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MFA Program for Poets and Writers (University of Massachusetts Amherst) Collection, 1963-2014

(18 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 023

One of the oldest programs of its kind in the country, the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass Amherst was established by the poet Joseph Langland in 1963, offering students an opportunity for intensive focus on their creative work. Unlike the Iowa Writers Workshop, where Langland had studied, students in the UMass program were required to take coursework outside of writing workshops. Over its first fifty years, the program has grown into one of the top ten in the nation and its graduates and faculty have been recognized with awards from the Pulitzer to the National Book Award, Pushcart Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and US Poet Laureate.

The MFA collection contains a growing body of work from students, alumni, and faculty affiliated with the Program for Poets and Writers at UMass Amherst. Among the hundreds of volumes are novels, collections of short stories, plays, and poetry, including a large number of chapbooks and small press imprints.


  • Fiction
  • Poetry

Broadside Press Collection, 1965-1984

1 box, 110 vols. (3.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 571
Broadside 6
Broadside 6

A significant African American poet of the generation of the 1960s, Dudley Randall was an even more significant publisher of emerging African American poets and writers. Publishing works by important writers from Gwendolyn Brooks to Haki Madhubuti, Alice Walker, Etheridge Knight, Audre Lorde, Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, and Sonia Sanchez, his Broadside Press in Detroit became an important contributor to the Black Arts Movement.

The Broadside Press Collection includes approximately 200 titles published by Randall’s press during its first decade of operation, the period of its most profound cultural influence. The printed works are divided into five series, Broadside poets (including chapbooks, books of poetry, and posters), anthologies, children’s books, the Broadside Critics Series (works of literary criticism by African American authors), and the Broadsides Series. . The collection also includes a selection of items used in promoting Broadside Press publications, including a broken run of the irregularly published Broadside News, press releases, catalogs, and fliers and advertising cards.


  • African American poets
  • African American writers
  • Black Arts Movement
  • Poetry


  • Broadside Press
  • Brooks, Gwendolyn, 1917-2000
  • Emanuel, James A
  • Giovanni, Nikki
  • Knight, Etheridge
  • Madhubuti, Haki R., 1942-
  • Randall, Dudley, 1914-
  • Sanchez, Sonia, 1934-

Types of material

  • Broadsides
  • Ephemera
  • Posters
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:

Famous Long Ago Collection, ca.1960-2005

The barn, Montague Farm Photo by Roy Finestone, Oct. 1976
The barn, Montague Farm Photo by Roy Finestone, Oct. 1976

Ray Mungo’s Famous Long Ago (1970) and Steve Diamond’s What the Trees Said (1971) are classic visions of late 1960s counterculture and of life in New England communes. The communes on which Mungo and Diamond settled, Packer Corner and the Montague Farm, became the center of what might be considered a single extended community, embracing the Wendell Farm and Johnson Pasture and Tree Frog Farm in Vermont. The Farmers themselves were, and remain, a diverse group, including photographers, novelists, and poets, artists, actors, and activists.

An umbrella collection, the Famous Long Ago Archive contains a growing number of collections relating to the communes at Montague Farm, Packer Corners, Johnson Pasture, Wendell Farm, and Tree Frog Farm. These range from the papers of Steve Diamond, Raymond Mungo, and Jonathan Maslow to Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner (the latter of whom lived at Montague Farm), the records of the Liberation News Service, the Alternative Energy Coalition, and Musicians United for Safe Energy, to the photographic collections of Roy Finestone and Stephen Josephs. View all the Famous Long Ago Collections.

Collections include:


  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Communal living--Vermont
  • Johnson Pasture Community (Vt.)
  • Montague Farm Community (Mass.)
  • Packer Corners Community (Vt.)
  • Political activists--Massachusetts

Robert Francis Papers, 1891-1988

17 boxes (8.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 403
Robert Francis, by Frank A. Waugh,<br />Nov. 1939
Robert Francis, by Frank A. Waugh,
Nov. 1939

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.

