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Chrisman, Miriam Usher

Miriam Chrisman Papers, 1937-2007
13 boxes (9 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 128
Miriam Chrisman Papers image
Miriam U. Chrisman, 1964

A noted scholar of the social impact of the German Reformation, Miriam Usher Chrisman was born in Ithaca, New York, on May 20, 1920. With degrees from Smith College, American University, and Yale, she served for over thirty years on the faculty of the Department of History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, becoming a well-loved professor and treasured mentor to a generation of students.

A faithful and colorful correspondent, the bulk of Miriam Chrisman’s papers consist of letters written to family and friends stretching from her college days at Smith through the year before her death. The bulk of the correspondence is with her husband, Donald Chrisman, an orthopedic surgeon who was enrolled at Harvard Medical School during their courtship. Soon after the Chrismans married in November 1943, Donald left for active duty in the Navy on the U.S.S. Baldwin. The couple’s war correspondence is unusually rich, offering insight on everything from the social responsibilities of married couples to their opinions on the progression of the war. Of particular note is a lengthy letter written by Donald during and immediately after D-Day in which he provides Miriam a real-time description of the events and his reactions as they unfold. Later letters document Miriam’s extensive travels including a trip around the world. .

Subjects
  • Smith College--Students
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Chrisman, Miriam Usher
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Clark, Henry James, 1826-1873

Henry James Clark Papers, 1865-1872
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 048
Henry James Clark Papers image
Trichodina pediculus

The first professor of Natural History at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, Henry James Clark, had one of the briefest and most tragic tenures of any member of the faculty during the nineteenth century. Having studied under Asa Gray and Louis Agassiz at Harvard, Clark became an expert microscopist and student of the structure and development of flagellate protozoans and sponges. Barely a year after joining the faculty at Massachusetts Agricultural College at its first professor of Natural History, Clark died of tuberculosis on July 1, 1873.

A small remnant of a brief, but important career in the natural sciences, the Henry James Clark Papers consist largely of obituary notices and a fraction of his published works. The three manuscript items include two letters from Clark’s widow to his obituarist and fellow naturalist, Alpheus Hyatt (one including some minor personal memories), and a contract to build a house on Pleasant Street in Amherst.

Subjects
  • Developmental biology
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of Veterinary Science
  • Protozoans
Contributors
  • Clark, Henry James, 1826-1873
  • Clark, Mary Young Holbrook
  • Hyatt, Alpheus, 1838-1902
Types of material
  • Contracts
  • Letters (Correspondence)

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)

Kislo, Michael Z., 1896-1978

Michael Z. Kislo Notebooks, 1954-1974
3 boxes (1.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 246

After emigrating from Dzieciekowo, Poland, Michael Kislo found work in a Northampton basket shop and later as a machinist at International Silver Company. He was a resident of Florence, Mass.

The Kislo collection contains nine volumes of Kislo’s writing (mostly in Polish and thematically religious, patriotic, personal, and autobiographical) and artwork (drawings and paintings with religious allusions, Polish costumes, weapons, imaginary animals and fanciful landscapes).

Subjects
  • Art, Polish--Massachusetts--20th century
  • Florence (Mass.)--Biography
  • Immigrants--Massachusetts--Florence
  • Polish American artists--Massachusetts--Florence
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Florence
  • United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation
Contributors
  • Kislo, Michael Z., 1896-1978
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Notebooks
  • Watercolors (Paintings)

Lesinski-Rusin family

Lesinski-Rusin Family Papers, ca.1910-1925
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 131

The Lesinski and Rusin families represent the average working-class Polish family settled in the Pioneer Valley during the early twentieth century. Numerous family photographs document important occasions for the families, such as baptisms, first communions, and weddings, while photographic postcards and commercial postcards document their relationships, interests, and travel. The collection also includes Polish-language textbooks and a Polish-English dictionary, which suggest that learning English may have been both a challenge as well as a priority.

Subjects
  • Lesinski family
  • Rusin family
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Postcards
  • Scrapbooks

Rowinska, Leokadia

Leokadia Rowinska Papers, 1917-1988
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 102

Courier for the underground in Nazi occupied Poland during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising who was apprehended and placed in a concentration camp. After the war she and her husband moved from England to Holyoke, Massachusetts. Includes typescripts and photocopies of short stories; “Ameryce”, a booklet of poems; Poklosie, a book of poems published in Polish and English (Artex Press, 1987); audiotaped oral histories of Leokadia and Stanley Rowinski (primarily in Polish) done by their children; and photographs, audiotape, program and text of poems read at a public reading.

Subjects
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Holyoke
  • World War, 1939-1945
Types of material
  • Oral histories

Sroka Family

Sroka Family Papers, 1842-1960
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 216

Polish family who emigrated to the United States in 1912-1913 and settled in Chicopee, Massachusetts, working in meat packing firms and textile factories, and also as seamstresses and farmers.

Includes birth and wedding certificates, military and employment documentation, residential and passport applications, photographs, and lists of baptisms, weddings, and deaths. Also contains a family history written by Gary Sroka, correspondence, payment book for the Society of St. Joseph (Chicopee, Massachusetts), and a news clipping. All materials exist as photocopies and are written primarily in Polish, German, and Hungarian, though some are in English, Ukrainian, and Russian.

Subjects
  • Chicopee (Mass.)--History
  • Immigrants--Massachusetts
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts

St. Stanislaus Society (Tuners Falls, Mass.)

