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José A. Soler Papers, 1972-2014

20 boxes (26.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 864
José A. Soler Papers image
José Soler (center) at District 65 rally

A scholar of labor studies and activist, José Soler was born in New York City to a Dominican mother and Puerto Rican father and has been an activist in the cause of Puerto Rican independence and human rights since the 1970s. While a student at the University of New Mexico (BA 1972), Soler emerged as a leader in the Chicano rights organization, the Brown Berets, and while living in Puerto Rico in the late 1970s, he joined the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. Soler has subsequently worked in the labor movement as a shop steward, union organizer with UAW District 65, and labor journalist. As a committed Marxist and prolific writer and editor, he has taken part in causes ranging from anti-imperialist work in the Caribbean and Central America to the anti-apartheid struggle, and he has served on the Executive Board of the US Peace Council. From 1993 until his retirement in 2015, Soler worked as Director of the Arnold M. Dubin Labor Education Center at UMass Dartmouth where he has continued to work on behalf of public education and human rights and national self-determination.

The Soler Papers chronicle over forty years of a life-long activist’s interests and participation in left-wing political, labor, and social justice movements. There is a particular focus on topics relating to socialism and the pro-independence movement in Puerto Rico, anti-imperialist movements in South and Central America and Africa, and issues affecting Puerto Rican and Hispanic workers in the United States, New England, and the New York City area. Published and promotional materials such as periodicals, magazines, newsletters, and pamphlets make up the bulk of the collection, with extensive coverage of the concerns of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Puertorriqueño, PSP), the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), as well as New Jersey chapters of the unions Communications Workers of America (CWA) and District 65, which eventually joined the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW). An additional seven boxes were added to the collection in June 2016, which remain unprocessed. The new materials offer additional documentation from the Dubin Labor Education Center and Soler’s work and interests in education (testing, privatization, and unions), labor, Marxist-Leninism, and various events in the United States and Latin America.

Subjects
  • Communications Workers of America
  • Labor unions--New York (State)--New York
  • Partido Socialista Puertorriqueño
  • United Automobile, Aircraft, and Vehicle Workers of America. District 65
Types of material
  • Photographs

Robert Coldwell Wood Papers, 1964-1977

43 boxes (21.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 003/3 W66
Robert Coldwell Wood Papers image
Robert Coldwell Wood

A distinguished political scientist, specialist on urban affairs, and advisor to two U.S. Presidents, Robert Coldwell Wood was named the first President of the new University of Massachusetts system. A graduate of Princeton and Harvard (PhD 1949), Wood built his academic reputation on the faculty at MIT. An advisor to John F. Kennedy on urban policy, he served in the Johnson administration as Under-Secretary, and briefly Secretary, of Housing and Urban Development before coming to UMass in 1970. His Presidency was marked by considerable turmoil as he navigated the reorganization of the university into a system of three campuses and as he struggled with discontent among students and faculty and conflict with the legislature. Wood died in April 2005 at the age of 81.

Although far from a comprehensive record, the Wood papers offer insight into the tumultuous tenure of Robert C. Wood as President of the University of Massachusetts, 1970-1977. The largest series in the collection (Series 2) consists of the central office files from Boston, including a fairly full record of outgoing correspondence, materials on staff and facilities at the various campuses, minutes of meetings and reports, and records of Wood’s numerous trips and lecture engagements while in office.

Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts (System). President
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • University of Massachusetts Boston
  • University of Massachusetts Worcester
Types of material
  • Appointment books

Barr G. Ashcraft Photograph Collection, 1972-1975

2 boxes, ca.125 items
Call no.: PH 007
Barr G. Ashcraft Photograph Collection image
Vietnamese soldiers, ca.1973

A graduate of the Northfield Mount Hermon School, Wake Forest University, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (MA, 1966), Barr Gallop Ashcraft (1940-2005) lived what he called a “gypsy” life in the late 1960s, traveling through the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and eventually settling on a career in photojournalism. As a stringer for news organizations and magazines, he covered the war in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos from 1972 to 1975, taking other assignments throughout Asia for magazines ranging from Life to National Geographic, Newsweek, and Time. For several years, he lived in Japan, working as a teacher, but returned to Amherst to join his father in the building trade. He remained in Amherst, lecturing occasionally on his experiences as a war correspondent, until his death at his home in Shutesbury in 2005.

The Ashcraft Photograph Collection represents a small fraction of the images he took as a freelance photographer in Southeast Asia during the early 1970s. In both black and white and color prints, the collection provides stark and often graphic evidence of the destruction of the war in Vietnam, emphasizing its latter years and the period of Vietnamization, but also includes documentary work on Cambodia. The remainder of Ashcraft’s 22,000 negatives and accompanying notes were destroyed in a house fire in 1995.

