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Sommer, Mark

Mark Sommer Papers

1966-2017
13 boxes 16.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 973

Mark Sommer, with Zetta, the first newborn goat at the Sommer homestead in northern CA, May 1985

Mark Sommer is an explorer, storyteller, and award-winning public radio and print journalist focused on advocacy and narratives of social, political, and environmental change and positive action. In Washington, D.C., Sommer found himself on hand for some of the 1960s pivotal moments, where he was involved with the Liberation News Service and the New Left think tank, the Institute for Policy Studies. Sommer moved to California in 1969 to explore the counterculture, spending several years journeying – spiritually, psychedelically, and physically between communes, farms, and wilderness homesteads along the western coast – before he and his wife built a self-reliant organic homestead in the deep woods of northern CA, where they lived from the 1970s to the 1990s. The resilience of nature deeply impacted Sommer’s outlook and work as a writer and journalist, driving his interest in the human capacity for overcoming adversity. Sommer founded and directed the Mainstream Media Project, a nonprofit media placement service scheduling leading edge thinkers and social innovators for extensive radio interviews, and Sommer served as host and executive producer of the internationally syndicated and award winning, one-hour weekly radio program, A World of Possibilities. Sommer is the author of three books (Beyond the Bomb, The Conquest of War, and Living in Freedom), and hundreds of op-eds in major newspapers worldwide. Current projects include short and movie length videos crafted from his photographs, films, interviews, and experiences.

Chronicling over five decades of creative and journalistic output of a life-long explorer and progressive advocate, the Mark Sommer Papers are an extensive collection, covering Sommer’s entire career and personal life from the late 1960s to the present. Writings include personal and multiple travel journals (including a unique trip to North Vietnam in 1968), correspondence, student essays, op-eds, articles, project and grant plans, memoirs, and book manuscripts. Additional journals exist in audio format, along with radio interviews where Sommer served as a guest. Slides, photographs, and movies cover Sommer’s family and home life to his wide-ranging travels and interests. Some main topics of coverage include foreign policy and international politics, progressivism, peace and conflict studies, the anti-nuclear and disarmament movements, wilderness and back-to-the-land experiences, and later in life fatherhood. Materials from Mainstream Media Project have been separated into the Mainstream Media Project Records.

Gift of Mark Sommer, May 2017

Subjects

Antinuclear movementCounterculture--United StatesInstitute for Policy StudiesJournalists--CaliforniaNuclear disarmamentPeace--researchPeaceful change (International relations)Political activistsReconciliationSelf-reliant living--CaliforniaSustainable livingTravel writingVietnam War, 1961-1975

Types of material

ArticlesCorrespondenceDiariesMemoirsPhotographsSound recordingsVideo recordings
Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia Collection

1925-1986
32 boxes 48 linear feet
Call no.: MS 407

The Southeast Asia Collection highlights the regional wars from the 1970s to the 1980s, including a series on Southeast Asian refugees in America, along with materials on regional economic development, especially in the Mekong River Basin. The collection contains hundreds of reports on agricultural and industrial projects in the region, examining everything from the impact of electrification on village life in Thailand to a description of a Soviet-built hospital in Cambodia in 1961, to an assessment of herbicide in Vietnam in 1971.

Collected primarily by Joel Halpern and James Hafner, the collection includes background, field, and situation reports by U.S. Operations Missions and U.S. Agency for International Development; reports, publications, statistics, and background information from other U.S. government agencies, governments of Laos and Thailand, and the United Nations; correspondence, reports, and reference materials of nongovernmental organizations; reports and essays by individuals about Southeast Asia; news releases and newspapers; published and unpublished bibliographies; and interviews with U.S. military personnel. Most material comes from governmental and organizational sources, but there are papers by, and debriefs of, numerous individuals.

Subjects

Cambodia--History--1953-1975Laos--HistoryVietnam War, 1961-1975

Contributors

Hafner, JamesHalpern, Joel Martin
Support SCUA

Archer
Donations that hit the mark

Collection growth is the heart of any archive, and as an active, growing archive, SCUA welcomes donations of personal papers, organizational records, photographs, diaries and journals, books and pamphlets, and other materials relating to our major collecting interests. With the support of our friends and colleagues, SCUA has built substantial depth in documenting:

  • The history and experience of social change in America
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • The social, cultural, intellectual, and political history of New England
  • The University of Massachusetts Amherst, its faculty, staff, students, and alumni

SCUA offers secure, permanent housing for collections, excellent access for researchers, and a stimulating intellectual environment. Please help us preserve our history for the future.

