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Heath, Gordon, 1918-1991

Gordon Heath Papers

1913-1992
44 boxes 22.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 372 and 372 bd
Image of Gordon Heath, Paris
Gordon Heath, Paris

A multi-talented performer, the African American expatriate Gordon Heath was variously a stage and film actor, musician, director, producer, founder of the Studio Theater of Paris, and co-owner of the Parisian nightclub L’Abbaye. Born in New York City, Heath became involved in acting as a teenager and enjoyed a career that spanned post-World War II Broadway to the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s. In addition to his many roles on film and stage, he and his partner Lee Payant enjoyed success as recording artists in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Heath collection includes personal and professional correspondence, scrapbooks containing photos and clippings from assorted television and film productions in addition to songs, poetry, and reviews of plays or playbills from productions he attended. The Papers also contain art work, sheet music, personal and production photographs, and drafts of his memoirs.

Subjects

  • Abbaye (Nightclub : Paris, France)
  • African American actors--France--Paris--History
  • African American singers--France--Paris--History
  • African Americans in the performing arts--History
  • African-American theater--History--20th century
  • Baldwin, James, 1924-
  • Chametzky, Jules
  • Dodson, Owen, 1914-
  • Expatriate musicians--France--Paris--History
  • Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967
  • Musicians--United States--History
  • Nightclubs--France--Paris--History
  • Paris (France)--Intellectual life--20th century
  • Payant, Lee--Correspondence
  • Primus, Pearl
  • Rive gauche (Paris, France)--Intellectual life--20th century
  • Studio Theater of Paris
  • Theater--Production and direction--France--Paris--History

Contributors

  • Abramson, Doris E
  • Heath, Gordon, 1918-1991

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Scripts
  • Sheet music
  • Sketches
Jones, Richard, 1937-1991

Richard Jones Papers

ca.1970-1991
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: FS 006

Over the course of his esteemed dance career, Richard Jones performed with Eleo Pomare Company, the Miguel Godreau Dance Company, and the Xochipillian Dance Group. Jones was appointed to the staff of the University of Massachusetts on September 1, 1973, and remained with the department until his death in 1991. While at the University, Jones was the founding artistic director of the Amdans Theater, and was the artistic director of the University Dancers from 1979 to 1991.

The Jones Papers are a collection of photographs and reviews of Jones’s choreography during the 1970s and 1980s. A copy of Jones’s original essay, “Costuming for Three Styles of Dance,” (circa 1975) appears in the collection, as do photographs, playbills, posters, Amdans Theatre and University Dancers reviews. The Papers also contain letters to Jones from the Boston Ballet and the American College Dance Festival, as well as reviews of Jones’s choreography for professional companies outside the University.

Subjects

  • Admans Theatre
  • Dance
  • University Dancers (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance

Contributors

  • Jones, Richard

Types of material

  • Photographs
Kehler, Randy

Randy Kehler Papers

1978-1997
21 boxes 13 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
Kerslake, Fred

Fred and Mary Kerslake Scrapbooks

ca.1890-1923
4 vols. 1 linear feet
Call no.: PH 079
Image of Lil Kerslake and his pigs
Lil Kerslake and his pigs

Fred “Lil” Kerslake was proprietor of one of the premier performing animal acts of the turn of the twentieth century, featuring a porcine troupe that did “everything but talk.” From about 1891 through the 1930s, Kerslake’s Pigs rolled barrels and jumped ropes, climbed ladders, played see saw, and drew carriages to the delight of audiences across the United States and Europe. With his wife Mary and, after 1913, his son Fred by his side, Kerslake’s Pigs toured with Carl Hagenbeck, Walter L. Main, and Ringling Brothers. Fred and Mary retired to Gill, Mass., in 1930 where they ran a dog kennel. Fred Kerslake died at home in Sept. 1949, with Mary following in 1954.

Assembled by Fred and Mary Kerslakes, the four scrapbooks in this remarkable collection are packed with photographs and ephemera documenting their far flung travels between the 1890s and 1920s, along with promotional and candid shots of their beloved pigs, donkeys, and horses. Interspersed in the volumes are photographs of clowns and other circus performers, brochures, fliers, and posters advertising Kerslake’s Pigs and the circuses that employed them.

