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MassEquality Records, ca.1993-2008

18 boxes (23.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 674
MassEquality Records image
MassEquality sticker

In the late 1990s, MassEquality was formed as a coalition of advocacy groups that sought to build legislative support for same-sex marriage and gay rights in Massachusetts. Formally incorporated as a 501(c)4 advocacy organization in late 2001, the coalition hired its first employee, Campaign Coordinator Marty Rouse, in late 1993, and achieved a landmark success that November when the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that the state may not “deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry.” On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to allow equal marital rights to same-sex couples. Since that time, MassEquality has continued to champion marriage equality nationally.

The MassEquality Records document the origins, operations, and activism of one of the leading organizations in New England advocating for marriage rights and civic equality for all, regardless of sexual orientation. The collection includes some material generated by the Freedom to Marry Coalition, a partner in the coalition, and a series of large banners and posters, some of which were displayed during the event celebrating the arrival of marriage equality in Massachusetts.

  • Gay rights--New England
  • Gays--Legal status, laws, etc.--New England
  • Same-sex marriage--Law and legislation--New England
  • Freed to Marry Coalition
  • MassEquality
Types of material
  • Banners
  • Posters

Jean Paul Mather Papers, 1932-1994

6 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 003/1 M38
Jean Paul Mather Papers image
Jean Paul Mather

Jean Paul Mather was the youngest president in his era to lead a land-grant university. He joined the University of Massachusetts in 1953 as Provost, and was appointed President in 1954, at the age of 39. During his tenure, he oversaw major academic restructuring and advocated fiscal autonomy for the University, struggling with state officials to raise salaries for the faculty. His work is credited with building a foundation for the academic strength of the University. Mather left UMass in 1960 to assume the Presidency of the American College Testing Program, and he later became President of the University City Science Center in Philadelphia from 1964 to 1969. In 1969, Mather returned to his alma mater, the Colorado School of Mines, to become head of the mineral economic department.

Correspondence, memos, speeches, reports, biographical material, clippings, memorabilia, photographs and other papers, relating chiefly to Mather’s work as President, University of Massachusetts. Includes material relating to the Freedom Bill (granting the university autonomy in personnel matters), establishment of an exchange program with Hokkaido University, Japan, and Mather’s inauguration (including minutes of the Committee on Inauguration).

  • Hokkaidō Daigaku
  • Universities and colleges--Administration
  • Universities and colleges--Law and legislation
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. President
  • Mather, Jean Paul

Harold T. McCarthy Papers, 1958-1989

4 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 028

Author, English professor at the University of Massachusetts, and alumnus of the same school. Includes correspondence, typescript manuscripts, poems, travel journals, and class materials including syllabi and lecture notes.

  • American literature--Study and teaching (Higher)--United States
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Intellectual life--20th century
  • College teachers--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • McCarthy, Harold T. Expatriate perspective
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Alumni and alumnae
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
  • McCarthy, Harold T
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Lecture notes
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Mercantile House Ledger, 1792-1804

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 285

Firm based in Portland, Maine, that supplied “merchandize” to local merchants in Maine, as well as in several locations in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and northeastern Massachusetts. Firm undertook international “adventures” as well. Ledger includes general accounts for merchandise, bills receivable and payable, cash, profit and loss, storage, and truckage, as well as accounts generated with certain ships.

  • Maine--Commerce--18th century
  • Maine--Commerce--Massachusetts--18th century
  • Maine--Commerce--New Hampshire--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Commerce--Maine--18th century
  • Merchants--Maine--Portland--18th century
  • New Hampshire--Commerce--Maine--18th century
  • Portland (Me.)--Commerce--18th century
  • Shipping--Accounting--18th century
  • Storage and moving trade--Maine--18th century
Types of material
  • Account books


Cattle judging at Mass. Agricultural College
Judging cattle at Mass. Agricultural College

A steward of the past for generations to come, SCUA inspires discovery and advances scholarship through astute curation of cultural heritage materials. As part of a community dedicated to the values of diversity, social equity, and positive social change, SCUA acts through its collections, programs, and exhibitions to promote free inquiry, the production of knowledge, and joy in learning.

