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Bruskin, Gene

Gene Bruskin Papers

1963-2018
6 boxes 8 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1020
Depiction of Gene Bruskin
Gene Bruskin

Gene Bruskin arrived at Princeton in 1964 as a basketball player and left as a political radical. After taking part in the Second Venceremos Brigade, Bruskin got involved in antiracist and labor organizing in Boston. As president of the United Steelworkers of America local during the busing crisis of the 1970s, he helped win overwhelming support among the city’s bus drivers to have the union represent them, leading successful campaigns for better wages and working conditions. In the years since, he has held numerous high-profile positions nationally and internationally, including as labor director for Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, Secretary Treasurer for the Food and Allied Service Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, and co-convener of U.S. Labor Against the War, an organization promoting peace and the demilitarization of U.S. foreign policy. Bruskin was a major figure in the largest private union election in the history of the United Food and Commercial Workers when he led the successful campaign to unionize 5,000 workers at Smithfield Foods in North Carolina. Since retiring in 2012, he has continued to consult with unions. In addition he has returned to some of his earlier undertakings in producing cultural works as a poet, songwriter, and playwright, centered on social justice and working class themes.

Documenting nearly fifty years of activism, Gene Bruskin’s papers are an exceptional resource for the labor movement in the 1970s through early 2000s, and particularly its radical end. Although Bruskin’s early years are relatively sparsely represented, there is a significant run of Brother, the first anti-sexist, “male liberation” journal that he helped found while in Oakland, and the collection includes important material from his work in Boston with the Hyde Park Defense Committee, the Red Basement Singers, and especially with the School Bus Drivers and their tumultuous three-week strike in 1980. The collection also contains a rich assortment of material on labor left and antiwar organizing in the 1990s and 2000s, the Justice at Smithfield campaign, and Bruskin’s work on behalf of single payer insurance, for International Solidarity, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees.

Gift of Gene Bruskin, April 2018
Subjects
Boston (Mass.)--History
Bus drivers--Labor unions
Charter schools
Jackson, Jesse, 1941-
Labor unions--Massachusetts
Labor unions--North Carolina
National Rainbow Coalition (U.S.)
Public schools
Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Strikes and lockouts--Bus drivers
Weatherman (Organization)
Contributors
Boston School Bus Drivers Union
United Steelworkers of America
Bryson, Christopher, 1960-

Christopher Bryson and Joel Griffiths Papers

1997-2010
6 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 810

In the spring of 1997, the investigative journalists Chris Bryson and Joel Griffiths were commissioned by the Christian Science Monitor to investigate the connections between the Manhattan Project and the origins of fluoridation of drinking water supplies. Using reclassified documents obtained through Freedom of Information requests and deep archival research, Bryson and Griffiths uncovered a powerful story that connected the rise of fluoridation to the rise of atomic weapons production in the early Cold War era. Although the Monitor elected not to publish the article, it appeared in the anti-fluoridation journal Waste Not in 1998, and was cited as the year’s 18th most censored story in the 1998 Project Censored Series. Bryson continued his work on the military-industrial roots of fluoridation in a later book, The Fluoride Deception (2004), which received that year’s Project Censored Award.

The Bryson-Griffiths collection consists of materials compiled by the authors during the course of their research, representing the intellectual work of a decade of study on the politics and science of fluoridation. The collection includes a range of correspondence, transcripts of original interviews, memos between Bryson and Griffiths, and archival material gathered from the Manhattan Project and Kettering Laboratory archives. Noteworthy among these materials is a series of suppressed, unpublished, industry-funded studies that found fluoride harmful.

Gift of Christopher Bryson, Feb. 2014
Subjects
Antifluoridation movement
Drinking water--Law and legislation--United States
Fluorides--Physiological effect
Contributors
Griffiths, Joel
Burgstahler, Albert W.

Albert W. Burgstahler Papers

ca.1956-2007
75 boxes 120 linear feet
Call no.: MS 798
Depiction of Albert Burgstahler
Albert Burgstahler

The chemist and ardent opponent of fluoridation of drinking water, Albert W. Burgstahler was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1928. After receiving degrees from Notre Dame (BS 1949) and Harvard (PhD 1953), he embarked on a productive career of over forty years at the University of Kansas. His research in the synthesis and chemistry of natural products and the biological properties of fluorinated amino acids, led Burgstahler to a keen interest in environmental pollutants, particularly fluorides, and from the mid-1960s on, he enjoyed a reputation as one of the most prominent and prolific scientific voices opposing fluoridation. His efforts and long service as editor and chief of the International Society for Fluoride Research’s quarterly journal, Fluoride, was formally recognized by the Fluoride Action Network in 2006, which awarded him its Scientific Integrity Award. Burgstahler retired from KU in 1998 and died on Oct. 12, 2013.