Connect to another siteListen to interviews with Francis on Poems to a Listener", 1977-1978


  • Amherst (Mass.)--History
  • Poetry--Publishing
  • Poets--Massachusetts
  • 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

  • Audiotapes
  • Phonograph records
  • Photographs

James A. Freeman Broadcast Radio Collection, ca.1930-1955

18 boxes (27 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 759

A professor of English at UMass Amherst, James A. Freeman is a scholar of seventeenth century British literature who has compiled an impressively eclectic array of publications and research projects. Educated at Amherst College (AB 1956) and the University of Minnesota (PhD 1968), Freeman joined the faculty in the English Department at UMass shortly after completing his doctorate. He has published on topics ranging from Latin and Greek poets to Shakespeare, Milton, Swift, Tennyson, James Agee, Donald Duck, 17th century regicides, and 1930s radio. He has also served as a regular contributor and editor for the Association for Gravestone Studies Quarterly.

The Freeman collection consists of many hundreds of cassette tapes of radio broadcasts from the 1930s through early 1950s, reflecting the culture of commercial radio during its golden age. The collection includes representatives of most of the major genres, including comedy, drama, suspense and mystery, soap operas, and westerns. There is some depth popular programs such as Amos and Andy, the Great Gildersleeve, Philip Marlowe, and Nero Wolfe, but the collection also includes less common and short-lived shows.


  • Radio


  • Freeman, James A., 1935-

Types of material

  • Audiocassettes

Maxwell Henry Goldberg Papers, 1888-1986

60 boxes (33 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 064
Max Goldberg, photo by Frank Waugh
Max Goldberg, photo by Frank Waugh

Professor of English, adviser to student newspaper (The Collegian) and Jewish student organizations, University of Massachusetts, and founding member, College English Association.

The Goldberg Papers contain correspondence, speeches, published writings, papers written as a graduate student, biographical material, book reviews, subject files, newsclippings, and material from committees and projects with which he was involved, including the College English Association, College English Association Institute, Humanities Center for Liberal Education, and American Humanities Seminar.


  • College English Association
  • Humanities Center for Liberal Education
  • Jews--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English


  • Goldberg, Maxwell Henry, 1907-

Everett Hoagland Papers, 1966-2016

4 boxes, 28 books (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 910
Everett Hoagland
Everett Hoagland at the PAWA World Poetry Conference in Accra, Ghana, 1999.

Poet Everett Hoagland was born and raised in Philadelphia and attended and graduated from Lincoln University, and later Brown University on a full fellowship for pursuing his Masters of Arts. Hoagland’s poetry came of age during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and the Black Arts Movement, and is often powerfully political. Driven by the history, music, rhythms, and both collective and individual stories from African and African American culture and experiences, Hoagland is one of the most significant African American poets of the late twentieth century. His second chapbook, Black Velvet, was published by the pioneering Broadside Press in 1970, and he has remained widely published and anthologized through to the present day, including his most recent anthology addition, a poem about the Black Lives Matter movement. In addition to his writing, Hoagland has given readings across the nation and globe, and also served as a teacher and mentor to many, primarily in his position as a Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for over thirty years. He has won numerous awards and honors, including the Gwendolyn Brooks Award for Fiction, two state-wide poetry competitions for Massachusetts Artists Foundation fellowships, the Distinguished Service to University award from UMass Dartmouth, two MA Local Cultural Council grants for book publications, ForeWord Magazine’s Best Poetry Book award, and most recently in 2015, the Langston Hughes Society Award. Hoagland also served, from 1994 to 1998, as the inaugural poet laureate of his adopted hometown of New Bedford, MA.

The Everett Hoagland Papers include manuscript materials and over twenty books documenting Hoagland’s decades-long career as a poet and writer on racial politics and African American experiences. They consist of photographs; performance and presentation programs, reviews, and recordings; interviews and articles; and unpublished and published writings including copies of Hoagland’s column in the New Bedford The Standard Times, a draft of his Master’s thesis, short fiction stories, a scrapbook of unpublished poetry, and poetry in magazines, periodicals, Hoagland’s authored poetry books, and numerous anthologies.


