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Sunderland

Sunderland, by Frank Waugh, ca.1920

The collections in SCUA are available to all researchers regardless of affiliation and we welcome visitors, in person and online. To encourage public and scholarly interest, SCUA sponsors colloquia and seminars on subjects relating to social change, innovation and entrepreneurship, and the history of New England; we offer instructional sessions and tours; and we work collaboratively with members of our community, within UMass and without.

Over the past several years, SCUA has built a substantial online presence, offering free access to dozens of collections and hundreds of thousands of pages through our digital repository, Credo. SCUA hosts two to three exhibits per year, which are on display on the Lower Level and 25th Floor of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, as well as periodic online exhibitions.

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Ozer Family

Ozer Family Papers

ca. 1935-2015
8 boxes 10.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1002
Ruth and Abe Ozer celebrating their 90th birthdays in 2010.
Ruth and Abe Ozer celebrating their 90th birthdays in 2010.

Born five days apart in June 1920 in Manhattan, Abraham Jay Ozer (born Abraham Ozersky) and Ruth Sydell Ozer (born Ruth Sydell Newman) married in 1947 after Abe returned from his army service in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. Abe received the Purple Heart after being wounded by shrapnel from a kamikaze attack on his ship after the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944. Returning to New York, Abe and Ruth began their romance, after being friends earlier as part of a Workmen Circle teen group, and lived almost the entirety of the rest of their lives in the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative in the Bronx, the country’s oldest nonprofit housing cooperative. The Ozers were involved in the social, cultural, and financial community of the cooperative, originally founded by Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union members, and decidedly Jewish and progressive in its early decades. Working for RKO Pictures Inc. and as a substitute teacher, Ruth also volunteered at the local Amalgamated nursery school, which her daughters Alison and Stephanie attended as children. Self-employed in the insurance business, Abe served on several of the community’s boards and societies, and later volunteered as a dispatcher for ambulances in the Amalgamated, and as a tour guide at the Bronx Zoo. The two were also able to pursue their passion for travel, beginning their adventures in 1969 with a trip to the United Kingdom. Over the next thirty-five years they would take more than fifty international and national trips.

The Ozer Family Papers primarily document the lives of Abe and Ruth Ozer, including their high school and college years, their correspondence and other records from Abe’s military service in the 311th and then 168th Ordnance Depot Company, additional war correspondence between Ruth and other parties, and extensive documentation of the couple’s many years of travel, including selected slides, photographs, travel planning documents, and Ruth’s detailed travel journals for each trip from 1969 through 2005. Additional materials cover the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, RKO Pictures Inc., and other aspects of the Ozer’s lives, including numerous oral history interviews and home movies on formats ranging from 8mm film to digital. The greater Ozer family is also represented, from a family tree back to Abe’s grandparents from Belorussia, to content and interviews with his mother, Sadie Uretsky, and several folders of clippings about Abe’s brother, Bernard Ozer, an important figure in fashion, and former vice-president of Associated Merchandising Corporation. Additional content on the Ozer’s children, grandchildren, and extended family rounds out the collection.

Gift of Alison Ozer, November 2017

Subjects

  • Bronx (New York, N.Y.)--Social life and customs
  • Housing, Cooperative
  • Hunter College--Students
  • Jews--New York (State)--New York
  • Leyte Gulf, Battle of, Philippines, 1944
  • Tourism
  • Travel
  • United States. Army. Ordnance Corps
  • World War, 1939-1945

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs
  • Slides (photographs)
Parker, George A.

George A. Parker Photograph Album

1876
1 vol., 90 images 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: RG 130 P37
Image of The Giant Squash
The Giant Squash

A prominent member of the Massachusetts Agricultural College Class of 1876, George A. Parker (1853-1926) began a career in landscape gardening and the development of parks shortly after graduation. Shortly after the turn of the century, he was appointed Superintendent of Parks in Hartford, Conn., helping to develop Colt Park and a number of smaller properties that turned the city into one of the models for New England. He resigned from his post in January 1926 and died later that year from heart disease.

