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East German Packaging Design Collection

East German Packaging Design Collection, ca.1955-1985
4 boxes (6 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 519

The concept of product marketing in a Communist state may seem slightly incongruous, but in the countries of the Eastern Bloc, consumer goods were packaged and sold with much the same care as they were in the west. The Packaging Design Collection contains examples of quotidian products sold during the post-war period, ranging from boxes for soap powder to toothpaste, shampoo, and sugar sacks. The collection documents the visual language used on consumer products in East Germany and the evolution of graphic design in the Communist states of Eastern Europe from the 1950s through 1980s.

Subjects
  • Germany, East
  • Packaging--Design--Germany, East

Ebert, Siegried

Siegfried Ebert Papers, 1933-1986
2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 576
Siegfried Ebert Papers image
Ebert in his studio, ca.1965

The graphic artist Siegfried Ebert had an important influence on the visual language of East German television and animated motion pictures. Born in Eibau on July 20, 1926, Ebert was drafted into the Luftwaffe in 1943, but shortly after going on active duty, he was severely wounded and taken prisoner by the English. After his release, Ebert shifted course in life, studying commercial art at the Kunstgewerbeschule Zittau and film at the Hochschule für bildende und angewandte Kunst in Wiessensee. He became one of the earliest artists to specialize in the new medium of television, working for Deutscher Fernsehfunk, doing graphic design and animation. A member of the Verband Bildender Künstler Deutschlands, he later worked on animated films for the DEFA studios. Suffering from ill health for the last several years of his life, Ebert suffered a heart attack in November 1985, and died at home shortly after his sixtieth birthday in 1986.

The Ebert Collection includes a small assortment of correspondence, awards, and biographical materials, along with examples of his graphic work for television and film. Among other unusual items in the collection are attractive handbills (small posters) for Progress and DEFA films, some original sketches, photographs and mockups of his artwork for television, and an assortment of personal and professional ephemera.

Subjects
  • Germany, East--Social life and customs
  • Graphic artists--Germany, East
  • Motion pictures--Germany, East
  • Prisoners of War--Germany
  • Television--Germany, East
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Ebert, Siegfried
  • Thorndike, Andrew
Types of material
  • Animation drawings
  • Ephemera
  • Handbills
  • Photographs
  • Posters

Kraus, Karl

Karl Kraus Papers, 1880-1962 (Bulk: 1930-1962)
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 470
Karl Kraus Papers image
Karl Krauss

Known for his bitingly satirical poetry, plays, and essays, the Austrian writer Karl Kraus was born in what is today Jicin, Czech Republic. At the age of three, Kraus and his family moved to Vienna, where he remained for the rest of his life. He is best known as editor of the literary journal Die Fackel (The Torch), which he founded in 1899 and to which he was the sole contributor from 1911 until his death in 1936.

Gabriel Rosenrauch, a lawyer from Chernivtsi, Ukraine, collected materials about Kraus and his career, including newspaper articles and essays in German, Yiddish, Hebrew, English, and French written between 1914 and 1962. A few of these were written by well-known authors such as Hermann Hesse and Werner Kraft. The collection features personal photographs of Kraus from throughout his life, as well as photographs of his apartment in Vienna. Also of note are the indexes to Kraus’ journal Die Fackel that were composed by Rosenrauch, whose personal correspondence with Kraus archivist Helene Kann is part of the collection.

Subjects
  • Kokoschka, Oskar, 1886-1980
  • Kraft, Werner, 1896-1991
  • Vienna (Austria)--History--20th century
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Kraus, Karl, 1874-1936
  • Rosenrauch, Gabriel
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Libera, John

John Libera Collection, 1934-1988
1 flat box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 048
John Libera Collection image
Polish Tigers baseball team, ca.1935

A member of the Polish community in Southbridge, Mass., John Libera (1919-2007) was a long-time employee of American Optical Company, but was best known as a promoter of polka music and dancing. A performer, song writer, and host of a radio show for over thirty years, Libera was inducted into the Polka Music Hall of Fame in 1982 and invited to perform at the American Folklife Festival in 1988.

The Libera collection consists of four photographs of the Polish community in Southbridge during the 1930s along with fourteen photos, a videotape, and some correspondence and ephemera relating to the American Folklife Festival.