  • African American poets
  • African American writers
  • African Americans--Poetry
  • American poetry--African American authors
  • Black Arts Movement
  • Poetry--New England--Massachusetts

Types of material

  • Anthologies
  • Books
  • Poems

Rocco and Barbara Verrilli Collection of Charles Lamb, 1741-1932 (Bulk: 1798-1834)

1 box, 79 volumes (13 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 939
Charles Lamb
Charles Lamb

A poet, critic, and essayist, and close friend of Coleridge and Wordsworth, Charles Lamb was a popular figure in literary circles in late Georgian Britain. Born in London in 1775, Lamb began working in the accounting office of the British East India Company at the age of seventeen. Despite struggling with mental illness in his family, he built a reputation as a writer. With an elegant, eccentric, and somewhat antiquated style, he became known first for his poetry, but soon gained notice for prose and criticism. Written with his sister Mary, Tales from Shakespeare (1808) achieved notable success, however Lamb’s fame rests primarily on the essays he wrote during the 1820s under the pseudonym Elia. Lamb died from erysipelas on Dec. 29, 1833.

From the 1960s through 2010s, Rocco and Barbara Verrilli built this extensive collection of first and early editions of Charles Lamb’s writing. Among the volumes they acquired are Lamb’s personal copy of his first publication, Poems on Various Subjects; a rare copy of his first book for children King and Queen of Hearts (1806); and a presentation copy of his best known work, Elia (1823). The twenty-five manuscript items in the collection are particularly noteworthy. Displaying a characteristic combination of charm, wit, and insight, these include a long letter to Robert Southey discussing poetry; humorous letters to his admirer John B. Dibdin; an acrostic by Lamb on the name of Sarah Thomas; and two particularly fine letters to the poet Edward Dyer, including an eye-witness account of the agricultural rebellion known as the Swing Riots.


  • Authors, English--19th century
  • Poets--Great Britain


  • Verrilli, Barbara
  • Verrilli, Rocco

Michael Lenson Collection, 1969-1970

12 items (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 745

Born in Russia in 1903, the realist painter Michael Lenson emigrated to the United States at the age of eight, and from early in life, took an interest in art. While a student at the National Academy of Design in 1928, Lenson was awarded the Chaloner Paris Prize, enabling him to spend four years of study in Europe and leading to his first three one man shows. With the Great Depression in full effect upon his return to America, he accepted a position as director of mural projects for the Works Progress Administration in New Jersey, through which he built a reputation as one of the most important muralists in the eastern states. Exhibited widely, he was productive as both an artist and critic until his death in 1971. His works are included in the collections of the RISD Museum, the Maier Museum of Art, the Johnson Museum of Art, the Newark Museum, the Montclair Art Museum, and the Wolfsonian Collection, among others.

Consisting of pencil portraits of poets, each approximately 12 x 18″, the Lenson Collection contains twelve late works by Michael Lenson that were included in an exhibition held at the Montclair Art Museum in 1970. The subjects of the portraits include William Blake, Robert Browning, George Gordon Lord Byron, Robert Burns, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Donne, T.S. Eliot, John Keats, John Milton, Sean O’Casey, Alexander Pope, and Percy Bysshe Shelley.


  • Blake, William , 1757-1827
  • Browning, Robert, 1812-1889
  • Burns, Robert, 1759-1796
  • Byron, George Gordon Byron, Baron, 1788-1824
  • Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400
  • Donne, John, 1572-1631
  • Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965
  • Keats, John, 1795-1821
  • Milton, John, 1608-1674
  • O'Casey, Sean, 1880-1964
  • Pope, Alexander, 1688-1744
  • Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 1792-1822


  • Lenson, Michael, 1903-1971

Types of material

  • Drawings (Visual works)
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