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Laymen’s Academy for Oecumenical Studies (LAOS)

Laymen's Academy for Oecumenical Studies Records

1956-1976
22 boxes 11.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 020

An oecumenical ministry based in Amherst, Massachusetts, that sought to inspire local citizens to act upon their religious faith in their daily lives and occupations, and to reinvigorate religious dialogue between denominations.

Includes by-laws, minutes, membership records, news clippings, press releases, treasurer’s reports, letters to and from David S. King, correspondence between religious leaders and local administrators, and printed materials documenting programs and organizations in which the Laymen’s Academy for Oecumenical Studies (L.A.O.S.) participated or initiated, especially Faith and Life Meetings. Also contains questionnaires, announcements, bulletins, and photographs.

Subjects

  • Christian union--Massachusetts--History
  • Interdenominational cooperation--Massachusetts--History

Contributors

  • King, David S., 1927-
  • Laymen's Academy for Oecumenical Studies (Amherst, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Photographs
Lea, Henry A.

Henry A. Lea Papers

1942-ca. 1980s
6 boxes 7 linear feet
Call no.: FS 139

A talented musician and member of the UMass Amherst faculty in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Henry A. Lea was born Heinz Liachowsky in Berlin in 1920. With the rise of the Nazi Party, the Jewish Liachowskys left their home for the United States, settling in Philadelphia and simplifying the family name to Lea. Henry studied French as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania (1942) but shortly after graduation, he began his military service. After training in Alabama and in the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) program at Ohio State, he was assinged to duty interrogating prisoners of war with the G2 (intelligence) section of the First U.S. Army; he later served as a translator at the Nuremberg War Crimes trials in 1947-1948 and for the military government in Frankfurt (1948-1949). Lea returned to his alma mater for a masters degree in German (1951), and accepted a position teaching at UMass in the following year. In 1962, he received a doctorate for a dissertation under Adolf Klarmann on the Austrian expatriate writer Franz Werfel. During his tenure at the university he published extensively on Werfel, Wolfgang Hildesheimer, and Gustav Mahler, including a book on the composer and conductor entitled Gustav Mahler: Man on the Margin. Lea remained at UMass until his retirement in 1985.

The Lea Papers consist chiefly of two types of material: research notes and correspondence. The nearly 200 letters written by Henry A. Lea during his military service in the Second World War provide an excellent account, albeit a self-censored account, of his experience from training through deployment and return. Lea’s research notes include notebooks on Werfel and files on Mahler and Hildesheimer. Other items include a pre-war album containing commercial photographs collected during a vacation and a baby book from an American family living in occupation-era Germany.

Subjects

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
  • Werfel, Franz, 1890-1945
  • World War, 1939-1945

Contributors

  • Lea, Henry A

Types of material

  • Photographs
League of Women Voters of Amherst (Amherst, Mass.)

League of Women Voters of Amherst Records

1939-2001
60 boxes 33 linear feet
Call no.: MS 296

Non-partisan political organization based in Amherst, Massachusetts that influences public policy through education and advocacy by registering voters, organizing candidate forums, publishing voting guides, and disseminating general information on the legislative process and the functioning of government on the local, state, and federal levels.

Includes minutes, annual reports, financial records, publications, extensive files on specific programs, photographs, video- and audio-tapes, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings. Also contains information on two league members who rose to national prominence: Lucy Wilson Benson (Under Secretary of State in the federal government in 1977) and Jane F. Garvey (Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration in 1997).

Subjects

  • Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Education--Massachusetts--Amherst--History
  • Housing--Massachusetts--Amherst--History
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-

Contributors

  • Benson, Lucy Wilson
  • Garvey, Jane F
  • League of Women Voters of Amherst (Amherst, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Oral histories
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
Lederer, William J., 1912-

William Lederer Papers

ca. 1930-1985
91 boxes 61 linear feet
Call no.: MS 158
Image of William Lederer in naval uniform
William Lederer in naval uniform

William J. Lederer began his long career in the Navy in 1930. During his twenty-eight years of service he traveled throughout Asia on some 30 trips, acquiring several books worth of experience, criticisms, and insight. In 1948, Lederer attended the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference in Vermont and met fellow author and political theorist Eugene Burdick. Disillusioned with the style and substance of America’s diplomatic efforts in Southeast Asia, Lederer and Burdick openly sought to demonstrate their belief that American officials and civilians could make a substantial difference in Southeast Asian politics if they were willing to learn local languages, follow local customs and employ regional military tactics. Together they co-authored two widely influential books, The Ugly American (1958) and Sarkhan (1965).

The collection includes materials related to most of his major publications including, A Nation of Sheep, The Ugly American, Sarkhan, Our Own Worst Enemy, I, Giorghos, Mirages of Marriage, and Martial Choices. A substantial series of correspondence traces Lederer’s associations and communications throughout his entire career. Area files, research materials, and photographs are also include, but not yet fully processed.

