SCUA

Collection area: Conservationism

Banfield, Walter

Walter Banfield Papers
ca.1945-1999
12 boxes (6.75 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 117

The plant pathologist Walter M. Banfield joined the faculty at UMass Amherst in 1949 after service in the Army Medical Corps during World War II. A native of New Jersey with a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, Banfield’s research centered on diseases affecting shade trees in the United States, and he is widely credited with identifying the origin of Dutch elm disease. As early as 1950, he emerged as a prominent advocate for the protection of open space and farmland, becoming a founder of the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. An avid hiker and canoeist, he remained in Amherst following his retirement. He died at age 95.

The Banfield Papers include records from his Army service, family records, and professional and family correspondence – particularly between Banfield and his wife Hertha whom he met in Germany during WWII. The professional correspondence documents Banfield’s commitment to land preservation, and include many applications for land to be set aside for agricultural or horticultural use. Banfield was also a talented landscape photographer, and the collection includes a large number of 35mm slides reflecting his varied interests, including images of Europe at the end of World War II and various images of landscape, trees, forests, and other natural features that he used in teaching.

Subjects
  • Dutch elm disease
  • Plant pathology
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Plant Pathology
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Banfield, Walter M

Bent, Arthur Cleveland, 1866-1954

Arthur Cleveland Bent Collection
1880-1942
8 boxes (5.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 413
Image of A.C. Bent, 1929
A.C. Bent, 1929

An avid birder and eminent ornithologist, Arthur Cleveland Bent was born in Taunton, Massachusetts, on November 25, 1866. After receiving his A.B. from Harvard in 1889, bent was employed as an agent for the Safety Pocket Company and from 1900 to 1914, he was General Manager of Mason Machine Works. His passion, however, was birds. An associate in Ornithology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, Bent became a collaborator at the Smithsonian and president (1935-1937) of the American Ornithologists’ Union. The culmination of his research was the massive, 26 volume Life Histories of North American Birds (1919-1968).

The Bent collection is a glimpse into the birding life of a remarkable amateur ornithologist. It contains the field notebooks of his collaborator, Owen Durfee (1880-1909), his own journals (1887-1942), photographs and negatives (1896-1930), correspondence concerning the photographs (1925-1946), and mimeographed and printed material. Bent’s records cover nest observations, egg measurements, bird sightings, and notes on specimens provided to organizations such as the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the Bristol County Agricultural School, and the United States National Museum.

Subjects
  • American Ornithologists' Union
  • Bent, Arthur Cleveland, 1866-1954. Life Histories of North American Birds
  • Birds
  • Birds--Eggs
  • Birds--Eggs--Photographs
  • Birds--Nests
  • Birds--Nests--Photographs
  • Birds--Photographs
  • Bristol County Agricultural School (Bristol County, Mass.)
  • Massachusetts Audubon Society
  • Ornithologists--Massachusetts
  • United States National Museum
Contributors
  • Bent, Arthur Cleveland, 1866-1954
  • Durfee, Owen
Types of material
  • Field notes
  • Photographs

Dawson, Alexandra

Alexandra Dawson Papers
20 boxes (30 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 905

An attorney from Hadley, Mass., Alexandra D. Dawson was known throughout New England for her work in conservation law and environmental activism. Born in Maryland in 1931, Dawson married shortly after graduating from Barnard College and after raising a family of three, she resumed her education, earning a law degree from Harvard in 1966. Early in her legal career, she took up the cause of protecting “wildlife, wetlands, and woodlands.” She was among the earliest employees of the Conservation Law Foundation and later served as general counsel for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The author of a string of influential works in environmental law, including Environmental Law (1978), Land-Use Planning and the Law (1982), and the Environmental Handbook for Massachusetts Conservation Commissioners (1978-2006), she was also an educator, teaching at Antioch College (where she launched the environmental studies program), Tufts, the Kennedy School of Government, and Rhode Island School of Design. Among other commitments, Dawson was a key figure in the Kestrel Trust and served long stints on the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC) and the Hadley Conservation Commission. Dawson died of complication from emphysema on Dec. 30, 2011.

The product of a forty year commitment to conservationism, Dawson’s papers provide valuable documentation of land preservation efforts in New England, with a focus on the evolution of the legal context. Dawson was a formidable figure in efforts to protect wetlands, agricultural land, and open space, and her papers offer insight into land use planning, her teaching, writing, and speaking.