Subjects
  • Baseball teams--Massachusetts--Southbridge--Photographs
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Southbridge--Photographs
  • Southbridge (Mass.)
  • Women--Societies and clubs--Massachusetts--Southbridge--Photographs
Contributors
  • Libera, John
Types of material
  • Photographs

Ring, Hans Joachim

Hans Joachim Ring Collection of East German Cinema, 1945-1990
10 boxes (4.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 566
Hans Joachim Ring Collection of East German Cinema image
Bummi

Born in Germany on Aug. 4, 1934, Hans Joachim Ring was a film enthusiast with an encyclopedic knowledge of German cinema. During the Second World War, movie theatres became a refuge for the young boy, whose family was forced several times to flee due to Allied bombing. The hardships of post-war life cemented the role of film in his life and as he grew older, he became an ardent collector of materials relating to film.

The Ring Collection includes hundreds of programs, fliers, and handbills published by the official East German film distributors Progress Film-Vertrieb and the Deutsche Film Aktiengesellschaft (DEFA) and sold to patrons at theatres. This extraordinary assemblage includes several hundred programs covering the immediate post-war period (1945-1950) and hundreds more relating to films released up to and beyond the end of the Communist era. Offering insight into the evolution of graphic design in East Germany and the marketing of film, the collection is one of the largest of its kind in the United States.

Subjects
  • Children's films--Germany, East
  • Motion pictures--Germany, East
Contributors
  • Deutsche Film Aktiengesellschaft
  • Progress Film-Vertrieb
  • Ring, Hans Joachim
Types of material
  • Fliers (Printed matter)
  • Handbills
  • Programs

Tass Sovfoto Photograph Collection

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.

Subjects
  • 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

Mission and history

Mission

Cattle judging at Mass. Agricultural College

Judging cattle at Mass. Agricultural College

A steward of the past for generations to come, SCUA inspires discovery through the collection and curation of cultural heritage materials. As part of a community dedicated to the values of diversity, social equity, and positive social change, SCUA acts through its collections, programs, and exhibitions to promote free inquiry; the production, exchange, and preservation of knowledge; and joy in learning.

Department history

African dancers

African dancers
From the Horace Mann Bond Papers

In 1931, nearly half a century after Librarian Henry Hill Goodell first authorized the permanent retention of the official records of Massachusetts Agricultural College, the Library established a College History Collection. Containing official records of the university’s administrators and faculty and reflecting the life of its students, the College History Collection grew steadily until in 1953, the Library dedicated a room named in honor of Dean William L. Machmer to serve as the first true home of the University Archives.

Goodell’s foresight in assembling the College archives coincided roughly with the university’s first efforts to build a collection of rare books to support its educational mission. As early as 1868 — just one year after the arrival of the first students — the college accepted the donation of twenty scarce volumes on bee culture from the apiculturist (and state Adjutant General) Henry K. Oliver. By the time the college issued its first library catalog in 1875, rare books were a small, but notable part of the collections, closely focused on the primary academic interests of the early college: agriculture, horticulture and botany, and the natural sciences. Included among the Library’s earliest acquisitions were the first London edition of William Bartram’s Travels Through North and South Carolina (1792), François Augier de Marigny’s The History of the Arabians (London, 1758), and early bee manuals by John Keys, The Practical Bee-Master (London, 1780) and The Antient Bee-Master’s Farewell (London, 1796) — both courtesy of Oliver. Each of these volumes remains part of the collections today.

David Axelrod, Class of 1965

David B. Axelrod, ca.1980, Class of 1965, poet, author of The Man who Fell in Love with His Chicken (1980)

From these beginnings, the collection of rare books and manuscripts has co-evolved with the university and its academic programs. In 1973, the acquisition of the records of the Valley Peace Center and the papers of ethnographer Jozef Obrebski marked an expansion of scope beyond into personal papers and organizational records of historical significance beyond the narrow confines of the university, and the arrival of the papers on W.E.B. Du Bois in that same year marked a turning point. The rare book and manuscript collections were merged with the University Archives in the early 1990s to form the current Department of Special Collections and University Archives.

