Sesquicentennial oral history project
Marking the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the University of Massachusetts, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) is conducting an oral history project to capture the many voices and diverse experiences that make up our campus community. The anniversary presents an opportunity to reflect on the real achievements — and real challenges — of public higher education over the past century and a half, and a chance to consider where we would like to be in the future.
Over the course of eighteen months, the staff of SCUA and our associates will conduct one hundred and fifty interviews with an array of administrators, faculty, students, alumni, and university employees, as well as selected members of the local community. As they are completed, the interviews will be made available to the public through this website and Credo, SCUA’s digital repository.
If you are interested in participating in the project, please contact the SCUA staff.
George A. Parker Class of 1876 Photograph Album, 1876.
Call no.: RG 130 P37
A prominent member of the Massachusetts Agricultural College Class of 1876, George A. Parker (1853-1926) began a career in landscape gardening and the development of parks shortly after graduation. Shortly after the turn of the century, he was appointed Superintendent of Parks in Hartford, Conn., helping to develop Colt Park and a number of smaller properties that turned the city into one of the models for New England. He resigned from his in January 1926 and died later that year from heart disease.
The Parker Album is a more extensive version of the standard class album for 1876, featuring not only albumen portraits mounted on thick stock of the faculty and students, but almost fifty views of campus. Among these are uncommon images of the major academic buildings, the chapel, and hash house, but also interior and exterior shots of buildings on campus, such as the Botanic Museum and the Durfee greenhouses, and images of the students in military drill. All photographs were taken John L. Lovell of Amherst.
- Massachusetts Agricultural College--Photographs
- Lovell, John L., 1825-1903
- Parker, George A
Types of material
- Albumen prints
Harrison Parker's History of Hawley Collection, ca.1970-1995.
Call no.: MS 532
Named for Joseph Hawley, a local leader in the American Revolution, the town was first settled in 1760 by residents of Hatfield, Massachusetts. Situated in Franklin County, Hawley was officially incorporated as a town in 1792. Today the town is host to a few small businesses, farms, and less than 500 residents.
The collection consists of copies of manuscripts, publications, and genealogical notes all related to the history of Hawley collected by researcher Harrison Parker.
- Hawley (Mass.)--History
- Parker, Harrison
Patagonian Rebellion Collection, 1921-1965.
Call no.: MS 353
In 1921-1922, Chilean workers on sheep ranches in Patagonia rebelled violently against their conditions, egged on by anarchist agitators. Under pressure from Conservatives to act decisively, the Radical government in Buenos Aires ordered the 10th Cavalry Regiment under Hector Benigno Varela to quell the disturbance, which they did with a heavy hand.
The Patagonian Rebellion Collection consists of typescripts and photocopies of materials relating to the suppression of the workers’ revolt of 1921-1922. The most significant items include the official diaries and reports of cavalry officers sent to quell the uprising, but the collection also includes correspondence after the fact, news clippings documenting public reaction, and photocopies of photographs depicting the principle individuals involved and the damage wrought. .
- Varela, Hector B
- Anello, Alfredo
- Campos, Pedro E
- Ibarra, Pedro Vinas
Types of material
Peace Development Fund Records, 1981-2010.
Call no.: MS 427
First conceived in 1980, the Peace Development Fund (PDF) was founded by a small group of activists and donors with a vision: to raise money to fund grassroots organizations promoting peace, global demilitarization, and non-violent conflict resolution. During the foundation’s first funding cycle, PDF awarded 19 grants to projects designed to increase understanding of the arms race; some to organizations as nearby as Deerfield and Northampton and others to organizations as far away as California. With the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s, PDF changed focus. Instead of thinking of peace as the absence of war, the Foundation began to see peace as “the presence of equitable relationships among people, nations, and the environment.” Since that time, PDF has developed a new perspective on peacework, one centered on fostering social, environmental, and economic justice.
The records of the Peace Development Fund consist chiefly of grant-making files documenting the many organizations that submitted and received awards. Also included is a nearly complete run of PDF’s annual reports, newsletters, and other publications, which together offer a full picture of the foundation’s funding and programmatic history. Exchange Project files record PDF’s efforts to provide training, not just money, to organizations lacking the skills necessary for effective fund-raising, strategic planning, instituting sound organizational structures, and dismantling racism.
- Antinuclear movement
- Charitable uses, trusts, and foundations--United States
- Peace movements--United States
- Social change--United States
- Social justice--United States
- Peace Development Fund
People's Institute Records, 1896-1970.
Call no.: MS 026
Organization in Northampton, Massachusetts that met in members’ homes for the purpose of helping working people spend their evenings in valuable reading and discussion, and for furthering the culture of the home as well as the individual. The organization also sponsored flower garden competitions, an evening school for adults, a school for the household arts, an after school play program for children, a Golden Age club, and a day camp. Photocopied records include Board of Directors minutes, Directors’ reports, and correspondence.
- Northampton (Mass.)--Intellectual life--History
- Working class--Massachusetts--Northampton--Intellectual life--History
- Working class--Massachusetts--Northampton--Societies, etc. --History
- Home Culture Club (Northampton, Mass.)
- People's Institute (Northampton, Mass.)