For further information, please contact the Head of Special Collections.

Donate to the University Archives

Phyllis Louise Nelson
Phyllis Louise Nelson

The University Archives welcomes assistance in preserving the memory of UMass Amherst, our faculty, staff, students, and alumni. We document all aspects of the University and its unique intellectual climate and history, with a particular interest in:

  • Personal, professional, or family papers
  • Correspondence from students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni
  • Diaries, journals, or reminiscences
  • Memorabilia from UMass Amherst, Mass. Agricultural College, and Mass. State College
  • Histories of departments, centers, institutes, and programs
  • Syllabi, selected lectures, and lecture notes
  • Records of committees, university organizations, or events
  • Unique research materials, such as field notes
  • Photographs and artwork.

To discuss archiving your papers with the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, please contact the Head of Special Collections.

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University of Massachusetts Amherst. College of Education

University of Massachusetts Amherst. College of Education

1967-2007
46.5 linear feet
Call no.: RG 013

In 1906, the Massachusetts Legislature enacted a law supporting the development of agricultural teaching in elementary schools in the Commonwealth, and in the following year, President Kenyon L. Butterfield, a leader in the rural life movement, organized a separate Department of Agricultural Education at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, introducing training courses for the preparation of teachers of agriculture. The Board of Trustees changed the name of the Department of Agricultural Education to the Department of Education in 1932, which became the School of Education in 1955.

The records of the School of Education group chart the evolution of teacher training at UMass from its agricultural origins to the current broad-based curriculum. Of particular note in the record group are materials the early collection of Teacher Training: Vocational Agriculture materials (1912-1964) and the National School Alternative Programs films and related materials.

Access restrictions: The National School Alternative Program films and related materials are housed off-site and require 24-hour retrieval notification.

Contributors

University of Massachusetts Amherst. School of Education
Watchmaker (Springfield, Mass.)

Watchmaker's Account Book

1882-1883
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 623 bd

The mid-century success of the Waltham Watch Company set the stage for a period of innovation and corporate ferment in the manufacture and distribution of watches in the United States. As watchmakers and technologies spread and new companies sprouted and split at a rapid pace, Springfield emerged as a center for the production of high quality, mass produced watches. Perhaps best known among the large local corporations, the Hampden Watch Company was established in 1877 from the New York Watch Company and was bought out in turn by the Dueber Watch Company and relocated a decade later.

The unidentified owner of this slender account book maintained itemized records of income and expenses for a relatively small watchmaking concern in Springfield between May 1882 and September 1883. Most of the trade consisted of sales of accoutrements and repair work.

Acquired from Dan Casavant, 1999

Subjects

Springfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th centuryWatchmakers--Massachusetts--Springfield

Types of material

Account books
What we collect

Frank Waugh's doves
Garden (white fan tailed doves in bird bath) by Frank Waugh, ca.1920

“… there must come vast social change in the United States; a change not violent, but by the will of the people certain and inexorable; carried out ‘with malice toward none but charity for all’; with meticulous justice to the rich and complete sympathy for the poor, the sick and the ignorant; with freedom and democracy for America, and on earth Peace, Good Will toward men.”

W.E.B. Du Bois, Chicago, June 29, 1951

In pursuit of our mission, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives collects materials of enduring historical and cultural value relating to four major thematic areas: the history and experience of social change in America; the histories and cultures of New England with an emphasis on Massachusetts; innovation and entrepreneurship; and the broad community associated with the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Our collections are highly integrated and span all formats, including personal papers and organizational records, books and periodicals, maps, photographs, audio and video recordings, and digital materials of all kinds.

Our approach to collecting

Graphic showing SCUA major collecting areas

Drawing upon the philosophy of W.E.B. Du Bois, SCUA collects original materials that document the histories and experiences of social change in America and the organizational, intellectual, and individual ties that unite disparate struggles for social justice, human dignity, and equality. Our decision to adopt social change as a collecting focus emerged from considering one of Du Bois’s most profound insights: that the most fundamental issues in social justice are so deeply interconnected that no movement — and no solution to social ills — can succeed in isolation. Rather than focus on individual movements, we therefore focus on the connections between and among movements and the flow of people, organizations, and ideas. Our hope is to provide a more robust framework for interpreting the deep histories of social engagement in America and to lay the foundation for a deeper understanding of the experience of social change.

