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Michael H. Bianchi Collection, 1993-2015

4 boxes (6 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 915

Since the early 1990s, Michael Bianchi has been involved in the community of electric vehicle developers and enthusiasts and is a key figure in documenting the history of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association’s annual American Tour de Sol Electric Vehicle Challenge. A resident of northern New Jersey and a developer of software management and operations support systems with Bellcore and other companies, Bianchi became interested in alternatives to petroleum-fueled vehicles in the early 1990s, attending his first Tour de Sol in 1993. Since that time he has served as announcer for the Tour and documented each contest with photographs, oral histories with participants, and highly detailed summary reports (1994-2009). For many years, Bianchi drove his own electric vehicle, beginning with a Solectria Force, and he continues to write on the development of electric vehicles.

The Bianchi collection contains reports, photographs, and ephemera associated with the American Tour De Sol, along with an assortment of scarce newsletters and magazines on electric vehicles. Of special note are interviews (on microcassette) with Tour participants.


  • American Tour de Sol
  • Electric Cars

Types of material

  • Audiocassettes
  • Oral histories

Stanley Charren Papers, 1973 (Bulk: 2000)

3 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 900

Called “the Howard Hughes of the wind business,” Stanley Charren played a crucial role in the development of the modern wind power industry. A native of Providence, R.I., and an engineering graduate of Brown University (BS 1945) and Harvard (MS 1946). After marrying Peggy Walzer in 1951, who later became famous as founder of Action for Children’s Television, Charren embarked on a career that merged a penchant for innovation with an entrepreneurial streak, working with Pratt and Whitney, Fairchild, and Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton before becoming CEO of Pandel-Bradford (later Compo). Although he successfully developed products such as the swim spa and carpet squares, Charren is best remembered for his role in commercializing wind power. Taking an interest in wind during the Nixon-era energy crisis, he and his partner Russell Wolfe founded US Windpower in 1974, working on the idea of linking arrays of intermediate-sized windmills into a single power plant tied to the grid. US Wind built the world’s first wind farm in 1978, consisting of 20 units at Crotched Mountain, N.H., and after relocating to northern California in 1980 and changing name to Kenetech in 1988, the company emerged as the largest wind energy firm in the world. However the collapse of oil prices in the 1980s and federal regulatory hostility to alternative energy seriously impinged upon the company’s growth, ultimately contributing to its bankruptcy in May 1996. Charren retired from Kenetech in 1995.

The Charren Papers include scattered but valuable materials on the founding and operations of US Windpower and Kenetech, including early business plans, correspondence, technical reports, and informational brochures, along with materials documenting some of the legal challenges they faced in the 1980s and 1990s. The collection also contains ephemera relating to some of Charren’s work outside of the windpower industry.


  • Kenetech
  • U.S. Windpower
  • Windpower industry

Randy Kehler Papers, 1978-1997

17 boxes (7.75 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.


  • 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


  • Corner, Betsy
  • Kehler, Randy
  • Link, Mary
  • Mosely, Don
  • Nelson, Juanita

Types of material

  • Court records
  • Diaries
  • Legal documents
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Scrapbooks

Science for the People Records, ca.1969-2014

10 boxes (6.35 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 859

At the height of the antiwar struggle in the late 1960s, a group of scientists and engineers based in Cambridge, Mass., began to turn a critical eye on the role of their fields in the larger political culture. Calling themselves Scientists and Engineers for Social and Political Action (SESPA), the group took the slogan “Science for the People,” which in turn became the name of their organization. With a collective membership that spread nation-wide, Science for the People was a voice for racial science and an active presence framing several of the scientific debates of the day. Through its vigorous publications, SftP explored issues ranging from the impact of military and corporate control of research to scientific rationalziation of racism, sexism, and other forms of inequality; and they contributed to the discussions of recombinant DNA, sociobiology, IQ and biological determinism, women’s health care, nuclear power, and the rise of biotechnology. Many members were engaged in supporting anti-imperialist resistance in Central America and Asia during the 1980s. The organization gradually waned in the 1980s and published the last issue of its magazine in 1989.

Donated by several members of the organization, the Science for the People collection provides a window into the organization and operation of a collective devoted to radical science. In addition to meeting minutes and notes, and some correspondence, the collection includes a nearly complete run of the Science for the People magazine, and a substantial representation of the national and Nicaragua newsletters and topical publications.


