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Aczel, Olga Gyarmati

Olga Gyarmati Aczel Collection

2 boxes 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 803
Image of Olga Gyarmati, 1948
Olga Gyarmati, 1948

Olga Gyarmati was one of the most successful and popular athletes in post-war Hungary. A multiple national champion in sprint and jumping events, Gyarmati represented her country in three Olympic games, winning gold in the inagural women’s long jump competition in 1948. Gyarmati fled Hungary with her husband, the novelist Tamas Aczel, during the 1956 revolution, eventually settling in Hadley, Mass., in 1966 when Tamas joined the faculty at UMass Amherst.

The Aczel collection includes a small quantity of material relating primarily to Olga Gyarmati’s athletic career and particularly to her participation in the 1948 Olympics. Included are the gold medal awarded to her at the London games along with the printed certificate; a silver box commemorating her victory, presented to her by the Hungarian Workers’ Party; a scrapbook and two photograph albums; and a landscape painting done by Gyarmati in later life.

Gift of Maryellen Beturney, Dec. 2013
  • Aczel, Tamas
  • Olympic athletes--Hungary
Types of material
  • Medals
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Barnard, Mary Taylor

Mary Taylor Barnard Papers

1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 008

Born in Groton, Massachusetts. In 1930, Mary Taylor became a student of botany at Massachusetts State College in 1930. While there, she struck up a romance with Professor Ellsworth “Dutchie” Barnard, and the two were married on December 31, 1936. The Barnards served on the University Millennium Time Capsule Committee and contributed memorabilia to the capsule. Both were Friends of the Library and for many years, Ellsworth served on the library’s Board of Trustees.

The Mary Taylor Barnard Papers include notes from Barnard’s Botany classes, newsclippings about the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and documents related to the Friends of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library.

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Botany Department
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Students
  • Barnard, Ellsworth., 1907-
  • Barnard, Mary Taylor

Bevis, Martha

Martha Bevis Papers

100 boxes 150 linear feet
Call no.: MS 737
Image of Martha Bevis
Martha Bevis

An important figure in building a network of antifluoridation activists, Martha Bevis was born in North Carolina in 1927 and lived most of her adult life in Houston, Texas. She worked on the staff of Senator Lyndon Johnson beginning in the early 1950s, remaining with him through his period as Vice President. Always energetic, she was involved in a number of political and civic organizations, including those promoting natural childbirth and breastfeeding, but from the mid-1970s, she was especially associated with the antifluoridation movement. A founder of the Safe Water Foundation of Texas, she became a key litigant in a case seeking to block fluoridation of the water supply in Houston, and although the court ruled in 1980 that fluoride was harmful, it permitted the city council to proceed with fluoridation. From that point forward, she played a key role regionally and nationally as an organizer, researcher, propagandist, and funding source for the antifluoridation movement. Bevis died in Houston on April 22, 2007.

This massive archive stems from Martha Bevis’s role as a connector and mediator of information for the antifluoridation movement. Beginning in the 1970s, Bevis gathered, copied, and distributed huge quantities of information on the health effects of fluoride, legal strategies and cases opposing fluoridation of public water supplies, and the antifluoridation movement generally. Bevis maintained a regular correspondence with other activists and antifluoride organizations and played an important role in gathering and preserving the papers of other activists.

Gift of Richard M. Bevis, Jan. 2010
  • Antifluoridation movement
  • Drinking water--Law and legislation--United States
  • Fluorides--Physiological effect

Bleyman, Lea K.

Lea K. Bleyman Papers

2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 548

The protistologist Lea Bleyman has conducted research into the genetics, mating systems, and life cycles of ciliates. A former student of Tracy Sonneborn, Bleyman has served as past Secretary and President (2001-2002) of the Society of Protozoologists, and spent many years on the faculty of the Department of Natural Sciences at Baruch College.

