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Abramson, Doris E.

Doris E. Abramson Papers

ca.1930-2007
25 linear feet
Call no.: FS 127
Depiction of Doris Abramson
Doris Abramson

After earning her masters degree from Smith College in 1951, Doris Abramson (class of 1949) returned to UMass in 1953 to become instructor in the English Department, remaining at her alma mater through a long and productive career. An historian of theatre and poet, she was a founding member of the Speech Department, Theatre Department, and the Massachusetts Review. In 1959, a Danforth grant helped Abramson pursue doctoral work at Columbia. Published in 1969, her dissertation, Negro Playwrights in the American Theatre, 1925-1969, was a pioneering work in the field. After her retirement, she and her partner of more than 40 years, Dorothy Johnson, ran the Common Reader Bookshop in New Salem.

An extensive collection covering her entire career, Abramson’s papers are a valuable record of the performing arts at UMass, her research on African American playwrights, her teaching and directing, and many other topics relating to her diverse interests in literature and the arts.

Gift of Dorothy Johnson, Apr. 2008

Subjects

African-American theaterPoets--MassachusettsUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Theater

Contributors

Abramson, Doris E.
Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society

Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society Records

1986-2000
1 box 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 940
logo
Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society logo

Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society, (a.k.a. the Amelia’s) was a lesbian social club based out of Lebanon, N.H., serving the Upper Valley area of Vermont and New Hampshire, and beyond. Reachable via an unnamed post-office box, the club began in 1979 and provided members not only with much sought after social, leisure, and entertainment opportunities, but also a unique community of peers for discussion and activities around political, educational, health, and legal issues of importance to women and lesbians. Like their famous namesake, the Amelia’s did not shy away from risks in supporting women, the feminist movement, or actions promoting and educating about lesbians. The group often overlapped with feminist and lesbian print shop and publishing company, New Victoria Press, and the Amelia’s often used the New Vic building for their meetings.

The Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society Records consist of over 25 issues of the “Amelia’s Newsletter” from 1986-2000; two clippings covering news related to the group, including the repeated vandalization of their “Upper Valley Lesbians” Adopt-A-Highway Program sign; a 1994 audiocassette of interviews for an oral history of the Amelia’s; and a VHS tape of a community event held in 2003 to reflect on the women’s movement in the Upper Valley in the 1970s and 1980s. The newsletter offers detailed documentation of the group and their concerns, including calendars of their social gatherings and other local, regional, and national events of interest, and recaps of relevant news to the lesbian community including updates about politics, legal issues, civil rights and benefits, marriage, discrimination cases, women’s health, education and school issues, and lesbian focused social and entertainment events.

Subjects

Feminism--New England--HistoryLesbian community--New EnglandLesbian community--New HampshireLesbian community--Vermont

Contributors

Dingman, Beth

Types of material

AudiocassettesNewslettersVHS
Boston AIDS Consortium

Boston AIDS Consortium Records

1991-2005
12 boxes 18 linear feet
Call no.: MS 458

In the fall 1987, a working group was formed in Boston to help coordinate planning for HIV-related services, prevention, and education. The Boston AIDS Consortium began operations the following January with the goal of ensuring effective services for people affected by HIV/AIDS and enabling them to live healthy and productive lives. In its eighteen year existence, the Consortium worked with over seventy public and private agencies and two hundred individuals.

The Records of the Boston AIDS Consortium provide valuable insight into community-based mobilization in response to the AIDS epidemic.

Subjects

AIDS (Disease)AIDS activists--MassachusettsAcquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome--Prevention and control

Contributors

Boston AIDS Consortium
Broadside

Broadside and Poster Collection

1798-2012
5 folders, tube 1 linear feet
Call no.: RB 034
Depiction of Advertisement for E. S. Hayden's daguerreotypes, ca.1850
Advertisement for E. S. Hayden's daguerreotypes, ca.1850

Printers and bibliographers use a bevy of terms to refer to works printed on one side (or sometimes both sides) of a single sheet, classified primarily by size. From large to small, posters, broadsides, and fliers refer to works used to convey a more or less focused message to an audience, often using illustrations or inventive typography to grab the attention.

Posters from Communist world, with an emphasis on the political and cultural transformations of the late 1980s through mid-1990s. The majority of posters originated in the Soviet Union, although there are examples from East Germany, China, and elsewhere.