  • Science--Social aspects
  • Technology--Social aspects
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements

Woody Stoddard Papers, ca.1970-2007

27 boxes (40.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 826
Engineers climbing a turbine, Tehachapi, Calif., Aug. 1992
Engineers climbing a turbine, Tehachapi, Calif., Aug. 1992

A visionary of modern wind power, Forrest “Woody” Stoddard was a graduate in aeronautics from MIT (BS, 1966; MS 1968) and an early member of the UMass Amherst “wind power mafia.” After service with the Air Force, Stoddard returned home to Amherst, Mass., in 1972 to pursue a doctorate in Ocean Engineering and to take part in the emerging field of alternate energy. Joining the vibrant, interdisciplinary group at UMass gathered around William Heronemus, he began a dissertation in wind turbine dynamic analysis (1979), earning selection as lead developer of the famed 25kW Wind Furnace 1 (WF-1) turbine. To carry research into practice, Heronemus, Stoddard, and other UMass graduates joined US Windpower (later Kenetech), the country’s first producer of large wind turbines and promoter of early wind farms. A tireless advocate for wind power and alternative energy, Stoddard was highly regarded as a researcher but also as a teacher and mentor of a generation of engineers who populate the industry. Nearly coincident with his untimely death on Jan. 25, 2007, the American Wind Energy Association awarded Stoddard its Lifetime Achievement Award.

As a participant in the early years of the wind power group at UMass, Stoddard’s papers offer insight into an engineer’s experiences in the fitful growth of the wind power industry. The collection is rich in engineering data on turbine dynamics and other aspects of wind power and the extension of academic research into the nascent wind power industry, and it includes an interesting array of both personal and professional photographs and correspondence.


  • U.S. Wind Power Associates
  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Wind Energy Center (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
  • Wind Furnace 1
  • Wind power
  • Wind turbines--Aerodynamics


  • Heronemus, William E.

Types of material

  • Photographs

Tour de Sol Records, 1989-2006

16 boxes (24 linear feet)

The first Tour de Sol was organized in Switzerland in 1985 to build awareness and support for innovation in solar vehicles, and the American offshoot began four years later under the aegis of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. Part solar car demonstration and part race championship, the first American tour followed a course from Montpelier, Vt. to Boston, Mass., and has subsequently been taken all over the northeast and mid-Atlantic region. A Monte Carlo-style rally, the tours has celebrated high mileage and environmentally-friendly vehicles.

The Tour de Sol collection includes information for participants, rule books, reports, and ephemera, along with newsclippings and an extensive series of photographs and videotapes documenting the Tour and its participants throughout its years.


  • Automobile racing
  • Solar cars


  • Northeast Sustainable Energy Association

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Videotapes

Edward H. Abbe Papers, 1828-2004

22 boxes (28.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 736
Ed Abbe in Bora Bora, 1987
Ed Abbe in Bora Bora, 1987

Born in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1915 and raised largely in Hampton, Va., Edward Abbe seemed destined to be an engineer. The great nephew of Elihu Thomson, an inventor and founding partner in General Electric, and grandson of Edward Folger Peck, an early employee of a precursor of that firm, Abbe came from a family with a deep involvement in electrification and the development of street railways. After prepping at the Rectory and Kent Schools, Abbe studied engineering at the Sheffield School at Yale, and after graduation in 1938, accepted a position with GE. For 36 years, he worked in the Industrial Control Division in New York and Virginia, spending summers at the family home on Martha’s Vineyard. After retirement in 1975, he and his wife Gladys traveled frequently, cruising both the Atlantic and Pacific.

Ranging from an extensive correspondence from his high school and college days to materials relating to his family’s involvement in engineering, the Abbe collection offers an in depth perspective on an educated family. An avid traveler and inveterate keeper, Ed Abbe gathered a diverse assemblage of letters, diaries, and memorabilia relating to the history of the Abbe, Peck, Booth, Gifford, and Boardman families. The collection is particularly rich in visual materials, including albums and photographs, depicting homes, travel, and family life over nearly a century.


  • Abbe family
  • Boardman family
  • Booth family
  • Electrical engineers
  • General Electric
  • Gifford family
  • Kent School--Students
  • Peck family
  • Rectory School--Students
  • Yale University--Students


  • Abbe, Edward H
  • Abbe, Gladys Howard
  • Abbe, William Parker
  • Peck, Edward F
  • Peck, Mary Booth

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Photographs

Bonnie Acker Collection, 1983-2000

1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 582

A collection of t-shirts, gift cards, and posters designed by activist and political artist Bonnie Acker. Each item features an illustration by Acker in support of various issues relating to social change ranging from peace with Nicaragua, to nuclear abolition and from lifting the debt of impoverished countries, to the Burlington, Vermont community land trust.


  • Antinuclear movement--United States
  • Peace movements


  • Acker, Bonnie

Types of material

  • Realia

Founded under the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 as the Massachusetts Agricultural College, UMass Amherst has long been dedicated to the study and teaching of agriculture and the natural sciences. One of two land grant institutions in the Commonwealth (along with MIT), the university has played an important role in the development of scientific agriculture in New England and has been a major factor in agricultural instruction through its classes and extension service.

SCUA’s collections contain a wealth of information on the history of agriculture and related fields, including horticulture, botany, entomology, animal husbandry, gardening, and landscape design. The strength of the collection lies in documenting the development of American agricultural sciences with an emphasis upon the northeastern states, but it is supplemented with numerous works on British, French, and German agriculture. Adding additional depth are the records of the several departments at UMass Amherst charged with instruction in the agricultural sciences and the papers of individual agricultural educators.