A large and diverse assemblage, the Burgstahler collection reflects the career of a stalwart in the anti-fluoridation movement. Spanning nearly five decades, the correspondence, publications, and research offer a perspective on Burgstahler’s activism in science and public policy and documents his association with other anti-fluoridation activists, including George Waldbott and Paul Connett.

Subjects
Antifluoridation movement
Drinking water--Law and legislation--United States
Fluorides--Physiological effect
Contributors
Waldbott, George L., 1898-
Calkins, David

David and Marshall Calkins Account Books

1848-1855
3 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 178

Brothers from Wilbraham, Mass., David and Marshall Calkins received medical degrees together at the Worcester Medical Institution in 1848. Although David died at the age of 31 in 1855 while just beginning a career, Marshall went on to build a considerable reputation in medicine, working with the Springfield City Hospital for many years and teaching at the University of Vermont.

Kept during the Calkins brothers’ years in Monson, Mass., the three daybooks that comprise this collection list patients treated and their origin or race, along with medical class notes, services provided, remedies, and forms of pay, including bartering for goods. Also included is an account of a stay in Wilbraham.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987
Subjects
Monson (Mass.)--History--19th century
Physicians--Massachusetts--Monson
Contributors
Calkins, David
Calkins, Marshall
Types of material
Account books
Cambodian Crisis Committee

Cambodian Crisis Committee Records

1982-1990
17 boxes 26 linear feet
Call no.: MS 361

In 1979 the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia removing the Khmer Rouge from power and ending the four year reign of a regime responsible for the deaths of more than a million people. In the upheaval surrounding the invasion hundreds of thousands of Cambodians fled to nearby Thailand. From camps along the border of Thailand and Cambodia 150,000 Cambodian refugees eventually resettled in the U.S.

The Cambodian Crisis Committee in Amherst, Massachusetts worked to educate Americans about the situation of the refugees, as well as help Cambodian families reunite. Elaine Kenseth Abel, a member of the Family Reunification Advocacy Project, received numerous letters from Cambodian refugees in the U.S. seeking assistance in getting their family members out of Thailand. The collection consists of case files, correspondence, and photographs documenting Cambodian refugees and their American advocates reunite families. The collection also includes newsletters and correspondence from other advocacy groups like the Cambodian Crisis Committee throughout the U.S.

Subjects
Cambodians--Massachusetts--Amherst
Political refugees--United States
Refugees--Cambodia
Contributors
Cambodian Crisis Committee
Kenseth-Abel, Elaine
Cambridge Central Labor Union

Cambridge Central Labor Union Minute book

1926-1932
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 482 bd

The Central Labor Union was active in the Boston and Cambridge area as early as the 1870s, and by the turn of the twentieth century, the Cambridge Central Labor Union was a thriving organization. Active in many of the significant labor campaigns of the day, including the struggle for an eight hour day, the regulation of child labor, and the fight for collective bargaining, the Cambridge Central Labor Union was said in the late 1930s to represent nearly 30,000 workers in the city.

The minutes of the Cambridge Central Labor Union document the day to day operations of a union representing a cross-section of trades in the city of Cambridge, its relations to other organized labor groups, and the impact of the Depression of 1929 on working people in Massachusetts.

Subjects
Cambridge (Mass.)--History--20th century
Labor unions--Massachusetts--Cambridge
Types of material
Minute books
Cannabis Reform Coalition

Cannabis Reform Coalition Records

1993-2013
2 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: RG 045/80 C3
Depiction of Extravaganja poster
Extravaganja poster

The Cannabis Reform Coalition at UMass Amherst was founded in 1991 and is considered the oldest student-run organization devoted to ending the prohibition on marijuana both locally and nationally and advocating for its industrial, medicinal, and recreational use for moral, environmental, and economic reasons. The CRC is one of the more active student organizations on campus and among other events, it sponsors the annual Extravaganja in April, which has attracted as many as 10,000 participants.

