The acquisition of the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois in 1972 established SCUA as a center for research in African American history. In subsequent years, UMass has supported publication of three volumes of Du Bois’ correspondence and SCUA has digitized the papers and made them freely available on the internet while serving as a resource for many dozens of scholarly articles and books. SCUA continues in its efforts to build around the Du Bois collection, adding other important printed and manuscript materials both in African American history and in the history of efforts to promote social change.
Every February, SCUA and the Du Bois Department of Afro-Americans Studies at UMass Amherst commemorate Du Bois’s birthday by co-sponsoring a public colloquium on Du Bois and his legacy. Our lecturers have included distinguished scholars such as Herbert and Bethina Aptheker, Randolph Bromery, Clayborne Carson, Arnold Rampersad, and David Levering Lewis.
Significant collections (view all)
- Africa American Institute. Records, 1953-2014
- Antislavery Pamphlet Collection
- Several hundred pamphlets relating to political antislavery in the United States, with an emphasis opn New England.
- See our Antislavery pamphlets digital archive
- Aronson, James. Collection, 1946-1983
- Editor of the National Guardian
- Banks, Katherine Bell. Papers, 1926-1960.
- Letters from W.E.B. Du Bois to Banks, a family friend
- Bond, Horace Mann. Papers, 1830-1979
- Educator, President of Lincoln University
- Brown, John. Papers (microfilm), 1826-1942 (bulk: 1856-1859)
- Du Bois, W. E. B. Papers, 1868-1963
- Heath, Gordon. Papers, 1940-1991
- Expatriate writer, actor, director, and musician
- Hudson Family. Papers, 1780-1955
- Family papers of the antislavery activist Erasmus D. Hudson
- International Oil Working Group. Records, 1981-1986
- Lewis, David Levering. Papers, ca.1955-2012
- Massachusetts. Special Commission on Unequal Education Opportunities. Records, 1974-1978
- Obrebski, Joseph and Tamara. Papers, 1923-1974
- Anthropological field work in Jamaica, 1947-1948
- Urban League of Springfield (Mass.). Records, 1970s
- Trent, Lloyd A. Family Papers, 1850-1996
As a place for self-education, discovery, and intensive research, SCUA is steward to a robust record of our diverse pasts that we share with generations yet to come. As part of a community dedicated to the values of diversity, social equity, and positive social change, SCUA acts through its collections, programs, and exhibitions to keep alive the memory of human endeavor and experience. As a collaborator in fulfilling the university’s role as a center of knowledge for the people of Massachusetts, SCUA uses the highest standards and practices and best technologies available to provide free and unfettered access to its holdings.
In 1931, nearly half a century after Librarian Henry Hill Goodell first authorized the permanent retention of the official records of Massachusetts Agricultural College, the Library established a College History Collection. As the official record of the activities of the university’s administrators and faculty and a reflection of the life of its students, this collection grew steadily, until in 1953, the Library dedicated a room named in honor of Dean William L. Machmer to serve as the first true home of the University Archives.
Goodell’s initiative to assemble the College archives coincided roughly with the Library’s first efforts to build a collection of rare books to support its educational mission. Although the College had no separate library until 1885, its administrators nevertheless accepted several significant gifts of books, beginning with the 1868 donation of twenty scarce volumes on bee culture from the apiculturist and state Adjutant General Henry K. Oliver. By the time the library published its first catalog in 1875, rare books formed a small, but notable part of the collections, focused on the primary academic interests of the early college: agriculture, horticulture and botany, and the natural sciences. Among the Library’s earliest acquisitions were the first London edition of William Bartram’s Travels Through North and South Carolina (1792), François Augier de Marigny’s The History of the Arabians (London, 1758), and early bee manuals by John Keys, The Practical Bee-Master (London, 1780) and The Antient Bee-Master’s Farewell (London, 1796) — both courtesy of Oliver. All remain part of the collections today.
From these beginnings, the collections of rare books and manuscripts have evolved in concert with the evolution of the university and its academic programs. With the acquisition of the records of the Valley Peace Center and the papers of ethnographer Jozef Obrebski in 1973, the Library began to acquire collections of personal papers and organizational records of historical significance, and the arrival of the papers on W.E.B. Du Bois in that same year marked a turning point. The rare book and manuscript collections were combined administratively with the University Archives in the early 1990s to form the current Department of Special Collections and University Archives.
SCUA’s initial foray online came with a simple page on the library’s website in 1997, but by 2007, evolved into the UMarmot project, one of the earliest efforts to use freely-available software to create a comprehensive online archival catalog. SCUA launched its online digital repository, Credo in 2011, thanks to generous support from the Verizon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. The papers of W.E.B. Du Bois led SCUA’s way into the digital realm, followed by the papers of Horace Mann Bond, and then dozens of of other collections.
