Special Collections and University Archives
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Mary B. Stinson Collection, 1974-1981

2 boxes (1.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 824
Mary B. Stinson Collection image

Throughout the 1970s, Mary B. Stinson (formerly Lindblom) was an active member of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in California and served as a delegate to the First National Women’s Conference in Houston.

The collection includes several ephemeral objects reflecting Stinson’s activism including IWY pendant necklaces and an ERA license plate frame, along with published reports and articles relating to the IWY and a 1979 NOW conference in California.

  • Equal rights amendments
  • Feminism--United States
  • International Women's Year Conference
  • National Organization for Women
  • Women's rights--United States
  • Stinson, Mary B.

Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society Records, 1986-2000

1 folder, 1 audiocassette, 1 VHS tape (.2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 940
Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society logo

Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society, (a.k.a. the Amelia’s) was a lesbian social club based out of Lebanon, N.H., serving the Upper Valley area of Vermont and New Hampshire, and beyond. Reachable via an unnamed post-office box, the club began in 1979 and provided members not only with much sought after social, leisure, and entertainment opportunities, but also a unique community of peers for discussion and activities around political, educational, health, and legal issues of importance to women and lesbians. Like their famous namesake, the Amelia’s did not shy away from risks in supporting women, the feminist movement, or actions promoting and educating about lesbians. The group often overlapped with feminist and lesbian print shop and publishing company, New Victoria Press, and the Amelia’s often used the New Vic building for their meetings.

The Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society Records consist of over 25 issues of the “Amelia’s Newsletter” from 1986-2000; two clippings covering news related to the group, including the repeated vandalization of their “Upper Valley Lesbians” Adopt-A-Highway Program sign; a 1994 audiocassette of interviews for an oral history of the Amelia’s; and a VHS tape of a community event held in 2003 to reflect on the women’s movement in the Upper Valley in the 1970s and 1980s. The newsletter offers detailed documentation of the group and their concerns, including calendars of their social gatherings and other local, regional, and national events of interest, and recaps of relevant news to the lesbian community including updates about politics, legal issues, civil rights and benefits, marriage, discrimination cases, women’s health, education and school issues, and lesbian focused social and entertainment events.

  • Feminism--New England--History
  • Lesbian community--New England
  • Lesbian community--New Hampshire
  • Lesbian community--Vermont
  • Dingman, Beth
Types of material
  • Audiocassettes
  • Newsletters
  • VHS

Arlene Voski Avakian Papers, 1974-2010

14 boxes (21 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 150
Arlene Voski Avakian Papers image
Arlene Avakian

Arlene Avakian arrived at UMass in 1972 as a graduate student working on the social history of American women, but quickly became a key figure in the creation of the university’s new program in Women’s Studies. As she completed her MA in History (1975) and EdD (1985), she helped in the early organization of the program, later joining the faculty as professor and program director. Through her research and teaching, she contributed to an engaging departmental culture in which the intersection of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality were placed at the center, building the program over the course of 35 years into the nationally-recognized Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Avakian has written and taught on topics ranging from the lives and experiences of Armenian American and African American women to culinary history and the construction of whiteness. She retired in May 2011.

Documenting the growth and development of Women’s Studies at UMass Amherst, the collection includes valuable material on the creation of the department (and Women’s Studies more generally), second- and third-wave feminism, and Avakian’s teaching and research. The collection includes a range of correspondence, memoranda, notes, and drafts of articles, along with several dozen oral historical interviews with Armenian American women. Also noteworthy is the extensive documentation of ABODES, the Amherst Based Organization to Develop Equitable Shelter, which established the Pomeroy Lane Cooperative Housing Community in South Amherst in 1994.

  • Armenian American women
  • Cornell University. Program in Female Studies
  • Feminism
  • Housing, Cooperative
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Zoryan Institute
  • Avakian, Arlene Voski
Types of material
  • Audio recordings

Arlyn Diamond Papers, 1976-1988

1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 118

As a member of the faculty in the English Department at UMass Amherst in 1972, Arlyn Diamond became one of the founding members of the Program in Women’s Studies. A scholar of medieval European literature, Diamond received her doctorate from Berkeley in 1970 and became an early proponent of feminist criticism. Among other works, she was author of Authority of Experience: Essays in Feminist Criticism (1988) and editor (with Lee Edwards) of American Voices, American Women (1973). Diamond retired from the University in 2004.