Gift of Chris Emery, July 2017

Subjects

  • Animal shows
  • Circus performers--Massachusetts
  • Circuses
  • Pigs

Contributors

  • Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus
  • Kerslake's Minstrels
  • Kerslake's Pig Circus
  • Kerslake, Mary Anne
  • Ringling Brothers
  • Walter L. Main Circus

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Printed ephemera
  • Scrapbooks
Levasseur, Raymond Luc

Raymond Luc Levasseur Papers

1966-2017
10 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 971

Raymond Luc Levasseur went underground with a revolutionary Marxist organization in 1974 and spent a decade in armed resistance against the American state. Radicalized by his experiences in Vietnam and by a stint in a Tennessee prison for the sale of marijuana, Levasseur became convinced that revolutionary action was a “necessary step in defeating the enemy — monopoly Capitalism and its Imperialism expression.” As a leader of the Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson Unit, later called the United Freedom Front, he took part in a string of bombings and bank robberies targeting symbols of the state including government and military buildings and corporate offices. All active members of the UFF were arrested in 1984 and 1985 and sentenced to long prison terms, although the government’s effort to prosecute them (the Ohio 7) on separate charges of seditious conspiracy ultimately failed. Levasseur served twenty years of a 45-year prison sentence, approximately thirteen years of them in solitary confinement, before being released on parole in 2004. He continues to write and speak out for prisoners’ rights.

The Levasseur papers are an important record of a committed revolutionary and political prisoner. Beginning with his work in the early 1970s with the Statewide Correctional Alliance for Reform (SCAR), a prisoners’ rights organization, the collection includes communiques and other materials from revolutionary groups including the UFF, the Armed Resistance Unit, and the Black Liberation Army; Levasseur’s political and autobiographical writings; numerous interviews; selected correspondence; and a range of material on political prisoners and mass incarceration. Consisting in part of material seized by the FBI following Levasseur’s arrest or recovered through the Freedom of Information Act, and supplemented by newsclippings and video from media coverage, the collection has particularly rich content for the criminal and seditious conspiracy trials of UFF members (also known as the “Ohio 7”) in Brooklyn, NY and Springfield, MA, as well as Levasseur’s years in prison and his work on behalf of political prisoners.

Gift of Raymond Luc Levasseur, 2017

Subjects

  • Anti-imperialist movements--United States
  • Political prisoners--United States
  • Prisons--United States
  • Revolutionaries

Contributors

  • Armed Clandestine Movement
  • Black Liberation Army
  • Manning, Tom
  • Ohio 7
  • Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson Unit
  • Statewide Correctional Alliance for Reform
  • United Freedom Front
  • Williams, Raymond C.

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Trials
Lithuania

Lithuanian Revolution Collection

1973-1991
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1025
Image of Sajudis button, ca.1989
Sajudis button, ca.1989

The dissolution of the Soviet bloc after 1989 was hastened in the Baltic republics by mass popular resistance waged through non-violent cultural and political means. In Lithuania, the revolutionary efforts that began in the spring 1988 culminated in a formal declaration of independence in March 1990. After demands to submit to Soviet authority were ignored, the Soviets sent troops to occupy key buildings in Vilnius killing fourteen protesters in the process. In the face of a resilient resistance and international pressure, the Soviets held on to power for several months, until turmoil at home forced them to recognize Lithuanian independence on September 6, 1991.

This small collection contains a selection of publications dating roughly from the time of the Lithuanian revolution of 1988-1991. Along with a series of mostly pro-independence newspapers and magazines, the collection includes some interesting ephemera, including a series of scarce appeals for independence issued by Sajudis and their Latvian and Estonian partners, a pair of buttons, posters, fliers, and pamphlets. Although most of the materials are in Lithuanian, the collection includes a few written in Russian or English, and there are a few items relating to Lithuania reflecting a Soviet provenance.

