Although Henry Flagg French was selected as the first president of the new Massachusetts Agricultural College, he served in that office for barely two years. A graduate of Dartmouth and Harvard Law School, French was a strong proponent of scientific agriculture, but in 1866, after falling out with the college administration over campus design, he resigned his office, leaving before the first students were actually admitted.
The French collection includes a suitably small body of correspondence, including 16 letters (1864-1866) from French to the original campus landscape designer, Frederick Law Olmsted, and letters and reports from French to college officials, together with published writings, biographical material about French and his son, sculptor Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), and photographs. In part, these are copies of originals in the Frederick Law Olmsted Papers at American University, Washington, DC.
Born into an affluent Reform Jewish family in Cincinnati in 1913, Carl Henry Levy studied philosophy under Alfred North Whitehead at Harvard during the height of the Great Depression. A brilliant student during his time at Harvard, a member of Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude in the class of 1934, Henry emerged as a radical voice against social inequality and the rise of fascism, and for a brief time, he was a member of the Communist Party. Two days before the attack in Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Henry met Edith Entratter, the daughter of Polish immigrants from the Lower East Side of New York, and barely three weeks later, married her. Shortly thereafter, however, he dropped his last name and enlisted in the military, earning a coveted spot in officer’s candidate school. Although he excelled in school, Henry was singled out for his radical politics and not allowed to graduate, assigned instead to the 89th Infantry Division, where he saw action during the Battle of the Bulge and liberation of the Ohrdruf concentration camp, and was awarded a Bronze Star. After the war, the Henrys started Lucky Strike Shoes in Maysville, Ky., an enormously successful manufacturer of women’s footwear, and both he and Edith worked as executives until their retirement in 1960. Thereafter, the Henrys enjoyed European travel and Carl took part in international monetary policy conferences and wrote under the name “Cass Sander.” He served as a Board member of AIPAC, the American Institute for Economic Research, the Foundation for the Study of Cycles, among other organizations. His last 17 years of life were enlivened by a deepening engagement with and study of traditional Judaism and he continued to express a passion for and to inform others about world affairs and politics through a weekly column he started to write at age 85 for the Algemeiner Journal. Edith Henry died in Sept. 1984, with Carl following in August 2001.
The centerpiece of the Henry collection is an extraordinary series of letters written during the Second World War while Carl was serving in Europe with the 89th Infantry. Long, observant, and exceptionally well written, the letters offer a unique perspective on the life of a soldier rejected for a commission due to his political beliefs, with a surprisingly detailed record of his experiences overseas.
Recognized for her coverage of historic events and personalities, the photographer Diana Mara Henry took the first steps toward her career in 1967 when she became photo editor for the Harvard Crimson. After winning the Ferguson History Prize and graduating from Harvard with a degree in government in 1969, Henry returned to New York to work as a researcher with NBC News and as a general assignment reporter for the Staten Island Advance, but in 1971 she began to work as a freelance photographer. Among many projects, she covered the Democratic conventions of 1972 and 1976 and was selected as official photographer for both the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year and the First National Women’s Conference in 1977, and while teaching at the International Center for Photography from 1974-1979, she developed the community workshop program and was a leader in a campaign to save the Alice Austin House. Her body of work ranges widely from the fashion scene in 1970s New York and personal assignments for the family of Malcolm Forbes and other socialites to political demonstrations, cultural events, and photoessays on one room schoolhouses in Vermont and everyday life in Brooklyn, France, Nepal, and Bali. Widely published and exhibited, her work is part of permanent collections at institutions including the Schlesinger Library, the Library of Congress, Smithsonian, and the National Archives.
The Henry collection is a rich evocation of four decades of political, social, and cultural change in America beginning in the late 1960s as seen through the life of one photojournalist. This diverse body of work is particularly rich in documenting the women’s movement, second wave feminism, and the political scene in the 1970s. Henry left a remarkable record of women in politics, with dozens of images of Bella Abzug, Elizabeth Holtzman, Shirley Chisholm, Liz Carpenter, Betty Friedan, Jane Fonda, and Gloria Steinem. The collection includes images of politicians at all levels of government, celebrities, writers, and scholars, and coverage of important events including demonstrations by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the Women’s Pentagon Action, and marches for the ERA. The many hundreds of exhibition and working prints in the collection are accompanied by the complete body of Henry’s photographic negatives and slides, along with an array of ephemera, correspondence, and other materials relating to her career. Copyright for Henry’s images are retained by her until 2037.
A talented musician and member of the UMass Amherst faculty in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Henry A. Lea was born Heinz Liachowsky in Berlin in 1920. With the rise of the Nazi Party, the Jewish Liachowskys left their home for the United States, settling in Philadelphia and simplifying the family name to Lea. Henry studied French as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania (1942) but shortly after graduation, he began his military service. After training in Alabama and in the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) program at Ohio State, he was assinged to duty interrogating prisoners of war with the G2 (intelligence) section of the First U.S. Army; he later served as a translator at the Nuremberg War Crimes trials in 1947-1948 and for the military government in Frankfurt (1948-1949). Lea returned to his alma mater for a masters degree in German (1951), and accepted a position teaching at UMass in the following year. In 1962, he received a doctorate for a dissertation under Adolf Klarmann on the Austrian expatriate writer Franz Werfel. During his tenure at the university he published extensively on Werfel, Wolfgang Hildesheimer, and Gustav Mahler, including a book on the composer and conductor entitled Gustav Mahler: Man on the Margin. Lea remained at UMass until his retirement in 1985.
