Special Collections and University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries

Collection area: Women (page 5 of 9)

League of Women Voters of Amherst Records, 1939-2001

60 boxes (33 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 296

Non-partisan political organization based in Amherst, Massachusetts that influences public policy through education and advocacy by registering voters, organizing candidate forums, publishing voting guides, and disseminating general information on the legislative process and the functioning of government on the local, state, and federal levels.

Includes minutes, annual reports, financial records, publications, extensive files on specific programs, photographs, video- and audio-tapes, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings. Also contains information on two league members who rose to national prominence: Lucy Wilson Benson (Under Secretary of State in the federal government in 1977) and Jane F. Garvey (Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration in 1997).


  • Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Education--Massachusetts--Amherst--History
  • Housing--Massachusetts--Amherst--History
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-


  • Benson, Lucy Wilson
  • Garvey, Jane F
  • League of Women Voters of Amherst (Amherst, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Oral histories
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire Records, 1959-2001

9 boxes (4 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 478

First founded as a chapter for Pittsfield and later for all of central Berkshire county, this local league is one of many Massachusetts chapters of the national non-partisan political organization, League of Women Voters, that influences public policy through education and advocacy by registering voters, organizing candidate forums, publishing voting guides, and disseminating general information on the legislative process and the functioning of government on the local, state, and federal levels.

The bulk of the collection documents the activities and topics of interest to members of the League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire during the last three decades of their work before disbanding in 2001. The chapter consistently served to educate the public on voter registration, the voting process, and on the functioning of local and state government. Other issues of importance included child care and rights, prison reform, clean water, and health care.


  • Berkshire County (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Drinking water--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
  • Prisons--Massachusetts


  • League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire

Karen Lederer Papers, 1986-2013

1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 167
Karen Lederer (r) with Arlene Akavian in 1997
Karen Lederer (r) with Arlene Akavian in 1997

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts’ Social Thought and Political Economy program in 1981, Karen Lederer has held many important roles in the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies since she started in 1986, including, Undergraduate Advisor and Undergraduate Field Work Coordinator, and has taught courses women’s careers and life choices. In addition to her work at the University, Lederer has been an activist for peace, labor, and women’s movements.

This small collection consists of departmental administrative files, Lederer’s course materials, several issues of New Roots magazine and other publications, and memorabilia from the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.


  • Feminism
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Staff
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Regina Lederer Oral History, 1984

1 envelope (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 358 bd

Regina Berger Lederer was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1895 into the family of a successful manufacturing chemist. Her singing career was promising, but never fully realized. With the rise of the Nazi Party and increase in oppression of Jews, she and her husband escaped by leaving for Italy and the United States in 1939. Settling in New York, she worked as a skilled sweater repairer for many years. She died in Maryland in 1988, where she had gone to live near her son Paul.

Transcript of an oral history of Lederer.


  • Jewish women--United States--Interviews
  • Jews, Austrian--United States--Interviews
  • Jews--Austria--History--20th century--Sources
  • Knit goods--Repairing--New York (State)--New York
  • Refugees, Jewish--United States--Interviews
  • Sweater industry--New York (State)--New York--Employees--Interviews


  • Lederer, Regina Berger, 1895-1988

Types of material

  • Oral histories

Gertrude M. Lewis Papers, ca.1920-2001

6 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 096
Gertrude "Jean" Lewis, ca.1935

Overcoming a deeply impoverished childhood, Gertrude Lewis struggled to build a career in education, putting herself through college and graduate school. At the age of 32, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State, continuing on to a masters degree at New York University (1933), and finally, at age 51, a PhD from Yale (1947). For many years after receiving her doctorate, Lewis was employed as a Specialist for Upper Grades with the U.S. Office of Education in Washington. Among other career highlights, Lewis spent two years in Japan (1950-1951) as a Consultant in Elementary Education in the Education Section of the Allied Occupation government (SCAP). Lewis outlived her life partner, Ruth Totman, dying at home on December 10, 1996, a few months after her one hundredth birthday.

The Lewis Papers document the work and life of an educator of the masses, a traveler of the world, and a woman of the twentieth century. Documents pertaining to her work as an educator of both young students and veteran teachers show the changes within the theory and practice of pedagogy over time, over various geographic locales, and also highlight her role in that change. This collection also documents the numerous on-going side projects on which Lewis worked, including fostering creativity in schoolchildren, a biography of Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, and her own poetry and prose.


  • Education, Elementary--Japan
  • Education, Elementary--United States--History
  • Education--Evaluation
  • Education--United States--History
  • Health Education--United States
  • Japan--Civilization--American influences
  • Students--Health and hygiene


  • Lewis, Gertrude Minnie, 1896-
  • Totman, Conrad D
  • Totman, Ruth J

Types of material

  • Motion pictures (Visual work)
  • Photographs

Patricia Lee Lewis Photograph Collection, 1977-1979

3 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 059
Cotton Mill no. 2, Beijing, 1977
Cotton Mill no. 2, Beijing, 1977

A co-founder of the Valley Women’s Center and the Everywoman’s Center at UMass Amherst, Patricia Lee Lewis has been an important part of the vibrant activist culture in the Pioneer Valley since her graduation from Smith College in 1970, advocating for women, civil rights, peace, the environment, for small farms and rural communities, and for art. Her varied career has included service as Supervisor of Community Development for the Massachusetts Office for Children (1974-1976), as Rural Development Specialist for the Massachusetts Cooperative Extension Service, and as County Commissioner for Hampshire County (1984-1988). After receiving an MFA from Vermont College, she founded Patchwork Farm Writing Retreat in Westhampton in 1992, which offers workshops and retreats in creative writing and yoga.

