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What is UMarmot?

The Marmot, a Wayfinder

This website, known as UMarmot, is an online catablog containing summary information about all manuscript and archival collections held by the Department of Special Collections and University Archives of the UMass Amherst Libraries (SCUA), as well as information about the Department and its activities.

What does a UMarmot record contain?

In addition to informational pages about SCUA, UMarmot contains brief descriptions of each individual collection, listing the collection name, extent, and date range covered, accompanied by a brief description of its contents, selected subject terms, and links (when available) to detailed finding aids, digital content, and other online resources. Each these records is also indexed under one or more general subject categories, which may be selected using the drop-down menu on the right side of the page. With few exceptions, every collection held by SCUA, catalogued or uncatalogued, is described in UMarmot at the collection-level, including manuscript, archival, photographic, and printed collections.

Searches in UMarmot cover the complete contents of all records, including the detailed finding aids when available. Finding aids are cross-posted on the Five Colleges Consortium finding aids website.

Creative Commons no rights reserved

To the extent possible under U.S. law, the author(s) of metadata and other content in UMarmot have dedicated all copyright and related and neighboring rights to the public domain worldwide in keeping with Creative Commons “no rights reserved” specifications.

We welcome comments on collections or the website and thank you for bearing with us while we burrow into the future.

What collections are included in UMarmot?

  • Manuscript collections: personal papers, organizational records, and documents
  • Papers of faculty, staff, and administrators from UMass Amherst
  • University Archives from UMass Amherst
  • Photographic collections, some containing thumbnails of individual images
  • Book collections: overviews at the collection level only. Individual titles are cataloged in the UMass Amherst Libraries’ online catalog.
  • Digital collections, including those that are part of manuscript, archival, photographic, or book collections

What is not included in UMarmot?

What lies behind the UMarmot catablog?

UMarmot was launched in early 2007 as a response to two perceived needs. First, we were seeking a low cost solution to maximizing public access to our collections, and second, we hoped to find a solution that could be shared with colleagues in institutions with less support for technological initiatives. After completing a comprehensive survey of our holdings and generating standards-compliant, minimal descriptions of each collection, we recognized that the indexing capacity, web-readiness, and familiarity of blogging software made it easy to adapt into an online catalog. Thus the “catablog” was born.

After reviewing surveying options for blogging software, we selected WordPress for its superior combination of power, ease of development and maintenance, and flexibility in design. Because our goal was to make catablogging accessible to all, we initially refrained from developing UMarmot beyond installing freely-available plugins, and although we have subsequently delved into building our own themes, we have sought to keep the focus on keeping UMarmot as an inexpensive, easily implemented, open source alternative. The UMarmot approach had been taken up by many institutions and projects, some of whom have added their own interesting twists.

We are glad to share our experiences with UMarmot and are available to help anyone interested in building their own catablog. The SCUA website was designed and developed by DDHW Design, Easthampton, Mass.

What we collect

Frank Waugh's doves
Garden (white fan tailed doves in bird bath) by Frank Waugh, ca.1920

“… there must come vast social change in the United States; a change not violent, but by the will of the people certain and inexorable; carried out ‘with malice toward none but charity for all’; with meticulous justice to the rich and complete sympathy for the poor, the sick and the ignorant; with freedom and democracy for America, and on earth Peace, Good Will toward men.”

W.E.B. Du Bois, Chicago, June 29, 1951

In pursuit of our mission, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives collects materials of enduring historical and cultural value relating to four major thematic areas: the history and experience of social change in America; the histories and cultures of New England with an emphasis on Massachusetts; innovation and entrepreneurship; and the broad community associated with the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Our collections are highly integrated and span all formats, including personal papers and organizational records, books and periodicals, maps, photographs, audio and video recordings, and digital materials of all kinds.

Our approach to collecting

Graphic showing SCUA major collecting areas

Echoing the philosophy of W.E.B. Du Bois, SCUA collects original materials that document the histories and experiences of social change in America and the organizational, intellectual, and individual ties that unite disparate struggles for social justice, human dignity, and equality. Our decision to adopt social change as a collecting focus emerged from considering one of Du Bois’s great insights: that the most fundamental issues in social justice are so deeply interconnected that no movement — and no solution to social ills — can succeed in isolation. Rather than focus on individual movements, we therefore focus on the connections between and among movements and the flow of people, organizations, and ideas, all in the hope of better representing the true histories of social engagement in America and laying the foundation for a deeper understanding of the experience of social change.

A related feature of SCUA’s approach to collecting is our commitment to documenting “whole lives and whole communities.” Rather than focus just on a person’s “significant” actions or ideas, our goal is to represent the person’s entire life in all its complexity: the person’s background, the events themselves, and the aftermath, as well as the range of colleagues and organizations engaged. Our goal is not to highlight simply the great achievements and great people, but to reveal the broad underpinnings of influences, interests, and organizations that shaped them and the communities in which they operated.

