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University Archives

Goat cart at football game with Amherst College, ca.1913
Goat cart at football game vs.
Amherst College, ca.1913

The University Archives contains the official and unofficial records of the University of Massachusetts Amherst throughout its evolution from a small agricultural college into a dynamic and complex university. Within the archives are letters and artifacts, records, photographs, and sound recordings documenting the lives of its founders, the pursuits of its faculty, and the changing attitudes of its students and alumni, revealing what high quality public education means to our Commonwealth and nation.

Resources

Among the hundreds of discrete collections and over 13,000 linear feet of records are the official papers of Chancellors, Presidents, Trustees, and other administrators; information about the University’s academic units and student organizations; and the founding documents of our sister campuses at Worcester, Boston, Lowell, and Dartmouth. The papers of faculty members add a wealth of information about the lives and intellectual pursuits of our campus community as well as their chosen academic disciplines.

Finding things in the archives

concordance to the archives

A comprehensive alphabetical index of UMass departments, programs, and other units, including acronyms. Each entry includes a reference to the archival Record Group where the records can be found.

YouMass wiki

YouMass is wiki devoted to the life and history of the campus community.

Credo digital repository

SCUA’s digital repository Credo is home to all of SCUA’s digital collections, including UMass student publications, 12,000 university-related photographs, oral histories, and much more…

Links to University archives resources

Records relating to

People and groups on campus

Administration

Faculty and fields

Learn more:

What do we want? What do we keep?

Appraisal policies in SCUA

The following guidelines apply to “appraisal,” the process by which archivists decide which materials to retain as part of the permanent collection and which not. Since every archival or manuscript collection has unique attributes, the guidelines are not hard and fast rules, but rather points for consideration.

SCUA archivists apply their experience and professional judgment when making decisions about each collection on its own merits. In general, these guidelines are applied to groups of materials, rather than individual items, and in most cases we prefer to err on the side of caution, opting for retention when there is any doubt, not disposal. In appraising a collection, we emphasize efficiency and speed in carrying out the work, as opposed to a thorough vetting of every item.

Factors tending toward permanent retention of material

  • Research potential: do these materials have a significant historical or cultural value and will future researchers likely have an interest in them?
  • Documentary value: does this material provide useful documentation of an event, person, process, idea, or place?
  • Depth of documentation: do these materials as a whole provide a rich understanding of a subject?
  • Context of the whole: Are these materials part of a coherent whole within the collection that should be retained intact?
  • Uniqueness or rarity: are these materials unique or sufficiently rare or are they duplicated elsewhere, perhaps in other form? Do these materials provide a unique or uniquely valuable perspective?
  • Associational value: are these materials associated with someone else in SCUA’s collections or with some well-known figure who we may wish to document?
  • Monetary value: are these materials valuable in a monetary sense?
  • Display or promotional value: would these materials be useful in an exhibit (either in house or online) or in informational material we produce?

Highly desired types of material

  • Unpublished material: Our goal is to document not just what happened, but how things happened, and we are particularly interested in materials that reveal behind-the-scenes activities and personal perspectives. While published materials are valued, we are most interested in unpublished material, such as correspondence, diaries and journals, memoranda, notes, lectures and speeches, drafts, and unpublished writings. In many cases, these materials reflect a personal perspective on events that will unavailable in any other form.
  • Minutes of meetings, agendas: minutes of meetings, agendas, and annual reports are highly valuable for documenting an organization’s activity, and when paired with the correspondence of officers and internal memoranda and other communications, they may provide a particularly well-rounded view.
  • Audiovisual materials: SCUA places a high emphasis on visual documentation and actively seeks photographs, motion pictures and videos, drawings, and sound recordings for their cultural, aesthetic, and historical value.

