Attorney and UMass alumnus Kenneth R. Feinberg, well known as a mediator, special master of compensation funds, and dedicated public servant, is a longtime devotee of opera and classical music. Since his days as a law student in New York in the late 1960s, continuing through his career practicing law in Washington, D.C., Feinberg has regularly attended operas, concerts, musical theater, and other musical performances. He has also served as president of the Washington National Opera and led a private opera appreciation group.
This extensive collection of more than 900 items encompasses a wide range of composers, productions, concerts, companies, and venues, mainly in the United States, with some European performances represented. Documenting more than four decades of concert- and opera-going, and arranged in rough chronological order according to Feinberg’s numbering system, the programs are searchable by composer in an accompanying card index. There is also a small amount of related ephemera, including some vintage programs, as well as two notebooks of handwritten notes. Additions to the collection are expected.
In the early 1970s, the documentary filmmaker Bruce Geisler dropped out of Pomona College one semester short of graduation, drove across country, and joined the Brotherhood of the Spirit commune, then the largest commune in the eastern United States. During his four years living with the Brotherhood, later renamed the Renaissance Community, Geisler learned the craft of filmmaking, before returning west to earn an MFA at the film school of the University of Southern California. Geisler has received a number of awards as a screenwriter and filmmaker including the Grand Prize for Best Screenplay from Worldfest Houston and the Dominique Dunne Memorial Prize for Filmmaking, and, in 2007, he released his feature-length documentary, Free Spirits, about the Brotherhood of the Spirit/Renaissance Community and its ill-fated founder, Michael Metelica Rapunzel. Geisler is currently a Senior Lecturer in the UMass Amherst Department of Communication.
A collection collection documenting everyday life in the commune and performances by the commune band (Spirit in Flesh and Rapunzel), the Geisler collection was assembled largely during the making of Free Spirits. In addition to many hours of raw and edited footage taken by members of the Brotherhood of the Spirit and Renaissance Community, the collection includes approximately 1.5 feet each of ephemera and newspaper clippings relating to the commune.
In the academic year 1908-1909, Sybil C. Green was a high school senior, boarding at the Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass. Born in Spencer, Mass., on August 22, 1889, to Charles H. and Ella M. Green, Green was enrolled in the college preparatory course at Cushing and apparently entered Smith College in the fall of that year. She died in 1984.
The Green scrapbook is a thick and typically chaotic record of a young woman in her senior year of high school in 1908-1909. The scrapbook consists of a bound volume stuffed (or over-stuffed) with tickets to basketball and baseball games, dance cards, invitations, notes, photographs, miscellaneous mementos and ephemera, and a few letters from family and friends.
Lester Grinspoon, the Harvard psychiatrist who became a celebrated advocate for reforming marijuana laws, was born June 24, 1928, in Newton, Massachusetts. A veteran of the Merchant Marines and a graduate of Tufts University and Harvard Medical School, he trained at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute but later turned away from psychoanalysis. Senior psychiatrist for 40 years at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Grinspoon is associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. In the mid-1960s, struck by the rising popularity of marijuana and its reputed dangers, Grinspoon began to examine the medical and scientific literature about marijuana usage. To his surprise, he found no evidence to support claims of marijuana’s harmful effects, and his resulting 1969 Scientific American article drew wide attention. His research ultimately convinced him of marijuana’s benefits, including enhanced creativity and medicinal uses. His own young son, undergoing chemotherapy for the leukemia that eventually took his life, found his severe nausea greatly eased by marijuana. By his 40s, Grinspoon had gained renown as an outspoken proponent of responsible adult use and legalization.
The Lester Grinspoon Papers comprehensively document Grinspoon’s advocacy and activism, including his role as a board member of NORML; his research and writing of the books Marihuana Reconsidered and Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine, numerous articles, two web sites, and more; his position as an expert witness in criminal trials; and his relationships with friends, colleagues, and many others, such as Carl Sagan, John Lennon, Keith Stroup, and Melanie Dreher. The collection comprises correspondence, research material, drafts and publications, clinical accounts, clippings, ephemera, scrapbooks, and audiovisual materials: photographs, as well as videotapes and DVDs of Grinspoon’s appearances on television and in documentary films.