Gift of Rachel Spring, Apr. 2016
Subjects
  • Conservationists--Massachusetts
  • Environmentalists--Massachusetts
  • Land use--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
  • Wetlands--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Kestrel Trust

Hagar, Joseph A. (Joseph Archibald), 1896-1989

Joseph A. Hagar Papers
1897-1976 (Bulk: 1930-1965)
6 boxes (7.92 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 743
Image of Hudsonian godwit hatchlings
Hudsonian godwit hatchlings

An ornithologist and conservationist for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Joseph A. “Archie” Hagar’s career was rooted in the generation of naturalists such as William Brewster, Edward Howe Forbush, and Arthur Cleveland Bent. Born in Lawrence, Mass., on May 13, 1896, Hagar’s undergraduate career at Harvard was interrupted by service in the First World War, after which he completed his studies at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, graduating with the class of 1921. An expert field biologist and ecologist, he was appointed State Ornithologist in the Department of Fish and Game in November 1934 serving in that position for almost twenty five years. A specialist in waterfowl and raptors, Hagar was deeply involved in early conservation efforts in New England, noted for his work on wetland conservation and for linking the use of DDT with eggshell thinning in peregrine falcons, and he was famously at the center of a dispute with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the design of the Parker River Wildlife Refuge. Never a prolific writer, he was an active member of the American Ornithological Union, the Nuttall Ornithological Club, the Wildlife Society, and other professional organizations, and after retirement, he was specially cited for his work in waterfowl conservation by Ducks Unlimited. Active until late in life, he died at home in Marshfield Hills on Dec. 17, 1989.

The Hagar Papers are a deep and valuable resource for the study of New England birds and the growth of modern conservation biology. With abundant professional correspondence, field notes on shorebirds and raptors, and drafts of articles, the collection documents the full range of Hagar’s activities as State Ornithologist, including a particularly thick run of material for the controvery over the Parker River Wildlife Refuge. Hagar also acquired a set of field notes, 1897-1921, from the Harvard ornithologist John E. Thayer.

Subjects
  • Birds--Massachusetts
  • Black duck
  • Conservationists--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Alumni and alumnae
  • Ornithologists--Massachusetts
  • Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Contributors
  • Hagar, Joseph A. (Joseph Archibald), 1896-1989
Types of material
  • Field notes
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Photographs

Leff, David K.

David K. Leff Papers
ca.1975-2016
3 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 907
Image of David K. Leff
David K. Leff

A writer, poet, and environmental and historic preservation advocate, David K. Leff worked for many years as an agricultural and environmental policy adviser to the Connecticut legislature and as deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. A graduate of UMass Amherst (BA 1975) and the University of Connecticut School of Law (1978), Leff began writing and lecturing from early in his career and in addition to publishing dozens of magazine articles and serving as a regular contributor to the Hartford Courant, he has written five works of non-fiction, The Last Undiscovered Place (2004), Deep Travel: In Thoreau’s Wake on the Concord and Merrimack (2009), Hidden in Plain Sight (2012), Maple Sugaring (2015), and Canoeing Maine’s Legendary Allagash (2016); three books of poetry Price of Water (2008), Depth of Field (2010), and Tinker’s Damn (2013), and a novel in verse, Finding the Last Hungry Heart (2014). Leff has been active as a lecturer and instructor on various topics, ranging from the environment to local history and writing. In 2016, he was named the first Poet-in-Residence of the New England Trail.

In addition to containing a nearly comprehensive collection of the published writings of David Leff, the collection includes selected correspondence, unpublished poetry and short stories, a draft of an unpublished novel (Hungry Heart), talks, interviews, notes, newsclippings, over 400 pages of interviews with sugarmakers that Leff conducted for his book on maple sugaring, and selected materials relating to Leff’s work with the DEP in Connecticut and other endeavors. The collection also includes several thousand photographs (mostly digital) takenby Leff and used to illustrate his publications and lectures.

Gift of David K. Leff, 2016
Subjects
  • Maple sugar industry--Connecticut
  • Newspaper columnists--Connecticut
  • Poets--Connecticut
Contributors
  • Photographs

Mainstream Media Project

Mainstream Media Project Records
1995-2012
11 boxes (16 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 976

A World of Possibilities logo, ca. 1998

Founded in 1995, by founder and former executive director Mark Sommer, the Mainstream Media Project (MMP) was a nonprofit public education organization focused on print and broadcast media about creative approaches in achieving peace, security, and sustainability in an interdependent global community. Until its closing in early 2014, it was particularly involved with placing top policy analysts, social innovators, and on-the-ground organizers on radio and television stations across the country and globe. One such project, A World of Possibilities radio show, founded in 2001, was an award-winning one hour weekly show hosted by Sommer. A program “of spirited global conversations,” featuring interviews searching for understanding of, and solutions to, longstanding global public affairs challenges, A World of Possibilities was nationally and internationally syndicated until it ceased broadcasting in 2011.

