University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Black Mass Communications Project

Black Mass Communications Project Collection
ca.1970-1985
10 boxes (15 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 045/30 B4

The Black Mass Communications Project was founded as an educational and informational outlet for Black students at UMass Amherst in 1968 and authorized in the following year as a Registered Student Organization. Over the years, BCMP played varied roles on campus, hosting cultural events, lectures, workshops, and social gatherings as to help keep black music alive. Many of its early members were also affiliated with the student radio station WMUA, and throughout the 1970s, the organization played a prominent role in providing programming to the station, offering programming highlighting African American music and current affairs.

The BCMP collection consists of many dozens of reel to reel audiotapes of radio broadcasts aired over WMUA during the 1970s and early 1980s by and for the university’s African American community. Included is a range of locally-produced public affairs, cultural, and music programming, with some content licensed from around the country. A few of the tapes are associated with the Five College’s National Public Radio affiliate, WFCR.

Subjects
  • African American college students
  • African American music
  • College radio stations--Massachusetts
  • WFCR (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)
  • WMUA (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Sound recordings

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
Image of

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

Gale, Amory, 1800-1873

Amory Gale Ledgers
1840-1872
2 vols. (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 259 bd

A physician and native of Warwick, Mass., Amory Gale worked as an allopath after his graduation from Brown College in 1824, before turning to homeopathy in the mid-1850s. Often struggling with ill health, Gale plied his trade in a long succession of towns, including Canton, Scituate, Mansfield, and Medway, Massachusetts, as well as towns in Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Between 1844 and 1853, he interrupted his medical practice for a turn in the pulpit.

Gale’s surviving ledgers include accounts with patients, their form of payment, lists of medical fees, and a draft of a business agreement with a fellow homeopath in Woonsocket, J.S. Nichols.

Subjects
  • Physicians--Massachusetts
Types of material
  • Account books

Perske, Robert

Robert and Martha Perske Papers
1964-2005
13 boxes (19.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 772
Image of Bob and Martha Perske with their dog, Wolfie, 2004
Bob and Martha Perske with their dog, Wolfie, 2004

While serving with the U.S. Navy in the Philippines during World War II, the teenaged Bob Perske became aware of the vulnerable and disabled in society and turned his life toward advocacy on their behalf. Studying for the ministry after returning to civilian life, Perske was appointed chaplain at the Kansas Neurological Institute, serving children with intellectual disabilities for 11 years, after which he became a full-time street, court, and prison worker — a citizen advocate — laboring in the cause of deinstitutionalization and civil rights of persons with disabilities, particularly those caught in the legal system. After Bob married his wife Martha in 1971, the two became partners in work, with Martha often illustrating Bob’s numerous books and articles. In 2002, Perske was recognized by the American Bar Association as the only non-lawyer to ever receive the Paul Hearne Award for Services to Persons with Disabilities.

The Perske Papers contains a fifty year record of published and unpublished writings by Bob Perske on issues surrounding persons with disabilities, along with correspondence, photographs, and other materials relating to the Perskes’ activism. The correspondence includes a particularly rich set of letters with a fellow advocate for persons with disabilities, Robert R. Williams.

Gift of Robert and Martha Perske, 2013
Subjects
  • Mental retardation--Social aspects
  • People with disabilities--Deinstitutionalization
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
Contributors
  • Perske, Martha
  • Williams, Robert R.
Types of material
  • Photographs

Albertson, Dean, 1920-

Dean Albertson Oral History Collection
1975-1977
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 224

A long-time faculty member at UMass Amherst, Dean Albertson was an historian of the twentieth century United States with a specialty in oral history. A veteran of the Second World War, Albertson received his BA from University of California Berkeley (1942) and doctorate from Columbia (1955), joining the Department of History at UMass in 1965 after several years at Brooklyn College. The author of books on Dwight Eisenhower, Claude Wickard (Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of Agriculture), and the student movements of the 1960s, Albertson was interested throughout his career in new methods in research and teaching history. He died at his home in Longmeadow, Mass., on March 31, 1989, at the age of 68.

Dean Albertson’s History 384 class at UMass Amherst, required students to conduct oral histories relating to a theme in contemporary U.S. history chosen each year. Between 1975 and 1977, Albertson’s students interviewed social activists of the 1960s and early 1970s, participants and observers in the North End riots of 1975 in Springfield, Massachusetts, and war and nuclear power resisters. The collection includes transcripts of 15 interviews conducted during this period, as well as the students’ papers, which put the transcripts into context.

Subjects
  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Civil rights--Massachusetts--Hampden County
  • Demonstrations--Massachusetts--Chicopee
  • History--Study and teaching (Higher)--Massachusetts-- Amherst
  • Police shootings--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Political activists--Massachusetts--Interviews
  • Prison riots--New York (State)--attica
  • Puerto Ricans--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Riots--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Selma-Montgomery rights March, 1965.
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Race relations
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Venceremos Brigade
  • Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975--Protest movements -- Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Welfare rights movement--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Westover Air Force Base (Mass.)
Types of material
  • Oral histories

Bestor, Charles

Charles Bestor Papers
1971-2002
2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 126

A composer, Professor of Composition, and Director of the Electronic and Computer Music Studios at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Charles Bestor has also taught at Juilliard School of Music and other universities, won international awards for his music, and collaborated with contemporary installation artists.

