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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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Loomis Communities

Loomis Communities Records

1909-2015 Bulk: 1980-2000
11 boxes 15.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 685
Loomus House logo
Loomis House logo

In 1902, a group of residents of Holyoke, Mass., secured a charter for the Holyoke Home for Aged People, wishing to do “something of permanent good for their city” and provide a “blessing to the homeless.” Opened in March 1911 on two acres of land donated by William Loomis, the Holyoke Home provided long-term care of the elderly, and grew slowly for its first half century. After changing its name to Loomis House in 1969, in honor of the benefactor, Loomis began slowly to expand, moving to its present location in 1981 upon construction of the first continuing care retirement community in the Commonwealth. In 1988, the Board acquired a 27-acre campus in South Hadley on which it established Loomis Village; in 1999, it became affiliated with the Applewood community in Amherst; and in 2009, it acquired Reeds Landing in Springfield.

The Loomis Communities Records offer more than a century perspective on elder care and the growth of retirement communities in western Massachusetts. The collection includes a nearly complete run of the minutes of the Board of Directors from 1909 to the present, an assortment administrative and financial records, and some documentation of the experience of the communities’ residents, with the bulk of materials dating from the 1980s to the present. An extensive series of oral histories with residents of Loomis Village was conducted in 2010.

Subjects
  • Holyoke (Mass.)--History
  • Holyoke Home for Aged People
  • Loomis Communities
  • Loomis Village
  • Older people--Care--Massachusetts
  • Retirement communities--Massachusetts

Loomis, Lyman

Lyman Loomis Daybook

1836-1857
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 626 bd

Born on July 31, 1818, the fifth of eight children of Squire and Patience (Root) Loomis, Lyman Loomis spent his life as a farmer and agricultural worker in Westfield, Mass. Loomis married Elmina Hayes in March 1846, and died in May 1902.

A slender and rough hewn volume kept by a farm laborer, the Loomis account book contains sketchy records detailing work performed and crops tended, with occasional notes on commodities purchased.

Subjects
  • Agricultural laborers--Massachusetts--Westfield
  • Westfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • Loomis, Lyman, 1818-1902
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Lyman, Florence Porter

Florence Porter Lyman Papers

1894-1931
10 boxes 5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 946
Image of Florence Porter Lyman with her dog (from the Lyman Family Papers)
Florence Porter Lyman with her dog (from the Lyman Family Papers)

Florence Porter Lyman (1870-1960) was born into the Chapin Moodey family in the late 19th century. She married Charles Wendell Porter, a Northampton lawyer who spent his summers in Northern Maine, in 1894. After her first husband’s death in 1899 she continued to spend her summers in Maine. She then married Frank Lyman of the prominent Lyman family in 1903. They had three children together and lived in both Northampton and Brooklyn. During her summers in Northern Maine, Florence Porter Lyman stayed in touch with her many family and friends who lived in Massachusetts and New York.

This collection contains almost forty years of Florence Porter Lyman’s in-coming correspondence. Letters refer primarily to domestic matters including: her first husband’s train accident and death, her engagement and re-marriage to Frank Lyman, and the birth of her three children.

Subjects
  • Northampton (Mass.)--History
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Perry (Me.)--History
  • Perry (Me.)--Social life and customs
Contributors
  • Lyman, Frank, 1852-1938
  • Porter, Charles Wendell, 1866-1899
Types of material
  • Correspondence

Lyons, Louis Martin

Louis Martin Lyons Papers

1918-1980
9 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: RG 002/3 L96
Image of Louis M. Lyons
Louis M. Lyons

As a journalist with the Boston Globe, a news commentator on WGBH television, and Curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, Louis M. Lyons was an important public figure in the New England media for over fifty years. A 1918 graduate of Massachusetts Agricultural College and later trustee of UMass Amherst, Lyons was an vocal advocate for freedom of the press and a highly regarded commentator on the evolving role of media in American society.

The Lyons Papers contain a selection of correspondence, lectures, and transcripts of broadcasts relating primarily to Lyons’ career in television and radio. From the McCarthy era through the end of American involvement in Vietnam, Lyons addressed topics ranging from local news to international events, and the collection offers insight into transformations in American media following the onset of television and reaction both in the media and the public to events such as the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the war in Vietnam, and the social and political turmoil of the 1960s.

Subjects
  • Boston Globe
  • Civil rights movements
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Frost, Robert, 1874-1963
  • Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973
  • Journalistic ethics
  • Journalists--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Kennedy, John Fitzgerald, 1917-1963
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
  • Television
  • University of Massachusetts. Trustees
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
  • WGBH (Television station : Boston, Mass.)
  • World War, 1914-1918
Contributors
  • Lyons, Louis Martin, 1897-
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Speeches

Maland, Jeanine

Jeanine Maland Papers

1951-2007
24 boxes 36 linear feet
Call no.: MS 467

Born in 1945 in Iowa, Jeanine Maland attended Iowa State University before enrolling at UMass Amherst to pursue a second bachelor’s degree in women’s studies in 1978. While in Western Massachusetts, Maland continued the advocacy work she began at the Rhode Island Women’s Health Collective. Throughout the 1970s-1990s Maland was involved in countless organizations representing a variety of activist movements from prison reform and labor to disarmament and peace.

