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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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Frances and Mary Allen Collection of Deerfield Photographs, 1900-1910

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 001
Frances and Mary Allen Collection of Deerfield Photographs image
Deerfield, Mass.

Influenced by the arts and crafts movement, Frances and Mary Allen began taking photographs of their native Deerfield, Mass., in the mid-1880s. Displaying a finely honed pictorialist aesthetic, the sisters specialized in views of Deerfield and surrounding towns, posed genre scenes of life in colonial times, and the local scenery, earning a reputation as among the best women photographers of the period.

The Allen sisters photograph album contains ten gelatin developing out prints of street scenes in Deerfield, ca.1900-1910. Among these are two shots of the house they inherited from their aunt Kate in 1895, which thereafter became their home and studio.

  • Deerfield (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Women photographers--Massachusetts
  • Allen, Frances
  • Allen, Mary E. (Mary Electa), 1858-1941
Types of material
  • Photographs

American Express Company Florence Office Records, 1867-1890

3 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 298

Records of express agent Watson L. Wilcox of Simsbury, Connecticut and Florence, Massachusetts documenting Wilcox’s work for the American Express Company and the evolution of the company from a small shipping business to a delivery organization whose services contributed to the growth of the local and regional economy. Records consist of agent books, receipt books, and waybills listing accounts of local companies and residents for the sending, receiving and delivery of freight, telegraph messages, express cash, goods and packages.

  • American Merchant's Union Express Company
  • Express service--Massachusetts--Florence--History
  • Florence (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Florence Manufacturing Company
  • Florence Sewing Machine Company
  • Hill, Samuel L
  • Industries--Massachusetts--Florence--History
  • New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad Company
  • Nonotuck Silk Company
  • Parsons, I. S
  • Simsbury (Conn.)--Economic conditions
  • Williston, A. L
  • American Express Company (Florence, Mass.)
  • Wilcox, Watson L., 1832 or 3-1896

Deerfield Valley Lodge No. 150 Records, 1895-1920

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 453

The Ancient Order of United Workmen, a fraternal benefit society, was originally founded in Pennsylvania in 1868. The Massachusetts lodge was founded in 1879 with the Deerfield Valley Lodge incorporated in 1880.

The collection consists of records dating from 1895–1920, including financial documents, membership information, and correspondence.

  • Fraternal Aid Association
  • Fraternal organizations--Massachusetts
  • Shelburne Falls (Mass.)--History
  • Ancient Order of United Workmen. Deerfield Valley Lodge No. 150
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Receipts (Financial records)
Part of: Association for Gravestone Studies Collection

Markers, 1979-2008

The annual journal of the Association for Gravestone Studies, Markers, features definitive illustrated articles on cemetery and gravemarker topics as well as an extensive annual international bibliography of recent scholarship. We have digitized back issues and made them available through the Internet Archive and current subscriptions may be obtained through membership in the Association for Gravestone Studies.

View the issues:

vol. I (1979/80)
vol. II (1982)
vol. III (1984)
vol. IV (1987)
vol. V (1988)
vol. VI (1989)
vol. VII (1990)
vol. VIII (1991)
vol. IX (1992)
vol. X (1993)
vol. XI (1994)
vol. XII (1995)
vol. XIII (1996)
vol. XIV (1997)
vol. XV (1998)
vol. XVI (1999)
vol. XVII (2000)
vol. XVIII (2001)
vol. XIX (2002)
vol. XX (2003)
vol. XXI (2004)
vol. XXII (2005)
vol.XXIII (2006)
vol. XXIV (2007)
vol. XXV (2008)
  • Sepulchral monuments
  • Association for Gravestone Studies

Samuel Austin Collection, 1718-1920

2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 937

An historian and educator, Samuel Austin (1816-1897) was known for his long association with the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I. (later renamed the Moses Brown School). An alumnus who married an alumna, Elizabeth H. Osborn, Austin taught at the Boarding school for decades and was instrumental in gathering and preserving documents relating to the school. He wrote and lectured regularly on the history of Friends’ education and on the Boarding School, and its noted teachers and alumni.

A product of the historical work of Samuel Austin, the collection contains both essays, notes, and talks on the Friends’ Boarding School in Providence and on Moses and Obadiah Brown, and some significant original documents used by Austin in his research. Noteworthy among the original materials are a fascinating series of records from monthly and quarterly meetings in and near Rhode Island, mostly in 1787-1793; a rich series of epistles received by Smithfield Monthly Meeting from other meetings in New England (1718-1767); some key printed epistles from Yearly Meetings, including those on war (London, New England, and Philadelphia Yearly) and slavery (London and Philadelphia). Of equal note are a series of letters from Elisha Thornton (a New Bedford merchant, educator, and antislavery advocate), a lengthy letter on doctrine from John Wilbur, and a 1765 sermon from Rachel Wilson.

