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Dunham, Benjamin W.

Benjamin W. Dunham Papers
ca.1897-1907
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 573

Situated on a hill overlooking Quabbin Lake, the Quabbin Inn was a well known resort near Greenwich, Mass. During its peak years during the turn of the twentieth century, the Inn was owned by Otis Dunham, but it figured prominently in the lives of the entire Dunham family.

The Dunham papers contain family correspondence addressed to Benjamin W. Dunham during his service as a machinist with the U.S. Navy. In addition to discussions of the business of the Quabbin Inn, the collection includes news and gossip from the town of Greenwich, the attempted suicide and subsequent hospitalization of Benjamin’s brother Asa, and the migration west of another brother, Herbert.

Subjects
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Machinists--Massachusetts
  • Quabbin Inn (Greenwich, Mass.)
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
  • Spanish American War, 1898
  • United States. Navy
Contributors
  • Dunham, Benjamin W

Emery, George

George Emery Papers
ca.1900-1975
8 boxes (30 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 982
Image of Tri-County Fair, ca.1920
Tri-County Fair, ca.1920

After graduating from Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1924, George Edward “Red” Emery taught high school briefly and held a handful of other jobs before deciding to fulfill a childhood dream. Born in Marlboro, Mass., in 1904, Emery turned his love for the circus into a life touring the country as a white-face circus clown. After marrying Virginia Link, a Smith College student, in 1932, he settled down to a stable job in the Alumni Office at his alma mater, later filling in as Veterans Coordinator and as a staff member in the Student Placement Office until his retirement in 1972. Emery never left the circus behind entirely. Throughout his years in Amherst he continued to talk and write about the history of the circus and his personal experiences, and from the late 1940s through early 1960s, he used his show business connections to book talent for the Tri-County Fair. Longtime residents of Leverett, Mass., he and his wife died within a year of one another, Virginia in 1974 and George in 1975.

With his passion for the circus, George Emery’s papers contain material not only from his career as a circus clown in the 1920s but also from his later writings about the history of the circus, his work with the Tri-County Fair, and his long association with UMass Amherst. The collection includes correspondence with friends and family; circus toys and games; posters, photographs, and ephemera; and a library of books on circus history. Of special note are some exceptional photographs, a thick sheaf of material from the Tri-County Fair, and four remarkable scrapbooks from the internationally famous animal act Fred Kerslake’s Pigs. Beginning in 1889, Fred Kerslake and his wife, Mary, traveled the world with a team of acrobatic intellectual pigs (and later donkeys) performing to packed houses. In the 1960s, Mary Kerslake gave the scrapbooks to Emery to assist in his research and writing on circus history.

Gift of Chris Emery, July 2017
Subjects
  • Circus performers
  • Circus--History
  • Clowns
  • Pigs
  • Tri-County Fair
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Alumni
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Staff

Foster, Nancy E.

Nancy E. Foster Papers
1972-2010
4 boxes (6 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 753
Image of Nancy E. Foster
Nancy E. Foster

For the better part of four decades, Nancy E. Foster was active in the struggle for social justice, peace, and political reform. From early work in civil rights through her engagement in political reform in Amherst, Mass., Foster was recognized for her work in the movements opposing war, nuclear power, and the assault on civil liberties after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Locally, she worked with her fellow members of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst and with interfaith coalitions to address problems of hunger and homelessness.

Centered in western Massachusetts and concentrated in the last decade of her life (2000-2010), the Nancy Foster Papers includes a record of one woman’s grassroots activism for peace, civil liberties, and social justice. The issues reflected in the collection range from the assault on civil liberties after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to immigration, hunger and poverty, the Iraq Wars, and the conflict in Central America during the 1980s, and much of the material documents Nancy’s involvement with local organizations such as the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst. The collection also contains a valuable record of Nancy’s participation in local politics in Amherst, beginning with the records of the 1972 committee which was charged with reviewing the Town Meeting.

