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Social change (389 collections) SCUA

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Geisler, Bruce

Bruce Geisler Collection, 1969-1984.

14 boxes (21 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 049
Renaissance Community, ca.1974
Renaissance Community, ca.1974

In the early 1970s, the documentary filmmaker Bruce Geisler dropped out of Pomona College one semester short of graduation, drove across country, and joined the Brotherhood of the Spirit commune, then the largest commune in the eastern United States. During his four years living with the Brotherhood, later renamed the Renaissance Community, Geisler learned the craft of filmmaking, before returning west to earn an MFA at the film school of the University of Southern California. Geisler has received a number of awards as a screenwriter and filmmaker including the Grand Prize for Best Screenplay from Worldfest Houston and the Dominique Dunne Memorial Prize for Filmmaking, and, in 2007, he released his feature-length documentary, Free Spirits, about the Brotherhood of the Spirit/Renaissance Community and its ill-fated founder, Michael Metelica Rapunzel. Geisler is currently a Senior Lecturer in the UMass Amherst Department of Communication.

Documenting everyday life in a Massachusetts commune and performances by the commune bands (Spirit in Flesh and Rapunzel), the Geisler collection was assembled in conjunction with the making of the film Free Spirits. In addition to many hours of both raw and edited film footage taken by members of the Brotherhood of the Brotherhood of the Spirit and Renaissance Community, the collection includes a rich assemblage of still photographs, ephemera, and newspaper clippings relating to the commune.

Subjects

  • Brotherhood of the Spirit (Commune)
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Renaissance Community (Commune)

Contributors

  • Geisler, Bruce

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Videotapes

George Cooley & Company

Finding aid

George Cooley & Co. Ledger, 1843-1851.

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 111

Ledger, begun by George Cooley in 1843 to record the accounts of his soapmaking business in the Cabotville section of Chicopee, continued by Titus Chapin, an ardent abolitionist, and Mordecai Cough who managed the business following Cooley’s death (or departure) in 1848. The 1843 date coincides with the coming of many small businesses to Cabotville in connection with the growth of industries there at the time.

Cooley accepted goods, services and cash as payment. The most frequently accepted goods had relatively obvious value to a soap maker: grease and ashes, tallow, pork, scraps and skins, and candles. Some of the services bartered were repairing wagon, shoeing horse, fixing wippletree, making 30 boxes, and covering umbrella. The business sold gallons, bars, and cakes of soap. Mount Holyoke Seminary bought 28 “fancy soaps”. Also listed were shaving soap and hard or hand soap. In addition, sales sometimes included candles, butter, mop handles, molasses, apples and potatoes, squashes, satinet, cheese, cord wood, paint, and rosin. Some of the listings were annotated with regard to the customer’s character: Ashad Bartlett was seen as “bad and poor and fights with his wife”‘ Norris Starkwether was “an honest man”; and Miss L.B. Hunt “eloped with a man”.

Subjects

  • Chicopee (Mass.)--History
  • Soap trade--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • George Cooley and Company

Gershuny, Grace

Finding aid

Grace Gershuny Papers, 1975-1997.

2 boxes (3 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 793
Soul of Soil
Soul of Soil

An organizer, consultant, and educator in the alternative agriculture movement, Grace Gershuny has been active in the field since the 1970s when she worked for the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), developing its first organic certification program. As a leader in the movement, Gershuny helped to establish both the Organic Trade Association and the Organic Farmer: The Digest of Sustainable Agriculture. Today she continues to write and teach on the subject, serving as a faculty member at a number of colleges, most recently Green Mountain College.

The collection consists chiefly of printed material from a run of the Organic Farmer to Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) publications and organizational newsletters, such as the Rural Education Center. Amongst these publications are a few small but significant groups of materials including notes from Gershuny’s role as the NOFA VT coordinator in 1979 and her drafts and notes for the second editions of The Soul of Soil.

Subjects

  • Farming--United States
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association
  • Organic farmers
  • Organic farming

Contributors

  • Gershuny, Grace

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 rights
  • Homosexuality

Goldspinner, Jay

Finding aid

Jay Goldspinner Periodicals Collection, 1974-2012.

1 box (1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 909
1977 Spring Equinox cover of WomenSpirit
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--Periodicals
  • Franklin County (Mass.) --Periodicals
  • Goddess religion--Periodicals
  • Neopaganism--Periodicals
  • Spiritual feminism--Periodicals
  • Wicca--Periodicals
  • Witchcraft--Periodicals
  • Women and spiritualism--Periodicals
  • Women's rights and spiritualism--Periodicals

Types of material

  • Periodicals

Gordon, Ann

Ann Gordon Papers, 1986-1989.

