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Social Change Colloquium

Student holding academic gown adorned with Black Power symbol, 1970
UMass Student, 1970

Every fall, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives sponsors a colloquium focusing on a topic in social change. Like SCUA’s collections, these colloquia cover a broad terrain, touching on a variety of issues in social justice, equality, and democracy.

Colloquia are free and open to the public.

Colloquium 2014, Tenth Anniversary (Monday, November 3rd)
A Long and Winding Road: The legacy of the back-to-the-land communes of the 1960s

November 3, 2014, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Lower Level, W.E.B. Du Bois Library
“A Long and Winding Road: The legacy of the back-to-the-land communes of the 1960s,” will explore the nearly forty year history of some of the region’s best known communes: Montague Farm and Wendell Farms nearby in Massachusetts, and Packer Corners and Tree Frog Farms in neighboring southern Vermont. All were partners in the back-to-the-land movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s; all have survived into the current era. The colloquium’s four speakers, who have each spent much of the intervening years on or near one of the four farms, represent each of these idealistic enterprises, as well as offering their own specific views. What have they learned from their long years in service to their ideals? Was the altruism of the counterculture era borne out in the experiences they faced later? Would they recommend the route of alternative life to the youth and radicals of today?

The sources of inspiration that led to the creation of these communities and the evidence of their later influence are documented by SCUA. The Famous Long Ago archive was formed to collect, preserve, and make available materials relating to the communes at Montague Farm, Packer Corners, Johnson Pasture, Wendell Farm, and Tree Frog Farm. Collections range from from the papers of writers Steve Diamond, Raymond Mungo, and Jonathan Maslow to those of anti-war activists Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner; from the records of the Liberation News Service, the organization that spawned the farms, to the Alternative Energy Coalition, and Musicians United for Safe Energy, later enterprises of the region’s communal farmer-activists. It also includes the photographic collections of farm parent Roy Finestone, activist photographer Lionel Delavigne, and former head of a neighboring Montague ashram, Stephen Josephs.

Panel:
Daniel Keller, filmmaker, farmer: Wendell Farm, Green Mountain Post Films
Verandah Porche, writer, teacher: Packer Corners Farm, Monteverdi Artists Collaborative
John Scagliotti, filmmaker, LGBT activist: Tree Frog Farm, Kopkind Colony
Susan Mareneck, artist, teacher, social worker: Early resident and longtime neighbor of Montague Farm, Montague Catholic Social Ministries

Moderator:
Timothy Miller, University of Kansas, scholar of intentional communities, author of The Hippies and American Values (1991), The Quest for Utopia in Twentieth-Century America (1998), The Sixties Communes: Hippies and Beyond (1999)

Participant bios

Verandah Porche, a forty-year resident of Packer Corners Farm (known to the reading public, through the works of Ray Mungo and others, as Total Loss Farm) works as a poet-in-residence, performer, and writing partner. Based in rural Vermont since 1968, she has published three volumes of poetry – Sudden Eden (Verdant Books), The Body’s Symmetry (Harper and Row) and Glancing Off (See Through Books) – and has pursued an alternative literary career, creating collaborative writing projects in nontraditional settings: literacy and crisis centers, hospitals, factories, nursing homes, senior centers, a 200 year-old Vermont tavern, and an urban working class neighborhood. Broad Brook Anthology, a play for voices, honors the lives of elders in her home town of Guilford, Vermont. Listening Out Loud documents her residency with Real Art Ways in Hartford, Connecticut. Come Over is a CD of songs written with her neighbor Patty Carpenter, performed by the Dysfunctional Family Jazz band. She has read her work on NPR stations, in the Vermont State House, and at the Guggenheim Museum. In 1998 the Vermont Arts Council presented her with its Award of Merit, and Marlboro College, in 2012, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Susan Mareneck arrived in the Pioneer Valley in the mid 1960s, and spent her college years engaged in civil rights and anti-war activities, majoring Art and Political Science. After experiencing Montague Farm for several months in its early days, she settled into an unrenovated 18th century farmhouse in nearby Leverett, a building without heat or running water. Improving it slowly but concertedly over the years, she returned regularly to the house for vacations and summers, and has remained a neighbor of Montague Farm and a member of its extended family ever since. Decamping after several years for a graduate degree in art, and finally a move to New York, she spent 30 years making art and teaching it at the Spence School and the Convent of the Sacred Heart, on New York’s upper east side, before returning to western Massachusetts in 2009 to work full time with families in Turners Falls as Executive Director at Montague Catholic Social Ministries. Living three blocks from Ground Zero, Susan saw her world change forever on 9/11. Her turn from education to social work reflects her long interest in non-profits and the role of faith in social change.

