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Perske, Robert

Robert and Martha Perske Papers

13 boxes 19.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 772
Image of Bob and Martha Perske with their dog, Wolfie, 2004
Bob and Martha Perske with their dog, Wolfie, 2004

While serving with the U.S. Navy in the Philippines during World War II, the teenaged Bob Perske became aware of the vulnerable and disabled in society and turned his life toward advocacy on their behalf. Studying for the ministry after returning to civilian life, Perske was appointed chaplain at the Kansas Neurological Institute, serving children with intellectual disabilities for 11 years, after which he became a full-time street, court, and prison worker — a citizen advocate — laboring in the cause of deinstitutionalization and civil rights of persons with disabilities, particularly those caught in the legal system. After Bob married his wife Martha in 1971, the two became partners in work, with Martha often illustrating Bob’s numerous books and articles. In 2002, Perske was recognized by the American Bar Association as the only non-lawyer to ever receive the Paul Hearne Award for Services to Persons with Disabilities.

The Perske Papers contains a fifty year record of published and unpublished writings by Bob Perske on issues surrounding persons with disabilities, along with correspondence, photographs, and other materials relating to the Perskes’ activism. The correspondence includes a particularly rich set of letters with a fellow advocate for persons with disabilities, Robert R. Williams.

Gift of Robert and Martha Perske, 2013
  • Mental retardation--Social aspects
  • People with disabilities--Deinstitutionalization
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
  • Perske, Martha
  • Williams, Robert R.
Types of material
  • Photographs

Solander, Arvo A.

Arvo A. Solander Papers

8 boxes 4 linear feet
Call no.: MS 587

Graduating from Harvard in the thick of the Great Depression, Arvo A. Solander worked as a civil and sanitary engineer for a variety of state and federal agencies, including the Civil Works Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps. During the 1930s, as opportunity arose, he filled positions as a road engineer, in the design and construction of water and sewage plants, in pollution control, as a safety engineer in the shellfish industry, and in mosquito control, taking jobs throughout Massachusetts and as far away as Tennessee. After using his talents as an officer in the Sanitary Corps during the Second World War, based primarily in Arkansas, Solander returned home to Massachusetts and opened a private engineering office in South Hadley. He worked as a civil engineer and surveyor until his death in January 1976.

The Arvo Solander Papers consists of twenty-four bound volumes documenting thirty years of varied work as an engineer, including his contributions to the construction of the Quabbin Reservoir. Within the bound volumes are a wide range of reports, typescripts, sketches and diagrams, graphs, contracts and design specifications, photographs, and postcards.

  • Civil engineers
  • Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.)
  • Depressions--1929
  • Fisheries--Massachusetts
  • Mosquitoes--Control
  • Quabbin Reservoir (Mass.)
  • Roads--Design and construction
  • Sanitary engineers
  • Sewage disposal plants--Design and construction
  • United States. Federal Civil Works Administration
  • Water--Pollution--Tennessee
  • Water-supply--Massachusetts
  • Westfield State Sanatorium
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Wrentham State School
  • Solander, Arvo A
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Stevens, Wallace, 1879-1955

Wallace Stevens Collection

1804-1973 Bulk: 1930-1954
1 box, 35 vols. 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 365

The modernist poet Wallace Stevens produced some of the century’s most challenging works while employed as an attorney in Hartford, Connecticut. A native of Reading, Pa., Stevens attended Harvard as an undergraduate but left in 1900 before completing his degree. He later earned a law degree at New York School of Law. Working in insurance law but still intent on becoming a writer, he did not publish his first book of poetry until he was 44 years old. Over the last thirty years of his life, he became one of the most revered contemporary poets in the country. Stevens died of cancer in 1955.

Touching on poetry, criticism, and books, the collection consists primarily of letters received by the poet Wallace Stevens along with 35 annotated volumes from his personal library. Among the correspondents represented are Charles Tomlinson, Jean Wahl, Conrad Aiken, and the art collector and Stevens’ close friend Henry Church; there are also retained copies of three letters from Stevens: two regarding an honorary degree at Harvard, and one to Tomlinson declining to respond to Tomlinson’s analysis of “The comedian as the letter C.” The books included in the collection have annotations or inscriptions to or by Stevens.