Types of materials less likely to be retained

  • Detailed financial records are generally not retained because of their often voluminous nature, their low research potential, and, in some cases, their exposure of potentially sensitive or personal information.
    • Receipts, invoices, legal financial filings, and such are rarely retained, however annual reports and summary statements may be valuable.
  • Published materials are typically closely scrutinized. Many modern (post-1900) books, periodicals, sound recordings, and movies are “readily available,” either through a circulating library or online, and are therefore not retained because they are seldom consulted by researchers in SCUA.
    • SCUA emphasizes retention only of those items that are not readily available in their specific form (e.g. edition), that are so integral to the content and context of the collection that they should not be disposed; that have unique association with key people or that have annotations or marginalia of value; or that have high cultural or monetary value.
    • In most cases, we retain a single copy of each publication by the creator of a collection.
    • News clippings are seldom retained, particularly if the source is unidentified.
    • Offprints, reprints, and photocopies of articles are seldom retained unless they are by the
  • Personnel records: Due to the potential for exposing personal data or other sensitive information, SCUA typically does not retain personnel records of any sort.
  • Medical records: Formal medical records are generally not retained. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) limits our ability to make most classes of medical records publicly available, but we generally choose not to retain materials that fall outside of HIPAA due to the likelihood of revealing personal information and to generally low research value.
    • Collections relating to the history of medicine or other fields in which health and medical care are of central concern.
    • Medical records 75 years old and older are typically retained.
    • A person wishing to include their own medical records in their collection may do so.
  • Student records: Most student records cannot be made public under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), and SCUA typically does not accept student records unless mandated by State records keeping requirements
    • Student papers, class records, or other instructional records that include grades or evaluations are not accepted.
    • Recommendations for students (e.g. for application to graduate school or employment) are not accepted if they were written under an expectation of confidentiality.
    • A person wishing to include their own student records in their collection may do so.
  • Research data: although data sets may be retained due to their importance to a collection, SCUA archivists will give due consideration to whether the archive is the appropriate place to preserve the information and whether we have the technology and skills to make the data available in the long term.
  • Duplicate and redundant materials: In most cases, SCUA’s archivists will retain only a single copy of each item, however they may choose to retain additional copies
    • Although SCUA archivists will remove duplicates when they are encountered, they make no special effort to be thorough.
    • Photostats, photocopies, or digital copies of materials held in other repositories are generally not retained unless the originals are unavailable to the public.
    • Unidentified photographs: Although unidentified photographs have only a limited utility for researchers, SCUA’s archivists may choose to retain them due to their artistic merit, their role within the context of the collection as a whole, the scene(s) or period of time represented, or the photographic process involved.

Considerations around restricted materials

  • Closure due to privacy: Although SCUA regularly agrees to close portions of a collection, or even an entire collection to preserve privacy or confidentiality; we do not accept materials that are permanently closed.
    • SCUA is glad to work with donors to discuss closure of sensitive materials and arrive at a clearly specified date after which the materials may be made available to the public.
  • Copyright restrictions: SCUA often accepts materials in which the donor retains copyright or in which copyright is help by a third party, however these can be less convenient for researchers to use.
  • Materials on deposit: Due to considerations over liability and the potential for scholarly confusion, SCUA does not accept materials on deposit, wherein SCUA acts as steward of materials for which the donor retains legal ownership.
  • Other considerations: SCUA may choose not to accept materials for which we cannot provide proper stewardship due to the lack of necessary technology or skills. For example, materials that require specific equipment or proprietary software to use or materials written in languages or scripts for which we have lack expertise may be better cared for and used at another institution. To the extent that we are able, we will be glad to assist you in locating a better home for your materials.

Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Local 125

Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, Local 125 Records
1928-1984
16 boxes (8 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 001

Based in New Haven, Connecticut, Local 125 was a chapter of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) that worked to improve wages and hours of work, to increase job security, to provide facilities for advancing cultural, educational, and recreational interests of its members, and to strengthen the labor movement. Key figures in Local 125 included Aldo Cursi who, with Mamie Santora, organized the Connecticut shirtworkers and served as Manager from 1933 to 1954; John Laurie who served as Business Manager from 1933 to 1963; and Nick Aiello, Business agent in 1963 and Manager from 1964 to 1984.

The collection includes constitution, by-laws, minutes, contracts, piece rate schedules, accounts, subject files, scrapbooks, newsclippings, printed materials, photographs and a phonograph record. These records document the history of Local 125 from its founding in 1933 to 1984, when the Local office in New Haven was closed. Included also are correspondence and case materials pertaining to grievance and arbitration proceedings (access restrictions apply).

Subjects
  • Clothing trade--Labor unions--Connecticut
  • Labor unions--Connecticut
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Textile industry--Connecticut
  • Textile workers--Labor unions--Connecticut
Contributors
  • Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Local 125
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Sound recordings

American Revolution Documentary Collection

The American Revolution Documentary Collection
ca.1968-2010
Image of

On March 15, 1968, a failing classical music station, WBCN-FM, was reinvented as Boston’s first voice in radical underground radio, and its influence quickly spread nationally. Its characteristic blend of cultural chaos, including rock, folk, blues, and jazz, interspersed with news, radical politics, and community programming, provided a soundtrack for a generation fighting to remake its world. WBCN earned its nickname, “The American Revolution.” The station’s eclectic and unpredictable broadcasts included music from little-known performers who would emerge into the biggest acts of the day; regularly scheduled live musical performances from local clubs; trenchant political analysis and newscasts of the major events of the day; interviews with legendary cultural figures; and innovative new shows including one of the first women’s programs and the Lavender Hour, the nation’s first regularly broadcast LGBT radio show. Music, politics, culture, and community were intensely interconnected through WBCN, while its “listener line,” which took calls and answered questions on any subject, helped make it a virtual two-way hub for countercultural Boston.