Gift of James and Sibylle Fraser
Language(s): Litruseng

Subjects

  • Communism--Lithuania
  • Lietuvos Persitvarkymo sajudis
  • Lithuania--History--1945-199

Types of material

  • Buttons (Information artifacts)
  • Maps (Documents)
  • Newspapers
  • Posters
Massachusetts AFL-CIO

Massachusetts AFL-CIO Records

1902-1995
72 boxes 64 linear feet
Call no.: MS 369

Formed in 1887 as the Massachusetts branch of the American Federation of Labor, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO currently represents the interests of over 400,000 working people in the Commonwealth. Like its parent organization, the national AFL-CIO, the Mass. AFL-CIO is an umbrella organization, a union of unions, and engages in political education, legislative action, organizing, and education and training.

The official records of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO provide insight into the aims and administrative workings of the organization. These includes a nearly complete run of proceedings and reports from its conventions since 1902, except for a five year gap 1919-1923, minutes and agendas for the meetings of the Executive Council, and the President’s files (1982- ). The collection is particularly strong in the period since about 1980.

Subjects

  • Labor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • AFL-CIO
  • Massachusetts AFL-CIO
Massachusetts Agricultural Fairs

Massachusetts Agricultural Fairs Posters Collection

1852-1860
19 items
Call no.: MS 169

With one of the first agricultural fairs in the country taking place in Massachusetts in 1807, the state has a special place in the history of agricultural fairs in the United States. Twenty antebellum posters promoting agricultural fairs in western Massachusetts, primarily from agricultural societies in Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin, and Berkshire Counties.

Subjects

  • Agricultural exhibitions--Massachusetts--Posters
  • Agricultural exhibitions--Rhode Island--Providence--Posters
  • Agriculture--Social aspects--Massachusetts--History
  • Agriculture--Social aspects--Rhode Island--History

Types of material

  • Posters
MassEquality

MassEquality Records

ca.1993-2008
18 boxes 23.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 674
Image of MassEquality sticker
MassEquality sticker

In the late 1990s, MassEquality was formed as a coalition of advocacy groups that sought to build legislative support for same-sex marriage and gay rights in Massachusetts. Formally incorporated as a 501(c)4 advocacy organization in late 2001, the coalition hired its first employee, Campaign Coordinator Marty Rouse, in late 1993, and achieved a landmark success that November when the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that the state may not “deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry.” On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to allow equal marital rights to same-sex couples. Since that time, MassEquality has continued to champion marriage equality nationally.

The MassEquality Records document the origins, operations, and activism of one of the leading organizations in New England advocating for marriage rights and civic equality for all, regardless of sexual orientation. The collection includes some material generated by the Freedom to Marry Coalition, a partner in the coalition, and a series of large banners and posters, some of which were displayed during the event celebrating the arrival of marriage equality in Massachusetts.

Subjects

  • Gay rights--New England
  • Gays--Legal status, laws, etc.--New England
  • Same-sex marriage--Law and legislation--New England

Contributors

  • Freed to Marry Coalition
  • MassEquality

Types of material

  • Banners
  • Posters
Miller, J. Wesley (John Wesley), 1941-

J. Wesley Miller Papers

ca.1970s-2005
9 boxes 13.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 460

A nearly lifelong resident of Springfield, Massachusetts, J. Wesley Miller was actively engaged in the city’s politics. Often described as an eccentric activist, Miller graduated from Colby College and later earned his law degree from Western New England College of Law. Although he never practiced as an attorney, Miller did sue the law school upon graduation for “educational malpractice,” a suit that was settled out of court. Miller taught English at Heidelberg College in Ohio and at the University of Wisconsin, and it is at the latter institution where it seems he formed his habit of collecting street literature, mostly posters and fliers. Evidently consumed by a desire to collect such materials, Miller accrued a vast quantity of street literature by the time of his death in 2005.

The collection consists primarily of flyers and posters collected by Miller in Madison, Wisconsin and throughout western Massachusetts that reflect the contemporary history of the two regions. The literature ranges from announcements of student protests and rallies to advertisements for local pubs. Miller signed each item, possibly as part of a ritual to catalog the collection. Also included is a microfilm copy of Miller’s diaries.

Subjects

  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Popular culture
  • Street literature

Contributors

  • Miller, J. Wesley (John Wesley), 1941-

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Microfilm