Currently, SCUA is particularly interested in documenting the growth of organic agriculture, heritage breeds, and the practices of sustainable living.

Notable collecting areas (view all)

  • Agricultural education
    • Papers of faculty members at Massachusetts Agricultural College and UMass Amherst, as well as educational organizations dedicated to instruction in the agricultural sciences. Among the individuals represented are the agricultural educator, Kenyon Butterfield; Levi Stockbridge, the first farm manager and long-time instructor at MAC; and William Smith Clark, William Penn Brooks, and William Wheeler, who were instrumental in the 1870s in establishing the agricultural college in Hokkaido, Japan.
    • Also printed works through the late nineteenth century on agriculture in America, Britain, and Europe, including those by John Fitzherbert, Thomas Hale, Arthur Young, “Columella,” John Smith, Gervase Markham, et al.
  • Animal husbandry
    • Books on sheep culture in the United States (Robert R. Livingston, Samuel Bard) and England (Lord Somerville, John Lawrence); dairy and beef cattle, horses, poultry science.
  • Farming and rural life
    • Correspondence, farm accounts, and other records of farming and rural life, primarily in New England, as well as materials relating to the sociology of rural life.
  • Beekeeping and entomology
    • Among the earliest rare books acquired by the Massachusetts Agricultural Library were a collections of rare books in beekeeping, including key works by Thomas Hill, John Keys, Daniel Wildman, Henry Eddy, from the late 17th through late 19th centuries. Works by Maria Sibylla Merian, John Curtis, Dru Drury, Johann Jakob Romer, Jacob l’Admiral
  • Botany, horticulture, pomology, etc.
    • Collections relating to the scientific study of botany, horticulture, forestry, and related sciences.
    • Important printed works on American botany by Frederick Pursh, Thomas Nuttall, Humphry Marshall’s Arbustrum Americanum, François André Michaux, early editions of Linnaeus, William Prince, William Coxe, William Chorlton, et al.
  • Landscape and gardening
    • The papers and photographs of the landscape designer Frank Waugh, Julius Fabos, Erwin Zube, and other collections.
    • Among many printed works on gardens and landscapes are three editions of Bernard M’Mahon’s seminal American Gardener’s Calendar, William Cobbett, Alexander Jackson Davis, Humphry Repton, and others.
  • Organic and sustainable agriculture
    • Records of the Northeast Organic Farmers Association and others involved in organic agriculture, alternate energy, and sustainability.
  • Other natural sciences
    • Including entomology and geology.

Learn more:

The American Revolution Documentary Collection, ca.1968-2010

On March 15, 1968, a failing classical music station, WBCN-FM, was reinvented as Boston’s first voice in radical underground radio, and its influence quickly spread nationally. Its characteristic blend of cultural chaos, including rock, folk, blues, and jazz, interspersed with news, radical politics, and community programming, provided a soundtrack for a generation fighting to remake its world. WBCN earned its nickname, “The American Revolution.” The station’s eclectic and unpredictable broadcasts included music from little-known performers who would emerge into the biggest acts of the day; regularly scheduled live musical performances from local clubs; trenchant political analysis and newscasts of the major events of the day; interviews with legendary cultural figures; and innovative new shows including one of the first women’s programs and the Lavender Hour, the nation’s first regularly broadcast LGBT radio show. Music, politics, culture, and community were intensely interconnected through WBCN, while its “listener line,” which took calls and answered questions on any subject, helped make it a virtual two-way hub for countercultural Boston.

While producing a documentary film about WBCN, and the music, politics, and social change during the period 1968-1974, former WBCN newscaster and announcer Bill Lichtenstein recognized the importance of archiving the wealth of primary materials that told the story of WBCN, its community and the dramatic changes of the era. The American Revolution Documentary Collection is the product of Lichtenstein’s energy, serving as an umbrella for a suite of interrelated collections focused on the impact of underground media in the Boston area and the profound social, political, and cultural changes of that time. These collections include the work of photographers, journalists, and writers who would go on to prominence, as well as activists, artists, and everyday people who witnessed and took part in an extended public conversation on the direction of our nation during the period of profound social, political, and cultural upheaval and who used media to help change it.

TAR collections include:

Selected recordings from the American Revolution Documentary Collection are available to stream through Airtime Pro, a web-based radio platform. ​Hear the music, news reports, ads, rare live musical broadcasts, station ID’s, interviews, zaniness, and more, as broadcast from WBCN-FM’s launch in 1968 and over the next seven years. You can listen using the player below or go directly to the Airtime Pro site, here: https://amrev.airtime.pro/


  • Alternative radio broadcasting--Massachusetts
  • Boston (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Cambridge (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Nineteen sixties
  • Rock music
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
  • WBCN (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Sound recordings

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