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.
View our brochure on documenting labor, work, and industry (pdf).
- 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
- 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 mercantile exchange
- 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.
Gertrude M. Lewis Papers, ca.1920-2001.
Call no.: FS 096
Overcoming a deeply impoverished childhood, Gertrude Lewis struggled to build a career in education, putting herself through college and graduate school. At the age of 32, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State, continuing on to a masters degree at New York University (1933), and finally, at age 51, a PhD from Yale (1947). For many years after receiving her doctorate, Lewis was employed as a Specialist for Upper Grades with the U.S. Office of Education in Washington. Among other career highlights, Lewis spent two years in Japan (1950-1951) as a Consultant in Elementary Education in the Education Section of the Allied Occupation government (SCAP). Lewis outlived her life partner, Ruth Totman, dying at home on December 10, 1996, a few months after her one hundredth birthday.
The Lewis Papers document the work and life of an educator of the masses, a traveler of the world, and a woman of the twentieth century. Documents pertaining to her work as an educator of both young students and veteran teachers show the changes within the theory and practice of pedagogy over time, over various geographic locales, and also highlight her role in that change. This collection also documents the numerous on-going side projects on which Lewis worked, including fostering creativity in schoolchildren, a biography of Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, and her own poetry and prose.
- Education, Elementary--Japan
- Education, Elementary--United States--History
- Education--United States--History
- Health Education--United States
- Japan--Civilization--American influences
- Students--Health and hygiene
- Lewis, Gertrude Minnie, 1896-
- Totman, Conrad D
- Totman, Ruth J
Types of material
- Motion pictures (Visual work)
Lyman Family Papers, 1839-1942.
Call no.: MS 634
Associated with intellectual circles in mid-19th century Boston, the Lyman family produced a remarkable succession of scientists, savants, businessmen, and travelers. Joseph Lyman (an engineer and geology, abolitionist, and railroad investor), his brother-in-law J. Peter Lesley (geologist), and nephew Benjamin Smith Lyman (mining engineer and student of Japan) all had significant careers in the sciences and significant involvement in the public affairs of the day.
Consisting primarily of letters received by Benjamin Smith Lyman, many from his uncle Joseph, along with dozens of photographs from three generations, the Lyman family collection offers valuable insight into the life of the Lyman lineage extending from Edward Hutchinson Robbins Lyman (b. 1819) through Frank Lyman Jr. (b. 1908). Particularly rich in the period 1860-1880, it includes a long series of letters written during a tour of Germany and France and family letters written from both Jamaica Plain and Northampton. Perhaps most significant is an important series of nearly 800 letters to Joseph Lyman while he served as Treasurer of the Kansas Land Trust, an affiliate of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, regarding the purchase of “surplus” Delaware Indian lands in Kansas for antislavery settlers in 1856-1857. Although the majority concern inquiries on investment in the lands and financial arrangements, many letters also make reference to the political struggle over slavery in the territory, the founding of Quindaro as an antislavery town, and related matters. Many of the letters, which were originally bound into a letterbook, are addressed to Amos A. Lawrence, founder of the NEEAC and one of John Brown’s “Secret Six.” Among the correspondents are Gerrit Smith (who curtly declines), Charles Robinson, and Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
- Antislavery movements--Massachusetts
- Kansas Land Trust
- New England Emigrant Aid Company
- Lawrence, Amos Adams, 1814-1886
- Lyman, Benjamin Smith, 1835-1920
- Lyman, Joseph B, 1812-1871
Types of material
William L. Machmer Papers, 1899-1953.
Call no.: RG 6/1 M33
Enjoying one of the longest tenures of any administrator in the history of the University of Massachusetts, William Lawson Machmer served under five presidents across 42 years, helping to guide the university through an economic depression, two world wars, and three name changes. During his years as Dean, Machmer witnessed the growth of the university from fewer than 500 students to almost 3,800, and helped guide its transformation from a small agricultural college into Massachusetts State College (1931) and finally into the University of Massachusetts (1947).
