“… 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.
While not comprehensive, the following includes a brief synopsis of some of the primary focal points for SCUA’s collections:
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Serving as the memory of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University Archives collects, preserves, and makes available official and non-official records documenting the people, policies, programs, facilities, and activities of the campus community, including its administration, departments and programs, faculty, and staff. The Archives avidly collects materials that reflect the lives and experiences of its students and alumni and that reflect our history as one of the Commonwealth’s two land grant institutions.
SCUA has developed depth in a handful of other collecting areas, including:
Constitutionalism in American Life Conference Collection, 1986.
Call no.: MS 140
A conference hosted by the University of Massachusetts Amherst on November 7-9, 1986, that examined the impact of the Constitution on politics and government, foreign policy, race relations, and the economy, and also discussed the impact on the constitution of popular struggles and the emergence of “rights consciousness.” Includes papers presented at the conference that were to be subsequently published in a special bicentennial issue of the Journal of American History.
- Constitutional history--United States--Congresses
- Constitutional law--United States--Congresses
- Journal of American history
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--History
Silvio O. Conte Papers, 1950-1991.
Call no.: MS 371
Massachusetts State Senator for the Berkshire District, 1950-1958, and representative for Massachusetts’s First District in the United States Congress for 17 terms, 1959-1991, where he made significant contributions in the areas of health and human services, the environment, education, energy, transportation, and small business.
Spanning four decades and eight presidents, the papers offer an extraordinary perspective on the major social, economic, and cultural changes experienced by the American people. Includes correspondence, speeches, press releases, bill files, his voting record, committee files, scrapbooks, travel files, audio-visual materials and over 5,000 photographs and slides.
- Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
- Massachusetts. Senate
- United States--Politics and government--20th century
- United States. Congress. House
- Conte, Silvio O. (Silvio Oltavio), 1921-1991
Types of material
- Sound recordings
Thomas W. Copeland Papers, 1923-1979.
Call no.: FS 050
A scholar of eighteenth century British literature and culture, Thomas W. Copeland began what would become more than half a century of research on the statesman and political philosopher Edmund Burke while studying for his doctorate at Yale (1933). After publication of his dissertation in 1949 as Our Eminent Friend Edmund Burke, Copeland was named managing editor of the ten-volume Correspondence (1958-1978). After academic appointments at Yale and the University of Chicago, he joined the faculty at UMass in 1957, remaining here until his retirement in 1976. A chair was established in his name in the Department of English.
The Copeland Papers are a rich collection of personal and professional correspondence, journals and writings from Copeland’s Yale years, manuscripts, typescripts, notes, and draft revisions of his works on Edmund Burke, and a journal chronicling Copeland’s four-year exercise in the daily practice of writing.
- Burke, Edmund, 1729-1797
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
- Golden, Morris
Walter Mason Dickinson Papers, 1858-1900.
Call no.: FS 173
Originally a member of the Massachusetts Agricultural College Class of 1876, Walter Mason Dickinson left after his junior year to enter the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. During his military career, Dickinson saw service in the southwest and as a military instructor at MAC (1891-1896). As a Captain and Quartermaster in the 17th Infantry, he was called to active duty during the Spanish-American War and was killed in action at the Battle of El Caney. He was the first man associated with MAC to die in military service.
This small collection of photographs and letters centers on the death and family of Walter M. Dickinson, the first person associated with Massachusetts Agricultural College to die in combat. In addition to two of the last letters he wrote as he was heading off to war in Cuba, the collection contains three formal portraits of Dickinson at different points in his military career, images of his wife and family, and two images of the scene of his death at El Caney and one of his temporary grave.
- Dickinson, Asa Williams--Photographs
- Dickinson, Charles--Photographs
- Dickinson, Marquis F. (Marquis Fayette), 1814-1901--Photographs
- Dickinson, Marquis F. (Marquis Fayette), 1840-19215--Photographs
- Dickinson, Martha E.--Photographs
- Dickinson, Walter Mason, 1856-1898--Photographs
- El Caney (Cuba)--Photographs
- Soldiers' bodies, Disposition of--Cuba--Photographs
- Soldiers--United States--Photographs
- Spanish-American War, 1898
Types of material
Experiential Training in Historic Information Resources (Ethir) is an initiative of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives in the UMass Amherst Libraries designed to provide students with structured, hands-on experience using and interpreting historical documentary resources. As part of our effort to integrate Special Collections more fully into the learning and research mission of the university, we offer an opportunity for select graduate students to work in the Department on a research project, while gaining first-hand experience in historical and archival praxis. Ethir fellows will take part in a range of activities in the digital humanities tied to primary source material, including curating exhibits, building digital corpora, or developing other interpretive materials.