The CRC collection contains an assortment of fliers, posters, ephemera, and photographs, documenting the organization’s activities and activism, along with a small number of published and unpublished essays on the utility of hemp and cannbis products.

Subjects
Marijuana--Law and legislation
Marijuana--Therapeutic use--Social aspects
University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students
Types of material
Fliers (Printed matter)
Photographs
Carton, Robert J.

Robert J. Carton Papers

1935-2002 Bulk: 1983-2002
3 boxes linear feet
Call no.: MS 643

The environmental scientist Robert J. Carton emerged in the mid-1980s as one of the leading scientific critics of fluoridation of the water supply. After receiving his doctorate in Environmental Science from Rutgers University, Carton accepted a position in 1972 with the Office of Toxic Substances in the Environmental Protection Agency, assessing the risks associated with a range of toxic substances from asbestos to arsenic and hexachlorobenzene. By 1985, Carton became concerned about EPA standards for fluoride in drinking water, taking a public stance against undue political influence in framing those standards and insisting that there was no scientific evidence that fluorides prevented tooth decay and that any level of fluoride exposure presented a significant health hazard. In 1992, Carton left the EPA to work for as Chief of Environmental Compliance for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Consisting primarily of research, notes, and some correspondence relating to the health effects of fluoridation of drinking water, the collection documents Robert Carton’s nearly two decade long struggle against the EPA and federal government. Also included are transcripts of filings relating to various legal challenges against fluoridation during the mid-1980s.

Subjects
Drinking water--Law and legislation--United States
Fluorides--Physiological effect
United States. Environmental Protection Agency
Contributors
Carton, Robert J
Center for Popular Economics (U.S.)

Center for Popular Economics Records

1978-1986
21 boxes 12.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 109

Established in 1978 by a group of radical economists at UMass Amherst and local community and labor activists, the Center for Popular Economics. The Center’s staff grew to include a diverse group of economics professors, degree candidates, and activists from a wide range of educational institutions and social forums.

The collection documents the development of the Center’s program, curriculum, and staff, as well as their fund raising, advertising, outreach and networking activities.

Subjects
Economics
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Economics
Contributors
Center for Popular Economics (U.S.)
Chalfen family

Chalfen Family Papers

ca.1890-2011
51 boxes 76.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 770

Born into a Jewish family in Khotyn, Bessarabia (now Ukraine), in 1888, Benjamin Chalfen emigrated to United States as a young man, arriving in New York City in 1910 before making his way to Boston. Taking work as a clerk with the Roxbury Crossing Steamship Agency, he married a fellow Russian immigrant, Annie Berg in 1914 and, after their divorce a few years later, married a second time. Benjamin and Annie’s son, Melvin (1918-2007), studied Forestry at Massachusetts State College (BA 1940) and Yale (MF 1942) before enlisting in the Army Air Corps in Aug. 1942. Moved to active duty in 1943 as a communications specialist, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant. After he returned home, Mel met and married a recent Smith College graduate, Judith Resnick (1925-2011), with whom he raised three sons. The couple settled into a comfortable life in the Boston suburbs, where Mel carved out a successful career as a home inspector and educator while Judith became well known as a supporter of the arts and as one of the founders of Action For Children’s Television (1968), an important force in promoting quality television programing for children.

A massive archive documenting three generations of a Jewish family from Boston, the Chalfen family papers contain a rich body of photographs and letters, centered largely on the lives of Melvin and Judith Chalfen. The Chalfens were prolific correspondents and the collection includes hundreds of letters written home while Mal and Judy were in college and while Mel was serving in the Army Air Corps during the Second World War — most of these in Yiddish. The thousands of photographs cover a broader span of family history, beginning prior to emigration from Bessarabia into the 1960s. Among many other items of note are rough drafts of a New Deal sociological study of juvenile delinquency and the impact of boys’ clubs in the late 1930s prepared by Abraham Resnick (a Socialist community organizer and Judith’s father); materials from the progressive Everyman’s Theater (early 1960s); and nearly three feet of material documenting Judy Chalfen’s work with Action for Children’s Television.

Gift of the Chalfen family, 2011.
Language(s): Yiddish
Subjects
Action for Children's Television
Jews--Massachusetts--Boston
Massachusetts State College--Students
Smith College--Students
World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
Chalfen, Benjamin
Chalfen, Judith, 1925-2011
Chalfen, Melvin H. (Melvin Howard), 1918-2007
Types of material
Photographs