While producing a documentary film about WBCN, and the music, politics, and social change during the period 1968-1974, former WBCN newscaster and announcer Bill Lichtenstein recognized the importance of archiving the wealth of primary materials that told the story of WBCN, its community and the dramatic changes of the era. The American Revolution Documentary Collection is the product of Lichtenstein’s energy, serving as an umbrella for a suite of interrelated collections focused on the impact of underground media in the Boston area and the profound social, political, and cultural changes of that time. These collections include the work of photographers, journalists, and writers who would go on to prominence, as well as activists, artists, and everyday people who witnessed and took part in an extended public conversation on the direction of our nation during the period of profound social, political, and cultural upheaval and who used media to help change it.

TAR collections include:

Selected recordings from the American Revolution Documentary Collection are available to stream through Airtime Pro, a web-based radio platform. ​Hear the music, news reports, ads, rare live musical broadcasts, station ID’s, interviews, zaniness, and more, as broadcast from WBCN-FM’s launch in 1968 and over the next seven years. You can listen using the player below or go directly to the Airtime Pro site, here: https://amrev.airtime.pro/

Subjects
  • Alternative radio broadcasting--Massachusetts
  • Boston (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Cambridge (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Nineteen sixties
  • Rock music
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
  • WBCN (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Sound recordings

Amherst Growth Study Committee, Inc.

Amherst Growth Study Committee Records
1971-1974
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 543
View of the proposed the Amherst Fields
View of the proposed the Amherst Fields

In May 1971 Otto Paparazzo Associates announced their plans to develop 640 acres of land in East Amherst upon which a proposed 2,200 residential units, a commercial center, and a golf course would be built. Concerned about unnatural growth of the community and about the effect such a development would have on the environment, a group of residents formed the Amherst Growth Study Committee within a few months of the announcement. Despite these concerns, the Zoning Board of Appeals issued a formal permit for construction in December 1971, which the AGSC immediately appealed. Even though the group was unable to overturn the zoning board’s decision, they did achieve their ends, in part, when state and town agencies prevented the project from moving forward due to an overloaded sewage system. More importantly, the group increased public awareness about growth and housing in the town of Amherst.

Records include notes from AGSC meetings, correspondence, and newspaper clippings documenting coverage of the story in local papers.

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--History
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government
Contributors
  • Amherst Growth Study Committee, Inc

Bergman, Borah

Borah Bergman Papers
ca. 1970-2012
30 boxes (20 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 806
Image of

Born in 1926 in Brooklyn, New York, Borah Bergman emerged late in life as a renown free jazz pianist and technical innovator. While teaching math and English in the New York public school system, Bergman developed an ambidextrous technique, or as he described it, “ambi-ideation.” This technique allowed Bergman to express ideas with equal intensity using both his right and left hands and provided the framework for an evolving and truly unique musical philosophy and body of work. Since his first recording, released in 1975 at the age of 49, Bergman appeared on 28 albums, both solo and with some of the most important figures in avant-garde jazz, and was active until his death in 2012.

The Borah Bergman Papers include hundreds of hours of Bergman’s personal recordings on reel-to-reel tapes. According to Bergman, these recordings comprise his greatest achievement and demonstrate the development of his technique and musical ideas. In addition to the personal recordings are a wide variety of Bergman’s performances in studio and with other musicians. Bergman’s work is also documented in notebooks, scores, fiction manuscripts, and an unpublished textbook on his ambi-ideation technique.

