Literature and the arts play a vital role in the culture and traditions of New England. Western Massachusetts in particular has had a rich history of fostering writers and poets, musicians, dancers, and actors. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives seeks to document not only the lives and work of writers and performers in our region, but the creative and artistic process; showing not just the inspiration, but the perspiration as well.
- Arts and arts management
- Significant collections under the National Arts Policy Archive and Library include materials from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and the Arts Extension Service.
- SCUA houses significant collections for the poets Robert Francis, Madeleine de Frees, and Anne Halley, as well as small collections for William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens. The records of the Massachusetts Review are an important literary resource.
- Prose writing
- Collections of note include the papers of writers William J. Lederer (author of The Ugly American, Nation of Sheep, and Their Own Worst Enemy), William Manchester (The Death of a President and American Caesar), Jodi Picoult (many novels from Songs of the Humpback Whale in 1992 to The Storyteller in 2013), Mary Doyle Curran (The Parish and the Hill).
- Journalists and photojournalists associated with traditional print and new media, including an important collection for the Liberation News Service, a media service for the alternative press, and the Social Change Periodicals Collection, which includes alternative and radical small press publications. The papers of Sidney Topol provide insight into the technical development of cable television.
- Literary criticism and linguistics
- The papers of literary scholars associated with the University; records of the Massachusetts Review.
- Performing arts
- The vibrant performing arts community in western Massachusetts is well represented in SCUA through groups ranging from the Arcadia Players Baroque music ensemble to theater troupes such as Double Edge Theater, the Valley Light Opera, and the New World Theater. Among the most significant national collections are the Roberta Uno Asian Women Playwrights Collection and the papers of African American expatriate actor and director Gordon Heath, while the James Ellis Theatre Collection includes nearly 8,000 printed volumes on the English and American stage, 1750-1915, along with numerous broadsides, graphics, and some manuscript materials. Musical collections include the papers of Philip Bezanson and Charles Bestor, the score collection of Julian Olevsky, and the Katanka Fraser Political Music Collection.
Within its holdings, SCUA houses collections of the published works of W.E.B. Du Bois, Robert Francis, Anne Halley, William J. Lederer, William Manchester, Thomas Mann, William Morris, Wallace Stevens, and William Butler Yeats, as well as the personal poetry libraries of Halley, Francis, and Stevens. The department also has an extensive collection of Science Fiction magazine fiction and Scottish literature.
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
George F. Markham Papers, 1902-1929.
Call no.: MS 456
The activist George Markham was born in Wisconsin on Aug. 15, 1909. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, he began working with the Associated Press in 1936 where he became an ardent member of the American Newspaper Guild. During the Second World War, he served with distinction on the aircraft carriers Saratoga and Yorktown in the South Pacific, however after the war, his leftist politics and associations with Communists led to his dismissal with less than honorable discharge. Following the trial, Markham returned to college to earn a masters degree in social studies and began teaching middle school in Pelham, NY, but was released, probably for political reasons. He later taught in colleges in New York before he and his second wife, Arky, moved to Northampton in the 1960s. George and Arky remain active on behalf of peace and social justice.
The Markham Papers contain materials relating to George Markham’s McCarthy-era trial and dismissal from the Navy, along with documents relating to other aspects of his life and career and the Markham family in Wisconsin. Among these is a fine Civil War unit history of the 20th Indiana Regiment written by Markham’s grandfather, William Brown.
- United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
- United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities
- Markham, George F
Miscellaneous Manuscripts, 1717-2003.
Call no.: MS 719
Miscellaneous Manuscripts is an artificial collection that brings together single items and small groups of related materials. Although the collection reflects the general collecting emphases in SCUA, particularly the history of New England, the content ranges widely in theme and format.
- Massachusetts--Economic conditions--18th century
- Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th century
- Massachusetts--Politics and government
- Massachusetts--Social conditions--18th century
- Massachusetts--Social conditions--19th century
- Massachusetts--Social conditions--20th century
Types of material
- Account books
Bernie Moss Photograph Collection, ca. 1960-1978.
Call no.: PH 062
A fixture of the Boston Jazz scene, Bernie Moss began taking photographs in the early 1960s, capturing musicians on stage and after hours in the clubs he frequented. Musicians that Moss would meet at Connelly’s, the Savoy Cafe, Lennie’s on the Turnpike, and later the Jazz Workshop, would often come to Moss’s apartment at 11 Queensbury Street where he would give them a place to stay and a meal. His generosity and love of the music and musicians was renown among the top artists of the era; inspiring Dexter Gordon to compose the song “Boston” Bernie Moss in his honor. Moss was born on Christmas day in 1908 and grew up in a Jewish household. He played trombone as a member of the Massachusetts National Guard 241st Coast Artillery Regiment from 1929 to approximately 1939 but spent the remainder of his life looking after the Boston apartment buildings he inherited from his father, known as the Moss Realty Co. According to Nat Hentoff in his memoir Boston Boy, “he took care that none of his tenants ever knew him as a landlord. His brother collected the rent, and the janitor received all the complaints about services. Bernie just showed up to talk about jazz.” Moss died on February 13th, 1988.
The Bernie Moss Photograph Collection primarily consists of Moss’s color photographs taken at Boston Jazz clubs in the 1960s and early 1970s. The photographs include musicians Alan Dawson, Roy Haynes, John Coltrane, Ben Webster, Dizzy Gillespie, Yusef Lateef, Herbie Hancock, Art Blakey, and many more. Moss’s amateur style brings life to some of the most important years of modern Jazz, showing Jazz greats at the height of their powers, often in informal settings. Many photographs were mounted and catalogued as part of a traveling exhibit curated by the Boston Jazz Society.
