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Rare book collections

Votes for women, Enfield Collection
Votes for Women, ca.1919 (Enfield Collection)

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives houses approximately 40,000 volumes reflecting an evolving history of collecting at UMass Amherst. Beginning in the late 1860s with a focus on agriculture and the natural sciences, SCUA has developed into a resource for the study of regional and local history in New England, emphasizing our varied cultural, social, religious, and political histories.

Beyond New England, SCUA has developed strength in several distinct areas, ranging from the literature of social change to the extraordinary collection of Japanese rarities collected by the geologist Benjamin Smith Lyman during the Meiji era and the works of an eclectic assortment of poets and writers. Other noteworthy collections include those pertaining to Cold War culture: a growing collection of books printed in East Germany and one of the largest collections of materials in the United States from the Solidarity movement in Poland.

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All books and periodicals held by SCUA are cataloged in the Library’s online catalog and summary descriptions of most major book collections, but not individual titles, are included in SCUA’s own online catalog, UMarmot.

Notice: due to renovations in the library, much of SCUA’s collection of printed materials (books and periodicals) will be unavailable until further notice. Please contact our archivists to see whether we can assist.

Selected areas of collecting interest:

Agriculture, horticulture, natural history

The library holds key works in apiculture, entomology, gardening, landscape design, organic agriculture, pomology, sustainability, and viticulture, with numerous works in animal husbandry. Materials date back to the 16th century, however the strength of the collections lies in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Cookery in New England

Knox gelatin
The Collection

The collections of Beatrice A. McIntosh, Athena Savas, and Lynette Foucher, among others, include books, pamphlets, and ephemera relating to the culinary history of New England, including many thousands of cookbooks published by church and community organizations.

European history and culture

Diverse collections ranging from materials on Revolutionary-era Europe, 1789-1848 (the Binet and Brabançonne Collections); Anglo-American Political Economy; twentieth century German history (the Harold Gordon Collection on the Interwar period and the Hans Joachim Ring Collection on East German cinema); and Communist-era Poland (Basia Jakubowska Schlatner Solidarity Collection).

Gay and Lesbian Literature

The centerpiece extensive of our holdings is the collection of gay rights pioneer Barbara Gittings and her partner, Kay Tobin Lahusen, which includes books on the history of homosexuality in America, works by and about gay writers, gay activism, and related topics.

Literary collections

Books by and about Robert Francis, Archibald MacLeish, William Manchester, William Lederer, and the Broadside Press; records of the Cummington School for the Arts and Massachusetts Review; and the poetry libraries of Francis, Wallace Stevens, and Anne Halley. Although the literary collections focus largely on New England writers, SCUA houses fine collections of the works of Charles Lamb, William Morris, and William Butler Yeats, signed first editions of works by Thomas Mann, and collections of French and Scottish writers. We are stewards of the papers of several writers from New England and collect their works comprehensively, including Andrew Coburn, Mary Doyle Curran, Mary McGarry Morris, Raymond Mungo, Jodi Picoult, and Harvey Swados.

New England history and culture

Massachusetts Agricultural College postcard
Massachusetts Agricultural College postcard

Local and regional histories, novels, and other writing about Massachusetts from the eighteenth century to the present. These include an array of election, ordination, installation, dedication, fast-day, mission, farewell, and funeral sermons; Fourth of July orations; and addresses to or by benevolent, cultural, and civic organizations in the Commonwealth. The New England Yearly Meeting of Friends collection contains thousands of books, pamphlets, and periodicals relating to Quaker history from the seventeenth century to the present. With an emphasis on New England Quakerism, these collections include the libraries of Moses and Obadiah Brown and libraries amassed by several monthly and quarterly meetings. SCUA also collects works printed in small towns and rural districts of Massachusetts from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Social change

Valuable collections for the history of antislavery in New England and politics of the left. The John P. Roche and Steven Siteman Collections focus on the American left from the late 19th century through the 1950s, with some European materials and materials from the political right.

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Rausch, Marvin

Marvin Rausch Papers
1988-2006
11 boxes (22.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 092

After completing postdoctoral work in Germany under Nobel laureate E.O. Fischer, Marvin Rausch joined the Chemistry faculty at UMass Amherst in 1963. A scholar in organometallic chemistry of the transition metals, Rausch wrote over 150 articles during his career, and became one of the first chairs of the Organometallic Subdivision of the American Chemical Society’s Division of Inorganic Chemistry as well as the Permanent International Secretary of the International Conference on Organometallic Chemistry. A passionate collector of minerals and fan of the basketball team, he remained in Amherst until his death in May 2008.

The Rausch Papers document the latter part of Rausch’s long career as an organic chemist and Professor of Chemistry at UMass. In addition to extensive notes for research and teaching, Rausch’s papers include his professional and personal correspondence, committee notes, patents, and annual performance reports. Also included among the papers are research progress reports, information regarding a NATO grant awarded in 1995, and several molecular models that represent some of Rausch’s work in organic chemistry.

