Founders of the Niagara Movement,
The acquisition of the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois in 1972 established SCUA as a center for research in African American history. In subsequent years, UMass has supported publication of three volumes of Du Bois’ correspondence and SCUA has digitized the papers and made them freely available on the internet while serving as a resource for many dozens of scholarly articles and books. SCUA continues in its efforts to build around the Du Bois collection, adding other important printed and manuscript materials both in African American history and in the history of efforts to promote social change.
Every February, SCUA and the Du Bois Department of Afro-Americans Studies at UMass Amherst commemorate Du Bois’s birthday by co-sponsoring a public colloquium on Du Bois and his legacy. Our lecturers have included distinguished scholars such as Herbert and Bethina Aptheker, Randolph Bromery, Clayborne Carson, Arnold Rampersad, and David Levering Lewis.
Significant collections (view all)
- Africa American Institute. Records, 1953-2014
- Antislavery Pamphlet Collection
- Aronson, James. Collection, 1946-1983
- Editor of the National Guardian
- Banks, Katherine Bell. Papers, 1926-1960.
- Letters from W.E.B. Du Bois to Banks, a family friend
- Bond, Horace Mann. Papers, 1830-1979
- Educator, President of Lincoln University
- Broadside Press Collection, 1964-1984
- Detroit based press, was an important contributor to the Black Arts Movement
- Brown, John. Papers (microfilm), 1826-1942 (bulk: 1856-1859)
- Du Bois, W. E. B. Papers, 1868-1963
- Heath, Gordon. Papers, 1940-1991
- Expatriate writer, actor, director, and musician
- Hudson Family. Papers, 1780-1955
- Family papers of the antislavery activist Erasmus D. Hudson
- International Oil Working Group. Records, 1981-1986
- Lewis, David Levering. Papers, ca.1955-2012
- Massachusetts. Special Commission on Unequal Education Opportunities. Records, 1974-1978
- Obrebski, Joseph and Tamara. Papers, 1923-1974
- Anthropological field work in Jamaica, 1947-1948
- Urban League of Springfield (Mass.). Records, 1970s
- Trent, Lloyd A. Family Papers, 1850-1996
American Express Company Florence Office Records, 1867-1890.
3 boxes (3 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 298
Records of express agent Watson L. Wilcox of Simsbury, Connecticut and Florence, Massachusetts documenting Wilcox’s work for the American Express Company and the evolution of the company from a small shipping business to a delivery organization whose services contributed to the growth of the local and regional economy. Records consist of agent books, receipt books, and waybills listing accounts of local companies and residents for the sending, receiving and delivery of freight, telegraph messages, express cash, goods and packages.
- American Merchant's Union Express Company
- Express service--Massachusetts--Florence--History
- Florence (Mass.)--Economic conditions
- Florence Manufacturing Company
- Florence Sewing Machine Company
- Hill, Samuel L
- New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad Company
- Nonotuck Silk Company
- Parsons, I. S
- Simsbury (Conn.)--Economic conditions
- Williston, A. L
- American Express Company (Florence, Mass.)
- Wilcox, Watson L., 1832 or 3-1896
AFT University of Massachusetts Faculty Records, 1963-1964.
Call no.: MS 152 bd
The first faculty union at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) AFL-CIO, was established largely in response to the administration’s reluctance to recommend raises in faculty salaries (1958-1964) and due to the faculty’s desire for self-governance. The union was short-lived on the campus, but served to raise the consciousness of faculty to issues of faculty autonomy.
The collection includes historical sketches, memoranda, correspondence, resolutions, and treasurer’s reports.
- Collective bargaining--College teachers--Massachusetts--Amherst
- Collective labor agreements--Education, Higher--Massachusetts--Amherst
- Labor unions--Massachusetts
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- American Federation of Teachers. Local 1359 (Amherst, Mass.)
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:
- 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
- Sound recordings
American Writing Paper Company Records, 1851-1960.
19 boxes (9.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 062
Paper company based in Holyoke, Massachusetts that at one time controlled 75% of the total United States fine paper output. Records include board of directors’ minutes, by-laws, blueprints, land transactions, merger agreements, and publications. Labor files (1936-1960) comprise the bulk of the collection and include contracts, correspondence, grievances, and negotiations.
- Collective bargaining--Paper industry--Massachusetts--Holyoke
- Holyoke (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Holyoke (Mass.)--Economic conditions--20th century
- Labor unions--Massachusetts--Holyoke
- Paper industry workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts
- Paper industry--Massachusetts--Holyoke
- Strikes and lockouts--Paper industry--Massachusetts--Holyoke
- American Writing Paper Company
Types of material
Constitutionalism in American Life Conference Collection, 1986.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 140
A conference hosted by the University of Massachusetts Amherst on November 7-9, 1986, that examined the impact of the Constitution on politics and government, foreign policy, race relations, and the economy, and also discussed the impact on the constitution of popular struggles and the emergence of “rights consciousness.” Includes papers presented at the conference that were to be subsequently published in a special bicentennial issue of the Journal of American History.
- Constitutional history--United States--Congresses
- Constitutional law--United States--Congresses
- Journal of American history
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--History
MFA Program for Poets and Writers (University of Massachusetts Amherst) Collection, 1963-2014.
(18 linear feet).
Call no.: RB 023
One of the oldest programs of its kind in the country, the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass Amherst was established by the poet Joseph Langland in 1963, offering students an opportunity for intensive focus on their creative work. Unlike the Iowa Writers Workshop, where Langland had studied, students in the UMass program were required to take coursework outside of writing workshops. Over its first fifty years, the program has grown into one of the top ten in the nation and its graduates and faculty have been recognized with awards from the Pulitzer to the National Book Award, Pushcart Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and US Poet Laureate.
The MFA collection contains a growing body of work from students, alumni, and faculty affiliated with the Program for Poets and Writers at UMass Amherst. Among the hundreds of volumes are novels, collections of short stories, plays, and poetry, including a large number of chapbooks and small press imprints.
Nineteenth Century Theatre Records, 1987-1996.
4 boxes (6 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 469
Established in 1983 and published twice a year at UMass Amherst with the support of Five Colleges, Inc., Nineteenth Century Theatre offered scholarly, critical, and documentary coverage of a broad range of subjects. Issues of the journal contained essays, documents, book reviews, bibliographical studies, and analyses of archival holdings.
The records of the journal include essays and reviews submitted for publication, correspondence, and published issues.
- Theater--History and criticism
- Theater--History--19th century
Polish American Collection, 1940s-2000.
5 boxes (5.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 464
Collection documenting Polish American culture, language, and history consisting of newspapers and news clippings, programs for Polish religious and cultural events, newsletters of Polish American organizations, and Polish publications including religious works and language textbooks.
Rural American Women Conference Records, 1978-1981.
5 boxes (2.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 146
Feeling the frustrations of millions of women and girls in rural America who lacked the support or resources necessary to combat unemployment, inadequate medical care, and domestic violence, Jane Threatt along with several other women decided to form a non-profit organization that would unite these women and give them a national voice. Established in 1978, Rural American Women (RAW) was organized to promote the interests of rural women in the areas of equal rights, employment, education, family life, and freedom of all forms of discrimination.
In 1981 RAW held a series of five regional conferences throughout the country, and the bulk of this collection consists of records relating to the New England meeting. The records also include some materials documenting the group’s activities at their national headquarters in D.C., such as minutes, correspondence, newsletters, and pamphlets.