University of Massachusetts Amherst
Special Collections and University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries
SCUA

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Collection policy

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

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:

Communist Party of Massachusetts

Communist Party of Massachusetts Collection, 1932-1957
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 538

A branch of the Communist Party of the United States of America, the Communist Party of Massachusetts enjoyed strong popularity during the 1930s and 1940s, organizing the textile and other manufacturing industries.

This small collection is comprised of a miscellaneous assemblage of fliers, broadsides, and ephemera issued by the Communist Party of Massachusetts and its affiliates from the mid-1930s through the repression of the McCarthy era. Originating mostly from Boston, the items in the collection center on significant themes in Communist thought, including opposition to Fascism and militarism, labor solidarity against capital, and elections. A small number of items relate to Party-approved cultural productions, including plays and gatherings to celebrate Lenin or the Russian Revolution. Many items are associated with Otis A. Hood, a perpetual candidate for public office on the Communist Party ticket who became a target for McCarthy-era repression in the mid-1950s.

Acquired from Eugene Povirk, 2008
Subjects
  • Antiwar movements--Massachusetts
  • Communists--Massachusetts
  • Elections--Massachusetts
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Communist Party of Massachusetts
Types of material
  • Broadsides
  • Fliers

Craig, Edward Gordon, 1872-1966

Edward Gordon Craig Collection, 1951-1956
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 344

A noted figure in modernist theater, Edward Gordon Craig was born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, on Jan. 16, 1872, the illegitimate son of the renowned actress Ellen Terry and the architect Edward William Craig. Although the most productive portion of his career was brief, he exerted a strong influence on the field of set design and lighting, and was fairly prolific as a writer on theatre.

The six audio recordings that comprise the Craig collection originated from a series of BBC radio talks in the early 1950s. The reel to reel tapes include Craig’s reminiscences of Ellen Terry, Isadora Duncan, the old school of acting, celebrities, and how he played Hamlet in Salford, Lancashire.

Subjects
  • Duncan, Isadora, 1877-1927
  • Terry, Ellen, Dame, 1847-1928
  • Theater--Great Britain
Types of material
  • Oral histories
  • Sound recordings

Cushing, David F.

David F. Cushing Daybook, 1860
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 248 bd

Operator of a general store in Cambridgeport, Vermont, as well as a postmaster and a deacon of the Congregational Church. Daybook includes lists of stock, how he acquired his goods, and method and form of payment (cash or exchange of goods and services).

Subjects
  • Barter--Vermnont--Cambridgeport--History--19th century
  • Cambridgeport (Vt.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Freight and freightage--Rates--Vermont--History--19th century
  • General stores--Vermont--Cambridgeport
  • Households--Vermont--Cambrigeport--History--19th century
Contributors
  • Cushing, David F., 1814-1899
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Daybooks

Dall Family

Dall Family Correspondence, 1810-1843
2 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 282

Chiefly correspondence from various Dall family members in Boston, Massachusetts, particularly father William Dall, Revolutionary War veteran, merchant, businessman and former Yale College writing master, to sons William and James Dall in Baltimore, Maryland. Letters of son James Dall, then a student at Harvard University, provide accounts of Boston political and cultural activities of the time.

The correspondence documents the daily changes in the life of a merchant’s family in the early 19th century, reflecting anxiety over trade restrictions, embargoes, and other economic disruptions resulting from the War of 1812. The elder Dall (William 3rd) and much of his family lived in Boston, but two sons lived in Baltimore. The bulk of the correspondence consists of letters to the younger son, William 4th, who was then apprenticed to a Baltimore merchant. The letters of son James Dall, then a student at Harvard University, provide accounts of Boston political and cultural activities.

Acquired 1989
Subjects
  • Baltimore (Md.)--Biography
  • Baltimore (Md.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Boston (Mass.)--Biography
  • Boston (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Boston (Mass.)--Intellectual life--19th century
  • Boston (Mass.)--Politics and government--19th century
  • Dall family
  • Family--United States--History--19th century
  • Harvard University--Students
  • Merchants--Maryland--Baltimore
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Boston
Contributors
  • Dall, James, 1781-1863
  • Dall, John Robert, 1798-1851
  • Dall, John, 1791-1852
  • Dall, Joseph, 1801-1840
  • Dall, Maria, 1783-1836
  • Dall, Rebecca Keen
  • Dall, Sarah Keen, 1798-1878
  • Dall, William, 1753-1829
  • Dall, William, 1794 or 5-1875

Dickinson, Walter Mason, 1856-1898

Walter Mason Dickinson Papers, 1858-1900
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 173
Image of Walter Mason Dickinson, ca.1880
Walter Mason Dickinson, ca.1880

Originally a member of the Massachusetts Agricultural College Class of 1876, Walter Mason Dickinson left after his junior year to enter the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. During his military career, Dickinson saw service in the southwest and as a military instructor at MAC (1891-1896). As a Captain and Quartermaster in the 17th Infantry, he was called to active duty during the Spanish-American War and was killed in action at the Battle of El Caney. He was the first man associated with MAC to die in military service.

This small collection of photographs and letters centers on the death and family of Walter M. Dickinson, the first person associated with Massachusetts Agricultural College to die in combat. In addition to two of the last letters he wrote as he was heading off to war in Cuba, the collection contains three formal portraits of Dickinson at different points in his military career, images of his wife and family, and two images of the scene of his death at El Caney and one of his temporary grave.

