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Cambridge Central Labor Union

Cambridge Central Labor Union Minute book, 1926-1932
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 482 bd

The Central Labor Union was active in the Boston and Cambridge area as early as the 1870s, and by the turn of the twentieth century, the Cambridge Central Labor Union was a thriving organization. Active in many of the significant labor campaigns of the day, including the struggle for an eight hour day, the regulation of child labor, and the fight for collective bargaining, the Cambridge Central Labor Union was said in the late 1930s to represent nearly 30,000 workers in the city.

The minutes of the Cambridge Central Labor Union document the day to day operations of a union representing a cross-section of trades in the city of Cambridge, its relations to other organized labor groups, and the impact of the Depression of 1929 on working people in Massachusetts.

Subjects
  • Cambridge (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts--Cambridge
Types of material
  • Minute books

Chamberlin, Judi, 1944-2010

Judi Chamberlin Papers, ca.1970-2010
30 boxes (45 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 768
Judi Chamberlin Papers image
Judi Chamberlin, 2000

A pioneer in the psychiatric survivors’ movement, Judi Chamberlin spent four decades as an activist for the civil rights of mental patients. After several voluntary hospitalizations for depression as a young woman, Chamberlin was involuntarily committed for the only time in 1971, having been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her experiences in the mental health system galvanized her to take action on patients’ rights, and after attending a meeting of the newly formed Mental Patients’ Liberation Project in New York, she helped found the Mental Patients’ Liberation Front in Cambridge, Mass. Explicitly modeled on civil rights organizations of the time, she became a tireless advocate for the patient’s perspective and for choice in treatment. Her book, On Our Own: Patient Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System (1978), is considered a key text in the intellectual development of the movement. Working internationally, she became an important figure in several other organizations, including the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilition at Boston University, the Ruby Rogers Advocacy Center, the National Disability Rights Network, and the National Empowerment Center. In recognition of her advocacy, she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities in 1992, the David J. Vail National Advocacy Award, and the 1995 Pike Prize, which honors those who have given outstanding service to people with disabilities. Chamberlin died of pulmonary disease at home in Arlington, Mass., in January 2010.

An important record of the development of the psychiatric survivors’ movement from its earliest days, the Chamberlin Papers include rich correspondence between Chamberlin, fellow activists, survivors, and medical professionals; records of her work with the MPLF and other rights organizations, conferences and meetings, and her efforts to build the movement internationally.

Subjects
  • Antipsychiatry
  • Ex-mental patients
  • People with disabilities--Civil rights
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
Contributors
  • Mental Patients Liberation Front
  • Mental Patients Liberation Project
  • National Empowerment Center
Types of material
  • Videotapes

Civilian Public Service Camps

Civilian Public Service Camp Newsletter Collection, 1941-1944
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 537

Born out of a unique collaboration between the United States government and the historic peace churches, the first Civilian Public Service Camps were established in 1941 to provide conscientious objectors the option to perform alternative service under civilian command. Nearly 12,000 COs served in the 152 CPS camps in projects ranging from soil conservation, agriculture, and forestry to mental health. While the work was supposed to be of national importance, many of the men later complained that the labor was menial and not as important as they had hoped. Furthermore with no ability to earn wages and with their churches and families responsible for financing the camps, many COs, their wives and children found themselves impoverished both during and after the war.

During their time off, many of the men in the CPS camps published newsletters discussing education programs, which frequently involved religious study, work projects, and news about individuals sent to family and friends back home. This collections consists of newsletters created in camps in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Indiana, Maryland, and Colorado.

Subjects
  • Civilian Public Service--Periodicals
  • Conscientious objectors--United States
  • Pacifists--United States
  • World War, 1939-1945--Conscientious objectors--United States
Types of material
  • Newsletters

Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

W.E.B. Du Bois Papers, 1803-1984
328 boxes (168.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 312
W.E.B. Du Bois Papers image
W.E.B. Du Bois

Scholar, writer, editor of The Crisis and other journals, co-founder of the Niagara Movement, the NAACP, and the Pan African Congresses, international spokesperson for peace and for the rights of oppressed minorities, W.E.B. Du Bois was a son of Massachusetts who articulated the strivings of African Americans and developed a trenchant analysis of the problem of the color line in the twentieth century.

The Du Bois Papers contain almost 165 linear feet of the personal and professional papers of a remarkable social activist and intellectual. Touching on all aspects of his long life from his childhood during Reconstruction through the end of his life in 1963, the collection reflects the extraordinary breadth of his social and academic commitments from research in sociology to poetry and plays, from organizing for social change to organizing for Black consciousness.

Subjects
  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • African Americans--History--1877-1964
  • Crisis (New York, N.Y.)
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on democracy
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  • Pan-Africanism
  • United States--Race relations
Contributors
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
Types of material
  • Photographs

Gwin, Lucy

Lucy Gwin Papers, 1982-2005
8 boxes (12 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 822

Born in Indiana, the writer Lucy Gwin (1943-2014) lived “a lot of lives,” in her own words, working in advertising, as a dairy farmer, civil rights activist, and deckhand on ships servicing oil rigs, all before the age of 40. While living in Rochester, N.Y., in 1989, however, her life took a sudden turn. After a head-on collision with a drunk driver left her with traumatic brain injury, Gwin was remanded for care to the New Medico Brain Rehabilitation Center, where she witnessed a world of isolation, patient abuse, and powerlessness. Never one to shrink from a challenge, she escaped from the Center and used her skills as an organizer and writer to expose conditions at New Medico and shut the facility down. Through her experiences, Gwin emerged as a powerful, often acerbic voice in all-disability rights advocacy, becoming the founder, designer, and editor of the influential Mouth Magazine in 1990.

