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Collecting area: Aging

Cohen, Gene D.

Gene D. Cohen Papers

1956-2014 Bulk: 1970-2014
9 boxes and books 13.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1079
Depiction of Gene D. Cohen: keynote speaker at the White House Conference on Aging, 2005
Gene D. Cohen: keynote speaker at the White House Conference on Aging, 2005

A pioneer in geriatric psychiatry with a polymathic imagination, Gene D. Cohen was born in Brockton, Mass., in 1944, and educated at Harvard, Georgetown University School of Medicine (1970), and the Union Institute (PhD, Gerontology). Cohen began his career with the U.S. Public Health Service out of medical school, and from the outset, set a novel course in his research, becoming one of the first psychiatrists to specialize in study of the impact of aging on the brain and Alzheimer’s disease. Recognized for administrative prowess as well as the originality of his scholarship, he was selected as the first chief of the Center on Aging at the National Institute of Mental Health (1975-1988), and went on to leadership positions at the National Institute on Aging (NIH) and in the profession more generally. In 1994, he left government employment to found the Center on Aging, Health, and Humanities at George Washington University. The impact of Cohen’s research was felt widely and catalyzed a change in the field from viewing aging as a disease to recognizing the creative potential of the older mind. His demonstration of the health benefits to older people of engagement in the arts made him one of the intellectual architects of the field of Creative Aging. The author of more than 150 articles and monographs, he earned numerous awards for his work, including the highest award bestowed by the U.S. Public Health Service, the Distinguished Service Medal. Cohen died of metastatic prostate cancer at the age of 65 in Nov. 2009, leaving his wife, Wendy Miller, two children, and four grandchildren.

A significant collection for study of the growth of geriatric psychiatry and the field of creative aging, the collection includes materials from throughout Gene Cohen’s pathbreaking career. The collection offers insight into the development of gerontological research particularly during Cohen’s years at the NIMH and NIH. In addition to an extensive set of publications by and about Cohen, the collection includes background materials for Cohen’s books The Creative Age, The Mature Mind, and Sky Above Clouds, and a significant corpus relating to some of his major research projects. Finally, the collection includes a selection of videotapes of interviews with Cohen, including several presentations and talks.

Gift of Wendy Miller, May 2019

Subjects

Creative agingGeriatric psychiatryPsychiatrists--Maryland

Contributors

George Washington University. Center for Aging, Health, and HumanitiesNational Institute of Mental Health (U.S.)Washington D.C. Center on Aging

Types of material

PhotographsVideo recordings (Physical artifacts)
Elders Share the Arts

Elders Share the Arts Records

ca.1975-2018
14 boxes 17 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1034
Depiction of Hodson Drama Group, Grandma's home remedy show, 1982 (photo by A. Heppenheimer)
Hodson Drama Group, Grandma's home remedy show, 1982 (photo by A. Heppenheimer)

A community arts organization founded by Susan Perlstein in 1979, Elders Share the Arts was a pioneer and national leader in the field of creative aging. Beginning as a single living-history theater workshop in the South Bronx, ESTA grew into a citywide organization with national impact that engaged older adults in participatory arts programing. The performing groups that emerged from ESTA typically drew upon the experiences of its members, with the programs running from storytelling and theater to writing, dance, and the visual arts. With the rapid growth of the field, ESTA ceased operations in June 2018, transferring their programs to other organizations.

The records of Elders Share the Arts offer vital documentation of the origins and development of the field of creative aging and the growth of one of the innovators. The collection includes a full set of board minutes, action plans, and by-laws, marketing materials, photographs and media, and a relatively complete record of grants sought and won. Of particular importance are files for ESTA’s senior programs and intergenerational programs, and a thick series of matierlas relating to the National Center for Creative Aging and the history of creative aging as a field.

Gift of Lynn Winters and Susan Perlstein, July 2018

Subjects

AgingArts and older peopleCreative agingTheater--New York (State)--New York

Contributors

National Center for Creative AgingPerlstein, Susan

Types of material

PhotographsVideotapes
Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley

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.

Subjects

Older people--MassachusettsPeace movements--MassachusettsSocial justice--Massachusetts

Contributors

Gray Panthers of the Pioneer ValleyHolt, Margaret
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
Loomis Communities

Loomis Communities Records

1909-2015 Bulk: 1980-2000
11 boxes 15.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 685
Loomus House logo
Loomis House logo

In 1902, a group of residents of Holyoke, Mass., secured a charter for the Holyoke Home for Aged People, wishing to do “something of permanent good for their city” and provide a “blessing to the homeless.” Opened in March 1911 on two acres of land donated by William Loomis, the Holyoke Home provided long-term care of the elderly, and grew slowly for its first half century. After changing its name to Loomis House in 1969, in honor of the benefactor, Loomis began slowly to expand, moving to its present location in 1981 upon construction of the first continuing care retirement community in the Commonwealth. In 1988, the Board acquired a 27-acre campus in South Hadley on which it established Loomis Village; in 1999, it became affiliated with the Applewood community in Amherst; and in 2009, it acquired Reeds Landing in Springfield.

The Loomis Communities Records offer more than a century perspective on elder care and the growth of retirement communities in western Massachusetts. The collection includes a nearly complete run of the minutes of the Board of Directors from 1909 to the present, an assortment administrative and financial records, and some documentation of the experience of the communities’ residents, with the bulk of materials dating from the 1980s to the present. An extensive series of oral histories with residents of Loomis Village was conducted in 2010.

Subjects

Holyoke (Mass.)--HistoryHolyoke Home for Aged PeopleLoomis CommunitiesLoomis VillageOlder people--Care--MassachusettsRetirement communities--Massachusetts
North Easton Monthly Meeting of Friends

North Easton Monthly Meeting of Friends Records

1980-1994
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 N437

Responding to a concern expressed in the New England Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends in 1971, Quakers in eastern Massachusetts set out to create an intentional Quakerly community for the care of elder Friends. The first meeting for worship took place in 1977, with the first residents moving in to Friends Crossing in 1979, leading to recognition of North Easton as a monthly meeting under Rhode Island-Smithfield Quarter in 1980. In the following years, however, the reduction in numbers of older members and decline in attenders, led to the decision in 1994 to lay down the meeting.

The records of North Easton Monthly Meeting document the short career of a meeting built around a planned Quaker intentional community. The relatively complete set of minutes is accompanied by a mixed, but useful body of financial records documenting the meeting’s dissolution.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2017

Subjects

North Easton (Mass.)--Religious life and customsQuakers--MassachusettsSociety of Friends--Massachusetts

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)
Stagebridge

Stagebridge Records

1979-2017
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1024
Depiction of Dorothy Doty in Changes/Ages/Images, 1980 (College Avenue Players)
Dorothy Doty in Changes/Ages/Images, 1980 (College Avenue Players)

A theater company of older adults based in Oakland, Calif., Stagebridge is recognized as a pioneer in the field of creative aging. Founded by Stuart Kandell in 1978, the organization sponsors workshops, performances, and other opportunities for lifelong learning that provide a creative means to transform the lives of older adults and their communities through the performing arts. Organized “for and of” older adults, Stagebridge is testimony to the ways in which elders enrich our culture and communities.

The Stagebridge collection contains scrapbooks, photograph albums, news clippings, and some scripts beginning in the earliest years of the organization. Digital materials in the collection are even richer, ranging from videos of performances to promotional materials and organizational records.

Gift of Stuart Kandell, May 2018

Subjects

AgingCreative agingOlder peopleTheater--California

Types of material

PhotographsVideotapes