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Civil rights--Massachusetts
  • Disaster relief
  • El Salvador--History--1979-1992
  • Hunger
  • Interfaith Cot Shelter (Amherst, Mass.)
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001
  • War on Terrorism, 2001-2009
Contributors
  • ACLU
  • Lay Academy for Oecumenical Studies
  • Massachusetts Voters for Clean Elections
  • Olver, John
  • Pyle, Christopher H.
  • Swift, Alice
  • Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst
Types of material
  • Photographs

Freeman, William H.

William H. Freeman Collection
1937-1946
2 vols., 1 letter (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 068
Image of William H. Freeman, ca.1940
William H. Freeman, ca.1940

Attached to the 20th Air Base Group in 1941, Athol-native Bill Freeman was a first-hand witness to the beginnings of the war in the Pacific. Enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1940, Freeman was stationed at Nichols Field in the Philippines when the Japanese invaded, and after taken as prisoner or war, he was forced on the Bataan Death March. Freeman died of malaria in Cabanatuan Prison Camp in July 1942.

The Freeman scrapbook and photograph album that Bill Freeman kept offer a visually-intensive perspective on the brief life of an American serviceman in the Second World War. Kept during and immediately after high school, the scrapbook includes notices of his musical performances and other activities; the extensive photograph album documents his service in the Army Air Corps from the start of deployment through his travels in Hawaii and Guam to the early months of his service in the Philippines. The collection also includes a letter written from the Philippines during the summer 1941.

Subjects
  • Guam--Photographs
  • Hawaii--Photographs
  • Philippines--Photographs
  • United States. Army. Air Corps
  • World War, 1939-1945
Types of material
  • Photographs

Geisler, Bruce

Bruce Geisler Collection
1969-1984
14 boxes (21 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 049
Image of Renaissance Community, ca.1974
Renaissance Community, ca.1974

In the early 1970s, the documentary filmmaker Bruce Geisler dropped out of Pomona College one semester short of graduation, drove across country, and joined the Brotherhood of the Spirit commune, then the largest commune in the eastern United States. During his four years living with the Brotherhood, later renamed the Renaissance Community, Geisler learned the craft of filmmaking, before returning west to earn an MFA at the film school of the University of Southern California. Geisler has received a number of awards as a screenwriter and filmmaker including the Grand Prize for Best Screenplay from Worldfest Houston and the Dominique Dunne Memorial Prize for Filmmaking, and, in 2007, he released his feature-length documentary, Free Spirits, about the Brotherhood of the Spirit/Renaissance Community and its ill-fated founder, Michael Metelica Rapunzel. Geisler is currently a Senior Lecturer in the UMass Amherst Department of Communication.

Documenting everyday life in a Massachusetts commune and performances by the commune bands (Spirit in Flesh and Rapunzel), the Geisler collection was assembled in conjunction with the making of the film Free Spirits. In addition to many hours of both raw and edited film footage taken by members of the Brotherhood of the Brotherhood of the Spirit and Renaissance Community, the collection includes a rich assemblage of still photographs, ephemera, and newspaper clippings relating to the commune.

Subjects
  • Brotherhood of the Spirit (Commune)
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Renaissance Community (Commune)
Contributors
  • Geisler, Bruce
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Videotapes

Hapgood, Beth

Beth Hapgood Papers
1789-2005
67 boxes (35 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 434
Image of Beth Hapgood and members of the Brotherhood, ca.1969
Beth Hapgood and members of the Brotherhood, ca.1969

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.

Subjects
  • Brotherhood of the Spirit
  • Channeling (Spiritualism)
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Graphology
  • Hapgood family--Correspondence
  • Massachusetts--Social life and customs--20th century
  • Mediums--Massachusetts
  • Nineteen sixties--Social aspects
  • Occultism--Social aspects
  • Popular culture--History--20th century
  • Renaissance Community
  • Rock music--1971-1980
  • Warwick (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • 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

Haymarket People’s Fund

Haymarket People's Fund Western Massachusetts Records
1975-1983
4 boxes (4 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 336

A granting agency that advises and provides funding for grass roots, non-profit projects and organizations in order to bring about broad social change by addressing local issues and community needs. Records include minutes, reports, correspondence, successful and unsuccessful grant applications from Western Massachusetts organizations, grant source information, and grantee materials including organization reports, publications, member lists, clippings, and other materials.