Gift of various donors
Language(s): RussianYiddish

Subjects

Antiwar movements--PostersCommunism--PostersSoviet Union--History--1985-1991Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Posters

Types of material

Broadsheets (Formats)Broadsides (Notices)Fliers (Printed matter)Posters
Chapin, Irene A.

Irene A. Chapin Diaries

1926-1935
4 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 585
Depiction of Irene Chapin and friends
Irene Chapin and friends

In March 1926, Irene A. Chapin (1901-1987) left La Crescenta, Calif., having lost her job in the office of Certain-Teed Corp., and returned home to Chicopee, Mass. Resuming work at the Fisk Tire Co., where she had begun at age 18, Chapin led an active social life, playing bridge and tennis, going to the theatre, and dining with friends. In 1927, she and a fellow stenographer at Fisk, Marion E. Warner (1904-1989), developed an intense friendship that blossomed into a same sex relationship.

Irene Chapin’s pocket-sized diaries include a brief, but densely written record of daily life, from the weather to work and the ebb and flow of a young woman’s social relations. Concerned about her ability to make a success of her job and personal life, Chapin remained sociable and possessed of a wide circle of friends, mostly women. Her diary records a long succession of bridge parties, hikes in the hills, vacations, hockey games, and Chapin alludes frequently to her increasingly intimate intimacy with Marion. Several passages written in shorthand provide additional details on the developing relationship. A photograph laid into the diary for 1927 depicts three women standing in front of a house, one of whom is presumably Chapin.

Subjects

Chicopee (Mass.)--Social life and customsLesbians--MassachusettsWomen--Diaries

Contributors

Chapin, Irene AWarner, Marion E

Types of material

DiariesPhotographs
Common Reader Bookshop (New Salem, Mass.)

Common Reader Bookshop Collection

1977-1997
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 472
Depiction of Abramson, Johnson, and cats on the porch of their New Salem home, 1977
Abramson, Johnson, and cats on the porch of their New Salem home, 1977

Co-owned by Dorothy Johnson and Doris Abramson, the Common Reader Bookshop in New Salem, Massachusetts, specialized in women’s studies materials, or in their words, “books by, for, and about women.” A couple for almost 40 years and married in 2004, Johnson and Abramson opened the store in 1977 and as they grew, relocated to the town’s old Center School building across the street in 1983. The shop closed for business in 2000.

Comprised of two scrapbooks and folder of ephemera, the collection highlights the Common Reader Bookshop not only as a place for buying antiquarian books, but also for the community it fostered.

Gift of Doris Abramson and Dorothy Johson, Jan. 2005.

Subjects

Antiquarian booksellers--MassachusettsNew Salem (Mass.)--HistoryWomen--Massachusetts

Contributors

Abramson, Doris E.Common Reader Bookshop (New Salem, Mass.)Johnson, Dorothy

Types of material

EphemeraPhotographs
Connie Jean

Connie Jean Diaries

1976-2007 Bulk: 1976-1983
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 596

Little is known about Connie Jean, a gender non-conforming woman assigned male at birth, other than that she was living in Lansdowne, in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, in the late 1970s and 1980s. For at least a decade, she was involved with, and lived with, another transgender woman, “Dick,” who had a wife and children before the two met. In her late 30s or early 40s in 1976, Connie Jean began venturing into public dressed as a woman, and after being stopped by police in April 1976, wrote “now they have my name and all the information on me knowing that I am a TV and cannot stop from doing it because I love it.” She later wrote that she wished Dick “was all female and not part woman when he has on all the clothes” adding that “it would be nice if he had all the equipment that a real woman has.” Both she and Dick apparently considered gender reassignment surgery in the early 1980s.

The two diaries (Feb.-July 1976 and July 1979 through Aug. 1983) and photographs in this small collection offer insight into the lives of a gender non-conforming woman and her partner in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The earliest entries consist of cryptic indications of whether she was staying at home on a given day or venturing into numbered “areas” marked on a map (not present), but by April 1976, the entries become much richer. The diaries make frequent reference to Connie Jean’s desire for dressing as a woman, her struggle to appear in public, and her support for Dick’s transition.