Subjects
  • Cambodia--Photographs
  • Photojournalists
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
  • Vietnam--Photographs
Contributors
  • Ashcraft, Barr G
Types of material
  • Photographs

Gloria Xifaras Clark Papers, 1943-2015

20 boxes (9.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 865
Gloria Xifaras Clark Papers image
Gloria Xifaras Clark and student, 1964

Gloria Xifaras Clark was working as an elementary school teacher in her home town of New Bedford in 1964 when she answered the call to enlist in the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. A recent graduate of Wheelock College, she was assigned to teach in the Benton County Freedom School in Holly Springs for several months, and stayed on to help organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and to teach literacy and Negro history in Benton, Tippah, and Union Counties. She continued on the activist path after returning to Massachusetts, devoting her energies to economic justice initiatives and work with the Friends of SNCC and the NAACP, and diving headlong into the antiwar movement as head of the Greater New Bedford Draft Information Center. After spending three years in England with her family in 1972-1975, she resumed her civic and educational work in New Bedford, eventually earning appointment as head of the Commonwealth’s Office for Children under Michael Dukakis in 1983. With a keen awareness of the historical importance of the civil rights struggle, Clark became a key organizer of an oral history project during the 1990s that included her fellow veterans of the civil rights movement in northern Mississippi. The results are available digitally through the University of Southern Mississippi.

Documenting the evolution of one activist’s career, the Clark Papers offer valuable information on the Freedom Summer and Freedom Schools in northern Mississippi, particularly in Tippah and Benton Counties, and civil rights activism more generally. The collection includes communiques among civil rights workers in the region, a variety of correspondence, pamphlets, newsletters, and ephemera, plus a small, but noteworthy collection of photographs. Of particular significance among the later materials is a thick body of material from the Draft Information Center in New Bedford (1967-1968), the Vietnam Summer project (1967), and relating to Clark’s role in the Harvard Strike of 1969.

Subjects
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Civil Rights movements--Mississippi
  • Council of Federated Organizations (U.S.)
  • Draft resisters--Massachusetts
  • Harvard University--Student strike, 1969
  • Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
  • Mississippi Freedom Project
  • Peace movements--Masachusetts
  • Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (U.S.)
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts
Types of material
  • Photographs

John G. Clark Papers, 1960-1969

3 boxes (3.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 499
John G. Clark Papers image
John G. Clark and H. P. Hood milk truck

With a life long interest in politics, John G. Clark of Easthampton, Massachusetts worked on a number of campaigns before running for office himself. He ran for state senator in 1958, but lost in the Democratic primary. Two years later he ran again, this time for state representative of the 3rd Hampshire District, and won. Clark served in the State House of Representative for eight years until he was appointed clerk of the district court in Northampton and chose not to run for reelection.

While this collection is small, it is packed with campaign materials, letters, position statements, speeches, and press releases that together offer a good sense of the political climate in Massachusetts during the 1960s, especially issues of local concern for Hampshire County. Four letters from a young neighbor written while serving in Vietnam provide a personal account of the war.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts--History
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Contributors
  • Clark, John G., d. 1972

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.

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

Le Van Khoa Photograph Collection, Undated

7 items (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 170
Le Van Khoa Photograph Collection image
Going home

The composer, photographer, and educator, Le Van Khoa arrived in the United States as a war refugee from Vietnam in May 1975. Largely self-taught as a photographer, he was co-founder of the Artistic Photography Association of Vietnam and has published three books of his work. He holds the distinction of being the first Vietnamese photographer to mount an exhibition at the U.S. Congress building.

The seven photographs in the Le Van Khoa collection are artistic reflections of life in Vietnam, including four taken in the imperial city, Hue.

Subjects
  • Vietnam--Photographs
Types of material
  • Photographs

Lucy Nguyen Papers, 1983-2001

2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 026

A scholar of Francophone literature in Asia and Director of the United Asia Learning Resource Center, Lucy Nguyen Hong Nhiem was born in Kontum, Vietnam, in 1939. A graduate of the University of Saigon and teacher of French, she fled Saigon in 1975 just three days before its fall. From a refugee camp in Arkansas, she traveled through Connecticut and then to Springfield, Mass., before arriving at UMass in 1976 to resume her studies. After completing her MA (1978) and PhD (1982), she held positions at Smith, Amherst, and Mount Holyoke Colleges before beginning her tenure at UMass in 1984. An Adjunct Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures, she also served as Academic Advisor to the Bilingual Collegiate Program and Vice-Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants.

Nguyen’s papers are a small but critical collection of materials on Southeast Asian Refugees. Included among the papers are materials relating to the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees, materials relating to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants (1983), and a paper on the status of refugees in Massachusetts in 1987, along with unpublished writings, professional correspondence, and a handful of notes from a search committee.

Subjects
  • Refugees--Vietnam
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Bilingual Collegiate Program
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Asian Languages and Literatures
  • Vietnamese--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Nguyen, Lucy Hong Nhiem, 1939-

Eugene Povirk Collection of ACLU Press Releases, 1961-1984

3 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 925

The American Civil Liberties Union has played a significant role in working with the courts, legislatures, and the public to protect civil liberties in the United States. Founded in 1920, the organization has a membership of more than a million.

An extensive run of press releases issued by the national office of the ACLU between 1961 and 1984, this collection reflects the organization’s priorities and public communications strategies during a critical time in the struggle for civil liberties. The topics range from organizational changes within the ACLU to the major issues in civil liberties of the day, including those pertaining to the civil rights movement, civic unrest, freedom of the press, the Vietnam War, and the counterculture.

Subjects
  • Civil rights--United States
  • Freedom of the press
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
Types of material
  • Press releases

Laura M. Ross Papers, 1945-2003 (Bulk: 1967-1990)

13 boxes (6.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 515
Laura M. Ross Papers image
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.

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
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