This small collection consists primarily of notes for research and teaching. Of particular interest is a series of women’s studies bibliographies, readings for the Five College Women’s Studies Faculty Seminar (Autumn 1977), graduate level feminist theory courses, and notes related to the history of women’s studies. Also included among the papers are financial records from the 1977 Five College Women’s Studies Faculty Seminar.

  • Feminist Criticism
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Michella Marino Oral History Collection, 2011-2012

23 items
Call no.: MS 812

Michella Marino received her doctorate from the Department History of at UMass Amherst in May 2013. Her dissertation, Sweating femininity: women athletes, masculine culture, and American inequality from 1930 to the present, drew on extensive oral historical and archival research to examine how feminist women negotiated the cultural boundaries surrounding gender to carve out identities as women, athletes, and mothers. Focusing on women’s participation in two sports, basketball and roller derby, Marino wrote that her goal was to “explain the tension between women’s representation and agency, between cultural constructs and women’s lives, between images of women and their individual identities.”

The Marino Collection consists of 23 oral historical interviews with female and male participants in roller derby and basketball.

  • Roller derby
  • Sex discrimination in sports--History
  • Sports for women
  • Women athletes
  • Women's basketball
Types of material
  • Oral histories

New Victoria Publishers Records, 1974-2009

6 boxes (11 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 883
New Victoria Publishers Records image
From the top down: Beth Dingman, Claudia McKay Lamperti, Petey Becker, Bonnie Arnold, and ReBecca Béguin (ca. 1976)

Founded in 1975 in Lebanon, NH by Beth Dingman, Claudia McKay (Lamperti), Katie Cahill, Nina Swaim, and Shelby Grantham, New Victoria Printers became one of two all-female print shops in New England at the time. Believing strongly that, “the power of the press belongs to those who own it,” they began to solicit work from non-profit and politically-oriented groups. Like its namesake Victoria Press, an 1860s women run print shop in London owned by Emily Faithful, an early advocate of women’s rights, New Victoria was also committed to feminist principles. The shop offered work and training in printing, machine work, and other traditionally male dominated fields; initially focused on printing materials from the women’s movement; and was organized as a collectively owned and democratically run organization. Additionally, the shop functioned as a defacto women’s center and lesbian hub for Lebanon and the surrounding area, a place of education, community, creativity, and activism, and soon publishing opportunities, as the group founded New Victoria Publishers in 1976 to publish works from their community. The print shop closed in 1985, with Dingman and McKay taking over the running of the non-profit publishing company out of their home in Norwich, VT, with an emphasis on lesbian fiction in addition to other women-focused works. An early bestseller, Stoner McTavish by Sarah Dreher, put them on the map, with the company publishing over a hundred books by and about lesbians, winning three Lambda Literary Awards and several other honors.

The New Victoria Publishers Records consist of photographs, newsletters and cards put out by the collective, materials printed by the press, marketing and promotional materials, author correspondence, graphics and cover art, book reviews, financial and legal records, histories of the organization, news clippings, and an almost full run of the books published by the company. The collection is particularly rich in documenting the work and production of a women owned business within the feminist press movement as well as the lesbian publishing industry.

  • Collective labor agreements – Printing industry
  • Feminist literature – Publishing
  • Lesbian authors
  • Lesbians' writings -- Publishing
  • Women printers – New England
  • Women publishers – New England
  • Beth Dingman
  • Claudia McKay
  • New Victoria Printers
  • New Victoria Publishers
Types of material
  • Photographs

Ruth J. Totman Papers, ca. 1914-1999

6 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 097
Ruth J. Totman Papers image
Ruth Totman and Jean Lewis, ca.1935

Trained as a teacher of physical education at the Sargent School in Boston, Ruth J. Totman enjoyed a career at state normal schools and teachers colleges in New York and Pennsylvania before joining the faculty at Massachusetts State College in 1943, building the program in women’s physical education almost from scratch and culminating in 1958 with the opening of a new Women’s Physical Education Building, which was one of the largest and finest of its kind in the nation. Totman retired at the mandatory age of 70 in 1964, and twenty years later, the women’s PE building was rededicated in her honor. Totman died in November 1989, three days after her 95th birthday.

