Collecting area: Music

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Olevsky, Julian, 1926-1985

Julian Olevsky Score Collection

1898-1966
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 438

Ranked amongst the great violinists of his generation, Julian Olevsky served as Professor of Violin at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1967-1985. The collection consists of annotated scores belonging to Julian Olevsky, the bulk of which contain parts for the violin and piano.

Gift of Estella Olevsky, 2002

Subjects

Music--18th centuryMusic--19th centuryMusic--20th centuryUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance

Contributors

Olevsky, EstelaOlevsky, Julian, 1926-1985
Ramsey, Martha, 1954-

Martha Ramsey Papers

ca. 1930-2018
17 boxes 24.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1054

Martha Ramsey is the author of Where I Stopped, a memoir of rape in adolescence, and Blood Stories, a book of poems. Ramsey grew up in Flemington, New Jersey, a farming community 65 miles southwest of New York City. She had unusually creative, bohemian-minded, arts-oriented parents; her father was a pioneering jazz historian; both became alcoholics. She was a precociously intelligent child and was skipped two grades at her local elementary school; she escaped from the resulting loneliness and social insecurity into books and nature. She was happier as a day student at Solebury School, a progressive high school nearby in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. On a summer day in 1968, at age 13, while she was walking her bike up a back road near her home, she was attacked and raped by a 28-year-old man, a stranger. She insisted that her parents call the police immediately, “so it won’t happen to anyone else.” Her parents soon heard from neighbors that before Martha, the rapist had “molested other girls.” She endured a confrontation with him at the police barracks and giving testimony at the trial that resulted in his conviction and sentence of 15 years. Five years later she also endured the shock of learning on a visit home from college that he had, while released on parole, sexually assaulted and murdered a 16-year-old girl near the girl’s family’s farm, on the anniversary of the rape. This time he was sentenced to life. Where I Stopped, written when Ramsey was in her thirties, tells this story in detail and follows her attempts to understand what had happened to her and how it was affecting her over the years as she grew into adulthood, pursued her calling as a poet, and married. The memoir also chronicles her decision to return to the place where she grew up to speak with people who remembered the crime and who had participated in the trial and to unearth the police and trial records—all part of her effort to come to terms with what she remembered.

A powerful collection documenting the writing of her memoir, Where I Stopped, Ramsey’s papers include audio recordings of statements she and others made to the police shortly after her rape; a transcript of the trial; Ramsey’s notes from interviews she conducted with individuals who remembered the crime; and drafts of her memoir, containing comments from early readers and material cut from the final version. Ramsey’s unpublished writings, journals, and correspondence document her intellectual and emotional life from her teenage years forward, including the drafts of all her published and unpublished poems. Family papers focus on the author’s father, Frederic Ramsey, a noted jazz historian; they include correspondence, photographs, and the unpublished autobiography of Ethel Ramsey (1884–1965)—textile designer, painter, and participant in the artists’ colony in New Hope, Pennsylvania—that contains acerbic discussion of the struggles of women artists in the late nineteenth century and later.

Subjects

AuthorsNew Hope (Pa.)Rape victims--United States--BiographyRape--United States--Case StudiesWomen artistsWomen authors
Rooney, Jim, 1938-

Jim Rooney Collection

1960-2014
5 boxes 6.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1016

A producer, performer, writer, and pioneer in Americana music, Jim Rooney was born in Boston on January 28, 1938 and raised in Dedham. Inspired to take up music by the sounds of Hank Williams and Leadbelly he heard on the radio, he began performing at the Hillbilly Ranch at just 16 years old, taking to music full time after an undergraduate degree in classics at Amherst College and an MA at Harvard. As manager of Club 47, Rooney was at the epicenter of the folk revival in Boston, becoming director and talent coordinator for the Newport Folk Festival beginning in 1963, a tour manager for jazz musicians in the late 1960s, and by 1970, a producer. After managing Bearsville Sound Studios in Woodstock, NY, for Albert Grossman, he moved to Nashville, where he has produced projects by Hal Ketchum, Townes Van Zandt, Iris DeMent, John Prine and Bonnie Raitt, among others, winning a Grammy award in 1993 for his work with Nanci Griffith.