A related feature of SCUA’s approach to collecting is our commitment to documenting “whole lives and whole communities.” Rather than focus solely on a person’s “significant” actions or ideas, our goal is to document the entire life in all its complexity: the person’s background, the events themselves, and the aftermath, as well as the range of colleagues and organizations engaged. Our goal is not simply to highlight the great achievements and great people, but to reveal the broad underpinnings of influences, interests, and organizations that shaped them and the communities in which they operated.

While not exhaustive, the following is a synopsis of the major focal points for SCUA’s collections:

Social change

Emphasizing the cross-fertilization between social movements and centers of activist energy, SCUA collects materials from individuals and organizations involved in the struggles for peace and non-violence, social and racial justice, economic justice, agricultural reform, environmentalism, sustainability, alternative energy, organized labor, gay rights, disability rights, spiritual activism, antinuclear activism, and intentional communities. Our collections branch out to include anti-fluoridation activism, campaigns for voting rights and clean elections, community and charitable organizations, and the history of revolutionary-era Europe (1789-1848).

  • African and African American history and culture:
    The history of race and ethnicity in America, with particular emphasis on the struggle for racial equality and social justice.
  • Agriculture, horticulture, botany:
    Including agricultural science and practice, horticulture, animal husbandry, natural history, organic farming, sustainable living, and heritage breeds.
  • Antifluoridation movement:
    Including right-wing, left-wing, libertarian, popular, and scientific opposition to fluoridation of public water supplies.
  • Antinuclear movement:
    SCUA holds numerous collections documenting grassroots opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weaponry.
  • Arts management and arts administration:
    In partnership with the UMass Amherst Arts Extension Service, the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and several other arts agencies, SCUA documents the history of arts administration in America. Collecting the records of state and national arts agencies, we will provide a foundation for research into the evolution of arts policy, strategies for supporting the arts, and the economic and cultural impact of the arts on our communities. SCUA also documents the field of Creative Aging, as well as local arts organizations, theatre companies, and others in the performing arts.
  • Cold War Culture:
    The culture of the Cold War, with an emphasis upon East Germany, Poland, and Yugoslavia. Among other areas, SCUA has a strong interest in the Solidarity movement and in partnership with the DEFA Film Library, in East German cinema and graphic arts.
  • Counterculture and political radicalism:
    SCUA’s collections focus on a variety of both cultural and poltiical “alternatives” to maintstream society, including materials on various forms of political radicalism, Communism and Socialism, drug policy reform, prisoners and mass imprisonment, and the underground press.
  • Disability:
    Organizational records and collections of personal papers documenting the history of disability and disability rights in the United States. Among other focal points for our collections are cross-disability activism and the psychiatric survivors’ movement.
  • Folk, blues, and traditional music:
    The revival of interest in folk, blues, and traditional music and the rich and evolving heritage of regional musical traditions are an important focal point for SCUA. In addition to documenting the music itself, SCUA actively collects manuscripts, ephemera, and photographs relating to the performers, behind the scenes actors, venues, and audiences, as well as the extraordinary connections linking the sounds and social movements.
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender issues:
    Materials relating to the history and experience of the LGBTQ community and liberation struggles.
  • Intentional communities:
    SCUA documents the extended history of alternative approaches to social organization, including the individual and communal lives of communards and the full gamut of intentional communities from communes to co-housing and the back to the land movement. SCUA.
  • Labor, work, and industry:
    Organized labor, industrialization, manufacturing, business history, and the experience and culture of labor and working people.
  • Peace:
    Materials relating to the peace and antiwar movements and non-violence, with an emphasis on New England.
  • Spirituality and religion:
    SCUA documents the experiences of people and organizations motivated to take social action through spiritual consideration. As repository of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, we have a strong interest in the history of Quakers and Quakerism.
  • Visual culture:
    SCUA’s commitment to the visual culture of social change includes a close focus on artistically-informed documentary photography, including the archives of photojournalists, photographers, videographers, and documentarians, as well as amateur and vernacular photography centered on the daily lives of New Englanders.

