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Topol, Sidney

Sidney Topol Papers

1944-1997
52 boxes 78 linear feet
Call no.: MS 374
Image of 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
Belanger, J. William, 1907-1986

J. William Belanger Papers

1932-1986
3 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 117

A leader in organized labor, William Belanger began as an organizer for the AFL’s United Textile Workers in 1932, eventually becoming the New England Regional Director and International Vice President of the TWUA and in 1958, the first President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

The Belanger Papers provide insight into the long career in labor activism, and include correspondence, writings, subject files, and printed materials. Of particular interest is a series of four oversized scrapbooks that cover Belanger’s career from 1934 through his final position as Director of the Massachusetts Department of Employment Security. These are especially enlightening on labor’s political activities, the CIO’s success in thwarting anti-labor referenda in 1948, and the efforts to expel Communists from the labor movement.

Subjects

  • Elections--Massachusetts--History--20th century
  • Labor leaders--New England--Biography
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1865-1950
  • New England--Economic conditions--20th century
  • Textile Workers Organizing Committee
  • Textile Workers Union of America
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Textile workers--Labor unions--New England

Contributors

  • Belanger, J. William, 1907-1986

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
Bennett, John W., collector

John W. Bennett Labor Collection

ca. 1880-2000
118 boxes
Call no.: MS 443
Image of

Labor historian John W. Bennett has researched the history of the labor movement since his days as an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts (Class of 1952). A born collector, he began accumulating memorabilia associated with unions, drawn to their potential as a visual record of labor iconography and self-representation.

Extending back to the 1880s, the Bennett Collection includes examples from around the country, but with a particularly strong representation of New England unions between the mid-1930s and mid-1970s.

Subjects

  • Labor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Bennett, John W

Types of material

  • Badges
  • Ephemera
  • Realia
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
Graphic Communications International Union. Local 48B

GCIU Local 48B Records

1952-1985
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 059

Local of the Graphic Communications International Union that represented over 1000 bindery workers in the Holyoke, Massachusetts area. Records include detailed minutes, shop reports, committee reports, reports of delegates sent to the Holyoke Central Labor Union and national conventions, copies of agreements, notes on contract negotiations, copies of three newsletters, and subject files that document activities as well as the emergence of factionalism within the union.

Subjects

  • Carrying on
  • Collective bargaining--Paper industry--Massachusetts --Holyoke--History--Sources
  • Holyoke (Mass.)--Economic conditions--Sources
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts--Holyoke
  • National Blank Book Co.--History
  • Old unionist
  • Paper industry workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts--Holyoke

Contributors

  • Graphic Arts International Union. Local 48B
  • International Brotherhood of Bookbinders. Local 48

Types of material

  • Newsletters
Pine Beach Association

Pine Beach Association Collection

1922-1980
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 666
Image of Woman on a zip line at Lake Rohunta, ca.1925
Woman on a zip line at Lake Rohunta, ca.1925

Founded in Athol, Mass., prior to1922, the Pine Beach Association operated a summer resort on the northern end of Lake Rohunta, a 383-acre reservoir owned largely by the Rodney Hunt Company. Recognizing the touristic and recreational opportunities, the Association built Pine Beach into a facility that included the Rohunta Inn (the former Elm Lodge Clubhouse), a restaurant, camping facilities, and a lifeguard-patrolled swimming area with water slides and other recreational facilities, all with the intent of becoming the “leading inland bathing beach of New England.” Although the hurricane of 1938 washed away Rodney Hunt’s dam and hydroelectric station, Pine Beach remained a popular destination, freely available to the company’s employees. In the 1980s, the properties were sold to the not-for-profit Lake Rohunta Beach Association, an association of 15 residential properties.

This small collection contains postcards, photographs, and ephemeral material relating to the Pine Beach Association, concentrated in its early years.

Gift of the Harris family, 2010.

Subjects

  • Athol (Mass.)--History
  • Hotels--Massachusetts--Athol
  • Lake Rohunta (Mass.)
  • Picnics--Massachusetts--Athol
  • Rodney Hunt Machine Company--Employees--Recreation
  • Summer resorts--Massachusetts--Orange
  • Taverns (Inns)--Massachusetts--Athol

Types of material

  • Photographs
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Springfield District Council

UBCJA Springfield District Council Records

1885-1973
40 boxes 23 linear feet
Call no.: MS 110

The first local of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners to be founded in western Massachusetts was chartered in 1885 as Springfield Local 96, followed in quick order by locals in Holyoke (390) and Chicopee (685). With the pace of unionization picking up at the turn of the century, the Springfield District Council was established in 1906 and played an immediate role in coordinating collective bargaining, apprenticeship, and work rules in the local construction industry. Although Holyoke carpenters formed their own District Council soon thereafter, the logic of consolidation and a unified voice eventually prevailed. The Springfield locals consolidated as Local 32 in 1968, which in turn merged with the Holyoke District Council in 1973 to form Local 108.