The Bleyman Papers contain lab and research notes, abstracts of talks and conference materials, along with some correspondence and annual progress reports from Baruch College. The earliest materials in the collection relate to her years as a student in Sonneborn’s lab; other Bleyman material is located in the records of the International Society of Protistologists at the University of Maryland Baltimore County Library.

  • Baruch College--Faculty
  • Paramecium--Genetics
  • Protozoans--Composition
  • Protozoans--Genetics
  • Protozoology--Conference
  • Society of Protozoologists
  • Tetrahymena--Genetics
  • Bleyman, Lea K
  • Nanney, David Ledbetter, 1925-
  • Sonneborn, Tracy Morton, 1905-1981
Types of material
  • Laboratory notes

Burgett-Irey family

Burgett-Irey Family Papers

1832-2010 Bulk: 1929-2008
4 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 605

Born in 1908 to Louis and Sarah Kessel Burgett, Katherine grew up on the family farm outside of Oquawka, Illinois. In 1924 her parents purchased their own farm in Monmouth, which they later lost due to the devastating impact of the Depression on agriculture, and it was there that she first met her future husband, Kenneth Monroe Irey, a student at Monmouth College. The newlyweds moved to New Jersey in 1931 where Kenneth was transferred for work. As a chemical engineer, Kenneth enjoyed a successful career and comfortably supported his wife and two children. Retiring in 1970, he and Katherine spent their later years pursuing two passions: traveling and bird-watching. Kenneth and Katherine’s eldest daughter, June Irey Guild, spent most of her adult life in Massachusetts where she has married twice, raised six children, and operated her own business. During her retirement years, June focused on preserving her family’s history by collecting letters and recoding family narratives.

The Burgett-Irey Family Papers chronicle the changes that many twentieth-century American families experienced as the nation descended into an economic depression, entered into a world war, and emerged as one of the most powerful countries in the world. The collection, which will continue to grow, includes approximately 65 letters between Katherine Burgett Irey and her family. Most of the letters exchange family updates, particularly precious after Katherine relocated to New Jersey. Among the earliest letters is an account of Katherine and Kenneth’s first meeting described as “fast work,” since he asked her out on the spot. Also included are autobiographical writings by Kenneth describing his cross-country trip to California in 1927 and a brief history of his life and career.

  • Bird watching
  • Burgett family
  • Irey family
  • Marriage--United States
  • Motherhood--United States--History--20th century
  • Mothers--United States--History--20th century
  • Women--United States--History--20th century
  • Guild, June Irey
  • Irey, Katherine Burgett
  • Irey, Kenneth Monroe, 1905-1994
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Slides

Chalfen family

Chalfen Family Papers

51 boxes 76.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 770

Born into a Jewish family in Khotyn, Bessarabia (now Ukraine), in 1888, Benjamin Chalfen emigrated to United States as a young man, arriving in New York City in 1910 before making his way to Boston. Taking work as a clerk with the Roxbury Crossing Steamship Agency, he married a fellow Russian immigrant, Annie Berg in 1914 and, after their divorce a few years later, married a second time. Benjamin and Annie’s son, Melvin (1918-2007), studied Forestry at Massachusetts State College (BA 1940) and Yale (MF 1942) before enlisting in the Army Air Corps in Aug. 1942. Moved to active duty in 1943 as a communications specialist, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant. After he returned home, Mel met and married a recent Smith College graduate, Judith Resnick (1925-2011), with whom he raised three sons. The couple settled into a comfortable life in the Boston suburbs, where Mel carved out a successful career as a home inspector and educator while Judith became well known as a supporter of the arts and as one of the founders of Action For Children’s Television (1968), an important force in promoting quality television programing for children.

