Collection area: Disability (page 2 of 3)

Karuth, Denise

Denise Karuth and Fred Pelka Papers

36 boxes 54 linear feet
Call no.: MS 833

Denise Karuth and Fred Pelka are activists and historians of the disability rights movement based in Massachusetts. Both are graduates of SUNY Buffalo, while Karuth holds a masters in rehabilitation counseling from Boston State College and a masters in divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge. Karuth came into activism through her church’s involvement in the civil rights movement and her own experience as a student dealing with blindness and multiple sclerosis at the State University of New York at Buffalo. After moving to Boston, her activism continued in efforts by the disability community to secure accessible and affordable mass transit in Massachusetts, and she has been involved with a broad spectrum of disability campaigns and organizations, serving as a peer counselor for people with disabilities, as Executive Director of Boston Self-Help Center, as a consultant on disability issues for the Human Genome Initiative, as a grant writer at the Stavros Center for Independent Living, and as Chair of the Governor’s Commission on Accessible Transportation under Gov. Michael Dukakis. She has also been an advocate for people who are homeless and was a principal founder of the First Church Shelter of the First Church in Cambridge. Karuth’s lifelong partner Fred Pelka, himself a person with disabilities, became involved in disability rights activism in 1983 while working at the Boston Center for Independent Living, and has made an impact as an editor and prolific author since. A 2004 Guggenheim Fellow, he has written three books on disability issues: The ABC-CLIO Companion to the Disability Rights Movement (1997), The Civil War Letters of Charles F. Johnson, Invalid Corps (2004), and What We Have Done: An Oral History of the Disability Rights Movement (2012). His fourth book, A Different Blaze, was published by Hedgerow Books in 2014, and is his first published poetry.

The Karuth and Pelka collection documents thirty years of social justice activism in Massachusetts centered on the movement for disability rights. Beginning in the1980s struggle for accessibility in transportation, the collection reflects the breadth of Karuth’s commitments and work on issues ranging from apartheid and US imperialism to homelessness and HIV/AIDS, and her work with organizations such as First Church in Cambridge, Amnesty International, Not Dead Yet, the Governor’s Council of Accessible Transportation, and the Boston Self Help Center. Pelka’s part of the collection contains extensive research and background material, notes, and drafts for each of his books, including lengthy transcripts of interviews with pioneers in disability rights.

  • AIDS activists--Massachusetts
  • Boston Self-Help Center
  • First Church (Cambridge, Mass.)
  • Homelessness--Massachusetts
  • Local transit accessibility
  • Massachusetts. Governor's Commission of Accessible Transportation
  • People with disabilities--Civil rights
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
  • Pelka, Fred

Lapolice, Aubrey D.

Aubrey D. Lapolice Collection

1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: PH 070
Image of 'Our first students, 1921'
'Our first students, 1921'

Born in Chicopee Falls, Mass., Aubrey D. Lapolice (1893-1981) was a maintenance superintendent at the Belchertown State School for a forty year period, from the time of its establishment through his retirement in 1961. A veteran of the First World War, he oversaw a campus of nearly 850 acres and a physical plant of nearly one hundred buildings and structures. He died in February 1981.

The Lapolice collection includes 35 images of the physical plant and construction projects at the Belchertown State School during its first two decades of operation and 21 images of the welcome home parade in Belchertown in 1946 for returning American troops.

Gift of Dani McGrath, Feb. 2016
  • Belchertown State School--Photographs
  • Construction projects--Massachusetts--Belchertown--Photographs
  • Hampden Railroad--Photographs
  • Mentally disabled--Massachusetts--Belchertown
  • Parades--Massachusetts--Belchertown--Photographs
  • Psychiatric hospitals--Massachusetts--Belchertown--Photographs
  • World War, 1939-1945--Veterans
Types of material
  • Photographs

Liebergott, Harvey W.

Harvey W. Liebergott Collection

1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 785

From the lstter days of the Lyndon Johnson administration through the early years of Ronald Reagan, Harvey Liebergott served in the US Bureau of Education for the Handicapped. As director of the Bureau’s Information and Recruitment program, he helped develop and disseminate information on the educational needs of disabled children through program such as the National Information Center for the Handicapped’s “Closer Look” films and a variety of print and media campaigns that advertised available services. Liebergott left Washington in the changing political environment of the Reagan era.

The Liebergott collection includes a sampling of audio and video productions from the early years of federal support for persons with disabilities, along with a small selection of correspondence and ephemera.

