Steve Lerner Papers, 1994-2011.
15 boxes (22.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 673
For decades, the writer Steve Lerner has been a significant contributor to public awareness of the issues surrounding environmental justice. Immersed in the environmental movement through his work as research director at Commonweal, a health and environment research institute founded with his brother Michael in 1976, Lerner earned wide recognition for his first book, Eco-Pioneers (1998), about “practical visionaries” who developed pragmatic solutions to environmental problems. In two subsequent books, Lerner turned to an examination of the impact of environmental toxins and industrial pollutants on low-income communities and people of color and the rise of grassroots opposition within those communities. In Diamond (2006), Lerner explored the impact of a Shell Chemical plant in Louisiana as a microcosm of the broader environmental-justice movement, and more recently, Sacrifice Zones (2010) traced the organization and resistance against industrial and chemical pollutants in a dozen communities in the eastern United States. In 2007, Lerner left his position at Commonweal, but continues his research and writing on environmental issues.
The research notes, interviews, photographs and other documentation comprising the Lerner collection form the basis for Lerner’s three major books.
- Environmental justice
Types of material
Eric Mann and Lian Hurst Mann Papers, 1967-2007.
22 boxes (11 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 657
Revolutionary organizers, writers, and theorists, Eric Mann and Lian Hurst Mann have been active in the struggle for civil rights for decades. The son of Jewish Socialist and labor organizer from New York, Mann came of age during the early phases of the Civil Rights movement and after graduating from Cornell (1964), he became field secretary for the Congress of Racial Equality. Increasingly radicalized through exposure to Black revolutionary nationalists, Mann took part in the Newark Community Union Project and became a leader in anti-imperialist opposition to the war in Vietnam as a New England regional coordinator for the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and later with the Revolutionary Youth Movement I — the Weatherman above-ground tendency of SDS. Following a militant demonstration at the Harvard Center for International Affairs late in 1969, Mann was convicted of assault on the basis of perjured testimony and sentenced to two years in prison. An organizer of his fellow prisoners even behind bars, he was “shipped out” often in the middle of the night, from prison to prison, spending the last year at Concord State Prison. After being released early in July 1971, he continued his prison activism through the Red Prison Movement. At the same time, as a writer, he earned a national audience for his book Comrade George: an account of the life, politics, and assassination of Soledad Brother George Jackson. Feeling himself at a low point in his radical career, Mann met Lian Hurst while vacationing in Mexico during the summer 1974. Hurst, a leader in the Berkeley Oakland Women’s Union, architect, and a strong Socialist Feminist, soon became his partner in life and politics, and Mann left Massachusetts to join with her in Berkeley. Hurst lead a group of women from BOWU who formed a “Thursday night group” and left the organization with the polemic, “socialist feminism is bourgeois feminism” all of whom moved towards integrating women’s liberation and Marxism-Leninism. At her urging, the two took part in Marxist Leninist party building, becoming union organizers with the United Auto Workers, and eventually moving to Los Angeles. Hurst was elected shop steward by her fellow workers as a known revolutionary. There, Mann led a campaign to keep the Van Nuys assembly plant open (1982-1992) — captured in his book, Taking on General Motors. They joined the August 29th Movement and its successor, the League of Revolutionary Struggle. They left LRS in 1984. In 1989, Mann and veterans of the GM Van Nuys Campaign formed the Labor/Community Strategy Center, which has been a primary focal points for their work ever since, helping to build consciousness, leadership, and organization within communities of color. Hurst became editor of AhoraNow, an innovative bilingual left publication that featured articles by Black and Latino working class leaders and helped initiate the center’s National School for Strategic Organizing. In 2003 Hurst wrote, “Socialist Feminism: Thoughts After 30 Years” for AhoraNow, a critical re-engagement of those important debates from an historical perspective after a 30 year reunion of BOWU’s key leaders. Mann’s latest book is Playbook For Progressives: 16 Qualities of the Successful Organizer. Hurst and Mann continue to write and agitate in the cause of revolutionary change, particularly for oppressed communities of color.