  • Antislavery movements
  • Brown, Moses, 1738-1832
  • Friends Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Peace movements--Rhode Island
  • Quaker women--Rhode Island--18th century
  • Quakers--Education--Rhode Island
  • Rhode Island--History--18th century
  • Society of Friends--History--Rhode Island
  • Thornton, Elisha, 1748-1816
  • Wilbur, John 1774-1856
Types of material
  • Correspondence
  • Minutes (Administrative records)

George W. Barton Papers, 1889-1984 (Bulk: 1914-1920)

(4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 050 B37

George W. Barton was born in Sudbury, Massachusetts in 1896. After attending Concord High School in Concord, Barton began his studies in horticulture and agriculture at Massachusetts Agricultural College in Amherst. The collection includes diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, newspaper clippings, programs, announcements, and his herbarium, and relates primarily to his career at the Massachusetts Agricultural College where he studied horticulture and agriculture from 1914-1918.

  • Botany--Study and teaching
  • Horticulture--Study and teaching
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Students
  • Barton, George W
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Herbaria
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Mark A. Baszak Papers, 1991-1992

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 653

Born in Springfield in 1960 and raised in the Pioneer Valley, Mark A. Baszak received a bachelors degree in music composition and MEd. from UMass Amherst. Beginning shortly after completing graduate study, Baszak played a prominent part for over two decades in promoting the arts at his alma mater, serving as Acting Director of the Performing Arts Division (1987-1989), Coordinator and then Director of the Jazz in July program (1990-2008), Associate Director of Multicultural Programs (1993), and organizer of the Black Musicians Conferences and Festival (1989-1999). As an arts and culture representative of the Massachusetts Hokkaido Sister State Association in the early 1990s, Baszak helped foster exchanges between the sister states, visiting Hokkaido with the first official state delegation in 1991. Baszak died after a brief illness on September 25, 2008.

Documenting the early efforts to build upon the 1990 designation of Hokkaido and Massachusetts as sister states, the Baszak collection includes materials concentrated on the first Hokkaido Week in Amherst and the delegation that accompanied Gov. William Weld to Hokkaido in 1991. In addition to correspondence and memos, the collection includes ephemera collected by Baszak during the various ceremonies and transcripts of speeches delivered.

  • Massachusetts-Hokkaido Sister State Association
  • Baszak, Mark A
  • Weld, William F

Arthur Cleveland Bent Collection, 1880-1942

8 boxes (5.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 413
Arthur Cleveland Bent Collection image
A.C. Bent, 1929

An avid birder and eminent ornithologist, Arthur Cleveland Bent was born in Taunton, Massachusetts, on November 25, 1866. After receiving his A.B. from Harvard in 1889, bent was employed as an agent for the Safety Pocket Company and from 1900 to 1914, he was General Manager of Mason Machine Works. His passion, however, was birds. An associate in Ornithology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, Bent became a collaborator at the Smithsonian and president (1935-1937) of the American Ornithologists’ Union. The culmination of his research was the massive, 26 volume Life Histories of North American Birds (1919-1968).

The Bent collection is a glimpse into the birding life of a remarkable amateur ornithologist. It contains the field notebooks of his collaborator, Owen Durfee (1880-1909), his own journals (1887-1942), photographs and negatives (1896-1930), correspondence concerning the photographs (1925-1946), and mimeographed and printed material. Bent’s records cover nest observations, egg measurements, bird sightings, and notes on specimens provided to organizations such as the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the Bristol County Agricultural School, and the United States National Museum.

  • American Ornithologists' Union
  • Bent, Arthur Cleveland, 1866-1954. Life Histories of North American Birds
  • Birds
  • Birds--Eggs
  • Birds--Eggs--Photographs
  • Birds--Nests
  • Birds--Nests--Photographs
  • Birds--Photographs
  • Bristol County Agricultural School (Bristol County, Mass.)
  • Massachusetts Audubon Society
  • Ornithologists--Massachusetts
  • United States National Museum
  • Bent, Arthur Cleveland, 1866-1954
  • Durfee, Owen
Types of material
  • Field notes
  • Photographs

Charles Bestor Papers, 1971-2002

2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 126

Composer and presently the Professor of Composition and Director of the Electronic and Computer Music Studios of the University of Massachusetts Amherst who has taught at Juilliard School of Music and numerous other universities, won international awards for his music, and collaborated with contemporary installation artists. Includes scores and sound recordings for two of his compositions, Suite for Alto Saxophone and Percussion and In the Shell of the Ear, as well as correspondence, concert programs, and reviews all relating to the publication and performance of the works.

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance
  • Bestor, Charles
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