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Cynthia Miller Papers, 1973-1995

6 boxes (2.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 869

Known in the psychiatric survivors’ movement as Kalisa, Cynthia Miller was a radical activist on behalf of the mentally ill. An ex-patient based in New York, she became a member of Project Release in the early 1970s, one of the first wave of organizations fighting for the civil rights of mental patients and combatting forced institutionalization, and was a contributor to Madness Network News and other publications. A poet, writer, and a committed feminist and out lesbian, she took part in civil disobedience to oppose electroconvulsive therapy, working with Judi Chamberlin, George Ebert, Leonard Roy Frank, and others.

Though varied and fragmentary, Cynthia Miller’s collection is a rich resource for study of the early history of the psychiatric survivors movement and the work of one activist in resisting psychiatric oppression. The collection contains some of Kalisa’s writings and correspondence along with ephemera and a varied collection of newspapers, newsletters, and other publications relating to Project Release and several other organizations that Kalisa supported, including the Mental Patients Liberation Front and the Alliance for the Liberation of Mental Patients.


  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Feminism
  • Mentally ill--Civil rights
  • Psychiatric survivors movement--New York (City)


  • Alliance for the Liberation of Mental Patients
  • Chamberlin, Judi, 1944-2010
  • Mental Patients Liberation Front
  • Project Release

Types of material

  • Newsletters

J. Wesley Miller Papers, ca.1970s-2005

9 boxes (13.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 460

A nearly lifelong resident of Springfield, Massachusetts, J. Wesley Miller was actively engaged in the city’s politics. Often described as an eccentric activist, Miller graduated from Colby College and later earned his law degree from Western New England College of Law. Although he never practiced as an attorney, Miller did sue the law school upon graduation for “educational malpractice,” a suit that was settled out of court. Miller taught English at Heidelberg College in Ohio and at the University of Wisconsin, and it is at the latter institution where it seems he formed his habit of collecting street literature, mostly posters and fliers. Evidently consumed by a desire to collect such materials, Miller accrued a vast quantity of street literature by the time of his death in 2005.

The collection consists primarily of flyers and posters collected by Miller in Madison, Wisconsin and throughout western Massachusetts that reflect the contemporary history of the two regions. The literature ranges from announcements of student protests and rallies to advertisements for local pubs. Miller signed each item, possibly as part of a ritual to catalog the collection. Also included is a microfilm copy of Miller’s diaries.


  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Popular culture
  • Street literature


  • Miller, J. Wesley (John Wesley), 1941-

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Microfilm

George Millman Papers, 1944-1945

3 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 728
George and Lillian Millman
George and Lillian Millman

Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1919, George Millman attended Massachusetts State College briefly, but was forced to drop out after his freshman year due to financial hardship. After attending a three-month intensive training course, Millman was employed by the War Department in 1941 as a civilian inspector in the munitions plant in New London, Connecticut. In the months that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor, he felt it was his patriotic duty to join the armed forces and enlisted on May 28, 1942. Called to active duty six months later, Millman was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps on April 29, 1943. Already dating his soon-to-be-bride Lillian, the couple decided to marry immediately before he could be sent overseas. Assigned to a class on the theoretical aspects of radar at Harvard University, Millman was ordered to report to the Army Air Force Technical School in Boca Raton in late 1943. On June 24, 1944, he received secret travel orders assigning him to the 5th Air Force Service Command in Brisbane, Australia. There he began training fighter pilots on the use and operation of the newly developed airborne radar, AN/APS-4. Throughout his tour in the Pacific, which ended in early 1946, Millman traveled throughout the region, including time in Australia, the Netherlands East Indies, the Netherlands New Guinea, and the Philippines.

Containing almost 400 letters written to his wife Lillian during World War II, Millman’s papers detail nearly every aspect of life in the service during wartime. From chronicling extreme environmental conditions to his feelings of frustration while awaiting assignment, Millman’s letters offer a personal perspective of the impact of war on an individual and his loved ones. While his letters carefully avoid any details about his work that could have been censored, they capture in extraordinary detail the day-to-day life of a serviceman in the Pacific theater during WWII. Millman published his letters to his wife in 2011 in a book entitled Letters to Lillian.