The Parker Album is a more extensive version of the standard class album for 1876, featuring not only albumen portraits mounted on thick stock of the faculty and students, but almost fifty views of campus. Among these are uncommon images of the major academic buildings, the chapel, and hash house, but also interior and exterior shots of buildings on campus, such as the Botanic Museum and the Durfee greenhouses, and images of the students in military drill. All photographs were taken by John L. Lovell of Amherst.

Gift of George A. Parker, Sept. 1915

Subjects

  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Photographs

Contributors

  • Lovell, John L., 1825-1903
  • Parker, George A

Types of material

  • Albumen prints
  • Photographs
Passin, Herbert

Herbert Passin Collection

1944-1955
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 565

A distinguished scholar of contemporary Japan, Herbert Passin was born in Chicago on Dec. 16, 1916. After completing a doctorate in anthropology in 1941, Passin was inducted into the Army and sent to the Army’s Japanese language school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for training. Assigned to duty in Tokyo in December 1945, he became chief of the Public Opinion and Sociological Research Division under Gen. Douglas MacArthur. During his tour of duty, Passin coordinated a series of sociological studies of Japanese village life to help guide U.S. Occupation policy, particularly as it dealt with land and labor reform.

The Passin Collection contains reports and notes of sociological surveys of two Japanese villages, Yuzurihara and Yawatano, conducted by U.S. Occupation authorities in 1946 and 1947, along with a wartime report by Arthur Meadow of “Japanese character structure based on Japanese film plots and thematic apperception tests on Japanese Americans,” and a post-war letter from the novelist Takami Jun.

Gift of James and Sibylle Fraser, Oct. 2007

Subjects

  • Japan--History--Allied occupation, 1945-1952
  • Japan--Sociology--Occupation

Contributors

  • Passin, Herbert

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
Peasley, Alonzo A.

Alonzo A. Peasley Diaries

1861-1863
2 vols. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 608 bd
Image of Fragments of the 1st Massachusetts Infantry flag
Fragments of the 1st Massachusetts Infantry flag

Born in Dorchester, Mass., Alonzo A. Peasley enlisted in the 1st Massachusetts Infantry in May 1861, only weeks after the outbreak of the Civil War. Sent almost immediately southward, Peasley’s regiment was deployed in the Battles of Glendale and First Bull Run in July, and served with the Army of the Potomac throughout the Peninsular Campaign, Frederickbsurg, and Chancellorsville. As part of the 2nd Division, 3rd Army Corps on July 2, 1863, the 1st Massachusetts suffered a 40% casualty rate during fierce fighting along the Emmitsburg Road in Gettysburg, with Peasley sustaining serious wounds. Hospitalized for several months, he was transferred to the Veterans Reserve Corps to serve out his enlistment. In later life, Peasley worked as a letter carrier in Boston.

Exceptionally well-written, observant, and above all active, Peasley’s diaries offer a fine account of a private’s life in the Civil War. The two volumes include detailed descriptions of life in the 1st Massachusetts Infantry covering the entire period from the day the regiment left the state in June 1861 until the time of Peasley’s wounding at Gettysburg in July 1863. Among the highlights are a minutely detailed, thoroughly extended account of Peasley’s first major engagements (Blackburn’s Ford and First Bull Run), excellent account for the Peninsular Campaign, and a stunning account of the Second Battle of Bull Run.

Gift of William A. Carroll, June 2009

Subjects

  • Bull Run, 1st Battle of, Va., 1861
  • Bull Run, 2nd Battle of, Va., 1862
  • Peninsular Campaign, 1862
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
  • United States. Army--Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 1st (1861-1864)

Contributors

  • Peasley, Alonzo A

Types of material

  • Diaries
Pellett, Peter L.

Peter L. Pellett Papers

1995-2007
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: FS 163

A member of the UMass Amherst Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, Peter Pellett was educated at Borough Polytechnic in London (BS 1952) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (PhD 1956). After several years in research in London, Beirut, and MIT, Pellett came to UMass as head of the Dept. of Nutrition in 1971, where he worked on problems in nutrition and international development. He consulted frequently with the World Health Organization, USAID, and UNICEF. Pellett was granted emeritus status after his retirement from UMass in 2000, but remained active into his early 80s.