Department history

African dancers
African dancers
From the Horace Mann Bond Papers

In 1931, nearly half a century after Librarian Henry Hill Goodell first authorized the permanent retention of the official records of Massachusetts Agricultural College, the Library established a College History Collection. As the official record of the activities of the university’s administrators and faculty and a reflection of the life of its students, this collection grew steadily, until in 1953, the Library dedicated a room named in honor of Dean William L. Machmer to serve as the first true home of the University Archives.

Goodell’s initiative to assemble the College archives coincided roughly with the Library’s first efforts to build a collection of rare books to support its educational mission. Although the College had no separate library until 1885, its administrators nevertheless accepted several significant gifts of books, beginning with the 1868 donation of twenty scarce volumes on bee culture from the apiculturist and state Adjutant General Henry K. Oliver. By the time the library published its first catalog in 1875, rare books formed a small, but notable part of the collections, focused on the primary academic interests of the early college: agriculture, horticulture and botany, and the natural sciences. Among the Library’s earliest acquisitions were the first London edition of William Bartram’s Travels Through North and South Carolina (1792), François Augier de Marigny’s The History of the Arabians (London, 1758), and early bee manuals by John Keys, The Practical Bee-Master (London, 1780) and The Antient Bee-Master’s Farewell (London, 1796) — both courtesy of Oliver. All remain part of the collections today.

David Axelrod, Class of 1965
David B. Axelrod, ca.1980, Class of 1965, poet, author of The Man who Fell in Love with His Chicken (1980)

From these beginnings, the collections of rare books and manuscripts have evolved in concert with the evolution of the university and its academic programs. With the acquisition of the records of the Valley Peace Center and the papers of ethnographer Jozef Obrebski in 1973, the Library began to acquire collections of personal papers and organizational records of historical significance, and the arrival of the papers on W.E.B. Du Bois in that same year marked a turning point. The rare book and manuscript collections were combined administratively with the University Archives in the early 1990s to form the current Department of Special Collections and University Archives.

SCUA’s initial foray online came with a simple page on the library’s website in 1997, but by 2007, evolved into the UMarmot project, one of the earliest efforts to use freely-available software to create a comprehensive online archival catalog. SCUA launched its online digital repository, Credo in 2011, thanks to generous support from the Verizon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. The papers of W.E.B. Du Bois led SCUA’s way into the digital realm, followed by the papers of Horace Mann Bond, and then dozens of of other collections.

Mile markers

Each of the library’s million-volume milestones has been celebrated by the addition of a special volume to SCUA’s collections:

One millionth volume:
Jonathan Edwards, A careful and strict enquiry into the modern prevailing notions of that freedom of will; which is supposed to be essential to moral agency, vertue and vice, reward and punishment, praise and blame. Boston: S. Kneeland, 1754.
SCUA’s copy of this classic theological work on Free Will from the New Light minister from Northampton belonged to Rev. John Cleaveland of Ipswich, Mass., one of the subscribers. It is signed and dated by Cleaveland in several locations.
Two millionth volume:
Phillis Wheatley, Poems on various subjects, religious and moral. London: A. Bell, 1773.
A classic of American literature written by a young woman enslaved in Boston, and the first book published by an African-American woman. Gift of Randolph W. Bromery.
Three millionth volume:
James Baldwin, Gypsy and other poems, with etched portraits by Leonard Baskin. Northampton, Mass.: Gehenna Press, 1989.
When Baldwin, a former faculty member at UMass Amherst, died unexpectedly, he was working with the great printer Leonard Baskin on a special volume of unpublished poems. Celebrating SCUA’s strengths in African American history literature and reflecting the fine-printing heritage in Massachusetts, SCUA’s copy includes a signed portfolio of etchings of Baldwin by Baskin, each signed. It is one of fifty copies bound specially by Daniel Gehnrich in leather and paste paper, made by Babette Gehnrich, over boards, and laid into a cloth traycase. Also laid in are Baskin’s proof, 1989, and touched proof, 1989, of two of the portraits. Gift of Lisa Baskin.
Four millionth volume:
The proclamation of emancipation of the President of the United States, to take effect January 1st, 1863. Boston: John Murray Forbes, 1862.
The first separate printing of the Emancipation Proclamation, this volume was printed in miniature so that Union army troops in the south could more easily distribute it.