SCUA’s initial foray online came with a simple page on the library’s website in 1997, and by 2007, it had evolved into the UMarmot project, one of the earliest efforts to use freely-available software to create a comprehensive online archival catalog. SCUA launched its online digital repository, Credo in 2011, with the generous support of the Verizon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. Available free to all researchers, Credo is now a robust and heavily used presence on the internet, containing hundreds of thousands of pages of content and dozens of complete collections, including every item in the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois and Horace Mann Bond.

Mile markers

Each of the library’s million-volume milestones has been celebrated by the addition of a special volume to SCUA’s collections:

One millionth volume:
Jonathan Edwards, A careful and strict enquiry into the modern prevailing notions of that freedom of will; which is supposed to be essential to moral agency, vertue and vice, reward and punishment, praise and blame. Boston: S. Kneeland, 1754.
SCUA’s copy of this classic theological work on Free Will from the New Light minister from Northampton belonged to Rev. John Cleaveland of Ipswich, Mass., one of the subscribers. It is signed and dated by Cleaveland in several locations.
Two millionth volume:
Phillis Wheatley, Poems on various subjects, religious and moral. London: A. Bell, 1773.
A classic of American literature written by a young woman enslaved in Boston, and the first book published by an African-American woman. Gift of Randolph W. Bromery.
Three millionth volume:
James Baldwin, Gypsy and other poems, with etched portraits by Leonard Baskin. Northampton, Mass.: Gehenna Press, 1989.
When Baldwin, a former faculty member at UMass Amherst, died unexpectedly, he was working with the great printer Leonard Baskin on a special volume of unpublished poems. Celebrating SCUA’s strengths in African American history literature and reflecting the fine-printing heritage in Massachusetts, SCUA’s copy includes a signed portfolio of etchings of Baldwin by Baskin, each signed. It is one of fifty copies bound specially by Daniel Gehnrich in leather and paste paper, made by Babette Gehnrich, over boards, and laid into a cloth traycase. Also laid in are Baskin’s proof, 1989, and touched proof, 1989, of two of the portraits. Gift of Lisa Baskin.
Four millionth volume:
The proclamation of emancipation of the President of the United States, to take effect January 1st, 1863. Boston: John Murray Forbes, 1862.
The first separate printing of the Emancipation Proclamation, this volume was printed in miniature so that Union army troops in the south could more easily distribute it.

Learn more:

New Approaches to History

New Approaches to History Collection, 1967-1985
23 boxes (10.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 182

The collection documents the creation and content of a course entitled New Approaches to History, which relied almost exclusively on the use of primary sources in teaching undergraduates history at UMass.

The collection includes the course proposal, correspondence, syllabi, course assignments, and resources for three units: Salem witchcraft, Shay’s Rebellion, and Lizzie Borden.

Subjects
  • History--Study and teaching
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History

Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP)

Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) Records, 1992-2016
4 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 868
Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) Records image

Originating in 1991, the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) was established “to create a global network for book historians working in a broad range of scholarly disciplines.” With more than 1,000 members, research interests include the composition and reception of books as well as their survival and transformation over time.

Records cover the earliest days of the organization’s development, including founding documents, and document a variety of their activities from hosting conferences and publishing a newsletter to promoting scholarship.

Subjects
  • Authors and readers
  • Authorship
  • Books--History
  • Publishers and publishing

Valley Women’s History Collaborative

Valley Women's History Collaborative Records, 1971-2008
15 boxes (10 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 531

During the early phases of second wave feminism (1968-1978), the Pioneer Valley served as a center for lesbian and feminist activity in western Massachusetts, and was home to over 400 hundred, often ad hoc, groups, such as the Abortion and Birth Control (ABC) Committee, ISIS Women’s Center, the Mudpie Childcare Cooperative, and the Springfield Women’s Center.

The records of the Valley Women’s History Collaborative document the activities of these groups as well as the efforts of the founders of the Women Studies program and department at UMass Amherst to preserve this history. Of particular value are the many oral histories conducted by the collaborative that record the history of women’s activism in the Pioneer Valley, especially as it relates to reproductive rights.

Subjects
  • Abortion--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History--20th century
  • Birth control--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History--20th century
  • Feminism--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History
  • Feminists--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--Political activity--History
  • Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League
  • Women--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--Political activity--History
Contributors
  • Valley Women's History Collaborative
Types of material
  • Oral histories
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