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Collection policy

Frank Waugh's doves

Garden (white fan tailed doves in bird bath) by Frank Waugh, ca.1920

“… 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 pursuit of 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 highly 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.

Our approach to collecting

Echoing the philosophy of W.E.B. Du Bois, SCUA collects original materials that document the histories and experiences of social change in America and the organizational, intellectual, and individual ties that unite disparate struggles for social justice, human dignity, and equality. Our decision to adopt social change as a collecting focus emerged from considering one of Du Bois’s great insights: that the most fundamental issues in social justice are so deeply interconnected that no movement — and no solution to social ills — can succeed in isolation. Rather than focus on individual movements, we therefore focus on the connections between and among movements and the flow of people, organizations, and ideas, all in the hope of better representing the true histories of social engagement in America and laying the foundation for a deeper understanding of the experience of social change.

A related feature of SCUA’s approach to collecting is our commitment to documenting “whole lives and whole communities.” Rather than focus just on a person’s “significant” actions or ideas, our goal is to represent the person’s entire life in all its complexity: the person’s background, the events themselves, and the aftermath, as well as the range of colleagues and organizations engaged. Our goal is not to highlight simply the great achievements and great people, but to reveal the broad underpinnings of influences, interests, and organizations that shaped them and the communities in which they operated.

While not exhaustive, the following is a synopsis of the primary focal points for SCUA’s collections:

Social change

Emphasizing the cross-fertilization between social movements and centers of activist energy, SCUA collects materials from individuals and organizations involved in the struggles for peace and non-violence, social and racial justice, economic justice, agricultural reform, environmentalism, sustainability, alternative energy, organized labor, gay rights, disability rights, spiritual activism, antinuclear activism, and intentional communities. Our collections branch out to include anti-fluoridation 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.
  • Antifluoridation movement: Including right-wing, left-wing, libertarian, popular, and scientific opposition to fluoridation of public water supplies.
  • 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.
  • Spiritual approaches to social change: Materials relating to people and organizations motivated to take social action through spiritual consideration.

Innovation and entrepreneurship

SCUA collects materials that document innovative and entrepreneurial activities and particularly social entrepreneurship. Representative 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.

New England history and culture

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 Representative John Clark; and the records of the Hampshire Council of Governments and several individual towns.

University Archives collecting

Serving as the memory of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, SCUA is steward for the official and unofficial records of the university that document the people, policies, programs, facilities, and activities of the campus community. The collections are a rich record of administrative activity at all levels, from system to program, but they focus on documenting the lives and activities of individual administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Other areas

SCUA has developed depth in a handful of other collecting areas, including:

  • American Study of Japan and Asia
    American relations with Japan from the Meiji period to the present, and connections with China and other Asian countries.
  • Gravestone studies and death
    Materials relating to the history, culture, preservation, and interpretation of gravestones and related subjects.
  • Protistology
    Records of the scholarly study of the protista (protozoans).

Learn more:

Collins, Phebe

Phebe Collins Collection, ca.1875-1969
10 boxes (15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 958
Image of Boy and his dog, 1931
Boy and his dog, 1931

The daughter of a Scottish immigrant and a 1923 graduate of Smith College, Phebe Hazel Ferris returned to her alma mater to pursue graduate work degree in Geology, but in 1928 she married her instructor, Robert Frank Collins. Settling in Williamsburg, Mass., the couple raised a family of three boys, Frank, Robert, and James. Robert, Sr., remained as a Professor of Geology and Geography at Smith, while Phebe eventually returned to graduate work, though in Physics, and thereafter worked for many years at Smith as a laboratory instructor. Phebe died in 1983, less than two months before her husband.

The Collins collection consists primarily of meticulously maintained scrapbooks assembled by Phebe Collins between the 1920s and the 1960s. The range of materials in these scrapbooks is remarkable, including not only photographs, postcards, and letters received, but children’s drawings, report cards, and the occasional surprise like a quarantine sign hung on the family door for a sick child. In aggregate, they are a rich record of the growth of an intellectually-inclined family across four decades. The collection also includes seventeen photograph albums and hundreds of Collins and Ferris family photographs, along with images taken by Robert during his geological work.

