Collecting area: Visual culture

Construyamos Juntos

Construyamos Juntos Collection

1986
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 052
Depiction of Parrot in Nicaragua
Parrot in Nicaragua

In May 1985, a group of activists in Western Massachusetts opposed to the interventionist U.S. foreign policy of the Reagan era formed a construction brigade to assist with basic human needs and express solidarity with the people of Central America. Modeled on the Venceremos Brigade, Construyamos Juntos, Building Peace of Nicaragua, raised over $20,000 for construction supplies in addition to funds for individual travel. Between January and March 1986, the 17 activists joined a smaller brigade from West Virginia in constructing the Carlos Armin Gonzales elementary school in San Pedro de Lovago. During their first month in Nicaragua, they witnessed a Contra assault on the town that left one assailant dead and two residents of the town wounded.

This exhibit includes 55 mounted images and 99 35mm slides taken during the brigade’s time in Nicaragua, documenting the brigade’s construction work and providing a valuable visual record of life in Nicaragua during the Contra war. Used in public talks about Contruyamos Juntos, the collection includes exhibit labels that explain the purpose and activity of the brigade, the history of Nicaragua, and the Contra attack in January 1986.

Subjects

Nicaragua--History--1979-1990

Types of material

Photographs
Cummington School of the Arts

Cummington School of the Arts Records

1908-1993
30 boxes 45 linear feet
Call no.: MS 891
Depiction of Poster, ca.1925
Poster, ca.1925

In 1923, Katherine Frazier established the Playhouse-in-the-Hills as a venue for theatrical performances in the small Berkshire County town of Cummington, Mass. Frazier’s vision, however, soon led her to expand the project into the Cummington School of the Arts (later the Cummington Community of the Arts), which she envisioned as “an environment congenial to creative activity.” Over its seventy years of operation, the School emphasized creative collaboration across the fine arts, offering not only performances, but summer residencies and six-week courses where writers, artists, performers, and musicians could study and practice under the guidance of visiting artists. Among its noted alumni were luminaries such as Helen Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning, Diane Arbus, Marianne Moore, and Archibald Macleish, and the school was a starting point for Harry Duncan’s renowned Cummington Press. The increasing financial challenges facing not-for-profit organizations led a cessation of operations in about 1993.

The records of the Cummington School of the Arts offer a cross-sectional view of the School across its years of operation. In addition to a very small selection of personal material from Katherine Frazier, the collection includes valuable correspondence and ephemera relating to the school’s philosophy and founding, and nearly a third of the collection consists of records of students, often including their applications, comments on the work accomplished in Cummington, and occasionally, copies of work produced. The balance of the collection consists of many of the school’s publications, administrative materials (including curricula and planning documents), and financial and fundraising materials.

Transferred from Springfield Museums through Margaret Humberston, Dec. 2015
Davenport, Janina Smiertka

Janina Smiertka Davenport Papers

1918-1990
7 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 343
Depiction of Janina Smiertka, 1934
Janina Smiertka, 1934

Raised in a Polish American family from Greenfield, Mass., Janina Smiertka Davenport was the epitome of a life-long learner. After graduating from Greenfield High School in 1933, Davenport received degrees from the Pratt Institute in Food Management and from the Franklin County Public School for Nurses (1937). In 1938, she began work as a nurse in the U.S. Navy, receiving two special commendations for meritorious service during the Second World War. She continued her formal and informal education later in life, receiving degrees from Arizona State University in 1958 and UMass Amherst in Russian and Eastern European Studies (1982). Davenport died in Greenfield in March 2002.

The Davenport Papers contain a thick sheaf of letters and documents pertaining to her Navy service before and during World War II, along with assorted biographical and genealogical data, materials collected during educational trips to Poland and elsewhere, and approximately one linear foot of family photographs and photo albums.

Subjects

Nurses--MassachusettsPolish Americans--MassachusettsUnited States. NavyWorld War, 1939-1945

Contributors

Davenport, Janina Smiertka

Types of material

Photographs
Davis, Bobby

Bobby Davis Photograph Collection

1980-1983
1 box 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: PH 065

A native of Providence, R.I., Bobby Davis arrived in Amherst in 1977 and soon afterward entered the University Without Walls program at UMass to earn his college degree. A talented jazz musician, Davis became immersed in the vibrant local arts scene, learning photography while writing for the student publications Nummo News and the Collegian, and covering performances by a steady stream of jazz and R&B acts touring through the area. Working later as a photographer for Smith College and traveling for the yearbook company, Delmar Studios, Davis eventually settled in Northampton, where he remains active as a photographer.