Gift of Harvey W. Liebergott, July 2013
  • People with disabilities--Education
  • United States. Bureau of Education for the Handicapped
Types of material
  • Motion pictures (Visual works)
  • Sound recordings

McVeigh, Kevin

Kevin McVeigh Papers

15 boxes 22.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 668

A lifelong activist for social and environmental justice, Kevin McVeigh was among the founders of two prominent antinuclear and environmental organizations in Northern California, the Pelican Alliance (1978) and Interhelp (1981). After relocating to Massachusetts, he continued in environmental activism, founding the Green River Center in Greenfield in 1987, but in response to the intense public health crisis, he gradually shifted his focus to become an advocate for persons with HIV/AIDS. As a founder of the AIDS Community Group of Franklin County (Mass.), he has coordinated AIDS services for Tapestry Health, a not-for-profit organization providing affordable health care to in Western Massachusetts.

The McVeigh Papers document a career as a committed antinuclear activist and advocate for persons with HIV/AIDS. The collection includes organizational materials from each of the groups McVeigh helped found: The Pelican Alliance, Interhelp, the Green River Center, the AIDS Community Group of Franklin County, and Tapestry Health, as well as correspondence, newspaper clippings, journals and magazines related to the issues concerning, notes from HIV/AIDS caregivers’ conferences, materials relating to men’s support groups, and other material related to environmental protection and anti-war activism. Finally, the collection includes audio files of an oral history (approximately two hours) conducted with McVeigh in July 2010, and a small collection of antinuclear books from small publishing houses.

  • AIDS (Disease)
  • AIDS Community Group of Franklin County
  • AIDS activists--Massachusetts
  • Antinuclear movement--California
  • Green River Center (Greenfield, Mass.)
  • Interhelp
  • Pelican Alliance
  • Public health--Massachusetts
  • Tapestry Health
  • McVeigh, Kevin
Types of material
  • Oral histories

Miller, Cynthia

Cynthia Miller Papers

6 boxes 2.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 869

Known in the psychiatric survivors’ movement as Kalisa, Cynthia Miller was a radical activist on behalf of the mentally ill. An ex-patient based in New York, she became a member of Project Release in the early 1970s, one of the first wave of organizations fighting for the civil rights of mental patients and combatting forced institutionalization, and was a contributor to Madness Network News and other publications. A poet, writer, and a committed feminist and out lesbian, she took part in civil disobedience to oppose electroconvulsive therapy, working with Judi Chamberlin, George Ebert, Leonard Roy Frank, and others.

Though varied and fragmentary, Cynthia Miller’s collection is a rich resource for study of the early history of the psychiatric survivors movement and the work of one activist in resisting psychiatric oppression. The collection contains some of Kalisa’s writings and correspondence along with ephemera and a varied collection of newspapers, newsletters, and other publications relating to Project Release and several other organizations that Kalisa supported, including the Mental Patients Liberation Front and the Alliance for the Liberation of Mental Patients.

  • Antipsychiatry
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Ex-mental patients
  • Feminism
  • Mentally ill--Civil rights
  • Psychiatric survivors movement--New York (City)
  • Alliance for the Liberation of Mental Patients
  • Chamberlin, Judi, 1944-2010
  • Mental Patients Liberation Front
  • Project Release
Types of material
  • Newsletters

Northampton (Mass.) Area Mental Health Services

Northampton Area Mental Health Services Records

4 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 027

In 1973 Hampshire Day House was established to provide day treatment to patients released from the Northampton State Hospital, which first opened as the Northampton Lunatic Asylum in 1858. As the Day House expanded its services it became known as the Northampton Area Mental Health Services (NAMHS). Valley Programs assumed responsibility for the operation of residential programs for deinstitutionalized individuals in Hampshire and Franklin counties in 1983, and seven years later the NAMHS and Valley Programs merged.

The collection consists of reports, financial records, board minutes, and correspondence for the Hampshire Day House.

  • Community mental health services
  • Mental health facilities
  • Northampton (Mass.) Area Mental Health Services

Northampton State Hospital

Northampton State Hospital Annual Reports

74 items (digital)
Call no.: Digital

The Northampton State Hospital was opened in 1858 to provide moral therapy to the “insane,” and under the superintendency of Pliny Earle, became one of the best known asylums in New England. Before the turn of the century, however, the Hospital declined, facing the problems of overcrowding, poor sanitation, and inadequate funding. The push for psychiatric deinstitutionalization in the 1960s and 1970s resulted in a steady reduction of the patient population, the last eleven of whom left Northampton State in 1993.

With the Government Documents staff, SCUA has digitized the annual reports of the Northampton State Hospital from the beginning until the last published report in 1939. The reports appeared annually from 1856 until 1924 and irregularly from then until 1939.

