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History of Protistology

“The province of protozoa, reminiscent of the fertile crescent in the Middle East, straddles the highways of thought that run between the major continents of biology. Down these roads come caravans of concepts and analogies: ideas about hierarchies and taxonomies from one direction, convictions about the basic structures and functions of life from another, opinions about reproduction and development from a third, and theories of the origin and evolution of life’s forms from still another quarter. It is uncanny how these separate trains of thought intersect one another in the land of the single-celled organisms. There they interact, exchange views, and rearrange their loads before they disperse again to inform other regions of biology of their contents and conclusions. A complete history of protozoology must recognize the centrality of this terrain.”

Frederick B. Churchill. 1989. “Toward the History of Protozoology,” Journal of the History of Biology 22: 185-187.

Protistology (formerly called protozoology) is the scientific study of unicellular eukaryotes and their relatives — single cells as living organisms. Protists make up 57 of the 60 distinct “ultrastructural identities” of eukaryotes, with the macroscopic forms most familiar to us (plants, animals and fungi) nestled amongst the other three (Simpson and Patterson, 2007). An extraordinarily diverse assemblage of organisms, protists have distinctive genetic systems, numerous primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of symbiosis, and unique cytoskeletons, and they play important roles in food webs and as pathogens. Among them are some of the most serious human parasites, including the malaria parasites Plasmodium spp., Leishmania, Trypanosoma, Entamoeba and Trichomonas. Many protists, such as Chlamydomonas, Tetrahymena, and Dictyostelium, have become important experimental organisms in scientific and medical research.

What do the Protistology Collections include?

The Protistology collections at UMass focus on the unique aspects of protist biology, those not found in plants, animals and fungi, but which inform our understanding of the evolution of these macroscopic lineages. In addition to having the professional papers, lab notebooks and journals of some of the leading 20th century protistologists, the collection includes the world’s primary repository of light and electron micrographs of protists. Due to the ubiquity and diversity of protists, the collections cross a broad range of disciplines and methodologies, from evolutionary biology to ecology, physiology, medicine, and public health.

The growing number of collections include the papers of:

For further information, please contact the Archivists.


Simpson and Patterson, 2007. In Katz, L.A. and D. Bhattacharya, eds. Genomics and Evolution of Microbial Eukaryotes. Oxford

Learn more:

Radical Student Union Records, 1905-2006 (Bulk: 1978-2005)

22 boxes (14.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 045/80 R1

Founded by Charles Bagli in 1976, the Revolutionary Student Brigade at UMass Amherst (later the Radical Student Union) has been a focal point for organization by politically radical students. RSU members have responded to issues of social justice, addressing both local, regional, and national concerns ranging from militarism to the environment, racism and sexism to globalization.

The RSU records document the history of a particularly long-lived organization of left-leaning student activists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Beginning in the mid-1970s, as students were searching for ways to build upon the legacy of the previous decade, the RSU has been a constant presence on campus, weathering the Reagan years, tough budgetary times, and dramatic changes in the political culture at the national and state levels. The RSU reached its peak during the 1980s with protests against American involvement in Central America, CIA recruitment on campus, American support for the Apartheid regime in South Africa, and government-funded weapons research, but in later years, the organization has continued to adapt, organizing against globalization, sweatshops, the Iraq War, and a host of other issues.


  • Anti-apartheid movements--Massachusetts
  • Central America--Foreign relations--United States
  • College students--Political activity
  • Communism
  • El Salvador--History--1979-1992
  • Guatemala--History--1945-1982
  • Iraq War, 2003-
  • Nicaragua--History--1979-1990
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Persian Gulf War, 1991
  • Political activists--Massachusetts--History
  • Racism
  • Socialism
  • Student movements
  • United States--Foreign relations--Central America
  • United States. Central Intelligence Agency
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst


  • Progressive Student Network
  • Radical Student Union
  • Revolutionary Student Brigade

Types of material

  • Banners

John P. Roche Collection, 1886-1965

324 items
Call no.: RB 008

A political scientist, writer, and government consultant, John P. Roche was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on May 7, 1923, the son of a salesman. A liberal Social Democrat and fervent anti-Communist, Roche spent his academic career at Haverford College and Brandeis and Tufts Universities, writing extensively on American foreign policy, constitutional law, and the history of political thought in America, and maintaining a strong interest in the history of the American left. During the 1960s and early 1970s, he served as an adviser to the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations.

