The University Archives contains the official and unofficial records of the University of Massachusetts Amherst throughout its evolution from a small agricultural college into a dynamic and complex university. Within the archives are letters and artifacts, records, photographs, and sound recordings documenting the lives of its founders, the pursuits of its faculty, and the changing attitudes of its students and alumni, revealing what high quality public education means to our Commonwealth and nation.
Among the hundreds of discrete collections and over 13,000 linear feet of records are the official papers of Chancellors, Presidents, Trustees, and other administrators; information about the University’s academic units and student organizations; and the founding documents of our sister campuses at Worcester, Boston, Lowell, and Dartmouth. The papers of faculty members add a wealth of information about the lives and intellectual pursuits of our campus community as well as their chosen academic disciplines.
Finding things in the archives
A comprehensive alphabetical index of UMass departments, programs, and other units, including acronyms. Each entry includes a reference to the archival Record Group where the records can be found.
YouMass is wiki devoted to the life and history of the campus community.
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Academic Affairs, 1864-2007.
Call no.: RG 006
Responsibility for academic affairs at Massachusetts Agricultural College initially fell to the college President, however in 1906, the Board of Trustees created the office of Dean of the College to oversee issues relating to student attendance, scholarship standing, the enforcement of faculty rules, and general student discipline. In 1953, the office of Provost was created to provide leadership in all areas of academic activity, and in 1970, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost became the chief academic officer of the campus, responsible for advising the Chancellor on the whole of the University’s academic program.
The bulk of the record group consists of the files of individual Deans of the College, Provosts, and Vice Chancellors for Academic Affairs, as well as the University Year for Action (1971-1976). Also included are the records of the interim and special appointees that report to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost, and the special programs, committees, institutes, and centers that were initiated by or developed from those offices.
- College students--Massachusetts
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Office of Academic Affairs
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Office of Information Technology
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Office of International Programs
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Alumni, 1871-2007.
Call no.: RG 050
This record group contains materials that document alumni and alumni activities throughout the history of the Amherst campus. Included are annual reports, constitutions and by-laws, board and committee minutes, cash books and financial statements, correspondence, alumni directories, class lists, obituaries, biographies, bibliographies of alumni writings, photographs, alumni periodicals, brochures from alumni events, newsclippings, handbooks and manuals, reunion and dinner programs, scrapbooks, memorabilia and artifacts.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Alumni
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Alumni Office
Types of material
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Chancellor, 1885-2007.
Call no.: RG 004
The position of Chancellor for the Amherst Campus was created in 1970, when the office of the University President was given oversight of the entire UMass system. The Chancellor is the chief administrative officer of the campus and is responsible for carrying out policies and procedures as established by the Board of Trustees and the University President. He or she coordinates the major administrative units of the campus, assumes responsibility for campus-wide strategic planning and, in particular, guides activities that involve different administrative units, including the budget, enrollment management, facilities planning, and some labor relations.
The Chancellor’s records include information on the University budget (1908-2007), the administrative records of individual Chancellors, and records documenting the activities of the Chancellor’s Office. Since 1983, most Chancellors have issued the annual Chancellor’s Report, which addresses the state of the campus and special topics such as student needs, the future of the University, relationships with the Commonwealth, and budget issues. The papers of individual Chancellors are filed separately in UMarmot under the individual’s name.
Access restrictions: Much of this record group is stored off-site and requires advance notice for retrieval.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Finances
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Chancellor
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Library, 1876-2007.
Call no.: RG 008
Beginning in a room in the first South College building, filled with books donated by faculty, staff, and students, the University Library has grown to include over three million items. After expanding into larger quarters in the Old Chapel Building in 1884 (the first campus building designed as a library), the library was relocated to Goodell Hall (1935) and the University Library tower (1973), named the W.E.B. Du Bois Library in 1996. Other library facilities on campus have included libraries for the biological sciences, physical sciences, and the Music Library, as well as the Integrated Science and Engineering Library in the Lederle Graduate Research Center.
The collection consists of basic administrative records of many library departments, the records of the Library Director (1924-1975), other materials that document the library, its staff and activities, and information about the design, construction, and dedication of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library tower, the Hampshire Inter-Library Center (HILC), and Five College cooperation.
- Academic libraries--Massachusetts
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Library
University of Massachusetts Amherst. President, 1814-2007.