The MMP Records contain over ten linear feet of CD and DVD masters of uncut interviews and produced radio shows. Shows, including Heart of the Matter and A World of Possibilities, explore promising new thinking and experimentation in fields ranging from energy, food, water, and wilderness to human rights, global security, and public health, and include interviews with leading experts and innovators, such as Studs Terkel, Pete Seeger, Laurie Garrett, Wangari Maathai, Frances Moore Lappe, Howard Gardner, Lily Yeh, Robert Reich, Majora Carter, Van Jones and many more. The collection also contains MMP business files, consisting of correspondence, reports, articles, grant information, and organizational materials.

Gift of Mark Sommer, May 2017
Subjects
  • Activists
  • Environmentalism
  • Globalization
  • Green movement
  • Peaceful change
  • Politics and culture
  • Reconciliation
  • Science--Social aspects
  • Sustainable living
  • Technology--Social aspects
Types of material
  • Interviews
  • Radio programs

Oldham Camp

Oldham Camp Records
1876-1927
1 vol., 27p. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 569bd

The abundant waterfowl at Oldham Pond, Plymouth County, Mass., has long been a lure for hunters. During the nineteenth century, both hunting and recreational shooting of geese and ducks grew in scope throughout the Commonwealth, with the development of at least two formal hunting camps at Oldham.

The Oldham Camp records contains a detailed tally of waterfowl shot at Oldham Pond, along with an “Ancient history of Oldham Pond” by Otis Foster, 1906, chronicling changes in hunting practices and the advent of blinds and decoys. These records include annual summaries of geese taken at the camp (1876-1895) and summaries of both geese and ducks (1896-1919). More valuable are detailed records of “daily bags,” 1905-1915, providing daily kill totals for each species (primarily ducks). An addendum by Edgar Jocelyn, 1927, provides additional historical detail on the hunting stands at Oldham Pond and changes in methods of attracting ducks. There are, as well, narrative annual summaries of the hunting seasons, 1905-1908 and 1912. Tipped into the front of the volume is a typed letter from the renowned Cope Cod decoy maker A. Elmer Crowell (1852-1951), July 2, 1926, reminiscing about hunting at Wenham Lake and promising to begin work on the decoys.

Subjects
  • Decoys (Hunting)--Massachusetts
  • Ducks--Massachusetts
  • Furnace Pond (Mass.)
  • Geese--Massachusetts
  • Hunting--Massachusetts
  • Oldham Pond (Mass.)
Contributors
  • Crowell, A. Elmer
  • Foster, Otis
  • Jocelyn, Edgar

Sommer, Mark

Mark Sommer Papers
1966-2017
21 boxes (32 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 973

Mark Sommer, with Zetta, the first newborn goat at the Sommer homestead in northern CA, May 1985

Mark Sommer is an explorer, storyteller, and award-winning public radio and print journalist focused on advocacy and narratives of social, political, and environmental change and positive action. In Washington, D.C., Sommer found himself on hand for some of the 1960s pivotal moments, where he was involved with the Liberation News Service and the New Left think tank, the Institute for Policy Studies. Sommer moved to California in 1969 to explore the counterculture, spending several years journeying – spiritually, psychedelically, and physically between communes, farms, and wilderness homesteads along the western coast – before he and his wife built a self-reliant organic homestead in the deep woods of northern CA, where they lived from the 1970s to the 1990s. The resilience of nature deeply impacted Sommer’s outlook and work as a writer and journalist, driving his interest in the human capacity for overcoming adversity. Sommer founded and directed the Mainstream Media Project, a nonprofit media placement service scheduling leading edge thinkers and social innovators for extensive radio interviews, and Sommer served as host and executive producer of the internationally syndicated and award winning, one-hour weekly radio program, A World of Possibilities. Sommer is the author of three books (Beyond the Bomb, The Conquest of War, and Living in Freedom), and hundreds of op-eds in major newspapers worldwide. Current projects include short and movie length videos crafted from his photographs, films, interviews, and experiences.