While not exhaustive, the following is a synopsis of the primary focal points for SCUA’s collections:

Social change

Emphasizing the cross-fertilization between social movements and centers of activist energy, SCUA collects materials from individuals and organizations involved in the struggles for peace and non-violence, social and racial justice, economic justice, agricultural reform, environmentalism, sustainability, alternative energy, organized labor, gay rights, disability rights, spiritual activism, antinuclear activism, and intentional communities. Our collections branch out to include anti-fluoridation activism, campaigns for voting rights and clean elections, community and charitable organizations, and the history of revolutionary-era Europe (1789-1848).

  • African and African American history and culture: The history of race and ethnicity in America, with particular emphasis on the struggle for racial equality and social justice.
  • Agriculture, horticulture, botany: Including agricultural science and practice, horticulture, animal husbandry, natural history, organic farming, sustainable living, and heritage breeds.
  • Antifluoridation movement: Including right-wing, left-wing, libertarian, popular, and scientific opposition to fluoridation of public water supplies.
  • Antinuclear movement: SCUA holds numerous collections documenting grassroots opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weaponry.
  • Arts management and arts administration:
    In partnership with the UMass Amherst Arts Extension Service, the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and several other arts agencies, SCUA documents the history of arts administration in America. Collecting the records of state and national arts agencies, we will provide a foundation for research into the evolution of arts policy, strategies for supporting the arts, and the economic and cultural impact of the arts on our communities.
  • Cold War Culture: The culture of the Cold War, with an emphasis upon East Germany, Poland, and Yugoslavia. Among other areas, SCUA has a strong interest in the Solidarity movement and in partnership with the DEFA Film Library, in East German cinema and graphic arts.
  • Disability: Organizational records and collections of personal papers documenting the history of disability and disability rights in the United States.
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender issues: Materials relating to the history and experience of the LGBTQ community and liberation struggles.
  • Labor, work, and industry: Organized labor, industrialization, manufacturing, business history, and the experience and culture of labor and working people.
  • Peace: Materials relating to the peace and antiwar movements and non-violence, with an emphasis on New England.
  • Spiritual approaches to social change: Materials relating to people and organizations motivated to take social action through spiritual consideration.

Innovation and entrepreneurship

SCUA collects materials that document innovative and entrepreneurial activities and particularly social entrepreneurship. Representative collections in SCUA include the papers of Mark H. McCormack (a pioneer in sport and entertainment marketing), Carl C. Harris (inventor and President of Rodney Hunt Co.), and numerous collections that document our region’s distinctive history of innovation in manufacturing and technology.

New England history and culture

The social, political, cultural, intellectual, literary, and economic life, with an emphasis upon western New England. The department houses thousands of books on New England cookery, with a particular emphasis on charitable and community cookbooks and cookbooks and ephemera published by corporations and the food industry.

  • Cookery and culinary history
    SCUA has thousands of cookbooks and other materials on New England regional cuisine, including community and charitable cookbooks, commercial cookbooks by New England authors, corporate cookbooks, and culinary ephemera.
  • Literature and the arts
    Emphasizing poets and writers, playwrights, and the performing arts in New England.
  • Politics and political culture
    SCUA has rich collections documenting the history and politics of the Commonwealth, including the papers of Congressmen Silvio O. Conte and John Olver, State Senator Stanley Rosenberg, and State Representative John Clark; and the records of the Hampshire Council of Governments and several individual towns.

University Archives collecting

Serving as the memory of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, SCUA is steward for the official and unofficial records of the university that document the people, policies, programs, facilities, and activities of the campus community. The collections are a rich record of administrative activity at all levels, from system to program, but they focus on documenting the lives and activities of individual administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Other areas

SCUA has developed depth in a handful of other collecting areas, including:

  • American Study of Japan and Asia
    American relations with Japan from the Meiji period to the present, and connections with China and other Asian countries.
  • Gravestone studies and death
    Materials relating to the history, culture, preservation, and interpretation of gravestones and related subjects.
  • Protistology
    Records of the scholarly study of the protista (protozoans).

Learn more:

Wheeler, C. H.

C. H. Wheeler Scrapbook

1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 598 bd

A resident of Haydenville, Mass., during the 1930s, C. H. Wheeler was evidently captivated with the profound political changes sweeping the nation during the years of the Great Depression.

Containing hundreds of political cartoons clipped from local newspapers and national media, C. H. Wheeler’s scrapbook documents media reactions to the Great Depression and New Deal, the presidential election of 1936, Alf Landon and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and national and international political currents.

  • Depressions--1929
  • Landon, Alfred M. (Alfred Mossman), 1887-1987
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1933-1945
  • New Deal, 1933-1939
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945
  • United States--Politics and government--1933-1945
Types of material
  • Political cartoons
  • Scrapbooks

Wheeler, Truman

Truman Wheeler Account Book

1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 618 bd

One of twelve children of Obadiah and Agnes (Tuttle) Wheeler, Truman Wheeler was born in Southbury, Conn., on Nov. 26, 1741. After completing his education, reportedly at Yale, Wheeler moved north to Great Barrington, Mass., in the spring of 1764. Acquiring property about a mile south of the center of town, he soon established himself as a general merchant trading in silk, fabrics, and a variety of domestic goods.

