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Two girls in carriage, Quabbin region, ca.1910
Two girls in carriage, Quabbin region, ca.1910

SCUA is dedicated to documenting New England history, including primary materials relating to the political, cultural, economic, and intellectual life of our region, and the lives and experiences of its residents.

The collections in SCUA touch on many aspects of the history of the region with developing depth in immigration, labor, work, and industry, social change and movements for social change, and literature and the arts. Of particular note are two exceptionally large and rich collections: the records of the Hampshire Council of Governments, which contains over 325 years of county-level governance in western Massachusetts, and the records of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, which contains 350 years of Quaker history.

The recent political history of the region is documented through the papers of congressmen Silvio O. Conte and his successor John Olver, Governor Jane Swift, state Senator Stanley Rosenberg, state representatives John G. Clark, Maurice Donahue, Whiting Griswold, and John Haigis, and other figures involved in the political life of the Commonwealth.

In addition to holding material relating to many individual towns and communities in western Massachusetts, SCUA maintains a special interest in the history of the towns of the Quabbin watershed.

Significant collections

  • Business and industry
    • In addition to collections relating to organized labor and the labor movement, SCUA attempts to document the experience of work and the business community to provide a rounded understanding of work life in New England. For a more complete listing, see our guide for Labor, Work, and Industry.
  • Civic organizations and charities
    • Collections ranging from the records of charitable organizations that provide social services to groups that foster civic engagement and social justice, benevolent and ethnic self-help societies, to organizations that support social and professional communities.
  • Family history
    • SCUA has a strong interest in “family collections,” typically collections that include correspondence, photograph albums, family and farm accounts, and other materials that reveal the every day lives of New Englanders. Researchers on family life and genealogy should note that many collections indexed under other subjects contain personal and family information of some importance. Our printed materials collections include many local and county histories, genealogies, and other resources which may be useful for understanding family life.
  • Immigration, demography, and ethnicity
  • Medical history
    • Collections include daybooks and medical accounts of physicians, primarily from the nineteenth century, personal papers of physicians, and some materials on public health policy.
  • Military history
    • Although SCUA has scattered holdings relating to earlier wars, the department houses interesting materials relating to World War II and the War in Vietnam, with the latter concentrated on the antiwar movement.
  • Political life and culture
    • The distinctive political culture of Massachusetts and formal and informal political activity in the Commonwealth. Although the collections extend back into the nineteenth century, our focus is primarily on the post-World War II period.
  • Printing in rural Massachusetts
    • SCUA collects books, broadsides, and other materials printed in rural New England prior to 1900. The collections include a growing collection for the printers in the Quabbin region, Solomon and John Howes, but also includes works printed in small towns throughout Berkshire, Hampshire, Hamden, and Franklin Counties.
  • Quabbin Regional collections
    • Collections relating to all aspects of life and the legacy of the four towns inundated by the Quabbin Reservoir: Dana, Greenwich, Enfield, and Prescott, as well as surrounding communities such as New Salem, Petersham, and Wendell. In our rare books holdings, we have a number of works printed in Enfield or Greenwich, mostly by Solomon and John Howe.
  • Religious life
    • Our efforts to document the spiritual lives and religious commitments of New Englanders has resulted in a number of manuscript and archival collections. Our social change holdings include a number of collections on spiritually-motivated social reform, and our rare book holdings include hundreds of published sermons and other printed materials relating to religious life in the region.
  • New England regional history

Learn more:

New England Regional Planning Commission Collection, 1935-1943

3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 069

Organized in March 1934, the New England Regional Planning Commission was a coalition of state planning boards intended as a permanent, non-partisan, representative body. Charged with the continuous coordination, review, and revision of state plans, the Commission coordinated research and physical planning relating to transportation (including the highway system and airports), interstate water resources, land utilization, conservation of forests and wildlife, and recreational facilities.

This small collection consists of printed reports, bulletins, and minutes from the NERPC from its founding through middle of the Second World War. Ephemeral in nature, the reports chart the growth of regional cooperation in planning in the use of water and land resources and the transportation system, spurred by the federal New Deal.


