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What we collect

Frank Waugh's doves
Garden (white fan tailed doves in bird bath) by Frank Waugh, ca.1920

“… there must come vast social change in the United States; a change not violent, but by the will of the people certain and inexorable; carried out ‘with malice toward none but charity for all’; with meticulous justice to the rich and complete sympathy for the poor, the sick and the ignorant; with freedom and democracy for America, and on earth Peace, Good Will toward men.”

W.E.B. Du Bois, Chicago, June 29, 1951

In pursuit of our mission, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives collects materials of enduring historical and cultural value relating to four major thematic areas: the history and experience of social change in America; the histories and cultures of New England with an emphasis on Massachusetts; innovation and entrepreneurship; and the broad community associated with the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Our collections are highly integrated and span all formats, including personal papers and organizational records, books and periodicals, maps, photographs, audio and video recordings, and digital materials of all kinds.

Our approach to collecting

Graphic showing SCUA major collecting areas

Echoing the philosophy of W.E.B. Du Bois, SCUA collects original materials that document the histories and experiences of social change in America and the organizational, intellectual, and individual ties that unite disparate struggles for social justice, human dignity, and equality. Our decision to adopt social change as a collecting focus emerged from considering one of Du Bois’s great insights: that the most fundamental issues in social justice are so deeply interconnected that no movement — and no solution to social ills — can succeed in isolation. Rather than focus on individual movements, we therefore focus on the connections between and among movements and the flow of people, organizations, and ideas, all in the hope of better representing the true histories of social engagement in America and laying the foundation for a deeper understanding of the experience of social change.

A related feature of SCUA’s approach to collecting is our commitment to documenting “whole lives and whole communities.” Rather than focus just on a person’s “significant” actions or ideas, our goal is to represent the person’s entire life in all its complexity: the person’s background, the events themselves, and the aftermath, as well as the range of colleagues and organizations engaged. Our goal is not to highlight simply the great achievements and great people, but to reveal the broad underpinnings of influences, interests, and organizations that shaped them and the communities in which they operated.

While not exhaustive, the following is a synopsis of the primary focal points for SCUA’s collections:

Social change

Emphasizing the cross-fertilization between social movements and centers of activist energy, SCUA collects materials from individuals and organizations involved in the struggles for peace and non-violence, social and racial justice, economic justice, agricultural reform, environmentalism, sustainability, alternative energy, organized labor, gay rights, disability rights, spiritual activism, antinuclear activism, and intentional communities. Our collections branch out to include anti-fluoridation activism, campaigns for voting rights and clean elections, community and charitable organizations, and the history of revolutionary-era Europe (1789-1848).

  • African and African American history and culture: The history of race and ethnicity in America, with particular emphasis on the struggle for racial equality and social justice.
  • Agriculture, horticulture, botany: Including agricultural science and practice, horticulture, animal husbandry, natural history, organic farming, sustainable living, and heritage breeds.
  • Antifluoridation movement: Including right-wing, left-wing, libertarian, popular, and scientific opposition to fluoridation of public water supplies.
  • Antinuclear movement: SCUA holds numerous collections documenting grassroots opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weaponry.
  • Arts management and arts administration:
    In partnership with the UMass Amherst Arts Extension Service, the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and several other arts agencies, SCUA documents the history of arts administration in America. Collecting the records of state and national arts agencies, we will provide a foundation for research into the evolution of arts policy, strategies for supporting the arts, and the economic and cultural impact of the arts on our communities.
  • Cold War Culture: The culture of the Cold War, with an emphasis upon East Germany, Poland, and Yugoslavia. Among other areas, SCUA has a strong interest in the Solidarity movement and in partnership with the DEFA Film Library, in East German cinema and graphic arts.
  • Disability: Organizational records and collections of personal papers documenting the history of disability and disability rights in the United States.
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender issues: Materials relating to the history and experience of the LGBTQ community and liberation struggles.
  • Labor, work, and industry: Organized labor, industrialization, manufacturing, business history, and the experience and culture of labor and working people.
  • Peace: Materials relating to the peace and antiwar movements and non-violence, with an emphasis on New England.
  • Spiritual approaches to social change: Materials relating to people and organizations motivated to take social action through spiritual consideration.