Gift of Alex Kingsbury, Jan. 2016
Subjects
  • Dickinson, Asa Williams--Photographs
  • Dickinson, Charles--Photographs
  • Dickinson, Marquis F. (Marquis Fayette), 1814-1901--Photographs
  • Dickinson, Marquis F. (Marquis Fayette), 1840-19215--Photographs
  • Dickinson, Martha E.--Photographs
  • Dickinson, Walter Mason, 1856-1898--Photographs
  • Dwellings--Massachusetts--Amherst--Photographs
  • El Caney (Cuba)--Photographs
  • Farms--Massachusetts--Amherst--Photographs
  • Soldiers' bodies, Disposition of--Cuba--Photographs
  • Soldiers--United States--Photographs
  • Spanish-American War, 1898
Types of material
  • Ambrotypes
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs

Drury, Luke, 1737-1811

Luke Drury Papers, 1746-1831
4 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 258

Soldier in Revolutionary War and Shays Rebellion, later a state legislator and local politician from Grafton and Marlboro, Massachusetts. Drury’s papers contain family and business (farm and mill) correspondence, notes of hand, bills, receipts, and legal papers as well as records pertaining to the town of Grafton. Collection also includes papers of Timothy Darling and the Goulding, Place, and Sherman families.

Acquired from Cedric Robinson, 1989
Subjects
  • Grafton (Mass.)--History
  • Massachusetts--History
  • Shays' Rebellion, 1786-1787
Contributors
  • Darling, Timothy
  • Drury, Luke, 1737-1811
  • Goulding, Israel
  • Sherman, Thankful Temple
Types of material
  • Deeds

Easton (Mass.)

Easton (Mass.) Physician's Daybook, 1831-1833
1 vol. (0.15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 283 bd

The Bristol County, Massachusetts, towns of Easton and Norton had only a small number of trained physicians in the antebellum period tending to a growing population. During the 1830s, that number was probably less and ten, including those with allopathic medical degrees, alternative practitioners, and those who had irregular educations.

The unidentified physician who kept this daybook appears to have practiced in either Easton or Norton, Massachusetts, during the early 1830s. The daybook includes brief records of patient names and dates of visits, medical care dispensed, and minimal records of medical procedures.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1989
Subjects
  • Physicians--Massachusetts
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Ege, Otto F., 1888-1951

Otto F. Ege, "Fifty Original Leaves From Medieval Manuscripts", 12th-14th century
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 570
Image of Beauvais Missal
Beauvais Missal

The scholar of book history Otto F. Ege disassembled works from his personal collection of medieval manuscripts to create forty portfolios of fifty leaves each, offering these sets for sale to individuals and institutions under the title “Fifty Original Leaves From Medieval Manuscripts.” Marketing his portfolios as a resource for study of the history of the book, book illustration, and paleography, Ege justified his biblioclastic enterprise as a means of sharing the beauties of Medieval books with a wider audience.

The majority of the texts scavenged for Otto Ege’s “Fifty Original Leaves From Medieval Manuscripts” (all but one in Latin) are liturgical in origin — Bibles, psalters, missals, breviaries, and Books of Hours — however Ege also included a few less common works such as the 15th-century manuscript of Livy’s History of Rome and a version of Thomas Aquinas’s Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. The leaves range in date from the late twelfth to the early sixteenth century and represent a number of distinctive regional styles in paleography and illumination from throughout western Europe, including Italy, France, Germany, the Low Countries, Switzerland, and England. The UMass Amherst set is number six of 40.

Language(s): Latin
Subjects
  • Manuscripts, Medieval
  • Paleography
Contributors
  • Ege, Otto F., 1888-1951
Types of material
  • Books of hours
  • Breviaries
  • Illuminated manuscripts
  • Missals

Enfield (Mass.)

Enfield (Mass.) Collection, 1800-1939
8 boxes (4 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 010
Image of Birdseye view of Enfield, ca.1915
Birdseye view of Enfield, ca.1915

Situated at the confluence of the east and west branches of the Swift River in western Massachusetts, Enfield was the largest and southernmost of the four towns inundated in 1939 to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Incorporated as a town in 1816, Enfield was relatively prosperous in the nineteenth century on an economy based on agriculture and small-scale manufacturing, reaching a population of just over 1,000 by 1837. After thirty years of seeking a suitably large and reliable water supply for Boston, the state designated the Swift River Valley as the site for a new reservoir and with its population relocated, Enfield was officially disincorporated on April 28, 1938.

The records of the town of Enfield, Mass., document nearly the entire history of the largest of four towns inundated to create the Quabbin Reservoir. The core of the collection consists of records of town meetings and of the activities of the town Selectmen, 1804-1938, but there are substantial records for the Enfield Congregational Church. The School Committee, Overseers of the Poor, the town Library Association, and groups such as the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Bethel Masonic Lodge.

Subjects
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Religious life and customs
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Women--Societies and clubs
Contributors
  • Daughters of the American Revolution. Captain Joseph Hooker Chapter (Enfield, Mass.)
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town)
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town). Overseers of the Poor
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town). Prudential Committee
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town). School Committee
  • Enfield Congregational Church (Enfield, Mass.)
  • Enfield Congregational Church (Enfield, Mass.). Women's Auxiliary
  • Enfield Congregational Church (Enfield, Mass.). Women's Missionary Society
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Church records
  • Photographs
  • Sermons
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