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Bajgier Family

Bajgier Family Papers

1925-1986
2 boxes 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 400
Depiction of Joseph and Martha Bajgier at Bell Market, Chicopee, 1937
Joseph and Martha Bajgier at Bell Market, Chicopee, 1937

On March 13, 1903, Joseph Michael Bajgier was born in Odrzykon, Poland, the youngest of three sons in a farming family. Schooled only through the third grade, Joseph served as a young man in the First Air Division of the Polish Army before following his older brother in emigrating to the United States in 1927. Settling in Chicopee, Mass., with its large and active Polish community, Bajgier began work as a slaughterer of pigs for a meat processing company, but within a few years, he had saved enough money to purchase a small grocery store in Longmeadow. In about 1935, he returned to Chicopee, purchasing a grocery and deli, Bell Market, that his family ran for 36 years. Bajgier was deeply involved in the local Polish community as a member of the Polish National Alliance, the Holy Name Society of St. Stanislaus Parish, and an organization of Polish veterans in exile (Stowarzyszenie Polskich Kombatantow). He and his wife Martha (Misiaszek) had two sons, Casimir and Edward

The Bajgier collection documents the lives of a Polish family in Chicopee, Mass., from the time of immigration through the 1970s. The core of the collection surrounds the life of Joseph Bajgier, and includes a number of documents and a diary from the time of his emigration in 1927, a fascinating series of letters from relatives in Turaszowka, Poland before and after the Second World War, and several photographs of the family and their business in Chicopee.

Subjects

Chicopee (Mass.)--Social life and customsPolish Americans--MassachusettsWorld War, 1939-1945

Contributors

Bajgier, Joseph M

Types of material

Photographs
Yantshev, Theodore

Theodore Yantshev Collection

1947-1958
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 141

On June 23, 1946, a young Bulgarian refugee, Theodore Konstantin Yantshev, arrived in Baltimore as a stowaway aboard the S.S. Juliet Victory, intending to seek asylum in the United States. Despite the intervention of influential supporters including John F. Kennedy and Leverett Saltonstall, and the services of the Boston legal firm Powers and Hall, Yantshev was deported to Argentina in 1948. Efforts to secure a legal to the states eventually succeeded, yet poverty prevented Yantshev from following up.

The files retained by Powers and Hall in the case of Theodore Yantshev are focused closely on the plight of a Cold War-era refugee and would-be immigrant from Communist Bulgaria. The collection includes memoranda and summaries of the Yantshev’s case compiled by Powers and Hall and an apparently complete set in incoming and outgoing correspondence from the beginning of the case in 1947 through its final, failed disposition in 1958.

Acquired from Goodspeeds Bookshop, 1986

Subjects

Bulgaria--History--20th centuryBulgarians--United StatesPolitical refugees--United States

Contributors

Gray, WilliamKennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963Powers and Hall
Allen, Theodore W., 1919-2005

Theodore W. Allen Papers

1946-2005
47 boxes 64 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1021
Part of: Jeffrey B. Perry Collection
Depiction of Theodore W. Allen
Theodore W. Allen

An anti-white supremacist, working class intellectual and activist, Theodore W. “Ted” Allen was one of the most important thinkers on race and class in the twentieth century. He developed his pioneering class struggle-based analysis of “white skin privilege” beginning in the mid-1960s; authored the seminal two-volume The Invention of the White Race in the 1990s; and consistently maintained that the struggle against white supremacy was central to efforts at radical social change in the United States. Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Allen was raised in Kentucky and West Virginia, where he was “proletarianized” by the Great Depression. A member of the American Federation of Musicians and the United Mine Workers, and a member of the Communist Party, Allen moved to Brooklyn after injuring his back in the mines, and spent the last fifty years of his life at various jobs including factory work, teaching, the post office, and the Brooklyn Public Library. In the 1960s, having broken from the Communist Party, Allen set out on his own independent research course. Inspired by the work of W. E. B. Du Bois he wrote on the “white blindspot” and “white skin privilege” and began what became forty years of work focused on white supremacy as the principal retardant of class consciousness among European-American workers. Over his last thirty years, Allen wrote hundreds of published and unpublished articles and letters challenging white supremacy, capitalist rule, sexism, and U.S. Imperialism, as well as numerous poems.

The Theodore W. Allen Papers are a comprehensive assemblage of correspondence, published and unpublished writings, audio and video materials, and research by one of the major theorists on race and class of the twentieth century. The Papers offer important insights on the Old and New Left and their relation to the labor and Civil Rights/Black Liberation Movements and have much to offer students, scholars, researchers, and activists.

