To spark imagination and celebrate the legacy of innovation and the activist spirit, SCUA pursues an ambitious program of collecting materials of enduring historical value and offers strong support for research and learning. Through our collections, programs, public events, and exhibitions, SCUA promotes meaningful engagement with the record of social change in America and innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as the histories and cultures of the peoples of New England and the UMass Amherst community. We embrace the university’s historic role as a center of knowledge for the people of the Commonwealth and are committed to using the highest professional standards and practices and the best available technologies to provide free and unfettered access to our holdings for all.
In 1931, nearly half a century after Librarian Henry Hill Goodell first authorized the permanent retention of the official records of Massachusetts Agricultural College, the Library established a College History Collection. Documenting the activities of the administration and faculty and the life of its students, this collection grew steadily, until in 1953, the Library dedicated a room named in honor of Dean William L. Machmer to serve as the first true home of the University Archives.
The timing of Goodell’s proposal to preserve the College archives coincided roughly with the Library’s first efforts to assemble a collection of rare books to support its educational mission. Although the campus had no separate library building until 1885, the College accepted several significant gifts of books, beginning as early as 1868, when the apiarist and state Adjutant General Henry K. Oliver donated twenty scarce volumes on bee culture, followed by other donations of important works in agriculture, history, and science. By the time the library published its first catalogue in 1875, rare books were a small, but distinctive part of the collections. Among the Library’s earliest acquisitions were the first London edition of William Bartram’s Travels Through North and South Carolina (1792), François Augier de Marigny’s The History of the Arabians (London, 1758), and two early bee manuals by John Keys, The Practical Bee-Master (London, 1780) and The Antient Bee-Master’s Farewell (London, 1796) — both courtesy of Oliver. All remain part of the collections today.
From its initial focus on agriculture, horticulture, and the natural sciences, the Library soon extended its collections to encompass the history and culture of New England. With the acquisition of the records of the Valley Peace Center and the papers of ethnographer Jozef Obrebski in 1973, the Library began to acquire collections of personal papers and organizational records of historical significance. The rare book and manuscript collections were combined administratively with the University Archives in the early 1990s to form the current Department of Special Collections and University Archives. Today, SCUA oversees a growing research collection of primary materials that includes rare books and manuscripts, historic maps, photographs, prints, and the official records of the campus at UMass Amherst.
Montague Nuclear Power Station Environmental Report, 1975.
Call no.: MS 061
An environmental report for the proposed site of the Montague Nuclear Power Station, including the purpose of the proposed facility, the environmental effects of operating it, alternative energy sources and sites, and environmental approvals and consultations. The facility was famously scrapped in the face of public opposition following Sam Lovejoy’s act of civil disobedience, toppling a weather tower erected by the utility company in preparation for the power station.
- Antinuclear movement--United States
- Lovejoy, Sam
- Montague (Mass.)--History
- Nuclear energy--Massachusetts
Holland Montague Diary, 1857-1877.
Call no.: MS 257 bd
A lifelong diarist, Granby farmer Holland Montague wrote chiefly about life on the farm where he made a comfortable living supplying produce to surrounding towns. While most of his entries are bland accounts of the weather and agricultural duties, Montague occasionally offers a glimpse into his personal life, especially on the diary’s endpapers, where he records medicinal remedies for humans and livestock, purchases made and payments received, as well as a valuation of his property in 1872. Very few references are made to political events of the day, including the Civil War, although he does note on April 16, 1865 that President Lincoln is dead.
Laid into the volume is a manuscript copy of the 1826 document listing depositions to be taken from individuals in the petition of the town of Granby against the town of South Hadley relating to a dispute over the boundary line between the two towns.
- Granby (Mass.)--History
- Montague, Holland
Types of material
Ward Morehouse Papers, ca.1950-2012.
Call no.: MS 764
A writer, educator, and activist for human rights and social justice, Ward Morehouse was a prominent critic of corporate power and globalization. Raised in a family of progressive political economists and academics in Wisconsin, Morehouse began his research in international political economy while a student at Yale (BA 1950, MA 1953) and embarked on a standard academic career path. After teaching political science at New York University for a time, he became director of international education at the Center for International and Comparative Studies in 1963, building a particularly strong program in India. However in 1976, conservative opposition to his political views led Morehouse to leave for a new post as president of the Council on International and Public Affairs (CIPA), a human rights organization he had helped found twenty years before. Throughout, he remained an activist at heart. Galvanized by the 1984 industrial disaster in Bhopal, India, he organized the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, and went on to form or work with many other organizations seeking to resist corporate power and build democracy, including the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD) and the Permanent People’s Tribunal, operating the radical Apex Press. Morehouse died in June 2012 at the age of 83.
The Morehouse collection is a massive archive documenting six decades of research, writing, and activism. A prolific writer and editor, Morehouse left a deep record of his activities, his research and writing on corporate power, and the full breadth of his commitments in labor relations, alternative economics, “people’s law,” and peace.
- Anti-globalization movement
- Bhopal Union Carbide Plant Disaster, Bhopal, India, 1984
- India--Economic conditions
- Apex Press
- Center for International and Comparative Studies
- Council on International and Public Affairs
- Permanent Peoples' Tribunal
- Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy
Mount Toby Meeting of Friends Collection, 1977-1991.
