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Early Children’s Literature

Early Children's Literature Collection
1810-1894
42 items (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 017
Image of The New Picture-Book (1837)
The New Picture-Book (1837)

Publishers in Western Massachusetts engaged in a brisk trade in books intended for children during the antebellum years, producing chapbooks to teach reading, didactic works on morals and comportment, and toy books for reward and entertainment. Brief and most often simply produced, the books are noted for their diminutive size, stock woodcut illustrations and characteristic moralistic tone, but they are rich sources for understanding popular conceptions of childhood, education, religious life, and marketing in the book trade, among other subjects.

The majority of the works in the Early Children’s Literature collection were products of the antebellum press in western Massachusetts, produced and distributed by printers such as John Metcalf (Wendell and Northampton), Anson Phelps (Greenfield), and A. R. Merrifield (Northampton). There are examples of chapbooks from other printers, most notably Mahlon Day of New York and the American Sunday School Union in Philadelphia.

Acquired variously.
Subjects
  • Children's literature--Massachusetts
  • Toy and movable books
Contributors
  • Metcalf, John, 1788-1864
Types of material
  • Books

Tymoczko, Maria

Maria Tymoczko Papers
1973-2002
3 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 141

As an undergraduate at Harvard, Maria Tymoczko was lured away from the study of biochemistry into medieval literature, remaining at Harvard through her doctorate and eventually making the subject into an academic career. Since joining the faculty at UMass Amherst in 1974, she has written or edited six books and has built an international reputation in three fields: Celtic medieval literature, Irish studies, and translation studies. A popular instructor, she has also played a leading role on several university committees.

The Tymoczko Papers document both the career and university service of a scholar of Irish literature and theorist of translation. In addition to her professional correspondence (1973-1980), the collection includes a significant quantity of material documenting Tymoczko’s university service, including notes from her time as chair of the General Education Council (1986-1994), from the Joint Task Force of UMass and Community College Relations, and the Rules Committee and Ad-hoc Committee on Retention of Administrators of the Faculty Senate. Additions to the collection are expected in the future.

Subjects
  • Irish literature
  • Translating and interpreting
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Comparative Literature
Contributors
  • Tymoczko, Maria

Alspach, Russell K. (Russell King), 1901-

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.

Gift of Russell K. Alspach, 1999
Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
  • Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939
Contributors
  • Alspach, Russell K. (Russell King), 1901-

Black, Joseph Laurence, 1962-

Joseph Laurence Black History of the Book Collection
1789-1964
128 items (3 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 023
Image of The Woman Trapper (1908)
The Woman Trapper (1908)

A scholar of early modern British literature, Joe Black received his BA and PhD from the University of Toronto and taught for several years at the University of Tennessee Knoxville before joining the English faculty at UMass Amherst in 1994. Rooted in the history of the book, his research on seventeenth-century literature has examined the intersection between writing and the material and social context of production as well as the dialogue between print and manuscript culture.

The Black collection is an eclectic assemblage of American imprints designed to assist study and instruction in the history of the book. The collection includes two long runs of pulp novels, Beadle’s Frontier Series and the American Revolution-inspired Liberty Boys of ’76, examples of almanacs, prompt books, and works form the early national period in publishers’ bindings.

Subjects
  • Books--History--United States
  • Dime novels, American
Types of material
  • Almanacs
  • Scrapbooks

Curran, Mary Doyle, 1917-1981

Mary Doyle Curran Papers
1917-1980
7 boxes (3.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 435

Mary Curran Doyle and dog

Born in Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1917 and a graduate of Massachusetts State College, Mary Doyle Curran was an author, editor, and professor, who published her only novel, The Parish and the Hill, in 1948. Curran taught English and Irish Literature at Wellesley College, Queens College, and UMass Boston before retiring; she died in 1981.

The collection includes unpublished drafts of novels and short stories; photographs; correspondence from family and friends; publishers and literary associates such as Saul Bellow and Josephine Herbst. The Parish and the Hill, Curran’s only published novel, is today considered a classic among Irish American literature.

