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Ozer Family

Ozer Family Papers

ca. 1935-2015
8 boxes 10.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1002
Ruth and Abe Ozer celebrating their 90th birthdays in 2010.
Ruth and Abe Ozer celebrating their 90th birthdays in 2010.

Born five days apart in June 1920 in Manhattan, Abraham Jay Ozer (born Abraham Ozersky) and Ruth Sydell Ozer (born Ruth Sydell Newman) married in 1947 after Abe returned from his army service in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. Abe received the Purple Heart after being wounded by shrapnel from a kamikaze attack on his ship after the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944. Returning to New York, Abe and Ruth began their romance, after being friends earlier as part of a Workmen Circle teen group, and lived almost the entirety of the rest of their lives in the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative in the Bronx, the country’s oldest nonprofit housing cooperative. The Ozers were involved in the social, cultural, and financial community of the cooperative, originally founded by Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union members, and decidedly Jewish and progressive in its early decades. Working for RKO Pictures Inc. and as a substitute teacher, Ruth also volunteered at the local Amalgamated nursery school, which her daughters Alison and Stephanie attended as children. Self-employed in the insurance business, Abe served on several of the community’s boards and societies, and later volunteered as a dispatcher for ambulances in the Amalgamated, and as a tour guide at the Bronx Zoo. The two were also able to pursue their passion for travel, beginning their adventures in 1969 with a trip to the United Kingdom. Over the next thirty-five years they would take more than fifty international and national trips.

The Ozer Family Papers primarily document the lives of Abe and Ruth Ozer, including their high school and college years, their correspondence and other records from Abe’s military service in the 311th and then 168th Ordnance Depot Company, additional war correspondence between Ruth and other parties, and extensive documentation of the couple’s many years of travel, including selected slides, photographs, travel planning documents, and Ruth’s detailed travel journals for each trip from 1969 through 2005. Additional materials cover the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, RKO Pictures Inc., and other aspects of the Ozer’s lives, including numerous oral history interviews and home movies on formats ranging from 8mm film to digital. The greater Ozer family is also represented, from a family tree back to Abe’s grandparents from Belorussia, to content and interviews with his mother, Sadie Uretsky, and several folders of clippings about Abe’s brother, Bernard Ozer, an important figure in fashion, and former vice-president of Associated Merchandising Corporation. Additional content on the Ozer’s children, grandchildren, and extended family rounds out the collection.

Gift of Alison Ozer, November 2017

Subjects

  • Bronx (New York, N.Y.)--Social life and customs
  • Housing, Cooperative
  • Hunter College--Students
  • Jews--New York (State)--New York
  • Leyte Gulf, Battle of, Philippines, 1944
  • Tourism
  • Travel
  • United States. Army. Ordnance Corps
  • World War, 1939-1945

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs
  • Slides (photographs)
Perreault, Alida

Alida Perreault Papers

1906-1957 Bulk: 1928-1933
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 808
Image of

Alida Capistrant was the eleventh of twelve children in a large French-Canadian family in South Hadley, Massachusetts, born on July 24, 1914. Her parents both immigrated from Quebec in 1885. On September 30, 1895, they were married in South Hadley. The Capistrant family rented their home until 1912 when they purchased their first house in South Hadley. Alida had an active social life as a teenager and considered attending college or university, but did not pursue any further education until about 1943, when she studied at the Providence Hospital School of Nursing in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Two years later she married James Perreault and the couple had two children, a daughter, Marcia (Perreault) Matthieu, and a son, David James Perreault. They lived in South Hadley until 2003, when they moved to Chandler, Arizona, to be near their daughter. Alida Perreault died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease on April 7, 2006, and James died in 2008. Both are buried in Saint Rose Cemetery in South Hadley next to Alida’s family.

Alida’s correspondence during her high school years (1928-1932) reveal a young woman with a substantial network of friends and family. The bulk of the collection consists of letters from several friends, including two potential romantic interests. Letters document daily activities, family happenings, and later Alida’s interest in a career as a nurse and her leadership role in the South Hadley Women’s Club.

Gift of Danielle Kovacs, 2014

Subjects

  • Capistrant family--Correspondence
  • Family--Massachusetts--History
  • High school students--Massachusetts
  • South Hadley (Mass.)--History
  • Williston Northampton School (Easthampton, Mass.)

Contributors

  • Fogg, Esther
  • McEwan, William
  • Mitkiewitcz, Freddie A.