  • World War, 1939-1945


  • Millman, George H. (George Harold), 1919-

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)


Cattle judging at Mass. Agricultural College
Judging cattle at Mass. Agricultural College

A steward of the past for generations to come, SCUA inspires discovery and advances scholarship through astute curation of cultural heritage materials. As part of a community dedicated to the values of diversity, social equity, and positive social change, SCUA acts through its collections, programs, and exhibitions to promote free inquiry, the production of knowledge, and joy in learning.

Department history

African dancers
African dancers
From the Horace Mann Bond Papers

In 1931, nearly half a century after Librarian Henry Hill Goodell first authorized the permanent retention of the official records of Massachusetts Agricultural College, the Library established a College History Collection. As the official record of the activities of the university’s administrators and faculty and a reflection of the life of its students, this collection grew steadily, until in 1953, the Library dedicated a room named in honor of Dean William L. Machmer to serve as the first true home of the University Archives.

Goodell’s initiative to assemble the College archives coincided roughly with the Library’s first efforts to build a collection of rare books to support its educational mission. Although the College had no separate library until 1885, its administrators nevertheless accepted several significant gifts of books, beginning with the 1868 donation of twenty scarce volumes on bee culture from the apiculturist and state Adjutant General Henry K. Oliver. By the time the library published its first catalog in 1875, rare books formed a small, but notable part of the collections, focused on the primary academic interests of the early college: agriculture, horticulture and botany, and the natural sciences. Among the Library’s earliest acquisitions were the first London edition of William Bartram’s Travels Through North and South Carolina (1792), François Augier de Marigny’s The History of the Arabians (London, 1758), and early bee manuals by John Keys, The Practical Bee-Master (London, 1780) and The Antient Bee-Master’s Farewell (London, 1796) — both courtesy of Oliver. All remain part of the collections today.

David Axelrod, Class of 1965
David B. Axelrod, ca.1980, Class of 1965, poet, author of The Man who Fell in Love with His Chicken (1980)

From these beginnings, the collections of rare books and manuscripts have evolved in concert with the evolution of the university and its academic programs. With the acquisition of the records of the Valley Peace Center and the papers of ethnographer Jozef Obrebski in 1973, the Library began to acquire collections of personal papers and organizational records of historical significance, and the arrival of the papers on W.E.B. Du Bois in that same year marked a turning point. The rare book and manuscript collections were combined administratively with the University Archives in the early 1990s to form the current Department of Special Collections and University Archives.

SCUA’s initial foray online came with a simple page on the library’s website in 1997, but by 2007, evolved into the UMarmot project, one of the earliest efforts to use freely-available software to create a comprehensive online archival catalog. SCUA launched its online digital repository, Credo in 2011, thanks to generous support from the Verizon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. The papers of W.E.B. Du Bois led SCUA’s way into the digital realm, followed by the papers of Horace Mann Bond, and then dozens of of other collections.

Mile markers

Each of the library’s million-volume milestones has been celebrated by the addition of a special volume to SCUA’s collections:

One millionth volume:
Jonathan Edwards, A careful and strict enquiry into the modern prevailing notions of that freedom of will; which is supposed to be essential to moral agency, vertue and vice, reward and punishment, praise and blame. Boston: S. Kneeland, 1754.
SCUA’s copy of this classic theological work on Free Will from the New Light minister from Northampton belonged to Rev. John Cleaveland of Ipswich, Mass., one of the subscribers. It is signed and dated by Cleaveland in several locations.
Two millionth volume:
Phillis Wheatley, Poems on various subjects, religious and moral. London: A. Bell, 1773.
A classic of American literature written by a young woman enslaved in Boston, and the first book published by an African-American woman. Gift of Randolph W. Bromery.
Three millionth volume:
James Baldwin, Gypsy and other poems, with etched portraits by Leonard Baskin. Northampton, Mass.: Gehenna Press, 1989.
When Baldwin, a former faculty member at UMass Amherst, died unexpectedly, he was working with the great printer Leonard Baskin on a special volume of unpublished poems. Celebrating SCUA’s strengths in African American history literature and reflecting the fine-printing heritage in Massachusetts, SCUA’s copy includes a signed portfolio of etchings of Baldwin by Baskin, each signed. It is one of fifty copies bound specially by Daniel Gehnrich in leather and paste paper, made by Babette Gehnrich, over boards, and laid into a cloth traycase. Also laid in are Baskin’s proof, 1989, and touched proof, 1989, of two of the portraits. Gift of Lisa Baskin.
Four millionth volume:
The proclamation of emancipation of the President of the United States, to take effect January 1st, 1863. Boston: John Murray Forbes, 1862.
The first separate printing of the Emancipation Proclamation, this volume was printed in miniature so that Union army troops in the south could more easily distribute it.

