Maida L. Riggs Papers, 1932.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 095
Maida Leonard Riggs, Class of 1936, taught women’s physical education at UMass before shifting to teacher preparation. Riggs was a beloved member of the UMass faculty for 28 years before her retirement. An adventurous spirit took Riggs around the globe: to Europe with the Red Cross during World War II; as a bicycling tour leader after the war; on a trek across Nepal at age 62; to Russia, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Uzbekistan. After retiring, Riggs, a self-described compulsive traveler, embarked on a more personal journey to explore her roots. Riggs transcribed over 250 letters by her pioneer great-grandmother, Mary Ann Clark Longley, and published them under the title A Small Bit of Bread and Butter: Letters from the Dakota Territory, 1832-1869, an absorbing and sometimes heartbreaking account of life on the frontier. An avid photographer, Riggs took advantage of any opportunity to use her camera. These images, particularly from World War II, tell as many stories as do her correspondence. Her book, Dancing in Paratrooper Boots, contains typed copies of her letters from her days as a Red Cross volunteer during the war.
The Riggs Papers are a rich documentary history of the World War II era, both in America and Europe, as well as an engrossing study (in transcripts) of the American frontier. Included with extensive correspondence and photographs are published and unpublished prose, and Lovingly, Lucy: Vignettes of a Pioneer Woman’s Life, an essay on Riggs’s paternal grandmother, Lucy Dodge Riggs. Additional items in the collection include handwritten journals, one detailing a trip to China and Japan in 1982, and Riggs’s photographs of young children at play taken for her book on child development, Jump to Joy: Helping Children Grow Through Active Play. Riggs also took her genealogical research seriously, meticulously charting her family’s 1638 immigration from England to Massachusetts. With camera in hand, she later traveled to England in search of more evidence of the Longley’s English roots.
- China--Description and travel
- Longley family
- Riggs family
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Alumni and alumnae
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Physical Education
- Women physical education teachers
- World War, 1939-1945
- World War, 1939-1945--Women
Types of material
Polish Women's Club of Three Rivers Records, 1924-1994.
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 391
Polish-American women’s club located near Palmer, Massachusetts, that aims to encourage Polish women to become United States citizens and provide them with classes in the English language; to take an active part in local, state and federal politics; to support local Polish-owned businesses; to preserve and integrate Polish culture with those of other ethnicities present in the United States; to encourage higher education in the Polish-American community.
Includes meeting minutes (primarily in Polish), histories, anniversary programs, town and state citations, and government publications, documenting the activities, membership, and national recognition of the club over a period of seventy years.
- Americanization--History--20th century
- Palmer (Mass.)--Ethnic relations--20th century
- Palmer (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th century
- Poles--Cultural assimilation--Massachusetts--History--20th century
- Polish American friendly societies--Massachusetts--Palmer--History
- Polish Americans--Ethnic identity--History--20th century
- Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Palmer
- Polish Americans--Political activity--History--20th century
- Massachusetts Federation of Polish Women's Clubs
- Polish American Women Citizens Political Club of Three Rivers and Thorndike (Palmer, Mass.)
- Polish Women's Club of Three Rivers (Palmer, Mass.)
Types of material
League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire Records, 1959-2001.
9 boxes (4 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 478
First founded as a chapter for Pittsfield and later for all of central Berkshire county, this local league is one of many Massachusetts chapters of the national non-partisan political organization, League of Women Voters, that influences public policy through education and advocacy by registering voters, organizing candidate forums, publishing voting guides, and disseminating general information on the legislative process and the functioning of government on the local, state, and federal levels.
The bulk of the collection documents the activities and topics of interest to members of the League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire during the last three decades of their work before disbanding in 2001. The chapter consistently served to educate the public on voter registration, the voting process, and on the functioning of local and state government. Other issues of importance included child care and rights, prison reform, clean water, and health care.
- Berkshire County (Mass.)--Politics and government
- Drinking water--Massachusetts
- Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
- League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire
Massachusetts Federation of Business and Professional Women Records, 1925-1992.
25 boxes (36.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 394
First called for in 1918 as a result of the need for a coordinated women’s effort during World War I, the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs was not officially formed until just after the armistice was signed in 1919. The new organization did not die with the end of the war, however, as first expected. Instead the group determined that the need for a national business women’s organization was of equal or greater importance during a time of peace. Today Massachusetts state affiliates continue to improve the lives of working women through action on issues such as economic empowerment, women’s health, family and medical leave, and pay equity.
