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Carlos Vega Collection, ca.1966-1995

148 volumes, 1 box, (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 800
Carlos Vega ca. 1990
Carlos Vega ca. 1990

An Ecuadorian-born community activist, Carlos Vega moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts, with his family in 1955. Settling in the working-class “Flats” neighborhood at a time when many of Holyoke’s factories were relocating to the southern United States or Asia, the Vegas were one of the few Spanish-speaking families in the city, but when Carlos began to work on a local tobacco farm at the age of 14, he encountered the new influx of migrants from Puerto Rico who had been lured to the Connecticut Valley as agricultural laborers by the Department of Labor. With the Puerto Rican economy declining in the 1960s, many of these farm workers settled permanently in Springfield and Holyoke, but they soon discovered that the declining economy there combined with racism and urban decay blocked their hopes for upward mobility. Radicalized by the anti-colonial, anti-war, and Civil Rights movements of the late 1960s, Vega emerged as an important community organizer in the 1970s, working with Fair Share, New Unity, Urban Ministry, and other progressive organizations. With a backdrop of riots, arson, and racial tension, these organizations focused on issues relevant to the Puerto Rican community, particularly voter education and registration, fair housing, and education. In 1982, Vega helped found Nueva Esperanza, a non-profit community development organization whose mission was to restore and maintain blighted buildings in South Holyoke. He worked with Nueva Esperanza for over 30 years, continuing until 2010 after a brain cancer diagnosis in 1995.  He survived until April 2012.

The materials in this collection reflect Vega’s interests in left wing movements in Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, South America and Africa from the 1960s through 1980s and include leaflets, pamphlets, books, and newsletters. The approximately 300 items offer sometimes scarce documentation of internationalist liberation movements such as the PAIGC in Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, the Tupamaros in Uruguay, and the EFLNA in Eritrea. Of particular note is a small collection documenting Vega’s participation in the 1974 Venceremos Brigade and a collection of clippings, newsletters, notes, fliers, conference material, and newspapers from various groups such as New England Action Research, Friends of the Filipino People, The Latin American Student Association, and the Ethiopian Students Union of North America. Some printed materials are cataloged and housed with the rare books collection.


  • Central America--Foreign relations--United States
  • Civil Rights movements--Africa
  • Civil Rights movements--Central America
  • Civil Rights movements--Chile
  • Civil Rights movements--United States
  • Civil Rights movements-Asia
  • Civil Rights movements-Caribbean
  • Latin America--Periodicals
  • Nicaragua--History--1979-1990
  • Radicalism--United States
  • Revolutionary literature
  • Socialism
  • United States--Foreign relations--Central America
  • Venceremos Brigade

James Aronson Collection of W.E.B. Du Bois, 1946-1983

2 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 292

Materials written by or pertaining to W.E.B. Du Bois, collected by James Aronson, who was executive editor of the “National Guardian” from 1948 to 1967. Includes correspondence, speeches by Du Bois in published form, articles by Du Bois, biographical sketches and tribute articles about Du Bois, photographs, and newspaper clippings.


  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • African Americans--History--1877-1964
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Death and burial
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on Pan-Africanism
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on democracy
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on pacifism
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on socialism
  • National Guardian
  • Socialism--Africa


  • Du Bois, Shirley Graham, 1896-1977
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Speeches

Siegfried Ebert Papers, 1933-1986

2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 576
Ebert in his studio, ca.1965
Ebert in his studio, ca.1965

The graphic artist Siegfried Ebert had an important influence on the visual language of East German television and animated motion pictures. Born in Eibau on July 20, 1926, Ebert was drafted into the Luftwaffe in 1943, but shortly after going on active duty, he was severely wounded and taken prisoner by the English. After his release, Ebert shifted course in life, studying commercial art at the Kunstgewerbeschule Zittau and film at the Hochschule für bildende und angewandte Kunst in Wiessensee. He became one of the earliest artists to specialize in the new medium of television, working for Deutscher Fernsehfunk, doing graphic design and animation. A member of the Verband Bildender Künstler Deutschlands, he later worked on animated films for the DEFA studios. Suffering from ill health for the last several years of his life, Ebert suffered a heart attack in November 1985, and died at home shortly after his sixtieth birthday in 1986.

