Collecting area: Immigration & ethnicity

Nguyen, Lucy Hong Nhiem, 1939-

Lucy Nguyen Papers

1983-2001
2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: FS 026

A scholar of Francophone literature in Asia and Director of the United Asia Learning Resource Center, Lucy Nguyen Hong Nhiem was born in Kontum, Vietnam, in 1939. A graduate of the University of Saigon and teacher of French, she fled Saigon in 1975 just three days before its fall. From a refugee camp in Arkansas, she traveled through Connecticut and then to Springfield, Mass., before arriving at UMass in 1976 to resume her studies. After completing her MA (1978) and PhD (1982), she held positions at Smith, Amherst, and Mount Holyoke Colleges before beginning her tenure at UMass in 1984. An Adjunct Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures, she also served as Academic Advisor to the Bilingual Collegiate Program and Vice-Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants.

Nguyen’s papers are a small but critical collection of materials on Southeast Asian Refugees. Included among the papers are materials relating to the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees, materials relating to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants (1983), and a paper on the status of refugees in Massachusetts in 1987, along with unpublished writings, professional correspondence, and a handful of notes from a search committee.

Subjects

Refugees--VietnamUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Bilingual Collegiate ProgramUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Asian Languages and LiteraturesVietnamese--Massachusetts

Contributors

Nguyen, Lucy Hong Nhiem, 1939-
Obrebski, Joseph, 1907-1967

Joseph Obrebski Papers

1923-1974
48 boxes 24 linear feet
Call no.: MS 599

A student of Bronislaw Malinowski, the Polish ethnographer Jozef Obrebski was a keen observer of cultural change among eastern European peasantry in the years before the Second World War. After working with the resistance in Warsaw during the war, Obrebski went on to do additional ethnographic research in Jamaica (with his wife Tamara), taught at Brooklyn and Queens College and C.W. Post University, and from 1948-1959, he was senior social affairs officer with the United Nations. He died in 1967.

The Obrebski collection consists largely of ethnographic data collected by Obrebski in Macedonia (1931-1932), Polesia (1934-1936), and Jamaica (1947-1948), including field and interview notes, genealogies, government documents relating to research sites, and ca. 1000 photographs; together with correspondence (1946-1974), drafts of articles, analyses of collected data, and tapes and phonograph records, largely of folk music; and papers of Obrebski’s wife, Tamara Obrebski (1908-1974), also an ethnologist and sociologist.

Language(s): Polish

Subjects

Anthropologists--PolandEthnology--JamaicaEthnology--MacedoniaEthnology--PolandPeasantry--MacedoniaPeasantry--Poland

Contributors

Obrebski, Joseph, 1907-1967

Types of material

Photographs
Ozer Family

Ozer Family Papers

ca. 1935-2015
10 boxes 13.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1002
Ruth and Abe Ozer celebrating their 90th birthdays in 2010.
Ruth and Abe Ozer celebrating their 90th birthdays in 2010.

Born five days apart in June 1920 in Manhattan, Abraham Jay Ozer (born Abraham Ozersky) and Ruth Sydell Ozer (born Ruth Sydell Newman) married in 1947 after Abe returned from his army service in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. Abe received the Purple Heart after being wounded by shrapnel from a kamikaze attack on his ship after the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944. Returning to New York, Abe and Ruth began their romance, after being friends earlier as part of a Workmen Circle teen group, and lived almost the entirety of the rest of their lives in the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative in the Bronx, the country’s oldest nonprofit housing cooperative. The Ozers were involved in the social, cultural, and financial community of the cooperative, originally founded by Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union members, and decidedly Jewish and progressive in its early decades. Working for RKO Pictures Inc. and as a substitute teacher, Ruth also volunteered at the local Amalgamated nursery school, which her daughters Alison and Stephanie attended as children. Self-employed in the insurance business, Abe served on several of the community’s boards and societies, and later volunteered as a dispatcher for ambulances in the Amalgamated, and as a tour guide at the Bronx Zoo. The two were also able to pursue their passion for travel, beginning their adventures in 1969 with a trip to the United Kingdom. Over the next thirty-five years they would take more than fifty international and national trips.

The Ozer Family Papers primarily document the lives of Abe and Ruth Ozer, including their high school and college years, their correspondence and other records from Abe’s military service in the 311th and then 168th Ordnance Depot Company, additional war correspondence between Ruth and other parties, and extensive documentation of the couple’s many years of travel, including selected slides, photographs, travel planning documents, and Ruth’s detailed travel journals for each trip from 1969 through 2005. Additional materials cover the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, RKO Pictures Inc., and other aspects of the Ozer’s lives, including numerous oral history interviews and home movies on formats ranging from 8mm film to digital. The greater Ozer family is also represented, from a family tree back to Abe’s grandparents from Belorussia, to content and interviews with his mother, Sadie Uretsky, and several folders of clippings about Abe’s brother, Bernard Ozer, an important figure in fashion, and former vice-president of Associated Merchandising Corporation. Additional content on the Ozer’s children, grandchildren, and extended family rounds out the collection. An additional two boxes of family photographs and albums, added to the collection later, remain unprocessed.

