Who can use the collections?
Special Collections and University Archives is open at no cost to researchers, regardless of affiliation, during normal business hours. SCUA staff are happy to assist in planning or conducting research and welcome inquiries from students interested in internships in archival and library studies.
Although research appointments are not required, advance will help out staff to locate and retrieve research materials. First-time researchers will be asked to register and to provide name, institutional affiliation (when applicable), and current address. At registration, researchers must present a valid form of identification, including a photograph.
In the reading room
- Please sign in at the front desk each visit
- Only pencils and laptop computers may be used for taking notes. Please do not use pens.
- Smoking, food, and drink are not permitted
- Cell phones should be switched off or set to silent mode; calls may be taken in the adjacent elevator lobby
- Care and handling of materials
- Please use care in handling manuscripts and books to prevent damage
- Use only a single box of manuscript or archival material at a time; take care to preserve the existing arrangement of files
- Photographs for research purposes are permitted; check with a staff member first
- Scans and photocopies are made by staff members in keeping with our copying policies
- Upon leaving for the day, please notify the staff whether you are finished with your material or wish to place it on hold for a return visit
Instruction in SCUA
Classes are welcome to visit SCUA to make use of our collections and to learn about archival and historical research. Our staff are available to provide introductions to archival research, overviews of specific areas of historical interest, information about the collections, and discussions of the history of UMass Amherst. In recent years, the staff have hosted classes from history and American culture, African American studies, English and comparative literature, art history, education, anthropology, politics, business, and library and information science, among other disciplines.
To avoid scheduling conflicts, class visits should be arranged ahead of time. Please include the following information when contacting SCUA:
- Name of instructor or contact
- Date(s) requested, with start and finish time
- Number of students
- Subject area and research interests
- Special requests (for collections)
Learn more about:
Walther R. Volbach Papers, 1897-1996.
Call no.: FS 087
Born in Mainz, Germany on December 24, 1897, the theater historian and stage director Walther R. Volbach began directing operas and plays at the age of 17. After his immigration to the United States in 1936, he worked for several colleges, coming to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for five years as a visiting professor following his retirement in 1965. Noted as a director of operas and plays and for his set design, Volbach was author of three books: The Problems of Opera Production (1953), Adolphe Appia : The Prophet of The Modern Theatre (1968), and Memoirs of Max Reinhardt’s Theaters (1972).
The Volbach collection includes personal and professional correspondence in English and German, mostly from Volbach’s later years, regarding family, publishing, lectures, and employment. The collection also includes photographs of set designs, an image of Volbach teaching a class, publications, and lecture and research notes on theater history.
- Appia, Adolphe, 1862-1928
- Drama--Study and teaching
- Set designers
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Theater
- Volbach, Walther R. (Walther Richard), 1897-
W.H. Grindol and Son, 1895-1900.
Call no.: MS 705
A great-grandson of Revolutionary War general Henry Haller, William H. Grindol (1840-1927) settled with his family in Decatur, Illinois, in 1864, building a successful career in the retail marble trade. Beginning in partnership with Paul F. Jones, and later with his son, Grindol advertised his firm as dealers in “all kinds of foreign and American monuments,” selling marble and granite monuments, building stone, and iron reservoir vases. He was one of the founders of the Retail Marble and Granite Dealer’s Association of Illinois, serving as President of the Central District in 1897. Grindol died in Decatur in 1927 and is buried at Fairlawn Cemetery.
Grindol and Son’s letterpress copy book contains approximately 900 outgoing letters, 1895-1900, to marble and granite suppliers, in Vermont, Massachusetts, and other states. The majority of the correspondence consists of orders for gravemarkers, with many letters including measurements and other details, along with rough sketches of monuments, decorative motifs, and inscriptions.
- Marble industry and trade--Illinois
- Sepulchral monuments--Illinois
- W.H. Grindol and Son
Types of material
- Letterpress copies
Mary Morris Walker Papers, 1868-2003 (Bulk: 1944-2003).
Call no.: MS 775
An avid botanist and naturalist, Mary (Morris) Walker was born in Stamford, Conn., on April 1, 1923, the daughter of renowed surgeon and naturalist Robert Tuttle Morris. After graduating from Vassar in 1944, Morris took her MA in Geology at the University of Michigan, marrying a fellow geologist Eugene H. Walker in 1947. Moving to Kentucky, Iowa, and Idaho before settling in Concord, Mass., in 1968, the Walkers raised three children. In Concord, Walker studied for an MA in library science at Simmons College (1971), but her work in botany and natural history became increasingly important. As a plant collector, writer, and educator, Walker traveled widely in the United States and the Caribbean, and she became a leader in organizations including the New England Wild Flower Society, the New England Botanical Club, the Thoreau Society, and the Appalachian Mountain Club. Walker died in Concord on Oct. 2, 2012.
The Walker Papers are a rich assemblage of materials documenting the life of an energetic amateur botanist. Beginning during her time as a student at Vassar, the collection offers insight into Walker’s growing interest in the natural sciences, her botanizing, and her commitments to several organizations devoted to natural history. The collection also includes a small number of letters and photographs of Walker’s father, Robert T. Morris.
- Botany--Study and teaching
- New England Botanical Club
- New England Wild Flower Society
- Thoreau Society
Lloyd E. Walsh Papers, 1917-1936.
Call no.: MS 541
In June 1917, Lloyd Walsh volunteered for duty in the American Field Service, and for three months, he served as an ambulance driver for Service Section 68 (S.S.U. 68), a unit that included a number of Amherst College students. When the United States entered the war later in the year, however, most AFS units were transferred to the American Expeditionary Forces or disbanded, and Walsh transferred to ambulance duty with the American Red Cross. He continued to serve with the Red Cross after war, stationed in Vienna, eventually rising to the rank of Captain.