A massive archive documenting three generations of a Jewish family from Boston, the Chalfen family papers contain a rich body of photographs and letters, centered largely on the lives of Melvin and Judith Chalfen. The Chalfens were prolific correspondents and the collection includes hundreds of letters written home while Mal and Judy were in college and while Mel was serving in the Army Air Corps during the Second World War — most of these in Yiddish. The thousands of photographs cover a broader span of family history, beginning prior to emigration from Bessarabia into the 1960s. Among many other items of note are rough drafts of a New Deal sociological study of juvenile delinquency and the impact of boys’ clubs in the late 1930s prepared by Abraham Resnick (a Socialist community organizer and Judith’s father); materials from the progressive Everyman’s Theater (early 1960s); and nearly three feet of material documenting Judy Chalfen’s work with Action for Children’s Television.

Gift of the Chalfen family, 2011.
Language(s): Yiddish
  • Action for Children's Television
  • Jews--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Massachusetts State College--Students
  • Smith College--Students
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Chalfen, Benjamin
  • Chalfen, Judith, 1925-2011
  • Chalfen, Melvin H. (Melvin Howard), 1918-2007
Types of material
  • Photographs

Clark, Gloria Xifaras, 1942-

Gloria Xifaras Clark Papers

20 boxes 9.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 865
Image of Gloria Xifaras Clark and student, 1964
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.

  • 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

Class Action

Class Action Records

13 boxes 19.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 687

Since incorporating as a non-profit in 2004, Class Action has been dedicated to exploring issues surrounding class and identifying means of dismantling classism. Founded by Felice Yeskel (an activist and founder of the Stonewall Center at UMass Amherst) and Jennifer Ladd, Class Action offers training, workshops, and organizational consulting to raise awareness of the impact of class barriers and class privilege on the lives of individuals and communities and of the intersections between race and class. Their goals include making class a diversity issue and promoting a broader vision of economic and social justice that will create lasting systemic change.

The records of Class Action include administrative files for the organization along with a range of materials used in training sessions and workshops.

  • Classism
  • Racism
  • Social classes
  • Ladd, Jennifer
  • Yeskel, Felice
Types of material
  • Sound recordings

Curran, Mary Doyle, 1917-1981

Mary Doyle Curran Papers

7 boxes 3.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 435

Mary Curran Doyle and dog

Born in Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1917 and a graduate of Massachusetts State College, Mary Doyle Curran was an author, editor, and professor, who published her only novel, The Parish and the Hill, in 1948. Curran taught English and Irish Literature at Wellesley College, Queens College, and UMass Boston before retiring; she died in 1981.

The collection includes unpublished drafts of novels and short stories; photographs; correspondence from family and friends; publishers and literary associates such as Saul Bellow and Josephine Herbst. The Parish and the Hill, Curran’s only published novel, is today considered a classic among Irish American literature.

  • Holyoke (Mass.)--History
  • Irish American literature
  • Irish American women--History
  • Women authors--Massachusetts
  • Bellow, Saul
  • Curran, Mary Doyle, 1917-1981
  • Halley, Anne
  • Herbst, Josephine, 1892-1969
Types of material
  • Photographs

Davenport, Janina Smiertka

Janina Smiertka Davenport Papers

7 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 343
Image of Janina Smiertka, 1934
Janina Smiertka, 1934

Raised in a Polish American family from Greenfield, Mass., Janina Smiertka Davenport was the epitome of a life-long learner. After graduating from Greenfield High School in 1933, Davenport received degrees from the Pratt Institute in Food Management and from the Franklin County Public School for Nurses (1937). In 1938, she began work as a nurse in the U.S. Navy, receiving two special commendations for meritorious service during the Second World War. She continued her formal and informal education later in life, receiving degrees from Arizona State University in 1958 and UMass Amherst in Russian and Eastern European Studies (1982). Davenport died in Greenfield in March 2002.

The Davenport Papers contain a thick sheaf of letters and documents pertaining to her Navy service before and during World War II, along with assorted biographical and genealogical data, materials collected during educational trips to Poland and elsewhere, and approximately one linear foot of family photographs and photo albums.

  • Nurses--Massachusetts
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts
  • United States. Navy
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Davenport, Janina Smiertka
Types of material
  • Photographs