Learn more:

Ken Mosakowski Papers, 1970s-2006

80 boxes (120 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 560

As a student at the University of Massachusetts in the late 1960s, Ken Mosakowski first became a political activist when he protested the Vietnam War. Seeking an outlet to spread his message of peace and justice, he reached out to the student radio station WMUA, and started a weekly talk show Focus. For 38 years Mosakowski hosted the radio program every Sunday afternoon discussing topics of both local and national significance. Deeply involved in Amherst politics, he ran for the Amherst Select Board and lost; the loss, however, did not diminish his passion for serving the town and community he loved. Vocal on many issues, Mosakowski was known for being an activist in electoral politics and more recently an advocate for the homeless in Amherst, urging the creation of the Emergency Homelessness Task Force created in April 2006.

The Ken Mosakowski Papers document more than thirty years of his political activism. Saving everything from flyers and newspaper clippings to campaign buttons and posters, the collection documents a wide array of local and national issues. More importanly, it sheds light on issues of personal importance to Mosakowski, and as such chronicles his contributions as a lifelong activist.


  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Amherst (Mass.)--History
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Social action--Massachusetts--History


  • Mosakowski, Ken
Restrictions: The Mosakowski collection has temporarily been moved offsite; it is closed to research. Contact SCUA for more information.

David Ledbetter Nanney Papers, 1948-2008

13 boxes (6.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 592
Tracy M. Sonneborn
Tracy M. Sonneborn

The experimental ciliatologist David L. Nanney spent much of his career studying the protozoan Tetrahymena. Under Tracy M. Sonneborn at Indiana University, he completed a dissertation in 1951 on the mating habits of Paramecium, but soon after joining the faculty at the University of Michigan, he turned his attention to Tetrahymena. During his subsequent career in Ann Arbor (1951-1959) and at the University of Illinois (1959-1991), Nanney made a series of fundamental contributions to the cytology, genetics, developmental biology, and evolution of ciliates, influencing the work of other biologists such as Joe Frankel, Janina Kaczanowska, Linda Hufnagel, and Nicola Ricci. Since his retirement in 1991, Nanney has remained in Urbana.

The Nanney Papers include a dense run of professional correspondence with ciliatologists, geneticists, students and colleagues regarding his pioneering research on ciliates and other professional matters. Of particular note is an extensive correspondence with Sonneborn, accompanied by several biographical essays written after Sonneborn’s death, and a large body of correspondence of the controversial reorganization of the biological sciences departments at the University of Illinois in the 1970s. The collection also includes a selection of Nanney’s writings and a handful of photographs.


  • Developmental biology
  • Evolution (Biology)
  • Protozoans--Genetics
  • Tetrahymena--Genetics
  • University of Illinois--Faculty


  • Allen, Sally
  • Bleyman, Lea K
  • Corliss, John O
  • Frankel, Joseph, 1935-
  • Kaczanowski, Andrzej
  • McKoy, J. Wynne
  • Nanney, David Ledbetter, 1925-
  • Nyberg, Dennis Wayne, 1944-
  • Orias, Eduardo
  • Ricci, Nicola
  • Siegel, Richard
  • Sonneborn, T. M. (Tracy Morton), 1905-

Herman B. Nash Papers, ca.1935-2010

7 boxes (10.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 895
Civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., March 1965
Civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., March 1965

