Valley Light Opera Records, 1977-2005.
12 boxes (18.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 476
Founded in 1975 by a group of Gilbert and Sullivan devotees, the Valley Light Opera is based in Amherst, Massachusetts. VLO presents one fully staged opera and one less formal production every year, and over the years the company has presented all fourteen of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas at least once.
This collection contains a wonderful visual record of VLO productions with literally hunderds of photographs capturing dozens of performances. The collection contains, too, records that document the company’s activities from the moment an opera is selected to be performed to last curtain call.
- Theatrical companies--Massachusetts
Joseph Donohue Collection of Theatre Programs and Theatrical Ephemera, 1968-2010.
23 boxes (12 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 696
An historian of modern British drama, Joseph Donohue was a longtime member of the Department of English at UMass Amherst. A native of Brookline, Mass., Donohue was educated at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown before receiving his doctorate at Princeton (1965), and he studied directing at both Columbia and Yale. After five years at Princeton, he joined the faculty at UMass in 1971, where he remained for thirty four years. The author of numerous articles and books on the British and Irish theatre, Donohue was author — among many other works — of Dramatic Character in the English Romantic Age (1970) and Theatre in the Age of Kean (1975) and editor of the London Stage, 1800-1900 Project. A past president of the American Society for Theatre Research, he was also a fixture in local performances, including the Valley Light Opera Company. Upon retirement from the department in 2005, Donohue was named Professor Emeritus.
Consisting of hundreds of theatrical programs and other ephemera, the Donohue collection documents a lifetime of avid theater-going. The astonishing array of playwrights and plays represented in the collection, and the diversity of theatres (mostly in New York and London), provides a nearly exhaustively chronicle of Donohue’s theatrical habits from his days as a graduate student to nearly the present.
- Theater--New York (State)--New York
- Donohue, Joseph W., 1935-
Types of material
James Ellis Theatre Collection, 1700-2005.
Call no.: MS 779
During a long career as Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College, James Ellis wrote on the Victorian stage and the work of Gilbert and Sullivan. A founding member of the Valley Light Opera Company, he was also an actor and director of theatricals in the Pioneer Valley.
The Ellis Collection contains approximately 8,000 published works on the Anglo-American stage, 1750-1915, including individual plays and anthologies of English and American playwrights; biographical works on performers; works on the theatre in London, the provinces, and America; periodicals, playbills, prints, broadsides, and ephemera; and works that provide cultural context for interpreting the stage. Although the collection includes some works from the 18th century, it is deepest for the English stage in the period 1850-1900.
- Actors--Great Britain
- Actors--United States
- Amateur theater--Great Britain--19th century
- Theater--Great Britain--19th century
- Theater--United States--19th century
Types of material
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
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
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.
Harvey Swados Papers, 1933-1983.
49 boxes (23 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 218
The author and social critic Harvey Swados (1920-1972) was a graduate of the University of Michigan who embarked on a literary life after service in the merchant Marine during the Second World War. His first novel, Out Went the Candle (1955), introduced the themes to which Swados would return throughout his career, the alienation of factory workers and the experience of the working class in industrial America. His other works include a widely read collection of stories set in an auto plant, On the Line, the novels False Coin (1959), Standing Fast (1970), and Celebration (1975), and a noted collection of essays A Radical’s America (1962). His essay for Esquire magazine, “Why Resign from the Human Race?,” is often cited as inspiring the formation of the Peace Corps.
The Swados collection includes journals, notes, typewritten drafts of novels and short stories, galley proofs, clippings, and correspondence concerning writings; letters from family, publishers, literary agents, colleagues, friends, and readers, including Richard Hofstadter, Saul Bellow, James Thomas Farrell, Herbert Gold, Irving Howe, Bernard Malamud, and Charles Wright Mills; letters from Swados, especially to family, friends, and editors; book reviews; notes, background material, and drafts of speeches and lectures; financial records; biographical and autobiographical sketches; bibliographies.
- Authors, American--20th century--Biography
- Jewish authors--United States--Biography
- National Book Awards--History--20th century
- Socialists--United States--Biography
- Bellow, Saul
- Farrell, James T. (James Thomas), 1904-1979
- Gold, Herbert, 1924-
- Hofstadter, Richard, 1916-1970
- Howe, Irving
- Malamud, Bernard
- Mills, C. Wright (Charles Wright), 1916-1962
- Swados, Harvey, 1920-1972
Deerfield Valley Lodge No. 150 Records, 1895-1920.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 453
The Ancient Order of United Workmen, a fraternal benefit society, was originally founded in Pennsylvania in 1868. The Massachusetts lodge was founded in 1879 with the Deerfield Valley Lodge incorporated in 1880.