Sesquicentennial oral history project
Marking the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the University of Massachusetts, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) is conducting an oral history project to capture the many voices and diverse experiences that make up our campus community. The anniversary presents an opportunity to reflect on the real achievements — and real challenges — of public higher education over the past century and a half, and a chance to consider where we would like to be in the future.
Over the course of eighteen months, the staff of SCUA and our associates will conduct one hundred and fifty interviews with an array of administrators, faculty, students, alumni, and university employees, as well as selected members of the local community. As they are completed, the interviews will be made available to the public through this website and Credo, SCUA’s digital repository.
If you are interested in participating in the project, please contact the SCUA staff.
As one of the main repositories documenting the history of western Massachusetts and New England, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives collects primary materials relating to the political, cultural, economic, and intellectual life of our region, and the lives and experiences of its residents.
Concentrated in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the collections in SCUA touch on many aspects of the history of the region with developing depth in immigration, labor, work, and industry, social change and movements for social change, and literature and the arts. Among the more valuable collections for the political history of the region is the papers of Silvio O. Conte, Republican congressman from the First District of Massachusetts from 1959-1991. A member of the House Appropriations Committee (and its ranking minority member from 1979-1991), Conte is particularly remembered for his work in Health and Human Services, education, and the environment. SCUA also holds collections for state representatives John Haigis and Maurice Donahue, as well as other figures involved in political life in the Commonwealth.
Although the Department holds materials relating to individual communities in western Massachusetts, the history of the Quabbin watershed is a particular focal point. SCUA collects books printed in the Quabbin region and more generally, in rural New England prior to 1900, as well as manuscript, printed, and photographic collections relating to Quabbin towns.
- Business and industry
- In addition to collections relating to organized labor and the labor movement, SCUA attempts to document the experience of work and the business community to provide a rounded understanding of work life in New England. For a more complete listing, see our guide for Labor, Work, and Industry.
- Civic organizations and charities
- Collections ranging from the records of charitable organizations that provide social services to groups that foster civic engagement and social justice, benevolent and ethnic self-help societies, to organizations that support social and professional communities.
- Family history
- SCUA has a strong interest in “family collections,” typically collections that include correspondence, photograph albums, family and farm accounts, and other materials that reveal the every day lives of New Englanders. Researchers on family life and genealogy should note that many collections indexed under other subjects contain personal and family information of some importance. Our printed materials collections include many local and county histories, genealogies, and other resources which may be useful for understanding family life.
- Immigration, demography, and ethnicity
- Medical history
- Collections include daybooks and medical accounts of physicians, primarily from the nineteenth century, personal papers of physicians, and some materials on public health policy.
- Military history
- Political life and culture
- The distinctive political culture of Massachusetts and formal and informal political activity in the Commonwealth. Although the collections extend back into the nineteenth century, our focus is primarily on the post-World War II period.
- Printing in rural Massachusetts
- SCUA collects books, broadsides, and other materials printed in rural New England prior to 1900. The collections include a growing collection for the printers in the Quabbin region, Solomon and John Howes, but also includes works printed in small towns throughout Berkshire, Hampshire, Hamden, and Franklin Counties.
- Quabbin Regional collections
- Collections relating to all aspects of life and the legacy of the four towns inundated by the Quabbin Reservoir: Dana, Greenwich, Enfield, and Prescott, as well as surrounding communities such as New Salem, Petersham, and Wendell. In our rare books holdings, we have a number of works printed in Enfield or Greenwich, mostly by Solomon and John Howe.
- Religious life
- Our efforts to document the spiritual lives and religious commitments of New Englanders has resulted in a number of manuscript and archival collections. Our social change holdings include a number of collections on spiritually-motivated social reform, and our rare book holdings include hundreds of published sermons and other printed materials relating to religious life in the region.
- New England regional history
George W. Barton Papers, 1889-1984 (Bulk: 1914-1920).
Call no.: RG 050 B37
George W. Barton was born in Sudbury, Massachusetts in 1896. After attending Concord High School in Concord, Barton began his studies in horticulture and agriculture at Massachusetts Agricultural College in Amherst. The collection includes diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, newspaper clippings, programs, announcements, and his herbarium, and relates primarily to his career at the Massachusetts Agricultural College where he studied horticulture and agriculture from 1914-1918.
- Botany--Study and teaching
- Horticulture--Study and teaching
- Massachusetts Agricultural College--Students
- Barton, George W
Types of material
William Penn Brooks Papers, 1863-1939.