Types of material

  • Correspondence
  • Greeting cards
  • Invitations
Perry, Cynthia Shepard

Cynthia Shepard Perry Papers

1946-2010
7 boxes 10.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 842
Image of Cynthia Shepard Perry, ca.1986
Cynthia Shepard Perry, ca.1986

An educator, diplomat, and expert on Africa, Cynthia Shepard Perry was the first recipient of a PhD from of the Program in International Education at UMass Amherst (1972). Born in Burnett, Indiana, in 1928, Perry was raising a family when she set a twenty-five year goal of earning doctorate and entering international service. One year after earning a bachelor’s degree at Indiana State University in 1967, she arranged for her first trip to Africa, leading a secretarial training project at the University of Nairobi, and over succeeding decades, her connections to the continent deepened dramatically. On faculty at Texas Southern University (1971-1982), Perry served as Associate Director of the university’s Peace Corps Program, which resulted in her leading educational projects in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, and Kenya. In demand for the expertise she had gained, she worked as a consultant to the US Information Service in Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia and as Staff Development Officer at the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. Having become a full professor and Dean of International Affairs, she left TSU in 1982 to take her first diplomatic post as an officer of the Africa Bureau of the US Agency for International Development, followed by successive appointments as Ambassador to Sierra Leone (1986-1989) and Burundi (1989-1993), as Honorary Consul General of Rwanda, and finally an appointment as U.S. Executive Director of the African Development Bank (1996-2001). Although officially retired, Perry remains active in supporting education and development in Africa from her home in Houston. Among many other awards she has received, Perry was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from UMass for her international work and was recognized by the Salute to Service Award.

A record of a life in international service in Africa, the Perry papers includes materials from Perry’s time as head of the African Development Bank and her two ambassadorial appointments, including speeches, some correspondence, and a handful of publications. The collection also includes a series of awards and plaques, some family photographs, and memorabilia.

Gift of Cynthia Shepard Perry, Oct., 2014

Subjects

  • Africa--Foreign relations--United States
  • Burundi--History
  • Sierra Leone--United States
  • United States--Foreign relations--Africa

Types of material

  • Memorabilia
  • Photographs
Perske, Robert

Robert and Martha Perske Papers

1964-2005
13 boxes 19.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 772
Image of Bob and Martha Perske with their dog, Wolfie, 2004
Bob and Martha Perske with their dog, Wolfie, 2004

While serving with the U.S. Navy in the Philippines during World War II, the teenaged Bob Perske became aware of the vulnerable and disabled in society and turned his life toward advocacy on their behalf. Studying for the ministry after returning to civilian life, Perske was appointed chaplain at the Kansas Neurological Institute, serving children with intellectual disabilities for 11 years, after which he became a full-time street, court, and prison worker — a citizen advocate — laboring in the cause of deinstitutionalization and civil rights of persons with disabilities, particularly those caught in the legal system. After Bob married his wife Martha in 1971, the two became partners in work, with Martha often illustrating Bob’s numerous books and articles. In 2002, Perske was recognized by the American Bar Association as the only non-lawyer to ever receive the Paul Hearne Award for Services to Persons with Disabilities.

The Perske Papers contains a fifty year record of published and unpublished writings by Bob Perske on issues surrounding persons with disabilities, along with correspondence, photographs, and other materials relating to the Perskes’ activism. The correspondence includes a particularly rich set of letters with a fellow advocate for persons with disabilities, Robert R. Williams.

Gift of Robert and Martha Perske, 2013

Subjects

  • Mental retardation--Social aspects
  • People with disabilities--Deinstitutionalization
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.

Contributors

  • Perske, Martha
  • Williams, Robert R.

Types of material

  • Photographs
Pine Beach Association

Pine Beach Association Collection

1922-1980
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 666
Image of Woman on a zip line at Lake Rohunta, ca.1925
Woman on a zip line at Lake Rohunta, ca.1925

Founded in Athol, Mass., prior to1922, the Pine Beach Association operated a summer resort on the northern end of Lake Rohunta, a 383-acre reservoir owned largely by the Rodney Hunt Company. Recognizing the touristic and recreational opportunities, the Association built Pine Beach into a facility that included the Rohunta Inn (the former Elm Lodge Clubhouse), a restaurant, camping facilities, and a lifeguard-patrolled swimming area with water slides and other recreational facilities, all with the intent of becoming the “leading inland bathing beach of New England.” Although the hurricane of 1938 washed away Rodney Hunt’s dam and hydroelectric station, Pine Beach remained a popular destination, freely available to the company’s employees. In the 1980s, the properties were sold to the not-for-profit Lake Rohunta Beach Association, an association of 15 residential properties.

This small collection contains postcards, photographs, and ephemeral material relating to the Pine Beach Association, concentrated in its early years.

Gift of the Harris family, 2010.

Subjects

  • Athol (Mass.)--History
  • Hotels--Massachusetts--Athol
  • Lake Rohunta (Mass.)
  • Picnics--Massachusetts--Athol
  • Rodney Hunt Machine Company--Employees--Recreation
  • Summer resorts--Massachusetts--Orange
  • Taverns (Inns)--Massachusetts--Athol

Types of material

  • Photographs
Pledger, Lynne

Lynne Pledger Collection

1968-2007
3 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 726

Lynne Pledger became active in waste management issues when Casella Waste Systems, a New England-based landfill company, applied to expand operations in Hardwick, Mass., potentially threatening the public water supply. Organizing a grassroots campaign, Pledger succeeded in getting Casella to drop plans to rezone the landfill in 2007, after the company failed to garner the necessary support in town meeting. Pledger has remained active in zero waste and waste reduction efforts, serving on the Zero Waste Committee for the Sierra Club, on the Clean Water Action Campaign, on the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Solid Waste Advisory Committee, and co-founding Don’t Waste Massachusetts, an alliance of 25 environmental organizations supporting waste reduction measures.