Call no.: RG 003
On November 29, 1864, the Board of Trustees for the Massachusetts Agricultural College created the Office of the President and elected Henry Flagg French as the first president of the newly created land grant institution. In 1970, the President’s office was relocated from the Amherst campus to separate offices in Boston, and the Office of Chancellor was established as the chief executive position at each of the five UMass campuses. The responsibilities of the President and of the central administrative staff are summarized in the University’s Governance Document of 1973: the president acts as the principal academic and executive officer of the University, presents policy recommendations to the Board of Trustees, keeps current a master plan of the University, prepares the annual budget, allocates the appropriated budget, appoints members of the faculty to tenure with the concurrence of the Board of Trustees, coordinates the work of all campuses of the University and promotes the general welfare of the University as a whole.
Containing the papers of individual presidents of UMass (1864-2007) and their Presidential Reports (1948-1984), the record group also includes records of central administrative offices, including the Secretary of the University, the Treasurer’s Office (1864-2007), and the Donahue Institute for Governmental Services (1970-2007). Collections for individual Presidents are filed separately in UMarmot under the President’s name.
Access restrictions: Access is restricted on some files of recent Presidents.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. President
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Research and Graduate Studies, 1984-2007.
Call no.: RG 009
The record group includes publications, organizational charts, and files from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and the Dean of Graduate Studies.
- Graduate students--Massachusetts
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Graduate School
University of Massachusetts Amherst. University as a Whole, 1849-2007.
Call no.: RG 001
Established under the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1863, the Massachusetts Agricultural College began with four faculty members and 56 students distributed among four wooden buildings and acres of farms, orchards, and fields. In keeping with the progressive educational principles of its early years, the College offered advanced instruction in the eminently practical pursuit of agriculture, while its fellow land grant college, MIT, covered the mechanical arts. Although “Mass Aggie’s” fortunes waxed and waned, it grew to become Massachusetts State College in 1931, and the University of Massachusetts in 1947.
Among the official publications of the University in Record Group 1 are institutional histories, annual reports, special reports, minutes, directories, catalogs, newsclippings, press releases, and memorabilia.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst. University Outreach, 2000-2007.
Call no.: RG 016
Helping to fulfill its land grant mission, outreach at UMass Amherst engages the university with the community in economic, social, cultural, environmental, and educational issues. Outreach applies the teaching, research, and knowledge resources of the university with benefit to the public throughout the Commonwealth, nation, and world. The office operates a number of programs, including Continuing & Professional Education, the Extension and Arts Extension Service, the University Without Walls, and WFCR radio.
The records of University Outreach document the initiatives originating with the Vice Chancellor for University Outreach. As a result of the evolution of responsibility for outreach activities, the records of individual programs may be located elsewhere in the archives.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Office of University Outreach
Rae Unzicker Papers, 1979-1997.
Call no.: MS 818
Rae Unzicker’s exposure to the psychiatric system began at a young age. Growing up in an abusive home, her parents sent her to psychiatrists off and on for years before she was involuntarily committed. While there, she was quickly introduced to the chaotic and damaging atmosphere of a psychiatric institution, exposing her to mandatory drugs, seclusion rooms, forced feeding, and work “therapy” that required her to wash dishes six hours a day. Once she was release, Unzicker’s road to recovery was long, but after several suicide attempts and stays at other treatment facilities, she ultimately counted herself–along with her friend Judi Chamberlin, an early leader in the movement–a psychiatric survivor. Like Chamberlin, Unzicker embraced her role as an advocate of patient’s rights and for the radical transformation of the mental-health system. In 1995, President Clinton appointed her to the National Council on Disability; two years later she was elected president of the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA). Unzicker was widely known for her public appearances, conferences and speeches, and her writings, including numerous articles and contributions to the book Beyond Bedlam: Contemporary Women Psychiatric Survivors Speak Out. A survivor of cancer of the jaw and breast, Rae Unzicker died at her home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on March 22, 2001 at the age of 52.
Although a small collection, Rae Unzicker’s papers document her activities as a leading advocate for the rights of mental health patients, including transcripts of speeches and videotaped appearances, correspondence and feedback related to workshops and conferences, press kits, and newspaper clippings. The most important materials, however, are her writings. It is through her poems and her full-length memoir, You Never Gave Me M & M’s, that Unzicker’s story and voice are preserved.
- Ex-mental patients
- People with disabilities--Civil rights
- People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
- Unzicker, Rae
Types of material