SCUA

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What we collect

Frank Waugh's doves
Garden (white fan tailed doves in bird bath) by Frank Waugh, ca.1920

“… there must come vast social change in the United States; a change not violent, but by the will of the people certain and inexorable; carried out ‘with malice toward none but charity for all’; with meticulous justice to the rich and complete sympathy for the poor, the sick and the ignorant; with freedom and democracy for America, and on earth Peace, Good Will toward men.”

W.E.B. Du Bois, Chicago, June 29, 1951

In pursuit of our mission, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives collects materials of enduring historical and cultural value relating to four major thematic areas: the history and experience of social change in America; the histories and cultures of New England with an emphasis on Massachusetts; innovation and entrepreneurship; and the broad community associated with the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Our collections are highly integrated and span all formats, including personal papers and organizational records, books and periodicals, maps, photographs, audio and video recordings, and digital materials of all kinds.

Our approach to collecting

Echoing the philosophy of W.E.B. Du Bois, SCUA collects original materials that document the histories and experiences of social change in America and the organizational, intellectual, and individual ties that unite disparate struggles for social justice, human dignity, and equality. Our decision to adopt social change as a collecting focus emerged from considering one of Du Bois’s great insights: that the most fundamental issues in social justice are so deeply interconnected that no movement — and no solution to social ills — can succeed in isolation. Rather than focus on individual movements, we therefore focus on the connections between and among movements and the flow of people, organizations, and ideas, all in the hope of better representing the true histories of social engagement in America and laying the foundation for a deeper understanding of the experience of social change.

A related feature of SCUA’s approach to collecting is our commitment to documenting “whole lives and whole communities.” Rather than focus just on a person’s “significant” actions or ideas, our goal is to represent the person’s entire life in all its complexity: the person’s background, the events themselves, and the aftermath, as well as the range of colleagues and organizations engaged. Our goal is not to highlight simply the great achievements and great people, but to reveal the broad underpinnings of influences, interests, and organizations that shaped them and the communities in which they operated.

While not exhaustive, the following is a synopsis of the primary focal points for SCUA’s collections:

Social change

Emphasizing the cross-fertilization between social movements and centers of activist energy, SCUA collects materials from individuals and organizations involved in the struggles for peace and non-violence, social and racial justice, economic justice, agricultural reform, environmentalism, sustainability, alternative energy, organized labor, gay rights, disability rights, spiritual activism, antinuclear activism, and intentional communities. Our collections branch out to include anti-fluoridation activism, campaigns for voting rights and clean elections, community and charitable organizations, and the history of revolutionary-era Europe (1789-1848).

  • African and African American history and culture: The history of race and ethnicity in America, with particular emphasis on the struggle for racial equality and social justice.
  • Agriculture, horticulture, botany: Including agricultural science and practice, horticulture, animal husbandry, natural history, organic farming, sustainable living, and heritage breeds.
  • Antifluoridation movement: Including right-wing, left-wing, libertarian, popular, and scientific opposition to fluoridation of public water supplies.
  • Antinuclear movement: SCUA holds numerous collections documenting grassroots opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weaponry.
  • Arts management and arts administration:
    In partnership with the UMass Amherst Arts Extension Service, the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and several other arts agencies, SCUA documents the history of arts administration in America. Collecting the records of state and national arts agencies, we will provide a foundation for research into the evolution of arts policy, strategies for supporting the arts, and the economic and cultural impact of the arts on our communities.
  • Cold War Culture: The culture of the Cold War, with an emphasis upon East Germany, Poland, and Yugoslavia. Among other areas, SCUA has a strong interest in the Solidarity movement and in partnership with the DEFA Film Library, in East German cinema and graphic arts.
  • Disability: Organizational records and collections of personal papers documenting the history of disability and disability rights in the United States.
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender issues: Materials relating to the history and experience of the LGBTQ community and liberation struggles.
  • Labor, work, and industry: Organized labor, industrialization, manufacturing, business history, and the experience and culture of labor and working people.
  • Peace: Materials relating to the peace and antiwar movements and non-violence, with an emphasis on New England.
  • Spiritual approaches to social change: Materials relating to people and organizations motivated to take social action through spiritual consideration.

