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Barton, Thomas

Thomas Barton Papers

1947-1977 Bulk: 1960-1974
4 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 539
Image of YPSL logo
YPSL logo

In the early 1960s, Tom Barton (b. 1935) emerged as a leader in the Left-wing of the Young People’s Socialist League, the national youth affiliate of the Socialist Party. Deeply committed to the civil rights and antiwar struggles and to revolutionary organizing, Barton operated in Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York and was a delegate and National Secretary at the 1964 convention in which tensions within YPSL led to its dissolution.

A small, but rich collection, the Barton Papers provide a glimpse into the career of a long-time Socialist and activist. From Barton’s entry into the Young People’s Socialist League in the latest 1950s through his work with the Wildcat group in the early 1970s, the collection contains outstanding content on the civil rights and antiwar movements and the strategies for radical organizing. The collection is particularly rich on two periods of Barton’s career — his time in the YPSL and Student Peace Union (1960-1964) and in the Wildcat group (1968-1971) — and particularly for the events surrounding the dissolution of YPSL in 1964, following a heated debate over whether to support Lyndon Johnson for president. The collection includes correspondence with other young radicals such as Martin Oppenheimer, Lyndon Henry, Juan McIver, and Joe Weiner.

Subjects

  • Antiwar movements
  • Civil rights movements
  • Communists
  • Revolutionaries
  • Socialist Party of the United States of America
  • Socialists--United States
  • Student Peace Union
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
  • Wildcat
  • Young People's Socialist League

Contributors

  • Barton, Thomas
  • Gilbert, Carl
  • Henry, Lyndon
  • MacFadyen, Gavin
  • McIver, Juan
  • Oppenheimer, Martin
  • Shatkin, Joan
  • Shatkin, Norm
  • Verret, Joe
  • Weiner, Joe
Cohen, Alvin P.

Alvin P. Cohen Collection

1957-1968
2 boxes 1.6 linear feet
Call no.: FS 145
Image of Free Speech Movement newsletter
Free Speech Movement newsletter

As an undergraduate at the University of California Berkeley in the late 1950s, Alvin P. Cohen planned on a career in engineering, but after earning his bachelors degree and working as a laboratory technician, he returned to undergraduate status and then to graduate school in Chinese. Cohen’s time at Berkeley coincided with the turbulence of the first wave of student revolt, the civil rights and antiwar movements, and the Free Speech Movement, however as a married man with children, he was more an observer than activist. After completing his dissertation, The Avenging Ghost: Moral Judgment in Chinese Historical Texts, in 1971, he joined the faculty at UMass Amherst, initially with a split appointment teaching Chinese and working as East Asian bibliographer in the library. Over the next three and a half decades, he helped build the Program in Asian Languages and Literature, becoming its Chair in the 1990s and President of the Warring States Project.

Consisting of newsclippings, fliers, and other ephemera collected as the Free Speech Movement was at its height, the Cohen collection provides a valuable window on 1960s activism and the cross-fertilization between the various student movements. The materials cover a range of issues from free speech on campus to the California legislature, civil rights, the war in Vietnam, and the House Un-American Activities Committee. Of particular interest is a letter received by Cohen from a friend Doug Wachter in 1960, shortly after Wachter had been called before HUAC.

Subjects

  • College students--United States--Political activity
  • Student movements--California
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Asian Languages and Literatures
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Contributors

  • Cohen, Alvin P.
Constitutionalism in American Life Conference

Constitutionalism in American Life Conference Collection

1986
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 140

A conference hosted by the University of Massachusetts Amherst on November 7-9, 1986, that examined the impact of the Constitution on politics and government, foreign policy, race relations, and the economy, and also discussed the impact on the constitution of popular struggles and the emergence of “rights consciousness.” Includes papers presented at the conference that were to be subsequently published in a special bicentennial issue of the Journal of American History.

Subjects

  • Constitutional history--United States--Congresses
  • Constitutional law--United States--Congresses
  • Journal of American history
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--History
Conte, Silvio O. (Silvio Oltavio), 1921-1991

Silvio O. Conte Papers

1950-1991
389 boxes 583.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 371

Massachusetts State Senator for the Berkshire District, 1950-1958, and representative for Massachusetts’s First District in the United States Congress for 17 terms, 1959-1991, where he made significant contributions in the areas of health and human services, the environment, education, energy, transportation, and small business.