The collection includes a thorough paper trail of Walsh’s work as a volunteer with the AFS and Red Cross during and after the First World War, along with a capsule service record, correspondence, and news clippings that flesh out his experiences. Adding to the picture is Walsh’s decorated Red Cross footlocker, three German helmets (including a Pickelhaube), his own helmet, an American Model 1917 trench knife, and two Hungarian posters.
- Ambulance drivers
- American Field Service
- American Red Cross
- World War, 1914-1918--Medical care
- Walsh, Lloyd E
Types of material
- Trench knives
Frederick V. Waugh Collection, 1917-1919.
Call no.: PH 026
In July 1917, prior to the American entry in the First World War, Frederick Vail Waugh joined a group of about fifty residents of Amherst, Mass., who enlisted for duty in the Ambulance Service of the French Army. From August 1917 through April 1919, SSU 39 (Service Sanitaire Unis) — redesignated SSU 539 and transferred to the American Expeditionary Service in January 1918 — served among the trenches of northern France and Belgium. Known as the Black Cat squadron, they took part in three major offensives with the AEF, the Aisne-Marne, Oise-Aisne, and Ypres-Lys. Waugh was among three members of the unit awarded the French Croix de Guerre for courage and energy during the last month of the war. After returning to the states, Waugh earned a bachelor’s degree from Massachusetts Agricultural College (1922), where his father Frank A. Waugh was a Professor of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, followed by an MA from Rutgers (1926) and PhD from Columbia (1929). He enjoyed a distinguished fifty year career as an agricultural economist with the US Department of Agriculture.
A snapshot of life in the First World War, the Waugh collection includes Frederick Waugh’s army jacket (with Croix de Guerre), helmet, and puttees, and a remarkable history of the unit and photo album, Being the Book of S.S.U. 539. A second book, I Was There with the Yanks in France (1919) has been transferred for shelving to the Rare Books stacks.
- Ambulance drivers--United States
- United States. Army Ambulance Service. Section 539
- World War, 1914-1918--Medical care
- Waugh, Frederick V. (Frederick Vail), 1898-1974
Association for Gravestone Studies Collection
Una F. Weatherby Collection, 1924-1934.
Call no.: PH 036
The botanical illustrator and writer Una Foster Weathery (1878-1957) was an early student of New England gravestones. Born in Texas in 1878, Una Leonora Foster met a young pteridologist Charles Alfred Weatherby (1875-1949) while traveling abroad in 1910, and seven years later, the couple wed. As Charles advanced in his career to a position at the Gray Herbarium at Harvard, Una became his close associate, working with in the field and as illustrator and photographer. Among the many interests the couple developed was a fascination with photographing early American gravestones, and over the last three decades of her life, Una published occasionally on the subject. She died in Cambridge on August 17, 1957, and is interred with her husband at Center Cemetery in East Hartford, Conn.
The Weatherby collection consists of a substantial typed manuscript illustrating early American gravestones, mostly from New England. Meticulously assembled, the manuscript is divided into six thematic sections based on gravestone design (death’s heads, winged cherubs, wingless cherubs, portrait stones, symbolic stones, and designs and willows). Each stone is represented by a single photograph pasted onto a page, along with a transcription of the epitaph and occasional comments on the design and date on which the information was recorded. Although most stones are from Connecticut and Massachusetts, a few stones from Virginia and South Carolina are included.
- Sepulchral monuments--Connecticut
- Sepulchral monuments--Massachusetts
- Sepulchral monuments--New Hampshire
- Association for Gravestone Studies
- Weatherby, Una F
Types of material
William Wells Papers, 1796-1863.
Call no.: MS 347
A resident of Shelburne, Mass., William Wells served in various public offices during the early years of the republic. The Wells Papers consists of accounts, bonds, estate inventories, lists of jurors, meeting warrants and notices, petitions, and voting lists. Also includes a report on agricultural fairs, a Franklin Peace Society notice, and guardianship records for Isaac Winter and Lawrence Kemp.
- Shelburne (Mass.)--History
- Wells, William
Western Massachusetts Library Club Records, 1898-2006.
Call no.: MS 492
Situated in a region known for its progressive spirit, the Western Massachusetts Library Club was established in 1898 to respond to the unique needs of librarians overseeing small or rural libraries, and to foster camaraderie among local colleagues. Almost immediately, however, the club expanded its focus, taking positions on issues ranging from modern library practices to national legislation and leading the way in the expansion of services for public libraries, all while maintaining its identity as an advocate for local libraries and librarians.
The collection is richest in records that document the early history of the club including detailed meeting minutes, news clippings, programs, and circulars. Beginning in the late 1960s, the club’s activities are captured primarily through membership lists and meeting notices and programs. Taken together, the records trace the growth of the WMLC for more than a century from its establishment to the present.
- Cutter, Charles A. (Charles Ammi), 1937-1903
- Western Massachusetts Library Club
Westhampton Town Records, 1779-1900.
Call no.: MS 799
Originally settled by Europeans in 1762, the town of Westhampton, Massachusetts, was separated from adjacent Northampton and incorporated in September 1778. Situated in the western reaches of Hampshire County, it was principally an agricultural town until the later twentieth century, producing apples, other fruit, and maple sugar, with only minor industry. The town still retains its rural character: a century after incorporation, the population had grown to just over 500, and nearly 1,500 by 2000.
The Westhampton collection provides an extensive record of public life and local governance in a typical small Hampshire County town. Spanning from 1779, just after the date of incorporation, through the turn of the twentieth century, the collection includes extensive records of town meetings, including warrants, agendas, and summaries; records of the Overseers of Poor, the schools, militia service, and parish; materials on roads and highways; and a large quantity of financial records.
- Town meetings--Massachusetts--Westhampton