Harvard Medical School. Dept. of Psychiatry
Marijuana--Law and legislation
Marijuana--Therapeutic use--Social aspects
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (U.S.)
As a member of the Montague Farm community, Anna Gyorgy became a leader in the movement against nuclear energy. In 1974, she helped organize the Alternative Energy Alliance in Montague, Mass., and two years later, she was part of the coalition that founded the Clamshell Alliance. An author, ecofeminist, and peace activist, she has lived In Ireland, West Africa, and Germany since 1985 and remains deeply involved in international movements for justice and peace.
Tightly focused on Anna Gyorgy’s activism from the mid-1970s through late 1980s, the collection contains important documentation on the early antinuclear movement in western Massachusetts with some material on the international movement in the 1980s. In addition to a small run of correspondence, the collection includes writings, news clippings, publications, and ephemera relating to antinuclear activism during the 1970s and 1980s and to other related causes, including the Rainbow Coalition and Jesse Jackson’s run for the presidency in 1984. The balance of the Gyorgy Papers are housed at Smith College.
A writer, publisher, and expert in the culture of cemeteries and death, Roberta Halporn was born in New York in 1927. Although she entered NYU intending to study medicine, Halporn soon turned to dance, eventually earning a masters degree and working in the field for nearly two decades. When an injury ended her dance career, however, she changed careers to publishing, opening her own house in 1978. Her growing interest in the culture of death meshed well with her job and following her interests, she founded ran the Center for Thanatology Research and Education in 1986. Based in Brooklyn, the Center was a non-profit organization that worked to raise public awareness of the artistic and historical importance of cemeteries, and in addition to a library and museum, the Center ran tours of cemeteries, published books and periodicals, and operated a retail store. Halporn published regularly on topics ranging from Jewish cemeteries to hospice, thanatology libraries, and her passion, gravestone rubbing. Halporn died in 2014.
The collection consists of files relating to Roberta Halporn’s extensive thanatological research, including drafts, correspondence, photographs, and ephemera from two of her projects: on Chinese American funeral practices (resulting in the book Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors) and on Jewish cemeteries. A significant number of books donated with the collection have been added to the Association for Gravestone Studies Book Collection.
In 1960, William K. Hefner (1915-1993) became one of the first of new breed of radical pacifists to run for elective office, when he ran as a peace candidate for Congress in the 1st district of Massachusetts. An accountant from Greenfield, Hefner was involved at a national level with movements for peace and civil rights. An early member of SANE, a founder of Political Action for Peace in 1959 (now CPPAX) and the Greenfield Peace Center (1963), and an active member of the American Friends Service Committee, War Resisters League, Turn Toward Peace, and the World Without War Conference, Hefner was an energetic force in the movements for peace and disarmament, civil rights, and a more just economic system. He ran unsuccessfully for office in three elections between 1960 and 1964, and supported peace candidate H. Stuart Hughes in his bid for election to the U.S. Senate in 1962.
The Hefner papers offer a remarkable record of politically-engaged activism for peace and social justice in the early 1960s. With an intensely local focus, Hefner was tied in to the larger movements at the state and national level, corresponding with major figures such as A.J. Muste, Bayard Rustin, Benjamin Spock, and Arthur Springer. The collection includes particularly rich documentation of the early years of Political Action for Peace, which Hefner helped found, with correspondence, minutes of meetings, and publications, as well as equally rich materials on Hefner’s bids for congress in 1960 and 1962.
American Friends Service Committee Western Massachusetts
Recognized for her coverage of historic events and personalities, the photographer Diana Mara Henry took the first steps toward her career in 1967 when she became photo editor for the Harvard Crimson. After winning the Ferguson History Prize and graduating from Harvard with a degree in government in 1969, Henry returned to New York to work as a researcher with NBC News and as a general assignment reporter for the Staten Island Advance, but in 1971 she began to work as a freelance photographer. Among many projects, she covered the Democratic conventions of 1972 and 1976 and was selected as official photographer for both the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year and the First National Women’s Conference in 1977, and while teaching at the International Center for Photography from 1974-1979, she developed the community workshop program and was a leader in a campaign to save the Alice Austin House. Her body of work ranges widely from the fashion scene in 1970s New York and personal assignments for the family of Malcolm Forbes and other socialites to political demonstrations, cultural events, and photoessays on one room schoolhouses in Vermont and everyday life in Brooklyn, France, Nepal, and Bali. Widely published and exhibited, her work is part of permanent collections at institutions including the Schlesinger Library, the Library of Congress, Smithsonian, and the National Archives.
