“… there must come vast social change in the United States; a change not violent, but by the will of the people certain and inexorable; carried out ‘with malice toward none but charity for all’; with meticulous justice to the rich and complete sympathy for the poor, the sick and the ignorant; with freedom and democracy for America, and on earth Peace, Good Will toward men.”
W.E.B. Du Bois, Chicago, June 29, 1951
In keeping with our mission, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives collects materials of enduring historical and cultural value relating to four major thematic areas: the history and experience of social change in America; the histories and cultures of New England with an emphasis on Massachusetts; innovation and entrepreneurship; and the broad community associated with the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Our collections are tightly integrated and span all formats, including personal papers and organizational records, books and periodicals, maps, photographs, audio and video recordings, and digital materials of all kinds, and they currently include over 35,000 printed items, approximately 30,000 linear feet of manuscript and archival materials, tens of thousands of photographs, and a burgeoning array of digital assets.
While not comprehensive, the following includes a brief synopsis of some of the primary focal points for SCUA’s collections:
Following in the footsteps of W.E.B. Du Bois, we recognize the inherent interconnectedness of a broad range of issues in social justice and collect original materials that document the organizational, intellectual, and individual ties that unite disparate struggles for social equality, human dignity, and justice. In adopting social change as a primary collecting focus, we hope to move beyond viewing social and political movements in isolation and toward a vision that acknowledges the connections between and among them. Ultimately, we wish to lay a foundation for examining the larger histories of social engagement in America and the broader experience of social change that is difficult to encapsulate within a single social movement.
A distinctive feature of SCUA’s approach to collecting is our effort to include “whole lives and whole communities,” to provide a robust basis for interpreting the background of the persons and organizations we document, their influences, interests, and the communities in which they operate.
Emphasizing the cross-fertilization between several social movements and centers of activist energy, including peace, social and racial justice, agricultural reform, environmentalism, sustainability, labor activism, gay activism, antinuclear activism, and intentional communities, but branching out to include antifluoridation activism, campaigns for voting rights and clean elections, community and charitable organizations, and the history of revolutionary-era Europe (1789-1848).
- African and African American history and culture: The history of race and ethnicity in America, with particular emphasis on the struggle for racial equality and social justice.
- Agriculture, horticulture, botany: Including agricultural science and practice, horticulture, animal husbandry, natural history, organic farming, sustainable living, and heritage breeds.
- Antinuclear movement: SCUA holds numerous collections documenting grassroots opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weaponry.
- Arts management and arts administration:
In partnership with the UMass Amherst Arts Extension Service, the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and several other arts agencies, SCUA documents the history of arts administration in America. Collecting the records of state and national arts agencies, we will provide a foundation for research into the evolution of arts policy, strategies for supporting the arts, and the economic and cultural impact of the arts on our communities.
- Cold War Culture: The culture of the Cold War, with an emphasis upon East Germany, Poland, and Yugoslavia. Among other areas, SCUA has a strong interest in the Solidarity movement and in partnership with the DEFA Film Library, in East German cinema and graphic arts.
- Disability: Organizational records and collections of personal papers documenting the history of disability and disability rights in the United States.
- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender issues: Materials relating to the history and experience of the LGBTQ community and liberation struggles.
- Labor, work, and industry: Organized labor, industrialization, manufacturing, business history, and the experience and culture of labor and working people.
- Peace: Materials relating to the peace and antiwar movements and non-violence, with an emphasis on New England.
Materials that document innovative and entrepreneurial activities, and particularly social entrepreneurship. The collections in SCUA include the papers of Mark H. McCormack (a pioneer in sport and entertainment marketing), Carl C. Harris (inventor and President of Rodney Hunt Co.), and numerous collections that document our region’s distinctive history of innovation in manufacturing and technology.
The social, political, cultural, intellectual, literary, and economic life, with an emphasis upon western New England. The department houses thousands of books on New England cookery, with a particular emphasis on charitable and community cookbooks and cookbooks and ephemera published by corporations and the food industry.
- Cookery and culinary history
SCUA has thousands of cookbooks and other materials on New England regional cuisine, including community and charitable cookbooks, commercial cookbooks by New England authors, corporate cookbooks, and culinary ephemera.
- Literature and the arts
Emphasizing poets and writers, playwrights, and the performing arts in New England.
- Politics and political culture
SCUA has rich collections documenting the history and politics of the Commonwealth, including the papers of Congressmen Silvio O. Conte and John Olver, State Senator Stanley Rosenberg, and State rep John Clark and the records of the Hampshire Council of Governments and several individual towns.