Gift of Jeffrey B. Perry, May 2018

Subjects

Communists--New York (State)Historians--New York (State)Labor movementRaceRacism

Contributors

Ignatiev, NoelSojourner Truth Organization

Types of material

Photographs
American Friends Service Committee. Western Massachusetts

American Friends Service Committee Records

1960-2007 Bulk: 1975-2005
25 boxes, 1 oversized folder 36.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 459

Established in 1968 in response to the war in Vietnam, the AFSC office in western Massachusetts did not limit its focus to draft and military counseling, instead the organization broadened its focus over time to include educational and outreach programs for a variety of peace and socal justice issues. Today the chapter focuses on economic justice, campaigns against U.S. military intervention, and actions to combat racism and classism. With an emphasis on serving the community of western Massachusetts, the program is equally committed to calling attention to issues of both national and local importance. Recent campaigns range from ending the war in Iraq and supporting peace in Columbia to preventing the construction of a new jail in Chicopee.

The collection consists chiefly of subject files that together provide a picture of the various issues in which the western Massachusetts AFSC was involved. Topics range from the organization’s earliest focus, the Vietnam War, to the first Gulf War, landlord/tenant relations, immigration, and landmines. The collection also includes materials relating to public figures, some of whom traveled to the region to speak.

Subjects

Activists--MassachusettsMassachusetts--Economic conditionsPeace movements--MassachusettsSocial justice--Massachusetts

Contributors

American Friends Service Committee. Western Massachusetts
American History Workshop

American History Workshop Records

1980-2016
42 boxes 63 linear feet
Call no.: MS 922

Founded by Richard Rabinowitz in 1980, American History Workshop is a consortium of historians, designers, and filmmakers who promote public understanding of history through innovative exhibition and interpretation. Collaborating with a national roster of clients, the AHW provides consultation and assistance in developing, designing, and installing exhibitions that convey current historical scholarship and pedagogical practice for the public. Their exhibits have explored a wide array of critical themes in American history, including slavery, civil rights, and social justice; Constitutional and political history; immigration; urbanization; and labor history. In recent years, they have expanded their operations to include services such as audience analysis, media production, fund raising assistance, and organizational development.

The records of the American History Workshop document over three decades of work by one of the premier firms in historical exhibition and interpretation. The collection contains detailed records of nearly 600 projects prepared in collaboration with organizations ranging from the New-York Historical Society and Arizona Historical Society to the Smithsonian, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Gift of Richard Rabinowitz, 2016

Subjects

ExhibitionsPublic history

Contributors

Rabinowitz, RichardSinger, Michael
Brewer, D. Chauncey

D. Chauncey Brewer Account Book

1848-1869
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1089 bd

Born into a wealthy and prominent family from Springfield, Mass., Daniel Chauncey Brewer became a prodigy in the antebellum nursery trade. While still in his teens, he was running a substantial traffic in fruits trees and ornamentals. After marrying in 1853, Brewer moved to Boston, where he died of an infection in 1862.

The accounts of Chauncey Brewer’s Springfield-based nursery operation record substantial sales of cherry, peach, apple, and fruit trees, ornamentals such as arbor vita, spruce, and rose, and seeds, vegetables, and grapes. The sales appear to have extended throughout southern New England, as far as Providence, and include charges from grafts and labor.

Acquired from M&S Rare Books, May 2006 (2006-072).

Subjects

Nurseries (Horticulture)--Massachusetts--SpringfieldSpringfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century

Types of material

Account books
Bruskin, Gene

Gene Bruskin Papers

1963-2018
6 boxes 8 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1020
Depiction of Gene Bruskin
Gene Bruskin

Gene Bruskin arrived at Princeton in 1964 as a basketball player and left as a political radical. After taking part in the Second Venceremos Brigade, Bruskin got involved in antiracist and labor organizing in Boston. As president of the United Steelworkers of America local during the busing crisis of the 1970s, he helped win overwhelming support among the city’s bus drivers to have the union represent them, leading successful campaigns for better wages and working conditions. In the years since, he has held numerous high-profile positions nationally and internationally, including as labor director for Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, Secretary Treasurer for the Food and Allied Service Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, and co-convener of U.S. Labor Against the War, an organization promoting peace and the demilitarization of U.S. foreign policy. Bruskin was a major figure in the largest private union election in the history of the United Food and Commercial Workers when he led the successful campaign to unionize 5,000 workers at Smithfield Foods in North Carolina. Since retiring in 2012, he has continued to consult with unions. In addition he has returned to some of his earlier undertakings in producing cultural works as a poet, songwriter, and playwright, centered on social justice and working class themes.