Call no.: RG 003/1 B76
Two years after graduating from Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1875, William Penn Brooks accepted an invitation from the Japanese government — and his mentor, William Smith Clark — to help establish the Sapporo Agricultural School. Spending over a decade in Hokkaido, Brooks helped to introduce western scientific agricultural practices and the outlines of a program in agricultural education, and he built a solid foundation for the School. After his return to the states in 1888, he earned a doctorate at the University of Halle, Germany, and then accepted a position at his alma mater, becoming a leading figure at the Massachusetts Experiment Station until his retirement in 1921.
Brooks’ papers consist of correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, an account book, and translations which provide rich detail on Brooks’ life in Japan, the development of Sapporo Agricultural College (now Hokkaido University), and practical agricultural education in the post-Civil War years.
- Agricultural colleges--Japan--History
- Clark, William Smith, 1826-1886
- Hokkaido (Japan)--History
- Hokkaid¯o Daigaku
- Japan--Description and travel--19th century
- Massachusetts Agricultural College--History
- Massachusetts State Agricultural Experiment Station
- Sapporo N¯ogakk¯o--History
- Sapporo-shi (Japan)--History
- Brooks, William Penn, 1851-
Types of material
- Letters (Correspondence)
John G. Clark Papers, 1960-1969.
Call no.: MS 499
With a life long interest in politics, John G. Clark of Easthampton, Massachusetts worked on a number of campaigns before running for office himself. He ran for state senator in 1958, but lost in the Democratic primary. Two years later he ran again, this time for state representative of the 3rd Hampshire District, and won. Clark served in the State House of Representative for eight years until he was appointed clerk of the district court in Northampton and chose not to run for reelection.
While this collection is small, it is packed with campaign materials, letters, position statements, speeches, and press releases that together offer a good sense of the political climate in Massachusetts during the 1960s, especially issues of local concern for Hampshire County. Four letters from a young neighbor written while serving in Vietnam provide a personal account of the war.
- Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975
- Clark, John G., d. 1972
“… 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.
While not comprehensive, the following includes a brief synopsis of some of the primary focal points for SCUA’s collections:
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Serving as the memory of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University Archives collects, preserves, and makes available official and non-official records documenting the people, policies, programs, facilities, and activities of the campus community, including its administration, departments and programs, faculty, and staff. The Archives avidly collects materials that reflect the lives and experiences of its students and alumni and that reflect our history as one of the Commonwealth’s two land grant institutions.
SCUA has developed depth in a handful of other collecting areas, including:
- see Non Academic Computing (NAC) (1996- ) RG-45/40/N6
- see International Brotherhood of Police Officers RG-40/5/P6
- Naiads (Swim Team)
- see Athletic Department RG-18/2
- National Alternative Schools Program
- see Alternative Schools (National Alternative Schools Program) RG-13/3/21/7
- National Environmental Technology for Waste Prevention Institute (NETI) (1994- )
- National Organization for Women (NOW) (1989)
- National Park Service Cooperative Research Unit (The Environmental Institute) (1975-1981)
- National Park Service Cooperative Research Unit Report (The Environmental Institute) (1977-1981)
- Natural History, Massachusetts, Bulletin of
- see Massachusetts Natural History, Bulletin of (1884) RG-25/E4/00
- Natural History Society (1883-1895)
- Natural Resources Center, Holdsworth
- see Holdsworth Natural Resource Center RG-15/3
- Natural Resources, College of Food and
- see College of Food and Natural Resources RG-15
- Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Dean
- Natural Sciences and Mathematics Faculty
- Near Eastern Studies (Program and Committee)
- see also Classics Department RG-25/C5
- Near Eastern Studies Newsletter (1989)
- see New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) RG-60/2
- Negatives, Glass Plate
- see Glass Plate Negatives RG-173
- Negro Universities, Exchange Programs With
- see Exchange Programs-Negro Universities (1965) RG-30/8
- see New England Regional Consortium for Computational Studies (NERCCS) RG-29/1
- see National Environmental Technology for Waste Prevention Institute (NETI) (1994- ) RG-25/N3
- Neuroendocine Studies, Center for
- Neuroscience and Behavior Program
- Neuroscience Systems, Center for
- see Systems Neuroscience, Center for RG-25/S10
- New Africa House
- see Black Culture Center (New Africa House) RG-30/26
- see also Buildings (New Africa House) RG-36/101
- New American Movement (Student Social Action Group) (1973)
- New College Committee and Hampshire College
- New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE)
- New England Classical Newsletter
- New England Council of Land-Grant University Women
- New England Culture, Center for
- see Center for New England Culture (College of Arts and Sciences) RG-11/9
- New England Regional Consortium for Computational Studies (NERCCS)
- New Senate AGENDA
- see AGENDA, The New Senate (1993- ) RG-45/00/A1
- New Student Record (1983, class of 1987)
- New Students Program–Community Development Center
- New Students Program (Summer Counseling)
- see also Counseling Center RG-30/9/1
- New Testament Fellowship (Religious Group) (1983, 1986)
- New World Theater
- see also RG-25/T3.7
- see also Notes For A New World (1987- ) RG-25/T3.7/00
- Newcomer’s Club (Women’s Group)
- Newman Center
- see also Newman Club RG-45/70/N4
- Newman Center Newsletter (1996- )
- Newman Club (Religious Group) (1963-1989)
- see also Newman Center RG-30/11/1
- News (President’s Office)
- News and Notes (Student Publication) (1959)
- News and Views, UMass Alumni
- see UMass Alumni News and Views (1978-1983) RG-50/00/3
- News Bulletin (1937-1941) RG-40/3/P3
- News Bureau
- Note: Name changed to Office of Public Information, 10-6-1983.