The Roche Collection consists of over 300 publications pertaining to the political left in the United States, with a smaller number of works from the radical right and from European Socialists and Communists. Concentrated in the years spanning the Great Depression, the Second World War, and the McCarthy hearings, many of the works were produced by formal political parties in response to particular political campaigns, current events, or social issues, with other works geared primarily toward consciousness raising and general political education on trade unionism, fascism, war and peace, American foreign policy, and freedom of speech and the press.


  • Communism
  • Fascism
  • Pacifism
  • Socialism
  • United States--Foreign policy--20th century
  • World War, 1939-1945


  • Coughlin, Charles E. (Charles Edward), 1891-1979
  • Roche, John P.

Barbara Rotundo Photograph Collection, ca.1970-2004

9 boxes (10 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 050

A long-time member of the English Department at the University of Albany, Barbara Rotundo was a 1942 graduate in economics at Mount Holyoke College. After the death of her husband, Joseph in 1953, Rotundo became one of the first female faculty members at Union College, and after earning a master’s degree in English at Cornell University and a doctorate in American Literature from Syracuse University, she served as an associate professor of English at the University of Albany, where she founded one of the first university writing programs in the United States. Avocationally, she was a stalwart member of the Association for Gravestone Studies, helping to broaden its scope beyond its the Colonial period to include the Victorian era. Her research included the rural cemetery movement, Mount Auburn Cemetery, white bronze (zinc) markers, and ethnic folk gravestones. Her research in these fields was presented on dozens of occasions to annual meetings of AGS, the American Culture Association, and The Pioneer America Society. In 1989, after residing in Schenectady for forty-six years, she retired to Belmont, NH, where she died in December 2004.

Consisting primarily of thousands of color slides (most digitized) and related research notebooks, the Rotundo collection is a major visual record of Victorian grave markers in the United States. The notebooks and slides are arranged by state, with an emphasis on the eastern states, and white bronze (zinc) markers also are represented in photographs and a separate research notebook. The collection also includes several rare or privately published books.


  • Cemeteries--New York (State)
  • Gravestones--New Jersey
  • Gravestones--New York (State)
  • Gravestones--Pennsylvania


  • Rotundo, Barbara

Types of material

  • Photographs

Richard Santerre Franco-American Collection, 1872-1978

113 items (6 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 009

An historian from Lowell, Mass., Richard Santerre received his doctorate from Boston College in 1974 for his dissertation Le Roman Franco-Americain en Nouvelle Angleterre, 1878-1943. For more than twenty years he published regularly on the history of French and French-Canadian immigrants in New England, particularly Massachusetts, while doing so, assembling a significant collection of books on the subject.

With titles in both French and English, the Santerre Collection deals with the wide range of Franco-American experience in New England, touching on topics from literature and the arts to religion, benevolent societies, language, the process of assimilation, biography, and history. The collection includes several uncommon imprints regarding French American communities in Lowell, Lawrence, New Bedford, and Worcester, Mass., as well as in Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, and it includes publications of associations such as the Ralliement Français en Amérique, the Association Canado-Americain, and the Alliance Française de Lowell.


  • Franco-Americans--Connecticut
  • Franco-Americans--Massachusetts
  • Franco-Americans--New Hampshire
  • Franco-Americans--Rhode Island
  • French Canadians


  • Santerre, Richard

Wayne G. Sharpe Papers, 1943-1944

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 462

Wayne G. Sharpe was a secretary for Company A in the 1874th Engineers Aviation Battalion of the Army Air Corps and a middle-class family man from Belmont, Massachusetts. Enlisted in February of 1943 at the age of twenty-seven, Wayne left his wife and infant son for a year’s training at home before his Battalion was dispatched to New Guinea in late December. Flown to a hospital on the island in late April 1944, he returned to the United States in August.

The papers of Wayne G. Sharpe, Sr. are primarily made up of his letters and V-mails home during his training and service abroad, but also include his wife’s letters to him from April 1943-August 1944.


  • World War, 1939-1945


  • Sharpe, Wayne G., 1915-1991

Southeast Asia Collection, 1925-1986

The Southeast Asia Collection highlights the regional wars from the 1970s to the 1980s, including a series on Southeast Asian refugees in America, along with materials on regional economic development, especially in the Mekong River Basin. The collection contains hundreds of reports on agricultural and industrial projects in the region, examining everything from the impact of electrification on village life in Thailand to a description of a Soviet-built hospital in Cambodia in 1961, to an assessment of herbicide in Vietnam in 1971.

