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African American history

Founders of the Niagara Movement, ca.1905

Founders of the Niagara Movement, ca.1905

The acquisition of the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois in 1972 established SCUA as a center for research in African American history. In subsequent years, UMass has supported publication of three volumes of Du Bois’ correspondence and SCUA has digitized the papers and made them freely available on the internet while serving as a resource for many dozens of scholarly articles and books. SCUA continues in its efforts to build around the Du Bois collection, adding other important printed and manuscript materials both in African American history and in the history of efforts to promote social change.

Every February, SCUA and the Du Bois Department of Afro-Americans Studies at UMass Amherst commemorate Du Bois’s birthday by co-sponsoring a public colloquium on Du Bois and his legacy. Our lecturers have included distinguished scholars such as Herbert and Bethina Aptheker, Randolph Bromery, Clayborne Carson, Arnold Rampersad, and David Levering Lewis.

Significant collections (view all)

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Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society

Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society Records
1986-2000
1 box (0.2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 940
logo
Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society logo

Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society, (a.k.a. the Amelia’s) was a lesbian social club based out of Lebanon, N.H., serving the Upper Valley area of Vermont and New Hampshire, and beyond. Reachable via an unnamed post-office box, the club began in 1979 and provided members not only with much sought after social, leisure, and entertainment opportunities, but also a unique community of peers for discussion and activities around political, educational, health, and legal issues of importance to women and lesbians. Like their famous namesake, the Amelia’s did not shy away from risks in supporting women, the feminist movement, or actions promoting and educating about lesbians. The group often overlapped with feminist and lesbian print shop and publishing company, New Victoria Press, and the Amelia’s often used the New Vic building for their meetings.

The Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society Records consist of over 25 issues of the “Amelia’s Newsletter” from 1986-2000; two clippings covering news related to the group, including the repeated vandalization of their “Upper Valley Lesbians” Adopt-A-Highway Program sign; a 1994 audiocassette of interviews for an oral history of the Amelia’s; and a VHS tape of a community event held in 2003 to reflect on the women’s movement in the Upper Valley in the 1970s and 1980s. The newsletter offers detailed documentation of the group and their concerns, including calendars of their social gatherings and other local, regional, and national events of interest, and recaps of relevant news to the lesbian community including updates about politics, legal issues, civil rights and benefits, marriage, discrimination cases, women’s health, education and school issues, and lesbian focused social and entertainment events.

Subjects
  • Feminism--New England--History
  • Lesbian community--New England
  • Lesbian community--New Hampshire
  • Lesbian community--Vermont
Contributors
  • Dingman, Beth
Types of material
  • Audiocassettes
  • Newsletters
  • VHS

American Federation of Teachers. Local 1359 (Amherst, Mass.)

AFT University of Massachusetts Faculty Records
1963-1964
1 box
Call no.: MS 152 bd

The first faculty union at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) AFL-CIO, was established largely in response to the administration’s reluctance to recommend raises in faculty salaries (1958-1964) and due to the faculty’s desire for self-governance. The union was short-lived on the campus, but served to raise the consciousness of faculty to issues of faculty autonomy.

The collection includes historical sketches, memoranda, correspondence, resolutions, and treasurer’s reports.

Subjects
  • Collective bargaining--College teachers--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Collective labor agreements--Education, Higher--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
Contributors
  • American Federation of Teachers. Local 1359 (Amherst, Mass.)

American Morgan Horse Association

American Morgan Horse Association Registry Records
1911-1981
119 boxes (150 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 781
Image of Morgan horses at MAC
Morgan horses at MAC

In 1789, Vermont native Justin Morgan acquired a bay colt in Springfield, Mass., that became the progenitor of a distinctly American breed of general purpose horse. Noted for its stamina, strength, disposition, and beauty, the Morgan became widely popular in western Massachusetts and Vermont, eventually spreading nationally and internationally. To support the breed, the Morgan Horse Club (later the American Morgan Horse Association) was founded in 1909 and today maintains the breed registry, publishes The Morgan Horse magazine, and offers a wide range of public information and educational services.