The Lea Papers consist chiefly of two types of material: research notes and correspondence. The nearly 200 letters written by Henry A. Lea during his military service in the Second World War provide an excellent account, albeit a self-censored account, of his experience from training through deployment and return. Lea’s research notes include notebooks on Werfel and files on Mahler and Hildesheimer. Other items include a pre-war album containing commercial photographs collected during a vacation and a baby book from an American family living in occupation-era Germany.
University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
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.
Henry I. Tragle served in the United States Army from 1941 until his retirement in 1964. He was a company commander of the 8th Armored Division during World War II and earned a Bronze Star for singlehandedly capturing a German general and his staff. After his retirement from the Army, he earned a B.A. (1966), M.A. (1967), and Ph.D in history (1971) from the University of Massachusetts, where he became a professor of history and assistant dean of the graduate school. Tragle was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1914 and worked in the Virginia dairy industry before joining the Army. Tragle studied military history but wrote his dissertation on the slave revolt led by Nat Turner in 1831. Tragle continued his historical research after his retirement from the University in 1972, collecting material on General Douglas MacArthur as well as editing several of Jackdraw Publications’ history packets. Tragle died December 15, 1991.
The Henry I. Tragle Papers contain Tragle’s historical research from 1968 until 1978, which includes scrapbooks of photos, notes, and clippings, bound together by research topic. There are also several shrink wrapped editions of Jackdraw Publications packets that Tragle was likely to have edited.
University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History
Founded in 1977, the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) is an international organization dedicated to furthering the study and preservation of gravestones. Based in Greenfield, Mass., the Association promotes the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives. To raise public awareness about the significance of historic gravemarkers and the issues surrounding their preservation, the AGS sponsors conferences and workshops, publishes both a quarterly newsletter and annual journal, Markers, and has built an archive of collections documenting gravestones and the memorial industry.
The AGS Books Collection contains scarce, out of print, and rare printed works on cemeteries and graveyards, epitaphs and inscriptions, and gravemarkers, with an emphasis on North America. The AGS Books Collection also includes the AGS publication, Markers. The collection is divided into three series: Series 1 (Monographs and Offprints), Series 2 (Theses and Dissertations), and Series 3 (Markers).
During the revolutionary era of 1789-1848, Belgium was ensnared in power politics on a continental scale, with all the drama and turbulence entailed. From the conquest of the region by French Republican forces under Napoleon in 1794 through the dissolution of French control in 1814, modern-day Belgium was divided into nine administrative departments, including the centrally-located Département de la Dyle, which included the key cities of Brussels, Louvain, and Nivelles.
Collected by Maurice Emmanuel Hippolyte Binet, this small collection of manuscripts is relatively tightly focused on the years of French Republican domination of Belgium (1794-1814), with a particular focus on the Département de la Dyle. The majority of the collection consists of letters received by the Central Administration in the Dyle, including letters to and from Napoleonic generals and French military hierarchy, civic authorities, administrators, and police. Many of the letters concern the challenges of asserting control over a subject population and the political fallout of the French Revolution, but the collection also reflects the greater tensions within a complex society changing rapidly during an age of revolution.
A scholar of early modern British literature, Joe Black received his BA and PhD from the University of Toronto and taught for several years at the University of Tennessee Knoxville before joining the English faculty at UMass Amherst in 1994. Rooted in the history of the book, his research on seventeenth-century literature has examined the intersection between writing and the material and social context of production as well as the dialogue between print and manuscript culture.
The Black collection is an eclectic assemblage of American imprints designed to assist study and instruction in the history of the book. The collection includes two long runs of pulp novels, Beadle’s Frontier Series and the American Revolution-inspired Liberty Boys of ’76, examples of almanacs, prompt books, and works form the early national period in publishers’ bindings.
The artist Burt Vernon Brooks was one of the outstanding chroniclers of daily life in the Swift River Valley before it was inundated to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Born in Brimfield, Mass., in 1849 and raised in Monson, Brooks moved to Greenwich with his family in the 1870s, where he worked on the family farm. At some unclear point before he turned 40, Brooks became active as an artist, painting local homes and scenery and taking photographs of the landscape, residents, and daily life in the Quabbin region. A prolific photographer, he was, in the words of historian Donald W. Howe, “hardly ever seen without his camera strapped to his back,” remaining active for decades. Three years after following his second wife to the west, Brooks died in Los Angeles in 1934.
The great majority of the 92 photographs in this collection are 5×7″ dry plate glass negatives taken by Brooks in the earliest years of the twentieth century, documenting the houses and people of Greenwich. Brooks’ work includes landscapes, houses, and a significant series of images of the Hillside School, but some of his best works are studio portraits, images of people at home or with their carriages, and posed scenes of children at play or at work. The collection also includes eight images by Brooks at Enfield, Greenwich, and Dana that are the property of the Swift River Valley Historical Society, and six images taken by Chetwynd and Pike in the Quabbin region to document properties slated for removal.