The Davis collection contains ten exhibition prints of jazz musicians performing in Amherst, including Art Blakey, Angela Bofill, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Yusef Lateef, Oscar Peterson, Max Roach, Gil Scott-Heron, and Archie Shepp.

Gift of Bobby Davis, Jan. 2015

Subjects

Jazz musicians--Photographs

Types of material

Photographs
Davis, Chester

Chester Davis Papers

ca. 1945-2016
24 boxes 36 linear feet
Call no.: FS 201

Chester Davis was a scholar of African American education and media, one of the first core faculty members of the Afro-American Studies Department at UMass Amherst and a major architect of that department’s development, and an avid photographer. Davis was born in Gary, Indiana and attended Roosevelt High School. He was among the first African American graduates of the University of Chicago, where he earned his BA and MA, and then earned his PhD from Syracuse University. After several positions in academia, Davis joined the African American think tank Institute of the Black World, right after its establishment by Coretta Scott King in 1969. His work there influenced the growth of Black Studies programs across the US and he was soon recruited by the University of Massachusetts to help build its newly founded Afro-Am. department. Davis retired from the University in 1992 and moved to Tallahassee, Florida, where he passed away in 2016.

The Chester Davis Papers reflect his research, teaching, and administrative work as a member of the Afro-American Studies Dept. at UMass. In addition to UMass-related lecture notes, correspondence, and research materials, the collection documents his post-retirement activities in Tallahassee and a longstanding research project on Roosevelt High School, which includes a rich cache of historical materials. There is also a significant collection of Davis’s photographs, including prints, negatives, and slides. Davis was an avid amateur with an artistic eye and his topics range from family photographs to concerts, demonstrations, and other activities at the University.

Gift of Penny Ralston, 2019

Subjects

African Americans--Study and teachingJazz musicians--PhotographsUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst . FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst . W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies

Types of material

Photographs
Delevingne, Lionel

Lionel Delevingne Photograph Collection

ca.1975-1995
9 boxes 4 linear feet
Call no.: PH 047
Depiction of Joan of Seabrook
Joan of Seabrook

Born and raised in France, the photojournalist Lionel Delevingne studied education at l’Ecole Normale in Paris, but settled permanently in the United States in 1975. Based at first in Northampton, Mass., he became a prolific photographer of American social movements while working for the Valley Advocate and other publications, covering the early years of the Clamshell Alliance and the antinuclear movement in considerable depth. His work has been exhibited frequently and published widely in the mainstream and alternative press, including the New York Times, Le Figaro Magazine, Die Zeit, Newsweek, Washington Post Magazine, Mother Jones, and Vanity Fair.

The Delevingne collection includes remarkable visual documentation of the antinuclear movement of the 1970s and beyond, including some of the its most iconic images. Beginning with coverage of the Seabrook occupation, Delevingne covered the movement as it spread throughout the northeastern U.S. and internationally. The collection includes exhibition prints, prints for publication, and digitized images ranging in date from the mid-1970s through 1990s. Copyright in the images has been retained by Delevingne.

Subjects

Antinuclear movement--United StatesClamshell AlliancePhotojournalistsSeabrook Nuclear Power Plant (N.H.)

Contributors

Delevingne, Lionel

Types of material

Photographs
Denny, Walter A.

Thin Veneer: The People of Bosnia and Their Disappearing Cultural Heritage

1953-1996
2 boxes 0.5 linear feet
Depiction of Bosnian baker at his shop, ca.1955
Bosnian baker at his shop, ca.1955

UMass Amherst faculty members Walter Denny (Art History) and Joel M. Halpern (Anthropology) collaborated in 1997 on an exhibition in the University Gallery exploring Bosnian multiculturalism prior the Yugoslav civil war. Denny, a specialist in Islamic art, and Halpern, an ethnographer whose research in the Balkans began in the early 1950s, assembled dozens of images from eight photographers depicting Bosnia from the nineteenth century to the start of the civil war, illustrating both the past history of the region and then-current attempts to erase that history in the name of cultural purity. The final part of the exhibition included a set of prints first exhibited in Sarajevo in 1992 comprising creative reactions to the war by Bosnian artists.