Serving as the memory of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University Archives collects, preserves, and makes available official and non-official records documenting the policies, programs, facilities, and activities of the campus community, including its administration, departments and programs, faculty, and staff. The Archives also avidly collects materials that reflect the lives and experiences of its students and alumni.
SCUA makes an effort to document the histories of the entire UMass community. Our holdings include the comprehensive official records of the University since its founding in 1863, papers of faculty, staff, and students, official and unofficial publications, oral histories, and a wide range of other collections that reflect on our history as the Commonwealth’s land grant institution.
SCUA has developed depth in a handful of other collecting areas, including:
Ann Ferguson Papers, 1970-2007.
Call no.: FS 101
Ann Ferguson began her tenure at UMass as an Instructor in 1964 as she completed the last year of her doctoral work at Brown under supervision of R.M. Chisolm. With academic interests in ethics, aesthetics, women’s studies, and social and political philosophy, Ferguson has been politically engaged in human rights and social justice initiatives since the 1960s, supporting organizations such as Feminist Aid to Central America, Marxist Activist Philosophers, and the Radical Philosopher’s Association. In 1995, Ferguson accepted a three-year term as Director of Women’s Studies, describing the program as one with the “roots in political activism to fight social injustice.” Despite her 2008 retirement, Ferguson continues to teach in both Philosophy and Women’s Studies.
The Ferguson Papers document Ann Ferguson’s academic career at the University of Massachusetts Amherst as well as her commitment to political activism and social change. The papers include material relating to campus politics, the women’s movement and other social movements, Philosophy Department files (1971-1997) from Ferguson’s tenure as Head of the Philosophy Department, and course materials from both Women’s Studies and Philosophy. Also included among the papers are professional correspondence, feminist pamphlets (1970s-1980s), and several posters from Ferguson’s office.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Philosopy
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Women's Studies
- Ferguson, Ann
William F. Field Papers, 1948-1986.
Call no.: RG 30/2 F5
The University’s first Dean of Students, William F. Field held the post from 1961 until his retirement in 1988. The 27 years Field was Dean of Students was a critical time of growth and unrest, as the University’s student population more than tripled in size and the nation-wide movements for civil rights and against the Vietnam War were reflected through student activism and protest on the University’s campus. Responsible for ending student curfews and overseeing all dorms becoming co-ed, Field also worked with minority students and faculty to support the Black Arts Movement on campus and the founding of the W.E.B Du Bois Afro-American Studies Department.
The William F. Field Papers document Field’s career as an administrator at the University of Massachusetts and specifically his role as Dean of Students from 1961-1988. The correspondence, memoranda, reports, notes, and other official printed and manuscript documents are a rich resource for one of the most important and volatile eras in the University’s history. Of particular interest are extensive files on student protests and activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s and the growing diversity of the campus student population, flourishing of the Black Arts Movement on campus and the founding of the W.E.B. Du Bois Afro-American Studies Department.
- African American college students--Massachusetts
- Field, William Franklin, 1922-
- Race relations--United States
- Universities and colleges--United States--Administration
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dean of Students
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Afro-American Studies
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--United States
Types of material
Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley Records, 1979-1994.
Call no.: MS 468
Amherst, Massachusetts, chapter of the national Gray Panther organization that sponsored the weekly Amherst Vigil for Peace and Justice, tackled such issues as fair and affordable housing for people of all ages, nursing home reform, Social Security policy, universal health care, safe-sex, and age discrimination, and also worked to improve the everyday life of senior citizens and the community at large, often collaborating with other local organizations to address world peace, environmental concerns, improved child care, educational opportunities, and handicapped accessibility.
Records include charter, by-laws, histories and mission statements, meeting agendas and minutes, correspondence, financial reports, fund raising materials, membership lists, membership questionnaire, newsletters, press releases, leaflets, clippings, a scrapbook, T-shirts, and program files, that document the founding and activities of the Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley.
- Older people--Massachusetts
- Peace movements--Massachusetts
- Social justice--Massachusetts
- Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley
- Holt, Margaret
Beth Hapgood Papers, 1789-2005.
Call no.: MS 434
Daughter of a writer and diplomat, and graduate of Wellesley College, Beth Hapgood has been a spiritual seeker for much of her life. Her interests have led her to become an expert in graphology, a student in the Arcane School, an instructor at Greenfield Community College, and a lecturer on a variety of topics in spiritual growth. Beginning in the mid-1960s, Hapgood befriended Michael Metelica, the central figure in the Brotherhood of the Spirit (the largest commune in the eastern states during the early 1970s) as well as Elwood Babbitt, a trance medium, and remained close to both until their deaths.