Documenting a varied career in American music, the Rooney collection contains material from two of Rooney’s books on the history of American music, Bossmen: Bill Monroe and Muddy Waters (1971) and Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (1979), his autobiography In It For the Long Run (2014). In addition to correspondence and other content relating to his collaborations with key Americana musicians and his record production career in Nashville, the collection includes valuable interview notes, photographs, recordings, and news clippings.

Gift of Jim Rooney through Folk New England, Mar. 2018

Subjects

Club 47 (Cambridge, Mass.)Folk music--Massachusetts--BostonProducers and directors

Types of material

Photographs
Scherman, Rowland

Rowland Scherman Collection

ca.1955-2018
20 boxes, 7 portfolios
Call no.: PH 084
Depiction of Mississippi John Hurt, ca.1965
Mississippi John Hurt, ca.1965

One of the most frequently published photographers in Life magazine during the late 1960s, Rowland Scherman is noted for an iconic portfolio that documents the worlds of politics, culture, and the rock music scene. Born in New York in 1937, Scherman attended Oberlin College and began his career in the darkroom at Life before winning an assignment as the first official photographer for the Peace Corps in 1961. His work blossomed after becoming a free-lancer two years later, with assignments that included the civil rights March on Washington and the presidential campaign of Lyndon Baines Johnson. He covered the Newport Folk Festival when Bob Dylan broke on the national scene, the Beatles’ first concert in the U.S., Robert Kennedy’s campaign for the presidency, and Woodstock, and he went along on a memorable tour with Judy Collins. His work has appeared in dozens of magazines and books, including Life, Look, Time, National Geographic, Playboy, and Paris Match, earning wide acclaim, including a Grammy Award in 1968 for the portrait that appears on the cover of Dylan’s greatest hits album. Scherman relocated to London in 1970, then to Birmingham, Ala., in the 1980s, and finally to Cape Cod on 2000. He continues to shoot portraits, photo essays, and abstract work.

This rich collection consists of nearly the entire body of work from Rowland Scherman’s long career in photography, including negatives and transparencies with a small selection of prints. Negatives from the March on Washington and the Peace Corps are in the collections of the Library of Congress.

Acquired from Rowland Scherman, Dec. 2018

Subjects

Dylan, Bob, 1941---PhotographsJohnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968Newport Folk Festival (1963 : Newport, R.I.)--PhotographsPeace movements--PhotographsRock musicians--PhotographsVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--PhotographsWoodstock Festival (1969 : Bethel, N.Y.)--Photographs

Types of material

Photographs
Restrictions: Copyright for commercial purposes retained by Scherman
Siggins, Betsy, 1939-

Betsy Siggins Papers

1958-2018
6 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1022
Depiction of Betsy Siggins, ca.1959. Photo by Alan Klein
Betsy Siggins, ca.1959. Photo by Alan Klein

A key figure in the New England folk revival of the 1960s, Betsy Siggins (nee Minot) entered Boston University in the fall 1958 just at the music was taking off. Along with her college friend Joan Baez, she soon left school for the lure of the bohemian musical scene in Cambridge. At the age of 20, Betsy married the banjo player for the Charles River Valley Boys, Bob Siggins, who was also a founding member of Club 47, the most important venue for folk music in the region. For musicians from Baez and Bob Dylan to Jim Kweskin, Eric Von Schmidt, and Jim Rooney Club 47 was a career launching pad and despite the segregation of the era, it was a place where white northern audiences first encountered African American and blues musicians. Siggins worked full time at Club 47, filling a variety of jobs from office work to waitress to art gallery manager, eventually becoming program officer, arranging the schedules for musicians booked by Rooney or Byron Linardos. After Club 47 closed in 1968, Siggins went on to work for a succession of not for profit organizations, including the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife and for programs for the homeless and poor.

