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Valley Women’s Union

Valley Women's Union Records
1974-1976
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 201

The Valley Women’s Union was established in 1974 by members of the Valley Women’s Center, Northampton, Massachusetts, who were committed to political change benefiting women. They were concerned that the Valley Women’s Center had become a static umbrella organization and that many of its formerly vital functions had been absorbed by local social service agencies The VWU sought to unify groups that were working for political change beneficial to women.

Records include newsletters, agendas for meetings, reports, position papers, and mailings.

Gift of Dale Melcher, 1986
Subjects
  • Feminism--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History
  • Feminists--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--Political activity--History
  • Social change--Political activity--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History
  • Women--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--Political activity --History
Contributors
  • Valley Women's Union (Northampton, Mass.)

Women Against Garage (WAG)

WAG Records
1995-2002
2 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 530

Informally referring to themselves as WAGs (Women Against Garage), Fay Kaynor, Mary Snyder, Merrylees Turner, and Mary Wentworth, opposed the building of a parking garage in the center of Amherst. Together they collected newspaper clippings, reports, minutes of meetings, and flyers that tell both sides of the story, but in particular shed light on the motivations of those opposed to the garage, concerns not well represented in the local paper, the Amherst Bulletin, at the time. Potential problems raised by garage opponents focused on the environmental issues that added traffic in Amherst would introduce, as well as the financial impact both on the town, if the revenues from the garage did not cover the investment or maintenance costs, and on locally-owned businesses that might not be able to afford higher rents if property values near the garage increased significantly.

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government
Contributors
  • Kaynor, Fay
  • Snyder, Mary
  • Turner, Merrylees
  • Wentworth, Mary L

Young Women’s City Club (Northhampton, Mass.)

Young Women's City Club Records
1931-1981
2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 045

Known as Girl’s City Club until 1954, the Young Women’s City Club was a non-sectarian, self-governing, and largely self-supporting club in Northampton, Massachusetts, that developed educational and recreational opportunities for young women through programs, social events, volunteer services, and fund-raising activities. The club met regularly under the auspices of the People’s Institute until November 1979 when their rooms at James House were taken over by the Highland Valley Elder Service and the club relocated to the People’s Institute.

The records of the Young Women’s City Club document the growth and activities of the club from 1939 to 1981, with the exception of the decade 1961 to 1971. Consisting of photocopies of originals still held by the People’s Institute, the collection includes minutes of council and business meetings and scrapbook pages.

Gift of Margaret Hutchins, People's Institute, 1985
Subjects
  • Women--Societies and clubs--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Young Women's City Club (Northampton, Mass.)

Amherst Growth Study Committee, Inc.

Amherst Growth Study Committee Records
1971-1974
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 543
View of the proposed the Amherst Fields
View of the proposed the Amherst Fields

In May 1971 Otto Paparazzo Associates announced their plans to develop 640 acres of land in East Amherst upon which a proposed 2,200 residential units, a commercial center, and a golf course would be built. Concerned about unnatural growth of the community and about the effect such a development would have on the environment, a group of residents formed the Amherst Growth Study Committee within a few months of the announcement. Despite these concerns, the Zoning Board of Appeals issued a formal permit for construction in December 1971, which the AGSC immediately appealed. Even though the group was unable to overturn the zoning board’s decision, they did achieve their ends, in part, when state and town agencies prevented the project from moving forward due to an overloaded sewage system. More importantly, the group increased public awareness about growth and housing in the town of Amherst.

Records include notes from AGSC meetings, correspondence, and newspaper clippings documenting coverage of the story in local papers.

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--History
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government
Contributors
  • Amherst Growth Study Committee, Inc

Association for Gravestone Studies

Association for Gravestone Studies Book Collection
1812-2005
269 items (14 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 004

Founded in 1977, the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) is an international organization dedicated to furthering the study and preservation of gravestones. Based in Greenfield, Mass., the Association promotes the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives. To raise public awareness about the significance of historic gravemarkers and the issues surrounding their preservation, the AGS sponsors conferences and workshops, publishes both a quarterly newsletter and annual journal, Markers, and has built an archive of collections documenting gravestones and the memorial industry.

The AGS Books Collection contains scarce, out of print, and rare printed works on cemeteries and graveyards, epitaphs and inscriptions, and gravemarkers, with an emphasis on North America. The AGS Books Collection also includes the AGS publication, Markers. The collection is divided into three series: Series 1 (Monographs and Offprints), Series 2 (Theses and Dissertations), and Series 3 (Markers).

Subjects
  • Cemeteries
  • Epitaphs
  • Gravestones
Contributors
  • Association for Gravestone Studies

Belanger, J. William, 1907-1986

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.

Subjects
  • 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
Contributors
  • Belanger, J. William, 1907-1986
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Chesley, Elaine Marie

Elaine Marie Chesley Papers
1975-2002
1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 717

A resident of Brainerd, Minn., Elaine Chesley (1927-2011) was a woman of strong convictions and an activist in several causes, particularly the antifluoridation movement. As a member of Minnesotans Opposed to Forced Fluoridation in the mid-1970s, Chesley and the more strident Irene Johnson successfully prevented fluoridation of the water supply in Brainerd, and she remained active in the movement as a researcher and activist. She was also involved in several civic, environmental, and peace groups, including the League of Women Voters, the Green Party, Women Against Military Madness, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Brainerd Coalition for Peace, and Save Our Northland. Chesley died at the age of 84 on May 25, 2011.