Innovation and entrepreneurship

SCUA collects materials that document innovative and entrepreneurial activities and particularly social entrepreneurship. Representative collections in SCUA include the papers of Mark H. McCormack (a pioneer in sport and entertainment marketing), Carl C. Harris (inventor and President of Rodney Hunt Co.), and numerous collections that document our region’s distinctive history of innovation in manufacturing and technology.

New England history and culture

The social, political, cultural, intellectual, literary, and economic life, with an emphasis upon western New England. The department houses thousands of books on New England cookery, with a particular emphasis on charitable and community cookbooks and cookbooks and ephemera published by corporations and the food industry.

  • Cookery and culinary history
    SCUA has thousands of cookbooks and other materials on New England regional cuisine, including community and charitable cookbooks, commercial cookbooks by New England authors, corporate cookbooks, and culinary ephemera.
  • Literature and the arts
    Emphasizing poets and writers, playwrights, and the performing arts in New England.
  • Politics and political culture
    SCUA has rich collections documenting the history and politics of the Commonwealth, including the papers of Congressmen Silvio O. Conte and John Olver, State Senator Stanley Rosenberg, and State Representative John Clark; and the records of the Hampshire Council of Governments and several individual towns.

University Archives collecting

Serving as the memory of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, SCUA is steward for the official and unofficial records of the university that document the people, policies, programs, facilities, and activities of the campus community. The collections are a rich record of administrative activity at all levels, from system to program, but they focus on documenting the lives and activities of individual administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Other areas

SCUA has developed depth in a handful of other collecting areas, including:

  • American Study of Japan and Asia
    American relations with Japan from the Meiji period to the present, and connections with China and other Asian countries.
  • Gravestone studies and death
    Materials relating to the history, culture, preservation, and interpretation of gravestones and related subjects.
  • Protistology
    Records of the scholarly study of the protista (protozoans).

Learn more:

Wheeler, William

William Wheeler Papers

1876-1930
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: RG 002/3 W54
Image of William Wheeler, ca.1876
William Wheeler, ca.1876

The civil engineer William Wheeler was a member of the first graduating class of Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1871, and was one of its most prominent alumni of the nineteenth century. In 1876, Wheeler joined MAC President William Smith Clark and two other alumni of the college in helping to found the Sapporo Agricultural College in Japan (now Hokkaido University), succeeding Clark as president of SAP from 1877 to 1879. In later life, he was a successful hydraulic engineer and long-time trustee of MAC (1887-1929).

A small, tightly focused collection, the Wheeler Papers consist largely of letters written home by Wheeler while working at the Sapporo Agricultural College, 1876-1880. Typically long and descriptive, the letters include excellent accounts of travel in Japan and Wheeler’s impressions of Japanese culture, but they provide detailed insight as well into the work involved in establishing Sapporo Agricultural College.

Subjects

  • Agriculture--Japan
  • Clark, William Smith, 1826-1886
  • Hokkaido (Japan)--Description and travel--19th century
  • Hokkaido Daigaku
  • Japan--Description and travel--19th century
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College
  • Penhallow, D. P. (David Pearce), 1854-1910
  • Sapporo (Japan)--Description and travel--19th century

Contributors

  • Hudson, Woodward
  • Wheeler, William, 1851-1932

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
Williams, William Carlos, 1883-1963

William Carlos Williams Letters

1946-1986
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 367

An obstetrician from Rutherford, N.J., William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) was a key figure in modernist poetry in the United States. Innovative and experimental in his poetry, Williams was a member of the avant garde poetically and politically, writing in a simple though never simplistic style that was unencumbered by the formalism and literary allusion of peers such as T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.

This collection consists of a small group of eleven letters and postcards written by Williams during the years 1946-1962, the majority of which were sent to Marie Leone, a nurse at the Passaic General Hospital in Passaic, New Jersey. In these letters Williams thanks Marie and her coworkers for the cards, good wishes, and gifts they sent to cheer him up. The letters are friendly and humorous even though they are for the most part written from Williams’s hospital bed during one of the frequent illnesses he suffered from in the later years of his life.