  • Airports--New England
  • New England--Economic conditions
  • Regional planning--New England
  • Roads--New England
  • Transportation--New England
  • Water-supply--New England


  • New England Regional Planning Commission

New Victoria Publishers Records, 1974-2009

6 boxes (11 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 883
From the top down: Beth Dingman, Claudia McKay Lamperti, Petey Becker, Bonnie Arnold, and ReBecca Béguin (ca. 1976)
From the top down: Beth Dingman, Claudia McKay Lamperti, Petey Becker, Bonnie Arnold, and ReBecca Béguin (ca. 1976)

Founded in 1975 in Lebanon, NH by Beth Dingman, Claudia McKay (Lamperti), Katie Cahill, Nina Swaim, and Shelby Grantham, New Victoria Printers became one of two all-female print shops in New England at the time. Believing strongly that, “the power of the press belongs to those who own it,” they began to solicit work from non-profit and politically-oriented groups. Like its namesake Victoria Press, an 1860s women run print shop in London owned by Emily Faithful, an early advocate of women’s rights, New Victoria was also committed to feminist principles. The shop offered work and training in printing, machine work, and other traditionally male dominated fields; initially focused on printing materials from the women’s movement; and was organized as a collectively owned and democratically run organization. Additionally, the shop functioned as a defacto women’s center and lesbian hub for Lebanon and the surrounding area, a place of education, community, creativity, and activism, and soon publishing opportunities, as the group founded New Victoria Publishers in 1976 to publish works from their community. The print shop closed in 1985, with Dingman and McKay taking over the running of the non-profit publishing company out of their home in Norwich, VT, with an emphasis on lesbian fiction in addition to other women-focused works. An early bestseller, Stoner McTavish by Sarah Dreher, put them on the map, with the company publishing over a hundred books by and about lesbians, winning three Lambda Literary Awards and several other honors.

The New Victoria Publishers Records consist of photographs, newsletters and cards put out by the collective, materials printed by the press, marketing and promotional materials, author correspondence, graphics and cover art, book reviews, financial and legal records, histories of the organization, news clippings, and an almost full run of the books published by the company. The collection is particularly rich in documenting the work and production of a women owned business within the feminist press movement as well as the lesbian publishing industry.


  • Collective labor agreements – Printing industry
  • Feminist literature – Publishing
  • Lesbian authors
  • Lesbians' writings -- Publishing
  • Women printers – New England
  • Women publishers – New England


  • Beth Dingman
  • Claudia McKay
  • New Victoria Printers
  • New Victoria Publishers

Types of material

  • Photographs

New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation Records, ca.1975-2005

12 boxes (18 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 663

Founded in 1977, the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation is a non-partisan policy making and political action organization devoted to informing the public about the deleterious physiological effects of fluorides. With a membership comprised of professionals and non-professionals, physicians, scientists, and environmentalists, the Coalition works to raise awareness among elected officials at all levels of government about the need for environmental protection and works with an international network of similar organizations with the ultimate goal of ending the fluoridation of public water supplies.

The NYSCOF collection documents two decades of an organized, grassroots effort to influence public policy relating to water fluoridation in New York state and elsewhere. In addition to 7.5 linear feet of subject files relating to fluoridation, the collection includes materials issued by and about NYSCOF, several audio and videotapes, and documentation of their work with elected officials.


  • Antifluoridation movement--New York (State)
  • Drinking water--Law and legislation--United States
  • Fluorides--Environmental aspects
  • Public health


  • New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation

Lucy Nguyen Papers, 1983-2001

2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 026

A scholar of Francophone literature in Asia and Director of the United Asia Learning Resource Center, Lucy Nguyen Hong Nhiem was born in Kontum, Vietnam, in 1939. A graduate of the University of Saigon and teacher of French, she fled Saigon in 1975 just three days before its fall. From a refugee camp in Arkansas, she traveled through Connecticut and then to Springfield, Mass., before arriving at UMass in 1976 to resume her studies. After completing her MA (1978) and PhD (1982), she held positions at Smith, Amherst, and Mount Holyoke Colleges before beginning her tenure at UMass in 1984. An Adjunct Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures, she also served as Academic Advisor to the Bilingual Collegiate Program and Vice-Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants.

Nguyen’s papers are a small but critical collection of materials on Southeast Asian Refugees. Included among the papers are materials relating to the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees, materials relating to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants (1983), and a paper on the status of refugees in Massachusetts in 1987, along with unpublished writings, professional correspondence, and a handful of notes from a search committee.