Machmer’s papers chronicle the fitful development of the University of Massachusetts from the days of Kenyon Butterfield’s innovations of the 1920s through the time of the GI Bill. The collection is particularly strong in documenting the academic experience of students and the changes affecting the various departments and programs at the University, with particular depth for the period during and after the Second World War.
- Agricultural education
- Fort Devens (Mass.)
- Massachusetts Agricultural College
- Massachusetts State College
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dean
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Mathematics
- World War, 1939-1945
- Baker, Hugh Potter, 1878-
- Butterfield, Kenyon L. (Kenyon Leech), 1868-1935
- Lewis, Edward M
- Machmer, William L
- Van Meter, Ralph Albert, 1893-
Types of material
- Letters (Correspondence)
- Student records
John Manfredi Papers, 1938-1983.
Call no.: FS 148
One of four young sociologists who joined the faculty at UMass Amherst in the years after the Second World War, John Manfredi carried the entire load of teaching theory from 1948 to 1967. A native of Philadelphia and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (BA 1942), Manfredi came to Amherst after completing an MA at Harvard in 1948, teaching while simultaneously completing his dissertation, “The Relationship of Class-Structured Pathologies to the Contents of Popular Periodical Fiction, 1936-1940″ (Harvard, 1951). A specialist in social theory and cultural systems, he taught anthropology for several years and both his research and teaching revolved around the sociology of religion and art. His best know work, The Social Limits of Art, appeared in 1982, three years before his retirement. Manfredi died in February 1993.
Consisting of essays and course notes from his days as a graduate student at Harvard, the John Manfredi collection documents the training and early professional work of a sociologist. Notable among these are materials relating to classes offered by eminent figures such as Talcott Parsons, Carle C. Zimmerman, and P.A. Sorokin.
- Sociology--Study and teaching
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Sociology
- Manfredi, John, 1920-
- Parsons, Talcott, 1902-1979
- Sorokin, Pitirim Aleksandrovich, 1889-1968
- Zimmerman, Carle Clark, 1897-1983
Types of material
- Lecture notes
Arthur P. Mange Photograph Collection, 1965-2010.
Call no.: PH 044
Arthur P. Mange taught in the Biology Department at University of Massachusetts Amherst for 31 years before retiring in 1995. A co-author of numerous works in human genetics, Mange served on the chair of the Conservation Committee in Amherst, and currently serves on the Burnett Gallery Committee. In 1983, his New England images were featured in Across the Valley (from Cummington to New Salem) held at the Burnett Gallery. This exhibition was followed at the Hitchcock Center in 1984 with Delight in Familiar Forms (celebrating some well-known plants and animals), with Ring Bell to Admit Bird at the Jones Library and Net Prophet at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Architectural Sights — Big and Small, Mange’s most recent show (2002), appeared at the Burnett Gallery. In addition to exhibitions, Mange has also donated collections for fund-raising auctions at New York University, the Cooley Dickinson Hospital, the University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center, the Amherst Historical Society, Jones Library, and the Amherst Community Arts Center.
His photographic collection spans more than half a century of subjects reflecting his varied interests in animals, plants, our region, gravestones, what he calls “whimsical signs,” and attention-grabbing shadows.
- Amherst (Mass.)--Pictorial works
- Cemeteries--Pictorial works
- Hadley (Mass.)--Pictorial works
- New England--Pictorial works
- New Salem (Mass.)--Pictorial works
- New York (N.Y.)--Pictorial works
Types of material
Robert James McFall Papers, 1918-1926.
Call no.: FS 133
A specialist in agricultural marketing, Robert J. McFall arrived at the Massachusetts Agricultural College in January 1920 to take up work with the Extension Service. A graduate of Geneva College and Phd from Columbia University (1915), McFall had worked with the Canadian Bureau of Statistics for two years before his arrival in Amherst.