Subjects
  • Free Jazz--United States
  • Jazz musicians--United States
Types of material
  • Scores
  • Sound recordings

Boston Jazz Society

Boston Jazz Society Records
ca. 1973-2014
6 boxes (10 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 880
Image of

Founded in 1973, the Boston Jazz Society grew from a small group of enthusiasts listening to music in living rooms to a thriving organization that “kept Jazz alive” in New England. As Jazz’s popularity began to fade in the late 1960s, local Jazz societies formed to provide support to artists and give them the means and venues to continue to perform on the road. The Boston Jazz Society was originally inspired by one of the earliest, the Left Bank Jazz Society of Baltimore. Like the Left Bank, BJS produced concerts in clubs, theaters, and hotels but expanded their efforts to include exhibits, television and radio shows, and a Jazz education program for grade school students. The longest running BJS activities, however, were the annual Jazz Barbecues and starting in 1975, the BJS Scholarships. The scholarship program raised funds for young Jazz musicians to attend the New England Conservatory of Music’s Jazz Department and the Berklee School Of Music and began the musical careers of many important musicians, composers, and teachers. BJS was also deeply connected to the local music scene, celebrating Roxbury, Mass. natives Alan Dawson and Roy Haynes, whose brother Vincent was a long-time board member, among many others. After 42 years of promoting Jazz music in Boston, the Boston Jazz Society, Inc. dissolved in 2015.

The Boston Jazz Society Records extensively document BJS’s meetings, events, business dealings, and scholarship administration through meeting minutes, posters, correspondence, photographs, recordings, videos, and BJS’s own propaganda and publications. The majority of the BJS records came from the collection of founding member and longtime president Aureldon Edward Henderson and also represents his involvement in promoting Jazz in the Boston area.

Gift of Aureldon Edward Henderson, July 2014, Aug. 2015
Subjects
  • Jazz musicians--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Jazz--Massachusetts--Boston
Contributors
  • Berklee School of Music
  • Haynes, Roy
  • Henderson, Aureldon Edward
  • New England Conservatory of Music

Brooks, William Penn, 1851-

William Penn Brooks Papers
1863-1939
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 003/1 B76
Image of Sapporo Ag. College students, 1881
Sapporo Ag. College students, 1881

Two years after graduating from Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1875, William Penn Brooks accepted an invitation from the Japanese government — and his mentor, William Smith Clark — to help establish the Sapporo Agricultural School. Spending over a decade in Hokkaido, Brooks helped to introduce western scientific agricultural practices and the outlines of a program in agricultural education, and he built a solid foundation for the School. After his return to the states in 1888, he earned a doctorate at the University of Halle, Germany, and then accepted a position at his alma mater, becoming a leading figure at the Massachusetts Experiment Station until his retirement in 1921.

Brooks’ papers consist of correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, an account book, and translations which provide rich detail on Brooks’ life in Japan, the development of Sapporo Agricultural College (now Hokkaido University), and practical agricultural education in the post-Civil War years.

Subjects
  • Agricultural colleges--Japan--History
  • Clark, William Smith, 1826-1886
  • Hokkaido (Japan)--History
  • Hokkaid¯o Daigaku
  • Japan--Description and travel--19th century
  • Japan--History--1868-
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--History
  • Massachusetts State Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Sapporo N¯ogakk¯o--History
  • Sapporo-shi (Japan)--History
Contributors
  • Brooks, William Penn, 1851-
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Brotherhood of the Spirit

Brotherhood of the Spirit Documentary
ca.1973
15.24 minutes
Call no.: Video

Beginning in a treehouse in Leyden, Mass., during the summer of 1968, the Brotherhood of the Spirit (later the Renaissance Community) grew to become the largest commune in the eastern United States. Founded by Michael Metelica and six friends, and infused with the spiritual teachings of Elwood Babbitt, the commune relocated several times during its first half decade, setting down at different points in Heath, Charlemont, Warwick, Turners Falls, and Gill, Mass., as well as Guilford, Vt.

Produced at UMass Amherst, this video (digitized from a 16mm motion picture original) provides a largely laudatory glimpse of commune life during the boom years of the Brotherhood of the Spirit, probably around 1973. Sound quality in the video is highly uneven, often poor, particularly in the first two minutes.

Subjects
  • Brotherhood of the Spirit (Commune)
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Metelica, Michael
Types of material
  • Motion pictures (Visual works)

Calkins, David

David and Marshall Calkins Account Books
1848-1855
3 vols. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 178

Brothers from Wilbraham, Mass., David and Marshall Calkins received medical degrees together at the Worcester Medical Institution in 1848. Although David died at the age of 31 in 1855 while just beginning a career, Marshall went on to build a considerable reputation in medicine, working with the Springfield City Hospital for many years and teaching at the University of Vermont.

Kept during the Calkins brothers’ years in Monson, Mass., the three daybooks that comprise this collection list patients treated and their origin or race, along with medical class notes, services provided, remedies, and forms of pay, including bartering for goods. Also included is an account of a stay in Wilbraham.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987
Subjects
  • Monson (Mass.)--History--19th century
  • Physicians--Massachusetts--Monson
Contributors
  • Calkins, David
  • Calkins, Marshall
Types of material
  • Account books
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