To spark researchers’ imaginations and to celebrate the legacy of innovation and the activist spirit, SCUA pursues an ambitious program of collecting materials of enduring historical value and offers strong support for research and learning. Through its collections, programs, public events, and exhibitions, SCUA promotes meaningful engagement with the broad record of social change in America, innovation and entrepreneurship, and the varied histories of the people of New England and the UMass Amherst community. We embrace the university’s historic role as a center of knowledge for the people of the Commonwealth and are committed to providing free and unfettered access to our holdings for all who wish to use them, using the highest professional standards and practices and the best technologies available.
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. Documenting the activities of the administration and faculty and 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.
The timing of Goodell’s proposal to preserve the College archives coincided roughly with the Library’s first efforts to assemble a collection of rare books to support its educational mission. Although the campus had no separate library building until 1885, the College accepted several significant gifts of books, beginning as early as 1868, when the apiarist and state Adjutant General Henry K. Oliver donated twenty scarce volumes on bee culture, followed by other donations of important works in agriculture, history, and science. By the time the library published its first catalogue in 1875, rare books were a small, but distinctive part of the collections. 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 two 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.
From its initial focus on agriculture, horticulture, and the natural sciences, the Library soon extended its collections to encompass the history and culture of New England. 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. 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. Today, SCUA oversees a growing research collection of primary materials that includes rare books and manuscripts, historic maps, photographs, prints, and the official records of the campus at UMass Amherst.
Howes Brothers Photograph Collection, ca. 1882-1907.
Call no.: MS 313
Alvah, Walter, and George Howes brothers traveled the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts in the last two decades of the 19th century, taking photographs of the residents and documenting the customs, fashions, architecture, industry, technology, and economic conditions of rural New England.
The Howes collection includes 200 study prints selected from 20,000 negatives held by the Ashfield Historical Society.
- Howes, Alvah
- Howes, George
- Howes, Walter
Types of material
Elaine Kenseth-Abel Collection of Photographs of Cambodians in Thailand and Amherst, 1970-1979.
Call no.: MS 115
The collection primarily consists of photographs taken by Elaine Kenseth-Abel of Cambodians refugees in Thailand who later relocated to Amherst, Massachusetts during the 1970s-1980s. The collection also includes color prints of drawings by E. Seng Huot depicting Cambodian genocide.
- Huot, E. Seng
- Kenseth-Abel, Elaine
Types of material
Alonzo Klaw Photograph Collection, 1929-1931.
Call no.: PH 048
A landscape painter and photographer, Alonzo “Lon” Klaw was born in 1885 to Antoinette Morris and Marc Klaw, the attorney, theatrical impresario, and partner in the powerful Broadway production partnership of Klaw and Erlanger. Lon and his wife Alma (Ash) lived on a farm, Almalon, near Carmel, New York, but spent large parts of each year at their home in Santa Barbara, California, traveling frequently to Europe, particularly after his father’s retirement in 1927.
The several hundred photographic prints from Lon Klaw reflect his interests in landscape and travel and the influence on his work of the Photo Secession on his aesthetic. Approximately half of the collection consists of American views, primarily from southern California, depicting bucolic scenery, grazing cattle, and trees, but there are occasional portraits and views of the built environment in California and street scenes from New York. Taken during a European trip in 1929 or 1930, the remainder of the collection includes images of Cannes and Paris. Klaw typically printed each image several times to produce different visual effects.
- Cannes (France)--Photographs
- Paris (France)--Photographs
- Klaw, Alonzo
Types of material
Susan Kleckner Papers, ca.1970-2010.
Call no.: MS 725
A feminist, filmmaker, photographer, performance artist, writer, and New Yorker, Susan Kleckner helped to define the Feminist Art Movement. Born in 1941, Kleckner was instrumental in uniting Women Artists in Revolution (WAR) with Feminists in the Arts in 1969, and in 1970 she became a founder of the Women’s Interart Center, which still fosters women artists in the performing, visual, and media arts. A talented and prolific visual artist, she produced several important video documentaries during her career, beginning with Three Lives (made in collaboration with Kate Millet in 1970), which is considered the first all-women produced feature documentary. Her work often reflected a feminist commitment to the cause of peace: she participated in and photographed the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in England during the mid-1980s and in 1987, she curated a major year-long installation on Broadway called WindowPeace. A brilliant teacher, Kleckner was the first woman to teach photography at the Pratt Institute and she worked at the International Center for Photography in New York from 1982 until her death in July 2010.
A wide ranging and highly diverse collection, the Kleckner Papers document a life in art and activism. The diaries, letters, notes, and essays in the collection are augmented by hundreds of photographic prints and artwork in a variety of media.
- Antinuclear movements
- Feminists--New York (State)
- Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp
- Peace movements
- Performance artists--New York (State)
- Photographers--New York (State)
- Women's Interart Center
- Kleckner, Susan
Types of material
- Drawings (Visual works)
Laymen's Academy for Oecumenical Studies Records, 1956-1976.