Acquired from Benjamin Katz, Jan. 2009 (2009-024)

Subjects

Transgender people--Pennsylvania

Types of material

DiariesPhotographs
Econosmith

Econosmith Collection

1969-2019
1 box, digital files 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 089
Depiction of Pete Seeger, 2006
Pete Seeger, 2006

A wife and husband team of photographers based in Provincetown, Mass., Maxine Smith and John Economos, known collectively as Econosmith, are photographers of the folk music scene, social action, and the landscape and people of outer Cape Cod. Social activists themselves, the Econosmiths were photographers for Pete Seeger during the last decade of his life and headed up the photography team at the Clearwater Festival, giving them unusual access to dozens of performers.

With compelling images of musicians in performance, the Economsmith collection is a rich visual record of the contemporary folk scene, with a special focus on Pete Seeger and the Clearwater Festival (also known as the Great Hudson River Revival). Over 90% of the images were born digital, with the remainder split between color negatives and 35mm. slides. The collection also includes photographs of antiwar demonstrations sparked by the Iraq War and images of the scenery and people of Provincetown and outer Cape Cod.

Gift of John and Maxine Economos, April 2019

Subjects

Cape Cod (Mass.)--PhotographsClearwater Festival--PhotographsDemonstrations--New York (State)--New York--PhotographsDemonstrations--Washington (D.C.)--PhotographsFolk musicFolk musicians--PhotographsIraq War, 2003-2011--Protest movements--PhotographsPeace movements--PhotographsSeeger, Pete, 1919-2004--Photographs

Contributors

Economos, JohnSmith, Maxine

Types of material

Photographs
Gittings, Barbara and Kay Tobin Lahusen

Gittings-Lahusen Gay Book Collection

ca.1920-2007
ca.1,000 items
Call no.: RB 005

Barbara Gittings and her life partner Kay Tobin Lahusen were pioneers in the gay rights movement. After coming out during her freshman year at Northwestern University, Gittings became keenly aware of the difficulty of finding material to help her understand her gay identity. An inveterate organizer, she helped found the New York chapter of the early Lesbian organization, the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) in 1957, and she became well known in the 1960s for organizing the first gay rights demonstrations at the White House and Independence Hall. Gittings later worked with organizations from the American Library Association to the American Psychiatric Association to address systematic forms of anti-gay discrimination.

The Gittings-Lahusen Gay Book Collection contains nearly 1,000 books on the gay experience in America collected by Gittings and Lahusen throughout their career. The contents range from a long run of The Ladder, the DOB magazine co-edited by the couple, to works on the psychology and sociology of homosexuality, works on religious and political issues, novels and histories by gay authors, and examples of the pulp fiction of the 1950s and 1960s.

Subjects

Gay rightsHomosexuality
Restrictions: Collection currently unavailable due to renovation in SCUA
Goldspinner, Jay

Jay Goldspinner Periodicals Collection

1974-2012
1 box 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 909

1977 Spring Equinox cover of WomenSpirit

All social change and cultural movements have their associated resources for the exchange of information, ideas, stories, and art. Particularly in the women’s movement, the effort to create newsletters, journals, and other forms of information dissemination was a proactive step taken to assert women’s stories and to locate the power of the press within women-run communities. These periodicals, both large and small in scale, reveal the ways women connected to each other and to larger spiritual and cultural concepts. Local artist, activist, and feminist Jay Goldspinner was engaged with many of these communities, particularly those characterizing the spiritual elements of the women’s liberation and feminist movements, and collected and saved their periodicals. Her collection includes journals focusing on feminist linguistics, goddess myths and spirituality, Wiccan and witch traditions, progressive politics, and women’s spirituality and community in local and international settings. Each is a unique window into discourses of women’s history, feminist movements, and social change work.

The Jay Goldspinner Periodicals Collection consists of issues of feminist and progressive periodicals, journals, and newsletters from four decades. The titles represented include Always in Season, Goddessing, The Lonesome Node, The People’s Voice of Franklin County, Themis/Thesmophoria, Wicked Word, and an almost complete run, including the two indexes, of the seminal magazine of feminist spirituality, WomenSpirit.

Subjects

Feminism--PeriodicalsFranklin County (Mass.) --PeriodicalsGoddess religion--PeriodicalsNeopaganism--PeriodicalsSpiritual feminism--PeriodicalsWicca--PeriodicalsWitchcraft--PeriodicalsWomen and spiritualism--PeriodicalsWomen's rights and spiritualism--Periodicals

Types of material

Periodicals
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