Chronicling over five decades of creative and journalistic output of a life-long explorer and progressive advocate, the Mark Sommer Papers are an extensive collection, covering Sommer’s entire career and personal life from the late 1960s to the present. Writings include personal and multiple travel journals (including a unique trip to North Vietnam in 1968), correspondence, student essays, op-eds, articles, project and grant plans, memoirs, and book manuscripts. Additional journals exist in audio format, along with radio interviews where Sommer served as a guest. Slides, photographs, and movies cover Sommer’s family and home life to his wide-ranging travels and interests. Some main topics of coverage include foreign policy and international politics, progressivism, peace and conflict studies, the anti-nuclear and disarmament movements, wilderness and back-to-the-land experiences, and later in life fatherhood. Materials from Mainstream Media Project have been separated into the Mainstream Media Project Records.

Gift of Mark Sommer, May 2017
Subjects
  • Antinuclear movement
  • Counterculture--United States
  • Institute for Policy Studies
  • Journalists--California
  • Nuclear disarmament
  • Peace--research
  • Peaceful change (International relations)
  • Political activists
  • Reconciliation
  • Self-reliant living--California
  • Sustainable living
  • Travel writing
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Types of material
  • Articles
  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Memoirs
  • Photographs
  • Sound recordings
  • Video recordings

Vinal, William Gould, 1881-

William Gould Vinal Papers
1931-1963
3 boxes (1.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 138
Image of Cap'n Bill Vinal
Cap'n Bill Vinal

William “Cap’n Bill” Vinal was the first instructor in nature education at Massachusetts State College and a pioneer in the field. A graduate of Bridgewater State (1904), Harvard (MA 1907) and Brown (PhD, 1922), Vinal worked for several years as a camp director on his native Cape Cod and held a variety of university appointments in nature education before joining the faculty at Massachusetts State College as Professor of Nature Education in the Nature Guide School in 1937. Spontaneous in the classroom and field, enthusiastic, and highly popular with his students, Vinal taught courses in conservation, outdoor leadership, outdoor recreation, and nature guiding, and was an important figure in the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the American Camping Association, the Camp Directors Association, and several conservation groups. After retiring from UMass in 1951, Vinal returned to his home in Norwell, Mass., remaining active as a nature writer and teacher until his death in 1973.

A valuable glimpse into the early growth of nature and conservation education, the Vinal collection includes dozens of scarce publications by the exceptionally prolific Cap’n Bill, along with a small quantity of correspondence, talks, and reports. As a collection, these document the origin and growth of the Nature Guide School and the program in nature recreation at MSC and UMass, and more generally the growth of nature, recreation, and conservation education in New England. Of local interest is an extensive report for the town of Amherst Recreation Survey Committee (1948) regarding recreational opportunities for youth. Nearly half of the collection consists of an extensive run of Vinal’s quirky, self-published Nature Guide Newsletter (1935-1951).

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Conservation of natural resources--Study and teaching
  • Nature Guide Newsletter
  • Outdoor education--Massachusetts
  • Recreation--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Nature Guide School
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Nature Recreation
Contributors
  • Vinal, William Gould, 1881-

Walker, Mary Morris

Mary Morris Walker Papers
1868-2003 (Bulk: 1944-2003)
8 boxes (12 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 775

An avid botanist and naturalist, Mary (Morris) Walker was born in Stamford, Conn., on April 1, 1923, the daughter of renowed surgeon and naturalist Robert Tuttle Morris. After graduating from Vassar in 1944, Morris took her MA in Geology at the University of Michigan, marrying a fellow geologist Eugene H. Walker in 1947. Moving to Kentucky, Iowa, and Idaho before settling in Concord, Mass., in 1968, the Walkers raised three children. In Concord, Walker studied for an MA in library science at Simmons College (1971), but her work in botany and natural history became increasingly important. As a plant collector, writer, and educator, Walker traveled widely in the United States and the Caribbean, and she became a leader in organizations including the New England Wild Flower Society, the New England Botanical Club, the Thoreau Society, and the Appalachian Mountain Club. Walker died in Concord on Oct. 2, 2012.

The Walker Papers are a rich assemblage of materials documenting the life of an energetic amateur botanist. Beginning during her time as a student at Vassar, the collection offers insight into Walker’s growing interest in the natural sciences, her botanizing, and her commitments to several organizations devoted to natural history. The collection also includes a small number of letters and photographs of Walker’s father, Robert T. Morris.

Gift of Cynthia Gray and Arthur Walker, Apr. 2013
Subjects
  • Botanizers
  • Botany--Study and teaching
  • New England Botanical Club
  • New England Wild Flower Society
  • Thoreau Society

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