- Jazz musicians--Massachusetts--Boston--Photographs
Types of material
- Color prints (photographs)
Raymond Mungo Papers, 1966-2008.
Call no.: MS 659
Born in a “howling blizzard” in February 1946, Raymond Mungo became one of the most evocative writers of the 1960s counterculture. Through more than fifteen books and hundreds of articles, Mungo has brought a wry sense of humor and radical sensibility to explorations of the minds and experiences of the generation that came of age against a backdrop of the struggles for civil rights and economic justice, of student revolts, Black Power, resistance to war, and experimentation in communal living.
Consisting of the original typescripts and manuscripts of ten of Raymond Mungo’s books, along with corrected and uncorrected galleys and a small number of letters from publishers. Among the other materials in the collection are thirteen photographs of Mungo taken by Clif Garboden and Peter Simon during and immediately after his undergraduate years at Boston University; a DVD containing motion pictures of life at Packer Corners in 1969 and 1977; and an irate letter from a writer regarding the status of poems he had submitted to Liberation News Service.
- Communal living--Massachusetts
- Communal living--Vermont
- Liberation News Service (Montague, Mass.)
- Montague Farm Community (Mass.)
- Nineteen Sixties
- Packer Corners Community (Vt.)
- Porche, Verandah
- Garboden, Clif
- Mungo, Raymond, 1946-
- Simon, Peter, 1947-
Types of material
National Endowment for the Arts Collection, 1965-2009.
Call no.: MS 686
Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.
In contributing to the National Arts Policy Archive and Library (NAPAAL), the NEA allowed SCUA to digitize nearly forty years of publications on the arts and arts management. The collection reflects the impact of the arts (including music, literature, and the performing arts) on everyday lives of Americans and include materials intended to support individual and classroom education, information on arts management, reports on the status of the arts, histories of the organization, and much more. All items are cataloged in the UMass Amherst Libraries online catalog and are included in the Internet Archive, where they are available for full-text searching.
- Art and State
- Government aid to the arts
Joseph Obrebski Papers, 1923-1974.
Call no.: MS 599
A student of Bronislaw Malinowski, the Polish ethnographer Jozef Obrebski was a keen observer of cultural change among eastern European peasantry in the years before the Second World War. After working with the resistance in Warsaw during the war, Obrebski went on to do additional ethnographic research in Jamaica (with his wife Tamara), taught at Brooklyn and Queens College and C.W. Post University, and from 1948-1959, he was senior social affairs officer with the United Nations. He died in 1967.
The Obrebski collection consists largely of ethnographic data collected by Obrebski in Macedonia (1931-1932), Polesia (1934-1936), and Jamaica (1947-1948), including field and interview notes, genealogies, government documents relating to research sites, and ca. 1000 photographs; together with correspondence (1946-1974), drafts of articles, analyses of collected data, and tapes and phonograph records, largely of folk music; and papers of Obrebski’s wife, Tamara Obrebski (1908-1974), also an ethnologist and sociologist.
- Obrebski, Joseph, 1907-1967
Types of material
Carl Oglesby Papers, ca.1965-2004.
Call no.: MS 514
Reflective, critical, and radical, Carl Oglesby was an eloquent voice of the New Left during the 1960s and 1970s. A native of Ohio, Oglesby was working in the defense industry in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1964 when he became radicalized by what he saw transpiring in Vietnam. Through his contacts with the Students for a Democratic Society, he was drawn into the nascent antiwar movement, and thanks to his formidable skills as a speaker and writer, rose rapidly to prominence. Elected president of the SDS in 1965, he spent several years traveling nationally and internationally advocating for a variety of political and social causes.
In 1972, Oglesby helped co-found the Assassination Information Bureau which ultimately helped prod the U.S. Congress to reopen the investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A prolific writer and editor, his major works include Containment and Change (1967), The New Left Reader (1969), The Yankee and Cowboy War (1976), and The JFK Assassination: The Facts and the Theories (1992). The Oglesby Papers include research files, correspondence, published and unpublished writing, with the weight of the collection falling largely on the period after 1975.
- Assassination Information Bureau
- Gehlen, Reinhard, 1902-1979
- Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963--Assassination
- King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
- Political activists
- Student movements
- Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
- United States--Foreign relations
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975
- Watergate Affair, 1972-1974
- Oglesby, Carl, 1935-
Yann de Pierrefeu Diaries, 1927-1938.
Call no.: MS 815
Marie Alphonse Leopold Jehan Tudor Dedons “Yann” de Pierrefeu was born in 1905, the eldest of four children born into a distinguished family and heir to a French marquisate. After attending the Groton School and Harvard, Pierrefeu settled in Cape Ann, marrying Ellen Hemenway Taintor in 1930.
A dedicated, if idiosyncratic diarist, Pierrefeu left a large number of dense and often impenetrable volumes that can be part dream book, part imagination, and part quixotic engagement with the turbulent events of the 1930s. Laden with references to the Oz novels and replete with nicknames and apparently coded language, the diaries offer glimpses into Pierrefeu’s social life and marriage, and his reactions to the Great Depression, national politics, history, and the growing crises in Europe and Asia.
- Pierrefeu, Ellen Taintor
Types of material