The Henry collection is a rich evocation of four decades of political, social, and cultural change in America beginning in the late 1960s as seen through the life of one photojournalist. This diverse body of work is particularly rich in documenting the women’s movement, second wave feminism, and the political scene in the 1970s. Henry left a remarkable record of women in politics, with dozens of images of Bella Abzug, Elizabeth Holtzman, Shirley Chisholm, Liz Carpenter, Betty Friedan, Jane Fonda, and Gloria Steinem. The collection includes images of politicians at all levels of government, celebrities, writers, and scholars, and coverage of important events including demonstrations by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the Women’s Pentagon Action, and marches for the ERA. The many hundreds of exhibition and working prints in the collection are accompanied by the complete body of Henry’s photographic negatives and slides, along with an array of ephemera, correspondence, and other materials relating to her career. Copyright for Henry’s images are retained by her until 2037.
The self-styled “insane architect” Aurin F. Hill (b. 1853) was a free thinking carpenter and architect in Boston who waged a concerted campaign for his vision of social reform at the turn of the twentieth century. A Spiritualist, social radical, and union man, Hill carried the torch for issues ranging from the nationalization of railroads and corporations to civil rights and women’s rights, and joined in opposition to vaccination, Comstockery and censorship, capital punishment, and lynching. A writing medium, married to the Spiritual evangelist Izetta Sears-Hill, he became President of the National Spiritual Alliance in 1915, a Spiritualist organization based in Lake Pleasant, Mass.
Esoteric, rambling, and often difficult to follow, the Hill papers provide profound insight into the eclectic mind of an important Boston Spiritualist and labor activist at the turn of the twentieth century. Whether written as a diary or scattered notes, a scrapbook, essays, or letters to the editor, Hill’s writings cover a wide range of topics, from spirit influence to labor law, from his confinements for insanity to police strikes, hypnotism, reincarnation, and housing. More than just a reflection of one man’s psychology, the collection reveals much about broader social attitudes toward gender and race, sexuality, urban life, politics, and religion, and the collection is a particularly important resource for the history of the American Spiritualist movement between 1890 and 1920.
Lake Pleasant (Mass.)--History
National Spiritual Alliance
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
Born in New Zealand in 1907, Bill Holland first traveled to Japan at the age of 21 to take part in the conference of the Institute of Pacific Relations, beginning over thirty years of association with the organization. During his time at IPR, Holland held a number of leadership positions, including Research Secretary (1933-1944), Secretary-General (1946-1960), and editor of its periodicals Far Eastern Survey and Pacific Affairs. He took leave from the IPR twice: to study for a MA in economics under John Maynard Keynes at Cambridge (1934) and, during the Second World War, to become acting director of the Office of War Information in Chungking, China. Founded on an internationalist philosophy as a forum to discuss relations between Pacific nations, the IPR was targeted under the McCarthy-era McCarran act during the 1950s, accused of Communist sympathies. After political pressure led the IPR to disband in 1960, Holland accepted a position on faculty with the newly created Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia (1961-1972), helping to lead that department to international prominence. He remained in BC until the death of his wife Doreen in 1990, after which he settled in Amherst to live with his only child, Patricia G. Holland. Holland died in Amherst in May 2008.
The Holland Papers are a dense assemblage of correspondence of Bill Holland, his wife Doreen, and their family, from his first trip abroad in the 1920s through the time of his death. Although largely personal in nature, the letters offer important insight into Holland’s travel in pre-war Asia, his work with the IPR, the war, and the of the 1950s. The collection also includes a wealth of photographs, including two albums documenting trips to Japan, China, and elsewhere 1929-1933.