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Literature & the arts

MAC baseball team, 1878

MAC baseball team, 1878

Literature and the arts play a vital role in the culture and traditions of New England. Western Massachusetts in particular has had a rich history of fostering writers and poets, musicians, dancers, and actors. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives seeks to document not only the lives and work of writers and performers in our region, but the creative and artistic process; showing not just the inspiration, but the perspiration as well.

View all collections in Literature and the arts

Significant collections

  • Arts and arts management
    • Significant collections under the National Arts Policy Archive and Library include materials from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and the Arts Extension Service.
  • Poetry
    • SCUA houses significant collections for the poets Robert Francis, Madeleine de Frees, and Anne Halley, as well as small collections for William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens. The records of the Massachusetts Review are an important literary resource.
  • Prose writing
    • Collections of note include the papers of writers William J. Lederer (author of The Ugly American, Nation of Sheep, and Their Own Worst Enemy), William Manchester (The Death of a President and American Caesar), Jodi Picoult (many novels from Songs of the Humpback Whale in 1992 to The Storyteller in 2013), Mary Doyle Curran (The Parish and the Hill).
  • Journalism
    • Journalists and photojournalists associated with traditional print and new media, including an important collection for the Liberation News Service, a media service for the alternative press, and the Social Change Periodicals Collection, which includes alternative and radical small press publications. The papers of Sidney Topol provide insight into the technical development of cable television.
  • Literary criticism and linguistics
    • The papers of literary scholars associated with the University; records of the Massachusetts Review.
  • Performing arts
    • The vibrant performing arts community in western Massachusetts is well represented in SCUA through groups ranging from the Arcadia Players Baroque music ensemble to theater troupes such as Double Edge Theater, the Valley Light Opera, and the New World Theater. Among the most significant national collections are the Roberta Uno Asian Women Playwrights Collection and the papers of African American expatriate actor and director Gordon Heath, while the James Ellis Theatre Collection includes nearly 8,000 printed volumes on the English and American stage, 1750-1915, along with numerous broadsides, graphics, and some manuscript materials. Musical collections include the papers of Philip Bezanson and Charles Bestor, the score collection of Julian Olevsky, and the Katanka Fraser Political Music Collection.

Printed materials

Within its holdings, SCUA houses collections of the published works of W.E.B. Du Bois, Robert Francis, Anne Halley, William J. Lederer, William Manchester, Thomas Mann, William Morris, Wallace Stevens, and William Butler Yeats, as well as the personal poetry libraries of Halley, Francis, and Stevens. The department also has an extensive collection of Science Fiction magazine fiction and Scottish literature.

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Lyman, Benjamin Smith, 1835-1920

Benjamin Smith Lyman Papers
1831-1921
52 boxes (42 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 190
Image of Benjamin Smith Lyman, 1902
Benjamin Smith Lyman, 1902

A native of Northampton, Massachusetts, Benjamin Smith Lyman was a prominent geologist and mining engineer. At the request of the Meiji government in Japan, Lyman helped introduce modern geological surveying and mining techniques during the 1870s and 1880s, and his papers from that period illuminate aspects of late nineteenth century Japan, New England, and Pennsylvania, as well as the fields of geology and mining exploration and engineering. From his earliest financial records kept as a student at Phillips Exeter Academy through the journal notations of his later days in Philadelphia, Lyman’s meticulous record-keeping provides much detail about his life and work. Correspondents include his classmate, Franklin B. Sanborn, a friend of the Concord Transcendentalists and an active social reformer, abolitionist, and editor.

The papers, 1848-1911, have been organized into nine series: correspondence, financial records, writings, survey notebooks, survey maps, photographs, student notes and notebooks, collections, and miscellaneous (total 25 linear feet). A separate Lyman collection includes over 2,000 books in Japanese and Chinese acquired by Lyman, and in Western languages pertaining to Asia.

