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Teach & Learn

Welcome!

COVID-19 NOTE: We are excited to collaborate and work with you and your students during this time. All SCUA teaching and learning offerings are adaptable for an online environment. Synchronous and asynchronous classes and activities, digital instructional materials, and curated sets of digital primary source sets are just a few of the options for your online classes.

Sharing our passion and expertise in archival research and the use of primary sources is a core part of our mission, and we welcome visits, collaborations, and explorations with groups or classes at any level or affiliation. 

Two students from Easthampton High School, looking at archival documents

Students from Easthampton High School, 2016

Our collections exist to be used, interrogated, and activated, and they are open to everyone! Students and visitors who engage with primary sources can tap their own knowledge and experiences while questioning and contributing to the stories of human history. Experiential and active learning with archival records, special collections, and rare books promotes critical thinking, research, and information literacy skills, along with immersion into subject-specific evidence and knowledge.

Our Offerings

SCUA staff are available to collaborate with you to create learning experiences that suit your group’s needs. Some examples of our teaching and learning offerings include:

  • Hosting course- or subject-specific class visits, covering archival research, SCUA collection strengths, and emphasizing primary source literacy, via active learning activities involving primary source analysis 
  • Designing instructional materials, such as assignments, lessons, slide-decks, or syllabi using primary sources or primary source literacy learning outcomes
  • Curated sets of primary sources which can be accessed by learners independently or with guidance in our reading room, classroom, or online 
  • Extended engagements, for a semester or other period of time, in which students complete an assignment, such as a research paper, curated virtual exhibit, or digital scholarship project, using SCUA materials
  • Embedding a SCUA staff member into a course, fully or partially, as a co-teacher, guest lecturer,  or resource for students for primary source literacy and critical information literacy expertise 
  • Orientations or introductions to archival research and historical interpretation, the use of primary source materials, critical information theory, gaps in archival documentation, SCUA collection strengths, UMass Amherst history, or other areas of historical or cultural interest for student organizations, community member groups, and others

    Four students looking at the poster for the 1916 production of Du Bois's parent, The Star of Ethiopia

    Students from Berkshire Community College, 2020

Our Collaborators

Each semester we work with dozens of undergraduate and graduate classes from UMass Amherst, the Five Colleges, and community colleges, and we also support classes and projects for area K-12 schools, student organization groups, and community members.

The disciplines who come here range widely, from history and American culture to African American studies, English and comparative literature, art history, education, anthropology, sociology, politics, theater, business, plant and soil sciences, and library and information science.

We look forward to working with you!

Contact Us

If you have questions, or want to brainstorm a visit or how to incorporate SCUA resources into a class or group activity, please feel free to get in touch: scua@library.umass.edu

If you are ready to book a visit, to avoid scheduling conflicts and facilitate planning, class and other group visits must be arranged ahead of time, no later than 2 to 3 weeks in advance. Staff and space are in high demand throughout the semesters, so please make requests as early as possible, especially if you are organizing a visit or online class for the first time. Please include the following information when contacting SCUA:

  • Name of instructor or contact
  • Name of class/group and affiliation
  • Date(s) requested, with start and finish time
  • Number of students or visitors
  • Subject area and research interests (including specific collection[s] if known)
  • Learning objectives (if known)
  • Requests for accommodations/accessibility needs
Textile Workers Union of America. New Bedford Joint Board

TWUA New Bedford Joint Board Records

1942-1981
19 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 134

Four local unions located in New Bedford, Massachusetts, that joined in 1939 and became the first affiliates of the New Bedford Joint Board of the Textile Workers Union of America. Includes by-laws, minutes of board of directors and local meetings, correspondence, subject files, photographs, and scrapbooks relating to the administration of the New Bedford Joint Board, documenting its role in addressing grievances filed against individual companies, in facilitating arbitration, and hearing wage stabilization Board cases.