The Totman Papers are composed mostly of personal materials pertaining to her residence in Amherst, correspondence, and Totman family materials. The sparse material in this collection relating to Totman’s professional career touches lightly on her retirement in 1964 and the dedication of the Ruth J. Totman Physical Education Building at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Supplementing the documents is a sizeable quantity of photographs and 8mm films, with the former spanning nearly her entire 95 years. The 8mm films, though fragile, provide an interesting, though soundless view into Totman’s activities from the 1940s through the 1960s, including a cross-country trip with Gertrude “Jean” Lewis, women’s Physical Education events at the New Jersey College for Women, and trips to Japan to visit her nephew, Conrad Totman..

  • College buildings--Massachusetts--Amherst--History--Sources
  • Conway (Mass.)--Genealogy
  • Dairy farms--Massachusetts
  • Family farms--United States
  • Farm life--United States
  • Physical Education for women
  • Totman family
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--History
  • Women physical education teachers
  • Drew, Raymond Totman, 1923-1981
  • Lewis, Gertrude Minnie, 1896-
  • Totman, Conrad D
  • Totman, Ruth J
Types of material
  • Genealogies
Two girls in carriage, Quabbin region, ca.1910
Two girls in carriage, Quabbin region, ca.1910

SCUA is dedicated to documenting New England history, including primary materials relating to the political, cultural, economic, and intellectual life of our region, and the lives and experiences of its residents.

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. Of particular note are two exceptionally large and rich collections: the records of the Hampshire Council of Governments, which contains over 325 years of county-level governance in western Massachusetts, and the records of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, which contains 350 years of Quaker history.

The recent political history of the region is documented through the papers of congressmen Silvio O. Conte and his successor John Olver, Governor Jane Swift, state Senator Stanley Rosenberg, state representatives John G. Clark, Maurice Donahue, Whiting Griswold, and John Haigis, and other figures involved in the political life of the Commonwealth.

In addition to holding material relating to many individual towns and communities in western Massachusetts, SCUA maintains a special interest in the history of the towns of the Quabbin watershed.

Significant collections

  • 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
    • Although SCUA has scattered holdings relating to earlier wars, the department houses interesting materials relating to World War II and the War in Vietnam, with the latter concentrated on the antiwar movement.
  • 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

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Vivian M. Barfield Papers, 1972-1977

3 boxes (1.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 098
Vivian M. Barfield Papers image
Vivian Barfield

Vivian Barfield was the first female Assistant Athletic Director at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dedicated to the advancement of women’s athletics, Barfield began her tenure at UMass in January 1975. Charged with upgrading the women’s’ athletic program and contributing to the decision-making process in men’s athletics, Barfield made strides to bring UMass into compliance with Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1972. Barfield was ultimately unsuccessful in her efforts after a disagreement with Athletic Director Frank McInerney about her job description led to her resignation. After leaving UMass, Barfield became the Director of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (established 1975) at the University of Minnesota.

Although Barfield’s tenure at UMass was relatively brief, her papers are representative of a specific time in the country and at the University. With materials relating to Title IX, affirmative action, and perhaps most importantly, Barfield’s class action complaint against the University, the Barfield Papers speak to issues of second-wave feminism, women in sports, and discrimination at UMass in the mid-1970s.

  • Sex discrimination in sports--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Athletics
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Women
  • Women physical education teachers
  • Barfield, Vivian M

Lorian P. Jefferson Papers, 1913-1929

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 072
Lorian P. Jefferson Papers image
Lorian Jefferson, photo by Frank Waugh

An historian of economics specializing in American agriculture, Lorian Pamela Jefferson was one of the first women in the field and became an expert on New England agricultural industry. Born in 1871 near Necedah, Wisconsin, Jefferson earned her B.L. from Lawrence University in 1892 and her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1907, continuing on to study towards her PhD though she never finished her research. Jefferson began working at the University in 1912 as an expert in the Division of Rural Social Science and became a professor of Agricultural Economics in 1915. Known as “Miss J”, Jefferson was a dedicated teacher and published extensively on various aspects of agricultural industry and marketing, including the McIntosh apple market and the agricultural labor movement. Illness forced Jefferson’s retirement from the University in 1935 and she died shortly thereafter.

Industry reports, farm and community market assessments, and many of her published articles make up the majority of the collection. There is also a bound volume of correspondence and pamphlets by Jefferson from 1914 titled “Letters Relating to economic Entomology in the United States.” Among the published work is a copy of the magazine Farm and Garden from April, 1924.

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Agricultural Economics
  • Jefferson, Lorian P
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