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Bruskin, Gene

Gene Bruskin Papers

1963-2018
8 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1020
Image of Gene Bruskin
Gene Bruskin

Gene Bruskin arrived at Princeton in 1964 as a basketball player and left as a political radical. After taking part in the Second Venceremos Brigade, Bruskin got involved in antiracist and labor organizing in Boston. As president of the United Steelworkers of America local during the busing crisis of the 1970s, he helped win overwhelming support among the city’s bus drivers to have the union represent them, leading successful campaigns for better wages and working conditions. In the years since, he has held numerous high-profile positions nationally and internationally, including as labor director for Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, Secretary Treasurer for the Food and Allied Service Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, and co-convener of U.S. Labor Against the War, an organization promoting peace and the demilitarization of U.S. foreign policy. Bruskin was a major figure in the largest private union election in the history of the United Food and Commercial Workers when he led the successful campaign to unionize 5,000 workers at Smithfield Foods in North Carolina. Since retiring in 2012, he has continued to consult with unions. In addition he has returned to some of his earlier undertakings in producing cultural works as a poet, songwriter, and playwright, centered on social justice and working class themes.

Documenting nearly fifty years of activism, Gene Bruskin’s papers are an exceptional resource for the labor movement in the 1970s through early 2000s, and particularly its radical end. Although Bruskin’s early years are relatively sparsely represented, there is a significant run of Brother, the first anti-sexist, “male liberation” journal that he helped found while in Oakland, and the collection includes important material from his work in Boston with the Hyde Park Defense Committee, the Red Basement Singers, and especially with the School Bus Drivers and their tumultuous three-week strike in 1980. The collection also contains a rich assortment of material on labor left and antiwar organizing in the 1990s and 2000s, the Justice at Smithfield campaign, and Bruskin’s work on behalf of single payer insurance, for International Solidarity, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees.

Gift of Gene Bruskin, April 2018

Subjects

  • Boston (Mass.)--History
  • Bus drivers--Labor unions
  • Charter schools
  • Jackson, Jesse, 1941-
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Labor unions--North Carolina
  • National Rainbow Coalition (U.S.)
  • Public schools
  • Smithfield Foods, Inc.
  • Strikes and lockouts--Bus drivers
  • Weatherman (Organization)

Contributors

  • Boston School Bus Drivers Union
  • United Steelworkers of America
Burgett-Irey family

Burgett-Irey Family Papers

1832-2010 Bulk: 1929-2008
4 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 605

Born in 1908 to Louis and Sarah Kessel Burgett, Katherine grew up on the family farm outside of Oquawka, Illinois. In 1924 her parents purchased their own farm in Monmouth, which they later lost due to the devastating impact of the Depression on agriculture, and it was there that she first met her future husband, Kenneth Monroe Irey, a student at Monmouth College. The newlyweds moved to New Jersey in 1931 where Kenneth was transferred for work. As a chemical engineer, Kenneth enjoyed a successful career and comfortably supported his wife and two children. Retiring in 1970, he and Katherine spent their later years pursuing two passions: traveling and bird-watching. Kenneth and Katherine’s eldest daughter, June Irey Guild, spent most of her adult life in Massachusetts where she has married twice, raised six children, and operated her own business. During her retirement years, June focused on preserving her family’s history by collecting letters and recoding family narratives.

The Burgett-Irey Family Papers chronicle the changes that many twentieth-century American families experienced as the nation descended into an economic depression, entered into a world war, and emerged as one of the most powerful countries in the world. The collection, which will continue to grow, includes approximately 65 letters between Katherine Burgett Irey and her family. Most of the letters exchange family updates, particularly precious after Katherine relocated to New Jersey. Among the earliest letters is an account of Katherine and Kenneth’s first meeting described as “fast work,” since he asked her out on the spot. Also included are autobiographical writings by Kenneth describing his cross-country trip to California in 1927 and a brief history of his life and career.