Subjects
  • Holyoke (Mass.)--History
  • Irish American literature
  • Irish American women--History
  • Women authors--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Bellow, Saul
  • Curran, Mary Doyle, 1917-1981
  • Halley, Anne
  • Herbst, Josephine, 1892-1969
Types of material
  • Photographs

Patterson, Charles H.

Charles H. Patterson Papers
1930-1958
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 089
Image of Charles H. Patterson.<br />Photo by Frank A. Waugh, 1926
Charles H. Patterson.
Photo by Frank A. Waugh, 1926

For many years, Charles H. Patterson served as head of the Department of Language and Literature at Massachusetts Agricultural College. Born in Smithsonville, Ont., in 1863, Patterson received both a BA (1887) and MA (1893) from Tufts University before launching his teaching career. He joined the faculty at MAC as an assistant professor of English, in 1916, after 13 years at West Virginia University. A former professional actor, he taught courses in modern literature, with a particular interest in drama, and served as department chair for nearly a decade before his sudden death in 1933.

The Patterson Papers contain a small selection of correspondence and notes on English composition and literature as taught at Massachusetts Agricultural College. Most noteworthy, perhaps, is a draft of Patterson’s unpublished book, The Amazing Boucicault.

Subjects
  • Boucicault, Dion, 1820-1890
  • Drama--Study and teaching
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of English
Contributors
  • Patterson, Charles H

Stevens, Wallace, 1879-1955

Wallace Stevens Collection
1804-1973 (Bulk: 1930-1954)
1 box, 35 vols. (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 365

The modernist poet Wallace Stevens produced some of the century’s most challenging works while employed as an attorney in Hartford, Connecticut. A native of Reading, Pa., Stevens attended Harvard as an undergraduate but left in 1900 before completing his degree. He later earned a law degree at New York School of Law. Working in insurance law but still intent on becoming a writer, he did not publish his first book of poetry until he was 44 years old. Over the last thirty years of his life, he became one of the most revered contemporary poets in the country. Stevens died of cancer in 1955.

Touching on poetry, criticism, and books, the collection consists primarily of letters received by the poet Wallace Stevens along with 35 annotated volumes from his personal library. Among the correspondents represented are Charles Tomlinson, Jean Wahl, Conrad Aiken, and the art collector and Stevens’ close friend Henry Church; there are also retained copies of three letters from Stevens: two regarding an honorary degree at Harvard, and one to Tomlinson declining to respond to Tomlinson’s analysis of “The comedian as the letter C.” The books included in the collection have annotations or inscriptions to or by Stevens.

Subjects
  • Poets--Connecticut
Contributors
  • Stevens, Wallace, 1879-1955

Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939

Russell K. Alspach Collection of William Butler Yeats
1888-1984
ca.475 items (35 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 014

The Irish poet W.B. Yeats was a key figure in the Celtic literary revival of the early twentieth century. Born into an artistic family in Dublin in 1865, Yeats was heavily influenced early in his career by Irish folk literature and Theosophical mysticism, but he was simultaneously rooted in the political issues of the day. An Irish nationalist by inclination, he became a two-term Senator in the Irish Free State and he was a key supporter of the arts and theatre in the new nation. His international reputation was cemented when he received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1923. Yeats died in 1939 at the age of 73.

The Alspach collection consists of hundreds of works by and about W.B. Yeats, collected by Yeats scholar Russell K. Alspach, a member of the UMass English faculty. An extensive assemblage with first editions of most of the key works, the collection also includes critical works on Yeats, works by his literary peers, bibliographies, and items published by the Cuala Press, a private press operated by Yeats’s sister Elizabeth that was a strong influence in the Celtic revival. A few items have been added to the collection since its acquisition in 1971.

Subjects
  • Irish poetry--20th century
Contributors
  • Alspach, Russell K. (Russell King), 1901-
  • Cuala Press
Restrictions: Collection currently unavailable due to renovation in SCUA

Literature & the arts

MAC baseball team, 1878

MAC baseball team, 1878

Literature and the arts play a vital role in the culture and traditions of New England. Western Massachusetts in particular has had a rich history of fostering writers and poets, musicians, dancers, and actors. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives seeks to document not only the lives and work of writers and performers in our region, but the creative and artistic process; showing not just the inspiration, but the perspiration as well.