While working on UN development missions to Iraq, Pellett witnessed the dire health consequences of the sanctions imposed on the country and became active in critiquing US policy. This small collection relates primarily to Pellett’s work on the Iraq sanctions.

Penchina, Claude M.

Claude M. Penchina Papers

1963-2008
12 boxes 18 linear feet
Call no.: FS 129

A solid state physicist, Claude M. Penchina joined the faculty at UMass Amherst in 1965, one year after completing his doctorate at Syracuse and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois. A productive researcher and prolific author, his research centered on opto-electronics, but over the years, he also contributed to fields as diverse as physics education, transportation research, and pediatrics.

The Penchina collection includes a range of correspondence, lecture notes, grant proposals, and manuscripts, reflecting every phase of Penchina’s career from graduate school through retirement. The collection includes valuable research notes and communications with other physical scientists, as well as a large quantity of material relating to Penchina’s interest in undergraduate education.

Gift of Claude M. Penchina, July 2005

Subjects

  • Physics--Study and teaching
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Physics

Contributors

  • Penchina, Claude M
Pike, Phillip N.

Phillip N. Pike Papers

1917-1919
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 722
Image of Phillip N. Pike (seated) and friend, 1918
Phillip N. Pike (seated) and friend, 1918

A 21-year-old carpenter, Phillip N. Pike left his home in North Adams, Massachusetts, in August of 1917 to enlist in the Signal Corps. Ordered first to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas for training, and then to France in December of 1917, Pike was assigned to the 78th Aero Squadron of the American Expeditionary Forces, doing construction work on bases where the squadron was stationed. In recognition of his skills, he earned promotion to corporal and then sergeant before the war’s end. The squadron served primarily in Romorantin (Loir-et-Cher) and was redesignated the 490th Aero Squadron before demobilizing in late 1918.

The Pike letters are a relatively voluminous and interesting set of soldier’s letters from the First World War, written from the perspective of a worker on an air base. Although he was not an aviator, Pike’s letters contain many details about life on active duty with the AEF, from the time of his entry into the service in August 1917 through the last days of the war.

Subjects

  • World War, 1914-1918

Contributors

  • Pike, Phillip N.

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Photographs
  • Postcards
Polish Jubilee

Polish Jubilee Catalogs and Souvenirs

1906-1988
5 boxes 2.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 057

Includes booklets containing parish and community histories, photographs, and local advertisements celebrating Jubilee, other anniversaries, and events in over twenty Massachusetts Polish American parishes; booklets furnishing histories and names associated with Polish American groups (such as the Brotherly Aid Society and Polish American Veterans); an historical paper on the Chicopee Polish Community; a pamphlet including songs and recipes; photographs; a booklet; and two books.

Subjects

  • Chicopee (Mass.)--History
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts
Primus, Pearl

Pearl Primus Collection

1995-2006
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 912

A pioneer of African dance in the United States and a vital scholarly voice, Pearl Primus burst onto the scene in the early 1940s as a choreographer, performer, composer, and teacher. Born in Trinidad in 1919 and raised in New York City, Primus was introduced to performance through the National Youth Administration and the New Dance Group. Her interest in the dance cultures of Africa and the African diaspora formed the conceptual center of her work throughout her career, drawing upon her deep scholarly research. In addition to her creative work, Primus earned a doctorate in anthropology from NYU and taught at a number of universities, including the Five Colleges. She died in New Rochelle, N.Y., in October 1994.

Conducted with Pearl Primus’ fellow dancers, musicians, friends, and collaborators between 1995 and 2005, the interviews comprising this collection were recorded by Peggy and Murray Schwartz for use in their book, The Dance Claimed Me: A Biography of Pearl Primus (New Haven, 2011). The oral histories provide insights into Primus’s sometimes controversial life career, her performances, teaching, and legacy.

Gift of Peggy and Murray Schwartz, Dec. 2013

Subjects

  • Choreographers
  • Dance--Africa
  • Dancers

Contributors

  • Nash, Joe, 1919-2005
  • Washington, Donald

Types of material

  • Audiocassettes
  • Betacam-SP
  • Videotapes