The Ebert Collection includes a small assortment of correspondence, awards, and biographical materials, along with examples of his graphic work for television and film. Among other unusual items in the collection are attractive handbills (small posters) for Progress and DEFA films, some original sketches, photographs and mockups of his artwork for television, and an assortment of personal and professional ephemera.


  • Germany, East--Social life and customs
  • Graphic artists--Germany, East
  • Motion pictures--Germany, East
  • Prisoners of War--Germany
  • Television--Germany, East
  • World War, 1939-1945


  • Ebert, Siegfried
  • Thorndike, Andrew

Types of material

  • Animation drawings
  • Ephemera
  • Handbills
  • Photographs
  • Posters

John J. Fitzgerald Collection, 1964-1975

1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 938
John J. Fitzgerald, 1968
John J. Fitzgerald, 1968

A graduate of Holyoke High and UMass Amherst (BA 1963), John J. Fitzgerald entered the Army after graduation and served in Vietnam as a Captain in the 25th Infantry Division. He earned a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service, having been wounded at Cu Chi in June 1966, before leaving active duty in 1968. Returning home to Holyoke, Fitzgerald entered the master’s degree in political science at UMass (MA 1978) and renewed his longstanding interest in politics. Taking an interest in the progressive, antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy, he became head of the McCarthy campaign in Holyoke and won election as a delegate to the Democratic national convention. Fitzgerald remained involved in local Democratic politics, and in addition to teaching history in local schools for many years, he wrote and lectured on topics ranging from nuclear power to his experiences in Vietnam.

The Fitzgerald collection contains four scrapbooks relating to his involvement in politics in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Two of the scrapbooks document national and local reaction to the McCarthy campaign and include some articles on Fitzgerald and some ephemera. The other scrapbooks document the McGovern campaign in 1972 and politics in Holyoke in mid-1970s. The collection also includes a copy of Fitzgerald’s commission as a Reserve Commissioned Officer in the Army (1964) and two posters: Jack Coughlin’s, Weapons often turn upon the wielder. . . (1968) and Viet-nam veterans speak out. . . Viet-nam Veterans for McCarthy (1968), an antiwar petition signed by Fitzgerald. Books that arrived with the collection have been transferred and catalogued into SCUA’s general collection.


  • Holyoke (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • McCarthy, Eugene J., 1916-2005
  • Presidents--United States--Election--1968
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1965

Types of material

  • Posters
  • Scrapbooks

Kress Political Economy Collection, 1673-1925 (Bulk: 1750-1850)

2,934 items (46.5 linear feet)
Call no.: D8 .A2

The heart of the Kress Collection lies in the lively pamphlet literature regarding Anglo-American political economics in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Although somewhat miscellaneous, the collection contains thousands of titles touching on many of the major issues in trade, finance, political reform, and public policy in Britain and to a lesser degree America. Topics range from tariffs and free trade to public debt and taxation, imports and exports, banking, unionism, and socialism. Nearly three quarters of the collection dates from before 1848.


  • Economics--History--18th century
  • Economics--History--19th century
  • Great Britain--Politics and Government--18th century
  • Great Britain--Politics and Government--19th century

Yann de Pierrefeu Diaries, 1927-1938

3 boxes (1.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 815
Yann de Pierrefeu, ca.1935
Yann de Pierrefeu, ca.1935

Marie Alphonse Leopold Jehan Tudor Dedons “Yann” de Pierrefeu was born in 1905, the eldest of four children born into a distinguished family and heir to a French marquisate. After attending the Groton School and Harvard, Pierrefeu settled in Cape Ann, marrying Ellen Hemenway Taintor in 1930.