Gift of Marvin Rausch, Nov. 2007
Subjects
  • Chemistry, Organic
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Chemistry
  • iversity of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
Contributors
  • Rausch, Marvin

Ravett, Abraham

Abraham Ravett Collection
1977-1979
1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 890

The independent filmmaker Abraham Ravett has taught film and video at Hampshire College since 1979. Born in Poland in 1947 and raised in Israel, Ravett emigrated to the United States with his family in 1955. Since earning his BFA and MFA in Filmmaking and Photography, he has won wide recognition for his work, receiving major grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation, among other organizations, and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. His films have been screened internationally and have earned Top Prize at the Viennale 2000, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and Onion City Film/Video Festival.

This small collection contains raw footage on open-reel videotape shot by Ravett and two dvds documenting local communities in eastern Massachusetts: the North End, Boston (1977-1978) and Haverhill High School (1978-1979), the latter taken while artist in residence.

Gift of Abraham Ravett, Mar. 2011
Subjects
  • Boston (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Haverhill (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • North End (Boston, Mass.)--Social life and customs
Types of material
  • Videotapes

Reinsch, Henry Gustave

Henry Gustave Reinsch Papers
1942-1960
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 527

Born in Germany in 1888, Henry Gustave Reinsch became an American citizen in 1912, serving in the military during the First World War, marrying an American girl, and starting a family. In 1942, however, two FBI agents showed up at Reinsch’s office, and a year later, Reinsch’s citizenship was revoked when he was accused by the U.S. government of living a double life — publicly loyal to America, privately loyal to Germany. Reinsch appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court and won. His citizenship was reinstated in 1945.

The Reinsch Papers contains newspaper clippings, personal and business correspondence, and official documents pertaining to both citizenship trials, that tell of uncommon wartime experiences.

Gift of Vincent DiMarco, June 2007
Subjects
  • Citizenship, Loss of--United States
  • Fascists--United States
  • German Americans--Washington
  • Silver Shirts of America (Organization)
  • World War, 1939-1945--German Americans
Contributors
  • Reinsch, Bernice
  • Reinsch, Henry Gustave
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Riggs, Maida L.

Maida L. Riggs Papers
1925-2000
8 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 095
Image of Maida Riggs, ca.1944
Maida Riggs, ca.1944

Maida Leonard Riggs, class of 1936, taught women’s physical education at UMass before shifting to teacher preparation. Riggs was a beloved member of the UMass faculty for 28 years before her retirement. An adventurous spirit took Riggs around the globe: to Europe with the Red Cross during World War II; as a bicycling tour leader after the war; on a trek across Nepal at age 62; to Russia, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Uzbekistan. After retiring, Riggs, a self-described compulsive traveler, embarked on a more personal journey to explore her roots. Riggs transcribed more than 250 letters by her pioneer great-grandmother, Mary Ann Clark Longley, and published them under the title A Small Bit of Bread and Butter: Letters from the Dakota Territory, 1832-1869, an absorbing and sometimes heartbreaking account of life on the frontier. An avid photographer, Riggs took advantage of any opportunity to use her camera. These images, particularly from World War II, tell as many stories as do her correspondence. Her memoir, Dancing in Paratrooper Boots, contains typed copies of her letters from her days as a Red Cross volunteer during the war.

The Riggs Papers are a rich documentary history of the World War II era, both in America and Europe, as well as an engrossing study (in transcripts) of the American frontier. Included with extensive correspondence and photographs are published and unpublished prose, and Lovingly, Lucy: Vignettes of a Pioneer Woman’s Life, an essay on Riggs’s paternal grandmother, Lucy Dodge Riggs. Additional items in the collection include handwritten journals, one detailing a trip to China and Japan in 1982, and Riggs’s photographs of young children at play taken for her book on child development, Jump to Joy: Helping Children Grow Through Active Play. Riggs also took her genealogical research seriously, meticulously charting her family’s 1638 immigration from England to Massachusetts. With camera in hand, she later traveled to England in search of more evidence of the Longleys’ English roots.

Gift of Maida Riggs, 2000-2006
Subjects
  • China--Description and travel
  • Longley family
  • Riggs family
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Alumni and alumnae
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Physical Education
  • Women physical education teachers
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • World War, 1939-1945--Women
Contributors
  • Riggs, Maida L.
Types of material
  • Photographs

Rosenberg, Stanley C.

Stan Rosenberg Papers
ca.1991-2008
88 boxes (132 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 556

Graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1977, Stan Rosenberg began his career in politics as an aide to state Senator John Olver from 1980-1983. By 1986 he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives where he served until 1991 when he was elected to the state Senate, a seat vacated by U.S. Congressmen John Olver. The Democratic Senator has served in the Senate ever since, assuming a number of leadership positions from chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means to President Pro Tem of the Massachusetts Senate. Representing towns in Hampshire and Franklin counties, Senator Rosenberg was a moving force behind a campaign finance reform bill that reduced the role of private money in the state’s political system.

