Special Collections and University Archives
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University of Massachusetts Amherst. Student Body, 1867-2007

(155 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 045

Since the arrival of the first class of students at Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1867, the student body at UMass has grown to over 20,500 undergraduates and nearly 6,000 graduate students.

Record Group 45 includes the collected records of student activities at UMass Amherst, from student publications and organizations (fraternities and sororities, unions, and honorary societies) to records of student government, student protests, and religious and social groups. Also included are class notes and correspondence of some individual students while enrolled in the University.

Connect to another siteA number of student publications have been digitized and are indexed in YouMass.
  • Aggie Life
  • Bay State Ruralist
  • College Signal
  • College students--Massachusetts
  • Greek letter societies--Massachusetts
  • Student newspapers and periodicals--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students

University of Massachusetts Amherst Student Publications Collection, 1869-2011

University of  Massachusetts Amherst Student Publications Collection image
Collegian editorial staff, 1921-1922

Since almost the time of first arrival of students at Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1867, the college’s students have taken an active role in publishing items for their own consumption. Beginning with the appearance of the first yearbook, put together by the pioneer class during their junior year in 1870 and followed by publication of the first, short-lived newspaper, The College Monthly in 1887, students have been responsible for dozens of publications from literature to humor to a range of politically- and socially-oriented periodicals.

This series consists of the collected student publications from Massachusetts Agricultural College, Massachusetts State College, and UMass Amherst, including student newspapers, magazines, newsletters, inserts, yearbooks, and songbooks. Publications range from official publications emanating from the student body to unofficial works by student interest groups or academic departments. Links to digitized versions of the periodicals are supplied when available.

  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Students
  • Massachusetts State College--Students
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students
Types of material
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Trustees, 1864-2007

(84.25 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 002

When Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew incorporated the Board of Trustees for the Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1863, the fourteen members of the board were charged with creating a new agricultural college. Since that time, the Board of Trustees (including student trustees) had governed the University, meeting regularly to act on University-wide matters of policy, mission, finance, and campus maintenance. Governance responsibilities in some areas (e.g., tuition, academic program review and approval) are shared with the statewide Board of Higher Education. The Board of Trustees maintains a Chair and six standing committees: Executive, Administration and Finance, Academic and Student Affairs, Athletics, Audit, and External Affairs. The President and the Five College Chancellors administer board policy.

The bulk of the Board of Trustees records consists of meeting minutes (1906-2007) and Trustee Documents (1963-2007), along with the papers of a small number of individual trustees and the records of the Trustees’ “Commission on the Future of the University of Massachusetts” (1988-1989), which resulted in the consolidation of the state’s five public university campuses under a single President and Board of Trustees. In partnership with the Board of Trustees, SCUA has digitized the complete minutes of the Board from chartering of the university in 1863 through 2004.

  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Trustees
  • Massachusetts State College. Trustees
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Trustees
Types of material
  • Minutes

Roberta Uno Collection of Asian American Women Playwrights' Scripts, 1924-2005

25 boxes (9 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 345
Roberta Uno Collection of Asian American Women Playwrights' Scripts image
Coconut masquerade postcard

Roberta Uno was the founder and long time artistic director of the New WORLD Theater at UMass Amherst, a theater in residence dedicated to the production of works by playwrights of color.

Established by Uno in 1993, the Asian American Women Playwrights Scripts Collection contains manuscripts of plays, but also production histories, reviews, and articles, along with biographies and audio and videotaped interviews with playwrights. Among the individuals represented are Brenda Wong Aoki, Jeannie Barroga, Marina Feleo Gonzales, Jessica Hagedorn, Velina Hasu Houston, Genny Lim, le thi diem thuy, Ling-Ai Li, Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl, Nobuko Miyamoto, Bina Sharif, and Diana Son.

  • Asian American women authors
  • New WORLD Theater
  • Playwrights
  • Uno, Roberta, 1956-
Types of material
  • Scripts (Documents)

Rae Unzicker Papers, 1979-1997

1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 818
Rae Unzicker Papers image
Rae Unzicker

Rae Unzicker’s exposure to the psychiatric system began at a young age. Growing up in an abusive home, her parents sent her to psychiatrists off and on for years before she was involuntarily committed. While there, she was quickly introduced to the chaotic and damaging atmosphere of a psychiatric institution, exposing her to mandatory drugs, seclusion rooms, forced feeding, and work “therapy” that required her to wash dishes six hours a day. Once she was release, Unzicker’s road to recovery was long, but after several suicide attempts and stays at other treatment facilities, she ultimately counted herself–along with her friend Judi Chamberlin, an early leader in the movement–a psychiatric survivor. Like Chamberlin, Unzicker embraced her role as an advocate of patient’s rights and for the radical transformation of the mental-health system. In 1995, President Clinton appointed her to the National Council on Disability; two years later she was elected president of the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA). Unzicker was widely known for her public appearances, conferences and speeches, and her writings, including numerous articles and contributions to the book Beyond Bedlam: Contemporary Women Psychiatric Survivors Speak Out. A survivor of cancer of the jaw and breast, Rae Unzicker died at her home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on March 22, 2001 at the age of 52.