Documenting nearly fifty years of activism, Gene Bruskin’s papers are an exceptional resource for the labor movement in the 1970s through early 2000s, and particularly its radical end. Although Bruskin’s early years are relatively sparsely represented, there is a significant run of Brother, the first anti-sexist, “male liberation” journal that he helped found while in Oakland, and the collection includes important material from his work in Boston with the Hyde Park Defense Committee, the Red Basement Singers, and especially with the School Bus Drivers and their tumultuous three-week strike in 1980. The collection also contains a rich assortment of material on labor left and antiwar organizing in the 1990s and 2000s, the Justice at Smithfield campaign, and Bruskin’s work on behalf of single payer insurance, for International Solidarity, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees.

Gift of Gene Bruskin, April 2018

Subjects

Boston (Mass.)--HistoryBus drivers--Labor unionsCharter schoolsJackson, Jesse, 1941-Labor unions--MassachusettsLabor unions--North CarolinaNational Rainbow Coalition (U.S.)Public schoolsSmithfield Foods, Inc.Strikes and lockouts--Bus driversWeatherman (Organization)

Contributors

Boston School Bus Drivers UnionUnited Steelworkers of America
Conte, Silvio O. (Silvio Oltavio), 1921-1991

Silvio O. Conte Papers

1950-1991
389 boxes 583.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 371
Depiction of Silvio Conte, 1973
Silvio Conte, 1973

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.

Subjects

Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-Massachusetts. SenateUnited States--Politics and government--20th centuryUnited States. Congress. House

Contributors

Conte, Silvio O. (Silvio Oltavio), 1921-1991

Types of material

PhotographsScrapbooksSound recordings
Foster, Nancy E.

Nancy E. Foster Papers

1972-2010
4 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 753
Depiction of Nancy E. Foster
Nancy E. Foster

For the better part of four decades, Nancy E. Foster was active in the struggle for social justice, peace, and political reform. From early work in civil rights through her engagement in political reform in Amherst, Mass., Foster was recognized for her work in the movements opposing war, nuclear power, and the assault on civil liberties after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Locally, she worked with her fellow members of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst and with interfaith coalitions to address problems of hunger and homelessness.

Centered in western Massachusetts and concentrated in the last decade of her life (2000-2010), the Nancy Foster Papers includes a record of one woman’s grassroots activism for peace, civil liberties, and social justice. The issues reflected in the collection range from the assault on civil liberties after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to immigration, hunger and poverty, the Iraq Wars, and the conflict in Central America during the 1980s, and much of the material documents Nancy’s involvement with local organizations such as the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst. The collection also contains a valuable record of Nancy’s participation in local politics in Amherst, beginning with the records of the 1972 committee which was charged with reviewing the Town Meeting.

Subjects

Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and governmentCivil rights--MassachusettsDisaster reliefEl Salvador--History--1979-1992HungerInterfaith Cot Shelter (Amherst, Mass.)Iraq War, 2003-2011Peace movements--MassachusettsSeptember 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001War on Terrorism, 2001-2009

Contributors

ACLULay Academy for Oecumenical StudiesMassachusetts Voters for Clean ElectionsOlver, JohnPyle, Christopher H.Swift, AliceUnitarian Universalist Society of Amherst

Types of material

Photographs
Hampshire Community Action Commission

Hampshire Community Action Commission Records

1965-1984
25 boxes 10.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 056

A private, non-profit corporation founded in 1965 in Northampton, Massachusetts to finance community action programs for eliminating poverty and assisting low income people. Programs included day care centers, Neighborhood Youth Corps, Summer Head Start, a drug addiction clinic at the jail, Legal Services, and the Foster Grandparent Program.

Records comprise bylaws and organizational charts, annual reports, board of directors minutes; administrative directors’ records, including correspondence with the federal agencies and state agencies granting funds, grant applications and awards, program plans, financial and legal documents, personnel records and staff training directives; the agency newsletter County Voice, Noticero Latina; and newsclippings about welfare programs.

Subjects

Hampshire Community Action CommissionHampshire County (Mass.)--Social conditionsSocial service--Massachusetts--Hampshire County