The records of the Massachusetts Federation of Business and Professional Women consist chiefly of correspondence and minutes of meetings, which together chronicle the various issues the state club has worked on for more than sixty years. In addition to materials that document the efforts of the state affiliate there are also records for local chapters in Massachusetts (Hampshire County and Upper Cape Cod centered in Falmouth) which include annual reports and newsletters. Publications issued by the parent organization, BPW/USA, connect the national agenda with topics of importance to the state and local chapters.
- Women--Societies and clubs--History
- Business and Professional Women/USA
- Massachusetts Federation of Business and Professional Women
New Approaches to History Collection, 1967-1985.
23 boxes (10.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 182
The collection documents the creation and content of a course entitled New Approaches to History, which relied almost exclusively on the use of primary sources in teaching undergraduates history at UMass.
The collection includes the course proposal, correspondence, syllabi, course assignments, and resources for three units: Salem witchcraft, Shay’s Rebellion, and Lizzie Borden.
- History--Study and teaching
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History
Rural American Women Conference Records, 1978-1981.
5 boxes (2.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 146
Feeling the frustrations of millions of women and girls in rural America who lacked the support or resources necessary to combat unemployment, inadequate medical care, and domestic violence, Jane Threatt along with several other women decided to form a non-profit organization that would unite these women and give them a national voice. Established in 1978, Rural American Women (RAW) was organized to promote the interests of rural women in the areas of equal rights, employment, education, family life, and freedom of all forms of discrimination.
In 1981 RAW held a series of five regional conferences throughout the country, and the bulk of this collection consists of records relating to the New England meeting. The records also include some materials documenting the group’s activities at their national headquarters in D.C., such as minutes, correspondence, newsletters, and pamphlets.
Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) Records, 1992-2012.
3 boxes (3.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 868
Originating in 1991, the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) was established “to create a global network for book historians working in a broad range of scholarly disciplines.” With more than 1,000 members, research interests include the composition and reception of books as well as their survival and transformation over time.
Records cover the earliest days of the organization’s development, including founding documents, and document a variety of their activities from hosting conferences and publishing a newsletter to promoting scholarship.
- Authors and readers
- Publishers and publishing
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.
- Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government
- Kaynor, Fay
- Snyder, Mary
- Turner, Merrylees
- Wentworth, Mary L
Frances and Mary Allen Collection of Deerfield Photographs, 1900-1910.
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 001
Influenced by the arts and crafts movement, Frances and Mary Allen began taking photographs of their native Deerfield, Mass., in the mid-1880s. Displaying a finely honed pictorialist aesthetic, the sisters specialized in views of Deerfield and surrounding towns, posed genre scenes of life in colonial times, and the local scenery, earning a reputation as among the best women photographers of the period.
The Allen sisters photograph album contains ten gelatin developing out prints of street scenes in Deerfield, ca.1900-1910. Among these are two shots of the house they inherited from their aunt Kate in 1895, which thereafter became their home and studio.
- Deerfield (Mass.)--Photographs
- Women photographers--Massachusetts
- Allen, Frances
- Allen, Mary E. (Mary Electa), 1858-1941
Types of material
Marcia Grover Church Bates Family Papers, 1712-1999.
11 boxes (5.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 424
Generations of the Bates and Church families based in North Amherst and Ashfield, Massachusetts. Papers include deeds, a will, correspondence, account books (recording day-to-day expenditures on food, clothing, postage, housekeeping supplies, and laborer’s wages), diaries, an oral history, photographs, genealogical notes, and memorabilia related to the family.
- Ashfield (Mass.)--History
- Bates family
- Church family
- Hotelkeepers--Massachusetts--North Amherst
- Massachusetts Agricultural College--Alumni and alumnae
- Merchants--Massachusetts--North Amherst
- North Amherst (Mass.)--History
- Prescott (Mass.)--History
- Public librarians--Massachusetts
- Worcester (Mass.)--History
- Bates, Marcia Church, 1908-2000
- Church, Cornelia, 1906-1978
- Church, Lucia Grover, 1877-1943
Types of material
- Account books