Types of material
- Letters (Correspondence)
Carol A. Perkins Collection, 2001-2002.
Call no.: PH 033
Carol A. Perkins was born April 25, 1926 in Rochester, N.Y., where she attended Madison High School. Her father, Vernon Perkins, was a World War I Army Air Service photographer in France, and she became interested in photography through his photograph albums. She graduated from a correspondence program at the New York Institute of Photography and graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology School of Art in 1950. After matriculating from the Rochester General Hospital School of Medical Photography, she was employed at the Toledo Hospital Institute of Medical Research for twenty-two years, and then by the Medical College of Ohio for eleven years. While searching through New England graveyards for her Perkins ancestors, she became interested in gravestone studies and became a member of the Association for Gravestone Studies.
The Carol Perkins Collection consists of 1.5 linear feet of material, primarily color photographs of grave markers in Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Box 1 has two indices: one alphabetical by deceased’s surnames, and the other alphabetical by state, then town, then cemetery. Box 2 photographs include transcriptions of the deceased’s names, dates of birth/death, and inscriptions, and are organized by state, then town. The collection includes one folder of genealogical material and 20 black & white photographs of markers in England. Photographs taken at AGS conferences include some AGS members and were taken in the following years: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 2003.
- Sepulchral monuments--Connecticut
- Sepulchral monuments--Indiana
- Sepulchral monuments--Massachusetts
- Sepulchral monuments--Michigan
- Sepulchral monuments--New Hampshire
- Sepulchral monuments--New York
- Sepulchral monuments--Ohio
- Sepulchral monuments--Vermont
- Association for Gravestone Studies
- Perkins, Carol A
Types of material
Alida Perreault Papers, 1906-1957 (Bulk: 1928-1933).
Call no.: MS 808
Alida Capistrant was the eleventh of twelve children in a large French-Canadian family in South Hadley, Massachusetts born on July 24,1914. Her parents both immigrated from Quebec in 1885. On September 30, 1895 they were married in South Hadley. The Capistrant family rented their home until 1912 when they purchased their first house in South Hadley. Alida had an active social life as a teenager and considered attending college or university, but did not pursue any further education until about 1943, when she studied at the Providence Hospital School of Nursing in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Two years later she married James Perreault and the couple had two children, a daughter, Marcia (Perreault) Matthieu and a son, David James Perreault. They lived in South Hadley until 2003, when they moved to Chandler, Arizona to be near their daughter. Alida Perreault died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease on April 7, 2006, and James died in 2008. Both are buried in Saint Rose Cemetery in South Hadley next to Alida’s family.
Alida’s correspondence during her high school years (1928-1932) reveal a young woman with a substantial network of friends and family. The bulk of the collection consists of letters from several friends, including two potential romantic interests. Letters document daily activities, family happenings, and later Alida’s interest in a career as a nurse and her leadership role in the South Hadley Women’s Club.
- Capistrant family--Correspondence
- High school students--Massachusetts
- South Hadley (Mass.)--History
- Williston Northampton School (Easthampton, Mass.)
- Fogg, Esther
- McEwan, William
- Mitkiewitcz, Freddie A.
Types of material
- Greeting cards
Cynthia Shepard Perry Papers, 1946-2010.
Call no.: MS 842
An educator, diplomat, and expert on Africa, Cynthia Shepard Perry was the first recipient of a PhD from of the Program in International Education at UMass Amherst (1972). Born in Burnett, Indiana, in 1928, Perry was raising a family when she set a twenty-five year goal of earning doctorate and entering international service. One year after earning a bachelor’s degree at Indiana State University in 1967, she arranged for her first trip to Africa, leading a secretarial training project at the University of Nairobi, and over succeeding decades, her connections to the continent deepened dramatically. On faculty at Texas Southern University (1971-1982), Perry served as Associate Director of the university’s Peace Corps Program, which resulted in her leading educational projects in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, and Kenya. In demand for the expertise she had gained, she worked as a consultant to the US Information Service in Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia and as Staff Development Officer at the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. Having become a full professor and Dean of International Affairs, she left TSU in 1982 to take her first diplomatic post as an officer of the Africa Bureau of the US Agency for International Development, followed by successive appointments as Ambassador to Sierra Leone (1986-1989) and Burundi (1989-1993), as Honorary Consul General of Rwanda, and finally an appointment as U.S. Executive Director of the African Development Bank (1996-2001). Although officially retired, Perry remains active in supporting education and development in Africa from her home in Houston. Among many other awards she has received, Perry was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from UMass for her international work and was recognized by the Salute to Service Award.
A record of a life in international service in Africa, the Perry papers includes materials from Perry’s time as head of the African Development Bank and her two ambassadorial appointments, including speeches, some correspondence, and a handful of publications. The collection also includes a series of awards and plaques, some family photographs, and memorabilia.
- Africa--Foreign relations--United States
- Sierra Leone--United States
- United States--Foreign relations--Africa
Types of material
Robert and Martha Perske Papers, 1964-2005.
Call no.: MS 772
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.
- Mental retardation--Social aspects
- People with disabilities--Deinstitutionalization
- People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
- Perske, Martha
- Williams, Robert R.
Types of material