  • Poets--Connecticut
  • Stevens, Wallace, 1879-1955

Stonewall Center

Stonewall Center Records

22 boxes 33 linear feet
Call no.: RG 030/2/6

Following a series of homophobic incidents on the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1985, the Program for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Concerns was established as an administrative center in the Office of Student Affairs. Later renamed after the notorious riots in New York, the Stonewall Center has provided the campus and surrounding community with cultural and educational programming through speakers, films, video and book library, Speakers Bureau on LGBTQ issues, referrals and support, advocacy and community outreach.

The records of the Stonewall Center include documentation of day to day operations, including phone logs, memos, and budget information, as well as posters and press releases for events, publications, campus and external reports, training manuals, surveys, newspaper clippings, and ephemera such as banners, tee-shirts, and buttons.

  • Gay college students--Massachusetts
  • Gays--Services for
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Concerns
  • Stonewall Center
  • Yeskel, Felice

Wood, Robert Coldwell, 1923-2005

Robert Coldwell Wood Papers

43 boxes 21.5 linear feet
Call no.: RG 003/3 W66
Image of Robert Coldwell Wood
Robert Coldwell Wood

A distinguished political scientist, specialist on urban affairs, and advisor to two U.S. Presidents, Robert Coldwell Wood was named the first President of the new University of Massachusetts system. A graduate of Princeton and Harvard (PhD 1949), Wood built his academic reputation on the faculty at MIT. An advisor to John F. Kennedy on urban policy, he served in the Johnson administration as Under-Secretary, and briefly Secretary, of Housing and Urban Development before coming to UMass in 1970. His Presidency was marked by considerable turmoil as he navigated the reorganization of the university into a system of three campuses and as he struggled with discontent among students and faculty and conflict with the legislature. Wood died in April 2005 at the age of 81.

Although far from a comprehensive record, the Wood papers offer insight into the tumultuous tenure of Robert C. Wood as President of the University of Massachusetts, 1970-1977. The largest series in the collection (Series 2) consists of the central office files from Boston, including a fairly full record of outgoing correspondence, materials on staff and facilities at the various campuses, minutes of meetings and reports, and records of Wood’s numerous trips and lecture engagements while in office.

  • University of Massachusetts (System). President
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • University of Massachusetts Boston
  • University of Massachusetts Worcester
Types of material
  • Appointment books

Taylor, F. J. R. (Frank John Rupert), 1939-

Max Taylor Papers

2 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 658

Born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1939, F.J.R. “Max” Taylor became an internationally recogninzed specialist in phytoplankton. Educated primarily in his native South Africa, Taylor studied Zoology and Botany at the University of Cape Town, receiving his doctorate in 1965 for a dissertation on the phytoplankton communities in the southwestern Indian Ocean. Joining the faculty of the Departments of Earth and Ocean Sciences and Botany at the University British Columbia in 1964, he became full professor at the age of 35. At UBC, he continued to work on the phytoplankton of the Indian Ocean, preparing the seminal Indian Ocean Dinoflagellate Atlas (1976), which included some of the earliest electron micrographic illustrations of dinoflagellates. He was a pioneer in the study of the ecology of harmful algal blooms (red tides and brown tides), and he and Anand Prakash were the first to identify the causative dinoflagellate behind paralytic shellfish poisoning. His diverse research interests ran the gamut of ecological and evolutionary studies, from study of cryptomonad endosymbionts in Mesodinium to the feeding mechanism in Protoperidinium and the motility of the dinoflagellate transverse flagellum. An important figure in paleopalynology, he was also an early contributor to Serial Endosymbiosis Theory for chloroplasts and mitochondria. Named a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1997 and recipient of the Yasumoto Lifetime Achievement Award by 9th Int Conf Harmful Algal Blooms (2000), Taylor was a cofounder of the International Society for Evolutionary Protistology (1975) and Founding President of International Society for the Study of Harmful Alagae (1998). He retired in 2005.

Consisting primarily of research notes, drafts of publications, and illustrations, the Taylor Papers offer primary documentation of the ecology and evolutionary biology of dinoflagellates.