John Scagliotti is an Emmy Award-winning American film director, producer, and radio broadcaster. He has received honors for his work on documentaries about LGBT issues including Before Stonewall and After Stonewall. During the 1970s, Scagliotti was the News and Public Affairs Director of the pioneering radio station WBCN-FM in Boston. For his work in radio, he was awarded two Major Armstrong Awards. In the early 1980s, he attended New York University Film School and went on to create In the Life for PBS, the first gay and lesbian national television series in the United States. The Scagliotti-produced documentary film Before Stonewall (1985) won the Audience Award at L.A. Outfest and two Emmies. Scagliotti directed a companion piece, After Stonewall, which won a Golden Eagle and the Audience Award at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Scagliotti is openly gay. His partner for 24 years was the late, highly regarded journalist Andrew Kopkind. Together they produced the radio show The Lavender Hour. Scagliotti is a longtime resident of the Kopkind Colony, an activist community housed at Tree Frog Farm, a close neighbor to Packer Corners Farm in Guilford, Vermont. The Kopkind Colony holds an educational summer residency program for nonpartisan, independent journalists and community organizers. In addition, the Colony fosters public education through publication of its lectures and the hosting of open forums on contemporary issues held at Tree Frog Farm and in other educational centers around the country.

Daniel Keller, a founder of Wendell Farm, in Wendell Massachusetts, has lived there, keeping it a working organic farm, since its inception in 1969. In collaboration with Charles Light, a former communard of the Johnson Pasture and Montague Farm, Keller’s Green Mountain Post Films, with offices in nearby Turners Falls, has produced and distributed award-winning films for more than twenty-five years. GMP’s first documentary Lovejoy’s Nuclear War, released in 1975, about Montague Farm activist Sam Lovejoy, was one of the first films to question the nuclear energy policy of the United States. Since then GMP Films has continued to produce movies that explore social issues, Its films have been used as educational and organizational tools for activists working on peace, veteran, nuclear, environmental, and other related issues. GMP films include: The Last Resort (1978), and Save the Planet (1979), both on nuclear issues; The Secret Agent (1983), on Agent Orange; and Unknown Secrets (1990), on the reaction of artists and writers to the arrest, trial, and execution of accused spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. For Vietnam Experience Keller and Light teamed up with musician Country Joe McDonald to bring viewers closer to the reality of the Vietnam War. Cannabis Rising is an early investigation into the issues surrounding marijuana today so much in the news.

Timothy Miller is a longtime student of communal living, professor of religious studies at the University of Kansas, and author of The Hippies and American Values (1991), The Quest for Utopia in Twentieth-Century America (1998), The Sixties Communes: Hippies and Beyond (1999). His course offerings include a history of intentional communities in America; American religious history; and an overview of new and alternative religious movements in the United States. Miller’s major research focus is the history of intentional communities in America, especially in the twentieth century. For his work in this area, Professor Miller has been recognized by the Communal Studies Association as a distinguished scholar. Additional areas of research interest include American religious history, new and alternative religious movements in the United States, and religion in Kansas. Professor Miller also coordinates the Religion in Kansas Oral History Project. His most recent publications include The Encyclopedic Guide to American Intentional Communities (Richard Couper Press), Spiritual and Visionary Communities: Out to Save the World (Ashgate Publishing), as well as the second edition of The Hippies and American Values (University of Tennessee Press), and the second edition of Following In His Steps: A Biography of Charles M. Sheldon (University of Tennessee Press). Through Miller’s work on American communes, he has long been familiar with the extended farm family at the center of the current symposium. In a recent book review, taking in the larger field in which he is involved, he wrote, “…it can be safely said that Montague Farm has the best published record of any of the communes.”

Topol, Sidney

Sidney Topol Papers, 1944-1997.

52 boxes (78 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 374
Sidney Topol
Sidney Topol

An innovator and entrepreneur, Sidney Topol was a contributor to several key developments in the telecommunications industries in the latter half of the twentieth century. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts (1947) and an engineer and executive at Raytheon and later Scientific-Atlanta, Topol’s expertise in microwave systems led to the development of the first effective portable television relay links, allowing broadcasts from even remote areas, and his foray into satellite technologies in the 1960s provided the foundation for building the emerging cable television industry, permitting the transmission of transoceanic television broadcasts. Since retiring in the early 1990s, Topol has been engaged in philanthropic work, contributing to the educational and cultural life in Boston and Atlanta.

The product of a pioneer in the telecommunications and satellite industries and philanthropist, this collection contains a rich body of correspondence and speeches, engineering notebooks, reports, product brochures, and photographs documenting Sidney Topol’s forty year career as an engineer and executive. The collection offers a valuable record of Topol’s role in the growth of both corporations, augmented by a suite of materials stemming from Topol’s tenure as Chair of the Electronic Industries Association Advanced Television Committee (ATV) in the 1980s and his service as Co-Chair of a major conference on Competitiveness held by the Carter Center in 1988.

