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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Oral History Collection

ca.300 interviews
Call no.: RG 001/207

Beginning in the 1970s, UMass Amherst began conducting oral histories to record the memories and experiences its community, and it has conducted several focused projects since, including projects tied to the 125th and 150th anniversaries of the university. The Department of Special Collections in the University Libraries regularly conducts audio and video interviews throughout the university and with members of the local community.

The interviews that comprise the this collection represent a lengthening history of oral historical work centered on the history of the UMass Amherst community. The topics of interviews range widely from administration, academic research teaching, state and local politics, student life, and activism

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--History
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Staff
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students
Types of material
  • Oral histories
  • Sound recordings

UMass Amherst. Dean of Students

UMass Amherst. Dean of Students, 1948-1987. 27 boxes (13.25 linear feet).

The Office of the Dean of Students at UMass Amherst was established by President John Lederle in 1961 to replace the separately structured offices of the Dean of Men and Dean of Women, and to provide more effective, more flexible support for a growing and changing student body. In the 1960s, the Dean of Students had responsibility for almost all operational units related to student life, including Admissions, Records, Residence Halls, Dining Halls, Student Union, Student Activities, Placement, and Financial Aid. As the University became a statewide administrative unit with the opening of UMass Boston and the Medical School, there was an increasing conflict between the Office of the Dean of Students on the Amherst campus and the growing demands for a responsive administrative hierarchy. In 1970, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs was therefore created to provide an appropriate level of supervision for the various Student Affairs divisions with regard to budget, personnel and administration. The Office of the Dean of Students then became a student contact-based office, which cooperated and collaborated with the other divisions. The first Dean of Students, William Field came to UMass in 1951 as a guidance counselor and assistant professor of psychology. His tenure coincided with the massive expansion of campus and the turbulent years of the late 1960s and early 1970s, during which he played an important mediating role. The recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal in 1983, Field retired from office in 1988.

An important series of records documenting student life on the UMass Amherst campus, with an emphasis on the 1960s and 1970s. Among these are an extensive series of bylaws and charters for residence halls and registerred student organizations (RSOs) at UMass, as well as subject files on campus protests and demonstrations, students of color, and student groups of various sorts.


  • African American students–Massachusetts.
  • Field, William.
  • Student movements–Massachusetts.
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dean of Students.
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst–Students.
Call no.: RG 30/2

Thacher-Channing families

Thacher-Channing Family Papers

3 boxes, books 22.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1005
Image of Stephen Thacher, ca.1853
Stephen Thacher, ca.1853

A graduate of Yale, failed schoolmaster, and politically-connected customs collector in eastern Maine during the antebellum period, Stephen Thacher raised a large family with grand intellectual ambitions. Thacher’s sons made the most of their collegiate educations in their careers in law and the ministry, his eldest daughter Mary married Thomas Wentworth Higginson, while a granddaughter Alice Thacher married the Harvard historian Edward Channing, son of William Ellery Channing and nephew of Margaret Fuller.

These relics of a prominent New England family contain nearly 150 letters, dozens of photographs and other visual materials, and a large assortment of books from three generations of Thachers and Channings. The letters are a rich resource for understanding the life of Stephen Thacher from the uncertainty of youth in Connecticut to political and financial success in the ports of eastern Maine. Assembled by Stephen’s son Peter, the collection includes a number of noteworthy items, including an excellent letter from Timothy Goodwin in July 1775, describing his experiences during the failed expedition on Quebec and the retreat to Crown Point, and a series of letters from Congressman Martin Kinsley on the major issues of the day, including the extension of slavery to the territories and formation of the state of Maine.

Gift of Ben Forbes and Fran Soto, 2017
  • Channing family
  • Maine--Politics and government--19th century
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--19th century
  • Thacher family
Types of material
  • Ambrotypes
  • Daguerreotypes
  • Photographs
  • Silhouettes

Forman, Sylvia Helen, 1944 or 1945-1992

Sylvia Forman Collection

1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 341

Shortly after receiving her doctorate from the University of California Berkeley in 1972, the anthropologist Sylvia Helen Forman joined the faculty at UMass Amherst. A staunch feminist and activist, Forman was known for her commitment to her students and to the political life at the university, and for her engagement in the community. She died of cancer in 1992, just 48 years old.

The nine papers in this collection were the products of studies by students enrolled in Forman’s Anthropology 497 class at UMass Amherst. All are intensive analyses of issues of race, gender, and social justice in local communities, including disability, teenage pregnancy, child care, Cambodian refugees, and attitudes toward community living and community change.

