Literature and the arts play a vital role in the culture and traditions of New England. Western Massachusetts in particular has had a rich history of fostering writers and poets, musicians, dancers, and actors. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives seeks to document not only the lives and work of writers and performers in our region, but the creative and artistic process; showing not just the inspiration, but the perspiration as well.
- SCUA houses significant collections for the poets Robert Francis, Madeleine de Frees, and Anne Halley, as well as small collections for William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens. The records of the Massachusetts Review are an important literary resource.
- Prose writing
- Collections of note include the papers of writers William J. Lederer (author of The Ugly American, Nation of Sheep, and Their Own Worst Enemy), William Manchester (The Death of a President and American Caesar), Mary Doyle Curran (The Parish and the Hill).
- Journalists associated with traditional print and new media, including an important collection for the Liberation News Service, a media service for the alternative press, and the Social Change Periodicals Collection, which includes alternative and radical small press publications. The papers of Sidney Topol provide insight into the technical development of cable television.
- Literary criticism and linguistics
- The papers of literary scholars associated with the University; records of the Massachusetts Review.
- Performing arts
- The vibrant performing arts community in western Massachusetts is well represented in SCUA through groups ranging from the Arcadia Players Baroque music ensemble to theater troupes such as Double Edge Theater, the Valley Light Opera, and the New World Theater. Among the most significant national collections are the Roberta Uno Asian Women Playwrights Collection and the papers of African American expatriate actor and director Gordon Heath, while the James Ellis Theatre Collection includes nearly 8,000 printed volumes on the English and American stage, 1750-1915, along with numerous broadsides, graphics, and some manuscript materials. Musical collections include the papers of Philip Bezanson and Charles Bestor, the score collection of Julian Olevsky, and the Katanka Fraser Political Music Collection.
Within its holdings, SCUA houses collections of the published works of W.E.B. Du Bois, Robert Francis, Anne Halley, William J. Lederer, William Manchester, Thomas Mann, William Morris, Wallace Stevens, and William Butler Yeats, as well as the personal poetry libraries of Halley, Francis, and Stevens. The department also has an extensive collection of Science Fiction magazine fiction and Scottish literature.
Louis Martin Lyons Papers, 1918-1980.
Call no.: RG 2/3 L96
As a journalist with the Boston Globe, a news commentator on WGBH television, and Curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, Louis M. Lyons was an important public figure in the New England media for over fifty years. A 1918 graduate of Massachusetts Agricultural College and later trustee of UMass Amherst, Lyons was an vocal advocate for freedom of the press and a highly regarded commentator on the evolving role of media in American society.
The Lyons Papers contain a selection of correspondence, lectures, and transcripts of broadcasts relating primarily to Lyons’ career in television and radio. From the McCarthy era through the end of American involvement in Vietnam, Lyons addressed topics ranging from local news to international events, and the collection offers insight into transformations in American media following the onset of television and reaction both in the media and the public to events such as the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the war in Vietnam, and the social and political turmoil of the 1960s.
- Boston Globe
- Civil rights movements
- Freedom of the Press
- Frost, Robert, 1874-1963
- Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973
- Journalistic ethics
- Kennedy, John Fitzgerald, 1917-1963
- King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
- University of Massachusetts. Trustees
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975
- WGBH (Television station : Boston, Mass.)
- World War, 1914-1918
- Lyons, Louis Martin, 1897-
Types of material
- Letters (Correspondence)
Norman and Mary-Louise Meyer Papers, 1960-1980.
Call no.: MS 778
Opposition to fluoridation of public water supplies in Massachusetts swelled in the 1950s, culminating in passage of a law in 1958 mandating that towns that wished to fluoridate would first put the proposal to public referendum. The primary force advocating for this law was the Massachusetts Citizens Rights Association, an organization founded and directed by Norman and Mary-Louise (Shadman) Meyer of Wellesley and which remained the leading anti-fluoridation group in the Boston area for twenty years. Having met and married while students at Harvard (1943) and Wellesley, respectively, the Meyers were tireless supporters of civic activities ranging from educational and environmental causes to public television (through the Citizens for Public Television in Boston), and disability (Norman served as director of the Protestant Guild for the Blind in Watertown), and they were stalwart members of the Wellesley town meeting. Norman Meyer died in Tortola in 1986, with Mary-Louise following in 1999.
The Meyer collection is a rich assemblage of letters and other materials documenting the Massachusetts Citizens Rights Association and the struggle against fluoridation in Wellesley, Newton, and other communities in eastern Massachusetts. Central figures in the movement, the Meyers maintained a wide correspondence with other activists throughout the region and published and disseminated information on the dangers of flourides in the water supply.
- Antifluoridation movement--Massachusetts
- Drinking water--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
- Water--Fluoridation--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
National Arts Policy Archive and Library
National Endowment for the Arts Collection, 1965-2009.
Call no.: MS 686
Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.
