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Labor, work, and industry

Picket line, New Bedford
Picket line, New Bedford, 195
“Teamsters crossed the Hathaway picket line”

Western Massachusetts was an early and important center of both industrialization and the development of organized labor, and in recent years, it has experienced many of traumatic effects of de-industrialization and economic transformation. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives seeks to document the history of organized labor, the experience of work, and business and industry in New England.

At the heart of the SCUA holdings is a suite of collections documenting the organized labor movement in New England. The official records of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, a large and important collection, is joined by records for trades ranging from clothing and textile workers to carpenters, electrical workers, and granite cutters.

Of particular note is the John W. Bennett Labor History Collection, a large assemblage of labor-related realia and ephemera, including hundreds of badges, pins, watch fobs, lighters, and other artifacts distributed to union members at annual conventions and other union events. The collection is a unique resource for study of the iconography of organized labor and includes items from representative unions and locals ranging from the Knights of Labor in the 1870s to the present. While centered on New England, the Bennett Collection extends nationally.

Notable collections

  • Organized Labor
    • From the records of the Massachusetts State AFL-CIO to the papers of union locals and labor leaders.
  • See all Business and industry
    • Manufacturing
      • The industrial heritage of New England is represented in collections ranging from the records of the Clement Co., Lamson and Goodnow, and the Northampton Cutlery Company (manufacturers of cutlery), the American Writing Paper Company, the Rodney Hunt Co. (a manufacturer of textile machinery and waterwheels), and Smith and Wesson. The most recent collection is the papers of Sidney Topol, CEO of Scientific-Atlanta, a corporation at the forefront of the growth of cable television in the United States.
    • Merchants and commerce
      • Account books and other business records for a number of New England merchants dating back to the eighteenth century, ranging from small scale traders to keepers of rural general stores to shipping merchants trading in the Atlantic economy.

Learn more:

Lajoie, Coralie Guertin

Coralie Guertin Lajoie Collection, 1950-1951
4 folders (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 637 bd
Coralie Guertin Lajoie Collection image
Japanese flutist

When Capt. Henry Guertin, a native of Leominster, Mass., was ordered to active duty with the 24th Infantry Division during the Korean War, his wife Rita relocated to Japan to raise their growing family in Kokura (Kyushu), Japan. Just 13 at the time and already used to the regular relocation of a military life, the eldest daughter, Coralie Ann (“Coco”) spent the next two years attending the Kokura Dependent School. As an adult, Coco married golf pro Ray Lajoie and settled in central Massachusetts.

The collection contains ephemera and photographs from young Coco Lajoie’s two-year sojourn on Kyushu. These include a copy of her school yearbook for 1951, a bill for a folk dance performance, and a series of letters from Japanese schoolchildren she met on a visit.

Subjects
  • Japan--Description and travel
Types of material
  • Ephemera
  • Photographs

Lambert, R. N.

R.N. Lambert Ledger, 1829-1834
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 256 bd

Physician who practiced in Upton, Massachusetts. Ledger includes two-column account entries mentioning the services he performed (such as the extraction of teeth, vaccination, and childbirth), the medicines he prescribed, and patients’ (primarily women and families) accounts, which were often settled in cash or promissory notes. Also contains notation of his work presumably for the town’s poor and a loose livery stable bill.

Subjects
  • Bradish family
  • Childbirth--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Fisk family
  • Phlebotomy--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Physicians--Massachusetts--19th century
  • Physicians--Massachusetts--Upton--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Poor--Medical care--Massachusetts--Upton--History--19th century
  • Putnam family
  • Rockwood family
  • Teeth--Extraction--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Therapeutics--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Upton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Vaccination--Massachusetts--History--19th century
Contributors
  • Lambert, R. N
Types of material
  • Account books

Lapolice, Aubrey D.

Aubrey D. Lapolice Collection, 1910-1981
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 070
Aubrey D. Lapolice Collection image
'Our first students, 1921'

Born in Chicopee Falls, Mass., Aubrey D. Lapolice (1893-1981) was a maintenance superintendent at the Belchertown State School for a forty year period, from the time of its establishment through his retirement in 1961. A veteran of the First World War, he oversaw a campus of nearly 850 acres and a physical plant of nearly one hundred buildings and structures. He died in February 1981.

The Lapolice collection includes 35 images of the physical plant and construction projects at the Belchertown State School during its first two decades of operation and 21 images of the welcome home parade in Belchertown in 1946 for returning American troops.

Subjects
  • Belchertown State School--Photographs
  • Construction projects--Massachusetts--Belchertown--Photographs
  • Hampden Railroad--Photographs
  • Mentally disabled--Massachusetts--Belchertown
  • Parades--Massachusetts--Belchertown--Photographs
  • Psychiatric hospitals--Massachusetts--Belchertown--Photographs
  • World War, 1939-1945--Veterans
Types of material
  • Photographs

Lauman, Mary W.

Mary W. Lauman Papers, 1944-1945
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 534

Mary W. Lauman, a 1937 graduate of Cornell University, served in the United States Marine Corps from March 1944 through December 1945. During her 10 months of active duty, Mary wrote numerous letters to her mother detailing her everyday life from boot camp in Lejeune, North Carolina, to her work with the United States Army Personnel Department.

The Lauman letters contain interesting insights into the life of a woman Marine during World War II, including behavior, dress, and social interactions.

Subjects
  • Camp Lejeune (N.C.)
  • Women marines
  • World War, 1939-1945--Women
Contributors
  • Lauman, Mary W

Leff, David K.