1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 016

Ann Gordon served as the editor of the Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton papers as a member of African American Studies department from 1982 until the project’s conclusion in 1989. While at the University, Gordon, along with John Bracey, Joyce Berkman, and Arlene Avakian planned a conference discussing the history of African American Women voting from the Cady Stanton’s meeting at Seneca Falls to the Voting Rights Act. The conference, called the African American Women and the Vote Conference, was held in 1988.

The collection is comprised of proposals, reports, meeting transcripts, and correspondence from Gordon’s work planning the 1988 African American Women and the Vote Conference. Also included is preliminary work by Gordon to organize the papers given at the conference into book form.

Subjects

  • African American women
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Afro-American Studies

Contributors

  • Gordon, Ann

Grace, Frank

Finding aid

Frank Grace Papers, 1976-1985.

1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 863

A radical political organizer, Frank “Parky” Grace was a founding member of the New Bedford chapter of the Black Panther Party. Radicalized during his tour of duty in Vietnam in 1967, Grace became involved in the antiwar movement upon his return and organized the local branch of the Black Panthers shortly before the New Bedford Rebellion of 1970. In 1972, he and his brother Ross were charged with the murder, receiving life sentences. Parky Grace contended all along that he had been framed by the police for his political activity and in 1982, Ross admitted that he had been responsible for the murder, backing up his brother’s contention that he was not present at the time. Parky Grace was released from prison in 1984 and lived subsequently in New Bedford and Boston. He died in Boston in October 2001.

The Grace Papers consist of a powerful series of letters written to Gloria Xifaras Clark while Grace was confined in Walpole State Penitentiary. Informed by his revolutionary politics, the letters offer insight into the conditions of imprisonment, his treatment by guards, and his relationships with fellow prisoners.

Subjects

  • Black Panther Party
  • New Bedford (Mass.)--History
  • Prisoners--Massachusetts
  • Walpole State Prison

Contributors

  • Clark, Gloria Xifaras, 1942-

Graham, John Remington, 1940-

John Remington Graham Collection, 1978-1982.

3 boxes (4.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 724

As the principal attorney representing the plaintiffs in two lawsuits to prevent the fluoridation of civic water supplies, John Remington Graham had a profound impact on the antifluoridation cause. In November 1978, Graham convinced Allegheny County (Pa.) Judge John P. Flaherty to prohibit fluoridation in the borough of West View, Pa., with the judge writing that it was “simple prudence” to do so in the face of evidence that fluoride was a carcinogen. Four years later, Judge Anthony Ferris ruled similarly in the case of Safe Water Foundation of Texas v. city of Houston, citing not only the carcinogenicity of fluorides, but their toxicity and inefficacy in reducing dental decay.

Consisting of the trial transcripts of Paul Aitkenhead v. Borough of West View (No. GD-4585-78) and Safe Water Foundation of Texas v. City of Houston, District Court of Texas (151st Judicial District, No. 80-52271), the Graham collection documents two high-profile, successful attempts to use the legal system to prevent the fluoridation of public water.

Subjects

  • Antifluoridation movement--Pennsylvania
  • Antifluoridation movement--Texas
  • Water--Fluoridation--Law and legislation--Pennsylvania
  • Water--Fluoridation--Law and legislation--Texas

Contributors

  • Graham, John Remington, 1940-

Types of material

  • Legal files

Graham, Julie

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.

Subjects

  • Capitalism
  • Economic geography
  • Feminist economics
  • Marxian economics
  • Social classes
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Geosciences
  • Women geographers

Contributors

  • Gibson, Katherine
  • Gibson-Graham, J. K
  • Graham, Julie

Granite Cutters International Association of America

Finding aid

Granite Cutters' International Association of America Records, 1877-1978.

27 boxes (19.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 004

Organized in Rockland, Maine in March 1877 as the Granite Cutters’ National Union, the association later adopted its present name in 1905. The trade union clearly had a strong sense of their identity and purpose claiming for itself “the jurisdiction over cutting, carving, dressing, sawing, and setting all granite and hard stone on which granite cutters tools are used,” and further claiming that “no other other trade, craft or calling has any right or jurisdiction over” the these activities.

Records include National Union Committee minutebooks from 1886-1954, monthly circulars, membership registers, and 100 years of the union’s official publication, the Granite Cutters’ Journal.

Subjects

  • Labor unions--New England
  • Stone-cutters--Labor unions

Contributors

  • Granite Cutters' International Association of America

Types of material

  • Minute books
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