The University Archives contains the official and unofficial records of the University of Massachusetts Amherst throughout its evolution from a small agricultural college into a dynamic and complex university. Within the archives are letters and artifacts, records, photographs, and sound recordings documenting the lives of its founders, the pursuits of its faculty, and the changing attitudes of its students and alumni, revealing what high quality public education means to our Commonwealth and nation.
Among the hundreds of discrete collections and over 13,000 linear feet of records are the official papers of Chancellors, Presidents, Trustees, and other administrators; information about the University’s academic units and student organizations; and the founding documents of our sister campuses at Worcester, Boston, Lowell, and Dartmouth. The papers of faculty members add a wealth of information about the lives and intellectual pursuits of our campus community as well as their chosen academic disciplines.
Finding things in the archives
A comprehensive alphabetical index of UMass departments, programs, and other units, including acronyms. Each entry includes a reference to the archival Record Group where the records can be found.
YouMass is wiki devoted to the life and history of the campus community.
Carlos Vega Collection, ca.1966-1995.
Call no.: MS 800
An Ecuadorian-born community activist, Carlos Vega moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts, with his family in 1955. Settling in the working-class “Flats” neighborhood at a time when many of Holyoke’s factories were relocating to the southern United States or Asia, the Vegas were one of the few Spanish-speaking families in the city, but when Carlos began to work on a local tobacco farm at the age of 14, he encountered the new influx of migrants from Puerto Rico who had been lured to the Connecticut Valley as agricultural laborers by the Department of Labor. With the Puerto Rican economy declining in the 1960s, many of these farm workers settled permanently in Springfield and Holyoke, but they soon discovered that the declining economy there combined with racism and urban decay blocked their hopes for upward mobility. Radicalized by the anti-colonial, anti-war, and Civil Rights movements of the late 1960s, Vega emerged as an important community organizer in the 1970s, working with Fair Share, New Unity, Urban Ministry, and other progressive organizations. With a backdrop of riots, arson, and racial tension, these organizations focused on issues relevant to the Puerto Rican community, particularly voter education and registration, fair housing, and education. In 1982, Vega helped found Nueva Esperanza, a non-profit community development organization whose mission was to restore and maintain blighted buildings in South Holyoke. He worked with Nueva Esperanza for over 30 years, continuing until 2010 after a brain cancer diagnosis in 1995. He survived until April 2012.
The materials in this collection reflect Vega’s interests in left wing movements in Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, South America and Africa from the 1960s through 1980s and include leaflets, pamphlets, books, and newsletters. The approximately 300 items offer sometimes scarce documentation of internationalist liberation movements such as the PAIGC in Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, the Tupamaros in Uruguay, and the EFLNA in Eritrea. Of particular note is a small collection documenting Vega’s participation in the 1974 Venceremos Brigade and a collection of clippings, newsletters, notes, fliers, conference material, and newspapers from various groups such as New England Action Research, Friends of the Filipino People, The Latin American Student Association, and the Ethiopian Students Union of North America. Some printed materials are cataloged and housed with the rare books collection.
- Central America--Foreign relations--United States
- Civil Rights movements--Africa
- Civil Rights movements--Central America
- Civil Rights movements--Chile
- Civil Rights movements--United States
- Civil Rights movements-Asia
- Civil Rights movements-Caribbean
- Latin America--Periodicals
- Radicalism--United States
- Revolutionary literature
- United States--Foreign relations--Central America
- Venceremos Brigade
Dana F. Ward Diaries, 1897-1982 (Bulk: 1904-1951).
Call no.: MS 577
Born in Chelsea, Mass., in 1874, and a long-time resident of Somerville, Dana F. Ward enjoyed a prominent career in the fisheries industry in Massachusetts. Entering the wholesale fish business in 1900 when he organized the firm of Whitman, Ward, and Lee, Ward became Director and Advertising Manager of the Boston Fish Market Corporation (builder and operator of the Fish Pier) and an investor. Before the U.S. entry into the First World War, Ward was employed by the state to lecture on the benefits of frozen fish as a food source. An active member in both the Congregational Church and local Masonic lodge, he married Katherine B. Symonds (d. 1948) in Leominster in October 1899.
