Alton H. Blackington Photograph Collection, 1898-1943.
15 boxes (4 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 061
A native of Rockland, Maine, Alton H. “Blackie” Blackington (1893-1963) was a writer, photojournalist, and radio personality associated with New England “lore and legend.” After returning from naval service in the First World War, Blackington joined the staff of the Boston Herald, covering a range of current events, but becoming well known for his human interest features on New England people and customs. He was successful enough by the mid-1920s to establish his own photo service, and although his work remained centered on New England and was based in Boston, he photographed and handled images from across the country. Capitalizing on the trove of New England stories he accumulated as a photojournalist, Blackington became a popular lecturer and from 1933-1953, a radio and later television host on the NBC network, Yankee Yarns, which yielded the books Yankee Yarns (1954) and More Yankee Yarns (1956).
This collection of Blackington’s glass plate negatives was purchased by Robb Sagendorf of Yankee Publishing around the time of Blackington’s death. Reflecting Blackington’s photojournalistic interests, the collection covers a terrain stretching from news of public officials and civic events to local personalities, but the heart of the collection is the dozens of images of typically eccentric New England characters and human interest stories. Most of the images were taken by Blackington on 4×5″ dry plate negatives, however many of the later images are made on flexible acetate stock and the collection includes several images by other (unidentified) photographers distributed by the Blackington News Service.
- Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933--Photographs
- Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937--Photographs
- Maine--Social life and customs--Photographs
- Massachusetts--Social life and customs--Photographs
- New England--Social life and customs--Photographs
- New Hampshire--Social life and customs--Photographs
- Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945--Photographs
- Sacco-Vanzetti Trial, Dedham, Mass., 1921--Photographs
Types of material
Boston Jazz Society Records, ca. 1973-2014.
6 boxes (10 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 880
Founded in 1973, the Boston Jazz Society grew from a small group of enthusiasts listening to music in living rooms to a thriving organization that “kept Jazz alive” in New England. As Jazz’s popularity began to fade in the late 1960s, local Jazz societies formed to provide support to artists and give them the means and venues to continue to perform on the road. The Boston Jazz Society was originally inspired by one of the earliest, the Left Bank Jazz Society of Baltimore. Like the Left Bank, BJS produced concerts in clubs, theaters, and hotels but expanded their efforts to include exhibits, television and radio shows, and a Jazz education program for grade school students. The longest running BJS activities, however, were the annual Jazz Barbecues and starting in 1975, the BJS Scholarships. The scholarship program raised funds for young Jazz musicians to attend the New England Conservatory of Music’s Jazz Department and the Berklee School Of Music and began the musical careers of many important musicians, composers, and teachers. BJS was also deeply connected to the local music scene, celebrating Roxbury, Mass. natives Alan Dawson and Roy Haynes, whose brother Vincent was a long-time board member, among many others. After 42 years of promoting Jazz music in Boston, the Boston Jazz Society, Inc. dissolved in 2015.
The Boston Jazz Society Records extensively document BJS’s meetings, events, business dealings, and scholarship administration through meeting minutes, posters, correspondence, photographs, recordings, videos, and BJS’s own propaganda and publications. The majority of the BJS records came from the collection of founding member and longtime president Aureldon Edward Henderson and also represents his involvement in promoting Jazz in the Boston area.
- Jazz musicians--Massachusetts--Boston
- Berklee School of Music
- Haynes, Roy
- Henderson, Aureldon Edward
- New England Conservatory of Music
Cambodian Americans in Amherst Exhibition Collection, 1986.
1 box (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 114
Organized by UMass anthropology professor Joel Halpern, the images in this collection were put on display during the Cambodian New Year celebration in 1986. As part of the celebration, members of the large community of Cambodian refugees who have resettled in Amherst were recognized.
Types of material
Irene A. Chapin Diaries, 1926-1935.
4 vols. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 585
In March 1926, Irene A. Chapin (1901-1987) left La Crescenta, Calif., having lost her job in the office of Certain-Teed Corp., and returned home to Chicopee, Mass. Resuming work at the Fisk Tire Co., where she had begun at age 18, Chapin led an active social life, playing bridge and tennis, going to the theatre, and dining with friends. In 1927, she and a fellow stenographer at Fisk, Marion E. Warner (1904-1989), developed an intense friendship that blossomed into a same sex relationship.
Irene Chapin’s pocket-sized diaries include a brief, but densely written record of daily life, from the weather to work and the ebb and flow of a young woman’s social relations. Concerned about her ability to make a success of her job and personal life, Chapin remained sociable and possessed of a wide circle of friends, mostly women. Her diary records a long succession of bridge parties, hikes in the hills, vacations, hockey games, and Chapin alludes frequently to her increasingly intimate intimacy with Marion. Several passages written in shorthand provide additional details on the developing relationship. A photograph laid into the diary for 1927 depicts three women standing in front of a house, one of whom is presumably Chapin.