Call no.: MS 694
The Northampton Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends (later the Middle Connecticut Valley Monthly Meeting) was formally established in 1939, bringing together the small community of Friends in Western Massachusetts. In 1959, the small preparative meetings in Amherst, Greenfield, Northampton, and South Hadley agreed to consolidate to create a more vital gathering. After five years without a fixed location, a Friend was moved to donate three acres of land on Long Plain Road in Leverett on which to build a proper meetinghouse. When that building opened in 1964, the meeting was renamed the Mt Toby Meeting.
Reflecting a strong history of promoting peace social justice, the Mt. Toby collection documents Friends’ involvement in a wide variety of issues ranging from war tax resistance (Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner), the “Colrain action” when the Kehler/Corner house was seized by the IRS), peace education and civil disobedience, refugee resettlement, the Sanctuary movement, and support for LGBT issues and racial equality. The collection consists largely of fliers and newsletters, ephemera, and newspaper clippings.
- Corner, Betsy
- Kehler, Randy
- Mount Toby Meeting of Friends (Quakers)
- Peace movements--Massachusetts
- Sanctuary movement
- War tax resistance--Massachusetts
Views from and of the Mountain House, summit of Sugar-Loaf Mountain, South Deerfield, Mass., ca.1865.
Call no.: PH 042
A popular tourist destination during the post-Civil War years, the Mountain House hotel was built on the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain, in South Deerfield, Mass., by Granville Wardwell in 1864 on property owned by his father-in-law Dwight Jewett. Positioned near the southern end of the mountain, the hotel provided tourists with a stunning panoramic vista of the Connecticut River Valley.
This small collection consists of three scenic cartes de visite from a larger series featuring views from the Mountain House. The images include No. 6, a view of five persons perched on the southeast promontory of Sugar Loaf with a view to the northeast across the Connecticut River to Mt. Toby; No. 10, Mountain House with a group of nine men and women posed on the lawn with telescope and tripod; No. 18, view of barns at the southern base of Sugar Loaf Mountain.
- Mountain House (South Deerfield, Mass.)--Photographs
- South Deerfield (Mass.) -- Pictorial works
- Sugar Loaf Mountain (Mass.)--Photographs
- Wardwell, Granville
Types of material
Charles N. Murdock Ledger, 1866-1869.
Call no.: MS 251
Grocer from Stow, Massachusetts who catered principally to farmers. Includes mention of products sold (groceries and other items) and payment (lard, eggs, fruit, butter, potatoes, cigars, beans, cash, and labor).
- Barter--Massachusetts--Stow--History--19th century
- Derby, Reuben
- Grocers--Massachusetts--Stow--Economic conditions--19th century
- Grocery trade--Massachusetts--Stow--History--19th century
- Stow (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Stow (Mass.)--Rural conditions--19th century
- Temple, Rufus
- Wages-in-kind--Massachusetts--Stow--History--19th century
- Murdock, Charles N., 1836-
Types of material
- Account books
National Arts Policy Archive and Library, 1965-2013.
Call no.: NAPAAL
The National Arts Policy Archive and Library is a collaborative project initiated by SCUA, the UMass Amherst Arts Extension Service, and several partners in arts agencies intended to document the history of arts administration in America. Collecting the records of state-level and national arts agencies, NAPAAL 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.
Constituent collections include:
- Americans for the Arts Records
- National Endowment for the Arts Collection
- National Assembly of States Arts Agencies Archives
- UMass Amherst Arts Extension Service Records
- Art and state
- Government aid to the arts
- Americans for the Arts
- National Asssembly of State Arts Agencies
- National Endowment for the Arts
New England Homestead Farm Accounts Collection, 1883-1884.
Call no.: MS 113
The New England Homestead, a magazine published in Springfield, Massachusetts from 1842 to 1969, conducted a contest in 1884 to which farmers submitted notebooks recording their farm accounts for the one year period, April 1, 1883 to March 31, 1884.
The collection includes bound and unbound farm accounts submitted as entries to the contest contest. The Library holds The New England Homestead, 1842-1850 on microfilm, and 1894-1968 in bound volumes.
- Agriculture--Accounting--Competitions--New England
- Agriculture--Economic aspects--New England--History--19th century
- Agriculture--New England--Accounting--History--19th century
- Contests--New England
- Farm management--Competitions--New England
- Farm management--New England--History--19th century
- Farmers--Competitions--New England
- Farmers--New England--Economic conditions--19th century
- New England--Economic conditions--19th century
- New England Homestead
Norfolk Prison Colony Collection, 1932-1934.
Call no.: MS 074
In the late 1920s, the sociologist and prisoner reformer Howard Belding Gill proposed building a “model community prison” at Norfolk, Mass., that would represent a radical new approach to dealing with crime and punishment. Integrating social work and sociological theory into the workings of the prison system, Gill reasoned that it would be possible to diagnose and treat the root problems that led to crime and redirect inmates toward constructive behaviors. Built by inmates themselves, the prison opened in 1932, but with opponents decrying the experiment as a “country club” that coddled prisoners, Gill was forced from the superintendency within just two years.
The collection consists of several drafts of a manuscript by a supporter of Gill’s, Thomas O’Connor, that was intended for publication in The Survey magazine, along with associated correspondence and photographs. Although The Survey’s editor, Arthur Kellogg, was sympathetic enough to pass through several drafts and seek opinions widely, the manuscript appears to have been rejected so as not to cause the governor undue political problems.
- Massachusetts Correctional Institution, Norfolk
- Prison reformers--Massachusetts
- Gill, Howard B. (Howard Belding)
- Kellogg, Arthur
- O'Connor, Thomas
- Parsons, Herbert Collins, 1862-1941
- Wilkins, Raymond S.
Types of material