Language(s): EnglishJapanese
Subjects
  • Geological surveys--Alabama
  • Geological surveys--Illinois
  • Geological surveys--India--Punjab
  • Geological surveys--Japan
  • Geological surveys--Japan--Maps
  • Geological surveys--Maryland
  • Geological surveys--Nova Scotia
  • Geological surveys--Pennsylvania
  • Geological surveys--Pennsylvania--Maps
  • Geologists--United States
  • Geology--Equipment and supplies--Catalogs
  • Geology--Japan--History--19th century
  • Japan--Description and travel--19th century
  • Japan--Maps
  • Japan--Photographs
  • Japan--Social life and customs--1868-1912
  • Mining engineering--Equipment and supplies--Catalogs
  • Mining engineering--Japan--History--19th century
  • Mining engineers--United States
Contributors
  • Lyman, Benjamin Smith, 1835-1920
  • Sanborn, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), 1831-1917
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Book jackets
  • Field notes
  • Letterpress copybooks
  • Maps
  • Notebooks
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Trade catalogs

Mainstream Media Project

Mainstream Media Project Records
1995-2012
11 boxes (16 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 976

A World of Possibilities logo, ca. 1998

Founded in 1995, by founder and former executive director Mark Sommer, the Mainstream Media Project (MMP) was a nonprofit public education organization focused on print and broadcast media about creative approaches in achieving peace, security, and sustainability in an interdependent global community. Until its closing in early 2014, it was particularly involved with placing top policy analysts, social innovators, and on-the-ground organizers on radio and television stations across the country and globe. One such project, A World of Possibilities radio show, founded in 2001, was an award-winning one hour weekly show hosted by Sommer. A program “of spirited global conversations,” featuring interviews searching for understanding of, and solutions to, longstanding global public affairs challenges, A World of Possibilities was nationally and internationally syndicated until it ceased broadcasting in 2011.

The MMP Records contain over ten linear feet of CD and DVD masters of uncut interviews and produced radio shows. Shows, including Heart of the Matter and A World of Possibilities, explore promising new thinking and experimentation in fields ranging from energy, food, water, and wilderness to human rights, global security, and public health, and include interviews with leading experts and innovators, such as Studs Terkel, Pete Seeger, Laurie Garrett, Wangari Maathai, Frances Moore Lappe, Howard Gardner, Lily Yeh, Robert Reich, Majora Carter, Van Jones and many more. The collection also contains MMP business files, consisting of correspondence, reports, articles, grant information, and organizational materials.

Gift of Mark Sommer, May 2017
Subjects
  • Activists
  • Environmentalism
  • Globalization
  • Green movement
  • Peaceful change
  • Politics and culture
  • Reconciliation
  • Science--Social aspects
  • Sustainable living
  • Technology--Social aspects
Types of material
  • Interviews
  • Radio programs

Mann, Eric

Eric Mann and Lian Hurst Mann Papers
1967-2007
22 boxes (11 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 657
Image of Eric Mann, Dec. 1969<br />Photo by Jeff Albertson
Eric Mann, Dec. 1969
Photo by Jeff Albertson

Revolutionary organizers, writers, and theorists, Eric Mann and Lian Hurst Mann have been active in the struggle for civil rights for decades. The son of Jewish Socialist and labor organizer from New York, Mann came of age during the early phases of the Civil Rights movement and after graduating from Cornell (1964), he became field secretary for the Congress of Racial Equality. Increasingly radicalized through exposure to Black revolutionary nationalists, Mann took part in the Newark Community Union Project and became a leader in anti-imperialist opposition to the war in Vietnam as a New England regional coordinator for the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and later with the Revolutionary Youth Movement I — the Weatherman above-ground tendency of SDS. Following a militant demonstration at the Harvard Center for International Affairs late in 1969, Mann was convicted of assault on the basis of perjured testimony and sentenced to two years in prison. An organizer of his fellow prisoners even behind bars, he was “shipped out” often in the middle of the night, from prison to prison, spending the last year at Concord State Prison. After being released early in July 1971, he continued his prison activism through the Red Prison Movement. At the same time, as a writer, he earned a national audience for his book Comrade George: an account of the life, politics, and assassination of Soledad Brother George Jackson. Feeling himself at a low point in his radical career, Mann met Lian Hurst while vacationing in Mexico during the summer 1974. Hurst, a leader in the Berkeley Oakland Women’s Union, architect, and a strong Socialist Feminist, soon became his partner in life and politics, and Mann left Massachusetts to join with her in Berkeley. Hurst lead a group of women from BOWU who formed a “Thursday night group” and left the organization with the polemic, “socialist feminism is bourgeois feminism” all of whom moved towards integrating women’s liberation and Marxism-Leninism. At her urging, the two took part in Marxist Leninist party building, becoming union organizers with the United Auto Workers, and eventually moving to Los Angeles. Hurst was elected shop steward by her fellow workers as a known revolutionary. There, Mann led a campaign to keep the Van Nuys assembly plant open (1982-1992) — captured in his book, Taking on General Motors. They joined the August 29th Movement and its successor, the League of Revolutionary Struggle. They left LRS in 1984. In 1989, Mann and veterans of the GM Van Nuys Campaign formed the Labor/Community Strategy Center, which has been a primary focal points for their work ever since, helping to build consciousness, leadership, and organization within communities of color. Hurst became editor of AhoraNow, an innovative bilingual left publication that featured articles by Black and Latino working class leaders and helped initiate the center’s National School for Strategic Organizing. In 2003 Hurst wrote, “Socialist Feminism: Thoughts After 30 Years” for AhoraNow, a critical re-engagement of those important debates from an historical perspective after a 30 year reunion of BOWU’s key leaders. Mann’s latest book is Playbook For Progressives: 16 Qualities of the Successful Organizer. Hurst and Mann continue to write and agitate in the cause of revolutionary change, particularly for oppressed communities of color.