Subjects

  • Boston (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th century
  • Cable television
  • Electronic Industries Association
  • Raytheon Company
  • Scientific-Atlanta

Contributors

  • Topol, Sidney

Traprock Peace Center

Traprock Peace Center Records, 1979-2008.

ca.50 boxes (75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 080

The Traprock Peace Center is a grassroots organization based in Deerfield, Massachusetts, that trains and educates people locally and globally in matters relating to disarmament and nonviolence. In 1980, the Center organized the first successful attempt in the United States to get a nuclear weapons moratorium referendum on the ballot, and the Center has served as a focal point for organizing on a wide array of issues in peace and social and environmental justice.

The records of Traprock Peace Center include correspondence, campaign materials (resolutions, organizing committee records, legislative packets), program reports, newsletters, newsclippings, and posters relating to the nuclear freeze campaign and many subsequent initiatives. Recent additions to the collection document the group’s work to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; these later additions are open for research, but are not processed.

Subjects

  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Deerfield (Mass.)--Social conditions--Sources
  • Nonviolence--Massachusetts--History--Sources
  • Nuclear disarmament--History--Sources
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Traprock Peace Center

WFCR (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)

WFCR Radio Broadcast Collection, 1954-1987 (Bulk: 1964-1987).

308 boxes (462 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 741
WFCR studio
WFCR studio

The first public radio station in western New England, WFCR Five College Radio has provided a mix of high quality, locally-produced and nationally syndicated programming since May 1961. In 2012, the station reached over 175,000 listeners per week, with a mix of classical and jazz music, news, and entertainment.

The WFCR Collection contains nearly 4,500 reel to reel recordings of locally-produced radio programs, reflecting over fifty years of the cultural and intellectual life of western Massachusetts. Drawing upon the talents of the faculty and students of the Five Colleges (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and UMass Amherst), the collection offers a remarkable breadth of content, ranging from public affairs to community and national news, cultural programming, children’s programming, news and current events, scholarly lectures, classical music, and jazz.

Subjects

  • Amherst (Mass.)
  • Pioneer Valley (Mass.)
  • Radio stations--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • WFCR (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Sound recordings

Kehler, Randy

Randy Kehler Papers, 1978-1997.

17 boxes (7.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 396

A veteran of the peace movement and founder of the Traprock Peace Center (1979), Randy Kehler was active in the National Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, the Peace Development Fund, and the Working Group on Electoral Democracy. Beginning in 1977, he and his wife became war tax resisters, withholding federal income tax to protest U.S. military expenditures, donating it instead to charity. As a consequence, their home was seized by the IRS in 1989, setting up a protracted legal struggle that resulted in Kehler’s arrest and imprisonment and the sale of the house. They remain tax resisters.

The Kehler Papers document the five year struggle (1989-1994) against the seizure and sale of the Kehlers’ home by the IRS. The collection includes meeting minutes, notes, correspondence, newspaper clippings; letters to the editor, essays, articles, plans and strategy documents for the vigil set outside the Kehler home; support committee information and actions; correspondence with government officials, the IRS, and the Justice Department; letters of support; documents from the legal proceedings; and political literature addressing the Kehlers’ situation.

Subjects

  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Argo, Ed
  • Colrain (Mass.)
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Tax collection--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Tax evasion--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Tax-sales--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Taxation--Law and Legislation
  • Traprock Peace Center
  • Valley Community Land Trust
  • War tax resitance--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Withholding tax--Law and legislation
  • Withholding tax--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Corner, Betsy
  • Kehler, Randy
  • Link, Mary
  • Mosely, Don
  • Nelson, Juanita

Types of material

  • Court records
  • Diaries
  • Legal documents
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Scrapbooks

Stoddard, Forrest S., 1944-

Woody Stoddard Papers, ca.1970-2007.

27 boxes (40.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 826
Engineers climbing a turbine, Tehachapi, Calif., Aug. 1992
Engineers climbing a turbine, Tehachapi, Calif., Aug. 1992

A visionary of modern wind power, Forrest “Woody” Stoddard was a graduate in aeronautics from MIT (BS, 1966; MS 1968) and an early member of the UMass Amherst “wind power mafia.” After service with the Air Force, Stoddard returned home to Amherst, Mass., in 1972 to pursue a doctorate in Ocean Engineering and to take part in the emerging field of alternate energy. Joining the vibrant, interdisciplinary group at UMass gathered around William Heronemus, he began a dissertation in wind turbine dynamic analysis (1979), earning selection as lead developer of the famed 25kW Wind Furnace 1 (WF-1) turbine. To carry research into practice, Heronemus, Stoddard, and other UMass graduates joined US Windpower (later Kenetech), the country’s first producer of large wind turbines and promoter of early wind farms. A tireless advocate for wind power and alternative energy, Stoddard was highly regarded as a researcher but also as a teacher and mentor of a generation of engineers who populate the industry. Nearly coincident with his untimely death on Jan. 25, 2007, the American Wind Energy Association awarded Stoddard its Lifetime Achievement Award.

