Martha Bevis Papers, ca.1960-2007.
100 boxes (150 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 737
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.
- Antifluoridation movement
- Drinking water--Law and legislation--United States
- Fluorides--Physiological effect
Lea K. Bleyman Papers, 1958-2004.
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
- Society of Protozoologists
- Bleyman, Lea K
- Nanney, David Ledbetter, 1925-
- Sonneborn, Tracy Morton, 1905-1981
Types of material
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
- Letters (Correspondence)
Digital (+)Finding aid
Gloria Xifaras Clark Papers, 1943-2015.
20 boxes (9.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 865
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
Class Action Records, 2004-2010.
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.
- Social classes
- Ladd, Jennifer
- Yeskel, Felice
Types of material
Mary Doyle Curran Papers, 1917-1980.
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
Janina Smiertka Davenport Papers, 1918-1990.
7 boxes (3 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 343
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.
- Polish Americans--Massachusetts
- United States. Navy
- World War, 1939-1945
- Davenport, Janina Smiertka
Types of material
Alexandra Dawson Papers
20 boxes (30 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 905
An attorney from Hadley, Mass., Alexandra D. Dawson was known throughout New England for her work in conservation law and environmental activism. Born in Maryland in 1931, Dawson married shortly after graduating from Barnard College and after raising a family of three, she resumed her education, earning a law degree from Harvard in 1966. Early in her legal career, she took up the cause of protecting “wildlife, wetlands, and woodlands.” She was among the earliest employees of the Conservation Law Foundation and later served as general counsel for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The author of a string of influential works in environmental law, including (1978), (1982), and the (1978-2006), she was also an educator, teaching at Antioch College (where she launched the environmental studies program), Tufts, the Kennedy School of Government, and Rhode Island School of Design. Among other commitments, Dawson was a key figure in the Kestrel Trust and served long stints on the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC) and the Hadley Conservation Commission. Dawson died of complication from emphysema on Dec. 30, 2011.
The product of a forty year commitment to conservationism, Dawson’s papers provide valuable documentation of land preservation efforts in New England, with a focus on the evolution of the legal context. Dawson was a formidable figure in efforts to protect wetlands, agricultural land, and open space, and her papers offer insight into land use planning, her teaching, writing, and speaking.
- Land use--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
- Wetlands--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
Madeline De Frees Papers, 1951-1988.
13 boxes (6 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 051
After receiving her MA from the University of Oregon in 1951, Madeline De Frees embarked on a career teaching English and writing to students ranging in age from elementary school to college (University of Montana, Seattle University). Joining the faculty at UMass Amherst in 1979, she served as Director of the MFA program in Creative Writing from 1980 to 1983, retiring in 1985.
The DeFrees Papers are a collection of personal and professional correspondence, poems and other writings, interviews and photographs. Biographical materials, financial records, and interviews comprise the remainder of the collection.
- De Frees, Madeline
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
Charles E. and M. Sybil Hartley Eshbach Papers, 1913-1963.
14 boxes (7 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 886
Charles Edgar Eshbach, Jr., a 1937 graduate of Massachusetts State College, and Maude Sybil Hartley met in late 1939, while she was a student at Simmons College and he was working for the New England Radio News Service, part of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. They soon began dating and in February 1941 were engaged. After graduating in 1942, Sybil lived at home in Rochester, Mass., and taught school. Charles was drafted and enlisted in the army December 30, 1942. Trained as a radio operator, he was assigned to the Army Air Force Technical Training Command’s 326th Signal Co. Wing. Charles and Sybil married in September of 1943, and by November, Charles was in England, part of the 67th Fighter Wing stationed at Walcot Hall in Lincolnshire. Although not in combat, Charles rose to the rank of Technical Sergeant. He returned to the U.S. in December 1945. He and Sybil moved to Weymouth and had four children. Charles was appointed professor of Agricultural Economics at UMass in 1959. The family moved to Amherst in 1964, as Charles’ department was transforming into the Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration Department. He taught at UMass until 1986, when he retired. He died in 1997. Sybil worked at the University store for thirty years and died in 2009.
Consisting chiefly of their letters to each other, the Eshbach Papers vividly document the courtship and early married life of Charles and Sybil, particularly during their long separation, against a wartime backdrop. The collection also contains diaries, photograph albums, loose photographs, histories and rosters from Charles’ army unit, and a variety of ephemera and memorabilia such as ration tickets, receipts, programs, and Charles’ army badges and dog tags.
- 4-H clubs
- England--Description and travel
- Simmons College (Boston, Mass.)
- United States. Agricultural Marketing Service
- United States. Army Air Forces. Technical Training Command
- World War, 1939-1945
- Eshbach, M. Sybil Hartley
Types of material
- Letters (Correspondence)
- Photograph albums