Spanning four decades and eight presidents, the papers offer an extraordinary perspective on the major social, economic, and cultural changes experienced by the American people. Includes correspondence, speeches, press releases, bill files, his voting record, committee files, scrapbooks, travel files, audio-visual materials and over 5,000 photographs and slides.

Subjects

  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
  • Massachusetts. Senate
  • United States--Politics and government--20th century
  • United States. Congress. House

Contributors

  • Conte, Silvio O. (Silvio Oltavio), 1921-1991

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Sound recordings
Greensboro Justice Fund

Greensboro Justice Fund Records

1966-2009 Bulk: 1979-2002
22 boxes 33 linear feet
Call no.: MS 697

Five organizers affiliated with the Communist Workers Party were murdered by Klansmen and Nazis in Greenboro, N.C., on Nov. 3, 1979. Although an all white jury acquitted the defendants of murder and a second jury acquitted them of civil rights violations, a civil suit filed by survivors of the assault resulted in eight Klansmen being found liable for wrongful death in 1985. First conceived in 1980 as an organization to support the survivors of the assault, the Greensboro Justice Fund grew to support grassroots organizations and activists working for civil rights, social change, and radical democracy in the South.

The records of the Greensboro Justice Fund offer dramatic testimony to the impact of the Greensboro Massacre of 1979, and the manner in which a community of survivors and supporters cooperated to establish an organization that supplied grants to support grassroots social justice initiatives throughout the South.

Subjects

  • Communists--United States
  • Greensboro (N.C.)--History
  • Ku Klux Klan
  • Neo-Nazis
  • Racism

Contributors

  • Greensboro Civil Rights Fund
  • Nathan, Marty
  • Nathan, Michael

Types of material

  • Newsclippings
  • Photographs
Gwin, Lucy

Lucy Gwin Papers

1982-2005
8 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 822

Born in Indiana, the writer Lucy Gwin (1943-2014) lived “a lot of lives,” in her own words, working in advertising, as a dairy farmer, civil rights activist, and deckhand on ships servicing oil rigs, all before the age of 40. While living in Rochester, N.Y., in 1989, however, her life took a sudden turn. After a head-on collision with a drunk driver left her with traumatic brain injury, Gwin was remanded for care to the New Medico Brain Rehabilitation Center, where she witnessed a world of isolation, patient abuse, and powerlessness. Never one to shrink from a challenge, she escaped from the Center and used her skills as an organizer and writer to expose conditions at New Medico and shut the facility down. Through her experiences, Gwin emerged as a powerful, often acerbic voice in all-disability rights advocacy, becoming the founder, designer, and editor of the influential Mouth Magazine in 1990.

Lucy Gwin’s papers document the advocacy of an important figure in the disability rights movement. The rich documentation for Mouth Magazine includes comprehensive editorial files arranged issue by issue, some correspondence with authors and supporters, and copies of the published issue. The balance of the collection contains Gwin’s other work as a writer, personal correspondence, and materials relating to her experiences with and campaign against New Medico.

Subjects

  • Disabled--Civil rights
  • Mouth Magazine
Miller, Cynthia

Cynthia Miller Papers

1973-1995
6 boxes 2.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 869

Known in the psychiatric survivors’ movement as Kalisa, Cynthia Miller was a radical activist on behalf of the mentally ill. An ex-patient based in New York, she became a member of Project Release in the early 1970s, one of the first wave of organizations fighting for the civil rights of mental patients and combatting forced institutionalization, and was a contributor to Madness Network News and other publications. A poet, writer, and a committed feminist and out lesbian, she took part in civil disobedience to oppose electroconvulsive therapy, working with Judi Chamberlin, George Ebert, Leonard Roy Frank, and others.