The collection consists of records dating from 1895–1920, including financial documents, membership information, and correspondence.
- Fraternal Aid Association
- Fraternal organizations--Massachusetts
- Shelburne Falls (Mass.)--History
- Ancient Order of United Workmen. Deerfield Valley Lodge No. 150
Types of material
- Letters (Correspondence)
- Receipts (Financial records)
Boarding House Register, 1850.
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 098
Twenty-four page register kept by unnamed person, possibly from a Quabbin town, listing boarders by name, payment received, and employee accounts. Payments noted in detail from February to October, 1850. Boarders included several doctors and L.S. Hills, possibly Leonard S. Hills of the Amherst, Massachusetts hat factory. Employee accounts list many women with Irish surnames, including Ellen O’Leary, Ellen Callahan, and Margaret Murphy.
- Boardinghouses--Massachusetts--19th century
- Irish American women--History--19th century
Types of material
Connecticut Valley Breeders Association Records, 1908-1947 (Bulk: 1908-1930).
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 425
Established in Northampton, Mass., in May 1908, the Connecticut Valley Breeders Association was part of the burgeoning Progressive-era movement to apply scientific principles to improve agriculture. In its charter, the CVBA announced the ambitious goal of promoting “the live stock development of the Connecticut Valley and as far as possible the entire New England states in every way as affecting its educational, economic, legislative, health or other influences.” Led by Oren C. Burt of Easthampton, and George E. Taylor of Shelburne (its first President), it sponsored lectures and other information sessions that attracted as many as 500 attendees at its peak of popularity. Although the organization appears to have waned in the period of the First World War, it was revived in 1925 and four years later, the new Hampshire Herd Improvement Association assumed many of its functions.
This slender ledger records the minutes of the Connecticut Valley Breeders Association from its founding in 1908 through about 1930. In addition to the constitution and by-laws of both the CVBA and HHIA, the ledger includes minutes of the organizations’ meetings from 1908-1930, with a gap from 1916-1925. The collection is accompanied by a U.S. Department of Agriculture pamphlet, Cow Testers Handbook (1924).
- Burt, Oren C.
- Connecticut Valley Breeders Association
- Hampshire Herd Improvement Association
- Taylor, George E.
Types of material
Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley Records, 1979-1994.
12 boxes (7 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 468
Amherst, Massachusetts, chapter of the national Gray Panther organization that sponsored the weekly Amherst Vigil for Peace and Justice, tackled such issues as fair and affordable housing for people of all ages, nursing home reform, Social Security policy, universal health care, safe-sex, and age discrimination, and also worked to improve the everyday life of senior citizens and the community at large, often collaborating with other local organizations to address world peace, environmental concerns, improved child care, educational opportunities, and handicapped accessibility.
Records include charter, by-laws, histories and mission statements, meeting agendas and minutes, correspondence, financial reports, fund raising materials, membership lists, membership questionnaire, newsletters, press releases, leaflets, clippings, a scrapbook, T-shirts, and program files, that document the founding and activities of the Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley.
- Older people--Massachusetts
- Peace movements--Massachusetts
- Social justice--Massachusetts
- Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley
- Holt, Margaret
PFLAG Pioneer Valley Records, 1987-1994.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 397
The Pioneer Valley chapter of Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) was established in 1986 by Jean and James Genasci, parents of a gay son and advocates of civil rights for gays and lesbians. As the group’s local coordinators, the Genascis conducted workshops on homosexuality and homophobia, and offered support to gays and lesbians and their families.
The collection consists chiefly of newspaper clippings containing articles about the work of PFLAG as well as annoucements for upcoming meetings and events. Bulletins and newsletters issued by PFLAG document their activities, in particular their support of the 1989 Massachusetts gay rights bill, as do photographs featuring demonstrations and exhibits.
- Gay rights
- Gays--Family relationships
- Lesbians--Family relationships
- Parents of gays--Massachusetts
- Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (Pioneer Valley, Mass.)