The Hapgood Papers contain a wealth of material relating to the Brotherhood of the Spirit and the Renaissance Community, Metelica, Babbitt, and other of Hapgood’s varied interests, as well as 4.25 linear feet of material relating to the Hapgood family.
- Brotherhood of the Spirit
- Channeling (Spiritualism)
- Communal living--Massachusetts
- Hapgood family--Correspondence
- Massachusetts--Social life and customs--20th century
- Nineteen sixties--Social aspects
- Occultism--Social aspects
- Popular culture--History--20th century
- Renaissance Community
- Rock music--1971-1980
- Warwick (Mass.)--History
- Babbitt, Elwood, 1922-
- Boyce, Neith, 1872-1951
- Hapgood, Beth--Correspondence
- Hapgood, Charles H
- Hapgood, Elizabeth Reynolds
- Hapgood, Hutchins, 1869-1944
- Hapgood, Norman, 1868-1937
- Metelica, Michael
Gordon Heath Papers, 1913-1992.
Call no.: MS 372 and 372 bd
A multi-talented performer, the African American expatriate Gordon Heath was variously a stage and film actor, musician, director, producer, founder of the Studio Theater of Paris, and co-owner of the Parisian nightclub L’Abbaye. Born in New York City, Heath became involved in acting as a teenager and enjoyed a career that spanned post-World War II Broadway to the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s. In addition to his many roles on film and stage, he and his partner Lee Payant enjoyed success as recording artists in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Heath collection includes personal and professional correspondence, scrapbooks containing photos and clippings from assorted television and film productions in addition to songs, poetry, and reviews of plays or playbills from productions he attended. The Papers also contain art work, sheet music, personal and production photographs, and drafts of his memoirs.
- Abbaye (Nightclub : Paris, France)
- African American actors--France--Paris--History
- African American singers--France--Paris--History
- African Americans in the performing arts--History
- African-American theater--History--20th century
- Baldwin, James, 1924-
- Chametzky, Jules
- Dodson, Owen, 1914-
- Expatriate musicians--France--Paris--History
- Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967
- Musicians--United States--History
- Paris (France)--Intellectual life--20th century
- Payant, Lee--Correspondence
- Primus, Pearl
- Rive gauche (Paris, France)--Intellectual life--20th century
- Studio Theater of Paris
- Theater--Production and direction--France--Paris--History
- Abramson, Doris E
- Heath, Gordon, 1918-1991
Types of material
- Sheet music
Aurin F. Hill Papers, 1885-1929.
Call no.: MS 579
The self-styled “insane architect” Aurin F. Hill (b. 1853) was a free thinking carpenter and architect in Boston who waged a concerted campaign for his vision of social reform at the turn of the twentieth century. A Spiritualist, social radical, and union man, Hill carried the torch for issues ranging from the nationalization of railroads and corporations to civil rights and women’s rights, and joined in opposition to vaccination, Comstockery and censorship, capital punishment, and lynching. A writing medium, married to the Spiritual evangelist Izetta Sears-Hill, he became President of the National Spiritual Alliance in 1915, a Spiritualist organization based in Lake Pleasant, Mass.
Esoteric, rambling, and often difficult to follow, the Hill papers provide profound insight into the eclectic mind of an important Boston Spiritualist and labor activist at the turn of the twentieth century. Whether written as a diary or scattered notes, a scrapbook, essays, or letters to the editor, Hill’s writings cover a wide range of topics, from spirit influence to labor law, from his confinements for insanity to police strikes, hypnotism, reincarnation, and housing. More than just a reflection of one man’s psychology, the collection reveals much about broader social attitudes toward gender and race, sexuality, urban life, politics, and religion, and the collection is a particularly important resource for the history of the American Spiritualist movement between 1890 and 1920.
- Boston (Mass.)--History
- Carpenters--Labor unions
- Labor unions--Massachusetts
- Lake Pleasant (Mass.)--History
- Montague (Mass.)--History
- National Spiritual Alliance
- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
- Hill, Aurin F.
- Sears-Hill, Izetta B.
Types of material
IUERMW Local 206 Records, 1936-1986.
Call no.: MS 132
Union that represented workers at the American Bosch plant in Springfield, Massachusetts, affiliated with the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers after 1949.