The Siggins Collection contains important materials on Club 47 and its successor, Club Passim, including business records, ephemera, clippings, and some remarkable scrapbooks featuring performers such Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Richard Farina. The collection contains dozens of photographs (many taken by Charlie Frizzell), showing Siggins, her friends, and musicians at home, at Club 47, and at folk festivals in Newport, Brandeis, and Monterey. Of particular note in the collection is a remarkable series of 27 reel to reel tapes of performances at Club 47 featuring John Hammond, Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, Eric Von Schmidt, Jim Rooney, Jeff and Maria Muldaur, Jackie Washington, the Charles River Valley Boys, Joan Baez, and others. Additional material on Siggins and the Minot family was retained by the Cambridge Historical Society.

Transferred from Cambridge Historical Society, April 2018

Subjects

Club 47 (Cambridge, Mass.)Dylan, Bob, 1941-Folk music--New England
Simon, Peter, 1947-2018

Peter Simon Collection

ca. 1945-2016
10 boxes 20 linear feet
Call no.: PH 009
Depiction of Peter Simon in mirror photographing Jennie Blackton at the Bitter End Cafe, 1968
Peter Simon in mirror photographing Jennie Blackton at the Bitter End Cafe, 1968

Peter Simon’s life and work as a photojournalist follows the quintessential arc of the counterculture, baby boom generation. The son of Richard Simon, founder of Simon and Schuster, Peter grew up in the New York City suburb of Riverdale and attended Boston University, graduating in 1969. While a student at BU, he began documenting the political turmoil in the US when he became photo editor for the radical student newspaper, the BU News, and later as a press photographer for the Cambridge Phoenix. In 1970, Simon left Boston to form Tree Frog Farm, a back-to-the-land commune in Guilford, Vermont, and after leaving there in 1972, he immersed himself in the New Age, forming a close relationship with spiritual leader Ram Dass. Among the most constant threads connecting his work throughout these changes was music. Simon’s sisters, Carly, Lucy, and Joanna have all been involved in music, and through a partnership with longtime friend Stephen Davis and his association with Rolling Stone magazine, Simon enjoyed unique access to many of the most important musicians of his generation. He spent time on the road with the Grateful Dead; went backstage and at home with Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and many others. His early forays into the world of reggae with Bob Marley and other Jamaican recording artists resulted in one of his nine books, Reggae Bloodlines. Simon’s other photographic interests are as wide-ranging as his background. A visitor to Martha’s Vineyard since the 1950s and a resident since 1974, his work reflects the changes and cultural richness of that island; his family’s friendship with Jackie Robinson has driven his lifelong documentation of baseball, and he is in high demand for portraits, weddings, and other work for hire.

The Peter Simon Collection houses the original negatives for Simon’s complete body of work as a photo journalist and also includes many photographs taken by his father Richard, an avid amateur photographer, which documents the Simon family and life in Riverdale and Stamford, Connecticut, where the family had a summer home.

Subjects

Boston (Mass.)--PhotographsCommunal living--VermontCounterculture--United States--20th centuryMartha's Vineyard (Mass.)--PhotographsMusicians--PhotographsSimon, Carly--PhotographsVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements

Contributors

Simon, Richard L. (Richard Leo), 1899-1960

Types of material

Photographs
Steele, Ronald

Ronald Steele Papers

1956-2000
9 boxes 10 linear feet
Call no.: FS 164
Depiction of Ronald Steele
Ronald Steele

A native of New Jersey, Ronald Steele was devoted to both music and photography from an early age. After a tour of duty with the US Air Force Symphony Orchestra and graduate study in violin performance at the University of Michigan, Steele joined the faculty at the University of Massachusetts in 1963. Active as a conductor as well as a performer throughout his career, he was widely known on campus for his popular course, an introduction to music, which was transformed into an award-winning, nationally-syndicated radio show in the mid-1970s. A founder of the UMass Symphony Orchestra (1963) and the Five College Chamber Soloists, Steele resumed his passion for photography in the late 1970s, opening the Ron Steele Photography Studio, which became an increasing creative outlet after his retirement from the university in 1997.