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.
- Christian union--Massachusetts--History
- Interdenominational cooperation--Massachusetts--History
- King, David S., 1927-
- Laymen's Academy for Oecumenical Studies (Amherst, Mass.)
Types of material
Benjamin Smith Lyman Papers, 1831-1921.
Call no.: MS 190
A native of Northampton, Massachusetts, Benjamin Smith Lyman was a prominent geologist and mining engineer. At the request of the Meiji government in Japan, Lyman helped introduce modern geological surveying and mining techniques during the 1870s and 1880s, and his papers from that period illuminate aspects of late nineteenth century Japan, New England, and Pennsylvania, as well as the fields of geology and mining exploration and engineering. From his earliest financial records kept as a student at Phillips Exeter Academy through the journal notations of his later days in Philadelphia, Lyman’s meticulous record-keeping provides much detail about his life and work. Correspondents include his classmate, Franklin B. Sanborn, a friend of the Concord Transcendentalists and an active social reformer, abolitionist, and editor.
The papers, 1848-1911, have been organized into nine series: correspondence, financial records, writings, survey notebooks, survey maps, photographs, student notes and notebooks, collections, and miscellaneous (total 25 linear feet). A separate Lyman collection includes over 2,000 books in Japanese and Chinese acquired by Lyman, and in Western languages pertaining to Asia.
- Geological surveys--Alabama
- Geological surveys--Illinois
- Geological surveys--India--Punjab
- Geological surveys--Japan
- Geological surveys--Japan--Maps
- Geological surveys--Maryland
- Geological surveys--Nova Scotia
- Geological surveys--Pennsylvania
- Geological surveys--Pennsylvania--Maps
- Geologists--United States
- Geology--Equipment and supplies--Catalogs
- Geology--Japan--History--19th century
- Japan--Description and travel--19th century
- Japan--Social life and customs--1868-1912
- Mining engineering--Equipment and supplies--Catalogs
- Mining engineering--Japan--History--19th century
- Mining engineers--United States
- Lyman, Benjamin Smith, 1835-1920
- Sanborn, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), 1831-1917
Types of material
- Account books
- Book jackets
- Field notes
- Letterpress copybooks
- Trade catalogs
William P. MacConnell Aerial Photograph Collection, ca.1950-2000.
Call no.: Map Collection
In the 1950s, William P. MacConnell (Class of 1943), and his photogrammetry students in the Dept. of Forestry began using aerial photography to map forests, agricultural fields, wetlands, and other land cover in Massachusetts. Their work was eventually expanded to include the mapping of all land use for Massachusetts, making this state the first in the nation to be completely mapped in this fashion, and laying the foundation for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wetlands Inventory.
The MacConnell Collection includes a comprehensive set of stereopair photographs derived from multiple transects of the state taken between 1950 and 2000. In addition to some original field notes, a stereoscope, and other project materials, the collection includes the following series:
- 1951: Massachusetts, black and white prints (1:20,000 scale)
- 1971: Massachusetts, black and white prints (1:20,000)
- 1985: Massachusetts and Rhode Island, infrared transparencies (1:25,000)
- 1990: Boston, Cape Cod, Buzzard’s Bay, infrared transparencies (1:12,000)
- 1991-1992: Massachusetts, infrared transparencies (1:40,000)
- 1991-1992: Merrimack River Valley, North Shore, MDC-1, infrared transparencies (1:12,000)
- 1993: Massachusetts, Cape Cod, MDC-2, Nantucket, Dukes and Plymouth Counties, Naushon, West Metro, infrared transparencies (1:12,000)
- 1999: Massachusetts. infrared transparencies and prints (1:25,000)
The collection is housed in the Map Collection on the 2nd Floor of the library.
- Land use--Massachusetts
- MacConnell, William Preston, 1918-
Types of material
- Aerial photography
Massachusetts Governmental Activities Exposition Photograph Album, 1930.
Call no.: PH 043
To celebrate its tercentenary in 1930, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts organized over two thousand events in 253 communities, drawing over eleven million visitors. One of the most elaborate of these events was the Exposition of Governmental Activities held at the Commonwealth Armory in Boston between September 29 and October 11. A celebration more of contemporary governmental activity than the historical precedents, the exposition featured displays representing nearly every branch of government, from the Department of Education to the state police, mental and public health, public welfare, transportation, agriculture, labor, and industry.
P.E. (Paul) Genereux (1892-1977), a commercial photographer from East Lynn, was hired to document the exhibits and displays in the Exposition of Governmental Activities, producing commemorative albums containing silver gelatin prints, carefully numbered and backed on linen. This disbound album includes 88 of the original 175 prints, including interior and exterior shots, with an additional image by Hildebrand.
- Massachusetts Governmental Activities Exposition--Photographs
- Massachusetts--Centennial celebrations, etc.
- Genereux, P. E.
Types of material
David Ledbetter Nanney Papers, 1948-2008.
Call no.: MS 592
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)
- 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-