Subjects

  • Bird watching
  • Burgett family
  • Irey family
  • Marriage--United States
  • Motherhood--United States--History--20th century
  • Mothers--United States--History--20th century
  • Women--United States--History--20th century

Contributors

  • Guild, June Irey
  • Irey, Katherine Burgett
  • Irey, Kenneth Monroe, 1905-1994

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Slides
Burgstahler, Albert W.

Albert W. Burgstahler Papers

ca.1956-2007
75 boxes 120 linear feet
Call no.: MS 798
Image of Albert Burgstahler
Albert Burgstahler

The chemist and ardent opponent of fluoridation of drinking water, Albert W. Burgstahler was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1928. After receiving degrees from Notre Dame (BS 1949) and Harvard (PhD 1953), he embarked on a productive career of over forty years at the University of Kansas. His research in the synthesis and chemistry of natural products and the biological properties of fluorinated amino acids, led Burgstahler to a keen interest in environmental pollutants, particularly fluorides, and from the mid-1960s on, he enjoyed a reputation as one of the most prominent and prolific scientific voices opposing fluoridation. His efforts and long service as editor and chief of the International Society for Fluoride Research’s quarterly journal, Fluoride, was formally recognized by the Fluoride Action Network in 2006, which awarded him its Scientific Integrity Award. Burgstahler retired from KU in 1998 and died on Oct. 12, 2013.

A large and diverse assemblage, the Burgstahler collection reflects the career of a stalwart in the anti-fluoridation movement. Spanning nearly five decades, the correspondence, publications, and research offer a perspective on Burgstahler’s activism in science and public policy and documents his association with other anti-fluoridation activists, including George Waldbott and Paul Connett.

Subjects

  • Antifluoridation movement
  • Drinking water--Law and legislation--United States
  • Fluorides--Physiological effect

Contributors

  • Waldbott, George L., 1898-
Cance, Alexander E. (Alexander Edmond), 1874-

Alexander E. Cance Papers

1911-1951
6 boxes 2.75 linear feet
Call no.: FS 045
Image of Alexander E. Cance
Alexander E. Cance

Professor and Head of the Agricultural Economics Department at the Massachusetts Agricultural College who also worked briefly for Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover, as well as the United States Department of Agriculture.

Includes biographical materials, correspondence concerning Cance’s role in the agricultural cooperative movement, addresses, articles (both in typescript and published), lectures, book reviews, typescript of a Carnegie study of factors in agricultural economics, a summary of a U.S. Senate report of which he was co-author, “Agricultural Cooperation and Rural Credit in Europe,” and research material. No documentation of his role as a delegate to the Hoover Conference on Economic Crisis, 1920, or his position as Supervisor of Market Research with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1922.

Subjects

  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of Agricultural Economics
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of Agricultural Economics
  • Massachusetts State College--Faculty

Contributors

  • Cance, Alexander E. (Alexander Edmond), 1874-
Chamberlin, Judi, 1944-2010

Judi Chamberlin Papers

ca.1970-2010
38 boxes 57 linear feet
Call no.: MS 768
Image of Judi Chamberlin, 2000
Judi Chamberlin, 2000

A pioneer in the psychiatric survivors’ movement, Judi Chamberlin spent four decades as an activist for the civil rights of mental patients. After several voluntary hospitalizations for depression as a young woman, Chamberlin was involuntarily committed for the only time in 1971, having been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her experiences in the mental health system galvanized her to take action on patients’ rights, and after attending a meeting of the newly formed Mental Patients’ Liberation Project in New York, she helped found the Mental Patients’ Liberation Front in Cambridge, Mass. Explicitly modeled on civil rights organizations of the time, she became a tireless advocate for the patient’s perspective and for choice in treatment. Her book, On Our Own: Patient Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System (1978), is considered a key text in the intellectual development of the movement. Working internationally, she became an important figure in several other organizations, including the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilition at Boston University, the Ruby Rogers Advocacy Center, the National Disability Rights Network, and the National Empowerment Center. In recognition of her advocacy, she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities in 1992, the David J. Vail National Advocacy Award, and the 1995 Pike Prize, which honors those who have given outstanding service to people with disabilities. Chamberlin died of pulmonary disease at home in Arlington, Mass., in January 2010.