A dedicated, if idiosyncratic diarist, Pierrefeu left a large number of dense and often impenetrable volumes that can be part dream book, part imagination, and part quixotic engagement with the turbulent events of the 1930s. Laden with references to the Oz novels and replete with nicknames and apparently coded language, the diaries offer glimpses into Pierrefeu’s social life and marriage, and his reactions to the Great Depression, national politics, history, and the growing crises in Europe and Asia.


  • Depressions--1929
  • Dreams
  • Pierrefeu, Ellen Taintor

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Photographs

Howard H. Quint Papers, 1940-1981 (Bulk: 1955-1968)

(9.75 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 007

Howard Henri Quint was born in New Haven, Connecticut in January 1917. He received his PhD in History from Johns Hopkins University in 1947. During the war years (1942-1946) Dr. Quint served as Propaganda Analyst for the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service, as Political Analyst for the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, and as Political and Economic Analyst for the Office of Strategic Services.In 1959 he accepted a professorship at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Upon his return from a Fulbright in Italy in 1962, Quint was selected as Chair of the History Department, a position he retained until 1968. While serving as Chair, Dr. Quint was instrumental in initiating the PhD program in History and was responsible for establishing the Honors Program at the University of Massachusetts. After stepping down from his position as Department Chair in 1968, Dr. Quint continued to be a Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts until his death in June 1981.

The papers of Howard H. Quint document his distinguished career as professor, author, and Chair of the History Department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. They consist of biographical materials; general correspondence (largely professional); research and other materials related to the writing and publishing of five books; lecture notes, syllabi and other course-related materials; note cards and annotated typescripts; articles, book reviews, and academic conference materials; travel documents; materials related to honors programs; and materials related to international scholar exchange programs. The bulk of the papers were generated between 1955 and 1968.


  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History


  • Quint, Howard H

Radical Student Union Records, 1905-2006 (Bulk: 1978-2005)

22 boxes (14.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 045/80 R1

Founded by Charles Bagli in 1976, the Revolutionary Student Brigade at UMass Amherst (later the Radical Student Union) has been a focal point for organization by politically radical students. RSU members have responded to issues of social justice, addressing both local, regional, and national concerns ranging from militarism to the environment, racism and sexism to globalization.

The RSU records document the history of a particularly long-lived organization of left-leaning student activists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Beginning in the mid-1970s, as students were searching for ways to build upon the legacy of the previous decade, the RSU has been a constant presence on campus, weathering the Reagan years, tough budgetary times, and dramatic changes in the political culture at the national and state levels. The RSU reached its peak during the 1980s with protests against American involvement in Central America, CIA recruitment on campus, American support for the Apartheid regime in South Africa, and government-funded weapons research, but in later years, the organization has continued to adapt, organizing against globalization, sweatshops, the Iraq War, and a host of other issues.


  • Anti-apartheid movements--Massachusetts
  • Central America--Foreign relations--United States
  • College students--Political activity
  • Communism
  • El Salvador--History--1979-1992
  • Guatemala--History--1945-1982
  • Iraq War, 2003-
  • Nicaragua--History--1979-1990
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Persian Gulf War, 1991
  • Political activists--Massachusetts--History
  • Racism
  • Socialism
  • Student movements
  • United States--Foreign relations--Central America
  • United States. Central Intelligence Agency
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst


  • Progressive Student Network
  • Radical Student Union
  • Revolutionary Student Brigade

Types of material

  • Banners
Anti-war sit-in, Whitmore Hall, ca.1971

Anti-war sit-in, Whitmore Hall, ca.1971

Building upon the activist legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives collects primary materials relating to individuals and groups devoted to the political, economic, spiritual, and social transformation of American society. Our intent in taking such a broad collecting scope is to view social change as a totality, rather than as isolated movements and to document how ideas about one set of social issues informs other issues, and how social causes cross-pollinate, organizationally and conceptually. By preserving a record of these activities, SCUA makes it possible for future scholars, activists, and members of the community to continue to engage with the ideas that have motivated so many.