The records of the Springfield District Council of the UBCJA includes strong documentation of the rise of unionization among carpenters in the Connecticut River Valley from the 1880s through 1980s. The collection includes by-laws, correspondence, and subject files of the Springfield District Council along with minutes, membership records, financial records, contracts, agreements and trials, and some correspondence for Locals 96 (Springfield), 685 (Chicopee), 177 (Springfield), 222 (Westfield), and 32 (Springfield).

Subjects

  • Carpenters--Labor unions
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
Wilson, Rand

Rand Wilson Papers

1977-2004
15 boxes 22.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1026

A union organizer and labor communicator, Rand Wilson became a rank and file organizer for the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union and helped win the first-ever contract for workers at Clinical Assays in Cambridge, Mass., in 1982. He has since taken part in dozens of successful organizing and contract campaigns, both regionally and nationally, for the Communications Workers of America, the Paperworkers, Carpenters, Teamsters and Service Employees International Union, and other unions. Wilson’s notable achievements include coordinating solidarity efforts with the CWA and IBEW during the massive NYNEX telephone workers’ strike in 1989; founding the Massachusetts branch of the community-labor coalition, Jobs with Justice; coordinating communications for the Teamsters in 1997 during the lengthy contract campaign and historic 15-day strike by the 185,000 workers at UPS; and organizing an AFL-CIO-led effort focused on financial institutions’ conflicts of interest that helped to thwart the Bush administration’s efforts to privatize social security. He served as national coordinator for “Labor for Bernie” during the presidential campaign on 2016, and currently works for SEIU Local 888 in Boston.

Documenting forty years of labor activism, the Wilson papers include important material from most of his major initiatives, including organizing campaigns with the CWA, files relating to the Justice at Work/Just Cause for All initiatives, organizing high tech, health care and telephone workers, and Jobs with Justice. Nearly half of the collection is comprised of a comprehensive collection of source materials and documents from the Teamsters’ UPS contract campaign and strike.

Subjects

  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • NYNEX Corporation
  • Strikes and lockouts
  • United Parcel Service

Contributors

  • Communications Workers of America
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • Justice at Work
Friedman, Harvey

Harvey Friedman Papers

1922-1992
3.75 linear feet
Call no.: FS 004

Born in June 1922, Harvey Friedman attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and enrolled in the Boston University School of Law in 1941. After serving as a non-commissioned officer with an Army medical unit in France from 1942-1946, Friedman returned home to Massachusetts and became a member of the bar in 1948. For the next fifteen years, he was the Assistant New England Director for the Amalgamated Clothing Worker Union, AFL-CIO. After refusing the position several times, Friedman accepted an offer from the University of Massachusetts Amherst to become Assistant Director of the Labor Relations and Research Center in 1965, earning promotion to Director in 1970. During his tenure at UMass, Friedman taught classes in Political Science, Legal Studies, Government, and Education. He retired from UMass in 1990 and passed away in 1992.

The Friedman Papers contain correspondence, newsclippings, and course materials dating from Friedman’s time at UMass. Also included are materials related to unions with which Friedman worked and documentation of his relationship with the American Arbitration Association.

Subjects

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Labor Relations and Research Center

Contributors

  • Friedman, Harvey
Labor, work, and industry

Picket line, New Bedford

Picket line, New Bedford, 195
“Teamsters crossed the Hathaway picket line”

Western Massachusetts was an early and important center of both industrialization and the development of organized labor, and in recent years, it has experienced many of traumatic effects of de-industrialization and economic transformation. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives seeks to document the history of organized labor, the experience of work, and business and industry in New England.

At the heart of the SCUA holdings is a suite of collections documenting the organized labor movement in New England. The official records of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, a large and important collection, is joined by records for trades ranging from clothing and textile workers to carpenters, electrical workers, and granite cutters.

Of particular note is the John W. Bennett Labor History Collection, a large assemblage of labor-related realia and ephemera, including hundreds of badges, pins, watch fobs, lighters, and other artifacts distributed to union members at annual conventions and other union events. The collection is a unique resource for study of the iconography of organized labor and includes items from representative unions and locals ranging from the Knights of Labor in the 1870s to the present. While centered on New England, the Bennett Collection extends nationally.

Notable collections

  • Organized Labor
    • From the records of the Massachusetts State AFL-CIO to the papers of union locals and labor leaders.
  • See all Business and industry
    • Manufacturing
      • The industrial heritage of New England is represented in collections ranging from the records of the Clement Co., Lamson and Goodnow, and the Northampton Cutlery Company (manufacturers of cutlery), the American Writing Paper Company, the Rodney Hunt Co. (a manufacturer of textile machinery and waterwheels), and Smith and Wesson. The most recent collection is the papers of Sidney Topol, CEO of Scientific-Atlanta, a corporation at the forefront of the growth of cable television in the United States.
    • Merchants and commerce
      • Account books and other business records for a number of New England merchants dating back to the eighteenth century, ranging from small scale traders to keepers of rural general stores to shipping merchants trading in the Atlantic economy.

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