Successful applicants will work with SCUA staff to identify a digital project that will make use of their interests and experience and that will provide a creative opportunity for building new digital skills. We ask students write a 1-2 page statement of interest outlining how their research interests might engage the department and the primary source material we collect.
Projects may include work with our collections in:
- Disability rights
- Sport innovation (e.g. Mark H. McCormack Papers)
- Drug policy (NORML, Lester Grinspoon)
Or fellows can propose to work with a collection or topic of their choice.
Through the Ethir program, we also offer orientation for classes in any discipline that would benefit from exposure to the primary archival resources under our stewardship. Our staff are happy to work with the faculty to increase their students’ information literacy in a variety of legacy formats as well as with new digital media.
|Eligibility:||Graduate students from any department enrolled at UMass Amherst.|
|Award:||Graduate students from any department enrolled at UMass Amherst.|
|Evaluation criteria:||Fellows will be selected from the pool of applicants on a competitive basis based upon: 1) a brief (1-2 page) statement of interest, 2) ability to contribute to the work of SCUA, and 3) a curriculum vita and letter of support.|
|Support & expectations:||Fellows will receive an honorarium of $500, plus hourly compensation for 150 hours of work.|
|Deadline for submission:||Applications must be received by April 17, 2015.|
|How to submit:||Applications should be submitted electronically to scua [at] library.umass.edu with “ethir application” and your name in the subject line. Letters of recommendation should be sent separately to the same address.|
Download the application form (rtf file).
- Provide hands-on experience using and interpreting historical materials
- Expose fellows to historical and archival standards and practices
- Assist fellows in developing research projects based on primary resources
- Increase access and provide additional scholarly layers for SCUA’s collections
- Foster information literacy in legacy historical formats
- Enhance learning and research at the university
- Create web-accessible guides and exhibits that will enhance fellow’s portfolios
- Fellows will produce tangible products for public consumption (e.g., finding aids, guides, digital collections, exhibits) based upon new or under-described collections, and they may assist in providing instruction for peers and classes
We will provide structured orientation for individuals and classes involving active learning, with an emphasis on:
- Handling original materials (paleography, formats)
- Interpreting historical content
- Interpreting historically specific forms of information
- Navigating the Department’s web resources
- Translating research interests into usable queries
Robert Francis Papers, 1891-1988.
Call no.: MS 403
The poet and essayist Robert Francis settled in Amherst, Mass., in 1926, three years after his graduation from Harvard, and created a literary life that stretched for the better part of half a century. An associate of Robert Frost and friend of many other writers, Francis occasionally worked as a teacher or lecturer, including a brief stint on the faculty at Mount Holyoke College, but he sustained himself largely through his writing, living simply in “Fort Juniper,” a cottage he built on Market Hill Road in North Amherst. A recipient of the Shelley Award (1939) and the Academy of American Poets award for distinguished poetic achievement (1984), Francis was a poet in residence at both Tufts (1955) and Harvard (1960) Universities. He died in Amherst in July 1987.
The Francis Papers contains both manuscript and printed materials, drafts and finished words, documenting the illustrious career of the poet. Of particular note is Francis’s correspondence with other writers, publishing houses, and readers, notably Paul Theroux. Also contains personal photographs and Francis family records and a small number of audio recordings of Francis reading his poetry. Letters from Francis to Regina Codey, 1936-1978, can be found in MS 314 along with two typescript poems by Francis.
- Amherst (Mass.)--History
- University of Massachusetts Press
- Brown, Rosellen
- Ciardi, John, 1916-
- De Vries, Peter
- Fitts, Dudley, 1903-
- Francis, Robert, 1901-1987
- Hall, Donald, 1928-
- Humphries, Rolfe
- Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972
- Moss, Howard, 1922-
- Shawn, Ted, 1891-1972
- Theroux, Paul
- Wilbur, Richard, 1921-
Types of material
- Phonograph records
Barrie B. Greenbie Papers, 1934-1997.
