Doris E. Abramson Papers, ca.1930-2007.
(25 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 127
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.
- African-American theater
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Theater
The American Revolution Documentary Collection, ca.1968-2010.
On March 15, 1968, a failing classical music station, WBCN-FM, was reinvented as Boston’s first voice in radical underground radio, and its influence quickly spread nationally. Its characteristic blend of cultural chaos, including rock, folk, blues, and jazz, interspersed with news, radical politics, and community programming, provided a soundtrack for a generation fighting to remake its world. WBCN earned its nickname, “The American Revolution.” The station’s eclectic and unpredictable broadcasts included music from little-known performers who would emerge into the biggest acts of the day; regularly scheduled live musical performances from local clubs; trenchant political analysis and newscasts of the major events of the day; interviews with legendary cultural figures; and innovative new shows including one of the first women’s programs and the Lavender Hour, the nation’s first regularly broadcast LGBT radio show. Music, politics, culture, and community were intensely interconnected through WBCN, while its “listener line,” which took calls and answered questions on any subject, helped make it a virtual two-way hub for countercultural Boston.
While producing a documentary film about WBCN, and the music, politics, and social change during the period 1968-1974, former WBCN newscaster and announcer Bill Lichtenstein recognized the importance of archiving the wealth of primary materials that told the story of WBCN, its community and the dramatic changes of the era. The American Revolution Documentary Collection is the product of Lichtenstein’s energy, serving as an umbrella for a suite of interrelated collections focused on the impact of underground media in the Boston area and the profound social, political, and cultural changes of that time. These collections include the work of photographers, journalists, and writers who would go on to prominence, as well as activists, artists, and everyday people who witnessed and took part in an extended public conversation on the direction of our nation during the period of profound social, political, and cultural upheaval and who used media to help change it.
TAR collections include:
- Alternative radio broadcasting--Massachusetts
- Boston (Mass.)--History--20th century
- Cambridge (Mass.)--History--20th century
- Nineteen sixties
- Rock music
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
- WBCN (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
Types of material
- Sound recordings
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.
- AIDS (Disease)
- AIDS activists--Massachusetts
- Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome--Prevention and control
Irene A. Chapin Diaries, 1926-1935.
4 vols. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 585
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.
- Chicopee (Mass.)--Social life and customs
- Chapin, Irene A
- Warner, Marion E
Types of material
Gittings-Lahusen Gay Book Collection, ca.1920-2007.
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.
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.
- Franklin County (Mass.) --Periodicals
- Goddess religion--Periodicals
- Spiritual feminism--Periodicals
- Women and spiritualism--Periodicals
- Women's rights and spiritualism--Periodicals
Types of material
Julie Graham Papers, 1918-2009.
33 boxes (49.5 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 144
The economic geographer Julie Graham (1945-2010) and her colleague Katherine Gibson have been influential in envisioning alternatives to capitalist economics and economic development. After studying at Smith College (BA, 1965) and Clark University (PhD, 1984), Graham joined the faculty at UMass Amherst where she helped shape the new graduate program in geography. From early in her career, she worked so closely with her Australian colleague Gibson that they often published jointly under the pen name J.K. Gibson-Graham, and Graham developed close working relationships across several departments at UMass. A prolific author and inspiring mentor for students, Graham’s academic work drew upon an innovative mix of political economy, poststructuralist theory, feminism, and community-based research. Among her more significant publications are the now-classic The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy (1996), on representations of capitalism and their political effect, A Postcapitalist Politics (2006), which explores alternatives to capitalism, and two edited volumes, Class and Its Others (2000) and Re/Presenting Class (2001). Graham died in Nashville on April 4, 2010.
The Graham Papers offer a detailed perspective on the radical geographer Julie Graham. The collections documents Graham’s life and career beginning in her undergraduate years and extending through her last research projects in community economies. Through correspondence and writings, photographs, and research — closely intertwined with her colleague Katherine Gibson — the collection gives shape of Graham’s radical challenge to human geography tinged with an optimistic economic and social possibility. The collection also includes letters, photographs, and genealogical matter relating to Graham’s family, extending back to the time of the First World War.
