Paul S. Kahn Papers, 1964-2009.
10 boxes (17 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 786
An artist, writer, and activist for the disabled, Paul S. Kahn was born on Nov. 6, 1945, into a second-generation family of Jewish immigrants in Auburndale, Mass. Early in life, Kahn rebelled against the perceived “powerlessness” of the neuromuscular disorder with which he was born, pursuing an artistic, academic, and activist life. While studying drawing, painting, and sculpture at Boston University and earning a MA in counseling at Northeastern (1982), Kahn became an activist in the independent living movement and a pioneer in advocating for personal care assistance. Living independently from 1979, he worked as staff therapist at the Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, as leader of a support group for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and as a member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Advisory Commission on Disability Policy. In 1980, Kahn met Ruth Stern, who would become his frequent collaborator and wife of 21 years. As Kahn’s physical condition weakened after 1987 and he became dependent upon a ventilator, his creative focus shifted increasingly from art to writing and editing. The last two decades of his life were remarkably productive, resulting in over twenty plays and dozens of published essays and poems, and he was the long-time editor of the newsletter Disability Issues. Kahn died on Jan. 1, 2010.
Paul Kahn’s papers are a reflection of the intensely creative life of a committed activist. The collection centers on Kahn’s literary work, including manuscripts of his plays, essays, and poetry, but it includes numerous examples of his artwork and a number of home movies and tape recordings from his childhood.
- People with disabilities and the arts
- People with disabilities--Civil rights
Types of material
Sidney and Emma Nogrady Kaplan Papers, ca.1937-1993.
58 boxes (85 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 149
An eminent scholar of African American history and activist, Sidney Kaplan was raised in New York City and graduated from City College in 1942. After wartime service as a Lieutenant in the Army, Kaplan returned to his education, completing an MA in history from Boston University (1948) and PhD at Harvard (1960), taking up the study of African American history at a time when few white scholars showed interest. Joining the English Department at UMass in 1946, Kaplan’s influence was widely felt at UMass Amherst and in the local community: he was among the founders of the Department of Afro-American Studies, a founder of the UMass Press, a founder and editor of the Massachusetts Review, and he was the editor of Leonard Baskin’s Gehenna Press. Over more than thirty years at UMass, he worked on diverse projects in history, literature, and the arts, often in partnership with his wife Emma Nogrady, a librarian at Smith College whom he married in 1933, ranging from studies of Poe and Melville to a biographical dictionary of African Americans and a study of Shays’ Rebellion. In 1973, they were co-authors of the first comprehensive study of depictions of African Americans in the visual arts, The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution (based on an exhibition planned for the National Portrait Gallery), and in 1991, the UMass Press published a collection of Sidney’s essays, American Studies in Black and White. A Fulbright lecturer in Greece and Yugoslavia and exchange Professor at the University of Kent, Kaplan was the recipient of the Bancroft Award from the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History for best article of the year in the Journal of Negro History, and he was awarded the UMass Amherst Chancellor’s Medal in 1979, one year after his retirement. Sidney Kaplan died in 1993 at age 80 and was followed by Emma in 2010.
The Kaplan Papers document a long career devoted to the study of African American history and life. The extensive correspondence, research notes, and drafts of articles and other materials offer important insight into the growth of African American studies from the 1950s through 1970s as well as the growth of UMass Amherst into a major research university.
- African Americans--History
- Massachusetts Review
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Afro-American Studies
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
- University of Massachusetts Press
- Kaplan, Emma Nogrady, 1911-
- Kaplan, Sidney, 1913-
Karuna Center for Peacebuilding Records, 1994-2006.
4 boxes (1.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 580
Founded in Amherst, Mass., by Paula Green and associates in 1994, the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding addresses the global challenges of ethnic, religious, and political conflict. Often partnering with other regional, governmental, educational, or religious organizations, the Center regularly conducts courses, workshops, and other programs with the goal of addressing the root causes of conflict, preventing escalation, and fostering reconciliation. From their early efforts in Bosnia and Kosovo, they have branched out to more than twenty countries, including Afghanistan, Nepal, South Africa, and Palestine.
The Karuna Center collection is a record of an industrious organization committed to building peace internationally. The Center retains records of each international program, including copies of materials used during training and workshops and photographs and summary reports of their activities.
- Sri Lanka--History--Civil War, 1983-
- Yugoslav War, 1991-1995
- Green, Paula
- Karuna Center for Peacebuilding
Denise Karuth and Fred Pelka Papers, 1981-2012.
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.)
- Local transit accessibility
- Massachusetts. Governor's Commission of Accessible Transportation
- People with disabilities--Civil rights
- People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
Katanka-Fraser Political Music Collection, 1885-1975.
10 boxes (7 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 552
The author, publisher, and radical bookseller Michael Katanka (1922-1983) was a staunch Socialist and historian of British labor. Beginning with his 1868: Year of Unions in 1968, Katanka wrote or edited a series of books and articles on Fabianism, satirical caricature, and trade unionism.