The Steele collection consists of roughly three linear feet of records documenting his career, including corresponce, programs, notes, teaching materials, and photographs. Reflecting his dual creative interests in music and photography, Steele took dozens of photographs of performers and colleagues.

Subjects

University of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance

Types of material

Photographs
Stern, Robert, 1934-

Robert Stern Collection

1975-1981
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 024
Depiction of Robert Stern
Robert Stern

The composer Robert Stern was Professor of Theory and Composition in the Department of Music at UMass Amherst from 1964 until his retirement in 2006. A native of Paterson, N.J., Stern studied at the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music before arriving in Amherst. Noted for his use of Jewish themes and subjects, he has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Millay Colony for the Arts.

The Stern collection includes six reel to reel audiotapes of performances of Stern’s work at UMass Amherst. These include music of Blood and Milk Songs (1975), music of Burrill Phillips (1975), the New Music Ensemble (1976), and the Pro Musica Moderna concerts (1979, 1980, and 1981).

Subjects

University of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance

Types of material

Audiotapes
Tillis, Frederick, 1930-

Frederick Tillis Papers

1970-2010
10 boxes 8 linear feet
Call no.: FS 156
Depiction of Fred Tillis, Nov. 23, 1977
Fred Tillis, Nov. 23, 1977

A composer, performer, poet, educator, and arts administrator, Fred Tillis was one of the major influences on the cultural life at UMass Amherst for forty years. Born in Galveston, Texas, in 1930, Tillis began playing jazz trumpet and saxophone even before his teens. A product of segregated schools, he graduated from Wiley College at the age of 19, and received his MA and PhD in music at the University of Iowa. As a performer and composer of unusual breadth, his work spans both the jazz and European traditions, and he has written for piano and voice, orchestra, choral pieces, chamber music, and in the African American spiritual tradition, drawing upon a wide range of cultural references. After teaching at Wiley, Grambling, and Kentucky State in the 1960s, Tillis was recruited to UMass in 1970 by his former adviser at Iowa, Philip Bezanson, to teach music composition and theory. Earning promotion to Professor in 1973, Tillis was appointed Director of the Fine Arts Center in 1978, helping to jump start some of the most successful arts initiatives the university has seen, including the the Afro American Music and Jazz program, the New World Theater, Augusta Savage Gallery, Asian Arts and Culture Program, and Jazz in July. Upon retirement from UMass in 1997, he was appointed Emeritus Director of the Fine Arts and remains active as a musician and poet.

The Tillis papers document an extraordinary career in the arts, focused on Fred Tillis’s work as a composer. Consisting primarily of musical scores along with an assortment of professional correspondence relating to his publishing and miscellaneous notes, the collection offers insight into the evolution of Tillis’s musical vision from the 1970s into the new millennium.

Subjects

African American composersAfrican American musiciansFine Arts Center (University of Massachusetts Amherst)JazzUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance

Contributors

Tillis, Frederick, 1930-

Types of material

Scores
WFCR (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)

WFCR Radio Broadcast Collection

1954-1987 Bulk: 1964-1987
308 boxes 462 linear feet
Call no.: MS 741
Depiction of WFCR studio
WFCR studio

The first public radio station in western New England, WFCR Five College Radio has provided a mix of high quality, locally-produced and nationally syndicated programming since May 1961. In 2012, the station reached over 175,000 listeners per week, with a mix of classical and jazz music, news, and entertainment.

The WFCR Collection contains nearly 4,500 reel to reel recordings of locally-produced radio programs, reflecting over fifty years of the cultural and intellectual life of western Massachusetts. Drawing upon the talents of the faculty and students of the Five Colleges (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and UMass Amherst), the collection offers a remarkable breadth of content, ranging from public affairs to community and national news, cultural programming, children’s programming, news and current events, scholarly lectures, classical music, and jazz.

Subjects

Amherst (Mass.)Pioneer Valley (Mass.)Radio stations--Massachusetts

Contributors

WFCR (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)

Types of material

Sound recordings
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