Personal in nature, the Ward diaries provide a chronicle of the daily life of a relatively well to do fish wholesaler from 1897 through 1951, with some gaps. Generally small in size, the diaries are densely written and are laid in with letters, various sorts of documents, stamps, newsclippings, and other ephemera that help define the contours of Ward’s life. The collection is particularly rich for the years during the Second World War and it includes three diaries (1967, 1977, 1982) from later family members.
- Somerville (Mass.)--History
- Ward, Dana F
Types of material
Western Massachusetts Bridge Association Records, 1957-2007.
Call no.: MS 801
Established in 1957, the Western Massachusetts Bridge Association (WMBA) Unit 196 was created by founding members of the Springfield Bridge Club eager to share their love for the game with the wider western Massachusetts area. The unit played a prominent role in teaching interested individuals to learn to play contract bridge by reaching out to colleges, clubs, and churches. Over the years, WMBA has remained an active unit in the New England Bridge Conference District 25, one of the largest districts of the American Contract Bridge Association.
Records of the WMBA and District 25 document the growth of contract bridge in New England. From the earliest days of the unit, members drafted by-laws, oversaw membership services, organized tournaments, and tracked finances. Materials in the collection shed light on every aspect of these activities.
- Contract bridge
WFCR Radio Broadcast Collection, 1954-1987 (Bulk: 1964-1987).
Call no.: MS 741
The first public radio station in western New England, WFCR Five College Radio has provided a mix of high quality, locally-produced and nationally syndicated programming since May 1961. In 2012, the station reached over 175,000 listeners per week, with a mix of classical and jazz music, news, and entertainment.
The WFCR Collection contains nearly 4,500 reel to reel recordings of locally-produced radio programs, reflecting over fifty years of the cultural and intellectual life of western Massachusetts. Drawing upon the talents of the faculty and students of the Five Colleges (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and UMass Amherst), the collection offers a remarkable breadth of content, ranging from public affairs to community and national news, cultural programming, children’s programming, news and current events, scholarly lectures, classical music, and jazz.
- Amherst (Mass.)
- Pioneer Valley (Mass.)
- Radio stations--Massachusetts
- WFCR (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)
Types of material
- Sound recordings
Charles L. Whipple Papers, 1925-1991.
Call no.: MS 360
A noted journalist, editor, and first ombudsman for the Boston Globe, Charles L. Whipple was born in Salem, Mass., on May 8, 1914. A descendant of both a Salem witch and of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Whipple was a political radical as a young man, joining the Young Communist League during his sophomore year at Harvard in 1933, and taking part in a small communist study group within the American Newspaper Guild after joining the staff of the Boston Globe in 1936. Unfit for military duty due to a bad eye, Whipple served with the Red Cross for 30 months in Europe during the Second World War, earning a purple heart. He severed ties with the Communist Party when he returned to the Globe and civilian life, becoming the paper’s first opinion page editor, garnering attention in the 1960s for writing the first major newspaper editorial opposing the war in Vietnam. His last positions were as the paper’s first ombudsman in 1975 and, following his retirement from the Globe, as editor of the Beijing Review and the China Daily, China’s first English-language daily. Whipple died in Northampton, Mass., in 1991 from complications following surgery.
Containing both personal and professional correspondence, the Charles L. Whipple Papers document a long and distinguished career in journalism. The collection includes important information on Whipple’s experiences during the Vietnam War, as an employee of the Boston Globe, and as an American living in China in the late 1970s. Many of the correspondents in the collection reflect upon Whipple’s feelings toward his profession and the people he encountered along the way. Of particular note is the extensive correspondence relating to the American Newspaper Guild, including meeting minutes, schedules, and correspondence. The Subject Files include groupings of articles, news clippings, and writings collected by Whipple over his lifetime. The balance of the collection consists of printed materials with a few photos.