David K. Leff Papers, ca.1975-2016
3 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 907
David K. Leff Papers image
David K. Leff

A writer, poet, and environmental and historic preservation advocate, David K. Leff worked for many years as an agricultural and environmental policy adviser to the Connecticut legislature and as deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. A graduate of UMass Amherst (BA 1975) and the University of Connecticut School of Law (1978), Leff began writing and lecturing from early in his career and in addition to publishing dozens of magazine articles and serving as a regular contributor to the Hartford Courant, he has written five works of non-fiction, The Last Undiscovered Place (2004), Deep Travel: In Thoreau’s Wake on the Concord and Merrimack (2009), Hidden in Plain Sight (2012), Maple Sugaring (2015), and Canoeing Maine’s Legendary Allagash (2016); three books of poetry Price of Water (2008), Depth of Field (2010), and Tinker’s Damn (2013), and a novel in verse, Finding the Last Hungry Heart (2014). Leff has been active as a lecturer and instructor on various topics, ranging from the environment to local history and writing. In 2016, he was named the first Poet-in-Residence of the New England Trail.

In addition to containing a nearly comprehensive collection of the published writings of David Leff, the collection includes selected correspondence, unpublished poetry and short stories, a draft of an unpublished novel (Hungry Heart), talks, interviews, notes, newsclippings, over 400 pages of interviews with sugarmakers that Leff conducted for his book on maple sugaring, and selected materials relating to Leff’s work with the DEP in Connecticut and other endeavors. The collection also includes several thousand photographs (mostly digital) takenby Leff and used to illustrate his publications and lectures.

Gift of David K. Leff, 2016
Subjects
  • Maple sugar industry--Connecticut
  • Newspaper columnists--Connecticut
  • Poets--Connecticut
Contributors
  • Photographs

Leland, James

James Leland Daybook, 1854-1855
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 094

Owner of a general store in Enfield, Massachusetts. Includes notations for the sale of a wide variety of goods (notably Know Nothing hats), names of customers (both individuals, particularly Irish, and businesses), and types of payment (cash, barter, and services).

Subjects
  • Barter--Massachusetts--Enfield--History--19th century
  • Consumers--Massachusetts--Enfield--History--19th century
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Ethnic relations--19th century
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Enfield
  • Irish American Catholics--Massachusetts--Enfield--History--19th century
  • J.M. Crosby (Firm)
  • Leonard Woods (Firm)
  • Minot Manufacturing Company
  • Nativism--History--19th century
  • Shopping--Massachusetts--Enfield--History--19th century
  • Swift River Company
Contributors
  • Leland and Smith Co.
  • Leland, James
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Leonard, Samuel B., b. 1807

Samuel B. Leonard Account Book, 1833-1845
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 206 bd

Blacksmith from Foxborough, Massachusetts. Documents the various kinds of work performed, such as mending chain links, shoeing horses, bolting and riveting wagons, repairing stoves, and the prices charged for such work. Includes customers arranged by surname and notations of the settlement of long-standing debts (without mention of the methods of payment).

Subjects
  • Blacksmithing--Massachusetts--Foxborough--History--19th century
  • Blacksmiths--Massachusetts--Foxborough--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Foxborough (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Foxborough (Mass.)--History--19th century
Contributors
  • Leonard, Samuel B., 1807-
Types of material
  • Account books

Levy, Donald

Donald Levy Papers, 1966-1987
2 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 878
Donald Levy Papers image
Richie Havens at Krackerjacks, ca. 1968

The co-owner with Alan Peterson of Krackerjacks, a psychedelic clothing store in Boston, Donald “Jack” Levy grew the boutique he started in 1966 into a staple of the counterculture in the Boston area and eventually a franchise. Levy was at the center of a controversy in Cambridge when the city tried to ban “obscene” buttons. Though several stores removed the buttons, Levy refused and with community support, fought the city’s ban. Levy also opened several clothing stores in the Boston-area: Garbo, a women’s clothing store; Dazzle in 1973, a vintage clothing store; Goods in 1976, a natural fiber and novelty store; and purchased and refurbished the Blue Diner in 1986 (now the South Street Diner). He currently owns diners in Newton, Framingham, and Watertown Mass.

The Donald Levy Papers contain ephemera, photographs, and clippings primarily documenting Krackerjacks as well as Levy’s other clothing stores and the opening of Blue Diner. Of particular interest is a petition circulated by Levy during the city’s attempt to ban “obscene” buttons. Included among the signatures is a 15-year-old Jonathan Richman, who called the button ban, “an example of lingering Victorianism.”

Subjects
  • Counterculture--United States--20th century
  • Fashion--United States--20th century
  • Massachusetts--Cambridge--History--20th century
  • Stores, Retail--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Richman, Jonathan (Vocalist)
Types of material
  • Clippings
  • Petitions
  • Photographs

Lewin, Julie

Julie Lewin Papers, 1947-2003
11 boxes (5.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 454

Julie Lewin began her career as a freelance writer and newspaper journalist, and went from writing articles about sexual abuse of children and women’s prison reforms to lobbying for the protection and treatment of animals. The collection documents Lewin’s efforts to uphold the rights of animals, and in particular focuses on her opposition to the pet industry and to the use of animals in research.

Subjects
  • Animal rights--Activism
  • Animal rights--Advocates
  • Animal rights--Law and legislation
  • Animal welfare--Rescue
  • Connecticut Humane Society
  • Greyhound racing
  • Hunting
  • Pet industry
  • Trapping--Leghold
  • Vivisection-Animal research
Contributors
  • Lewin, Julie
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