The Katanka-Fraser Political Music Collection consists of audio recordings, sheet music, and songbooks of politically-inspired music in a variety of languages. The works range from the English and German Socialist press of the 1880s to the antiwar movement of the 1960s and 1970s, touching upon labor agitation, proletarian songs, student protest, the anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist struggles, the Spanish Civil War, and Communism and Socialism. The collection also includes a few books and sound recordings from the extreme right in Nazi Germany.
- International Workers of the World--Music
- Political ballads and songs
- Protest songs
- Radicalism--Songs and music
- Working class--Music
- Fraser, James
- Katanka, Michael
Randy Kehler Papers, 1978-1997.
17 boxes (7.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 396
A veteran of the peace movement and founder of the Traprock Peace Center (1979), Randy Kehler was active in the National Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, the Peace Development Fund, and the Working Group on Electoral Democracy. Beginning in 1977, he and his wife became war tax resisters, withholding federal income tax to protest U.S. military expenditures, donating it instead to charity. As a consequence, their home was seized by the IRS in 1989, setting up a protracted legal struggle that resulted in Kehler’s arrest and imprisonment and the sale of the house. They remain tax resisters.
The Kehler Papers document the five year struggle (1989-1994) against the seizure and sale of the Kehlers’ home by the IRS. The collection includes meeting minutes, notes, correspondence, newspaper clippings; letters to the editor, essays, articles, plans and strategy documents for the vigil set outside the Kehler home; support committee information and actions; correspondence with government officials, the IRS, and the Justice Department; letters of support; documents from the legal proceedings; and political literature addressing the Kehlers’ situation.
- Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
- Argo, Ed
- Colrain (Mass.)
- Peace movements--Massachusetts
- Political activists--Massachusetts
- Tax collection--Massachusetts--Colrain
- Tax evasion--Massachusetts--Colrain
- Taxation--Law and Legislation
- Traprock Peace Center
- Valley Community Land Trust
- War tax resitance--Massachusetts--Colrain
- Withholding tax--Law and legislation
- Withholding tax--Massachusetts
- Corner, Betsy
- Kehler, Randy
- Link, Mary
- Mosely, Don
- Nelson, Juanita
Types of material
- Court records
- Legal documents
- Letters (Correspondence)
Larry Kelley Papers, 1994-2004.
2 boxes (1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 524
Owner of the Amherst Athletic Club and columnist for the Amherst Bulletin from 1991 to 2004, Larry Kelley is deeply involved with Amherst area relations and government. He ran for both Select Board and Finance Committee, and was instrumental in raising awareness about and banning the illegal sale of martial arts weapons in Massachusetts.
Included in the Kelley papers are over 100 newspaper clippings, either his editorials, letters to the editor, or guest columns, about issues ranging from the use of town safety services by Amherst College, his objection to the Civil Rights Review Commission’s right to subpoena, his fight to fly commemorative flags in downtown Amherst both on the anniversary of September 11th and on the day Osama bin Laden is captured, to his objection over the Amherst-Pelham Regional High School’s production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues.
- Amherst (Mass.)--History
- Amherst Bulletin
- September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001
Malcolm G. Kennedy Papers, 1967-1983.
3 boxes (4.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 678
Malcolm G. Kennedy became active in the antifluoridation struggle in 1954 when the possibility of fluoridating the water supply in his native Portland, Maine, was first proposed. Kennedy was a well-known figure in antifluoridation circles for over three decades and was the first president of the Greater Portland Citizens Against Public Fluoridation.
Centered on activities in Portland, the Kennedy Papers document antifluoridation activism during the height of the controversy in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A relatively rich body of correspondence with regional and national colleagues in the movement is accompanied by supporting materials and some newspaper clippings relating to efforts to fluoridate water supplies in Maine.
- Antifluoridation movement--Maine
Elaine Kenseth-Abel Cambodian Photographs, 1970-1979.
1 box (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 115
The collection primarily consists of photographs taken by Elaine Kenseth-Abel of Cambodians refugees in Thailand who later relocated to Amherst, Massachusetts during the 1970s-1980s. The collection also includes color prints of drawings by E. Seng Huot depicting Cambodian genocide.
- Huot, E. Seng
- Kenseth-Abel, Elaine
Types of material
Anita King Papers, 1989-2003.
3 boxes (4.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 727
A lifelong activist and organizer, King graduated from Smith College in 1937 and completed her master’s in social work at Columbia University. By the 1960s she was active with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and later went on to work as an administrator with the National Institute of Mental Health. In 1988, King returned to the Pioneer Valley and opened up a small family therapy practice from her home in Williamsburg. Soon after, she began her affiliation with the Sierra Club’s population program recruiting students as interns and volunteers from her alma mater. After volunteering as the chair of the Massachusetts Sierra Club population committee for 19 years, Anita King retired at the age of 95 in 2011.
Part of the Global Population and Environmental Program of Sierra Club, the population program was headed by Anita King for nearly two decades. During that time she organized 20 lectures with speakers from a variety of organizations, such as Thoraya Obaid and Margaret Catley-Carlson. Her papers contain correspondence, speeches, administrative and subject files she kept on various issues through the early 2000s.
- Sierra Club. Massachusetts Chapter