As a participant in the early years of the wind power group at UMass, Stoddard’s papers offer insight into an engineer’s experiences in the fitful growth of the wind power industry. The collection is rich in engineering data on turbine dynamics and other aspects of wind power and the extension of academic research into the nascent wind power industry, and it includes an interesting array of both personal and professional photographs and correspondence.

Subjects

  • U.S. Wind Power Associates
  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Wind Energy Center (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
  • Wind Furnace 1
  • Wind power
  • Wind turbines--Aerodynamics

Contributors

  • Heronemus, William E.

Types of material

  • Photographs

Abbe, Edward H.

Edward H. Abbe Papers, 1828-2004.

22 boxes (28.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 736
Ed Abbe in Bora Bora, 1987
Ed Abbe in Bora Bora, 1987

Born in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1915 and raised largely in Hampton, Va., Edward Abbe seemed destined to be an engineer. The great nephew of Elihu Thomson, an inventor and founding partner in General Electric, and grandson of Edward Folger Peck, an early employee of a precursor of that firm, Abbe came from a family with a deep involvement in electrification and the development of street railways. After prepping at the Rectory and Kent Schools, Abbe studied engineering at the Sheffield School at Yale, and after graduation in 1938, accepted a position with GE. For 36 years, he worked in the Industrial Control Division in New York and Virginia, spending summers at the family home on Martha’s Vineyard. After retirement in 1975, he and his wife Gladys traveled frequently, cruising both the Atlantic and Pacific.

Ranging from an extensive correspondence from his high school and college days to materials relating to his family’s involvement in engineering, the Abbe collection offers an in depth perspective on an educated family. An avid traveler and inveterate keeper, Ed Abbe gathered a diverse assemblage of letters, diaries, and memorabilia relating to the history of the Abbe, Peck, Booth, Gifford, and Boardman families. The collection is particularly rich in visual materials, including albums and photographs, depicting homes, travel, and family life over nearly a century.

Subjects

  • Abbe family
  • Boardman family
  • Booth family
  • Electrical engineers
  • General Electric
  • Gifford family
  • Kent School--Students
  • Peck family
  • Rectory School--Students
  • Yale University--Students

Contributors

  • Abbe, Edward H
  • Abbe, Gladys Howard
  • Abbe, William Parker
  • Peck, Edward F
  • Peck, Mary Booth

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Photographs

Acker, Bonnie

Bonnie Acker Collection, 1983-2000.

1 box (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 582

A collection of t-shirts, gift cards, and posters designed by activist and political artist Bonnie Acker. Each item features an illustration by Acker in support of various issues relating to social change ranging from peace with Nicaragua, to nuclear abolition and from lifting the debt of impoverished countries, to the Burlington, Vermont community land trust.

Subjects

  • Antinuclear movement--United States
  • Peace movements

Contributors

  • Acker, Bonnie

Types of material

  • Realia

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Albertson, Dean

Dean Albertson Collection of Oral History Transcripts and Student Papers, 1975-1977.

1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 224

Dean Albertson’s 384-level History classes at the University of Massachusetts Amherst conducted interviews with social activists of the 1960s and early 1970s, participants and observers in the Springfield, Massachusetts North End riots of 1975, and war and nuclear power resisters. The collection includes transcripts of 15 interviews conducted during the years 1975-1977, as well as the students’ papers, which put the transcripts into context. See also the Dean Albertson Papers (FS 109).

Subjects

  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Attica Correctional Facility
  • Civil rights--Massachusetts--Hampden County
  • Demonstrations--Massachusetts--Chicopee
  • Hampden County (Mass.) Civil Liberties Union
  • History--Study and teaching (Higher)--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Police shootings--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Prison riots--New York (State)--Attica
  • Puerto Ricans--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Riots--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Selma-Montgomery Rights March, 1965
  • Springfield (Mass.)--History
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Race relations
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Springfield Area Movement for a Democratic Society
  • Venceremos Brigade
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Weatherman (Organization)
  • Welfare rights movement--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Westover Air Force Base (Mass.)

Contributors

  • Albertson, Dean, 1920-
  • Lecodet, Rafael

Types of material

  • Oral histories
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