View all collections in Literature and the arts

Significant collections

  • Arts and arts management
    • Significant collections under the National Arts Policy Archive and Library include materials from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and the Arts Extension Service.
  • Poetry
    • SCUA houses significant collections for the poets Robert Francis, Madeleine de Frees, and Anne Halley, as well as small collections for William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens. The records of the Massachusetts Review are an important literary resource.
  • Prose writing
    • Collections of note include the papers of writers William J. Lederer (author of The Ugly American, Nation of Sheep, and Their Own Worst Enemy), William Manchester (The Death of a President and American Caesar), Jodi Picoult (many novels from Songs of the Humpback Whale in 1992 to The Storyteller in 2013), Mary Doyle Curran (The Parish and the Hill).
  • Journalism
    • Journalists and photojournalists associated with traditional print and new media, including an important collection for the Liberation News Service, a media service for the alternative press, and the Social Change Periodicals Collection, which includes alternative and radical small press publications. The papers of Sidney Topol provide insight into the technical development of cable television.
  • Literary criticism and linguistics
    • The papers of literary scholars associated with the University; records of the Massachusetts Review.
  • Performing arts
    • The vibrant performing arts community in western Massachusetts is well represented in SCUA through groups ranging from the Arcadia Players Baroque music ensemble to theater troupes such as Double Edge Theater, the Valley Light Opera, and the New World Theater. Among the most significant national collections are the Roberta Uno Asian Women Playwrights Collection and the papers of African American expatriate actor and director Gordon Heath, while the James Ellis Theatre Collection includes nearly 8,000 printed volumes on the English and American stage, 1750-1915, along with numerous broadsides, graphics, and some manuscript materials. Musical collections include the papers of Philip Bezanson and Charles Bestor, the score collection of Julian Olevsky, and the Katanka Fraser Political Music Collection.

Printed materials

Within its holdings, SCUA houses collections of the published works of W.E.B. Du Bois, Robert Francis, Anne Halley, William J. Lederer, William Manchester, Thomas Mann, William Morris, Wallace Stevens, and William Butler Yeats, as well as the personal poetry libraries of Halley, Francis, and Stevens. The department also has an extensive collection of Science Fiction magazine fiction and Scottish literature.

Learn more:

Ross, Laura

Laura M. Ross Papers
1945-2003 (Bulk: 1967-1990)
13 boxes (6.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 515
Image of Laura Ross
Laura Ross

Born in the coal mining town of Blossburg, Pa., in 1913, Laura Ross (nee Kaplowitz) grew up in poverty as one of seven children of Lithuanian immigrants. In about 1932, Ross married Harry Naddell, a wine merchant, and settled into a comfortable life Brooklyn, N.Y., raising a son and daughter. During the Second World War, however, she became intensely politicized through her work with Russian War Relief, joining the Communist Party and eventually divorcing her les radical husband. Moving to the Boston area, she married Max Ross in 1963, an attorney for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and became a noted presence in a wide range of political activities, working for civil rights, the antiwar movement, and for many years, helping to run the Center for Marxist Education in Central Square , Cambridge. Perhaps most notably, between 1974 and 1984, Ross ran for Congress three times on the Communist Party ticket, taking on the powerful incumbent Tip O’Neill and winning almost a quarter of the vote. An activist to the end, Ross died in Cambridge on August 5, 2007.

The Ross papers are the legacy of a highly visible activist, organizer, educator, and member of the Communist Party USA. Heavily concentrated in the period 1967-1990, the collection includes material relating to her affiliation with CPUSA and her work with the Center for Marxist Education in Cambridge, Mass., including information on party membership, platforms, and conventions, minutes from various district committee meetings, material relating to the People’s Daily World, and course information and syllabi. Scattered throughout the collection are materials pertaining to contemporary political issues and elections, particularly the policies associated with Ronald Reagan. Ross was a vocal and persistent opponent of Reaganomics and the nuclear arms race that Reagan accelerated.

Gift of Eugene Povirk, 2007
Subjects
  • Center for Marxist Education (Cambridge, Mass.)
  • Communist Party of the United States of America
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • People’s Daily World
  • United States--Politics and government--1981-1989
Contributors
  • Ross, Laura
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