  • Algal blooms
  • Dinoflagellates--Evolution
  • Ecology
  • Phytoplankton
Types of material
  • Scanning electron micrographs

Geisler, Bruce

Bruce Geisler Collection

14 boxes 21 linear feet
Call no.: PH 049
Image of Renaissance Community, ca.1974
Renaissance Community, ca.1974

In the early 1970s, the documentary filmmaker Bruce Geisler dropped out of Pomona College one semester short of graduation, drove across country, and joined the Brotherhood of the Spirit commune, then the largest commune in the eastern United States. During his four years living with the Brotherhood, later renamed the Renaissance Community, Geisler learned the craft of filmmaking, before returning west to earn an MFA at the film school of the University of Southern California. Geisler has received a number of awards as a screenwriter and filmmaker including the Grand Prize for Best Screenplay from Worldfest Houston and the Dominique Dunne Memorial Prize for Filmmaking, and, in 2007, he released his feature-length documentary, Free Spirits, about the Brotherhood of the Spirit/Renaissance Community and its ill-fated founder, Michael Metelica Rapunzel. Geisler is currently a Senior Lecturer in the UMass Amherst Department of Communication.

Documenting everyday life in a Massachusetts commune and performances by the commune bands (Spirit in Flesh and Rapunzel), the Geisler collection was assembled in conjunction with the making of the film Free Spirits. In addition to many hours of both raw and edited film footage taken by members of the Brotherhood of the Brotherhood of the Spirit and Renaissance Community, the collection includes a rich assemblage of still photographs, ephemera, and newspaper clippings relating to the commune.

  • Brotherhood of the Spirit (Commune)
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Renaissance Community (Commune)
  • Geisler, Bruce
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Videotapes

Newhall, James R. (James Robinson), 1809-1893

James Robinson Newhall Account Book

1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 177 bd

Prominent lawyer, judge, and author from Lynn, Massachusetts. Includes services as lawyer and judge (such as selling stocks, writing wills, mortgage notices, and lien certificates, and acting as administrator of estates), mention of various court cases, family members, and prominent townspeople. Also contains personal records pertaining to a rental property, and the sale of his book, History of Lynn.

  • Curtin, Martha
  • Green, Benjamin F
  • Guardian and ward--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Hazeltine, Phebe
  • Hilton, John
  • Judges--Massachusetts--Lynn--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Lawyers--Massachusetts--Lynn--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Lindsay, James N
  • Merritt, Charles
  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary--History
  • Munroe, James
  • Newhall, James R. (James Robinson), 1809-1893. History of Lynn
  • Practice of law--Massachusetts--Lynn--History--19th century
  • Rent charges--Massachusetts--Lynn--History--19th century
  • Rental housing--Massachusetts--Lynn--History--19th century
  • Usher, Roland
  • Vennard, John C
  • Newhall, James R. (James Robinson), 1809-1893
Types of material
  • Account books

Robinson, Craig D.

Craig D. Robinson Papers

4 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 739
Image of Robinson for president flier
Robinson for president flier

A labor attorney and activist, Craig Robinson was born in Hartford, Conn., on August 6, 1952, and raised in Stafford. After rising tuition led him to drop out of the University of Connecticut in 1971, Robinson worked in a variety of manual jobs until he was hired by the US Postal Service in 1974. From the time of his assignment to the bulk mail facility in Springfield the next year, Robinson was an active member of the American Postal Workers Union, eventually serving as steward, vice president, and president of his Local, and his activism often created friction with management. Earning his BA at UMass Amherst (1980) and JD from the Western New England School of Law (1984), he began practicing labor law, moving to full time in 1991. Devoted to workplace justice, he served as General Counsel for the Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council and for Locals of the United Roofers Union and Amalgamated Transit Union, among others, and was a founding board member of the Western Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health. Robinson died on June 17, 2007, and is survived by his wife Linda Tonoli, and son.

The Robinson papers contain a record of labor activism in the Pioneer Valley and beyond. The collection includes retained copies of legal filings relating to arbitration and other labor-related cases, along with articles written by and about Robinson, and an assortment of other notes and correspondence.

Gift of Linda Tonoli, Apr. 2012
  • American Postal Workers Union
  • Labor laws and legislation
  • Labor lawyers--Massachusetts
  • Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council
  • Robinson, Craig D.


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.

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