The Mann-Hurst collection contains the records of two lives intertwined with one another with the cause of liberation of Black and Latino communities, women, and an internationalist pro-socialist anti-imperialism. Containing a nearly complete set of publications, the collection also contains early materials on Lian Hurst’s work with BOWU and the both Eric and Lian’s time as organizers for the UAW and their participation in the August 29th Movement and League of Revolutionary Struggle. Of particular interest are a series of letters home written by Eric during his imprisonment. The collection contains comparatively little on Hurst and Manns’ more recent work with the Labor/Strategy Strategy Center or Bus Riders Union

Subjects
  • August 29th Movement
  • Berkeley Oakland Women's Union
  • Communists--California
  • Feminism
  • International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
  • Labor unions--California
  • League of Revolutionary Struggle (M-L)
  • Prisoners--Massachusetts
  • Red Prison Movements
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
Contributors
  • Mann, Lian Hurst

Marcus, Joseph S.

Joseph S. Marcus Papers
1954-1977
2 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 081
Image of Joseph S. Marcus
Joseph S. Marcus

Joseph Sol Marcus arrived at UMass in 1948 as an Instructor in Civil Engineering and graduate student (MS 1954), remaining there for the rest of his career. Born in Oct. 29, 1921, he was educated at Worcester Polytech (BS 1944) and after war-time service with the Navy, he joined the rapidly growing engineering program at UMass. Although chemical engineer, he took responsibility for the fluid mechanics laboratory and taught in civil and mechanical engineering, and after gaining experience through courses from the Atomic Energy Commission and a year spent at Oak Ridge National Laboratories, he introduced nuclear engineering into the curriculum. As he rose through the academic ranks, Marcus became a key figure in university administration, serving as Associate Dean of Engineering, as preceptor for Emily Dickinson House on Orchard Hill, and Special Assistant to the Chancellor for long-range planning, while serving on committees for military affairs, Engineering hopnors, transfers and admissions, discipline, and Continuing Education. Marcus died of cancer on Nov. 1, 1985. Marcus Hall was named in his honor.

The Joseph Marcus Papers document Marcus’s extensive involvement in campus affairs at UMass Amherst, with an emphasis on the period 1965-1975. A small quantity of material relating to his profession activities and academic appointments is joined by well organized files relating to his participation in committees of Engineering honors, Military Affairs (1967-1968), the Orchard Hill residential college and Emily Dickinson House (1964-1969), ROTC and AFROTC curricula, transfers and admissions, the library, Upward Bound, Discipline (1964-1971), and Continuing Education (1970-1977).

Subjects
  • Continuing education
  • Residential colleges
  • United States. Army. Reserve Officers' Training Corps
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Civil Engineering

Maslow, Jonathan Evan

Jonathan Evan Maslow Papers
ca.1978-2008
20 boxes (30 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 639
Image of Jon Maslow
Jon Maslow

A man of diverse and interests, Jon Maslow was a naturalist and journalist, an environmentalist, traveler, and writer, whose works took his from the rain forests to the steppes to the salt marshes of his native New Jersey. Born on Aug. 4, 1948, in Long Branch, Maslow received his MA from the Columbia University School of Journalism (1974), after which he spent several years traveling through South and Central America, studying the flora and fauna, reporting and writing, before returning to the States. Always active in community affairs, he was a reporter with the Cape May County Herald (1997-2002) and the West Paterson Herald News (2002-2008). The author of six books, including The Owl Papers (1983), Bird of Life, Bird of Death, a finalist for the National Book Award in 1986, and Sacred Horses: Memoirs of a Turkmen Cowboy (1994), he often combined an intense interest in natural history with a deep environmentalist ethos and, particularly in the latter two cases, with a deep concern for the history of political turmoil. He died of cancer on Feb. 19, 2008.