The Mann-Hurst collection contains the records of two lives intertwined with one another with the cause of liberation of Black and Latino communities, women, and an internationalist pro-socialist anti-imperialism. Containing a nearly complete set of publications, the collection also contains early materials on Lian Hurst’s work with BOWU and the both Eric and Lian’s time as organizers for the UAW and their participation in the August 29th Movement and League of Revolutionary Struggle. Of particular interest are a series of letters home written by Eric during his imprisonment. The collection contains comparatively little on Hurst and Manns’ more recent work with the Labor/Strategy Strategy Center or Bus Riders Union
- August 29th Movement
- Berkeley Oakland Women's Union
- International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
- Labor unions--California
- League of Revolutionary Struggle (M-L)
- Red Prison Movements
- Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
Jonathan Evan Maslow Papers, ca.1978-2008.
20 boxes (30 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 639
A man of diverse and interests, Jon Maslow was a naturalist and journalist, an environmentalist, traveler, and writer, whose works took his from the rain forests to the steppes to the salt marshes of his native New Jersey. Born on Aug. 4, 1948, in Long Branch, Maslow received his MA from the Columbia University School of Journalism (1974), after which he spent several years traveling through South and Central America, studying the flora and fauna, reporting and writing, before returning to the States. Always active in community affairs, he was a reporter with the Cape May County Herald (1997-2002) and the West Paterson Herald News (2002-2008). The author of six books, including The Owl Papers (1983), Bird of Life, Bird of Death, a finalist for the National Book Award in 1986, and Sacred Horses: Memoirs of a Turkmen Cowboy (1994), he often combined an intense interest in natural history with a deep environmentalist ethos and, particularly in the latter two cases, with a deep concern for the history of political turmoil. He died of cancer on Feb. 19, 2008.
A large and rich assemblage, the Maslow Papers document his career from his days as a young journalist traveling in Central America through his community involvements in New Jersey during the 2000s. An habitual rewriter, Maslow left numerous drafts of books and articles, and the collection includes valuable correspondence with colleagues and friends, including his mentor Philip Roth, as well as Maslow’s fascinating travel diaries.
- Authors--New Jersey
- Central America--Description and travel
- Journalists--New Jersey
- New Jersey--History
- Reporters and reporting--New Jersey
- Maslow, Jonathan Evan
- Roth, Philip
MUSE Records, ca.1980-1989.
19 boxes (28.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 521
Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE), an activist organization opposing the use of nuclear energy, was founded in 1979 by Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, and John Hall. The MUSE Foundation was established with the proceeds of the concerts and for several years provided small grants to support antinuclear and environmental work.
The bulk of the MUSE collection consists of applications from grass-roots, progressive organizations in the United States relating to their work. As such, the collection presents a wonderful snapshot of early 1980s activisim. The collection is part of the Famous Long Ago Archive.
- Activists--United States
- Antinuclear movement--United States
- Musicians United for Safe Energy
New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation Records, ca.1975-2005.
12 boxes (18 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 663
Founded in 1977, the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation is a non-partisan policy making and political action organization devoted to informing the public about the deleterious physiological effects of fluorides. With a membership comprised of professionals and non-professionals, physicians, scientists, and environmentalists, the Coalition works to raise awareness among elected officials at all levels of government about the need for environmental protection and works with an international network of similar organizations with the ultimate goal of ending the fluoridation of public water supplies.
The NYSCOF collection documents two decades of an organized, grassroots effort to influence public policy relating to water fluoridation in New York state and elsewhere. In addition to 7.5 linear feet of subject files relating to fluoridation, the collection includes materials issued by and about NYSCOF, several audio and videotapes, and documentation of their work with elected officials.
- Antifluoridation movement--New York (State)
- Drinking water--Law and legislation--United States
- Fluorides--Environmental aspects
- Public health
- New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation
Don Ogden Collection, 1972-2000.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 440
Don Ogden is a poet, writer and activist who lives in Leverett, Massachusetts. The collection consists of newspaper clippings, pamphlets, an unpublished book, and letters that document primarily anti-war protests in Amherst dating from 1972-2000.
- Peace movements--Massachusetts
- Political activists--Massachusetts
Types of material
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.