Innovation and entrepreneurship

SCUA collects materials that document innovative and entrepreneurial activities and particularly social entrepreneurship. Representative collections in SCUA include the papers of Mark H. McCormack (a pioneer in sport and entertainment marketing), Carl C. Harris (inventor and President of Rodney Hunt Co.), and numerous collections that document our region’s distinctive history of innovation in manufacturing and technology.

New England history and culture

The social, political, cultural, intellectual, literary, and economic life, with an emphasis upon western New England. The department houses thousands of books on New England cookery, with a particular emphasis on charitable and community cookbooks and cookbooks and ephemera published by corporations and the food industry.

  • Cookery and culinary history
    SCUA has thousands of cookbooks and other materials on New England regional cuisine, including community and charitable cookbooks, commercial cookbooks by New England authors, corporate cookbooks, and culinary ephemera.
  • Literature and the arts
    Emphasizing poets and writers, playwrights, and the performing arts in New England.
  • Politics and political culture
    SCUA has rich collections documenting the history and politics of the Commonwealth, including the papers of Congressmen Silvio O. Conte and John Olver, State Senator Stanley Rosenberg, and State Representative John Clark; and the records of the Hampshire Council of Governments and several individual towns.

University Archives collecting

Serving as the memory of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, SCUA is steward for the official and unofficial records of the university that document the people, policies, programs, facilities, and activities of the campus community. The collections are a rich record of administrative activity at all levels, from system to program, but they focus on documenting the lives and activities of individual administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Other areas

SCUA has developed depth in a handful of other collecting areas, including:

  • American Study of Japan and Asia
    American relations with Japan from the Meiji period to the present, and connections with China and other Asian countries.
  • Gravestone studies and death
    Materials relating to the history, culture, preservation, and interpretation of gravestones and related subjects.
  • Protistology
    Records of the scholarly study of the protista (protozoans).

Learn more:

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.

Gift of Bonnie Acker, May 2007
Subjects
  • Antinuclear movement--United States
  • Peace movements
Contributors
  • Acker, Bonnie
Types of material
  • Realia

American Friends Service Committee. Western Massachusetts

American Friends Service Committee Records
1975-2005
24 boxes (36 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 459

Established in 1968 in response to the war in Vietnam, the AFSC office in western Massachusetts did not limit its focus to draft and military counseling, instead the organization broadened its focus over time to include educational and outreach programs for a variety of peace and socal justice issues. Today the chapter focuses on economic justice, campaigns against U.S. military intervention, and actions to combat racism and classism. With an emphasis on serving the community of western Massachusetts, the program is equally committed to calling attention to issues of both national and local importance. Recent campaigns range from ending the war in Iraq and supporting peace in Columbia to preventing the construction of a new jail in Chicopee.

The collection consists chiefly of subject files that together provide a picture of the various issues in which the western Massachusetts AFSC was involved. Topics range from the organization’s earliest focus, the Vietnam War, to the first Gulf War, landlord/tenant relations, immigration, and landmines. The collection also includes materials relating to public figures, some of whom traveled to the region to speak.

Subjects
  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Social justice--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • American Friends Service Committee. Western Massachusetts

Barton, Thomas

Thomas Barton Papers
1947-1977 (Bulk: 1960-1974)
4 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 539
Image of YPSL logo
YPSL logo

In the early 1960s, Tom Barton (b. 1935) emerged as a leader in the Left-wing of the Young People’s Socialist League, the national youth affiliate of the Socialist Party. Deeply committed to the civil rights and antiwar struggles and to revolutionary organizing, Barton operated in Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York and was a delegate and National Secretary at the 1964 convention in which tensions within YPSL led to its dissolution.

A small, but rich collection, the Barton Papers provide a glimpse into the career of a long-time Socialist and activist. From Barton’s entry into the Young People’s Socialist League in the latest 1950s through his work with the Wildcat group in the early 1970s, the collection contains outstanding content on the civil rights and antiwar movements and the strategies for radical organizing. The collection is particularly rich on two periods of Barton’s career — his time in the YPSL and Student Peace Union (1960-1964) and in the Wildcat group (1968-1971) — and particularly for the events surrounding the dissolution of YPSL in 1964, following a heated debate over whether to support Lyndon Johnson for president. The collection includes correspondence with other young radicals such as Martin Oppenheimer, Lyndon Henry, Juan McIver, and Joe Weiner.