In 1944, eighteen-year old Herman B. “Keek” Nash enlisted in the Army, and after intensive Japanese language training, was assigned for duty as an intelligence officer in American-occupied Osaka, Japan. Settling in northern New Jersey after his discharge from the service in 1947, Nash held a succession of jobs, including brakeman on the Pennsylvania Railroad, before deciding to try his hand at teaching, earning a master’s degree in education at Columbia Teachers College. A solid leftist politically and a strong supporter of social justice causes and civil rights, he marched with Martin Luther King at Selma and Washington, though his ardor and political convictions came at a cost. Investigated by the FBI for alleged Communist sympathies in the late 1950s, Nash was fired from his position teaching high school science in Teaneck, N.J., in 1969, after leading a sit-in protest against school tracking. He subsequently returned to work on the railroad, where he was active with the union and took part in efforts to increase participation by African Americans and women. Yoneko Nash, Nash’s wife of 43 years, died in 2004, with Keek following in 2010.

A rich assemblage, the papers of Herman Nash offer a glimpse into the life experiences of a socially conscious veteran of the Second World War. Nearly a quarter of the collection stems from Nash’s time in the military service, including while he was learning Japanese at the University of Chicago (1944-1945) and while he was stationed in occupied Japan from spring 1946 through the following winter. Among other noteworthy items are a thick series of intelligence reports on the reaction of the local population to the occupation, noting episodes of civil unrest, crime, and other forms of social instability. The collection also contains a significant body of correspondence with family and friends, including serval whom he met in Japan. The balance of the collection relates to Nash’s interests in social justice causes, highlighted by a significant series of photographs taken during a massive civil rights demonstration in Montgomery, Ala.


  • Civil rights movements
  • Japan--History--Allied occupation, 1945-1952

Types of material

  • Photographs

Nash-Scott Family Papers, ca.1830-1957

15 boxes (15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 581
Nash family
Nash family

Long-time residents of Hadley, Massachusetts, the Nash and Scott families were united in 1881 when John Nash, a farmer, married Lizzie Scott. Of their seven children, Herman B. Nash, graduated from the Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1917, and immediately enlisted in the army, serving in France at the close of World War I. His youngest sister, Helen, kept the family connected during these years by writing and distributing a family newsletter, the Plainville News.

The Nash-Scott Family Papers contain a number of photographs, including an album capturing a trip to the west coast in 1915 and a canoe trip to Labrador in 1920. Herman B. Nash’s scrapbook documents not only his time as a student at M.A.C., but also his service in France, featuring candid photographs taken by Nash during and after the war as well as identification cards, company rosters, and a German propaganda leaflet picked up near the front. Pamphlets, genealogical notes and postcards complete the collection.


  • Hadley (Mass.)--History
  • Hadley (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College
  • Nash family
  • Scott family
  • World War, 1914-1918--France


  • Nash, Herman B

Types of material

  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs

New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse League Records, 1893-1977

9 boxes (5.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 331

When Charles Marsters founded the Boston Lacrosse Club in 1913, the club was the only one in New England to play teams from outside of the region. Under Marsters’s leadership, however, participation in the sport rose steadily at both the high school and collegiate level, helping establish New England as one of the centers of the American game. In 1935, he and Tom Dent founded the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse League (NEILL) to continue to build the sport.

The NEILL records document the growth of lacrosse from informal club team play to a more regulated, interscholastic and intercollegiate varsity sport. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence, minutes, and agendas kept by co-founder Charles Marsters and a handful of other NEILL officers, but with material documenting the growth of the sport at UMass Amherst from the 1950s onward and the addition of women’s lacrosse as a collegiate sport. The collection also includes some printed material (including rulebooks), news clippings, and photographs.


  • College sports--New England
  • Lacrosse for women--United States
  • Lacrosse guide
  • Lacrosse--New England--History
  • School sports--New England
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Sports


  • Boyden, Frank L. (Frank Learoyd), 1879-1972
  • Marsters, Charles E
  • New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse League

New Salem Academy Collection, 1874-1945

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 037

The New Salem Academy was founded February 25, 1795, “for the purposes of promoting piety, religion, and morality, and for instruction of youth in such languages and in such of the liberal arts and sciences as the trustees shall direct.”

The collection consists of the student exercise book of Ernest Howe Vaughan, later a teacher in Greenwich and an attorney in Worcester, along with an issue of the alumni magazine, The Reunion Banner.


  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • New Salem Academy (New Salem, Mass.)


  • Vaughan, Ernest Howe
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