As a member of a National Women’s Delegation, Lewis visited the People’s Republic of China in 1977. Having been invited by the All China Women’s Federation, Lewis and her colleagues toured the country, seeing the sights and examining the role of women, education, and agriculture, visiting Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Tachai, and Guilin. The many hundreds of photographs she took during the tour are a powerful visual record of the country only a few months after the Gage of Four were arrested and the Cultural Revolution declared ended. The collection also includes approximately 100 photographs taken of agriculture and rural life in Louisiana and Texas in 1979.


  • China--Photographs
  • Louisiana--Photographs
  • Texas--Photographs

Types of material

  • Photographs

Sandy Lillydahl Venceremos Brigade Photograph Collection, 1970-2005 (Bulk: 1970)

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 056

A 1969 graduate of Smith College and member of Students for a Democratic Society, Sandy Lillydahl took part in the second contingent of the Venceremos Brigade. Between February and April 1970, Lillydahl and traveled to Cuba as an expression of solidarity with the Cuban people and to assist in the sugarcane harvest.

The 35 color snapshots that comprise the Lillydahl collection document the New England contingent of the second Venceremos Brigade as they worked the sugarcane fields in Aguacate, Cuba, and toured the country. Each image is accompanied by a caption supplied by Lillydahl in 2005, describing the scene and reflecting on her experiences; and the collection also includes copies of the file kept by the FBI on Lillydahl, obtained by her through the Freedom of Information Act in 1975.


  • Cuba--Photographs
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)--Photographs
  • Sugarcane--Harvesting--Cuba--Photographs
  • Venceremos Brigade--Photographs

Types of material

  • Photographs

Susie D. Livers Papers, 1903-1907

1 flat box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 122

Susie D. Livers arrived at Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1903 as a member of one of the college’s first co-ed classes. After graduating in 1907, Livers worked at Ginn & Company Publishers in Boston and then as a Detail Officer at the State School for Girls in Lancaster, Massachusetts.

Included in the scrapbook are handwritten personal correspondence in the form of letters, postcards, holiday cards, and telegrams; unidentified photographs; MAC report cards dated 1904 and 1907; class papers and a class notebook; and programs and tickets for sporting events, weddings, and campus socials. In the back of the scrapbook are 35 herbarium samples which include dried plants with notations of plant names as well as dates and locations indicating where the plants were found.


  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Students


  • Livers, Susie D

Types of material

  • Ephemera
  • Herbaria
  • Scrapbooks

Loomis Communities Records, 1902-2009

In 1902, a group of residents of Holyoke, Mass., secured a charter for the Holyoke Home for Aged People, wishing to do “something of permanent good for their city” and provide a “blessing to the homeless.” Opened in March 1911 on two acres of land donated by William Loomis, the Holyoke Home provided long-term care of the elderly, and grew slowly for its first half century. After changing its name to Loomis House in 1969, in honor of the benefactor, Loomis began slowly to expand, moving to its present location in 1981 upon construction of the first continuing care retirement community in the Commonwealth. In 1988, the Board acquired a 27-acre campus in South Hadley on which it established Loomis Village; in 1999, it became affiliated with the Applewood community in Amherst; and in 2009, it acquired Reeds Landing in Springfield.

The Loomis Communities Records offer more than a century perspective on elder care and the growth of retirement communities in western Massachusetts. The collection includes a nearly complete run of the minutes of the Board of Directors from 1902 to the present, an assortment administrative and financial records, and some documentation of the experience of the communities’ residents, with the bulk of materials dating from the 1980s to the present. An extensive series of oral histories with residents of Loomis Village was conducted in 2010.


  • Holyoke (Mass.)--History
  • Holyoke Home for Aged People
  • Loomis Communities
  • Loomis Village
  • Older people--Care--Massachusetts
  • Retirement communities--Massachusetts

Lyons Family Correspondence, 1859-1895

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 133

Includes letters addressed mostly to Mary Lyons or her brother Frederick D. Lyons about friends and family in Greenfield and Colrain, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. Topics discussed are sickness, death, accidents, an instance of probable wife abuse, recipes, Greenfield scandals, clothing, quilting, Methodist/Universalist bickering, and Aunt Mary’s investments.


  • Abused wives--United States--History--19th century
  • Clothing and dress--United States--History--19th century
  • Colrain (Mass.)--Biography
  • Colrain (Mass.)--Social life and customs--19th century
  • Cookery--United States--History--19th century
  • Greenfield (Mass.)--Biography
  • Greenfield (Mass.)--Social life and customs--19th century
  • Lyons family
  • Methodist Church--Relations--Universalist Church
  • Methodist Church--United States--History--19th century
  • Quilting--United States--History--19th century
  • Scandals--Massachusetts--Greenfield--History--19th century
  • Universalist churches--Relations--Methodist Church
  • Universalist churches--United States--History--19th century
  • Wife abuse--United States--History--19th century
  • Women--Massachusetts--Colrain--Correspondence


  • Lyons, J. L
  • Lyons, Mary

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)

© 2016 Special Collections and University Archives * UMass Amherst Libraries

Site policies