Subjects
  • Antiwar movements
  • Civil rights movements
  • Communists
  • Revolutionaries
  • Socialist Party of the United States of America
  • Socialists--United States
  • Student Peace Union
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
  • Wildcat
  • Young People's Socialist League
Contributors
  • Barton, Thomas
  • Gilbert, Carl
  • Henry, Lyndon
  • MacFadyen, Gavin
  • McIver, Juan
  • Oppenheimer, Martin
  • Shatkin, Joan
  • Shatkin, Norm
  • Verret, Joe
  • Weiner, Joe

Boschen, Allan C.

Allan C. Boschen Esperanto Collection
1852-2015
ca.750 items (18 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 028
Image of Esperanto travel book, 1927
Esperanto travel book, 1927

A constructed language developed by a Polish physician, L.L. Zamenhof, and first published in 1887, Esperanto is the most widely spoken auxiliary language in the world. Fundamentally utopian in origin, Esperanto is a simplified and highly rationalized language derived from a pastiche of languages, primarily European. By creating a universal second language, Zamenhof hoped that Esperanto would help transcend national and cultural boundaries and thus promote peace and understanding in a fractious world. Allan Boschen, an engineer with General Electric in Pittsfield, was a student and teacher of Esperanto and longtime officer with the Esperanto Society of New England.

The Esperanto book collection includes instructional materials in the language from around the world along with a diversity of imprints ranging from novels and poetry to travel books, histories and biographies, political writings, materials on China and Vietnam, children’s literature, and even a cookbook. We expect to add to the collection in future.

Subjects
  • Esperanto
  • Ido
  • Languages, Artificial

Bowman, Mitzi

Mitzi Bowman Papers
ca.1970-2010
12 boxes (18 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 761
Image of Mitzi Bowman, 2012
Mitzi Bowman, 2012

For years, Mitzi Bowman and her husband Pete were stalwarts of the progressive community in Connecticut, and tireless activists in the movements for social justice, peace, and the environment. Shortly after their marriage in 1966, the Bowman’s settled in Newtown and then in Milford, Conn., where Pete worked as an engineer and where Mitzi had trouble finding employment due to her outspoken ways. In close collaboration, the couple became ardent opponents of the war in Vietnam as well as opponents of nuclear weaponry. The focus of their activism took a new direction in 1976, when they learned of plans to ship spent nuclear fuel rods near their home. Founding their first antinuclear organization, STOP (Stop the Transport of Pollution), they forced the shipments to be rerouted, and they soon devoted themselves to shutting down nuclear power in Connecticut completely, including the Millstone and Connecticut Yankee facilities, the latter of which was decommissioned in 1996. The Bowmans were active in a wide array of other groups, including the New Haven Green Party, the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone, the People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE), and they were founding members of Fight the (Utility Rate) Hike, the Progressive Action Roundtable, and Don’t Waste Connecticut. Two years after Pete died on Feb. 14, 2006 at the age of 78, Mitzi relocated to Vermont, carrying on her activism.

The Bowman Papers center on Mitzi and Pete Bowman’s antinuclear activism, dating from their first forays with STOP in the mid-1970s through the growth of opposition to Vermont Yankee in the approach to 2010. The collection offers a valuable glimpse into the early history of grassroots opposition to nuclear energy and the Bowmans’ approach to organizing and their connections with other antinuclear activists and to the peace and environmental movements are reflected in an extensive series of notes, press releases, newsclippings, talks, ephemera, and correspondence. The collections also includes extensive subject files on radiation, nuclear energy, peace, and related topics.