Learn more:

Samuel E. Murray Papers, ca.1945-1989

14 boxes (7 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 568
Samuel E. Murray Papers image
Samuel Murray, 1966

One of the pioneers in the ephemera trade, Samuel E. Murray (1906-1989) was a long time antiquarian bookman, based at his home in Wilbraham, Mass. Born on Christmas Day, 1906, Murray interrupted his college studies to go to sea, but after the Depression left him unemployed, he landed a position as sales representative for McGraw-Hill and, later, G. & C. Merriam and other firms. Always an avid book collector, Murray left the publishing industry in 1970 to become a full time bookseller. Without ever advertising or issuing catalogs, he developed a wide reputation among dealers and collectors for his keen eye and perspicacity with rare and uncommon books. A generalist by trade, Murray had a particular fondness for colorplate books and travel literature, but was renowned both for his extensive reference library and for recognizing early on the value of ephemera. After a lengthy bout with myelofibrosis, Murray died at home on June 4, 1989.

The Murray Papers contain correspondence between Murray and a range of his fellow booksellers and clients, as well as his extensive card files on fellow book dealers and wants lists. The collection offers insight into the operations of a well known antiquarian bookman during the 1970s and 1980s.

  • Antiquarian booksellers--Massachusetts
  • Book collecting
  • Books--Want lists
  • Printed ephemera--Collectors and collecting--Massachusetts
  • Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America
  • Ephemera Society of America
  • Murray, Samuel E., 1906-1989

Ken and Sherri Nahan Collection, 1971-1990

13 items (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 848
Ken and Sherri Nahan Collection image
Max Papart, Araire orange, 1972

Ken and Sherri Nahan operated the Nahan Art galleries in New York City, New Orleans, and Tokyo for many years, exhibiting, publishing, and selling works by a international stable of contemporary artists. They remain active in the art world, as agents and publishers and providing consultation and curatorial services.

The prints in the Nahan collection represent the high state of achievement in French fine art printing in the 1970s and 1980s, and includes works on handmade paper by four master printmakers: Max Papart, James Coignard, Theo Tobiasse, and Nissan Engel.

  • Coignard, James
  • Papart, Max
  • Tobiasse, Theo
Types of material
  • Prints (Visual works)

David Ledbetter Nanney Papers, 1948-2008

13 boxes (6.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 592
David Ledbetter Nanney Papers image
Tracy M. Sonneborn

The experimental ciliatologist David L. Nanney spent much of his career studying the protozoan Tetrahymena. Under Tracy M. Sonneborn at Indiana University, he completed a dissertation in 1951 on the mating habits of Paramecium, but soon after joining the faculty at the University of Michigan, he turned his attention to Tetrahymena. During his subsequent career in Ann Arbor (1951-1959) and at the University of Illinois (1959-1991), Nanney made a series of fundamental contributions to the cytology, genetics, developmental biology, and evolution of ciliates, influencing the work of other biologists such as Joe Frankel, Janina Kaczanowska, Linda Hufnagel, and Nicola Ricci. Since his retirement in 1991, Nanney has remained in Urbana.

