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Donations that hit the mark

Collection growth is the heart of any archive, and as an active, growing archive, SCUA welcomes donations of personal papers, organizational records, photographs, diaries and journals, books and pamphlets, and other materials relating to our major collecting interests. With the support of our friends and colleagues, SCUA has built substantial depth in documenting:

  • The history and experience of social change in America
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • The social, cultural, intellectual, and political history of New England
  • The University of Massachusetts Amherst, its faculty, staff, students, and alumni

SCUA offers secure, permanent housing for collections, excellent access for researchers, and a stimulating intellectual environment. Please help us preserve our history for the future.

For further information, please contact the Head of Special Collections.

Donate to the University Archives

Phyllis Louise Nelson
Phyllis Louise Nelson

The University Archives welcomes assistance in preserving the memory of UMass Amherst, our faculty, staff, students, and alumni. We document all aspects of the University and its unique intellectual climate and history, with a particular interest in:

  • Personal, professional, or family papers
  • Correspondence from students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni
  • Diaries, journals, or reminiscences
  • Memorabilia from UMass Amherst, Mass. Agricultural College, and Mass. State College
  • Histories of departments, centers, institutes, and programs
  • Syllabi, selected lectures, and lecture notes
  • Records of committees, university organizations, or events
  • Unique research materials, such as field notes
  • Photographs and artwork.

To discuss archiving your papers with the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, please contact the Head of Special Collections.

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Jane Swift Papers, 1988-2008

16 boxes (22 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 823
Jane Swift
Jane Swift

Just 36 years of age, Jane Swift became Acting Governor of Massachusetts in 2001, the first and only woman to hold that office, the youngest woman governor in US history, and the only one to give birth while in office. A native of North Adams, Swift served as a Republican in the state Senate from 1990-1996, becoming widely known for her role in passing the Education Reform Act of 1993. Defeated in a bid to represent the 1st District in the US Congress, she served in the William Weld administration before earning election as Lieutenant Governor in 1998, rising to the governorship three years later when Paul Cellucci resigned to become Ambassador to Canada. During her time in office, Swift, but her tenure is remembered both for her calm management of the fallout from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and for a series of controversies that ultimatley cost her political support. Trailing eventual nominee Mitt Romney in the 2002 Republican gubentorial primary, Swift abandoned her campaign. Returning home to Williamstown, where she has been involved in several educational initiatives, including serving as Director of Sally Ride Science, a lecturer in Leadership Studies at Williams Colege, and since July 2011, CEO of Middlebury Interactive Languages. She remains active in Republican politics.

Centered on her political career, Jane Swift’s Papers provide insight into her experiences as governor of Massachusetts with content ranging from policy briefings to topical files, technical reports, economic and budgetary information, correspondence, legal filings, and transition reports at the time of leaving office. The visual documentation of Swift’s time in office includes a wide range of photographs, videotapes, paraphernalia, and souvenirs. There is comparatively little material is available to document Swift’s time in the state senate.


  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
  • Massachusetts. Governor
  • Republican Party (Mass.)

Types of material

  • Photographs

Sarah J. Swift Papers, 1890-1942

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 932

A Quaker and philanthropist from Worcester, Mass., Sarah J. Swift was a noted supporter of Friends’ missions in Palestine and Jamaica for over half a century. The wife of D. Wheeler Swift, an innovator in the manufacture of envelopes, Swift began to support the Friends’ foreign missions by the 1890s, becoming a major benefactor of the Eli and Sibyl Jones Mission and girls’ school in Ramallah and of the small Quaker mission at Buff Bay, Jamaica.

The Swift papers contain a thick series of letters from the Society of Friends’ Eli and Sybil Jones Mission in Ramallah, Palestine, documenting their activity between 1890 and 1942, with a much smaller series of letters relating to the mission at Buff Bay, Jamaica. The missionaries’ letters — including circular letters to supporters and others addressed to Swift personally — discuss school operations and local affairs in Palestine and Jamaica. Of particular note are letters discussing the work at Ramallah around the turn of the twentieth century and several letters discussing the hardships of wartime and recovery from war.


  • Eli and Sybil Jones Mission (Ramallah, Palestine)
  • Jamaica--History--20th century
  • Missionaries--Jamaica
  • Missionaries--Palestine
  • Palestine--History--20th century
  • World War, 1914-1918
  • World War, 1939-1945


  • Jones, Alice W.
  • Kelsey, A. Edward
  • Vincent, Charles S.

Tass Sovfoto Photograph Collection, 1919-1963 (Bulk: 1943-1963)

111 items (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 010

For many years, Sovfoto, a stock photograph agency based in New York City, was the sole source in the United States for the best work in contemporary Soviet photojournalism. Founded in 1932, the company carried photographers for Tass and, later, other news agencies from throughout the Soviet republics, Eastern Europe, and China.

The Tass Sovfoto Collection depicts Soviet life, primarily in the 1950s and early 1960s. Typically rendered in heroic Soviet style, the photographs are relatively varied in subject, documenting political events (e.g., Communist Party meetings, the meeting of Kennedy and Khrushchev); generals, politicians, and celebrities (Lenin, Khrushchev, Shostakovich); and athletic and cultural events. A few images appear to be parts of photo essays aimed at a popular audience, including images of Jewish life in Russia and the life of a Soviet worker, while others are stock images of Soviet troops during the Second World War.


  • Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
  • Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich, 1894-1971
  • Lenin, Vladimir Il'ich, 1870-1924
  • Shostakovich, Dmitrii Dmitrievich, 1906-1975
  • Soviet Union--Photographs
  • World War, 1939-1945

Thresholds to Life Records, 1983-1986

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 156

Thresholds to Life is a training program for decision making, problem solving, and life planning taught by volunteers to prison inmates and offenders on probation in 30 locations in the United States. The records in this collection are those of the Thresholds program in Greenfield, Massachusetts, a United Way agency.


  • Prisoners--Massachusetts


  • Thresholds to Life

Thurber-Woolson Botanical Manuscripts Collection, 1803-1918

4 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 065 bd

Largely self-educated, George Thurber (1821-1890) began a career as a pharmacist before signing on as botanist to the U.S. Boundary Commission from 1850-1854. After completing a masters degree at Brown University, he emerged as a important horticultural writer and editor of American Agriculturist from 1863 to 1885.

Letters, photographs, engravings, and clippings compiled primarily by George Thurber and bequeathed to George Clark Woolson (MAC class of 1871) who added to it and donated it as a memorial to his class, the first to graduate from the College. The collection includes 993 letters written by 336 correspondents, and 35 photographs and engravings, primarily botanists and other scientists, including Asa Gray, Louis Agassiz, John Torrey, Frederick Law Olmsted, John James Audubon, Henry Ward Beecher, Jefferson Davis, Edward Payson Roe, Donald G. Mitchell, and George Brown Goode.


  • Botany--History
  • Horticulture--History


  • Thurber, George, 1821-1890
  • Woolson, George Clark

Types of material

  • Photographs

Conrad D. Totman Papers, 1800-2005

65 boxes (53 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 447
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.


  • Afforestation--Japan--Akita-ken--History
  • Agriculture--Japan--History
  • Agriculture--Korea--History
  • Conway (Mass.)--Genealogy
  • Dairy farms--Massachusetts
  • Family farms--United States
  • Farm life--United States
  • Forest management--Japan--Akita-ken--History
  • Forest policy--Japan
  • Forests and forestry--Japan
  • Human ecology--Japan--History
  • Human ecology--Korea--History
  • Japan--Civilization--American influences
  • Japan--Environmental conditions
  • Japan--History--1952-
  • Japan--History--Restoration, 1853-1870
  • Japan--History--Tokugawa period, 1600-1868
  • Japan--Politics and government--1600-1868
  • Korea--American influences
  • Korea--Environmental conditions
  • Korea--History--1948-1960
  • Lumber trade--Japan--History
  • Tokugawa, Ieyasu, 1543-1616
  • Totman family
  • United States--Army--Medical personnel--Correspondence


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

Types of material

  • Genealogies
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Memoirs
  • Photographs

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.


  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Everywoman's Center
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Students
  • Women college students


  • Tracy, Susan

Traprock Peace Center Records, 1979-2008

ca.50 boxes (75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 080

The Traprock Peace Center is a grassroots organization based in Deerfield, Massachusetts, that trains and educates people locally and globally in matters relating to disarmament and nonviolence. In 1980, the Center organized the first successful attempt in the United States to get a nuclear weapons moratorium referendum on the ballot, and the Center has served as a focal point for organizing on a wide array of issues in peace and social and environmental justice.

The records of Traprock Peace Center include correspondence, campaign materials (resolutions, organizing committee records, legislative packets), program reports, newsletters, newsclippings, and posters relating to the nuclear freeze campaign and many subsequent initiatives. Recent additions to the collection document the group’s work to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; these later additions are open for research, but are not processed.


  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Deerfield (Mass.)--Social conditions--Sources
  • Nonviolence--Massachusetts--History--Sources
  • Nuclear disarmament--History--Sources
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts


  • Traprock Peace Center
Restrictions: unprocessed materials in this collection have been temporarily moved offsite; these boxes are closed to research. Contact SCUA for more information.

Phileman L. Tyler Daybooks, 1841-1852

2 vols. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 236 bd

The shoemaker, Philemon L. Tyler, was born in Massachusetts in 1812. He and his wife Tersilla, also a native of Massachusetts, settled in New York some time before the birth of their first child in 1838. By 1850, after at least a decade in the village of Springville in the agricultural town of Concord, New York, Tyler had three children, and real estate valued at $4,400.

Daybooks include a record of the prices of boots and shoes, and the method and form of payment (rarely cash, sometimes labor, but often apples, potatoes, chicken, wheat, mutton, pork, beef, hay, and other farm products such as cow hides and calf skins).


  • Barter--New York--Erie County--History--19th century
  • Boots--Prices--New York--Erie County--History--19th century
  • Debtor and creditor--New York--Erie County--History--19th century
  • Erie County (N.Y.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Erie County (N.Y.)--Rural conditions--19th century
  • Hides and skins--New York--Erie County--History--19th century
  • Shoemakers--New York--Erie County--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Shoes--Prices--New York--Erie County--History--19th century
  • Springville (Erie County, N.Y.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Springville (Erie County, N.Y.)--Rural conditions--19th century


  • Tyler, Phileman L., 1812-

Types of material

  • Daybooks
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