African American (37 collections) SCUA

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Brown, John, 1800-1859

John Brown Research Collection, 1826-1942.

10 reels of microfilm (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 308 mf

Microfilm containing documents drawn from various repositories including John Brown’s correspondence with family, friends, and others; court records and testimony; transcripts of interviews and other personal reminiscences; drafts of narratives; memorandum book; drafts of speeches; church records; minutes of Anti-slavery Society of Lawrence, Kansas; financial and legal records; broadsides and circulars; newspaper clippings; other miscellaneous records.


  • Abolitionists--United States--History
  • Slavery--United States--History
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Causes


  • Brown, John, 1800-1859

Calkins, David

David and Marshall Calkins Account Books, 1848-1855.

3 vols. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 178

These three accounting volumes of Monson, Massachusetts physicians David and Marshall Calkins encompass the period May 1848–December 1855. Medically, these volumes reflect a growing understanding of the human body and the analysis and treatment of its ailments. Additionally, these account books reflect a period of growing prosperity for Monson through the birth of stream powered milling industries.


  • Monson (Mass.)--History--19th century
  • Physicians--Massachusetts--Monson


  • Calkins, David
  • Calkins, Marshall

Types of material

  • Account books

Cooley, Bertha Strong

Bertha Strong Cooley Collection, 1939-1947.

1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 506

A resident of South Deerfield, Massachusetts, Bertha Strong Cooley wrote letters to the editor on a regular basis on topics ranging from anti-imperialism, democracy, capitalism, Communism, Russia, World War II, and civil rights. Her strong views on peace and and social justice were expressed in lively and intelligent submissions published in area newspapers. The collection consists of a scrapbook containing news clippings of Cooley’s letters to the editor as well as those submitted by others writing about the same topics.


  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • Massachusetts--History
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Social justice--Massachusetts
  • World War, 1939-1945


  • Cooley, Bertha Strong

Du Bois Homesite

Du Bois Homesite Dedication Video, 1969.

1 item

As a child, W.E.B. Du Bois lived for several years on a five acre parcel of land on the Egremont plain near Great Barrington, Mass. Although barely five when his family moved into town, Du Bois never lost his feeling for this property that had been in his family for six generations, and when presented with the opportunity to reacquire the site in 1928, he accepted, intending to build a house there and settle.

Walter Wilson and Edmund Gordon purchased the Du Bois homesite in 1967 with the intention of erecting a memorial to Du Bois’ life and legacy. On October 18, 1969, the site was formally dedicated as the W. E. B. Du Bois Memorial Park, with civil-rights activist and future Georgia legislator Julian Bond giving the keynote address and Ossie Davis presiding as master of ceremonies. Nineteen years later, the Du Bois Memorial Foundation donated the property to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, designating the University of Massachusetts Amherst as custodian.

Narrated by Davis and including Bond’s keynote address, this documentary (originally shot on 16mm motion picture film) depicts the 1969 dedication ceremonies. For additional information, please visit the website for the Du Bois boyhood homesite.


  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Homes and haunts
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)

Types of material

  • Motion pictures (Visual works)

Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

W.E.B. Du Bois Papers, 1803-1984.

328 boxes (168.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 312
W.E.B. Du Bois
W.E.B. Du Bois

Scholar, writer, editor of The Crisis and other journals, co-founder of the Niagara Movement, the NAACP, and the Pan African Congresses, international spokesperson for peace and for the rights of oppressed minorities, W.E.B. Du Bois was a son of Massachusetts who articulated the strivings of African Americans and developed a trenchant analysis of the problem of the color line in the twentieth century.

The Du Bois Papers contain almost 165 linear feet of the personal and professional papers of a remarkable social activist and intellectual. Touching on all aspects of his long life from his childhood during Reconstruction through the end of his life in 1963, the collection reflects the extraordinary breadth of his social and academic commitments from research in sociology to poetry and plays, from organizing for social change to organizing for Black consciousness.


  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • African Americans--History--1877-1964
  • Crisis (New York, N.Y.)
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on democracy
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  • Pan-Africanism
  • United States--Race relations


  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

Types of material

  • Photographs

Field, William Franklin, 1922-

William F. Field Papers, 1948-1986.