Subjects

Labor unions--MassachusettsTextile workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

Textile Workers Union of America
Tibensky, James

James Tibensky Collection

1973-1974
3 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1050
Depiction of Chapinville Cemetery, Salisbury, Conn., April 25, 1974
Chapinville Cemetery, Salisbury, Conn., April 25, 1974

After working for a year on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program, James Tibensky returned to college, declared a major in anthropology, and soon began to focus on gravestones. For his masters degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Tibensky took up an ambitious project, systematically documenting every pre-1800 grave marker in western Connecticut, photographing each stone, and noting the name, date of death, orientation, style, and material. Painstakingly entering and analyzing the data on the computer using Hollerith cards, he completed his thesis, “The colonial gravestones of western Connecticut,” in 1977. During the latter stages of his research, he became a charter member of the new Association for Gravestone Studies.

The Tibensky collection contains the complete product of James Tibensky’s remarkably thorough study of western Connecticut colonial-era gravestones, including approximately 350 rolls of negative film with the accompanying original field nates, printounts, and statistical data, all meticulously maintained.

Gift of James Tibensky, Oct. 2018

Subjects

Sepulchral monuments--Connecticut

Types of material

Photographs
Torrey, Ray Ethan, 1887-

Ray Ethan Torrey Papers

1832-1983
13 boxes 5.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 121
Depiction of Ray Ethan Torrey. Photo by Frank A. Waugh
Ray Ethan Torrey. Photo by Frank A. Waugh

A plant morphologist and member of the Botany Department at Massachusetts Agricultural College, Ray Ethan Torrey was among the college’s most charismatic faculty members during the early twentieth century. Born in Leverett, Mass., and educated in the local public schools, Torrey graduated from MAC with the class of 1912, earning his PhD at Harvard six years later. After serving on the faculty of Grove City College and Wesleyan, he returned to his alma mater in 1919, where he remained for more than 36 years. A specialist in plant morphology and author or two widely used textbooks and numerous articles, Torrey’s introductory course in botany was among the most popular in the college. He was best known, however, for taking a broader, philosophical approach to science that encouraged students to explore the connections between philosophy, science, religion, and the humanities. Torrey died of leukemia in Boston on Jan. 16, 1956.

Correspondence, chiefly with former students and colleagues at other institutions; lecture notes and outlines; 27 pen and ink drawings; published writings and drawings; biographical material; class and laboratory notes taken by students; family and educational records (1832-1956); photographs, and other papers.

Subjects

Botany--Study and teachingUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Botany Department

Contributors

Torrey, Ray Ethan, 1887-

Types of material

Pen and ink drawings
Totman, Conrad D.

Conrad D. Totman Papers

1800-2005
65 boxes 53 linear feet
Call no.: MS 447
Depiction of Conrad Totman in his office
Conrad Totman in his office

A scholar of the history and culture of early modern Japan, Conrad Totman began his career as a student of ornamental horticulture at the University of Massachusetts. After graduation in 1953, Totman served in the army for three years in South Korea where got his first taste of Japanese culture during leave. His experiences in Japan piqued his scholarly interest, and upon his return to the states with his new wife Michiko, he finished college at UMass and did his graduate work at Harvard where he received a doctorate in 1964 for a study of politics during the Tokugawa period. Totman held academic positions at UC Santa Barbara, Northwestern, and Yale before retiring in 1997.

The bulk of the collection documents Professor Totman’s education and professional work as a scholar and teacher of Japanese history. Dispersed throughout is a treasure trove of information on Japan in general, and particularly on his specialties: early modern Japan and forestry and environmental management. An enormous, highly influential, and cherished part of Totman’s life is his family, and the Totman clan is well represented in this collection. Reams of genealogical material document the rich heritage of the Totman family, including the transcribed love letters and diaries of his paternal grandmother and biographies of Totman ancestors, as well as hundreds of letters written between Michiko and her family in Japan.