Gift of Cathy Englehardt, Jan. 2017
Subjects
  • Family--Massachusetts
  • Ferris family
  • Geologists--Massachusetts
  • Williamsburg (Mass.)--History
Types of material
  • Ephemera
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Communist Party of Massachusetts

Communist Party of Massachusetts Collection, 1932-1957
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 538

A branch of the Communist Party of the United States of America, the Communist Party of Massachusetts enjoyed strong popularity during the 1930s and 1940s, organizing the textile and other manufacturing industries.

This small collection is comprised of a miscellaneous assemblage of fliers, broadsides, and ephemera issued by the Communist Party of Massachusetts and its affiliates from the mid-1930s through the repression of the McCarthy era. Originating mostly from Boston, the items in the collection center on significant themes in Communist thought, including opposition to Fascism and militarism, labor solidarity against capital, and elections. A small number of items relate to Party-approved cultural productions, including plays and gatherings to celebrate Lenin or the Russian Revolution. Many items are associated with Otis A. Hood, a perpetual candidate for public office on the Communist Party ticket who became a target for McCarthy-era repression in the mid-1950s.

Acquired from Eugene Povirk, 2008
Subjects
  • Antiwar movements--Massachusetts
  • Communists--Massachusetts
  • Elections--Massachusetts
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Communist Party of Massachusetts
Types of material
  • Broadsides
  • Fliers

The Cosby Radio Program

The Bill Cosby Radio Program Collection, 1968 Jan-Jul
12 phonograph records (.3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 981

“The Bill Cosby Radio Program” was a daily syndicated radio series of roughly 5-minute comedy inserts by Cosby and produced by Frank Buxton (who also served as the show’s announcer and comedic “straight man”). Along with sound man Gene Twombly, Cosby and Buxton improvised the episodes, which were syndicated to more than 200 top-40 radio stations around the nation on transcription discs by The Coca-Cola Company and distributed by McCann-Erikson (Coke’s ad agency). The show marked the beginning of Cosby’s long association with Coca-Cola and was the debut of many characters from Cosby’s comedy.

This collection features twelve radio broadcast transcription discs (one 12-inch disc and eleven 16-inch discs) of “The Bill Cosby Radio Program” containing programs #21-130 (1968 Jan 29-Jun 24) and programs #141-145 (1968 Jul 15). The disc labels contain the original program description and art.

Gift of Jerry Reed, June 2017.
Subjects
  • African American comedians
  • Buxton, Frank
  • Coca-Cola Company
  • Cosby, Bill, 1937-
  • Radio comedies
  • Radio programs
Types of material
  • Phonograph records
Restrictions: SCUA does not currently have the appropriate media to play these records.

Czaja, Mrs. Joseph

Josephine Czaja Papers, 1936-1987
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 189

Born in Poland, Josephine Latosinski emigrated with her parents to the United States as an infant in 1905. After study at the Booth and Bayliss Commercial College in Waterbury, Connecticut, she worked briefly as a secretary for a Waterbury firm, however in 1926, she married an electrical engineer, Joseph Czaja, and moved to Springfield, Mass. An active member of the Polish community and a talented musician, Czaja sang in the St. Cecilia Choir of Our Lady of the Rosary Church, was an officer in the church’s Ladies Guild, and she became a key member of the local Polish Women’s Club.

The collection consists of photocopies of news clippings, probably compiled into scrapbooks by Josephine Czaja, depicting her activities, her family, the Polish community of Springfield more generally, particularly the Polish Women’s Club.

Language(s): PolishEnglish`
Subjects
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Polish Women's Club
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Social conditions
Types of material
  • News clippings

Democratic Socialist Conference

Democratic Socialist Conference Collection, 1984-1991
2 boxes (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 325

Includes transcripts of papers delivered at conferences (1985-1990) on democratic socialism, and correspondence (1984-1991) between Stephen Siteman, former Executive Secretary of the Socialist Party of America, and Frank Zeidler, former Mayor of Milwaukee, Socialist Party candidate for President of the United States, and national chairperson of the Socialist Party USA.