Although a small collection, Rae Unzicker’s papers document her activities as a leading advocate for the rights of mental health patients, including transcripts of speeches and videotaped appearances, correspondence and feedback related to workshops and conferences, press kits, and newspaper clippings. The most important materials, however, are her writings. It is through her poems and her full-length memoir, You Never Gave Me M & M’s, that Unzicker’s story and voice are preserved.

  • Antipsychiatry
  • Ex-mental patients
  • People with disabilities--Civil rights
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
  • Unzicker, Rae
Types of material
  • Memoirs
  • Videotapes

Valley Light Opera Records, 1977-2005

12 boxes (18.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 476

Founded in 1975 by a group of Gilbert and Sullivan devotees, the Valley Light Opera is based in Amherst, Massachusetts. VLO presents one fully staged opera and one less formal production every year, and over the years the company has presented all fourteen of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas at least once.

This collection contains a wonderful visual record of VLO productions with literally hunderds of photographs capturing dozens of performances. The collection contains, too, records that document the company’s activities from the moment an opera is selected to be performed to last curtain call.

  • Theatrical companies--Massachusetts
  • Valley Light Opera

Valley Women's History Collaborative Records, 1971-2008

15 boxes (10 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 531

During the early phases of second wave feminism (1968-1978), the Pioneer Valley served as a center for lesbian and feminist activity in western Massachusetts, and was home to over 400 hundred, often ad hoc, groups, such as the Abortion and Birth Control (ABC) Committee, ISIS Women’s Center, the Mudpie Childcare Cooperative, and the Springfield Women’s Center.

The records of the Valley Women’s History Collaborative document the activities of these groups as well as the efforts of the founders of the Women Studies program and department at UMass Amherst to preserve this history. Of particular value are the many oral histories conducted by the collaborative that record the history of women’s activism in the Pioneer Valley, especially as it relates to reproductive rights.

  • Abortion--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History--20th century
  • Birth control--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History--20th century
  • Feminism--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History
  • Feminists--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--Political activity--History
  • Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League
  • Women--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--Political activity--History
  • Valley Women's History Collaborative
Types of material
  • Oral histories

Who can use the collections?

Enfield (Quabbin) dancers
How they danced in Enfield, a Quabbin town

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

  • General
    • 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
    • Please switch off cell phones or set them to silent mode; calls may be taken in the adjacent elevator lobby
  • Care and handling of materials
    • Please use care in handling materials 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 of materials are permitted for research purposes only
    • 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

SCUA’s archivists welcome visits from groups at any level or of any affiliation who wish to make use of our collections or to learn about archives and history. Our staff are available to provide introductions to archival research, overviews of specific areas of historical or cultural interest, information about the collections, or discussions of the history of New England or UMass Amherst. In recent years we have hosted classes from a wide range of disciplines, including history and American culture, African American studies, English and comparative literature, art history, education, anthropology, politics, business, plant and soil sciences, and library and information science.

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
  • Affiliation
  • Date(s) requested, with start and finish time
  • Number of students or visitors
  • Subject area and research interests
  • Special requests (for collections)

Learn more:

Walther R. Volbach Papers, 1897-1996

2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 087
Walther R. Volbach Papers image
Walther R. Volbach

Born in Mainz, Germany on December 24, 1897, the theater historian and stage director Walther R. Volbach began directing operas and plays at the age of 17. After his immigration to the United States in 1936, he worked for several colleges, coming to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for five years as a visiting professor following his retirement in 1965. Noted as a director of operas and plays and for his set design, Volbach was author of three books: The Problems of Opera Production (1953), Adolphe Appia : The Prophet of The Modern Theatre (1968), and Memoirs of Max Reinhardt’s Theaters (1972).

The Volbach collection includes personal and professional correspondence in English and German, mostly from Volbach’s later years, regarding family, publishing, lectures, and employment. The collection also includes photographs of set designs, an image of Volbach teaching a class, publications, and lecture and research notes on theater history.

  • Appia, Adolphe, 1862-1928
  • Drama--Study and teaching
  • Set designers
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Theater
  • Volbach, Walther R. (Walther Richard), 1897-

Karl Richards Wallace Papers, 1898-1976

(14.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 086

Educator, rhetorician, author, President of the Speech Association of America in 1954, and Professor of Speech at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1968-1973.

Includes the accumulated research notes and materials written and used by Wallace in his career as a teacher and author; drafts, reprints, and proofs of his speeches, papers, articles, and books, both published and unpublished, often with accompanying correspondence, research notes, and/or contracts; lecture notes and classroom materials dating from his years as a student through those as a teacher; drafts and reprints of papers and articles by students and colleagues; correspondence; the reports, memoranda, correspondence, resolutions, agenda, notes on meetings, minutes, committee recommendations, position papers, newsletters, audit reports, budget recommendations, membership lists, itineraries, and programs indicative of his leadership and active participation in the Speech Association of America and other professional organizations, conferences, and university committees.

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
  • Wallace, Karl Richards, 1905-1973

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