Subjects

  • Southeast Asia--Economic conditions
  • Southeast Asia--Politics and government--1945-
  • United States--Foreign relations
  • United States--Politics and government--1945-
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Contributors

  • Burdick, Eugene
  • Lederer, William J., 1912-

Types of material

  • Photographs
Leff, David K.

David K. Leff Papers

ca.1975-2016
6 boxes 7 linear feet
Call no.: MS 907
Image of David K. Leff
David K. Leff

A writer, poet, and environmental and historic preservation advocate, David K. Leff worked for many years as an agricultural and environmental policy adviser to the Connecticut legislature and as deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. A graduate of UMass Amherst (BA 1975) and the University of Connecticut School of Law (1978), Leff began writing and lecturing from early in his career and in addition to publishing dozens of magazine articles and serving as a regular contributor to the Hartford Courant, he has written five works of non-fiction, The Last Undiscovered Place (2004), Deep Travel: In Thoreau’s Wake on the Concord and Merrimack (2009), Hidden in Plain Sight (2012), Maple Sugaring (2015), and Canoeing Maine’s Legendary Allagash (2016); three books of poetry Price of Water (2008), Depth of Field (2010), and Tinker’s Damn (2013), and a novel in verse, Finding the Last Hungry Heart (2014). Leff has been active as a lecturer and instructor on various topics, ranging from the environment to local history and writing. In 2016, he was named the first Poet-in-Residence of the New England Trail.

In addition to containing a nearly comprehensive collection of the published writings of David Leff, the collection includes selected correspondence, unpublished poetry and short stories, a draft of an unpublished novel (Hungry Heart), talks, interviews, notes, newsclippings, over 400 pages of interviews with sugarmakers that Leff conducted for his book on maple sugaring, and selected materials relating to Leff’s work with the DEP in Connecticut and other endeavors. The collection also includes several thousand photographs (mostly digital) takenby Leff and used to illustrate his publications and lectures.

Gift of David K. Leff, 2016

Subjects

  • Maple sugar industry--Connecticut
  • Newspaper columnists--Connecticut
  • Poets--Connecticut

Types of material

  • Photographs
Lerner, Steve, 1946-

Steve Lerner Papers

1994-2011
22 boxes 22.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 673
Image of Diamond, La.
Diamond, La.

For decades, the writer Steve Lerner has been a significant contributor to public awareness of the issues surrounding environmental justice. Immersed in the environmental movement through his work as research director at Commonweal, a health and environment research institute founded with his brother Michael in 1976, Lerner earned wide recognition for his first book, Eco-Pioneers (1998), about “practical visionaries” who developed pragmatic solutions to environmental problems. In two subsequent books, Lerner turned to an examination of the impact of environmental toxins and industrial pollutants on low-income communities and people of color and the rise of grassroots opposition within those communities. In Diamond (2006), Lerner explored the impact of a Shell Chemical plant in Louisiana as a microcosm of the broader environmental-justice movement, and more recently, Sacrifice Zones (2010) traced the organization and resistance against industrial and chemical pollutants in a dozen communities in the eastern United States. In 2007, Lerner left his position at Commonweal, but continues his research and writing on environmental issues.

The research notes, interviews, photographs and other documentation comprising the Lerner collection form the basis for Lerner’s three major books.

Subjects

  • Environmental justice
  • Environmentalism

Types of material

  • Audiotapes
  • Photographs
Levasseur, Raymond Luc

Raymond Luc Levasseur Papers

1966-2017
10 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 971

Raymond Luc Levasseur went underground with a revolutionary Marxist organization in 1974 and spent a decade in armed resistance against the American state. Radicalized by his experiences in Vietnam and by a stint in a Tennessee prison for the sale of marijuana, Levasseur became convinced that revolutionary action was a “necessary step in defeating the enemy — monopoly Capitalism and its Imperialism expression.” As a leader of the Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson Unit, later called the United Freedom Front, he took part in a string of bombings and bank robberies targeting symbols of the state including government and military buildings and corporate offices. All active members of the UFF were arrested in 1984 and 1985 and sentenced to long prison terms, although the government’s effort to prosecute them (the Ohio 7) on separate charges of seditious conspiracy ultimately failed. Levasseur served twenty years of a 45-year prison sentence, approximately thirteen years of them in solitary confinement, before being released on parole in 2004. He continues to write and speak out for prisoners’ rights.

The Levasseur papers are an important record of a committed revolutionary and political prisoner. Beginning with his work in the early 1970s with the Statewide Correctional Alliance for Reform (SCAR), a prisoners’ rights organization, the collection includes communiques and other materials from revolutionary groups including the UFF, the Armed Resistance Unit, and the Black Liberation Army; Levasseur’s political and autobiographical writings; numerous interviews; selected correspondence; and a range of material on political prisoners and mass incarceration. Consisting in part of material seized by the FBI following Levasseur’s arrest or recovered through the Freedom of Information Act, and supplemented by newsclippings and video from media coverage, the collection has particularly rich content for the criminal and seditious conspiracy trials of UFF members (also known as the “Ohio 7”) in Brooklyn, NY and Springfield, MA, as well as Levasseur’s years in prison and his work on behalf of political prisoners.