The Registry records of the AMHA are a product of concern during the late 19th century for documenting and preserving the integrity of the Morgan breed and a means for breeders to certify pedigrees for their stock. In 1894, Joseph Battell published the first volume of the Morgan Horse and Register containing nearly 1,000 pages of pedigrees for “any meritorious stallion, mare, or gelding tracing in direct male line to Justin Morgan and having at least 1/64 of his blood,” and although standards have been modified since, the registry remains the primary source for documenting the history of the breed. The records in this collection include approved applications for the AMHA registry, including pedigrees and supporting materials.

Subjects
  • Horses--Breeding
  • Morgan horse

The American Revolution Documentary Collection

The American Revolution Documentary Collection
ca.1968-2010
Image of

On March 15, 1968, a failing classical music station, WBCN-FM, was reinvented as Boston’s first voice in radical underground radio, and its influence quickly spread nationally. Its characteristic blend of cultural chaos, including rock, folk, blues, and jazz, interspersed with news, radical politics, and community programming, provided a soundtrack for a generation fighting to remake its world. WBCN earned its nickname, “The American Revolution.” The station’s eclectic and unpredictable broadcasts included music from little-known performers who would emerge into the biggest acts of the day; regularly scheduled live musical performances from local clubs; trenchant political analysis and newscasts of the major events of the day; interviews with legendary cultural figures; and innovative new shows including one of the first women’s programs and the Lavender Hour, the nation’s first regularly broadcast LGBT radio show. Music, politics, culture, and community were intensely interconnected through WBCN, while its “listener line,” which took calls and answered questions on any subject, helped make it a virtual two-way hub for countercultural Boston.

While producing a documentary film about WBCN, and the music, politics, and social change during the period 1968-1974, former WBCN newscaster and announcer Bill Lichtenstein recognized the importance of archiving the wealth of primary materials that told the story of WBCN, its community and the dramatic changes of the era. The American Revolution Documentary Collection is the product of Lichtenstein’s energy, serving as an umbrella for a suite of interrelated collections focused on the impact of underground media in the Boston area and the profound social, political, and cultural changes of that time. These collections include the work of photographers, journalists, and writers who would go on to prominence, as well as activists, artists, and everyday people who witnessed and took part in an extended public conversation on the direction of our nation during the period of profound social, political, and cultural upheaval and who used media to help change it.

TAR collections include:

Selected recordings from the American Revolution Documentary Collection are available to stream through Airtime Pro, a web-based radio platform. ​Hear the music, news reports, ads, rare live musical broadcasts, station ID’s, interviews, zaniness, and more, as broadcast from WBCN-FM’s launch in 1968 and over the next seven years. You can listen using the player below or go directly to the Airtime Pro site, here: https://amrev.airtime.pro/

Subjects
  • Alternative radio broadcasting--Massachusetts
  • Boston (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Cambridge (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Nineteen sixties
  • Rock music
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
  • WBCN (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Sound recordings

American Watch Company. Band

American Watch Company Band Engagement Book
1878-1883
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 364

Band of musicians who worked at the Waltham Watch Company in Waltham, Massachusetts. Engagement book itemizes engagement dates and locations, and membership (including recent immigrants), and includes information about rehearsals, business meetings, and payment.

Subjects
  • American Watch Company--Employees--Recreation
  • American Watch Company--Employees--Social life and customs
  • American Watch Company--History
  • Brass bands--Massachusetts--Waltham
  • Industrial recreation--Massachusetts--Waltham
  • Waltham (Mass.)--Social conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • American Watch Company. Band
  • South Side Brass Band (Waltham, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Appointment books

American Writing Paper Company

American Writing Paper Company Records
1851-1960
19 boxes (9.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 062

Paper company based in Holyoke, Massachusetts that at one time controlled 75% of the total United States fine paper output. Records include board of directors’ minutes, by-laws, blueprints, land transactions, merger agreements, and publications. Labor files (1936-1960) comprise the bulk of the collection and include contracts, correspondence, grievances, and negotiations.