Though varied and fragmentary, Cynthia Miller’s collection is a rich resource for study of the early history of the psychiatric survivors movement and the work of one activist in resisting psychiatric oppression. The collection contains some of Kalisa’s writings and correspondence along with ephemera and a varied collection of newspapers, newsletters, and other publications relating to Project Release and several other organizations that Kalisa supported, including the Mental Patients Liberation Front and the Alliance for the Liberation of Mental Patients.

Subjects

  • Antipsychiatry
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Ex-mental patients
  • Feminism
  • Mentally ill--Civil rights
  • Psychiatric survivors movement--New York (City)

Contributors

  • Alliance for the Liberation of Mental Patients
  • Chamberlin, Judi, 1944-2010
  • Mental Patients Liberation Front
  • Project Release

Types of material

  • Newsletters
Povirk, Eugene

Eugene Povirk Collection of ACLU Press Releases

1961-1984
3 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 925

The American Civil Liberties Union has played a significant role in working with the courts, legislatures, and the public to protect civil liberties in the United States. Founded in 1920, the organization has a membership of more than a million.

An extensive run of press releases issued by the national office of the ACLU between 1961 and 1984, this collection reflects the organization’s priorities and public communications strategies during a critical time in the struggle for civil liberties. The topics range from organizational changes within the ACLU to the major issues in civil liberties of the day, including those pertaining to the civil rights movement, civic unrest, freedom of the press, the Vietnam War, and the counterculture.

Gift of Eugene Povirk, Mar. 2016

Subjects

  • Civil rights--United States
  • Freedom of the press
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements

Types of material

  • Press releases
Pyle, Christopher H.

Christopher Pyle Papers

ca.1970-1985
20 boxes 30 linear feet
Call no.: MS 545

As an army captain teaching constitutional law at the U.S. Army Intelligence School in Fort Holabird, Maryland during the late 1960s, Christopher Pyle learned about the army’s domestic spying operation that targeted antiwar and civil rights protesters. Disclosing his knowledge about that surveillance in 1970 in two award-winning articles, Pyle led the fight to end the military’s domestic spying program by testifying before three Congressional committees. Currently a professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College, Pyle continues to write about civil liberties and rights to privacy focusing his attention now on the Patriot Act and the detention of aliens and citizens without trial.

Documenting Pyle’s investigation into the military domestic spying operation, the collection consists of court transcripts, telephone logs, surveillance binders, correspondence, research notes, and news clippings.

Subjects

  • Civil rights--United States
  • Military intelligence
  • Military surveillance--United States
Risser, Pat

Pat Risser Papers

1987-2015
4 boxea 4 linear feet
Call no.: MS 987

A leading voice in the psychiatric survivor movement, Pat Risser worked for years in the cause of civil rights and peer self-help for people with psychiatric disabilities. An Ohioan by birth, Risser suffered severe abuse as a child and was diagnosed with “schizophrenia” in his twenties, although he wrote that his diagnosis changed with each new doctor or therapist. Finding his condition worsen the deeper he became involved in the mental health system, Risser discovered the value of peer self-help in the early 1980s and became one of the first students in the Consumer Case Manager Aide program, where he trained to work as a professional mental health provider. A dynamic leader, he helped start dozens of self-help peer support groups in Colorado, founded several drop-in centers, and established seventeen Alliance for the Mentally Ill groups. His reputation led to his recruitment to become Director of Mental Health Consumer Concerns, a patients-rights advocacy program in California, with which he enjoyed enormous success. In 1996, he relocated to Oregon and although “semi-retired” due to poor health, he continued to work at the state and national level on mental health issues, becoming chair of Clackamas County Mental Health Council, acting as a mental health consultant, and writing and speaking on a range of topics. Risser died in 2016 at the age of 63.

Primarily a digital archive, the Pat Risser papers contain the writings and correspondence of a significant figure in the history of disability rights. Working in Colorado, California, Oregon, and Ohio, Risser was an early adopter of online technologies to communicate with fellow activists and to raise awareness about the pitfalls of the mental health system. The collection includes several important autobiographical essays by Risser.

Gift of Patricia Sandoval through Steve Stone, Oct. 2017

Subjects

  • Antipsychiatry
  • Ex-mental patients
  • People with disabilities--Civil rights
  • Psychiatric survivors movement

Types of material

  • Born digital