Collected primarily by Joel Halpern and James Hafner, the collection includes background, field, and situation reports by U.S. Operations Missions and U.S. Agency for International Development; reports, publications, statistics, and background information from other U.S. government agencies, governments of Laos and Thailand, and the United Nations; correspondence, reports, and reference materials of nongovernmental organizations; reports and essays by individuals about Southeast Asia; news releases and newspapers; published and unpublished bibliographies; and interviews with U.S. military personnel. Most material comes from governmental and organizational sources, but there are papers by, and debriefs of, numerous individuals.


  • Cambodia--History--1953-1975
  • Laos--History
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975


  • Hafner, James
  • Halpern, Joel Martin

Harvey Swados Papers, 1933-1983

49 boxes (23 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 218

The author and social critic Harvey Swados (1920-1972) was a graduate of the University of Michigan who embarked on a literary life after service in the merchant Marine during the Second World War. His first novel, Out Went the Candle (1955), introduced the themes to which Swados would return throughout his career, the alienation of factory workers and the experience of the working class in industrial America. His other works include a widely read collection of stories set in an auto plant, On the Line, the novels False Coin (1959), Standing Fast (1970), and Celebration (1975), and a noted collection of essays A Radical’s America (1962). His essay for Esquire magazine, “Why Resign from the Human Race?,” is often cited as inspiring the formation of the Peace Corps.

The Swados collection includes journals, notes, typewritten drafts of novels and short stories, galley proofs, clippings, and correspondence concerning writings; letters from family, publishers, literary agents, colleagues, friends, and readers, including Richard Hofstadter, Saul Bellow, James Thomas Farrell, Herbert Gold, Irving Howe, Bernard Malamud, and Charles Wright Mills; letters from Swados, especially to family, friends, and editors; book reviews; notes, background material, and drafts of speeches and lectures; financial records; biographical and autobiographical sketches; bibliographies.


  • Authors, American--20th century--Biography
  • Jewish authors--United States--Biography
  • National Book Awards--History--20th century
  • Socialists--United States--Biography


  • Bellow, Saul
  • Farrell, James T. (James Thomas), 1904-1979
  • Gold, Herbert, 1924-
  • Hofstadter, Richard, 1916-1970
  • Howe, Irving
  • Malamud, Bernard
  • Mills, C. Wright (Charles Wright), 1916-1962
  • Swados, Harvey, 1920-1972

Sidney Topol Papers, 1944-1997

52 boxes (78 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 374
Sidney Topol
Sidney Topol

An innovator and entrepreneur, Sidney Topol was a contributor to several key developments in the telecommunications industries in the latter half of the twentieth century. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts (1947) and an engineer and executive at Raytheon and later Scientific-Atlanta, Topol’s expertise in microwave systems led to the development of the first effective portable television relay links, allowing broadcasts from even remote areas, and his foray into satellite technologies in the 1960s provided the foundation for building the emerging cable television industry, permitting the transmission of transoceanic television broadcasts. Since retiring in the early 1990s, Topol has been engaged in philanthropic work, contributing to the educational and cultural life in Boston and Atlanta.

The product of a pioneer in the telecommunications and satellite industries and philanthropist, this collection contains a rich body of correspondence and speeches, engineering notebooks, reports, product brochures, and photographs documenting Sidney Topol’s forty year career as an engineer and executive. The collection offers a valuable record of Topol’s role in the growth of both corporations, augmented by a suite of materials stemming from Topol’s tenure as Chair of the Electronic Industries Association Advanced Television Committee (ATV) in the 1980s and his service as Co-Chair of a major conference on Competitiveness held by the Carter Center in 1988.


  • Boston (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th century
  • Cable television
  • Electronic Industries Association
  • Raytheon Company
  • Scientific-Atlanta


  • Topol, Sidney

Roberta Uno Collection of Asian American Women Playwrights' Scripts, 1924-2005

25 boxes (9 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 345
Coconut masquerade postcard
Coconut masquerade postcard

Roberta Uno was the founder and long time artistic director of the New WORLD Theater at UMass Amherst, a theater in residence dedicated to the production of works by playwrights of color.

Established by Uno in 1993, the Asian American Women Playwrights Scripts Collection contains manuscripts of plays, but also production histories, reviews, and articles, along with biographies and audio and videotaped interviews with playwrights. Among the individuals represented are Brenda Wong Aoki, Jeannie Barroga, Marina Feleo Gonzales, Jessica Hagedorn, Velina Hasu Houston, Genny Lim, le thi diem thuy, Ling-Ai Li, Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl, Nobuko Miyamoto, Bina Sharif, and Diana Son.


  • Asian American women authors
  • New WORLD Theater
  • Playwrights


  • Uno, Roberta, 1956-

Types of material

  • Scripts (Documents)
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