Subjects

Afforestation--Japan--Akita-ken--HistoryAgriculture--Japan--HistoryAgriculture--Korea--HistoryConway (Mass.)--GenealogyDairy farms--MassachusettsFamily farms--United StatesFarm life--United StatesForest management--Japan--Akita-ken--HistoryForest policy--JapanForests and forestry--JapanHuman ecology--Japan--HistoryHuman ecology--Korea--HistoryJapan--Civilization--American influencesJapan--Environmental conditionsJapan--History--1952-Japan--History--Restoration, 1853-1870Japan--History--Tokugawa period, 1600-1868Japan--Politics and government--1600-1868Korea--American influencesKorea--Environmental conditionsKorea--History--1948-1960Lumber trade--Japan--HistoryTokugawa, Ieyasu, 1543-1616Totman familyUnited States--Army--Medical personnel--Correspondence

Contributors

Drew, Raymond Totman, 1923-1981Lewis, Gertrude Minnie, 1896-Totman, Conrad DTotman, Ruth J

Types of material

GenealogiesLetters (Correspondence)MemoirsPhotographs
Tracy, Susan

Susan Tracy Papers

1966-1985
9 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 005

Susan Tracy, Dean of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies and Professor of American Studies and History at Hampshire College, received a B.A. in English and an MA. in history from the University of Massachusetts Amherst before earning her PhD. in history from Rutgers University. Her primary interests are in American social and intellectual history, particularly labor history; Afro-American history; and women’s history. She has taught United States history and women’s studies courses at the UMass Amherst.

The Susan Tracy Papers consist largely of Tracy’s files during her tenure as a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (ca. 1966) and her time as a member of the University staff (ca. 1984). Included in the collection are documentation of the campus Everywoman’s Center and the Chancellor’s Committees on Sexual Harassment and Human Relations; issues of the “What’s Left” newsletter; records of the Women’s Studies Policies Board; and research for a student project on the Southwest Residential area.

Subjects

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Everywoman's CenterUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. StudentsWomen college students

Contributors

Tracy, Susan
Trehub, Arnold

Arnold Trehub Papers

ca. 1950-2017
6 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: FS 187
Depiction of Draft of a synaptic matrix for Trehub's book, The Cognitive Brain, ca. 1987.
Draft of a synaptic matrix for Trehub's book, The Cognitive Brain, ca. 1987.

Arnold Trehub, born in Malden, Mass. in 1923, was an active and very well respected cognitive scientist and researcher, artist, and World War II veteran. Trehub earned his BA from Northeastern University and his PhD from Boston University, though his undergraduate education was interrupted by the War. Serving in the Pacific Theater, he worked as a radio technician for B-29 bombers, two of which were the Enola Gay and the Bockscar. For most of his professional life, Trehub was the director of a research lab at the VA Hospital in Leeds, Mass. and an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research on the neurophysiology of the human brain and the nature of consciousness appeared in numerous journals and edited volumes and his best known book, The Cognitive Brain, was published by MIT press in 1991. Trehub was a resident of Amherst since 1954 and passed away on April 3rd, 2017.

The Arnold Trehub Papers primarily document his work as a cognitive scientist, including drafts and copies of articles, research data, research notes on paper and as digital files, and a rich collection of Trehub’s professional email correspondence. In addition to the content of his research, the Trehub Papers also exhibit the processes and approach of early personal computer-aided research design, data design, and research graphics. There is also a small amount of Trehub’s undergraduate student work.

Gift of Aaron Trehub.

Subjects

Brain--Computer simulationCognitive scienceUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst . Department of PsychologyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
United Auto Workers. District 65 Boston University Local

UAW District 65 Collection

ca.1985
1 folder 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 320

The decision of clerical and technical workers at Boston University to organize with District 65 of the UAW was as rooted in the labor movement as it was in the womens movement. By the early 1970s, office workers at B.U. were dissatsified with working conditions that included — among other grievances — sexual harassment and a classification system that did not value “women’s work.” In 1979 after an intense struggle with the administration, B.U. finally recognized the union and signed their first contract.