This small collection consists of 38 matted prints, 20×24″, that were part of the Thin Veneer exhibition in April through June 1997. All were taken by Halpern during field work in Bosnia betwee 1953 and 1996.

Gift of Betty Siersma, Jan. 2008

Subjects

Bosnia--Photographs

Contributors

Halpern, Joel M. (Joel Martin), 1929-

Types of material

Photgraphs
Dickinson, Walter Mason, 1856-1898

Walter Mason Dickinson Papers

1858-1900
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: FS 173
Depiction of Walter Mason Dickinson, ca.1880
Walter Mason Dickinson, ca.1880

Originally a member of the Massachusetts Agricultural College Class of 1876, Walter Mason Dickinson left after his junior year to enter the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. During his military career, Dickinson saw service in the southwest and as a military instructor at MAC (1891-1896). As a Captain and Quartermaster in the 17th Infantry, he was called to active duty during the Spanish-American War and was killed in action at the Battle of El Caney. He was the first man associated with MAC to die in military service.

This small collection of photographs and letters centers on the death and family of Walter M. Dickinson, the first person associated with Massachusetts Agricultural College to die in combat. In addition to two of the last letters he wrote as he was heading off to war in Cuba, the collection contains three formal portraits of Dickinson at different points in his military career, images of his wife and family, and two images of the scene of his death at El Caney and one of his temporary grave.

Gift of Alex Kingsbury, Jan. 2016

Subjects

Dickinson, Asa Williams--PhotographsDickinson, Charles--PhotographsDickinson, Marquis F. (Marquis Fayette), 1814-1901--PhotographsDickinson, Marquis F. (Marquis Fayette), 1840-19215--PhotographsDickinson, Martha E.--PhotographsDickinson, Walter Mason, 1856-1898--PhotographsDwellings--Massachusetts--Amherst--PhotographsEl Caney (Cuba)--PhotographsFarms--Massachusetts--Amherst--PhotographsSoldiers' bodies, Disposition of--Cuba--PhotographsSoldiers--United States--PhotographsSpanish-American War, 1898

Types of material

AmbrotypesCorrespondencePhotographs
Donahue, Maurice

Maurice A. Donahue Papers

1960-1971
19 boxes, 89 vols. 29 linear feet
Call no.: MS 311

Maurice A. Donahue was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1948 as part of its first Democratic majority. In 1950, he was elected to the Massachusetts Senate, became Senate Majority Leader in 1958, and in 1964, became Senate President, a position he held until 1971 when he took the position of Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institute for Governmental Services at the University of Massachusetts. Legislation he sponsored while in the Senate established the Willis-Harrington Commission on Education, the University of Massachusetts Boston campus and Medical School, state scholarships for needy students, commissions to improve vocational education, study problems of urban school systems, and extend educational facilities in Massachusetts.

Correspondence, speeches, press releases, appointment books, constituent courtesy files, memorabilia, scrapbooks of clippings, audio recordings of radio talks and speeches, and photographs pertaining to Donahue’s activities and functions as state legislator of Massachusetts.

Gift of Maurice Donahue, July 1974

Subjects

Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-Massachusetts. HouseMassachusetts. Senate

Contributors

Donahue, Maurice A

Types of material

Letters (Correspondence)PhotographsScrapbooksSound recordings
Double Edge Theater

Double Edge Theatre Records

1970-2002
28 boxes 15.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 455
Depiction of Bold Stroke for a Wife
Bold Stroke for a Wife

Since its founding, Double Edge Theatre has embraced a two-fold mission: to develop and promote the highest quality of original theatre performance, and to create a permanent center of performance, practice, training research, and cultural exchange.

The collection documents the Theatre’s focus on research, international collaboration, and the elevation of artistic performance above and beyond stage work into the realm of cultural exchange.

Subjects

Experimental theaterTheater and societyTheatrical companies--Massachusetts

Contributors

Arnoult, PhilipDouble Edge TheatreDurand, CarrollKlein, StacyOdin teatretStaniewski, WlodzimierzStowarzyszenie Teatralne "Gardzienice"

Types of material

PhotographsPostersPrograms