The Wheeler account book represents the initial years of a thriving, late colonial mercantile business in far western Massachusetts. Beginning in June 1764, not long after Wheeler set up shop in Great Barrington, the account book includes meticulous records of sales of domestic goods ranging from cloth (linen, silks, and osnabrig) to buttons, ribbons, and pins, snuff boxes, a “small bible,” “jews harps,” and tobacco. Among the prominent names that appear as clients are members of the Burghardt and Sedgwick families.

  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
  • Wheeler, Truman, 1741-1815
Types of material
  • Account books

Whittemore, Amos, 1759-1828

Amos Whittemore Daybook

1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 153 bd

Wagonwright and celebrated inventor of a machine that made cotton and wool cards from West Cambridge (now Arlington), Massachusetts. Includes records of services provided, such as repairing, cleaning, painting and varnishing chaises; providing wheels, springs, waterhooks, whippletrees, bellybands, and carpet; and mending reins and harnesses. Also contains lists of customers (including many prominent families from the town) and records of cash transactions.

  • Arlington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Arlington (Mass.)--History--19th century
  • Carriage and wagon making--Massachusetts--Arlington--History--19th century
  • Carriage manufacturers and dealers--Massachusetts --Arlington--History--19th century
  • Harness making and trade--Massachusetts--Arlington--History--19th century
  • Whittemore, Amos, 1759-1828
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Wilder, Marshall P.

Marshall P. Wilder Collection

3 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: RG 002/3 W55
Image of Marshall P. Wilder
Marshall P. Wilder

A merchant and amateur horticulturalist from Dorchester, Mass., Marshall P. Wilder (1798-1886) was a key figure in American pomology during the mid-nineteenth century and a major supporter of agricultural education. A supreme organizer and institution builder, he was a founder and president of the American Pomological Society and United States Agricultural Society, and president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and New England Historic Genealogical Society. His 1849 address before the Norfolk Agricultural Society is often credited as an important catalyst for the creation of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, and he served as trustee of the College from its opening in 1867 until his death in 1886.

The Wilder Collection consists primarily of printed works written or collected by Marshall P. Wilder, including materials pertaining to early meetings of the American Pomological Society and the United States Agricultural Society, his 1849 address to the Norfolk Agricultural Society, and his address to the first graduating class at MAC. Among the handful of manuscripts are a draft proposal to hold a national meeting of fruit growers (the inaugural meeting of the American Pomological Society), two letters regarding his donation of a large number of books to the MAC library, and a bound set of 22 beautiful watercolors of pear varieties painted by Louis B. Berckmans.

  • Agricultural exhibitions
  • American Pomological Society
  • Horticulture--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Trustees
  • New-England Historic Genealogical Society
  • Pomology--Massachusetts
  • United States Agricultural Society
  • Wilder, Marshall P. (Marshall Pinckney), 1798-1886
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Williams, Roger

Roger Williams Account Book

1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 619 bd

During the early decades of the nineteenth century, Roger Williams ran a ferry in West Springfield, Mass., carrying passengers and freight across the Connecticut River.

The Williams ledger is a combination daybook and account book, recording several dozen transactions of a Connecticut River ferryman, centered on the years around the War of 1812. Most of the entries are brief records of trips carrying individuals or freight across the river, however a few provide indications of other economic activity, including framing and joining, making a coffin, fixing sleds, and cidering.

  • Ferries--Massachusetts--Connecticut River
  • West Springfield (Mass.)
  • Williams, Roger
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Daybooks

Wing, Paul, 1792-1822

Paul Wing Account Book

1 vol. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 215 bd

Seaman from Rochester, Massachusetts. Accounts provide information on work done, cargo and passengers carried, wages, ship expenses, and port charges. Also includes accounts of Philip Wing, Paul’s older brother, for agricultural, butchering, and ship carpentry work, as well as a loose sheet concerning probate court proceedings probably relating to the settling of Paul Wing’s estate after his death.

  • Agriculture--Accounting--History--19th century
  • Harbors--Port charges--History--19th century
  • Merchant mariners--Salaries, etc.--History--19th century
  • Rochester (Mass. : Town)--Commerce--History--19th century
  • Rochester (Mass. : Town)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Shipping--Accounting--History--19th century
  • Ships--Cargo--History--19th century
  • Ships--Equipment and supplies--History--19th century
  • Ships--Maintenance and repair--History--19th century
  • Wing, Paul, 1792-1822
  • Wing, Philip, 1788-
Types of material
  • Account books

Wood, Josiah

Josiah Wood Papers

1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 363

A veteran of the Civil War and one time resident of the Hopedale community, Josiah Wood tried his hand at several lines of work during his life, including tin-peddler, farmer, and carpenter.

The Josiah Wood Papers consist primarily of letters between Wood, living in Hopedale and New Bedford, Massachusetts, and his relatives in Philadelphia and elsewhere in the northeastern and western parts of the country. While some of the correspondence contains references to larger-scale historical events, such as the Civil War or westward expansion, the majority concerns events and routines of everyday family life. The letters illustrate the considerable effort made to keep in touch with and informed about distant family members and friends.

  • Spiritualism--United States--History--19th century
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
  • West (U.S.)--History--19th century
  • Wood, Josiah
  • Wood, Lurana P

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