Subjects
  • Berkshire County (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Citizen's associations--Massachusetts--History
  • Community power--Massachusetts--History
  • Endowments--Massachusetts--History
  • Franklin County (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Hampden County (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Political activists--Massachusetts--History
  • Social action--Massachusetts--History
Contributors
  • Haymarket People's Fund (Boston, Mass.)

Hill, Aurin F.

Aurin F. Hill Papers
1885-1929
8 boxes (6 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 579
Image of Aurin and Izetta Hill at Lake Pleasant,<br />ca.1928
Aurin and Izetta Hill at Lake Pleasant,
ca.1928

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.

Subjects
  • Architects--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Boston (Mass.)--History
  • Carpenters--Labor unions
  • Hypnotism
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Lake Pleasant (Mass.)--History
  • Mediums--Massachusetts
  • Montague (Mass.)--History
  • National Spiritual Alliance
  • Spiritualism
  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
Contributors
  • Hill, Aurin F.
  • Sears-Hill, Izetta B.
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Scrapbooks

Howe Family

Howe Family Papers
1730-1955
7 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 019

Personal, business, and legal papers of the Howe family of Enfield and Dana, Massachusetts, including correspondence between family members, genealogies, account books and printed materials. Account books record transactions of various family members whose occupations included general storekeeper, minister, printer, postmaster, telephone exchange and gas-station owner, and document the transactions of community businesses and individuals, some of whom were women involved in the beginnings of the local palm leaf hat and mat industry.

Subjects
  • Bookkeeping--History--Sources
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Biography
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Howe family--Genealogy
  • Moneylenders--Massachusetts--Enfield--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
  • Swift River Valley (Mass.)--History
  • Swift River Valley (Mass.)--Social life and customs
Contributors
  • Howe, Donald W. (Donald Wiliam), 1982-1977
  • Howe, Edwin H., 1859-1943
  • Howe, Henry Clay Milton, b. 1823
  • Howe, John M.
  • Howe, John, 1783-1845
  • Howe, Theodocia Johnson, 1824-1898
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Business records
  • Deeds
  • Genealogies
  • Scrapbooks
  • Wills

Kehler, Randy

Randy Kehler Papers
1978-1997
21 boxes (13 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 396

A veteran of the peace movement and founder of the Traprock Peace Center (1979), Randy Kehler was active in the National Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, the Peace Development Fund, and the Working Group on Electoral Democracy. Beginning in 1977, he and his wife became war tax resisters, withholding federal income tax to protest U.S. military expenditures, donating it instead to charity. As a consequence, their home was seized by the IRS in 1989, setting up a protracted legal struggle that resulted in Kehler’s arrest and imprisonment and the sale of the house. They remain tax resisters.

The Kehler Papers document the five year struggle (1989-1994) against the seizure and sale of the Kehlers’ home by the IRS. The collection includes meeting minutes, notes, correspondence, newspaper clippings; letters to the editor, essays, articles, plans and strategy documents for the vigil set outside the Kehler home; support committee information and actions; correspondence with government officials, the IRS, and the Justice Department; letters of support; documents from the legal proceedings; and political literature addressing the Kehlers’ situation.

Subjects
  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Argo, Ed
  • Colrain (Mass.)
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Tax collection--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Tax evasion--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Tax-sales--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Taxation--Law and Legislation
  • Traprock Peace Center
  • Valley Community Land Trust
  • War tax resitance--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Withholding tax--Law and legislation
  • Withholding tax--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Corner, Betsy
  • Kehler, Randy
  • Link, Mary
  • Mosely, Don
  • Nelson, Juanita
Types of material
  • Court records
  • Diaries
  • Legal documents
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Scrapbooks
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