Innovation and entrepreneurship

SCUA collects materials that document innovative and entrepreneurial activities and particularly social entrepreneurship. Representative collections in SCUA include the papers of Mark H. McCormack (a pioneer in sport and entertainment marketing), Carl C. Harris (inventor and President of Rodney Hunt Co.), and numerous collections that document our region’s distinctive history of innovation in manufacturing and technology.

New England history and culture

The social, political, cultural, intellectual, literary, and economic life, with an emphasis upon western New England. The department houses thousands of books on New England cookery, with a particular emphasis on charitable and community cookbooks and cookbooks and ephemera published by corporations and the food industry.

  • Cookery and culinary history
    SCUA has thousands of cookbooks and other materials on New England regional cuisine, including community and charitable cookbooks, commercial cookbooks by New England authors, corporate cookbooks, and culinary ephemera.
  • Literature and the arts
    Emphasizing poets and writers, playwrights, and the performing arts in New England.
  • Politics and political culture
    SCUA has rich collections documenting the history and politics of the Commonwealth, including the papers of Congressmen Silvio O. Conte and John Olver, State Senator Stanley Rosenberg, and State Representatives John Clark and Ellen Story. The records of the Hampshire Council of Governments and several individual towns add great historical depth.

University Archives collecting

Serving as the memory of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, SCUA is steward for the official and unofficial records of the university that document the people, policies, programs, facilities, and activities of the campus community. The collections are a rich record of administrative activity at all levels, from system to program, but they focus on documenting the lives and activities of individual administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Other areas

SCUA has developed depth in a handful of other collecting areas, including:

  • American Study of Japan and Asia
    American relations with Japan from the Meiji period to the present, and connections with China and other Asian countries.
  • Gravestone studies and death
    Materials relating to the history, culture, preservation, and interpretation of gravestones and related subjects.
  • Protistology
    Records of the scholarly study of the protista (protozoans).

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Granville Brothers Aircraft Company Inc.

Granville Brothers Aircraft Company Collection

1978-1980
2 items
Call no.: MS 911

Between 1929 and 1934, the Granville Brothers Aircraft Company manufactured their distinctive Gee Bee aircraft at the airport in Springfield, Mass., using a hangar converted from a former dance hall as their plant. Originally from New Hampshire, the five brothers drew upon their self-taught mechanical ingenuity in the years after the First World War to transform an automobile and aircraft repair business into aircraft design and production. The brothers flew their first craft in Boston in May 1929, a biplane they advertised as “the fastest and most maneuverable licensed airplane for its horsepower in the United States,” moving operations to Springfield later that year. Although only about two dozen Gee Bees were ever manufactured, the planes gained a wide reputation for their innovative aerodynamic designs, raw power, and extraordinary success on the air racing circuit. Gee Bees claimed speed records and numerous prizes, including the coveted Thompson Trophy in 1931 and 1932 won by pilots Lowell Bayles and Jimmy Doolitte, but the death of the eldest brother in a flying accident and the impact of the Great Depression caused the company to shutter in 1934.

Aviation historian Tom Nallen conducted a series of interviews with former employees of the Granville Airplane Co. beginning in the late 1970s, recording memories of the company and its workers, the Gee Bee planes, and their performance during the golden age of air racing.

Subjects

Airplanes--Design and constructionGee-Bee (Racing plane)

Contributors

Granville, RobertNallen, Thomas E.Roberts, Paul

Types of material

AudiocassettesOral historiesSound recordings
Green, Josiah

Josiah Green and Co. Records

1829-1905
2 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 683

Josiah Green and Co. were pioneering manufacturers of mass produced pegged boots, one of the earliest and largest firms of its kind in Central Massachusetts. Founded by Josiah Green in the town of Leicester in 1812, the firm relocated to Spencer in 1816 or 1817 and erected its first factory there in 1834. In 1850, J. Green and Co. was the largest of six major shoe- and boot-manufacturers in town, though it lost market share thereafter. Green ran the company until control passed to his sons in 1867.

