Who can use the collections?
Special Collections and University Archives is open at no cost to researchers, regardless of affiliation, during normal business hours. SCUA staff are happy to assist in planning or conducting research and welcome inquiries from students interested in internships in archival and library studies.
Although research appointments are not required, advance will help out staff to locate and retrieve research materials. First-time researchers will be asked to register and to provide name, institutional affiliation (when applicable), and current address. At registration, researchers must present a valid form of identification, including a photograph.
In the reading room
- Please sign in at the front desk each visit
- Only pencils and laptop computers may be used for taking notes. Please do not use pens.
- Smoking, food, and drink are not permitted
- Cell phones should be switched off or set to silent mode; calls may be taken in the adjacent elevator lobby
- Care and handling of materials
- Please use care in handling manuscripts and books to prevent damage
- Use only a single box of manuscript or archival material at a time; take care to preserve the existing arrangement of files
- Photographs for research purposes are permitted; check with a staff member first
- Scans and photocopies are made by staff members in keeping with our copying policies
- Upon leaving for the day, please notify the staff whether you are finished with your material or wish to place it on hold for a return visit
Instruction in SCUA
Classes are welcome to visit SCUA to make use of our collections and to learn about archival and historical research. Our staff are available to provide introductions to archival research, overviews of specific areas of historical interest, information about the collections, and discussions of the history of UMass Amherst. In recent years, the staff have hosted classes from history and American culture, African American studies, English and comparative literature, art history, education, anthropology, politics, business, and library and information science, among other disciplines.
To avoid scheduling conflicts, class visits should be arranged ahead of time. Please include the following information when contacting SCUA:
- Name of instructor or contact
- Date(s) requested, with start and finish time
- Number of students
- Subject area and research interests
- Special requests (for collections)
Learn more about:
Walther R. Volbach Papers, 1897-1996.
Call no.: FS 087
Born in Mainz, Germany on December 24, 1897, the theater historian and stage director Walther R. Volbach began directing operas and plays at the age of 17. After his immigration to the United States in 1936, he worked for several colleges, coming to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for five years as a visiting professor following his retirement in 1965. Noted as a director of operas and plays and for his set design, Volbach was author of three books: The Problems of Opera Production (1953), Adolphe Appia : The Prophet of The Modern Theatre (1968), and Memoirs of Max Reinhardt’s Theaters (1972).
The Volbach collection includes personal and professional correspondence in English and German, mostly from Volbach’s later years, regarding family, publishing, lectures, and employment. The collection also includes photographs of set designs, an image of Volbach teaching a class, publications, and lecture and research notes on theater history.
- Appia, Adolphe, 1862-1928
- Drama--Study and teaching
- Set designers
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Theater
- Volbach, Walther R. (Walther Richard), 1897-
Mary Morris Walker Papers, 1868-2003 (Bulk: 1944-2003).
Call no.: MS 775
An avid botanist and naturalist, Mary (Morris) Walker was born in Stamford, Conn., on April 1, 1923, the daughter of renowed surgeon and naturalist Robert Tuttle Morris. After graduating from Vassar in 1944, Morris took her MA in Geology at the University of Michigan, marrying a fellow geologist Eugene H. Walker in 1947. Moving to Kentucky, Iowa, and Idaho before settling in Concord, Mass., in 1968, the Walkers raised three children. In Concord, Walker studied for an MA in library science at Simmons College (1971), but her work in botany and natural history became increasingly important. As a plant collector, writer, and educator, Walker traveled widely in the United States and the Caribbean, and she became a leader in organizations including the New England Wild Flower Society, the New England Botanical Club, the Thoreau Society, and the Appalachian Mountain Club. Walker died in Concord on Oct. 2, 2012.
The Walker Papers are a rich assemblage of materials documenting the life of an energetic amateur botanist. Beginning during her time as a student at Vassar, the collection offers insight into Walker’s growing interest in the natural sciences, her botanizing, and her commitments to several organizations devoted to natural history. The collection also includes a small number of letters and photographs of Walker’s father, Robert T. Morris.
- Botany--Study and teaching
- New England Botanical Club
- New England Wild Flower Society
- Thoreau Society
Lloyd E. Walsh Papers, 1917-1936.
Call no.: MS 541
In June 1917, Lloyd Walsh volunteered for duty in the American Field Service, and for three months, he served as an ambulance driver for Service Section 68 (S.S.U. 68), a unit that included a number of Amherst College students. When the United States entered the war later in the year, however, most AFS units were transferred to the American Expeditionary Forces or disbanded, and Walsh transferred to ambulance duty with the American Red Cross. He continued to serve with the Red Cross after war, stationed in Vienna, eventually rising to the rank of Captain.
The collection includes a thorough paper trail of Walsh’s work as a volunteer with the AFS and Red Cross during and after the First World War, along with a capsule service record, correspondence, and news clippings that flesh out his experiences. Adding to the picture is Walsh’s decorated Red Cross footlocker, three German helmets (including a Pickelhaube), his own helmet, an American Model 1917 trench knife, and two Hungarian posters.
- Ambulance drivers
- American Field Service
- American Red Cross
- World War, 1914-1918--Medical care
- Walsh, Lloyd E
Types of material
- Trench knives
Frederick V. Waugh Collection, 1917-1919.