Subjects
  • Antinuclear movement--Connecticut
  • Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone
  • Don't Waste Connecticut
  • STOP (Stop the Transport of Pollution)
Contributors
  • Bowman, Pete

Braunthal, Gerard, 1923-

Gerard Braunthal Papers
1958-1894
6 boxes (7.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 013
Image of Gerard Braunthal
Gerard Braunthal

Born in Germany in 1923, Gerard Braunthal was a scholar of German politics and taught as a professor in the Political Science department from 1954. Before receiving his B.A. from Queens College in 1947, Braunthal served in intelligence during World War II, going on to receive his M.A. from the University of Michigan in 1948 and Ph.D from Columbia University in 1953. While studying at Columbia, Braunthal worked as an interviewer for US Air Force intelligence. An expert on the German Social Democratic party (SPD), Braunthal published extensively on modern German politics. His work on the subject was well regarded in Germany as well as the United States. In parallel to his academic research, Braunthal was also an anti-war and anti-nuclear activist, serving on the executive committees of both the Valley Peace Center and the Citizens for Participation in Political Action (CPPAX). Braunthal received the Order of Merit from the German government.

The collection includes Braunthal’s correspondence, article manuscripts and research materials, as well as pamphlets, form-letters, and broadsides relating to anti-Vietnam war activism, interspersed with a small amount of personal correspondence from his own antiwar activities. Among his research materials is a collection of interview transcripts with members of the Federation of German Industry (BDI). There is also a significant collection of documents from his involvement with local activist groups, which includes minutes, form-letters, reports, conference proceedings, and leaflets.

Subjects
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Political Science
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Contributors
  • Braunthal, Gerard, 1923-

Brown, Moses, 1738-1832

Moses Brown Papers
1713-1840
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 930

In the early Republic, Moses Brown emerged as an ardent abolitionist, a social reformer, and one of the best known philanthropists in his native Providence, R.I. A Baptist who converted to the Society of Friends in 1774, Brown had made a fortune as a merchant, partly in the triangular trade, but a crisis of conscience brought on by the ghastly results of an attempted slaving voyage in 1765 and the death of his wife in 1773 led him to reexamine his life. Withdrawing from most of his business affairs, Brown joined the Society of Friends and emancipated his slaves. He was a founder of the Providence Society for the Abolition of Slavery in 1786 and a strong voice for peace, temperance, and universal education.

A small, but rich archive of the personal papers of Moses Brown, this collection centers on Brown’s activities in antislavery, peace, and educational reform and his connections to the Society of Friends between the 1760s and 1830s. In addition to significant correspondence with major figures in early antislavery cause, including Anthony Benezet, George Benson, William Dillwyn, and Warner Mifflin, and some material relating to the Providence Society for the Abolition of Slavery, the collection includes outstanding content on peace activism. In addition to materials from Moses Brown, the collection includes letters to Moses’ son Obadiah Brown and some fascinating letters and manuscripts relating to Moses’ friend and fellow Friend, Job Scott.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016
Subjects
  • Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
  • Peace movements--Rhode Island
  • Quakers--Rhode Island
  • Rhode Island--History--18th century
Contributors
  • Benson, George W., 1808-1879
  • Brown, Moses, 1738-1832
  • Brown, Obadiah, 1771-1822
  • Mifflin, Warner
  • Providence Society for Abolishing the Slave-Trade
  • Providence Society for the Abolition of Slavery
  • Scott, Job, 1751-1793

Civilian Public Service Camps

Civilian Public Service Camp Newsletter Collection
1941-1944
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 537

Born out of a unique collaboration between the United States government and the historic peace churches, the first Civilian Public Service Camps were established in 1941 to provide conscientious objectors the option to perform alternative service under civilian command. Nearly 12,000 COs served in the 152 CPS camps in projects ranging from soil conservation, agriculture, and forestry to mental health. While the work was supposed to be of national importance, many of the men later complained that the labor was menial and not as important as they had hoped. Furthermore with no ability to earn wages and with their churches and families responsible for financing the camps, many COs, their wives and children found themselves impoverished both during and after the war.

During their time off, many of the men in the CPS camps published newsletters discussing education programs, which frequently involved religious study, work projects, and news about individuals sent to family and friends back home. This collections consists of newsletters created in camps in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Indiana, Maryland, and Colorado.

Subjects
  • Civilian Public Service--Periodicals
  • Conscientious objectors--United States
  • Pacifists--United States
  • World War, 1939-1945--Conscientious objectors--United States
Types of material
  • Newsletters

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
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