Lucy Gwin’s papers document the advocacy of an important figure in the disability rights movement. The rich documentation for Mouth Magazine includes comprehensive editorial files arranged issue by issue, some correspondence with authors and supporters, and copies of the published issue. The balance of the collection contains Gwin’s other work as a writer, personal correspondence, and materials relating to her experiences with and campaign against New Medico.

Subjects
  • Disabled--Civil rights
  • Mouth Magazine

Heath, Gordon, 1918-1991

Gordon Heath Papers, 1913-1992
44 boxes (22.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 372 and 372 bd
Gordon Heath Papers image
Gordon Heath, Paris

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.

Subjects
  • 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
  • Nightclubs--France--Paris--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
Contributors
  • Abramson, Doris E
  • Heath, Gordon, 1918-1991
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Scripts
  • Sheet music
  • Sketches

Hill, Aurin F.

Aurin F. Hill Papers, 1885-1929
8 boxes (6 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 579
Aurin F. Hill Papers image
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

International Brotherhood of Paper Makers. Eagle Lodge

International Brotherhood of Paper Makers Local 1 (Eagle Lodge : Holyoke, Mass.) Records, 1901-1978
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 081

First organized as Eagle Lodge in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the United Brotherhood of Paper Makers was granted a charter by the AFL in May 1883. Almost as soon as the union was established, however, it faced a serious struggle for power from within. Hoping to maintain their higher economic and social status, the machine tenders ultimately organized their own union, and the two remained separate for a number of years until they finally merged in 1902 as the International Brotherhood of Paper Makers.

The surviving records of the Eagle Lodge, Local 1 of the International Brotherhood of Paper Makers, include by-laws, minutes, correspondence, some contracts, a ledger, and three histories of the local and the early days of the union.

Subjects
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Paper industry workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Paper industry workers--Massachusetts--Holyoke
Contributors
  • United Paperworkers International Union
Types of material
  • Minutes (Administrative records)

International Oil Working Group

International Oil Working Group Collection, 1957-1987 (Bulk: 1980-1985)
29 boxes (15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 268

The International Oil Working Group (IOWG) is one of a number of organizations that worked to implement an oil embargo initiated by the United Nations General Assembly against South Africa to protest the country’s policies of apartheid. The IOWG grew out of the Sanctions Working Group established in 1979. Although the nature and timing of the change in names is unclear, it appears that Dr. Teresa Turner was instrumental in the formation of both groups and was primarily responsible for their organization and administration. Other directors included Luis Prado, Arnold Baker and Kassahun Checole. While the group was loosely organized, it maintained the basic structure of a special advisory board with a pool of research associates. Primary activities involved researching topics related to the oil embargo; writing papers for regional, national, and international conferences; giving testimony at UN meetings; providing information to governments, unions and other groups committed to aiding in the implementation of the oil embargo; lecturing to students and members of the community on the subject of sanctions against South Africa; and collaborating with the UN Center Against Apartheid. Research topics included tanker monitoring to detect and expose those shipping companies that broke the embargo; the energy needs in those countries in southern Africa which depend upon South Africa to meet some of their energy demands; ways to effectively implement and enforce the oil embargo; trade union action by oil transport workers; Namibian independence and decolonization; and underground oil storage in South Africa.

Collection consists of administrative papers including financial records, minutes and association history materials; correspondence; printed materials produced by the IOWG; conference files; UN documents relating to South Africa and sanctions; and reference materials, including published reports, news clippings, newsletters and journals, related to oil shipping, tanker information and South African economic and political activity generally.

Subjects
  • Apartheid--South Africa--History
  • Economic sanctions--South Africa--History
  • Embargo
  • Namibia--History--Autonomy and independence movements
  • Namibia--Politics and government--1946-1990
  • Petroleum industry and trade--History--20th century
  • Petroleum industry and trade--Political aspects--South Africa
  • South Africa--Politics and government--1978-1989
  • Tankers--South Africa--History
Contributors
  • International Oil Working Group
  • Turner, Terisa

Lipshires, Sidney

Sidney Lipshires Papers, 1932-2012
7 boxes (3.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 730
Sidney Lipshires Papers image
Sidney Lipshires

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.

Subjects
  • Communism--United States--History
  • Communists--Massachusetts
  • Jews--Massachusetts--Northampton--History
  • Jews--Political activity--United States--History--20th century
  • Labor movement--United States--History--20th century
  • Labor unions--United States--Officials and employees--Biography
Contributors
  • Lipshires, David M
  • Lipshires, Joann B
  • Lipshires, Sidney
Types of material
  • Autobiographies
  • Photographs
  • Testimonies
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