Call no.: PH 026
In July 1917, prior to the American entry in the First World War, Frederick Vail Waugh joined a group of about fifty residents of Amherst, Mass., who enlisted for duty in the Ambulance Service of the French Army. From August 1917 through April 1919, SSU 39 (Service Sanitaire Unis) — redesignated SSU 539 and transferred to the American Expeditionary Service in January 1918 — served among the trenches of northern France and Belgium. Known as the Black Cat squadron, they took part in three major offensives with the AEF, the Aisne-Marne, Oise-Aisne, and Ypres-Lys. Waugh was among three members of the unit awarded the French Croix de Guerre for courage and energy during the last month of the war. After returning to the states, Waugh earned a bachelor’s degree from Massachusetts Agricultural College (1922), where his father Frank A. Waugh was a Professor of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, followed by an MA from Rutgers (1926) and PhD from Columbia (1929). He enjoyed a distinguished fifty year career as an agricultural economist with the US Department of Agriculture.
A snapshot of life in the First World War, the Waugh collection includes Frederick Waugh’s army jacket (with Croix de Guerre), helmet, and puttees, and a remarkable history of the unit and photo album, Being the Book of S.S.U. 539. A second book, I Was There with the Yanks in France (1919) has been transferred for shelving to the Rare Books stacks.
- Ambulance drivers--United States
- United States. Army Ambulance Service. Section 539
- World War, 1914-1918--Medical care
- Waugh, Frederick V. (Frederick Vail), 1898-1974
William Weatherby Account Book, 1835-1837.
Call no.: MS 179 bd
Transient worker for Seth Porter and Co., a cotton mill in Cummington, Massachusetts and for Wells, Blackinton, and White, manufacturer of fine textiles in North Adams, Massachusetts. Includes accounts of his employers, debits, credits (a running account with a general store for the purchase of clothing and foodstuffs), and notations of providing room and board for other workers.
- Cummington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- General stores--Massachusetts
- North Adams (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Seth Porter and Co. (Firm)
- Textile industry--Massachusetts--19th century
- Textile workers--Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th century
- Wells, Blackinton, and White
- Weatherby, William
Types of material
- Account books
Tom Weiner Oral History Collection, 2004-2008.
Call no.: MS 729
Growing up in Elmont, Long Island and Teaneck, New Jersey, Tom Weiner attended Trinity College before facing the draft in 1971. After failing the physical and mental examination, Weiner studied alternative education in England, Europe, and Israel on a Watson Fellowship. Upon his return in 1972, he began study at NYU law school, but soon left the city for Northampton, Massachusetts. A life-long social justice activist, Weiner has worked as a sixth grade teacher for the past twenty-five years.
With a lottery number of 117, Tom Weiner knew for certain that he would be drafted immediately upon graduation from Trinity College. Decades later, Weiner was inspired to collect the stories of the men and women who came of age during the Vietnam War era. This collection consists of the oral history interviews, recordings and transcripts, Weiner collected, thirty of which appear in his book Called to Serve: Stories of Men and Women Confronted by the Vietnam War Draft.
- Draft--United States--History--20th century
- Vietnam Way, 1961-1975--Draft resisters
- Vietnam Way, 1961-1975--Personal narratives
- Weiner, Tom M.
Types of material
- Oral histories
Wendell Post Collection, 1977-2001.
Call no.: MS 762
From 1977 through 2001, the Wendell Post newspaper was published by and for the residents of Wendell, Mass. With its distinctive local perspective, the Post covered local politics, people, and events, but also issues with national implications, including the anti-nuclear movement, environmental concerns, recycling, and peacework.
The Wendell Post collection contains nearly every issue of a community newspaper produced in a small, rural New England town. Most issues include reports on town meetings and elections, the schools, and public works, but the Post also carried news of the stuff of daily life such as births and deaths, high school graduations, anniversaries and Old Home Day, profiles of town residents and town history, and the crime report.
- New Salem (Mass.)--History
- Wendell (Mass.)--History
Western Massachusetts Bridge Association Records, 1957-2007.
Call no.: MS 801
Established in 1957, the Western Massachusetts Bridge Association (WMBA) Unit 196 was created by founding members of the Springfield Bridge Club eager to share their love for the game with the wider western Massachusetts area. The unit played a prominent role in teaching interested individuals to learn to play contract bridge by reaching out to colleges, clubs, and churches. Over the years, WMBA has remained an active unit in the New England Bridge Conference District 25, one of the largest districts of the American Contract Bridge Association.
Records of the WMBA and District 25 document the growth of contract bridge in New England. From the earliest days of the unit, members drafted by-laws, oversaw membership services, organized tournaments, and tracked finances. Materials in the collection shed light on every aspect of these activities.
- Contract bridge
Western Massachusetts Regional Library System Records, 1957-2010.
Call no.: MS 671
The Western Massachusetts Regional Library System was formed in 1962 as the Western Regional Public Library System, one of two organizations that provided professional support for the public librarians of the Commonwealth. Through the years, the two regions increased to three and then six, with the west consistently serving as a voice for the many small libraries that comprise its membership. Supported by funds from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, WMRLS provided a range of services, including continuing education for librarians; bookmobiles, delivery services, and interlibrary loan; reference support; catalog support and online databases; and youth services; as well as a purchasing cooperative. Following the national economic crisis in 2008-2009, WMRLS was consolidated with the other five regional library systems in Massachusetts and in June 2010, merged into the Massachusetts Library System.
The WMRLS collection contains a complete run of its newsletter from 1962 to 2010, copies of newsletters for continuing education and youth services, and a small assortment of administrative documents relating to its history and the services it provided.
- Public libraries--Massachusetts
- Western Massachusetts Regional Library System