Acquired from Paul Mariani, 1993

Subjects

  • Poets, American

Contributors

  • Williams, Florence H. (Florence Herman), d. 1976
  • Williams, William Carlos, 1883-1963

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Photographs
  • Postcards
Woodbury, Walter B. (Walter Bentley), 1834-1885

Walter B. Woodbury Photograph Collection

1865-1866
2 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 003
Image of Tanah Abang House, ca.1866
Tanah Abang House, ca.1866

In the late 1850s and early 1860s, the pioneering British photographer Walter Woodbury captured images of Java, and especially its capital city Batavia (modern day Jakarta). Working in partnership with James Page, the two established a photographic firm that continued to produce and sell images long after Woodbury’s return to England in 1863.

Consisting of 42 albumen prints, the Woodbury Collection includes numerous images of the landscape and colonial buildings in Batavia, Buitenzorg (Bogor), and Surabaya. A few photographs capture images of the European community in Java, and local Javanese residents.

Subjects

  • Bogor (Indonesia)--Photographs
  • Indonesia--Photographs
  • Jakarta (Indonesia)--Photographs
  • Java (Indonesia)--Photographs
  • Surabaya (Indonesia)--Photographs

Contributors

  • Woodbury & Page
  • Woodbury, Walter B. (Walter Bentley), 1834-1885

Types of material

  • Albumen prints
  • Photograps
World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance (2001 : Durban, South Africa)

World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance Collection

2001
1 box, 1 tube 1.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 715

The 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance was held in Durban, South Africa, under the auspices of the United Nations as an international forum to address a range of issues, from the legacy of colonialism and slavery to Zionism. In response to a draft document equating Zionism with racism, both the United States and Israel withdrew from the Conference, and although it is often considered a landmark in the antiracist struggle, political events following the September 11 terrorist attacks have blunted its impact.

This small collection consists of a selection of ephemera and approximately 20 collected by an American attendee at the World Conference.

Gift of Mary Cowhey, Jan. 2011

Subjects

  • Racism
Yamashita, Yoshiaki, 1865-1935

Yoshiaki Yamashita Photograph Album

ca.1904
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: PH 006
Image of Yoshiaki and Fude Yamashita, ca.1904
Yoshiaki and Fude Yamashita, ca.1904

From 1903 to 1906, Professor Yoshiaki Yamashita of Tokyo traveled the United States providing instruction in the new martial art of judo. In Washington, D.C., he provided instruction for the sons and daughters of the nation’s political and business elite and was brought to the White House to teach President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1905-1906, Yamashita was employed by the U.S. Naval Academy to train midshipmen, but after his contract ended in the fall 1906, he returned to Japan and continued to teach judo until his death on October 26, 1935. He was posthumously awarded the 10th degree black belt, the first ever so honored.

The Yamashita photograph album contains 53 silver developing out prints apparently taken to illustrate various judo throws and holds, along with Yamashita’s calling card and four documents relating to his time teaching judo in Washington.

Gift of Caroline Watson, Dec. 2007

Subjects

  • Judo--Photographs
  • Kawaguchi, Saburo
  • Yamashita, Fude
  • Yamashita, Yoshiaki

Types of material

  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs
Yantshev, Theodore

Theodore Yantshev Collection

1947-1958
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 141

On June 23, 1946, a young Bulgarian refugee, Theodore Konstantin Yantshev, arrived in Baltimore as a stowaway aboard the S.S. Juliet Victory, intending to seek asylum in the United States. Despite the intervention of influential supporters including John F. Kennedy and Leverett Saltonstall, and the services of the Boston legal firm Powers and Hall, Yantshev was deported to Argentina in 1948. Efforts to secure a legal to the states eventually succeeded, yet poverty prevented Yantshev from following up.

The files retained by Powers and Hall in the case of Theodore Yantshev are focused closely on the plight of a Cold War-era refugee and would-be immigrant from Communist Bulgaria. The collection includes memoranda and summaries of the Yantshev’s case compiled by Powers and Hall and an apparently complete set in incoming and outgoing correspondence from the beginning of the case in 1947 through its final, failed disposition in 1958.

Acquired from Goodspeeds Bookshop, 1986

Subjects

  • Bulgaria--History--20th century
  • Bulgarians--United States
  • Political refugees--United States

Contributors

  • Gray, William
  • Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
  • Powers and Hall
Yeomans, Lawrence D.