Although our interests extend to any endeavors that reflect the efforts of individuals and groups promote social change, the collections in SCUA provide particularly valuable documentation of the movements for peace, social justice, and racial equality, environmentalism, labor activism, intentional communities, and gay rights.

View our brochure on documenting social change (pdf).


Significant collecting areas

  • Antinuclear movement
    • New England has been a hotbed of activity for the antinuclear movement, spawning groups such as the Clamshell Alliance, the Citizens Awareness Network, the Renewable Energy Media Service, and the Musicians United for Safe Energy.
  • Antiracism and civil rights
    • The Du Bois Papers document the lifelong commitment of W.E.B. Du Bois to addressing issues of racial and social injustice in the twentieth century, but SCUA houses a number of other collections that address various aspects of “the problem of the twentieth century,” and the varied approaches to its resolution. See also our research guide for African American history.
  • Community organizations and charities
    • SCUA houses the records of civic organizations involved in relief work, community assistance, and social justice.
  • Environmentalism
    • Collections relating to the history of the environment in New England and of environmentalism in the broad sense. SCUA is also interested in documenting the history of land use, organic farming and sustainability, and similar topics.
  • Intentional Communities
    • Communes seemed to spring up everywhere in New England during the 1960s, but communes of various sorts have been part of our landscape for two centuries. In both its printed and manuscript collections, SCUA documents a wide variety of approaches to communal living and the cultural legacy of communes. The Famous Long Ago Archive focuses intensively on documenting a cluster of related communes in Massachusetts and Vermont, including the Montague Farm, Packer Corners, Wendell Farm, and Tree Frog Farm.
  • Labor activism
  • Peace Collections
    • Among the department’s collections documenting peace and antiwar movements, SCUA holds the records of several regional peace centers, the AFSC Western Massachusetts branch, and a number of peace activists.
  • Political activism
    • As part of its collections on political life and culture, SCUA houses collections for individuals and organizations working within the political system or against it, and several relating to Socialism and Communism and Cold-War era Eastern Europe.
  • Social Justice
    • Social justice is a catchall term that captures the complex relationships between and among a wide variety of movements for economic justice, social and civic equality. In addition to the other collecting areas listed elsewhere on this page, SCUA documents gay rights, Animal rights, prison issues, and social reform in its various guises.

Learn more:

Harvey Swados Papers, 1933-1983

49 boxes (23 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 218

The author and social critic Harvey Swados (1920-1972) was a graduate of the University of Michigan who embarked on a literary life after service in the merchant Marine during the Second World War. His first novel, Out Went the Candle (1955), introduced the themes to which Swados would return throughout his career, the alienation of factory workers and the experience of the working class in industrial America. His other works include a widely read collection of stories set in an auto plant, On the Line, the novels False Coin (1959), Standing Fast (1970), and Celebration (1975), and a noted collection of essays A Radical’s America (1962). His essay for Esquire magazine, “Why Resign from the Human Race?,” is often cited as inspiring the formation of the Peace Corps.

The Swados collection includes journals, notes, typewritten drafts of novels and short stories, galley proofs, clippings, and correspondence concerning writings; letters from family, publishers, literary agents, colleagues, friends, and readers, including Richard Hofstadter, Saul Bellow, James Thomas Farrell, Herbert Gold, Irving Howe, Bernard Malamud, and Charles Wright Mills; letters from Swados, especially to family, friends, and editors; book reviews; notes, background material, and drafts of speeches and lectures; financial records; biographical and autobiographical sketches; bibliographies.


  • Authors, American--20th century--Biography
  • Jewish authors--United States--Biography
  • National Book Awards--History--20th century
  • Socialists--United States--Biography


  • Bellow, Saul
  • Farrell, James T. (James Thomas), 1904-1979
  • Gold, Herbert, 1924-
  • Hofstadter, Richard, 1916-1970
  • Howe, Irving
  • Malamud, Bernard
  • Mills, C. Wright (Charles Wright), 1916-1962
  • Swados, Harvey, 1920-1972
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