- Decoys (Hunting)--Massachusetts
- Furnace Pond (Mass.)
- Oldham Pond (Mass.)
- Crowell, A. Elmer
- Foster, Otis
- Jocelyn, Edgar
John Olver Papers, ca.1990-2012.
57 boxes (85.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 748
John Olver served as representive from the 1st Congressional District in Massachusetts for over two decades. Born in Honesdale, Pa., on Sept. 3, 1936, Olver began an academic career at UMass Amherst shortly after earning his doctorate in chemistry at MIT in 1961. In 1969, however, he resigned his position to pursue a career in politics. Winning election to the Massachusetts House in 1969 as a Democratic representative from Hampshire County, Olver went on to the state Senate in 1973, and finally to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1991, where he followed 17-term Republican Congessman Silvio O. Conte. Olver was a progressive voice for a district stretching from the Berkshire Hills through northern Worcester and Middlesex Counties, enjoying consistently strong support from his constituents for his support for issues ranging from national health care to immigration reform, regional economic development, human rights, and opposition to the wars in Iraq. A member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, he held seats on the Appropriations Committee and subcommittees on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, Energy and Water Development, and Homeland Security. With the redistricting process in Massachusetts in 2011, Olver announced that he would not seek reelection in 2012.
The Olver papers contain thorough documentation of the congressman’s career in Washington, including records of his policy positions, committee work, communications with the public, and the initiatives he supported in transportation, economic development, the environment, energy policy, and human rights. Material in the collection was drawn from each of Olver’s three district offices (Holyoke, Pittsfield, and Fitchburg), as well his central office in Washington.
- Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
- United States--Politics and government--1989-
- United States--Politics and government--2001-2009
- United States. Congress. House
Peace Development Fund Records, 1981-2010.
53 boxes (79.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 427
First conceived in 1980, the Peace Development Fund (PDF) was founded by a small group of activists and donors with a vision: to raise money to fund grassroots organizations promoting peace, global demilitarization, and non-violent conflict resolution. During the foundation’s first funding cycle, PDF awarded 19 grants to projects designed to increase understanding of the arms race; some to organizations as nearby as Deerfield and Northampton and others to organizations as far away as California. With the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s, PDF changed focus. Instead of thinking of peace as the absence of war, the Foundation began to see peace as “the presence of equitable relationships among people, nations, and the environment.” Since that time, PDF has developed a new perspective on peacework, one centered on fostering social, environmental, and economic justice.
The records of the Peace Development Fund consist chiefly of grant-making files documenting the many organizations that submitted and received awards. Also included is a nearly complete run of PDF’s annual reports, newsletters, and other publications, which together offer a full picture of the foundation’s funding and programmatic history. Exchange Project files record PDF’s efforts to provide training, not just money, to organizations lacking the skills necessary for effective fund-raising, strategic planning, instituting sound organizational structures, and dismantling racism.
- Antinuclear movement
- Charitable uses, trusts, and foundations--United States
- Peace movements--United States
- Social change--United States
- Social justice--United States
Lynne Pledger Collection, 1968-2007.
3 boxes (4.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 726
Lynne Pledger became active in waste management issues when Casella Waste Systems, a New England-based landfill company, applied to expand operations in Hardwick, Mass., potentially threatening the public water supply. Organizing a grassroots campaign, Pledger succeeded in getting Casella to drop plans to rezone the landfill in 2007, after the company failed to garner the necessary support in town meeting. Pledger has remained active in zero waste and waste reduction efforts, serving on the Zero Waste Committee for the Sierra Club, on the Clean Water Action Campaign, on the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Solid Waste Advisory Committee, and co-founding Don’t Waste Massachusetts, an alliance of 25 environmental organizations supporting waste reduction measures.
This small collection contains documentation of grassroots opposition to the expansion of the landfill at Hardwick, Mass. Collected by Pledger, the material includes environmental and site reports, some filings, background information on the site and landfills, and some correspondence relating to the controversy.
- Casella Waste Systems
- Fills (Earthwork)--Massachusetts
- Hardwick (Mass.)--History
- Refuse and refuse disposal--Massachusetts