The University Archives contains the official and unofficial records of the University of Massachusetts Amherst throughout its evolution from a small agricultural college into a dynamic and complex university. Within the archives are letters and artifacts, records, photographs, and sound recordings documenting the lives of its founders, the pursuits of its faculty, and the changing attitudes of its students and alumni, revealing what high quality public education means to our Commonwealth and nation.
Among the hundreds of discrete collections and over 13,000 linear feet of records are the official papers of Chancellors, Presidents, Trustees, and other administrators; information about the University’s academic units and student organizations; and the founding documents of our sister campuses at Worcester, Boston, Lowell, and Dartmouth. The papers of faculty members add a wealth of information about the lives and intellectual pursuits of our campus community as well as their chosen academic disciplines.
Finding things in the archives
A comprehensive alphabetical index of UMass departments, programs, and other units, including acronyms. Each entry includes a reference to the archival Record Group where the records can be found.
YouMass is wiki devoted to the life and history of the campus community.
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Academic Departments, Programs, Institutes, Centers, 1870-2007.
Call no.: RG 025
The academic departments at UMass Amherst are organized within ten schools and colleges. Among the more than 88 degree programs in 2009, 74 confer masters degrees, and 53 confer doctorates.
Containing the records of individual academic departments, programs, institutes, and centers, Record Group 25 documents the shifting history of disciplinarity and departmental affairs at UMass Amherst. The papers of individual faculty members are contained within the Faculty and Staff (FS) collections and are indexed separately in UMarmot.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
Who can use the collections?
Special Collections and University Archives is open at no cost to researchers, regardless of affiliation, during normal business hours. SCUA staff are happy to assist in planning or conducting research and welcome inquiries from students interested in internships in archival and library studies.
Although research appointments are not required, advance notice will help our staff to locate and retrieve research materials. First-time researchers will be asked to register and to provide name, institutional affiliation (when applicable), and current address. At registration, researchers must present a valid form of identification, including a photograph.
In the reading room
- Please sign in at the front desk each visit
- Only pencils and laptop computers may be used for taking notes. Please do not use pens.
- Smoking, food, and drink are not permitted
- Cell phones should be switched off or set to silent mode; calls may be taken in the adjacent elevator lobby
- Care and handling of materials
- Please use care in handling manuscripts and books to prevent damage
- Use only a single box of manuscript or archival material at a time; take care to preserve the existing arrangement of files
- Photographs for research purposes are permitted; check with a staff member first
- Scans and photocopies are made by staff members in keeping with our copying policies
- Upon leaving for the day, please notify the staff whether you are finished with your material or wish to place it on hold for a return visit
Instruction in SCUA
Classes are welcome to visit SCUA to make use of our collections and to learn about archival and historical research. Our staff are available to provide introductions to archival research, overviews of specific areas of historical interest, information about the collections, and discussions of the history of UMass Amherst. In recent years, the staff have hosted classes from history and American culture, African American studies, English and comparative literature, art history, education, anthropology, politics, business, and library and information science, among other disciplines.
To avoid scheduling conflicts, class visits should be arranged ahead of time. Please include the following information when contacting SCUA:
- Name of instructor or contact
- Date(s) requested, with start and finish time
- Number of students
- Subject area and research interests
- Special requests (for collections)
Learn more about:
John S. Wilson Collection, 1970-1983.
Call no.: MS 858
As an undergraduate at UMass Amherst, John S. Wilson undertook of study of gravestones in New Salem, Mass. Working under George Armelagos, he receiving a BA in Anthropology with honors (1971) for his work on the “social dimension of New England mortuary art,” and returned for an MA in (1976). Wilson later worked as Regional Historic Preservation Officer and Archaeologist for the Northeast Region of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Part of the collections of the Association for Gravestone Studies, the collection includes two copies of John Wilson’s senior honors thesis, a card file associated with the thesis, and several dozen slides (both color and black and white) of New Salem headstones. Some images appear to be later prints of images taken in 1970-1971.
- New Salem (Mass.)--History
- Sepulchral monuments--Massachusetts--New Salem
Types of material
Dena Ferran Dincauze Papers, 1974-1992.
Call no.: FS 027
Born in Boston on March 26, 1934, Dena Dincauze earned her doctorate in archaeology from Harvard University (1967) for research on cremation cemeteries in Eastern Massachusetts. Employed briefly as a Lecturer at Harvard, Dincauze joined the faculty at UMass Amherst in 1967, where she taught until her retirement. Dincauze has conducted field surveys and excavations in Illinois, South Dakota, and England, and for many years, she has specialized on the prehistoric archaeology of eastern and central New England. In 1989, Dincauze traveled to Russia as part of a research exchange to visit Upper Paleolithic sites, and four years later she toured the Pedra Furada sites in Sao Raimundo Nonato, Brazil. Dincauze was named Distinguished Faculty Lecturer and was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal from the University of Massachusetts in 1989, and in 1997 the Society for American Archaeology presented her with the Distinguished Service Award.
The Dincauze Papers include professional correspondence, slides from archaeological digs, travel journals and field notes, as well as notes for teaching and research. Among other items of interest in the collection are a travel journal with corresponding slides and notes documenting her somewhat controversial visit to Russia, and correspondence with a member of the UMass faculty questioning her ability to carry a full course load while simultaneously attending to the demands of motherhood.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Anthropology
- Dincauze, Dena Ferran