The Nanney Papers include a dense run of professional correspondence with ciliatologists, geneticists, students and colleagues regarding his pioneering research on ciliates and other professional matters. Of particular note is an extensive correspondence with Sonneborn, accompanied by several biographical essays written after Sonneborn’s death, and a large body of correspondence of the controversial reorganization of the biological sciences departments at the University of Illinois in the 1970s. The collection also includes a selection of Nanney’s writings and a handful of photographs.

  • Developmental biology
  • Evolution (Biology)
  • Protozoans--Genetics
  • Tetrahymena--Genetics
  • University of Illinois--Faculty
  • Allen, Sally
  • Bleyman, Lea K
  • Corliss, John O
  • Frankel, Joseph, 1935-
  • Kaczanowski, Andrzej
  • McKoy, J. Wynne
  • Nanney, David Ledbetter, 1925-
  • Nyberg, Dennis Wayne, 1944-
  • Orias, Eduardo
  • Ricci, Nicola
  • Siegel, Richard
  • Sonneborn, T. M. (Tracy Morton), 1905-

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends Quaker History Collection, 1783-1950

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 926

During the early twentieth century, the library at the Moses Brown School (formerly the Friends Boarding School) became an informal repository for Quaker manuscripts reflecting the history and work of the Society of Friends. Most of these materials were later transferred for custody to the school’s governing body, the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends.

This miscellaneous assortment of letters was apparently set aside by the staff at the Moses Brown School due to their historical content and preserved in the “vault.” Many of the letters appear to have been retained as good examples of Quaker expression of family and friendly bonds or as documentation about significant periods in Quaker history, particularly the Gurneyite-Wilburite controversy of the 1840s, and several touch on Quaker involvement in the antislavery and peace movements. Of special note are four interesting letters from the Quaker minister and social reformer, Elizabeth Comstock, written during and just after the Civil War; a series of nine lengthy letters from a visiting English minister Isaac Stephenson, traveling through New England meetings; a substantial series of letters from prominent Friend Samuel Boyd Tobey; and three letters from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Sarah F. Tobey regarding attempts to connect Stowe with Alexander T. Stewart in hopes of raising funds for her plans for the education of women.

  • Antislavery movements--United States
  • Gurney, James Joseph
  • Society of Friends--History
  • Wilbur, John,
  • Comstock, Elizabeth L.
  • Stewart, Alexander Turney, 1803-1876
  • Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896
  • Tobey, Samuel Boyd, 1805-1867

New WORLD Theater Records, 1979-2010

41 boxes (61.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 025/F2/N4
New WORLD Theater Records image
Photo by Edward Cohen, 2002

New WORLD Theater was founded at UMass Amherst in 1979 by Roberta Uno with the mission of presenting innovative works of theater by contemporary artists of color, with the goal of fostering creative communities, promoting cultural equity, and embracing diverse cultural backgrounds, social engagement, and a commitment to justice. For more than thirty years New WORLD Theater produced many dozens of plays and other dramatic works representing new voices in the theater, as well as plays from the traditional multicultural repertory, and they have supported the arts through performance residencies, conferences and colloquia, and a variety of initiatives aimed at the diverse communities they serve, youth, and theater professionals. New WORLD Theater has contributed significantly to national conversations on cultural equity. After more than three decades of acclaim and recognition, New WORLD Theater was closed by UMass Amherst in summer 2010.

The bulk of the New WORLD Theater collection consists of administrative records documenting the day-to-day activities of the theater, however, it also contains an extensive and exceptionally rich archive of taped interviews, conferences, and theatrical productions. Taken together, the audiovisual material traces the history of New WORLD through the words and performances of artists who both contributed to and benefited from the theater.

  • African Americans--Drama
  • American drama--Minority authors
  • Asian Americans--Drama
  • Ethnic groups--United States--Drama
  • Hispanic Americans--Drama
  • Minorities--United States--Drama
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • New WORLD Theater
  • Page, Priscilla
  • Uno, Roberta, 1956-
Types of material
  • Audiovisual materials
  • Sound recordings

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