Records include by-laws, minutes of the Executive Board, General Council, and Membership meetings, correspondence, membership reports, grievance and arbitration records, contract negotiation proposals and counter-proposals, strike materials, and publications documenting the administration, activities, and membership of Local 206. Effects of changing national economy and international trade on workers and union affairs, through time, are evident.
- American Bosch--History
- Collective bargaining--Machinery industry--Massachusetts --Springfield
- Industrial relations--Massachusetts--Springfield
- International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers. Local 206 (Springfield, Mass.)
- Labor unions--Massachusetts--Springfield
- Machinists--Labor unions--Massachusetts--Springfield
- Metal-working machinery industry--Massachusetts --Springfield
- Plant shutdowns--Massachusetts--Springfield
- Springfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions
- Springfield (Mass.)--Industries
- Strikes and lockouts--Machinery industry--Massachusetts --Springfield
- United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. Local 206 (Springfield, Mass.)
Types of material
- Letters (Correspondence)
Raymond Luc Levasseur Trial transcripts, 1989.
Call no.: MS 334
For over a decade, the radical United Freedom Front waged a concerted revolutionary campaign, confronting U.S. imperialism in Central America, apartheid, and other issues. Led by Raymond Luc Levasseur (b. 1940), the UFF carried out a string of bank robberies and bombings in the northeast, usually providing forewarning to avoid casualties. On November 4, 1984, following an intense nationwide manhunt, the FBI succeeded in apprehending Levasseur and his wife Patricia Gros near Deerfield, Ohio, and within a year, most of the remaining members of the UFF were under arrest. Levasseur and six of his comrades were eventually sentenced to long terms for the robberies and bombings and (two of them) for the death of a New Jersey state trooper. The government’s attempt in 1989 to bring charges of seditious conspiracy and violations of the RICO act, however, ended in an acquittal on most charges and a hung jury on the rest. Having served nearly half of his 45 year sentence, Levasseur was released from prison in November 2004.
The Levasseur Collection consists of the complete transcripts of the 1989 sedition trial of the “Ohio Seven” (US v. Levasseur).
- Political prisoners--United States
- United Freedom Front
- Levasseur, Ray Luc
Sidney Lipshires Papers, 1932-2012.
Call no.: MS 730
Born on April 15, 1919 in Baltimore, Maryland to David and Minnie Lipshires, Sidney was raised in Northampton, Massachusetts where his father owned two shoe stores, David Boot Shop and The Bootery. He attended the Massachusetts State College for one year before transferring to the University of Chicago and was awarded a BA in economics in 1940. His years at the University of Chicago were transformative, Lipshires became politically active there and joined the Communist Party in 1939. Following graduation in 1941, he married Shirley Dvorin, a student in early childhood education; together they had two sons, Ellis and Bernard. Lipshires returned to western Massachusetts with his young family in the early 1940s, working as a labor organizer. He served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946 working as a clerk and interpreter with a medical battalion in France for over a year. Returning home, he ran for city alderman in Springfield on the Communist Party ticket in 1947. Lipshires married his second wife, Joann Breen Klein, in 1951 and on May 29, 1956, the same day his daughter Lisa was born, he was arrested under the Smith Act for his Communist Party activities. Before his case was brought to trial, the Smith Act was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Disillusioned with the Communist Party, he severed his ties with it in 1957, but continued to remain active in organized labor for the rest of his life. Earning his masters in 1965 and Ph.D. in 1971, Lipshires taught history at Manchester Community College in Connecticut for thirty years. During that time he worked with other campus leaders to establish a statewide union for teachers and other community college professionals, an experience he wrote about in his book, Giving Them Hell: How a College Professor Organized and Led a Successful Statewide Union. Sidney Lipshires died on January 6, 2011 at the age of 91.
Ranging from an autobiographical account that outlines his development as an activist (prepared in anticipation of a trial for conspiracy charges under the Smith Act) to drafts and notes relating to his book Giving Them Hell, the Sidney Lipshires Papers offers an overview of his role in the Communist Party and as a labor organizer. The collection also contains his testimony in a 1955 public hearing before the Special Commission to Study and Investigate Communism and Subversive Activities, photographs, and biographical materials.
- Communism--United States--History
- Jews--Political activity--United States--History--20th century
- Labor movement--United States--History--20th century
- Labor unions--United States--Officials and employees--Biography
- Lipshires, David M
- Lipshires, Joann B
- Lipshires, Sidney
Types of material