of the Cold War, with an emphasis upon East Germany, Poland, and Yugoslavia. Among other areas, SCUA has a strong interest in the Solidarity movement and in partnership with the DEFA Film Library, in East German cinema and graphic arts.
  • Disability: Organizational records and collections of personal papers documenting the history of disability and disability rights in the United States.
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender issues: Materials relating to the history and experience of the LGBTQ community and liberation struggles.
  • Labor, work, and industry: Organized labor, industrialization, manufacturing, business history, and the experience and culture of labor and working people.
  • Peace: Materials relating to the peace and antiwar movements and non-violence, with an emphasis on New England.
  • Spiritual approaches to social change: Materials relating to people and organizations motivated to take social action through spiritual consideration.

Innovation and entrepreneurship

SCUA collects materials that document innovative and entrepreneurial activities and particularly social entrepreneurship. Representative collections in SCUA include the papers of Mark H. McCormack (a pioneer in sport and entertainment marketing), Carl C. Harris (inventor and President of Rodney Hunt Co.), and numerous collections that document our region’s distinctive history of innovation in manufacturing and technology.

New England history and culture

The social, political, cultural, intellectual, literary, and economic life, with an emphasis upon western New England. The department houses thousands of books on New England cookery, with a particular emphasis on charitable and community cookbooks and cookbooks and ephemera published by corporations and the food industry.

  • Cookery and culinary history
    SCUA has thousands of cookbooks and other materials on New England regional cuisine, including community and charitable cookbooks, commercial cookbooks by New England authors, corporate cookbooks, and culinary ephemera.
  • Literature and the arts
    Emphasizing poets and writers, playwrights, and the performing arts in New England.
  • Politics and political culture
    SCUA has rich collections documenting the history and politics of the Commonwealth, including the papers of Congressmen Silvio O. Conte and John Olver, State Senator Stanley Rosenberg, and State Representative John Clark; and the records of the Hampshire Council of Governments and several individual towns.

University Archives collecting

Serving as the memory of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, SCUA is steward for the official and unofficial records of the university that document the people, policies, programs, facilities, and activities of the campus community. The collections are a rich record of administrative activity at all levels, from system to program, but they focus on documenting the lives and activities of individual administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Other areas

SCUA has developed depth in a handful of other collecting areas, including:

  • American Study of Japan and Asia
    American relations with Japan from the Meiji period to the present, and connections with China and other Asian countries.
  • Gravestone studies and death
    Materials relating to the history, culture, preservation, and interpretation of gravestones and related subjects.
  • Protistology
    Records of the scholarly study of the protista (protozoans).

Learn more:

Cummington School of the Arts Records, 1908-1993

30 boxes (45 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 891
Poster, ca.1925
Poster, ca.1925

In 1923, Katherine Frazier established the Playhouse-in-the-Hills as a venue for theatrical performances in the small Berkshire County town of Cummington, Mass. Frazier’s vision, however, soon led her to expand the project into the Cummington School of the Arts (later the Cummington Community of the Arts), which she envisioned as “an environment congenial to creative activity.” Over its seventy years of operation, the School emphasized creative collaboration across the fine arts, offering not only performances, but summer residencies and six-week courses where writers, artists, performers, and musicians could study and practice under the guidance of visiting artists. Among its noted alumni were luminaries such as Helen Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning, Diane Arbus, Marianne Moore, and Archibald Macleish, and the school was a starting point for Harry Duncan’s renowned Cummington Press. The increasing financial challenges facing not-for-profit organizations led a cessation of operations in about 1993.

The records of the Cummington School of the Arts offer a cross-sectional view of the School across its years of operation. In addition to a very small selection of personal material from Katherine Frazier, the collection includes valuable correspondence and ephemera relating to the school’s philosophy and founding, and nearly a third of the collection consists of records of students, often including their applications, comments on the work accomplished in Cummington, and occasionally, copies of work produced. The balance of the collection consists of many of the school’s publications, administrative materials (including curricula and planning documents), and financial and fundraising materials.

Robert E. Dillon Papers, 1943-1946

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 635
Robert E. Dillon, 1943
Robert E. Dillon, 1943

A working class native of Ware, Mass., Robert E. Dillon was a student at Massachusetts State College when he was drafted into the Army in 1943. After his induction at Fort Devens, Mass., and training for the Quartermaster Corps in Virginia and California, Dillon was assigned to duty as a mechanic and driver with the First Service Command. Stationed at Rest Camps number 5 and 6 in Khanspur, India (now Pakistan), Dillon’s company maintained the trucks and other vehicles used to carry supplies over the Himalayas to Chinese Nationalist forces. After he left the service in February 1946, having earned promotion to T/5, Dillon concluded his studies at UMass Amherst on the GI Bill and earned a doctorate in Marketing from Ohio State. He taught at the University of Cincinnati for many years until his death in 1985.

The Dillon Papers consist of 178 letters written by Dillon to his family during his service in World War II, along with several written to him and an assortment of documents and ephemera. Beginning with basic training, the letters provide an essentially comprehensive account of Dillon’s military experience and interesting insight into a relatively quiet, but sparsely documented theater of war.


  • California--Description and travel
  • India--Description and travel
  • Pakistan--Description and travel
  • World War, 1939-1945


  • Dillon, Robert E

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Menus
  • Photographs

Joseph Donohue Collection of Theatre Programs and Theatrical Ephemera, 1968-2010

23 boxes (12 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 696

An historian of modern British drama, Joseph Donohue was a longtime member of the Department of English at UMass Amherst. A native of Brookline, Mass., Donohue was educated at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown before receiving his doctorate at Princeton (1965), and he studied directing at both Columbia and Yale. After five years at Princeton, he joined the faculty at UMass in 1971, where he remained for thirty four years. The author of numerous articles and books on the British and Irish theatre, Donohue was author — among many other works — of Dramatic Character in the English Romantic Age (1970) and Theatre in the Age of Kean (1975) and editor of the London Stage, 1800-1900 Project. A past president of the American Society for Theatre Research, he was also a fixture in local performances, including the Valley Light Opera Company. Upon retirement from the department in 2005, Donohue was named Professor Emeritus.

Consisting of hundreds of theatrical programs and other ephemera, the Donohue collection documents a lifetime of avid theater-going. The astonishing array of playwrights and plays represented in the collection, and the diversity of theatres (mostly in New York and London), provides a nearly exhaustively chronicle of Donohue’s theatrical habits from his days as a graduate student to nearly the present.


  • Theater--England--London
  • Theater--New York (State)--New York


  • Donohue, Joseph W., 1935-

Types of material

  • Ephemera
  • Playbills

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