The McFall collection includes a suite of published and unpublished works in agricultural economics, including an incomplete run of Economic Reports from MAC on business conditions (1921-1925), and papers on agricultural cooperation in Massachusetts, municipal abattoirs, business regulation in Canada, agriculture and population increase, and the New England dairy market. Of particular note is a monograph-length work co-authored by McFall and Alexander Cance, entitled “The Massachusetts Agricultural College in its Relations to the Food Supply Program of the Commonwealth.”
- Agricultural economics
- Cance, Alexander E. (Alexander Edmond), 1874-
- Dairy products industry--Massachusetts
- Food supply--Massachusetts
- Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
- Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of Agricultural Economics
- McFall, Robert James, 1887-1963
Luther Mosely Daybook, 1842-1846.
Call no.: MS 249 bd
Homeopathic physician from Arlington, Vermont. Daybook contains patients’ names, including many women, identification of some cases (such as vaccination, extraction of teeth, treatment of swellings, fractures, and burns, and the delivery of babies), methods of treatment (such as purges, bleeding, cupping, and the use of blistering ointments), prices for his services, and method and form of payment (including goods such as fruits, vegetables, meats, clothes, and services such as butchering and timbering). Also contains personal entries and notation of goods he sold such as poultry, leathers, and fabrics.
- Arlington (Vt.)--Social conditions--19th century
- Canfield family
- Contraception--Vermont--Arlington--History--19th century
- Hard family
- Homeopathic physicians--Vermont--Arlington
- Matteson family
- Medicine--Practice--Vermont--19th century
- Milligan family
- Oatman family
- Purdy family
- Women--Medical care--Vermont--Arlington--19th century
- Mosely, Luther, 1807-
Types of material
- Account books
David Ledbetter Nanney Papers, 1948-2008.
Call no.: MS 592
The experimental ciliatologist David L. Nanney spent much of his career studying the protozoan Tetrahymena. Under Tracy M. Sonneborn at Indiana University, he completed a dissertation in 1951 on the mating habits of Paramecium, but soon after joining the faculty at the University of Michigan, he turned his attention to Tetrahymena. During his subsequent career in Ann Arbor (1951-1959) and at the University of Illinois (1959-1991), Nanney made a series of fundamental contributions to the cytology, genetics, developmental biology, and evolution of ciliates, influencing the work of other biologists such as Joe Frankel, Janina Kaczanowska, Linda Hufnagel, and Nicola Ricci. Since his retirement in 1991, Nanney has remained in Urbana.
The Nanney Papers include a dense run of professional correspondence with ciliatologists, geneticists, students and colleagues regarding his pioneering research on ciliates and other professional matters. Of particular note is an extensive correspondence with Sonneborn, accompanied by several biographical essays written after Sonneborn’s death, and a large body of correspondence of the controversial reorganization of the biological sciences departments at the University of Illinois in the 1970s. The collection also includes a selection of Nanney’s writings and a handful of photographs.
- Developmental biology
- Evolution (Biology)
- University of Illinois--Faculty
- Allen, Sally
- Bleyman, Lea K
- Corliss, John O
- Frankel, Joseph, 1935-
- Kaczanowski, Andrzej
- McKoy, J. Wynne
- Nanney, David Ledbetter, 1925-
- Nyberg, Dennis Wayne, 1944-
- Orias, Eduardo
- Ricci, Nicola
- Siegel, Richard
- Sonneborn, T. M. (Tracy Morton), 1905-
Northampton State Hospital Annual Reports, 1856-1939.
Call no.: Digital
The Northampton State Hospital was opened in 1858 to provide moral therapy to the “insane,” and under the superintendency of Pliny Earle, became one of the best known asylums in New England. Before the turn of the century, however, the Hospital declined, facing the problems of overcrowding, poor sanitation, and inadequate funding. The push for psychiatric deinstitutionalization in the 1960s and 1970s resulted in a steady reduction of the patient population, the last eleven of whom left Northampton State in 1993.
With the Government Documents staff, SCUA has digitized the annual reports of the Northampton State Hospital from the beginning until the last published report in 1939. The reports appeared annually from 1856 until 1924 and irregularly from then until 1939.