- Economic geography
- Feminist economics
- Marxian economics
- Social classes
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Geosciences
- Women geographers
- Gibson, Katherine
- Gibson-Graham, J. K
- Graham, Julie
Gordon Heath Papers, 1913-1992.
44 boxes (22.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 372 and 372 bd
A multi-talented performer, the African American expatriate Gordon Heath was variously a stage and film actor, musician, director, producer, founder of the Studio Theater of Paris, and co-owner of the Parisian nightclub L’Abbaye. Born in New York City, Heath became involved in acting as a teenager and enjoyed a career that spanned post-World War II Broadway to the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s. In addition to his many roles on film and stage, he and his partner Lee Payant enjoyed success as recording artists in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Heath collection includes personal and professional correspondence, scrapbooks containing photos and clippings from assorted television and film productions in addition to songs, poetry, and reviews of plays or playbills from productions he attended. The Papers also contain art work, sheet music, personal and production photographs, and drafts of his memoirs.
- Abbaye (Nightclub : Paris, France)
- African American actors--France--Paris--History
- African American singers--France--Paris--History
- African Americans in the performing arts--History
- African-American theater--History--20th century
- Baldwin, James, 1924-
- Chametzky, Jules
- Dodson, Owen, 1914-
- Expatriate musicians--France--Paris--History
- Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967
- Musicians--United States--History
- Paris (France)--Intellectual life--20th century
- Payant, Lee--Correspondence
- Primus, Pearl
- Rive gauche (Paris, France)--Intellectual life--20th century
- Studio Theater of Paris
- Theater--Production and direction--France--Paris--History
- Abramson, Doris E
- Heath, Gordon, 1918-1991
Types of material
- Sheet music
Susan Kleckner Papers, ca. 1870-2010 (Bulk: 1970-2010).
89 (ca. 180 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 725
A feminist, filmmaker, photographer, performance artist, writer, and New Yorker, Susan Kleckner helped to define the Feminist Art Movement. Born in 1941, Kleckner was instrumental in uniting Women Artists in Revolution (WAR) with Feminists in the Arts in 1969, and in 1970 she became a founder of the Women’s Interart Center, which still fosters women artists in the performing, visual, and media arts. A talented and prolific visual artist, she produced several important video documentaries during her career, beginning with Three Lives (made in collaboration with Kate Millet in 1970), which is considered the first all-women produced feature documentary. Her work often reflected a feminist commitment to the cause of peace: she participated in and photographed the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in England during the mid-1980s and in 1987, she curated a major year-long installation on Broadway called WindowPeace. A brilliant teacher, Kleckner was the first woman to teach photography at the Pratt Institute and she worked at the International Center for Photography in New York from 1982 until her death in July 2010.
A wide ranging and highly diverse collection, the Kleckner Papers document a life in art and activism. The diaries, letters, notes, and essays in the collection are augmented by hundreds of photographic prints and artwork in a variety of media.
- Antinuclear movements
- Feminists--New York (State)
- Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp
- Peace movements
- Performance artists--New York (State)
- Photographers--New York (State)
- Women's Interart Center
Types of material
- Artists' films
- Drawings (Visual works)
MassEquality Records, ca.1993-2008.
18 boxes (23.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 674
In the late 1990s, MassEquality was formed as a coalition of advocacy groups that sought to build legislative support for same-sex marriage and gay rights in Massachusetts. Formally incorporated as a 501(c)4 advocacy organization in late 2001, the coalition hired its first employee, Campaign Coordinator Marty Rouse, in late 1993, and achieved a landmark success that November when the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that the state may not “deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry.” On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to allow equal marital rights to same-sex couples. Since that time, MassEquality has continued to champion marriage equality nationally.
The MassEquality Records document the origins, operations, and activism of one of the leading organizations in New England advocating for marriage rights and civic equality for all, regardless of sexual orientation. The collection includes some material generated by the Freedom to Marry Coalition, a partner in the coalition, and a series of large banners and posters, some of which were displayed during the event celebrating the arrival of marriage equality in Massachusetts.
- Gay rights--New England
- Gays--Legal status, laws, etc.--New England
- Same-sex marriage--Law and legislation--New England
- Freed to Marry Coalition
Types of material