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Perske, Robert

Robert and Martha Perske Papers, 1964-2005
13 boxes (19.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 772
Robert and Martha Perske Papers image
Bob and Martha Perske with their dog, Wolfie, 2004

While serving with the U.S. Navy in the Philippines during World War II, the teenaged Bob Perske became aware of the vulnerable and disabled in society and turned his life toward advocacy on their behalf. Studying for the ministry after returning to civilian life, Perske was appointed chaplain at the Kansas Neurological Institute, serving children with intellectual disabilities for 11 years, after which he became a full-time street, court, and prison worker — a citizen advocate — laboring in the cause of deinstitutionalization and civil rights of persons with disabilities, particularly those caught in the legal system. After Bob married his wife Martha in 1971, the two became partners in work, with Martha often illustrating Bob’s numerous books and articles. In 2002, Perske was recognized by the American Bar Association as the only non-lawyer to ever receive the Paul Hearne Award for Services to Persons with Disabilities.

The Perske Papers contains a fifty year record of published and unpublished writings by Bob Perske on issues surrounding persons with disabilities, along with correspondence, photographs, and other materials relating to the Perskes’ activism. The correspondence includes a particularly rich set of letters with a fellow advocate for persons with disabilities, Robert R. Williams.

Subjects
  • Mental retardation--Social aspects
  • People with disabilities--Deinstitutionalization
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
Contributors
  • Perske, Martha
  • Williams, Robert R.
Types of material
  • Photographs

Phillips, Marie, 1954-

Marie Phillips Collection, 1948-2007
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 170
Marie Phillips Collection image
Marie Phillips and Jakie,

For many years, the UMass Amherst campus was home to several colonies of feral cats that took up residence in its barns and outbuildings, and beginning with Leo V. Robinson in 1945, a succession of individuals were moved to feed and care for the cats. An alumna and employee in Human Relations, Marie Phillips (BA ’78, MPA ’91) took over as feral cat caretaker between 1991 and 2007, joined by her colleague Meg Caulmare of the English Department, and together they supported the colonies along the Cat Corridor stretching from the rear of Munson Hall to the Queen Anne Horse Barn. With increasing construction on campus and careful rehoming, the feral cat population was gradually reduced on campus until 2014, when the last cats to live in the Horse Barn, Mr. Junie Moon and Rusty, were given a home by Caulmare. Phillips wrote about her experiences with two of the more notable cats on campus, Dadcat and Ashes, in her book Dadcat University (2007).

The Phillips collection offers a visual records of the lives of the feral cats on the UMass Amherst campus. A strong supporter of efforts to preserve the declining Horse Barn, Phillips also accumulated photographs, reports, and research materials on the barn and horses at the university.

Subjects
  • Cats--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Feral cats--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Munson Annex (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
  • Queen Anne Horse Barn (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Types of material
  • Photographs

Pledger, Lynne

Lynne Pledger Collection, 1968-2007
3 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 726

Lynne Pledger became active in waste management issues when Casella Waste Systems, a New England-based landfill company, applied to expand operations in Hardwick, Mass., potentially threatening the public water supply. Organizing a grassroots campaign, Pledger succeeded in getting Casella to drop plans to rezone the landfill in 2007, after the company failed to garner the necessary support in town meeting. Pledger has remained active in zero waste and waste reduction efforts, serving on the Zero Waste Committee for the Sierra Club, on the Clean Water Action Campaign, on the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Solid Waste Advisory Committee, and co-founding Don’t Waste Massachusetts, an alliance of 25 environmental organizations supporting waste reduction measures.

This small collection contains documentation of grassroots opposition to the expansion of the landfill at Hardwick, Mass. Collected by Pledger, the material includes environmental and site reports, some filings, background information on the site and landfills, and some correspondence relating to the controversy.