Although the collection continues to grow, it currently consists of correspondence, publications, and subject files relating to particular initiatives led by Rosenberg.

Gift of Stanley Rosenberg, 2007-2013
Subjects
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
  • Massachusetts. Senate
Contributors
  • Rosenberg, Stanley C.

Roxbury Action Program

Roxbury Action Program Collection
1944-1975 (Bulk: 1966-1974)
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 765
Image of Ernest Hamilton, <em>Black Power: What is it?</em> (1966)
Ernest Hamilton, Black Power: What is it? (1966)

The Roxbury Action Program and Black Panther Party of Boston were both founded in the Roxbury section of Boston following the riots of 1968. RAP pursued community revitalization through Black self-determination and enjoyed success in its housing initiatives and in providing social services ranging from support for Black businesses to Black draft counseling, health and legal referrals, a Black library, and community awareness program.

Although the exact provenance of this small collection is uncertain, the materials appear to have been collected by an individual, possibly a woman, associated with the early days of the Roxbury Action Program and Boston branch of the Black Panther Party. Steeped in Black Power ideology, the collection includes publications of the Black Panther Party, the Nation of Islam, and other organizations, as well as an insightful series of transcripts of Roxbury Action Program meetings held during its first few months of operation.

Gift of Ken Gloss, Jan. 2013
Subjects
  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Black Panther Party
  • Black power
  • Housing--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Nation of Islam (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Roxbury (Boston, Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • Morrison, George
Types of material
  • Newspapers
  • Photographs

Rural Massachusetts Imprints Collection

Rural Massachusetts Imprints Collection
1797-1897
48 items (3 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 012
Image of John Metcalf
John Metcalf

Although printing requires a substantial capital investment in equipment before any hope of profitability can be entertained, there have been numerous attempts over the years to set up printing houses in communities with astonishingly small population bases. In even the most remote Massachusetts towns, people like John Metcalf (Wendell), Ezekiel Terry (Palmer), and John and Solomon Howe (Enfield and Greenwich) operated as printers during the nineteenth century, specializing in a quotidian array of broadsides, song sheets, almanacs, toy books, and printed forms, hoping to supplement, or provide, a decent living.

This small, but growing collection consists of materials printed prior to the twentieth century in small Massachusetts towns, defined as towns with populations less than about 2,500. Although few of these houses survived for long, they were important sources for rural communities. Typically simple in typography, design, and binding, even crude, the output of such printers provides an important gauge of the interests and tastes of New England’s smallest and often poorest communities.

Subjects
  • Children's books--Massachusetts
  • Printers--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Howe, John, 1783-1845
  • Howe, Solomon, 1750-1835
  • Metcalf, John, 1788-1864
  • Terry, Ezekiel, 1775-1829
Types of material
  • Almanacs
  • Broadsides

Ryan, Christina

Christina Ryan Collection
ca.1978-1995
15 boxes (8 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 523

The collection includes publications, ephemera, periodicals, and other communications from a range of radical groups. Much of the collection relates to the sedition trial of Raymond Luc Levasseur and the Ohio Seven, but ranges into related topics, including political prisoners, Communist and revolutionary action, Puerto Rican independence, African liberation movements, and anti-Klan and antiracist activity. It is organized into six series: Ohio Seven (3 boxes), Political Prisoners (2 boxes), John Brown Anti-Klan Committee (1 box), Subject Files (5 boxes), and Radical Periodicals (4 boxes).

Gift of Christina Ryan, Nov. 2006
Subjects
  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • Anti-imperialist movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Black Power
  • Communism--United States--History
  • Levasseur, Raymond Luc
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Political prisoners--United States
  • Racism
  • Radicalism--United States
  • Revolutionaries--Puerto Rico
  • Sedition
Contributors
  • Ryan, Christina

Sagendorph Woolen Co.

Sagendorph Woolen Company Daybook
1885-1887
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 430

The Sagendorph Woolen Company of East Brookfield, located about sixty miles southwest of Boston in Worcester County, Massachusetts, maintained sixteen looms and specialized in the carding of shoddy and the manufacture of cashmeres, repellents, and suitings. There is some evidence that Sagendorph also spun raw materials for other companies and sold some textile goods on commission.

This daybook records the daily transactions between the Sagendorph Woolen Company and other businesses, local residents, and the company’s labor force. These detailed entries present a dynamic picture of the company’s manufacturing operations ranging from the purchase of raw materials to the sales of finished products.

Subjects
  • Carding (textiles)
  • East Brookfield (Mass.)--History
  • Textile construction processes and techniques
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts--History
  • Textile manufacturers--Massachusetts
  • Textile materials
  • Yarn-making processes and techniques
Contributors
  • Sagendorph Woolen Company
Types of material
  • Daybooks

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