Subjects
  • Collective bargaining--Paper industry--Massachusetts--Holyoke
  • Holyoke (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Holyoke (Mass.)--Economic conditions--20th century
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts--Holyoke
  • Paper industry workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Paper industry--Massachusetts--Holyoke
  • Strikes and lockouts--Paper industry--Massachusetts--Holyoke
Contributors
  • American Writing Paper Company
Types of material
  • Blueprints
  • Photographs

Amherst Railway Society

Amherst Railway Society Records
1963-2007
1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 794

Founded in 1963 and chartered one year later, the Amherst Railway Society is a non-profit organization of railroad enthusiasts based in the Pioneer Valley, Massachusetts. Meeting monthly, the Society sponsors lecturers and programming on railroad-related topics, and since 1968 it has hosted the annual Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show, now held at the Eastern States Exposition. Some of the proceeds from the Hobby Show are used to provide grants to support historic preservation and other railroad-related projects throughout the country.

Documenting the history of the ARS from its founding, this collection contains organizational materials, minutes of meetings, membership lists, officers’ reports, mailings and correspondence, and other materials relating to the Society’s programs.

Subjects
  • Hobbies
  • Railroads--History
  • Railroads--Models

Boston Jazz Society

Boston Jazz Society Records
ca. 1973-2014
6 boxes (10 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 880
Image of

Founded in 1973, the Boston Jazz Society grew from a small group of enthusiasts listening to music in living rooms to a thriving organization that “kept Jazz alive” in New England. As Jazz’s popularity began to fade in the late 1960s, local Jazz societies formed to provide support to artists and give them the means and venues to continue to perform on the road. The Boston Jazz Society was originally inspired by one of the earliest, the Left Bank Jazz Society of Baltimore. Like the Left Bank, BJS produced concerts in clubs, theaters, and hotels but expanded their efforts to include exhibits, television and radio shows, and a Jazz education program for grade school students. The longest running BJS activities, however, were the annual Jazz Barbecues and starting in 1975, the BJS Scholarships. The scholarship program raised funds for young Jazz musicians to attend the New England Conservatory of Music’s Jazz Department and the Berklee School Of Music and began the musical careers of many important musicians, composers, and teachers. BJS was also deeply connected to the local music scene, celebrating Roxbury, Mass. natives Alan Dawson and Roy Haynes, whose brother Vincent was a long-time board member, among many others. After 42 years of promoting Jazz music in Boston, the Boston Jazz Society, Inc. dissolved in 2015.

The Boston Jazz Society Records extensively document BJS’s meetings, events, business dealings, and scholarship administration through meeting minutes, posters, correspondence, photographs, recordings, videos, and BJS’s own propaganda and publications. The majority of the BJS records came from the collection of founding member and longtime president Aureldon Edward Henderson and also represents his involvement in promoting Jazz in the Boston area.

Gift of Aureldon Edward Henderson, July 2014, Aug. 2015
Subjects
  • Jazz musicians--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Jazz--Massachusetts--Boston
Contributors
  • Berklee School of Music
  • Haynes, Roy
  • Henderson, Aureldon Edward
  • New England Conservatory of Music

Constitutionalism in American Life Conference

Constitutionalism in American Life Conference Collection
1986
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 140

A conference hosted by the University of Massachusetts Amherst on November 7-9, 1986, that examined the impact of the Constitution on politics and government, foreign policy, race relations, and the economy, and also discussed the impact on the constitution of popular struggles and the emergence of “rights consciousness.” Includes papers presented at the conference that were to be subsequently published in a special bicentennial issue of the Journal of American History.

Subjects
  • Constitutional history--United States--Congresses
  • Constitutional law--United States--Congresses
  • Journal of American history
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--History
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