A large and rich assemblage, the Maslow Papers document his career from his days as a young journalist traveling in Central America through his community involvements in New Jersey during the 2000s. An habitual rewriter, Maslow left numerous drafts of books and articles, and the collection includes valuable correspondence with colleagues and friends, including his mentor Philip Roth, as well as Maslow’s fascinating travel diaries.

Subjects
  • Authors--New Jersey
  • Central America--Description and travel
  • Journalists--New Jersey
  • New Jersey--History
  • Reporters and reporting--New Jersey
Contributors
  • Maslow, Jonathan Evan
  • Roth, Philip

Massachusetts AFL-CIO

Massachusetts AFL-CIO Records
1902-1995
72 boxes (64 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 369

Formed in 1887 as the Massachusetts branch of the American Federation of Labor, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO currently represents the interests of over 400,000 working people in the Commonwealth. Like its parent organization, the national AFL-CIO, the Mass. AFL-CIO is an umbrella organization, a union of unions, and engages in political education, legislative action, organizing, and education and training.

The official records of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO provide insight into the aims and administrative workings of the organization. These includes a nearly complete run of proceedings and reports from its conventions since 1902, except for a five year gap 1919-1923, minutes and agendas for the meetings of the Executive Council, and the President’s files (1982- ). The collection is particularly strong in the period since about 1980.

Subjects
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • AFL-CIO
  • Massachusetts AFL-CIO

Massachusetts Association of Extension Home Economists

Massachusetts Association of Extension Home Economists Records
1930-1990
5 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 346
Image of Holiday Inn greets the MAEHE, 1967
Holiday Inn greets the MAEHE, 1967

An outgrowth of the extension movement in Massachusetts aimed at assisting rural women in domestic work, the Massachusetts Home Demonstration Agents’ Association (later the Massachusetts Association of Extension Home Economists) was formed in 1930. Offering an opportunity for the sharing of resources, approaches, and information, the organization provided encouragement for its members to improve their skills as home economists and adult educators.

The MAEHE collection includes award applications, minutes, correspondence, newsletters, and membership files.

Subjects
  • Home economics extension work--Massachusetts
  • Home economics--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Massachusetts Home Demonstration Agents Association
  • National Association of Extension Home Economists
Types of material
  • Photographs

Massachusetts Chicken and Turkey Broiler Test, Inc.

Massachusetts Chicken and Turkey Broiler Test Records
1953-1959
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 082
Image of Terry B. Kinney at groundbreaking, July 1954
Terry B. Kinney at groundbreaking, July 1954

An early example of cooperative research between industry and academia, the Massachusetts Chicken and Turkey Broiler Test, Inc. was founded in 1954 to conduct tests to improve poultry productivity. Taking advantage of the professional skills of the staff and students in the Poultry Science Department at UMass Amherst, the Test facility was located adjacent to campus and over its five year course of operations, gathered scientific data on a number of variables, including rate of growth, rate of feathering, age of maturity, and egg production and hatchability.

The records of the Broiler Test consist of minutes, financial documents, correspondence, and test results.

Gift of Thomas W. Fox, 1987
Subjects
  • Chickens--Breeding
  • Poultry industry--Massachusetts
  • Turkeys--Breeding
Contributors
  • Massachusetts Chicken and Turkey Broiler Test, Inc
Types of material
  • Photographs

Massachusetts Review

David Lenson, editor of the Massachusetts Review, hosts MR2, an hour-long radio show on radio station WMUA (FM 91.1) featuring interviews with local writers, artists, and cultural critics.

Digital copies of the interviews can be purchased through the Massachusetts Review.

 

  • Sut Jhally, Professor of Communication at UMass Amherst and Director of the Media Education Foundation.
      Broadcast: Jan. 9, 2003 (File size: 13.6 Mb)
  • Bill Streeter, owner of Silver Maple Bindery in Northampton
      Broadcast: Jan. 2, 2003 (13.4 Mb)
  • Hans Teensma, principle of the design firm InPress, Northampton, Mass.
      Broadcast: Jan. 9, 2003 (13.0 Mb)
  • Dara Wier, poet and Professor in the MFA program at UMass Amherst
      Broadcast: Jan. 2, 2003 (12.6 Mb)
  • Matthew Zapruder, Poet and publisher
      Broadcast: March 6, 2003 (14.1 Mb)
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