- see Office of Public Information (OPI) RG-5/3
- News Letter (Extension Service, Cooperative) (1913-1921)
- News Office
- see Office of Public Information (News Bureau) RG-5/3
- News Project (1968)
- News Service, MAC (Official University Committee) (1926)
- News Summary (Public Affairs) (1993-1994)
- NewsClips (Public Affairs) (1984-1987)
- NewsLetter (School of Management) (1983-1985)
- Newsletter, University
- see University Newsletter (News Bureau) RG-5/00/2
- Newsline (1991)
- Newsline (News Office) (1999- )
- Nominating Committee (Faculty Senate, 1967, 1977)
- NOMMO (1990-1994)
- see also Nummo News (1974-1990) RG-30/26/N8
- Non-Academic Computing (Student Group) (NAC) (1996)
- Nonformal Education Center
- see Center for International Education (CIE) (School of Education) RG-13/3/19/5
- North American Trade and Economics, Institute for
- North Pleasant Street (Joint Town-University Task Force) (1968- )
- North Village Apartments (Residential Buildings)
- Northeast (Residential Buildings)
- Northeast Area Government
- Northeast Center for Urban and Community Forestry (1996- )
- Northeast Forestry Experiment Station (College of Food and Natural Resources) (1923-1933)
- Northeast Metric Research Center
- Northeast Quadrangle President’s Council, Housing sub-committee (1968)
- Northeast Region Environmental Public Health Center
- Northeast Regional Media Center for the Deaf
- see Media Specialists for the Deaf, Center for (School of Education) RG-13/3/21/9
- Northeast Science Enrichment Program
- see Mathematics and Statistics Department–Science Enrichment Program RG-25/M5/3
- Northern Educational Services (Social Action Group) (1975)
- Notebook, University
- see University Notebook RG-5/3/2
- Notes For A New World (1987-1988)
- Notes From Academic Affairs (1981-1983)
- Notes from the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (1973-1974,1977-1978)
- see National Organization for Women (1989- ) RG-45/80/N7
- NU (Hillel) (1973, 1975)
- Nummo News (1974-1991)
- see also NOMMO (1990-1994) RG-45/00/N6
- Nursery School
- Nurses Association, Student
- see Student Nurses Association (SNA) (1987- ) RG-45/40/S7.4
- Nursing Alumni Association Newsletter (1989-1993)
- Nursing, School of
- see Nursing RG-17/3
- Nutrient Data Bank, UMass
- see Food Science and Nutrition, Dept. of–Nutrient Data Bank, UMass RG-25/F5/3
- Nutrition and Human Needs, Committee on (1971)
- Nutrition Department
- see Food Science and Nutrition Department RG-25/F5
Part of: Famous Long Ago Archive
Susan Dalsimer Papers, 1969-1970.
Call no.: MS 578
Famous Long Ago launched the literary career of Raymond Mungo with a splash, but even before the book had reached the shelves, he turned to his next project. In October 1969, Mungo began planning for a memoir of his life at the Packer Corners commune. Soon entitled Total Loss Farm, the book would become a classic in the literature of the 1960s counterculture. Signing a contract in November with E.P. Dutton, he worked with a young and sympathetic editor, Susan Stern (later Susan Dalsimer).
This small, but rich collection consists of a series of letters between Raymond Mungo and his editor at E.P. Dutton, Susan Stern, regarding his ideas on writing and life. Beginning in October 1969 with editorial commentary on Famous Long Ago and Mungo’s additions, the Dalsimer Papers offer insight into the development of Total Loss Farm from concept to printed page.
- Bloom, Marshall, 1944-1969
- Communal living--Massachusetts
- Communal living--Vermont
- Diamond, Stephen
- McLardy, Peter
- Montague Farm Community (Mass.)
- Mungo, Raymond, 1946- . Famous Long Ago
- Mungo, Raymond, 1946- . Total Loss Farm
- Nineteen Sixties
- Packer Corners Community (Vt.)
- Simon, Peter, 1947-
- Dalsimer, Susan
- Mungo, Raymond, 1946-
Types of material