Alton Blackington, Woman with parrot Alton Blackington, Cleo the monkey Alton Blackington image Blackinton, Woman with feathered hat

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Collection overview

Rope pull participants, ca.1913
Rope pull participants, ca.1913

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives is a center for research into the history and impact of social change and the history and cultures of New England.

With substantial holdings documenting African American history and culture, organized labor, movements for peace and social justice, and the history of agriculture, SCUA houses approximately 40,000 rare books, hundreds of thousands of photographs, and nearly 45,000 linear feet of archives, including nationally significant manuscript collections and the official records of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. SCUA supports the work of a wide range of researchers, from undergraduates to senior scholars and journalists to family historians.

Among the distinguished collections held by SCUA are the papers of civil rights pioneers W.E.B. Du Bois and Horace Mann Bond; political radicals Carl Oglesby, Eric Mann and Lian Hurst, Raymond Mungo, Anna Gyorgy, and the Liberation News Service; influential figures such as Kenneth R. Feinberg, Mark H. McCormack, Sidney Topol, Congressmen Silvio O. Conte and John Olver, and Governor Jane Swift; the records of organizations such as the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, Hampshire Council of Governments, the Clarke School for the Deaf, the International Center for the Disabled, and the Africa America Institute; the papers of writers William Manchester, William Lederer, Jodi Picoult, Robert Francis; and the photographic archives of Jeff Albertson, Burt Brooks, Alton H. Blackington, Lionel Delevignge, Thomas and Margaret Tenney, and Diana Mara Henry.

Beyond the major areas of collecting interest, SCUA includes materials touching on topics as diverse as Revolutionary-era France and Belgium (1789-1848), Scottish literature, the history of protistology, the American study of Japan, East Germany and Cold War-era Poland, and the literature of American Socialism.

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