The collection includes a printed history and videotape documenting unionization activities at Boston University’s Medical Campus.

Gift of Leslie Lomasson

Subjects

Boston University. Medical CampusCollective bargaining--Professions--Massachusetts--BostonCollective labor agreements--Medical personnel --Massachusetts--Boston--HistoryLabor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

United Automobile, Aircraft, and Vehicle Workers of America. District 65

Types of material

Videotapes
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Records

1885-1978
57 boxes 30 linear feet
Call no.: MS 110

The first local of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners to be founded in western Massachusetts was chartered in 1885 as Springfield Local 96, followed in quick order by locals in Holyoke (390) and Chicopee (685). With the pace of unionization picking up at the turn of the century, the Springfield District Council was established in 1906 to coordinate collective bargaining efforts and apprenticeships, and to enforce work rules in the local construction industry. Holyoke carpenters formed their own District Council soon thereafter. Tthe logic of consolidation and a unified voice eventually led the Springfield locals to consolidate as Local 32 in 1968, which in turn merged with the Holyoke District Council in 1973 to form Local 108.

The records of the Western Massachusetts locals and district councils of the UBCJA documents the rise of unionization among carpenters in the Connecticut River Valley since the 1880s. This collection represents a merger of separate accessions for the District Councils in Springfield (MS 110), the Pioneer Valley (MS 231), and Holyoke (MS 108), along with post-merger records for Local 108. In general, each has been maintained as a distinct series

Subjects

Carpenters--Labor unionsLabor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
United Congregational Church of Holyoke (Holyoke, Mass.)

United Congregational Church of Holyoke (Holyoke, Mass.) Records

ca.1830-1990
9 boxes 13.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 787
Depiction of First Congregational Church, ca.1910
First Congregational Church, ca.1910

The present day United Congregational Church of Holyoke is the product of complex history of growth and consolidation of five separate churches responding to the changing demographics and spiritual needs of the city. Established in 1799, the First Congregational Church in Holyoke was initially a small congregation perched above the floodplain south of the center of town, sharing preachers with the equally sparse population of Baptists until the establishment of the First Baptist Church in 1826. The First Congregational Church was finally erected in 1838, and ten years later, the Second Church was established in to serve the needs of the growing Protestant population in the city center, building their own church in 1853 as the mill economy was booming. Reaching out to the millworkers, members of the Second Church opened the Grace Mission in 1870, which spun off into its own church in 1896. Skinner Chapel was founded in 1909 as an addition to the Second Congregational Church, dedicated to the prominent Skinner family. Finally, the German Reformed Church was organized in 1892, though meetings were held years earlier. In the latter part of the twentieth century, however, declining memberships in each of these churches led to a series of mergers, beginning in 1961 when the German Reformed Church united with the First Congregational to become the First United Congregational Church. Grace Church and the First UCC merged in 1973 to become Grace United, and in 1996, Grace joined with the Second Congregational Church to become the present UCC of Holyoke.

The records of the UCC of Holyoke document over 200 years of the ecclesiatical history of an industrial city. In addition to records of membership, baptisms, marriages, and church governance, the collection includes valuable records of the women’s missionary society, the German Maenner Bund, and a long run of church newsletters that offer insight into the weekly course of events in the religious community. Materials relating to Skinner Chapel are part of the collections of Wistariahurst Museum.

Subjects

Congregational churches--Massachusetts--HolyokeHolyoke (Mass.)--Religious life and customsMissionaries--Massachusetts

Contributors

First Congregational Church (Holyoke, Mass.)German Reformed Church (Holyoke, Mass.)Grace Church (Holyoke, Mass.)Second Congregational Church (Holyoke, Mass.)

Types of material

NewslettersPhotographs