Subjects
  • Casella Waste Systems
  • Fills (Earthwork)--Massachusetts
  • Hardwick (Mass.)--History
  • Refuse and refuse disposal--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Pledger, Lynne

Polish Jubilee

Polish Jubilee Catalogs and Souvenirs, 1906-1988
5 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 057

Includes booklets containing parish and community histories, photographs, and local advertisements celebrating Jubilee, other anniversaries, and events in over twenty Massachusetts Polish American parishes; booklets furnishing histories and names associated with Polish American groups (such as the Brotherly Aid Society and Polish American Veterans); an historical paper on the Chicopee Polish Community; a pamphlet including songs and recipes; photographs; a booklet; and two books.

Subjects
  • Chicopee (Mass.)--History
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts

Powell, James R.

James R. Powell Collection, 1958-2010
27 boxes (16.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 701

A devoted reader of newspaper cartoon strips, Jim Powell began collecting Peanuts cartoon books in the mid-1970s, prompted by obtaining two pure-bred beagles for his son.

The Powell cartoon book collection consists of 419 mass market paperback copies of popular cartoon books, representing the work of well-known cartoonists such as Charles M. Schultz, Johnny Hart, Gary Larson, Garry Trudeau, Jim Davis, and Berke Breathed. The collection has particularly rich runs of Peanuts, Garfield, and Doonesbury.

Subjects
  • Comic books, strips, etc.
Contributors
  • Davis, Jim, 1945 July 28-
  • Schulz, Charles M. (Charles Monroe), 1922-2000
  • Trudeau, G. B., 1948-
  • Watterson, Bill
Types of material
  • Cartoons

Pratt, Grace O’Neill

Grace O'Neill Pratt Scrapbooks, 1935-2008
4 boxes, 7 vols.
Call no.: MS 821
Grace O'Neill Pratt Scrapbooks image

Grace Eleanor (O’Neill) Pratt was born in Ware, Mass., in 1924. By the early 1940s, her father’s work brought his family to Greenfield, Mass., where Grace continues to reside.

The Pratt Scrapbook Collection represents several decades of intense interest in unusual news-makers. Pratt’s primary interests included “unusual” marriages and loves, but centered on multiple births, sparked by her youthful fascination with the Dionne Quintuplets. Pratt also clipped accounts of the U.S. space program in its early years, stories on U.S. presidents and British royalty, and accounts of local Catholic church leaders. Clipped from newspapers, tabloids, and magazines, this collection captures Pratt’s fascination with popular culture and “other” lives as entertainment. Most of the items are clipped and tucked between scrapbook pages.

Subjects
  • Dionne Quintuplets
  • Multiple birth
Types of material
  • Scrapbooks

Putnam, William

William Putnam Papers, 1840-1886
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 014

For several decades in the mid-nineteenth century, William Putnam (1792-1877) and his family operated a general store in Wendell Depot, Massachusetts, situated strategically between the canal and the highway leading to Warwick. Serving an area that remains rural to the present day, Putnam dealt in a range of essential merchandise, trading in lumber and shingles, palm leaf, molasses and sugar, tea, tobacco, quills, dishes, cloth and ribbon, dried fish, crackers, and candy. At various times, he was authorized by the town Selectmen to sell “intoxicating liquors” (brandy, whiskey, and rum) for “Medicinal, chemical and mechanical purposes only,” and for a period, he served as postmaster for Wendell Depot.

The daybooks and correspondence of William Putnam record the daily transactions of an antebellum storekeeper in rural Wendell, Massachusetts. Offering a dense record of transactions from 1840-1847, the daybooks provide a chronological accounting of all sales and credits in the store, including barter with local residents of the community and with contractors for the new Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad. The last in the series of daybooks lists a surprisingly high percentage of Wendell’s residents (by name, in alphabetical order) who owed him money as of October 1846. The correspondence associated with the collection continues into the 1880s and provides relatively slender documentation of Putnam’s litigiousness, his financial difficulties after the Civil War, and the efforts of his son John William to continue the business.