St. Stanislaus Society Records, 1959-1969
2 vols. (0.15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 254 bd

Named for Polish saint Stanislaus Kostka, the St. Stanislaus Society of Turners Falls was most likely a part of a larger fraternal society, possibly the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America. Ethnic parishes and the fraternal societies that often sprang up around them, served as buffers between the customs and language immigrants brought with them and the new traditions and language they were expected to learn upon entering American society. Fraternal socities like St. Stanislaus offered members a place to celebrate their Polish heritage and Roman Catholic faith, while also assisting them with some of the more practical matters of living in a new country, such as securing life insurance and home mortgages.

Subjects
  • Fraternal organizations--Massachusetts
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Turners Falls
  • Turners Falls (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • St. Stanislaus Society (Tuners Falls, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Account books
Founders of the Niagara Movement, ca.1905

Founders of the Niagara Movement, ca.1905

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)

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Mission

Cattle judging at Mass. Agricultural College
Judging cattle at Mass. Agricultural College

A steward of the past for generations to come, SCUA inspires discovery through the collection and curation of cultural heritage materials. As part of a community dedicated to the values of diversity, social equity, and positive social change, SCUA acts through its collections, programs, and exhibitions to promote free inquiry, the production of knowledge, and joy in learning.

Department history

African dancers
African dancers
From the Horace Mann Bond Papers

In 1931, nearly half a century after Librarian Henry Hill Goodell first authorized the permanent retention of the official records of Massachusetts Agricultural College, the Library established a College History Collection. Containing official records of the university’s administrators and faculty and reflecting the life of its students, the College History Collection grew steadily until in 1953, the Library dedicated a room named in honor of Dean William L. Machmer to serve as the first true home of the University Archives.

Goodell’s foresight in assembling the College archives coincided roughly with the university’s first efforts to build a collection of rare books to support its educational mission. As early as 1868 — just one year after the arrival of the first students — the college accepted the donation of twenty scarce volumes on bee culture from the apiculturist (and state Adjutant General) Henry K. Oliver. By the time the college issued its first library catalog in 1875, rare books were a small, but notable part of the collections, closely focused on the primary academic interests of the early college: agriculture, horticulture and botany, and the natural sciences. Included among the Library’s earliest acquisitions were the first London edition of William Bartram’s Travels Through North and South Carolina (1792), François Augier de Marigny’s The History of the Arabians (London, 1758), and early bee manuals by John Keys, The Practical Bee-Master (London, 1780) and The Antient Bee-Master’s Farewell (London, 1796) — both courtesy of Oliver. Each of these volumes remains part of the collections today.

David Axelrod, Class of 1965
David B. Axelrod, ca.1980, Class of 1965, poet, author of The Man who Fell in Love with His Chicken (1980)

From these beginnings, the collection of rare books and manuscripts has co-evolved with the university and its academic programs. In 1973, the acquisition of the records of the Valley Peace Center and the papers of ethnographer Jozef Obrebski marked an expansion of scope beyond into personal papers and organizational records of historical significance beyond the narrow confines of the university, and the arrival of the papers on W.E.B. Du Bois in that same year marked a turning point. The rare book and manuscript collections were merged with the University Archives in the early 1990s to form the current Department of Special Collections and University Archives.

SCUA’s initial foray online came with a simple page on the library’s website in 1997, and by 2007, it had evolved into the UMarmot project, one of the earliest efforts to use freely-available software to create a comprehensive online archival catalog. SCUA launched its online digital repository, Credo in 2011, with the generous support of the Verizon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. Available free to all researchers, Credo is now a robust and heavily used presence on the internet, containing hundreds of thousands of pages of content and dozens of complete collections, including every item in the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois and Horace Mann Bond.

Mile markers

Each of the library’s million-volume milestones has been celebrated by the addition of a special volume to SCUA’s collections:

One millionth volume:
Jonathan Edwards, A careful and strict enquiry into the modern prevailing notions of that freedom of will; which is supposed to be essential to moral agency, vertue and vice, reward and punishment, praise and blame. Boston: S. Kneeland, 1754.
SCUA’s copy of this classic theological work on Free Will from the New Light minister from Northampton belonged to Rev. John Cleaveland of Ipswich, Mass., one of the subscribers. It is signed and dated by Cleaveland in several locations.
Two millionth volume:
Phillis Wheatley, Poems on various subjects, religious and moral. London: A. Bell, 1773.
A classic of American literature written by a young woman enslaved in Boston, and the first book published by an African-American woman. Gift of Randolph W. Bromery.
Three millionth volume:
James Baldwin, Gypsy and other poems, with etched portraits by Leonard Baskin. Northampton, Mass.: Gehenna Press, 1989.
When Baldwin, a former faculty member at UMass Amherst, died unexpectedly, he was working with the great printer Leonard Baskin on a special volume of unpublished poems. Celebrating SCUA’s strengths in African American history literature and reflecting the fine-printing heritage in Massachusetts, SCUA’s copy includes a signed portfolio of etchings of Baldwin by Baskin, each signed. It is one of fifty copies bound specially by Daniel Gehnrich in leather and paste paper, made by Babette Gehnrich, over boards, and laid into a cloth traycase. Also laid in are Baskin’s proof, 1989, and touched proof, 1989, of two of the portraits. Gift of Lisa Baskin.
Four millionth volume:
The proclamation of emancipation of the President of the United States, to take effect January 1st, 1863. Boston: John Murray Forbes, 1862.
The first separate printing of the Emancipation Proclamation, this volume was printed in miniature so that Union army troops in the south could more easily distribute it.

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