Call no.: FS 142
Barrie Barstow Greenbie was a key member of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at UMass Amherst from 1970-1989. In a long and remarkably diverse career, Greenbie worked as an artist with the Works Progress Administration, as a soldier and journalist, as a professor of theater, an architect, inventor, author, and landscape planner. After earning a BA in drama from the University of Miami (1953),he worked for several years in the theatre program at Skidmore College. While there, he added architecture to his array of talents, designing the East 74th Street Theater in New York in 1959, and founded a company to produce a “self-erecting” building designed to substitute for summer tent theaters. Two years after joining the faculty at UMass in 1970, he completed a doctorate in urban affairs and regional planning at the University of Wisconsin and continued with a characteristically broad array of creative pursuits, designing the William Smith Clark Memorial, among other things, and conducting an extensive aerial survey of the landscapes of the Connecticut River Valley. In monographs such as Design for Diversity and Spaces: Dimensions of the Human Landscape, Greenbie examined the interactions between humans and nature. He died at his home on South Amherst in 1998.
The Greenbie Papers document a long career as academic, writer, artist, architect, and theatrical designer. Of particular note is the extensive and engrossing correspondence, which extends from Greenbie’s years as a student at the Taft School in the late 1930s through his World War II service with the Sixth Army in the South Pacific and Japan, to his tenure at UMass Amherst (1970-1989). The collection also includes a small, but interesting correspondence between Greenbie’s parents (1918-1919).
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning
- World War, 1939-1945
- Greenbie, Barrie B
Lucy Gwin Papers, 1982-2005.
Call no.: MS 822
Born in Indiana, the writer Lucy Gwin (1943-2014) lived “a lot of lives,” in her own words, working in advertising, as a dairy farmer, civil rights activist, and deckhand on ships servicing oil rigs, all before the age of 40. While living in Rochester, N.Y., in 1989, however, her life took a sudden turn. After a head-on collision with a drunk driver left her with traumatic brain injury, Gwin was remanded for care to the New Medico Brain Rehabilitation Center, where she witnessed a world of isolation, patient abuse, and powerlessness. Never one to shrink from a challenge, she escaped from the Center and used her skills as an organizer and writer to expose conditions at New Medico and shut the facility down. Through her experiences, Gwin emerged as a powerful, often acerbic voice in all-disability rights advocacy, becoming the founder, designer, and editor of the influential Mouth Magazine in 1990.
Lucy Gwin’s papers document the advocacy of an important figure in the disability rights movement. The rich documentation for Mouth Magazine includes comprehensive editorial files arranged issue by issue, some correspondence with authors and supporters, and copies of the published issue. The balance of the collection contains Gwin’s other work as a writer, personal correspondence, and materials relating to her experiences with and campaign against New Medico.
- Disabled--Civil rights
- Mouth Magazine
Michael Haley Papers, 1968-2003.
Call no.: MS 670
An actor and motion picture assistant director and producer, Michael Haley was born in Pittsfield, Mass., in 1942. While an undergraduate student at UMass Amherst, Haley became involved in theater, joining the avant garde Buffalo Meat Company that performed original works in Massachusetts and New York City. Following a chance call from a producer looking for local help in 1969, Haley worked on his first film, the low-budget crime drama, Honeymoon Killers. After work on several other film and television productions, Haley was among ten people selected for the Directors Guild of America’s Assistant Directors Training Program. During his forty year career, Haley’s credits have included work with a number of noted directors, including Sidney Lumet, Barry Levinson, and Penny Marshall, and he has enjoyed a particularly long and productive association with Mike Nichols. His films have included The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The Stepford Wives, Biloxi Blues, True Colors, A League of Their Own, Groundhog Day, Primary Colors, and Closer. He was the recipient of two Humanitas Prizes (for Wit and Angels in America), and among others awards, the Christopher Award (for Wit), the Directors Guild of America award, Producers Guild of America award, and an Emmy (for Angels in America), a Directors Guild of America plaque (Working Girl), and the Berkshire International Film Festival Life-Time Achievement Award. He was named Artist of the Year at UMass and has been selected for a Bateman Fellowship.
Reflecting a diverse career in film, the Haley collection consists of scripts, photographs, memorabilia, and diaries, with a small quantity of notes and correspondence. The scripts, approximately 110 of them, are from films ranging from the Godfather II to Charlie Wilson’s War and Angels in America, may include several drafts. The photographs are both numerous and particularly rich, including some particularly interesting candid shots taken on film sets, as well as official shots taken by photographers such as Mary Ellen Mark.
- Motion picture producers and directors
- Motion pictures
- Nichols, Mike
- Haley, Michael
Types of material