27 (13.5 linear feet).
Call no.: RG 030/2 F5
William F. Field relaxing on couch, ca. 1971
William F. Field relaxing on couch, ca. 1971

The University’s first Dean of Students, William F. Field held the post from 1961 until his retirement in 1988. The 27 years Field was Dean of Students was a critical time of growth and unrest, as the University’s student population more than tripled in size and the nation-wide movements for civil rights and against the Vietnam War were reflected through student activism and protest on the University’s campus. Responsible for ending student curfews and overseeing all dorms becoming co-ed, Field also worked with minority students and faculty to support the Black Arts Movement on campus and the founding of the W.E.B Du Bois Afro-American Studies Department.

The William F. Field Papers document Field’s career as an administrator at the University of Massachusetts and specifically his role as Dean of Students from 1961-1988. The correspondence, memoranda, reports, notes, and other official printed and manuscript documents are a rich resource for one of the most important and volatile eras in the University’s history. Of particular interest are extensive files on student protests and activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s and the growing diversity of the campus student population, flourishing of the Black Arts Movement on campus and the founding of the W.E.B. Du Bois Afro-American Studies Department.


  • African American college students--Massachusetts
  • Field, William Franklin, 1922-
  • Race relations--United States
  • Universities and colleges--United States--Administration
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dean of Students
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Afro-American Studies
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--United States

Types of material

  • Correspondence
  • Memorandums

Gordon, Ann

Ann Gordon Papers, 1986-1989.

1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 016

Ann Gordon served as the editor of the Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton papers as a member of African American Studies department from 1982 until the project’s conclusion in 1989. While at the University, Gordon, along with John Bracey, Joyce Berkman, and Arlene Avakian planned a conference discussing the history of African American Women voting from the Cady Stanton’s meeting at Seneca Falls to the Voting Rights Act. The conference, called the African American Women and the Vote Conference, was held in 1988.

The collection is comprised of proposals, reports, meeting transcripts, and correspondence from Gordon’s work planning the 1988 African American Women and the Vote Conference. Also included is preliminary work by Gordon to organize the papers given at the conference into book form.


  • African American women
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Afro-American Studies


  • Gordon, Ann

Grace, Frank

Frank Grace Papers, 1976-1985.

1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 863

A radical political organizer, Frank “Parky” Grace was a founding member of the New Bedford chapter of the Black Panther Party. Radicalized during his tour of duty in Vietnam in 1967, Grace became involved in the antiwar movement upon his return and organized the local branch of the Black Panthers shortly before the New Bedford Rebellion of 1970. In 1972, he and his brother Ross were charged with the murder, receiving life sentences. Parky Grace contended all along that he had been framed by the police for his political activity and in 1982, Ross admitted that he had been responsible for the murder, backing up his brother’s contention that he was not present at the time. Parky Grace was released from prison in 1984 and lived subsequently in New Bedford and Boston. He died in Boston in October 2001.

The Grace Papers consist of a powerful series of letters written to Gloria Xifaras Clark while Grace was confined in Walpole State Penitentiary. Informed by his revolutionary politics, the letters offer insight into the conditions of imprisonment, his treatment by guards, and his relationships with fellow prisoners.


  • Black Panther Party
  • New Bedford (Mass.)--History
  • Prisoners--Massachusetts
  • Walpole State Prison


  • Clark, Gloria Xifaras, 1942-

Heath, Gordon, 1918-1991

Gordon Heath Papers, 1913-1992.

44 boxes (22.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 372 and 372 bd
Gordon Heath, Paris
Gordon Heath, Paris

A multi-talented performer, the African American expatriate Gordon Heath was variously a stage and film actor, musician, director, producer, founder of the Studio Theater of Paris, and co-owner of the Parisian nightclub L’Abbaye. Born in New York City, Heath became involved in acting as a teenager and enjoyed a career that spanned post-World War II Broadway to the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s. In addition to his many roles on film and stage, he and his partner Lee Payant enjoyed success as recording artists in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Heath collection includes personal and professional correspondence, scrapbooks containing photos and clippings from assorted television and film productions in addition to songs, poetry, and reviews of plays or playbills from productions he attended. The Papers also contain art work, sheet music, personal and production photographs, and drafts of his memoirs.