Gift of Stephen Siteman, 1990, 1991
Subjects
  • Socialism--Africa
  • Socialist Party of the United States of America
  • United States--Politics and government--1981-1989
  • United States--Politics and government--1989-1993
Contributors
  • Siteman, Stephen
  • Zeidler, Frank P

Denslow, William Wallace, 1826-1868

William Wallace Denslow Botanical Manuscripts Collection, 1864-1868
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 064

A druggist by training, William Denslow became interested in botany as a means of combating tuberculosis through outdoor exercise. As his interests developed, Denslow amassed an herbarium that included between 11,000 and 15,000 specimens, including both American and European species.

The Denslow collection consists of a single volume of manuscripts, chiefly letters, collected from significant botanists and other individuals, including William Henry Brewer, Mordecai Cubitt Cooke, Asa Gray, Isaac Hollister Hall, Thomas P. James, Horace Mann, Edward Sylvester Morse, Charles Horton Peck, George Edward Post, Frederick Ward Putnam, George Thurber, and John Torrey.

Subjects
  • Botanists--Correspondence
  • Botany--History--19th century--Sources
Contributors
  • Brewer, William Henry, 1828-1910
  • Cooke, M. C. (Mordecai Cubitt), b. 1825
  • Denslow, William Wallace, 1826-1868
  • Gray, Asa, 1810-1888
  • Hall, Isaac H. (Isaac Hollister), 1837-1896
  • James, Thomas Potts, 1803-1882
  • Mann, Horace, 1844-1868
  • Morse, Edward Sylvester, 1838-1925
  • Peck, Charles H. (Charles Horton), 1833-1917
  • Post, George E. (George Edward), 1838-1909
  • Putnam, F. W. (Frederic Ward), 1839-1915
  • Thurber, George, 1821-1890
  • Torrey, John, 1796-1873
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Drucker, Jeffrey I.

Jeffrey Drucker Photograph Collection, 1966-1969
387 photographs
Call no.: RG 50/6 D78
Image of Simon and Garfunkel at the Curry Hicks Cage, Dec. 3, 1967
Simon and Garfunkel at the Curry Hicks Cage, Dec. 3, 1967

Jeffrey Drucker was a student and photographer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1966 to 1969, where he majored in production management and was the WMUA station engineer. As a student, Drucker was a photography enthusiast, taking snapshots of events across campus, thoroughly documenting his years as an undergraduate at UMass in the late-sixties.

The Jeffrey Drucker Photograph Collection contains 387 photographs of a diverse array of campus events, including the Dow Chemical protest in 1968, parades, Roister Doisters productions, musicians like Stevie Wonder and Simon and Garfunkel performing at on-campus concerts, and iconic campus buildings. Many of Drucker’s photographs were printed in the Index yearbook as well as the University of Massachusetts Daily Collegian and give a clearly student perspective to life on campus.

Subjects
  • Protests and demonstrations--Photographs
  • Rock concerts--Massachusetts--Amherst--Photographs
  • Roister Doisters (University of Massachusetts Amherst)--Photographs
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Photographs
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students and alumni--Photographs
Types of material
  • Black-and-white negatives
  • Gelatin silver prints

Fernald, Charles H.

Charles H. Fernald Papers, 1869-1963
8 boxes (3.75 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 059
Image of Charles H. Fernald
Charles H. Fernald

During a long and productive career in natural history, Charles Fernald conducted important research in economic entomology and performed equally important work as a member of the faculty and administration at Massachusetts Agricultural College. Arriving at MAC in 1886 as a professor of zoology, Fernald served as acting President of the College (1891-1892) and as the first Director of the Graduate School (1908-1912), and perhaps most importantly, he helped for many years to nurture the Hatch Experiment Station.

Correspondence, published writings, publication notes, newspaper clippings, Massachusetts Board of Agriculture Reports, and biographical material including personal recollections of former student and colleague Charles A. Peters.

Subjects
  • Agriculture--Study and teaching
  • Entomology
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of Zoology
  • Zoology--Study and teaching
Contributors
  • Fernald, Charles H.

Field, William Franklin, 1922-

William F. Field Papers, 1948-1986
27 (13.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 030/2 F5
Image of William F. Field relaxing on couch, ca. 1971
William F. Field relaxing on couch, ca. 1971

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.

Subjects
  • 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
  • Correspondence
  • Memorandums

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