- American Newspaper Guild
- Boston Globe
- Journalists--Labor unions--Massachusetts
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975
- Whipple, Charles L.
Marshall P. Wilder Collection, 1848-1929.
Call no.: RG 2/3 W55
A merchant and amateur horticulturalist from Dorchester, Mass., Marshall P. Wilder (1798-1886) was a key figure in American pomology during the mid-nineteenth century and a major supporter of agricultural education. A supreme organizer and institution builder, he was a founder and president of the American Pomological Society and United States Agricultural Society, and president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and New England Historic Genealogical Society. His 1849 address before the Norfolk Agricultural Society is often credited as an important catalyst for the creation of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, and he served as trustee of the College from its opening in 1867 until his death in 1886.
The Wilder Collection consists primarily of printed works written or collected by Marshall P. Wilder, including materials pertaining to early meetings of the American Pomological Society and the United States Agricultural Society, his 1849 address to the Norfolk Agricultural Society, and his address to the first graduating class at MAC. Among the handful of manuscripts are a draft proposal to hold a national meeting of fruit growers (the inaugural meeting of the American Pomological Society), two letters regarding his donation of a large number of books to the MAC library, and a bound set of 22 beautiful watercolors of pear varieties painted by Louis B. Berckmans.
- Agricultural exhibitions
- American Pomological Society
- Massachusetts Agricultural College. Trustees
- New-England Historic Genealogical Society
- United States Agricultural Society
- Wilder, Marshall P. (Marshall Pinckney), 1798-1886
Types of material
- Letters (Correspondence)
Paul Wing Account Book, 1805-1824.
Call no.: MS 215 bd
Seaman from Rochester, Massachusetts. Accounts provide information on work done, cargo and passengers carried, wages, ship expenses, and port charges. Also includes accounts of Philip Wing, Paul’s older brother, for agricultural, butchering, and ship carpentry work, as well as a loose sheet concerning probate court proceedings probably relating to the settling of Paul Wing’s estate after his death.
- Agriculture--Accounting--History--19th century
- Harbors--Port charges--History--19th century
- Merchant mariners--Salaries, etc.--History--19th century
- Rochester (Mass. : Town)--Commerce--History--19th century
- Rochester (Mass. : Town)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Shipping--Accounting--History--19th century
- Ships--Cargo--History--19th century
- Ships--Equipment and supplies--History--19th century
- Ships--Maintenance and repair--History--19th century
- Wing, Paul, 1792-1822
- Wing, Philip, 1788-
Types of material
- Account books
Josiah Wood Papers, 1854-1874.
Call no.: MS 363
A veteran of the Civil War and one time resident of the Hopedale community, Josiah Wood tried his hand at several lines of work during his life, including tin-peddler, farmer, and carpenter.
The Josiah Wood Papers consist primarily of letters between Wood, living in Hopedale and New Bedford, Massachusetts, and his relatives in Philadelphia and elsewhere in the northeastern and western parts of the country. While some of the correspondence contains references to larger-scale historical events, such as the Civil War or westward expansion, the majority concerns events and routines of everyday family life. The letters illustrate the considerable effort made to keep in touch with and informed about distant family members and friends.
- Spiritualism--United States--History--19th century
- United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
- West (U.S.)--History--19th century
- Wood, Josiah
- Wood, Lurana P
Woodbury House Boarding Register, 1804-1920.
Call no.: MS 172 bd
Boarding house on Folly Cove in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and boarding house at Echo Hill Cottage, perhaps also in Gloucester. Includes names of visitors, callers, boarders, and lodgers (some family friends and neighbors, others unknown guests) who hailed primarily from Massachusetts but also from states around the country. Also contains early accounts from 1804, guests at a Christmas party, lists of members of the Lanesville Universalist Church and Society who died or moved away, moral and religious verses entered by “Grand Ma”, and numerous preserved dried flowers and foliage, among other notations.
- Gloucester (Mass.)--History
Types of material
- Guest registers