Perske, Robert

Robert and Martha Perske Papers

13 boxes 19.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 772
Image of Bob and Martha Perske with their dog, Wolfie, 2004
Bob and Martha Perske with their dog, Wolfie, 2004

While serving with the U.S. Navy in the Philippines during World War II, the teenaged Bob Perske became aware of the vulnerable and disabled in society and turned his life toward advocacy on their behalf. Studying for the ministry after returning to civilian life, Perske was appointed chaplain at the Kansas Neurological Institute, serving children with intellectual disabilities for 11 years, after which he became a full-time street, court, and prison worker — a citizen advocate — laboring in the cause of deinstitutionalization and civil rights of persons with disabilities, particularly those caught in the legal system. After Bob married his wife Martha in 1971, the two became partners in work, with Martha often illustrating Bob’s numerous books and articles. In 2002, Perske was recognized by the American Bar Association as the only non-lawyer to ever receive the Paul Hearne Award for Services to Persons with Disabilities.

The Perske Papers contains a fifty year record of published and unpublished writings by Bob Perske on issues surrounding persons with disabilities, along with correspondence, photographs, and other materials relating to the Perskes’ activism. The correspondence includes a particularly rich set of letters with a fellow advocate for persons with disabilities, Robert R. Williams.

Gift of Robert and Martha Perske, 2013
  • Mental retardation--Social aspects
  • People with disabilities--Deinstitutionalization
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
  • Perske, Martha
  • Williams, Robert R.
Types of material
  • Photographs

Rapaport, Ionel Florian

Ionel Florian Rapaport Papers

7 boxes 10.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 642

Born into a Jewish family in the town of Buzau, Romania, the endocrinologist and psychopathologist Ionel Florian Rapaport entered the University of Paris in 1937 to study under the eminent psychologists Maxime Laignel-Lavastine and Charles Blondel. Surviving the war by posing as a Christian, he completed a dissertation on ritual castration, Les Faits de castration rituelle, essai sur les formes pathologiques de la conscience collective (1945), which was published three years later as Introduction à la psychopathologie collective : la secte mystique des Skoptzy. In 1953, Rapaport emigrated to the United States and joined the faculty at the Psychiatric Institute of the University of Wisconsin, where he became noted for research into the social aspects of mental disorders and juvenile delinquency. It was there in 1956, that he discovered a statistical correlation between the incidence of Down Syndrome and exposure to fluorides, a study that became widely cited by opponents of fluoridation of the water supply and widely criticized by proponents. Rapaport died of cancer in 1972.

The Rapaport Papers contain a large quantity of raw data, research notes and correspondence relating to over two decades of research into mental disorders, centered largely upon his study of the link between Down Syndrome and fluoridation. Due to the potential sensitivities of some material in the collection, researchers must agree not to reveal the names of any patients before gaining access.

Gift of Paul Connett, Dec. 2009
  • Down Syndrome
  • Fluorides--Physiological effect
  • University of Wisconsin--Faculty
  • Rapaport, Ionel Florian

Risser, Pat

Pat Risser Papers

1 box, 4 external drives 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 987

A leading voice in the psychiatric survivor movement, Pat Risser worked for years in the cause of civil rights and peer self-help for people with psychiatric disabilities. An Ohioan by birth, Risser suffered severe abuse as a child and was diagnosed with “schizophrenia” in his twenties, although he wrote that his diagnosis changed with each new doctor or therapist. Finding his condition worsen the deeper he became involved in the mental health system, Risser discovered the value of peer self-help in the early 1980s and became one of the first students in the Consumer Case Manager Aide program, where he trained to work as a professional mental health provider. A dynamic leader, he helped start dozens of self-help peer support groups in Colorado, founded several drop-in centers, and established seventeen Alliance for the Mentally Ill groups. His reputation led to his recruitment to become Director of Mental Health Consumer Concerns, a patients-rights advocacy program in California, with which he enjoyed enormous success. In 1996, he relocated to Oregon and although “semi-retired” due to poor health, he continued to work at the state and national level on mental health issues, becoming chair of Clackamas County Mental Health Council, acting as a mental health consultant, and writing and speaking on a range of topics. Risser died in 2016 at the age of 63.

Primarily a digital archive, the Pat Risser papers contain the writings and correspondence of a significant figure in the history of disability rights. Working in Colorado, California, Oregon, and Ohio, Risser was an early adopter of online technologies to communicate with fellow activists and to raise awareness about the pitfalls of the mental health system. The collection includes several important autobiographical essays by Risser.

Gift of Patricia Sandoval through Steve Stone, Oct. 2017
  • Antipsychiatry
  • Ex-mental patients
  • People with disabilities--Civil rights
  • Psychiatric survivors movement
Types of material
  • Born digital