This small collection contains documentation of grassroots opposition to the expansion of the landfill at Hardwick, Mass. Collected by Pledger, the material includes environmental and site reports, some filings, background information on the site and landfills, and some correspondence relating to the controversy.

Gift of Lynne Pledger, Dec. 2011

Subjects

  • Casella Waste Systems
  • Fills (Earthwork)--Massachusetts
  • Hardwick (Mass.)--History
  • Refuse and refuse disposal--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Pledger, Lynne
Pope, Ebenezer

Ebenezer Pope Ledger

1810-1821
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 167 bd

Blacksmith who was prominent in the town affairs of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Includes debit and credit entries, the method and form of customer payment (cash, services, labor, and goods such as corn, potatoes, wheat, cider brandy, hog, veal, sheep, lambs, and an ox), and an entry noting the building of the Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike in 1812. Also includes documentation of seamstress activity and of African American customers.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987

Subjects

  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
  • Barter--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
  • Blacksmiths--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--Economic conditions--19th century
  • George, Negro
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--History--19th century
  • Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike (Mass.)--History
  • Palmer, Anna M
  • Toll roads--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Wages--Men--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
  • Wages--Women--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
  • Wages-in-kind--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century

Contributors

  • Pope, Ebenezer

Types of material

  • Account books
Quabbin Broadsides

Quabbin Broadside Collection

1859-1938
2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 022

During the 1920s and 1930s, the populations of four towns in the Swift River Valley, Mass., were relocated to make way for completion of the Quabbin Reservoir. Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were formally disincorporated in 1938, marking an end to over a century of small town government in the region.

The Quabbin Broadside Collection contains as assortment of printed and posted notices issued in three of the four Massachusetts towns that were flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir. These include announcements for dances (including the Enfield Fire Department Farewell Ball in 1938), for plays performed by the North Dana Dramatic Club, and notification of voter registration and tax assessment.

Subjects

  • Dana (Mass.)--History
  • Elections--Massachusetts--Enfield
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--History
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
  • Theater--Massachusetts--Dana

Types of material

  • Broadsides
  • Maps
  • Playbills
Reinsch, Henry Gustave

Henry Gustave Reinsch Papers

1942-1960
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 527

Born in Germany in 1888, Henry Gustave Reinsch became an American citizen in 1912, serving in the military during the First World War, marrying an American girl, and starting a family. In 1942, however, two FBI agents showed up at Reinsch’s office, and a year later, Reinsch’s citizenship was revoked when he was accused by the U.S. government of living a double life — publicly loyal to America, privately loyal to Germany. Reinsch appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court and won. His citizenship was reinstated in 1945.

The Reinsch Papers contains newspaper clippings, personal and business correspondence, and official documents pertaining to both citizenship trials, that tell of uncommon wartime experiences.

Gift of Vincent DiMarco, June 2007

Subjects

  • Citizenship, Loss of--United States
  • Fascists--United States
  • German Americans--Washington
  • Silver Shirts of America (Organization)
  • World War, 1939-1945--German Americans

Contributors

  • Reinsch, Bernice
  • Reinsch, Henry Gustave

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
Ross, Laura

Laura M. Ross Papers

1945-2003 Bulk: 1967-1990
13 boxes 6.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 515
Image of Laura Ross
Laura Ross

Born in the coal mining town of Blossburg, Pa., in 1913, Laura Ross (nee Kaplowitz) grew up in poverty as one of seven children of Lithuanian immigrants. In about 1932, Ross married Harry Naddell, a wine merchant, and settled into a comfortable life Brooklyn, N.Y., raising a son and daughter. During the Second World War, however, she became intensely politicized through her work with Russian War Relief, joining the Communist Party and eventually divorcing her les radical husband. Moving to the Boston area, she married Max Ross in 1963, an attorney for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and became a noted presence in a wide range of political activities, working for civil rights, the antiwar movement, and for many years, helping to run the Center for Marxist Education in Central Square , Cambridge. Perhaps most notably, between 1974 and 1984, Ross ran for Congress three times on the Communist Party ticket, taking on the powerful incumbent Tip O’Neill and winning almost a quarter of the vote. An activist to the end, Ross died in Cambridge on August 5, 2007.

The Ross papers are the legacy of a highly visible activist, organizer, educator, and member of the Communist Party USA. Heavily concentrated in the period 1967-1990, the collection includes material relating to her affiliation with CPUSA and her work with the Center for Marxist Education in Cambridge, Mass., including information on party membership, platforms, and conventions, minutes from various district committee meetings, material relating to the People’s Daily World, and course information and syllabi. Scattered throughout the collection are materials pertaining to contemporary political issues and elections, particularly the policies associated with Ronald Reagan. Ross was a vocal and persistent opponent of Reaganomics and the nuclear arms race that Reagan accelerated.

Gift of Eugene Povirk, 2007

Subjects

  • Center for Marxist Education (Cambridge, Mass.)
  • Communist Party of the United States of America
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • People’s Daily World
  • United States--Politics and government--1981-1989

Contributors

  • Ross, Laura