Gift of Raymond Luc Levasseur, 2017

Subjects

  • Anti-imperialist movements--United States
  • Political prisoners--United States
  • Prisons--United States
  • Revolutionaries

Contributors

  • Armed Clandestine Movement
  • Black Liberation Army
  • Manning, Tom
  • Ohio 7
  • Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson Unit
  • Statewide Correctional Alliance for Reform
  • United Freedom Front
  • Williams, Raymond C.

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Trials
Lewin, Julie

Julie Lewin Papers

1947-2003
11 boxes 5.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 454

Julie Lewin began her career as a freelance writer and newspaper journalist, and went from writing articles about sexual abuse of children and women’s prison reforms to lobbying for the protection and treatment of animals. The collection documents Lewin’s efforts to uphold the rights of animals, and in particular focuses on her opposition to the pet industry and to the use of animals in research.

Subjects

  • Animal rights--Activism
  • Animal rights--Advocates
  • Animal rights--Law and legislation
  • Animal welfare--Rescue
  • Connecticut Humane Society
  • Greyhound racing
  • Hunting
  • Pet industry
  • Trapping--Leghold
  • Vivisection-Animal research

Contributors

  • Lewin, Julie
Liberation News Service

Liberation News Service Records

1966-1977
11 boxes, 1 oversize folder 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 546
Image of Arrest of Jon Higgenbotham (Milwaukee 14), Sept. 24, 1968
Arrest of Jon Higgenbotham (Milwaukee 14), Sept. 24, 1968

In 1967, Marshall Bloom and Raymond Mungo, former editors of the student newspapers of Amherst College and Boston University, were fired from the United States Student Press Association for their radical views. In response they collaborated with colleagues and friends to found the Liberation News Service, an alternative news agency aimed at providing inexpensive images and text reflecting a countercultural outlook. From its office in Washington, D.C., LNS issued twice-weekly packets containing news articles, opinion pieces, and photographs reflecting a radical perspective on the war in Vietnam, national liberation struggles abroad, American politics, and the cultural revolution. At its height, the Service had hundreds of subscribers, spanning the gamut of college newspapers and the underground and alternative press. Its readership was estimated to be in the millions.

Two months after moving to New York City in June 1968, the LNS split into two factions. The more traditional Marxist activists remained in New York, while Bloom and Mungo, espousing a broader cultural view, settled on farms in western Massachusetts and southern Vermont. The story of LNS, as well as of the split, is told in Mungo’s 1970 classic book Famous Long Ago. By 1969 Bloom’s LNS farm, though still holding the organization’s original press, had begun its long life as a farm commune in Montague, Mass. Montague (whose own story is told in Steve Diamond’s What the Trees Said) survived in its original form under a number of resident groups until its recent sale to another non-profit organization. Mungo’s Packer Corners Farm, near Brattleboro, the model for his well-known book, Total Loss Farm, survives today under the guidance of some of its own original founders.

The LNS Records include a relatively complete run of LNS packets 1-120 (1967-1968), along with business records, miscellaneous correspondence, some artwork, and printing artifacts, including the LNS addressograph.

Subjects

  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Journalists--Massachusetts
  • Liberation News Service (New York, N.Y.)
  • News agencies
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Student movements
  • Underground press publications
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Liberation News Service (Montague, Mass.)
Liberation News Service (New York, N.Y.)

Liberation News Service (New York, N.Y.) Records

1968-1975
6 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1007
Cover of Liberation News Service issue 441, June 10, 1972.
Cover of Liberation News Service issue 441, June 10, 1972.

Founded in 1967, Liberation News Service, an alternative news agency, issued twice-weekly packets aimed at providing inexpensive images, articles, and art reflecting a countercultural outlook. First from its office in Washington, D.C., and then from New York City, LNS provided underground and college papers around the globe with radical and unconventional coverage of the war in Vietnam, global liberation struggles, American politics, and the cultural revolution. Two months after moving to New York City in June 1968, LNS split into two factions, with the sides mirroring common points of dispute within the New Left. The more traditional political and Marxist activists remained in New York, while those more aligned with the counterculture and “hippie” movement settled on farms in western Massachusetts and southern Vermont. For a year each faction put out competing versions of LNS news packets, until the winter conditions and small staff at the farm in Montague caused their production to end in January 1969. LNS-New York continued its production of unique leftist coverage of national and international issues throughout the 1970s, closing in 1981.

The LNS-NY Records include a relatively complete run of packets 102-701 (1968-1975) sent to the subscribing underground press newspaper the Indianapolis Free Press. Some packets and years are more complete than others, and these New York packets are especially dense with photographs compared to earlier LNS packets from before the split in 1968. The collection also includes a small selection of other artwork, articles, and materials kept by the Indianapolis Free Press.

Gift of Ron Haldeman, courtesy of Thomas P. Healy, January 2018

Subjects

  • News agencies--New York (State)
  • Press and politics
  • Radicalism
  • Underground press publications

Contributors

  • Indianapolis Free Press
  • Liberation News Service (New York, N.Y.)