  • Refugees--Vietnam
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Bilingual Collegiate Program
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Asian Languages and Literatures
  • Vietnamese--Massachusetts


  • Nguyen, Lucy Hong Nhiem, 1939-

Northampton Area Mental Health Services Records, 1973-1983

4 boxes (6 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 027

In 1973 Hampshire Day House was established to provide day treatment to patients released from the Northampton State Hospital, which first opened as the Northampton Lunatic Asylum in 1858. As the Day House expanded its services it became known as the Northampton Area Mental Health Services (NAMHS). Valley Programs assumed responsibility for the operation of residential programs for deinstitutionalized individuals in Hampshire and Franklin counties in 1983, and seven years later the NAMHS and Valley Programs merged.

The collection consists of reports, financial records, board minutes, and correspondence for the Hampshire Day House.


  • Community mental health services
  • Mental health facilities


  • Northampton (Mass.) Area Mental Health Services

Northampton Community Chest Records, 1922-1969

6 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 052

Community Chest of Northampton, Massachusetts, that sought the federation of non-sectarian social service agencies for the raising of funds necessary to carry on the work of several agencies doing welfare work in town. Records include constitution and by-laws, Board of Directors membership lists, minutes, annual reports, campaign reports, ledgers, annual meeting planning documents, scrapbooks, and newsclippings.


  • Charities--Massachusetts--Easthampton--History--Sources
  • Federations, Financial (Social service)--History--Sources
  • Human services--Massachusetts--Northampton--History--Sources
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Social conditions


  • Northampton Community Chest Association (Northampton, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Scrapbooks

Northampton Labor Council Minutebooks, 1933-1985

2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 055

From its origins in 1899 as the Northampton Central Labor Union, the Northampton Labor Council coordinated political activity and worked for union cooperation in strikes, boycotts, and celebrations. With 29 unions in its ranks by 1903, it was one of the few labor councils to include both AFL and CIO affiliates during the period of their intense competition during the 1930s, however from 1945 until the AFL-CIO merger, CIO unions were excluded. By 1985, the NLC had 14 affiliated local unions.

As the coordinating body for the political and social activities of fourteen labor unions in Northampton, Massachusetts, and the surrounding area, the Labor Council generated union support for strikes, boycotts, and celebrations, and hosting annual Labor Day parades. Includes photocopies of four minutebooks, spanning the years 1933-1985.


  • Central Labor Union (Northampton, Mass.)
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts--Northampton
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--20th century
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th century


  • Northampton Labor Council (AFL-CIO)

Joseph Obrebski Papers, 1923-1974

48 boxes (24 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 599

A student of Bronislaw Malinowski, the Polish ethnographer Jozef Obrebski was a keen observer of cultural change among eastern European peasantry in the years before the Second World War. After working with the resistance in Warsaw during the war, Obrebski went on to do additional ethnographic research in Jamaica (with his wife Tamara), taught at Brooklyn and Queens College and C.W. Post University, and from 1948-1959, he was senior social affairs officer with the United Nations. He died in 1967.

The Obrebski collection consists largely of ethnographic data collected by Obrebski in Macedonia (1931-1932), Polesia (1934-1936), and Jamaica (1947-1948), including field and interview notes, genealogies, government documents relating to research sites, and ca. 1000 photographs; together with correspondence (1946-1974), drafts of articles, analyses of collected data, and tapes and phonograph records, largely of folk music; and papers of Obrebski’s wife, Tamara Obrebski (1908-1974), also an ethnologist and sociologist.


  • Anthropologists--Poland
  • Ethnology--Jamaica
  • Ethnology--Macedonia
  • Ethnology--Poland
  • Peasantry--Macedonia
  • Peasantry--Poland


  • Obrebski, Joseph, 1907-1967

Types of material

  • Photographs

Don Ogden Collection, 1972-2000

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 440

Don Ogden is a poet, writer and activist who lives in Leverett, Massachusetts. The collection consists of newspaper clippings, pamphlets, an unpublished book, and letters that document primarily anti-war protests in Amherst dating from 1972-2000.


  • Demonstrations--Massachusetts
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts


  • Ogden, Don

Types of material

  • Photographs

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