  • Abbaye (Nightclub : Paris, France)
  • African American actors--France--Paris--History
  • African American singers--France--Paris--History
  • African Americans in the performing arts--History
  • African-American theater--History--20th century
  • Baldwin, James, 1924-
  • Chametzky, Jules
  • Dodson, Owen, 1914-
  • Expatriate musicians--France--Paris--History
  • Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967
  • Musicians--United States--History
  • Nightclubs--France--Paris--History
  • Paris (France)--Intellectual life--20th century
  • Payant, Lee--Correspondence
  • Primus, Pearl
  • Rive gauche (Paris, France)--Intellectual life--20th century
  • Studio Theater of Paris
  • Theater--Production and direction--France--Paris--History


  • Abramson, Doris E
  • Heath, Gordon, 1918-1991

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Scripts
  • Sheet music
  • Sketches

Hudson Family

Hudson family Papers, 1780-1955 (Bulk: 1825-1848).

6 boxes (3 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 332
Three generations: including Erasmus Darwin Hudson Sr. and Jr.
Three generations: including Erasmus Darwin Hudson Sr. and Jr.

Born in Torringford, Connecticut in 1806, and educated at the Torringford Academy and Berkshire Medical College (MD 1827), Erasmus Darwin Hudson became well known as a radical reformer. While establishing his medical practice in Bloomfield, Conn., and later in Springfield, Mass., and New York City, Hudson emerged as a force in the antislavery struggle, hewing to the non-resistant line. Touring the northeastern states as a lecturing agent for the Connecticut Anti-Slavery Society and general agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, he regularly contributing articles to an antislavery periodicals and befriended many of the movement’s leaders. In his professional life as an orthopedic surgeon, Hudson earned acclaim for his contributions to the development of modern prosthetics. During the carnage of the Civil War, he introduced remarkable improvements in artificial limb technology and innovations in the treatment of amputations and battle trauma, winning awards for his contributions at international expositions in Paris (1867) and Philadelphia (1876). Hudson died of pneumonia on Dec. 31, 1880.

Spanning five generations of a family of physicians and social reformers, the Hudson Family Papers include particularly significant content for Erasmus Darwin Hudson documenting his activities with the Connecticut and American Anti-Slavery societies. Hudson’s journals and writings are accompanied by a rich run of correspondence with antislavery figures such as Abby Kelley, Wendell Phillips, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Isaac Hopper, and Samuel May and a unique antislavery campaign map of New York state and surrounding areas (1841). Hudson’s medical career and that of his son Erasmus Darwin Hudson, Jr. (1843-1887), a thoracic physician, is equally well documented through correspondence, medical notes, and handwritten drafts of lectures, with other material ranging from family records and writings of and other family members to genealogies of the Hudson, Shaw, Clarke, Fowler, and Cooke families, and printed material, memorabilia, clipping and photographs.


  • Abolitionists
  • African Americans--History
  • American Anti-slavery Society
  • Antislavery movements--Massachusetts
  • Connecticut Anti-slavery Society
  • Connecticut--History--19th century
  • Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Physicians--New York
  • United States--History--1783–1865


  • Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895
  • Foster, Abby Kelley, 1810-1887
  • Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879
  • Gay, Sydney Howard, 1814-1888
  • Hopper, Isaac T. (Isaac Tatem), 1771-1852
  • Hudson Family
  • Hudson, Daniel Coe, 1774–1840
  • Hudson, Erasmus Darwin, 1806–1880
  • Hudson, Erasmus Darwin, 1843–1887
  • Phillips, Wendell, 1811-1884
  • Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874
  • Stone, Lucy, 1818-1893
  • Weld, Theodore Dwight, 1803-1895
  • Wright, Henry Clarke, 1797-1870

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Letters (Correspondence)
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