Subjects
  • Barter--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Consumer goods--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Consumers--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Liquor stores--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Panama hat industry--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Schools--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad
  • Wendell (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Wendell (Mass.)--History--19th century
Contributors
  • Putnam, William
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Quabbin Reservoir

Quabbin Clipping Collection, 1888-1983
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 040

To meet the growing needs for potable water in the Boston metropolitan region, the Massachusetts state legislature ordered the evacuation of the relatively sparsely populated towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott, as well as portions of other adjoining towns such as New Salem, to make way for the construction of a massive reservoir. Over the course of almost two decades, the population of the towns was systematically relocated, the houses moved or razed, and bed of the future reservoir was stripped of trees and brush. The last remaining residents of the region were removed in 1938 and the four primary towns were officially disincorporated as the dam was completed and the waters began to rise.

A collection of newspaper clippings documenting the Swift River Valley towns that were evacuated to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir, including Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, Millington (New Salem), and Prescott. The clippings are concentrated on the towns’ final days and include an incomplete run of The Springfield Union series, “Letters from Quabbin,” series, which recorded the history of the Quabbin Reservoir from site selection to the relocation of houses and people and the disbanding of local organizations and communities.

Subjects
  • Dana (Mass.)--History
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--History
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • Prescott (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
Types of material
  • Clippings (Information artifacts)

Radical Right Collection

Radical Right Collection, 1966-1995 (Bulk: 1978-1993)
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 816

The sharp revival of the U.S. political right in the late 1970s and early 1980s was accompanied by a proliferation of white supremacist and other extremist organizations. Drawing on an mix of Neo-Nazi, white supremacist, Christian supremacist, and Libertarian ideologies, long-established organizations such as the John Birch Society, newly formed coalitions, and a new generation of leaders such as David Duke sought to shift the American political spectrum rightward through both formal political means and underground agitation.

The Radical Right Collection consists of newspapers, newsletters, and other publications from far-right organizations during the late 1960s through 1980s, along with associated ephemera and lists of extremist literature. The collection includes a significant run of the white supremacist magazine Instauration, the Neo-Nazi newspapers Attack and National Vanguard, the National Alliance Bulletin, and Richard Berkeley Cotten’s Conservative Viewpoint, along with publications from Christian rightists Gerald L. K. Smith (The Cross and the Flag), Billy James Hargis (Christian Crusade), and Chick Publications.

Subjects
  • Antisemitism--Periodicals
  • Duke, David Ernest
  • Racism--Periodicals
  • Radicalism
  • Right-wing extremists
Contributors
  • Cotten, Richard Berkeley
  • National Association for the Advancement of White People
  • National Vanguard (Organization)
Types of material
  • Newsletters

Radical Student Union (RSU)

Radical Student Union Records, 1905-2006 (Bulk: 1978-2005)
22 boxes (14.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 045/80 R1

Founded by Charles Bagli in 1976, the Revolutionary Student Brigade at UMass Amherst (later the Radical Student Union) has been a focal point for organization by politically radical students. RSU members have responded to issues of social justice, addressing both local, regional, and national concerns ranging from militarism to the environment, racism and sexism to globalization.

The RSU records document the history of a particularly long-lived organization of left-leaning student activists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Beginning in the mid-1970s, as students were searching for ways to build upon the legacy of the previous decade, the RSU has been a constant presence on campus, weathering the Reagan years, tough budgetary times, and dramatic changes in the political culture at the national and state levels. The RSU reached its peak during the 1980s with protests against American involvement in Central America, CIA recruitment on campus, American support for the Apartheid regime in South Africa, and government-funded weapons research, but in later years, the organization has continued to adapt, organizing against globalization, sweatshops, the Iraq War, and a host of other issues.

Subjects
  • Anti-apartheid movements--Massachusetts
  • Central America--Foreign relations--United States
  • College students--Political activity
  • Communism
  • El Salvador--History--1979-1992
  • Guatemala--History--1945-1982
  • Iraq War, 2003-
  • Nicaragua--History--1979-1990
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Persian Gulf War, 1991
  • Political activists--Massachusetts--History
  • Racism
  • Socialism
  • Student movements
  • United States--Foreign relations--Central America
  • United States. Central Intelligence Agency
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
Contributors
  • Progressive Student Network
  • Radical Student Union
  • Revolutionary Student Brigade
Types of material
  • Banners
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