An important record of the development of the psychiatric survivors’ movement from its earliest days, the Chamberlin Papers include rich correspondence between Chamberlin, fellow activists, survivors, and medical professionals; records of her work with the MPLF and other rights organizations, conferences and meetings, and her efforts to build the movement internationally.

Gift of National Empowerment Center, 2012

Subjects

  • Antipsychiatry
  • Ex-mental patients
  • People with disabilities--Civil rights
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
  • Psychiatric survivors movement

Contributors

  • Mental Patients Liberation Front
  • Mental Patients Liberation Project
  • National Empowerment Center

Types of material

  • Videotapes
Chesley, Elaine Marie

Elaine Marie Chesley Papers

1975-2002
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 717

A resident of Brainerd, Minn., Elaine Chesley (1927-2011) was a woman of strong convictions and an activist in several causes, particularly the antifluoridation movement. As a member of Minnesotans Opposed to Forced Fluoridation in the mid-1970s, Chesley and the more strident Irene Johnson successfully prevented fluoridation of the water supply in Brainerd, and she remained active in the movement as a researcher and activist. She was also involved in several civic, environmental, and peace groups, including the League of Women Voters, the Green Party, Women Against Military Madness, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Brainerd Coalition for Peace, and Save Our Northland. Chesley died at the age of 84 on May 25, 2011.

The Chesley Papers consist of materials collected in relation to antifluoridation activism. In addition to copies of a handful of historic documents on fluoride toxicity, the collection includes selective publications and correspondence.

Subjects

  • Antifluoridation movement--Minnesota
  • Minnesotans Opposed to Forced Fluoridation

Contributors

  • Chesley, Elaine Marie
Chrisman, Miriam Usher

Miriam Chrisman Papers

1937-2007
13 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: FS 128
Image of Miriam U. Chrisman, 1964
Miriam U. Chrisman, 1964

A noted scholar of the social impact of the German Reformation, Miriam Usher Chrisman was born in Ithaca, New York, on May 20, 1920. With degrees from Smith College, American University, and Yale, she served for over thirty years on the faculty of the Department of History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, becoming a well-loved professor and treasured mentor to a generation of students.

A faithful and colorful correspondent, the bulk of Miriam Chrisman’s papers consist of letters written to family and friends stretching from her college days at Smith through the year before her death. The bulk of the correspondence is with her husband, Donald Chrisman, an orthopedic surgeon who was enrolled at Harvard Medical School during their courtship. Soon after the Chrismans married in November 1943, Donald left for active duty in the Navy on the U.S.S. Baldwin. The couple’s war correspondence is unusually rich, offering insight on everything from the social responsibilities of married couples to their opinions on the progression of the war. Of particular note is a lengthy letter written by Donald during and immediately after D-Day in which he provides Miriam a real-time description of the events and his reactions as they unfold. Later letters document Miriam’s extensive travels including a trip around the world. .

Subjects

  • Smith College--Students
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History
  • World War, 1939-1945

Contributors

  • Chrisman, Miriam Usher

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
Clark, Gloria Xifaras, 1942-

Gloria Xifaras Clark Papers

1943-2015
20 boxes 9.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 865
Image of Gloria Xifaras Clark and student, 1964
Gloria Xifaras Clark and student, 1964

Gloria Xifaras Clark was working as an elementary school teacher in her home town of New Bedford in 1964 when she answered the call to enlist in the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. A recent graduate of Wheelock College, she was assigned to teach in the Benton County Freedom School in Holly Springs for several months, and stayed on to help organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and to teach literacy and Negro history in Benton, Tippah, and Union Counties. She continued on the activist path after returning to Massachusetts, devoting her energies to economic justice initiatives and work with the Friends of SNCC and the NAACP, and diving headlong into the antiwar movement as head of the Greater New Bedford Draft Information Center. After spending three years in England with her family in 1972-1975, she resumed her civic and educational work in New Bedford, eventually earning appointment as head of the Commonwealth’s Office for Children under Michael Dukakis in 1983. With a keen awareness of the historical importance of the civil rights struggle, Clark became a key organizer of an oral history project during the 1990s that included her fellow veterans of the civil rights movement in northern Mississippi. The results are available digitally through the University of Southern Mississippi.

