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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.


  • Classism
  • Racism
  • Social classes


  • Ladd, Jennifer
  • Yeskel, Felice

Types of material

  • Sound recordings

Mary Doyle Curran Papers, 1917-1980

7 boxes (3.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 435
Mary Curran Doyle and dog
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The collection includes unpublished drafts of novels and short stories; photographs; correspondence from family and friends; publishers and literary associates such as Saul Bellow and Josephine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

Janina Smiertka Davenport Papers, 1918-1990

7 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 343
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

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.


  • Conservationists--Massachusetts
  • Environmentalists--Massachusetts
  • Land use--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
  • Wetlands--Law and legislation--Massachusetts


  • Kestrel Trust

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.


  • Poets--Massachusetts


  • 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 Eshbach on pony, ca.1915
Charles Eshbach on pony, ca.1915

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

  • Diaries
  • Ephemera
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs

Alice Howell Friedman Papers, ca. 1967-2014

1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 169

Alice Howell Friedman, a professor in the School of Nursing from 1967 until her retirement in 1984, was a strong advocate for the professionalization of nursing, and an activist for unionization and equitable compensation for nurses. Friedman arrived during a period of rapid growth for the School of Nursing and her push to broaden the educational content of nursing students played a significant role in the further growth and success of the program. This approach is exemplified in the International Experiences program she founded. After retirement, Friedman remained very involved in the field of nursing and, among many significant activities, focused on the history of nursing, becoming a tireless lay-archivist, forming the Nursing Archives at Boston University and developing the School of Nursing collections at UMass Amherst.

The Alice Howell Friedman papers document Friedman’s time as an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at UMass and her work as a labor activist, including lecture notes, publications, correspondence, clippings, and biographical materials.


  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. School of Nursing

Girls Club of Greenfield Records, 1895-1995

21 boxes (27 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 379

Founded in 1895, the Girls Club of Greenfield provides high quality early care and educational services to the girls of Franklin County, Massachusetts, and advocates for the rights of children and their families. During the school year, the Club offers diverse programming, ranging from an infant room and preschool to after school activities that promote teamwork, community spirit, social skills, and confidence. Since 1958, they have also operated a summer camp, Lion Knoll, in Leyden.

The records of the Girls Club of Greenfield include by-laws, annual reports, reports and meeting minutes of the Board of Directors, correspondence, and ledgers and account books. Also contains program files for daycare, summer camp, education worker programs, and others, personnel records, membership and committee lists, newsletters, press releases, ledgers, account books, scrapbooks, news clippings, photographs, slides, and artifacts.


  • Girls--Massachusetts--Greenfield--Social conditions
  • Girls--Massachusetts--Greenfield--Social life and customs
  • Girls--Massachusetts--Greenfield--Societies and clubs--History
  • Greenfield (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Greenfield (Mass.)--Social life and customs


  • Girls Club of Greenfield (Greenfield, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Gittings-Lahusen Gay Book Collection, ca.1920-2007

ca.1,000 items
Call no.: RB 005

Barbara Gittings and her life partner Kay Tobin Lahusen were pioneers in the gay rights movement. After coming out during her freshman year at Northwestern University, Gittings became keenly aware of the difficulty of finding material to help her understand her gay identity. An inveterate organizer, she helped found the New York chapter of the early Lesbian organization, the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) in 1957, and she became well known in the 1960s for organizing the first gay rights demonstrations at the White House and Independence Hall. Gittings later worked with organizations from the American Library Association to the American Psychiatric Association to address systematic forms of anti-gay discrimination.

The Gittings-Lahusen Gay Book Collection contains nearly 1,000 books on the gay experience in America collected by Gittings and Lahusen throughout their career. The contents range from a long run of The Ladder, the DOB magazine co-edited by the couple, to works on the psychology and sociology of homosexuality, works on religious and political issues, novels and histories by gay authors, and examples of the pulp fiction of the 1950s and 1960s.


  • Gay rights
  • Homosexuality

Julie Graham Papers, 1918-2009

33 boxes (49.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 144

The economic geographer Julie Graham (1945-2010) and her colleague Katherine Gibson have been influential in envisioning alternatives to capitalist economics and economic development. After studying at Smith College (BA, 1965) and Clark University (PhD, 1984), Graham joined the faculty at UMass Amherst where she helped shape the new graduate program in geography. From early in her career, she worked so closely with her Australian colleague Gibson that they often published jointly under the pen name J.K. Gibson-Graham, and Graham developed close working relationships across several departments at UMass. A prolific author and inspiring mentor for students, Graham’s academic work drew upon an innovative mix of political economy, poststructuralist theory, feminism, and community-based research. Among her more significant publications are the now-classic The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy (1996), on representations of capitalism and their political effect, A Postcapitalist Politics (2006), which explores alternatives to capitalism, and two edited volumes, Class and Its Others (2000) and Re/Presenting Class (2001). Graham died in Nashville on April 4, 2010.

The Graham Papers offer a detailed perspective on the radical geographer Julie Graham. The collections documents Graham’s life and career beginning in her undergraduate years and extending through her last research projects in community economies. Through correspondence and writings, photographs, and research — closely intertwined with her colleague Katherine Gibson — the collection gives shape of Graham’s radical challenge to human geography tinged with an optimistic economic and social possibility. The collection also includes letters, photographs, and genealogical matter relating to Graham’s family, extending back to the time of the First World War.


  • Capitalism
  • Economic geography
  • Feminist economics
  • Marxian economics
  • Social classes
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Geosciences
  • Women geographers


  • Gibson, Katherine
  • Gibson-Graham, J. K
  • Graham, Julie

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