Jeanine Maland’s papers represent a wide sampling of the activity and career of a lifelong activist, spanning the years 1951-2007. Although the collection contains limited personal information, these materials reflect Maland’s passion and commitment to social justice and social action. Her interests intersect with a number of the major social movements since the 1960s, ranging from the peace and antinuclear movements to critiques of the growing Prison Industrial Complex. While much of Maland’s activism took place on a local level, her efforts were often coordinated with national and international interests and movements.

Gift of Jeanine Maland, 2005
Subjects
  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Iraq War, 2003-
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Persian Gulf War, 1991
  • Political activists--Massachusetts--History
  • Prisoners--Massachusetts
  • Racism
  • United States--Foreign relations--Central America
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
Contributors
  • Maland, Jeanine

Manchester, William Raymond, 1922-

William Manchester Papers

1941-1988
4 boxes 1.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 433

William Manchester was a journalist, educator, and author, best known for his biographies of President John F. Kennedy, Douglas MacArthur and Winston Churchill. This collection consists primarily of letters from Manchester to his mother written during his service with the 29th Marines in World War II. Manchester later described his war-time experiences in a memoir entitled Goodbye, Darkness.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts State College--Students
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Manchester, William Raymond, 1922-
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Manuscript collections

Geisha, from the Benjamin Smith Lyman Papers
Geishas, from Benjamin Smith Lyman Papers

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives collects and preserves textual, visual, and auditory materials of enduring historical value and makes them available to researchers at no charge.

The collections held by SCUA are rich and deeply interrelated, documenting four areas of historic and cultural interest: social change, New England, the University of Massachusetts, and innovation and entrepreneurship.

Among the distinguished collections held by SCUA are the records of:

  • W.E.B. Du Bois and Horace Mann Bond (African American intellectuals and civil rights pioneers)
  • The Africa America Institute
  • The New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (350 years of Quaker history in the region)
  • The Hampshire Council of Governments (350 years of county-level governance in western Massachusetts
  • David Steindl-Rast (Benedictine monk, participant in interfaith dialogue, and student of the interaction between spirituality and science)
  • Kenneth R. Feinberg (attorney and public figure)
  • Congressman Silvio E. Conte and John Olver, Gov. Jane Swift, and state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (politicians)
  • The Clarke School for the Deaf, International Center for the Disabled, Elmer C. Bartels, Fred Pelka and Denise Kurath, Judi Chamberlin, Lucy Gwin (advocates for people with disabilities)
  • Benjamin Smith Lyman, William Smith Clark, and William Penn Brooks (natural scientists)
  • Mark H. McCormack and Sidney Topol (innovators)
  • William Lederer, Leonard Lewin, Jodi Picoult, Andrew Coburn, Mary McGarry Morris, Harvey Swados, Robert Francis, Charles Whipple (writers)
  • Carl Oglesby, Eric Mann and Lian Hurst, Raymond Mungo, Anna Gyorgy, Mary Wentworth, Randy Kehler, the Liberation News Service, and the Alternative Energy Alliance (activists)
  • Jeff Albertson, Burt Brooks, Alton H. Blackington, Lionel Delevingne, Thomas and Margaret Tenney, and Diana Mara Henry (photographers and photojournalists)

Information about all of our manuscript and photographic collections is included in UMarmot. Use the search box and menus to the right to navigate our collections and to locate collections of interest.

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Marshall, Perry

Perry Marshall Papers

1902-1929
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 493

A minister, published poet, and physician from New Salem, Massachusetts, Perry Marshall carried on a lively correspondence with Dorothy Bullard, also from New Salem, from 1927 until 1929.

Although personal in nature, Marshall’s letters are not romantic, but are written from the perspective of an older gentleman who late in life has come to admire, and perhaps adore, a young woman. Bullard, a lively and thoughtful young woman, clearly returns the admiration, if not the affection. The collection also includes several of Marshall’s published works.

Subjects
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • Poets--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Bullard, Dorothy
  • Marshall, Perry
Types of material
  • Poems

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Locales Collection

1905-1989
3 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 300

Materials, such as clippings, maps, and photographs, relating to Amherst, but also including items from other western Massachusetts towns. Topics covered include are Amherst writers such as Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost, town history, trees and birds of Amherst, and Connecticut River Valley history.

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--History
  • Massachusetts--History
Types of material
  • Maps
  • Photographs