Lawrence D. Yeomans Papers

1895-1946 Bulk: 1917-1919
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 873
Image of Lawrence D. Yeomans, nurse, and dog
Lawrence D. Yeomans, nurse, and dog

A native of Ontario, Lawrence D. Yeomans was working in New York when he volunteered for service in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during the First World War. For eighteen months, Yeomans served as a chauffeur with the Signal Corps in France, driving senior officers around Paris and to and from the front.

This small collection documents Lawrence Yeomans’ time as a chauffeur with the Signal Corps during the First World War. In addition to a handful of official documents relating to his service, Yeomans held onto a few pieces of ephemera as souvenirs, some postcards, and a set of photographs, including three depicting him in uniform and ten showing a display of German war material confiscated at war’s end.

Gift of Leslie Button, June 2015

Subjects

  • World War, 1914-1918

Types of material

  • Ephemera
  • Photographs
  • Postcards
Zickler Family

Zickler Family Scrapbook

1952
1 vol. 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 446
Image of Zicklers on a picnic
Zicklers on a picnic

Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Zickler of Leominster, Massachusetts began a 3 month cross-country road trip on March 27, 1952. Mrs. Zickler created a scrapbook to document the trip. The scrapbook includes souvenir and original photographs, postcards, maps, and other miscellaneous memorabilia from the journey. Their stops include various tourist attractions as well as scenic areas throughout the Midwest and Southwest of the United States. Most of their time was spent in Oraibi, the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America, on the Navajo Gospel Mission. The Zicklers returned to Leominster in July 1952, having traveled a total of 10,404 miles.

The scrapbook spans the entirety of the Zickler’s trip. It includes postcards, souvenir photographs from tourist locations such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, the Big Rock Candy Mountain, Hoover Dam, the Petrified Forest (as well as a piece of wood from the Forest), placemats and matchboxes from Las Vegas, and numerous souvenir photographs of the Navajo Gospel Mission.

Acquired from Peter Masi, Apr. 2005

Subjects

  • Arizona--Description and travel
  • Automobile travel
  • California--Description and travel
  • Grand Canyon (Ariz.)
  • Navajo Gospel Mission
  • Nevada--Description and travel
  • Oraibi (Ariz.)
  • United States--Description and travel
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Zickler family

Contributors

  • Zickler, Ernest

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
Zube, Ervin H.

Ervin H. Zube Papers

1959-1997
19 boxes 28.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 017
Image of Ervin H. Zube
Ervin H. Zube

Ervin H. Zube was the head of the University’s Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning department (LARP) from 1965-1977. His groundbreaking research on landscape architecture and assessment helped define the international importance and influence of the field and his consultancy work, most notably with the National Park Service, brought his intellectual achievements into practical application. Born on April 24, 1931 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Zube earned his B.S. at the University of Wisconsin in 1954. After a two year service in the United States Air Force, Zube enrolled in Harvard’s Graduate School of Design where he received his M.L.A in 1959. Zube held teaching positions at the University of Wisconsin and the University of California, Berkeley before beginning his ten year professorship at the University of Massachusetts in 1965. As the head of LARP, Zube established the Environmental Design program, which introduced a revolutionary cross-discipline approach to the study of landscape architecture. Zube became the director of the Institute for Man and the Environment in 1972 and restructured the institute to support academic research in new, important topics including community development and cooperation with the National Park Service, seeding important national and international institutions with progressively educated researchers. As a consultant, Zube helped the National Park Service develop their “master plan” for Yosemite and worked with numerous national and international institutions to manage and assess their environmental resources. Zube ended his career as a professor at the University of Arizona where he retired in 1983. He remained active in the field until his death in 2001.

The Ervin H. Zube papers include Zube’s lecture notes and academic correspondence, research materials and publications representing his work in landscape assessment and architecture, notes and reports from his consultancy work with many institutions and committees, correspondence from his role as a conference planner, as well as correspondence relating to his many book reviews. Zube’s papers also cover his research and teaching while at the University of Arizona and contain photographs from his research on the Connecticut River Valley.

Transferred from LARP, 2001

Subjects

  • Institute for Man and the Environment
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning

Contributors

  • Zube, Ervin H.