Documenting the evolution of one activist’s career, the Clark Papers offer valuable information on the Freedom Summer and Freedom Schools in northern Mississippi, particularly in Tippah and Benton Counties, and civil rights activism more generally. The collection includes communiques among civil rights workers in the region, a variety of correspondence, pamphlets, newsletters, and ephemera, plus a small, but noteworthy collection of photographs. Of particular significance among the later materials is a thick body of material from the Draft Information Center in New Bedford (1967-1968), the Vietnam Summer project (1967), and relating to Clark’s role in the Harvard Strike of 1969.

Subjects

  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Civil Rights movements--Mississippi
  • Council of Federated Organizations (U.S.)
  • Draft resisters--Massachusetts
  • Harvard University--Student strike, 1969
  • Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
  • Mississippi Freedom Project
  • Peace movements--Masachusetts
  • Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (U.S.)
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts

Types of material

  • Photographs
Cohen, Alvin P.

Alvin P. Cohen Collection

1957-1968
2 boxes 1.6 linear feet
Call no.: FS 145
Image of Free Speech Movement newsletter
Free Speech Movement newsletter

As an undergraduate at the University of California Berkeley in the late 1950s, Alvin P. Cohen planned on a career in engineering, but after earning his bachelors degree and working as a laboratory technician, he returned to undergraduate status and then to graduate school in Chinese. Cohen’s time at Berkeley coincided with the turbulence of the first wave of student revolt, the civil rights and antiwar movements, and the Free Speech Movement, however as a married man with children, he was more an observer than activist. After completing his dissertation, The Avenging Ghost: Moral Judgment in Chinese Historical Texts, in 1971, he joined the faculty at UMass Amherst, initially with a split appointment teaching Chinese and working as East Asian bibliographer in the library. Over the next three and a half decades, he helped build the Program in Asian Languages and Literature, becoming its Chair in the 1990s and President of the Warring States Project.

Consisting of newsclippings, fliers, and other ephemera collected as the Free Speech Movement was at its height, the Cohen collection provides a valuable window on 1960s activism and the cross-fertilization between the various student movements. The materials cover a range of issues from free speech on campus to the California legislature, civil rights, the war in Vietnam, and the House Un-American Activities Committee. Of particular interest is a letter received by Cohen from a friend Doug Wachter in 1960, shortly after Wachter had been called before HUAC.

Subjects

  • College students--United States--Political activity
  • Student movements--California
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Asian Languages and Literatures
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Contributors

  • Cohen, Alvin P.
Communist Party of Massachusetts

Communist Party of Massachusetts Collection

1932-1957
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 538

A branch of the Communist Party of the United States of America, the Communist Party of Massachusetts enjoyed strong popularity during the 1930s and 1940s, organizing the textile and other manufacturing industries.

This small collection is comprised of a miscellaneous assemblage of fliers, broadsides, and ephemera issued by the Communist Party of Massachusetts and its affiliates from the mid-1930s through the repression of the McCarthy era. Originating mostly from Boston, the items in the collection center on significant themes in Communist thought, including opposition to Fascism and militarism, labor solidarity against capital, and elections. A small number of items relate to Party-approved cultural productions, including plays and gatherings to celebrate Lenin or the Russian Revolution. Many items are associated with Otis A. Hood, a perpetual candidate for public office on the Communist Party ticket who became a target for McCarthy-era repression in the mid-1950s.

Acquired from Eugene Povirk, 2008

Subjects

  • Antiwar movements--Massachusetts
  • Communists--Massachusetts
  • Elections--Massachusetts
  • World War, 1939-1945

Contributors

  • Communist Party of Massachusetts

Types of material

  • Broadsides
  • Fliers