The records of Josiah Green and Co. document the growth and peak years of operation of one of the most important high-volume manufacturers of boots in central Massachusetts. Although the account books and ledgers extend back into the 1820s, the bulk of the correspondence dates from 1889-1894, when Josiah’s sons controlled the firm and while it was losing ground to its competitors. Although sporadic and incomplete, the correspondence offers a glimpse into the manner in which Green’s business was conducted during a period when the firm sold to a wide network of wholesalers and jobbers in the northeast and Midwest. Most of the correspondence concerns placement or fulfillment of orders and issues over prices and payment. The collection contains four press copybooks containing outgoing letters for the years 1889-1892 and 1904-1905.

Subjects

Shoe industry--Massachusetts--SpencerSpencer (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century

Contributors

Green, JosiahJ. Green and Co

Types of material

Account books
Harris, Carl C.

Carl C. Harris Papers

1898-1960
14 boxes 19 linear feet
Call no.: MS 667
Depiction of A slencil
A slencil

An inventor, entrepreneur, and corporate executive, Carl C. Harris was the third of four generations of his family to help manage the Rodney Hunt Company, a major manufacturer of waterwheels, turbines, and textile machinery based in Orange, Mass. While still in high school in 1898, Harris already displayed a sharp business and technical eye, establishing the first telephone company in Orange, and he began his career after graduation from Worcester Polytechnical Institute, working as a draftsman for GE and then as a superintendent at Rodney Hunt. After a brief stint at the Simplex Time Recorder Company in Gardner, Harris returned to Rodney Hunt for good in 1912. After acquiring a controlling interest in 1917, he remained with the company in several capacities through the Depression and Second World War, serving as general manager, vice president, and treasurer, and from 1938-1947, as president. Throughout his career, Harris remained active in developing or improving a variety of new products and processes, registering a total of 99 patents, and he regularly used his offices at Rodney Hunt to launch other, smaller enterprises, including the Slencil Company,which manufactured mechanical pencils; Riveto, which produced toys and a paper fastening device; and Speed-Mo, a manufacturer of a moistening pad system. Harris retired in 1956 and died four years later in Orange at the age of 79.

The Harris Papers are centered closely on the entrepreneurial activity of Carl C. Harris, and include a particularly thick set of business records for the Slencil Company (ca.1935-1960) and the Riveto Company (1930s-1940s), and the slender record book of the Home Telephone Company. In addition to these, the collection includes many dozen slencils, including prototypes, speciality models, presentation sets, store displays, and marketing designs; examples of Riveto toys, Simplex inventions, flotation devices, and other oddities invented by Harris, along with the associated patents.

Subjects

Orange (Mass.)--Economic conditionsOrange (Mass.)--HistoryToys

Contributors

Harris, Carl C.Riveto CompanyRodney Hunt Machine CompanySlencil CompanySpeed-Mo Company

Types of material

Realia
Lamson and Goodnow

Lamson and Goodnow Records

1837-1911
23 boxes, 14 vols. 38 linear feet
Call no.: MS 662
Depiction of Lamson and Goodnow
Lamson and Goodnow

In 1834, Silas Lamson devised a curved snath that greatly improved the efficiency of the scythe, and riding the commercial success of his invention, Lamson, his sons Ebenezer and Nathaniel, and partner Abel Goodnow, founded the manufacturing firm of Lamson and Goodnow in Shelburne Falls, Mass., in 1837. Early in its history, Lamson and Goodnow recruited skilled workers from cutlery centers in England and Germany and began manufacturing the high quality knives and tableware that have remained the center of their production ever since. The firm was a major contributor to the region’s transformation from a primarily agricultural to an industrial economy, and by the time of the Civil War, they helped establish the Connecticut River Valley had emerged as the center of American cutlery production. At vartious points during their history, Lamson and Goodnow have been involved in the manufacture of arms (e.g. the Springfield Rifle), sewing machines, agricultural implements, and other tools. They remain active in the production of cutlery, trade tools, and kitchenware.

The Lamson and Goodnow records contain relatively dense documentation of a major manufacturer of cutlery and agricultural implements from roughly the time of its founding in 1837 through shortly after the turn of the twentieth century. In addition to account books, records of orders, sales, and production, and a dizzying array of canceled checks, receipts, and trade cards, the collection includes correspondence from field agents and customers that document the growth of the company during the first 75 years of its operation.

Subjects

Cutlery trade--MassachusettsShelburne Falls (Mass.)--History

Contributors

Lamson and Goodnow

Types of material

Account books