Gift of Sylvia Forman, 1989.
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Anthropology--Massachusetts
  • Cambodians--Massachusetts
  • Child care--Massachusetts
  • Community and college--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Deerfield (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Hadley (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Leverett (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Pelham (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Teenage pregnancy--Massachusetts--Holyoke

UMass Peacemakers

UMass Peacemakers Records

1965-1990 Bulk: 1983-1990
10 boxes 20 linear feet
Call no.: MS 309
Image of Peacemakers contingent at the Four Days in April protests, 1984
Peacemakers contingent at the Four Days in April protests, 1984

Although the precise origins of UMass Peacemakers are murky, by 1982, the group was an active presence on the UMass Amherst campus organizing opposition to militarism and the nuclear arms race and providing support for the nuclear freeze movement. Organizing vigils, demonstrations, informational workshops, and providing civil disobedience training, the Peacemakers were the most visible pacifist group on the UMass Amherst campus in the 1980s.

The UMass Peacemakers Records focus on the activities of the student group between 1983 and 1990, documenting their role in confronting the aggressive international expansionism of the Reagan administration and its “Star Wars” program, while also engaging at the local and national level by organizing rallies, lectures, poetry readings, and film screenings. At UMass, Peacemakers was part of the larger Progressive Student Network, and worked alongside other student organizations including the Radical Student Union.

Gift of Peacemakers through Peter Sakura, May 1991
  • Antinuclear movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Central America--Foreign relations--United States
  • Disarmament--Massachusetts
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Student movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • United States--Foreign relations--Central America
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • UMass Peacemakers
Types of material
  • Brochures
  • Photographs

University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst Sound Recordings Collection

26 28.5 linear feet
Call no.: RG 185

Established in 1863 as the Massachusetts Agricultural College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is a national research university and the flagship campus of the states five-campus University system. UMass, one of the founding members of the Five College Consortium established in 1965, offers reciprocal student access among the University and Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges. The University currently enrolls approximately 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and offers 87 bachelor’s degree programs, 6 associate’s, 73 masters, and 51 doctoral programs in 10 schools and colleges.

Collocated for reasons of preservation and convenience of storage, the sound recordings in this series were produced under a variety of circumstances by a range of individuals and units in the university. Although they represent only a small proportion of the audio materials in UMass collections, they include a handful of recordings of administration activities, such as the Board of Trustees meetings and the Chancellor’s Committee investigating the women’s occupation of the Daily Collegian offices, along with selected recordings from the Distinguished Visitors Program.

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Distinguished Visitors Program (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Types of material
  • Audiocassettes
  • Audiotapes
  • Open reel audiotapes

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Academic Departments

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Academic Departments, Programs, Institutes, Centers


The academic departments at UMass Amherst are organized within ten schools and colleges. Among the more than 88 degree programs in 2009, 74 confer masters degrees, and 53 confer doctorates.

Containing the records of individual academic departments, programs, institutes, and centers, Record Group 25 documents the shifting history of disciplinarity and departmental affairs at UMass Amherst. The papers of individual faculty members are contained within the Faculty and Staff (FS) collections and are indexed separately in UMarmot.

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Alumni

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Alumni

146.25 linear feet
Call no.: RG 050

This record group contains materials that document alumni and alumni activities throughout the history of the Amherst campus. Included are annual reports, constitutions and by-laws, board and committee minutes, cash books and financial statements, correspondence, alumni directories, class lists, obituaries, biographies, bibliographies of alumni writings, photographs, alumni periodicals, brochures from alumni events, newsclippings, handbooks and manuals, reunion and dinner programs, scrapbooks, memorabilia and artifacts.

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Alumni
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Alumni Office
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Scrapobooks

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Arts Extension Service

Arts Extension Service Records

7 boxes 9.5 linear feet
Call no.: RE 007/5
Image of

The Arts Extension Service (AES), a national arts service organization located at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is the nation’s leading provider of professional arts management education, serving the arts through education, research, and publications. The AES distinguished itself as the first program in the nation to offer a bachelor’s degree in Arts Administration and it has subsequently added a range of training programs for state, regional and local arts agencies, including Peer Advising and Artist-in-Business, research services, and two online Certificates in Arts Management.

The records of the Arts Extension Service (AES) are divided into three series: Administration; Programs; and Publications. Series one dates from 1973-2004 and contains correspondence, consulting logs, contracts, course catalogs, organizational plans, press releases, books, booklets, forms and documents. Series two dates from 1977-2005 and contains correspondence, handouts, flyers, news clippings, brochures, pamphlets, reports, proposals, registration forms, grants, evaluation forms, schedules, and planning documents. Series three is composed of news manuals, catalogs, news clippings, newspapers, books, booklets, advertisements, correspondence, entry forms and handbooks that date from 1974-1999.

  • Arts--Education
  • Arts--Management

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Campus Center

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Campus Center and Student Union

The Murray D. Lincoln Campus Center and Student Union is one of the hubs of undergraduate life at UMass Amherst, offering a range of facilities and services to the university community. In addition to the Campus Center Hotel and rooms for meetings, conferences, conventions, and special events, the Campus Center houses UMass Catering Services, retail food outlets, student cooperative businesses, administrative offices, and the University Store. The Student Union houses student organizations and other stores and food outlets.

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Murray D. Lincoln Campus Center
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Student Union