In contributing to the National Arts Policy Archive and Library (NAPAAL), the NEA allowed SCUA to digitize nearly forty years of publications on the arts and arts management. The collection reflects the impact of the arts (including music, literature, and the performing arts) on everyday lives of Americans and include materials intended to support individual and classroom education, information on arts management, reports on the status of the arts, histories of the organization, and much more. All items are cataloged in the UMass Amherst Libraries online catalog and are included in the Internet Archive, where they are available for full-text searching.
- Art and State
- Government aid to the arts
Carl Oglesby Papers, ca.1965-2004.
Call no.: MS 514
Reflective, critical, and radical, Carl Oglesby was an eloquent voice of the New Left during the 1960s and 1970s. A native of Ohio, Oglesby was working in the defense industry in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1964 when he became radicalized by what he saw transpiring in Vietnam. Through his contacts with the Students for a Democratic Society, he was drawn into the nascent antiwar movement, and thanks to his formidable skills as a speaker and writer, rose rapidly to prominence. Elected president of the SDS in 1965, he spent several years traveling nationally and internationally advocating for a variety of political and social causes.
In 1972, Oglesby helped co-found the Assassination Information Bureau which ultimately helped prod the U.S. Congress to reopen the investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A prolific writer and editor, his major works include Containment and Change (1967), The New Left Reader (1969), The Yankee and Cowboy War (1976), and The JFK Assassination: The Facts and the Theories (1992). The Oglesby Papers include research files, correspondence, published and unpublished writing, with the weight of the collection falling largely on the period after 1975.
- Assassination Information Bureau
- Gehlen, Reinhard, 1902-1979
- Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963--Assassination
- King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
- Political activists
- Student movements
- Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
- United States--Foreign relations
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975
- Watergate Affair, 1972-1974
- Oglesby, Carl, 1935-
George Edward Stone Papers, 1890-1957.
Call no.: FS 085
Professor of Botany, Massachusetts Agricultural College.
Correspondence, lecture notes, reports, notes on experiments, drawings depicting original apparatus, scrapbooks of printed botanical illustrations, student papers, genealogies, memorabilia, and photographs; together with papers reflecting administrative and official duties; correspondence, notes, and news clippings on psychic phenomena; and autobiographical notes, including reflections on Massachusetts Agricultural College and on Emily Dickinson.
- Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886
- Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
- Massachusetts Agricultural College. Botany Department
- Plant physiology--Massachusetts
- Barlow, Waldo
- Stone, George E. (George Edward), 1860-1941
Types of material
Storrsville Lyceum Debating Society Minutebook, 1842-1846.
Call no.: MS 016 bd
Club that met weekly or bi-weekly in Storrsville, Massachusetts, to debate questions of local, national, and international interest including religion, abolition and slavery, human nature, penal reform, the lure of the West, intemperance, and war and peace. Single minutebook includes two versions of the constitution, proposed and debated questions, the teams, the outcome, and notations of any additional activities that took place during the formal meetings.
- Ciceronean Debating Club (Dana, Mass.)
- Dana (Mass. : Town)--Intellectual life--19th century
- Debates and debating--Massachusetts--Dana (Town)--History
- Storrsville (Dana, Mass. : Town)--Intellectual life--19th century
- Storrsville Lyceum Debating Society (Dana, Mass.)--Archives
Types of material
- Minute books
Sidney Topol Papers, 1944-1997.
Call no.: MS 374
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.
- Boston (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th century
- Cable television
- Electronic Industries Association
- Raytheon Company
- Topol, Sidney
U.S. Presidential Campaign Audio and Video Tapes, 1972-1988.
Call no.: MS 120
The collection consists of audio and visual tapes of radio and television coverage of U.S. presidential elections in 1972, 1980, and 1988. In total there are more than 250 tapes containing interviews with the candidates, election commercials, speeches, party conventions, and news media commentary.
- Presidents--United States--Election
Types of material
UMass Amherst. Public Affairs, 1866-2007.
Call no.: RG 5
Public relations efforts at UMass have shifted over the years from an early emphasis on education in agriculture and home economics to contemporary efforts to manage the torrent of information generated by a research university. The first news editor at UMass was not appointed until 1948, and as late as 1961, the entire central Public Relations staff consisted only of a news and publications editor, although the College of Agriculture hosted a separate staff of five. Since the 1960s, however, the public relations efforts have expanded as rapidly as the University as a whole. The position of Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Development was created in 1983, (called Vice Chancellor for University Advancement after 1993) to oversee public affairs, alumni relations, and development activities.
This record group consists of materials from the several offices concerned with the production of University publications and publicity. The records include press releases, brochures, guidebooks, newsclippings, newsletters, bulletins, weekly newspapers, semi-monthly feature publications, special publications and photographic negatives. Also included in this group are the following publications: Chancellor’s Monthly Press Briefings, Chancellor’s Annual Review of NewsClips, Commonwealth Research Reports, Campus Guidebooks, University Newsletter, Weekly Bulletin, Executive Bulletin, University Bulletin, brochures, Contact, UMass, Science Journal, University Notebook, Tips, News Summary, and the Commonwealth Journal.
- Public relations--Massachusetts
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Office of Public Affairs