The Chesley Papers consist of materials collected in relation to antifluoridation activism. In addition to copies of a handful of historic documents on fluoride toxicity, the collection includes selective publications and correspondence.

Subjects
  • Antifluoridation movement--Minnesota
  • Minnesotans Opposed to Forced Fluoridation
Contributors
  • Chesley, Elaine Marie

Field, William Franklin, 1922-

William F. Field Papers
1948-1986
27 boxes (13.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 030/2 F5
Image of William F. Field relaxing on couch, ca. 1971
William F. Field relaxing on couch, ca. 1971

The University’s first Dean of Students, William F. Field held the post from 1961 until his retirement in 1988. The 27 years Field was Dean of Students was a critical time of growth and unrest, as the University’s student population more than tripled in size and the nation-wide movements for civil rights and against the Vietnam War were reflected through student activism and protest on the University’s campus. Responsible for ending student curfews and overseeing all dorms becoming co-ed, Field also worked with minority students and faculty to support the Black Arts Movement on campus and the founding of the W.E.B Du Bois Afro-American Studies Department.

The William F. Field Papers document Field’s career as an administrator at the University of Massachusetts and specifically his role as Dean of Students from 1961-1988. The correspondence, memoranda, reports, notes, and other official printed and manuscript documents are a rich resource for one of the most important and volatile eras in the University’s history. Of particular interest are extensive files on student protests and activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s and the growing diversity of the campus student population, flourishing of the Black Arts Movement on campus and the founding of the W.E.B. Du Bois Afro-American Studies Department.

Subjects
  • African American college students--Massachusetts
  • Field, William Franklin, 1922-
  • Race relations--United States
  • Universities and colleges--United States--Administration
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dean of Students
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Afro-American Studies
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--United States
Types of material
  • Correspondence
  • Memorandums

Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce. Total Community Development Committee

Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce Total Community Development Committee Records
1968-1970
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 154

Formed by the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce in 1968, the Total Community Development Committee was assigned the task of assessing the city’s needs and resources in an effort to guide the community in making and remaking its physical shape. Drawn from local business leaders, academics, and city planners, the Committee addressed issues relating to the city’s public assets including the state of the Hampshire County Courthouse, City Hall, schools, and housing, as well as economic and industrial development, recreation and youth, and urban renewal.

The collection consists of minutes and memos of the Total Development Committee, notes kept by Committee member Harvey J. Finison, and supporting material, including a copy of the 1963 master plan for the city and a series of maps. The Committee’s work contributed to a new comprehensive plan for the city by the firm Metcalf and Eddy (1972) and a survey of needs for proposed Hampshire County courthouse prepared by Reinhardt and Associates (1969).

Subjects
  • City planning--Massachusetts--Northampton
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--20th century
  • Urban renewal--Massachusetts--Northampton
Contributors
  • Finison, Harvey J., 1916-1987
  • Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce. Total Community Development Committee
Types of material
  • Comprehensive plans (reports)
  • Maps

Hampshire Council of Governments

Hampshire Council of Governments Records
1677-1974
90 volumes, 17 boxes (80 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 704
Image of Title page, Volume 1 (1671)
Title page, Volume 1 (1671)

The Hampshire Council of Governments is a voluntary association of cities and towns and the successor to the former government of Hampshire County, Massachusetts, that was abolished in 1999. A body politic and corporate, its charter ratified by Massachusetts General Law 34B, S20(b), the Council oversees roadways, the electricity supply, building inspection, tobacco control, cooperative purchasing, and other services for member communities.

The Hampshire Council collection contains a dense record of county-level governance in western Massachusetts from the colonial period through the mid-twentieth century with extensive documentation of the actions of the County Commissioners, and before them the Court of Common Pleas and Court of General Sessions. Rich in documenting the development of the transportation infrastructure of western Massachusetts, the collection offers detailed information associated with the planning and construction of highways, canals, ferries, and railroads, but the early records offer a broad perspective on the evolution of the legal and cultural environment, touching on issues from disorderly conduct (e.g., fornication, Sabbath breaking) to the settlement of estates, local governance, public works, and politics.

Subjects
  • Bridges--Massachusetts--Hampshire Count
  • Dams--Massachusetts--Hampshire Count
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--History
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Indians of North America--Massachusetts
  • Northampton (Mass.)--History
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Railroads--Massachusetts
  • Roads--Massachusetts--Hampshire County
  • Taverns (Inns)--Massachusetts--Hampshire County
Contributors
  • Hampshire County (Mass.). County Commissioners
  • Massachusetts. Court of General Sessions of the Peace (Hampshire County)
  • Massachusetts. Inferior Court of Common Pleas (Hampshire County)
Types of material
  • Civil court records
  • Maps
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