Gift of Alison Ozer, November 2017

Subjects

Bronx (New York, N.Y.)--Social life and customsHousing, CooperativeHunter College--StudentsJews--New York (State)--New YorkLeyte Gulf, Battle of, Philippines, 1944TourismTravelUnited States. Army. Ordnance CorpsWorld War, 1939-1945

Types of material

Letters (Correspondence)Oral historiesPhotographsSlides (photographs)
Panus, Mary Louise

Mary Louise Panus Collection

1895-1997
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 378

Mary Lou Panus documented Polish American life in Massachusetts by collecting newspaper clippings, business cards, programs, and Polish language prayer books and prayer cards.

The Panus collection includes photographs of Polish churches in Massachusetts, reflecting the important role religion played in the culture and in various communities. The collection also includes a doll dressed as a nun.

Gift of Mary Lou Panus, 1995.

Subjects

Catholic church buildings--Massachusetts--PhotographsPolish Americans--Massachusetts

Contributors

Panus, Mary Lou

Types of material

Photographs
Pelczynski, Walter, 1916-2000

Walter Pelczynski Papers

1983
1 envelope 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 148 bd

Walter Pelczynski was a native of Adams, Massachusetts and the second native-born American to be ordained by the Congregation of Marians, which has its roots in Poland. He served as head of the Marians at Eden Hill in Stockbridge, Massachusetts for many years.

Included in this small collection is a photocopy of Pelczynski’s typewritten memoirs, written in 1983, that cover the years 1934 to 1983.

Father Walter Pelczynski, via Rev. Charles Jan Di Mascola and Stanley Radosh, 1987

Subjects

Catholic Church--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--HistoryMarian Fathers. St. Stanislaus Kostka ProvincePolish Americans--Massachusetts--StockbridgeStockbridge (Mass.)--BiographySuperiors, Religious--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--Biography

Contributors

Pelczynski, Walter, 1916-2000

Types of material

Autobiographies
Plata, Jakob

Jakob Plata Memoir, Pamietnik emigranta w Stanach Zjednoczonych

1936
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 184 bd

A Polish immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1912, Jacob Plata worked in factories in Chicago until the mid-1920s when he relocated to Massachusetts. Plata and his wife Mary operated a dry goods store on Main Street in Indian Orchard until his death in 1947, after which Mary continued in business until her death in 1963.

Jakob Plata’s autobiographical account, Pamietnik emigranta w Stanach Zjednoczonych (Memoirs of an emigrant to the United States), includes a literate and interesting account his emigration from Poland and transition into American life. This photocopy (114p.) was retained by the Plata family from a manuscript originally written for the Institute for Social Management in Warsaw in 1936.

Language(s): Polish

Subjects

Immigrants--MassachusettsPolish Americans--Illinois--ChicagoPolish Americans--Massachusetts

Types of material

Memoirs
Polish American Collection

Polish American Collection

1940s-2000
5 boxes 5.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 464

Collection documenting Polish American culture, language, and history consisting of newspapers and news clippings, programs for Polish religious and cultural events, newsletters of Polish American organizations, and Polish publications including religious works and language textbooks.

Subjects

Polish Americans
Polish Architecture and Folk Art

Polish Architecture and Folk Art Photograph Collection

1980s
1 box, 234 items 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 279

234 photographs taken by Marian Pokropek and others of a variety of subjects in Poland, including homes, farms, buildings, churches, businesses, wood carvings, ceramics, corn dollies, friezes, metalwork, sculptors, paintings, textiles, ceremonies, and a Jewish graveyard. Many of these images were published in Pokropek’s books.

Subjects

Poland--Photographs

Contributors

Pokropek, Marian

Types of material

Photographs
Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts

Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts Collection

1990-2018
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 366

Founded in 1989, the Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts is a not-for-profit organization devoted to encouraging and supporting research into Polish family history and more generally into Polish culture and history. The Society sponsors educational programs and publications and operates a research library at the Polish Center of Discovery in Chicopee, Mass.

The collection consists of a nearly complete run of the semiannual newsletter of the Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts, Biuletyn Korzenie (Roots Bulletin).

Gift of the Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts
Language(s): Polish

Subjects

Poland--GenealogyPolish Americans--Massachusetts

Types of material

Newsletters
Polish Jubilee

Polish Jubilee Catalogs and Souvenirs

1906-1988
5 boxes 2.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 057

Includes booklets containing parish and community histories, photographs, and local advertisements celebrating Jubilee, other anniversaries, and events in over twenty Massachusetts Polish American parishes; booklets furnishing histories and names associated with Polish American groups (such as the Brotherly Aid Society and Polish American Veterans); an historical paper on the Chicopee Polish Community; a pamphlet including songs and recipes; photographs; a booklet; and two books.

Subjects

Chicopee (Mass.)--HistoryPolish Americans--Massachusetts