- Chicopee (Mass.)--Social life and customs
- Chapin, Irene A
- Warner, Marion E
Types of material
CIA on Trial Project Records, 1985-1989.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 508
In 1986 demonstrations against CIA recruitment on the University’s campus led by activists Abbie Hoffman and Amy Carter, daughter of former President Jimmy Carter, resulted in the takeover of two school buildings and more than sixty arrests. The CIA on Trial Project was a group established in Amherst to support the individuals arrested as well as to raise funds for their legal defense.
News clippings covering the protests, fliers, memos from the University’s administration, and correspondence with Chancellor Duffey capture the mood on campus during and after the protests.
- CIA on Trial Project (Amherst, Mass.)
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--History
CPPAX Franklin and Hampshire Chapter Records, 1991-1999.
2 boxes (2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 558
Founded in 1962, the mission of Citizens for Participation in Political Action (CPPAX) was to increase citizen involvement in politics and policy making, and to promote social and economic justice both within the U.S. and globally through U.S. foreign policy. The Franklin and Hampshire Counties chapter of CPPAX has been active in a number of issues of both local and national significance.
Minutes of meetings, subject files, and newsletters reveal issues of importance to the local chapter of CPPAX, issues that include clean elections, peace, nuclear abolition, and health care.
- Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
- Peace movements--Massachusetts
- Citizens for Participation in Political Action. Franklin and Hampshire Counties
Cummington School of the Arts Records, 1908-1993.
30 boxes (45 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 891
In 1923, Katherine Frazier established the Playhouse-in-the-Hills as a venue for theatrical performances in the small Berkshire County town of Cummington, Mass. Frazier’s vision, however, soon led her to expand the project into the Cummington School of the Arts (later the Cummington Community of the Arts), which she envisioned as “an environment congenial to creative activity.” Over its seventy years of operation, the School emphasized creative collaboration across the fine arts, offering not only performances, but summer residencies and six-week courses where writers, artists, performers, and musicians could study and practice under the guidance of visiting artists. Among its noted alumni were luminaries such as Helen Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning, Diane Arbus, Marianne Moore, and Archibald Macleish, and the school was a starting point for Harry Duncan’s renowned Cummington Press. The increasing financial challenges facing not-for-profit organizations led a cessation of operations in about 1993.
The records of the Cummington School of the Arts offer a cross-sectional view of the School across its years of operation. In addition to a very small selection of personal material from Katherine Frazier, the collection includes valuable correspondence and ephemera relating to the school’s philosophy and founding, and nearly a third of the collection consists of records of students, often including their applications, comments on the work accomplished in Cummington, and occasionally, copies of work produced. The balance of the collection consists of many of the school’s publications, administrative materials (including curricula and planning documents), and financial and fundraising materials.
Janina Smiertka Davenport Papers, 1918-1990.
7 boxes (3 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 343
Raised in a Polish American family from Greenfield, Mass., Janina Smiertka Davenport was the epitome of a life-long learner. After graduating from Greenfield High School in 1933, Davenport received degrees from the Pratt Institute in Food Management and from the Franklin County Public School for Nurses (1937). In 1938, she began work as a nurse in the U.S. Navy, receiving two special commendations for meritorious service during the Second World War. She continued her formal and informal education later in life, receiving degrees from Arizona State University in 1958 and UMass Amherst in Russian and Eastern European Studies (1982). Davenport died in Greenfield in March 2002.
The Davenport Papers contain a thick sheaf of letters and documents pertaining to her Navy service before and during World War II, along with assorted biographical and genealogical data, materials collected during educational trips to Poland and elsewhere, and approximately one linear foot of family photographs and photo albums.
- Polish Americans--Massachusetts
- United States. Navy
- World War, 1939-1945
- Davenport, Janina Smiertka
Types of material
Elaine Dobrowski Boston Polish Community Collection, ca.1935-1995.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 376
Compiled by Elaine Dobrowski, this collection of photographs, printed materials, and news clippings documents the Polish community in Boston during the 1930s through the 1990s. Includes photographs of the Kosciusko Monument in the Boston Public Gardens, a children’s dance festival, and a Polish Women’s circle outing at Blinstrub’s Village as well as images of parades, receptions, and conventions.
- Boston (Mass.)--Social life and customs
- Polish Americans--Massachusetts
Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies Records, 1982-1989.
2 boxes (0.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 264
Established in 1983 by a group of faculty and administrators in the Five College community who perceived an urgent need for increased faculty dialogue about issues involving peace, security, and the nuclear arms race. Expanded in 1984 with the support of a grant from the Ford Foundation, PAWSS continued as a multidisciplinary program that sought to engage faculty in a consideration of various perspectives on world security and to assist them with curriculum development involving these issues.
This small collection includes circular letters and flyers produced by PAWSS describing the group’s activities as well as materials used by faculty during summer institutes and to develop curriculum.
- Nuclear disarmament--History--Sources
- Peace movements--Massachusetts
- Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies (Mass.)