The Bestor Papers includes scores and sound recordings for two of his compositions, Suite for Alto Saxophone and Percussion and In the Shell of the Ear, as well as correspondence, concert programs, and reviews, all relating to the publication and performance of the works.

Gift of Charles Bestor, Mar.-Apr. 2004
Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance
Contributors
  • Bestor, Charles

Brown, Robert E.

Robert E. Brown Southbridge (Mass.) Collection
1973-1977
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 029

During the mid-1970s, Robert Brown worked as a fifth grade teacher at the West Street School, Southbridge, Mass., while pursuing a graduate degree in anthropology at UMass Amherst under Joel Halpern. Part of Brown’s research involved conducting oral histories with Southbridge families identified as “ethnic,” including Albanian, Greek, Polish, Portuguese, Italian, and Puerto Rican, as well as the only African American family in town at the time. Brown published his work in local newspapers and ultimately in the book, The New New Englanders (Worcester, Mass.: Commonwealth Press, 1980).

The Brown collection includes copies of his newspaper articles, profiles of the families he studied, and apparently complete transcripts of two oral history interviews. Also included are copies of two papers by Brown on Southbridge, possibly for an anthropology class, analyzing the education of Puerto Rican students and the lives of Rumanian Americans.

Subjects
  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Southbridge
  • Greek Americans--Massachusetts--Southbridge
  • Immigrants--Massachusetts
  • Italian Americans--Massachusetts--Southbridge
  • Rumanian Americans--Massachusetts--Southbridge
  • Southbridge (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • Brown, Robert E
Types of material
  • Oral histories

Early Children’s Literature

Early Children's Literature Collection
1810-1894
42 items (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 017
Image of The New Picture-Book (1837)
The New Picture-Book (1837)

Publishers in Western Massachusetts engaged in a brisk trade in books intended for children during the antebellum years, producing chapbooks to teach reading, didactic works on morals and comportment, and toy books for reward and entertainment. Brief and most often simply produced, the books are noted for their diminutive size, stock woodcut illustrations and characteristic moralistic tone, but they are rich sources for understanding popular conceptions of childhood, education, religious life, and marketing in the book trade, among other subjects.

The majority of the works in the Early Children’s Literature collection were products of the antebellum press in western Massachusetts, produced and distributed by printers such as John Metcalf (Wendell and Northampton), Anson Phelps (Greenfield), and A. R. Merrifield (Northampton). There are examples of chapbooks from other printers, most notably Mahlon Day of New York and the American Sunday School Union in Philadelphia.

Acquired variously.
Subjects
  • Children's literature--Massachusetts
  • Toy and movable books
Contributors
  • Metcalf, John, 1788-1864
Types of material
  • Books

Ege, Otto F., 1888-1951

Otto F. Ege, "Fifty Original Leaves From Medieval Manuscripts"
12th-14th century
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 570
Image of Beauvais Missal
Beauvais Missal

The scholar of book history Otto F. Ege disassembled works from his personal collection of medieval manuscripts to create forty portfolios of fifty leaves each, offering these sets for sale to individuals and institutions under the title “Fifty Original Leaves From Medieval Manuscripts.” Marketing his portfolios as a resource for study of the history of the book, book illustration, and paleography, Ege justified his biblioclastic enterprise as a means of sharing the beauties of Medieval books with a wider audience.

The majority of the texts scavenged for Otto Ege’s “Fifty Original Leaves From Medieval Manuscripts” (all but one in Latin) are liturgical in origin — Bibles, psalters, missals, breviaries, and Books of Hours — however Ege also included a few less common works such as the 15th-century manuscript of Livy’s History of Rome and a version of Thomas Aquinas’s Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. The leaves range in date from the late twelfth to the early sixteenth century and represent a number of distinctive regional styles in paleography and illumination from throughout western Europe, including Italy, France, Germany, the Low Countries, Switzerland, and England. The UMass Amherst set is number six of 40.

Language(s): Latin
Subjects
  • Manuscripts, Medieval
  • Paleography
Contributors
  • Ege, Otto F., 1888-1951
Types of material
  • Books of hours
  • Breviaries
  • Illuminated manuscripts
  • Missals

Emery, George

George Emery Papers
ca.1900-1975
8 boxes (30 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 982
Image of Tri-County Fair, ca.1920
Tri-County Fair, ca.1920

After graduating from Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1924, George Edward “Red” Emery taught high school briefly and held a handful of other jobs before deciding to fulfill a childhood dream. Born in Marlboro, Mass., in 1904, Emery turned his love for the circus into a life touring the country as a white-face circus clown. After marrying Virginia Link, a Smith College student, in 1932, he settled down to a stable job in the Alumni Office at his alma mater, later filling in as Veterans Coordinator and as a staff member in the Student Placement Office until his retirement in 1972. Emery never left the circus behind entirely. Throughout his years in Amherst he continued to talk and write about the history of the circus and his personal experiences, and from the late 1940s through early 1960s, he used his show business connections to book talent for the Tri-County Fair. Longtime residents of Leverett, Mass., he and his wife died within a year of one another, Virginia in 1974 and George in 1975.

With his passion for the circus, George Emery’s papers contain material not only from his career as a circus clown in the 1920s but also from his later writings about the history of the circus, his work with the Tri-County Fair, and his long association with UMass Amherst. The collection includes correspondence with friends and family; circus toys and games; posters, photographs, and ephemera; and a library of books on circus history. Of special note are some exceptional photographs, a thick sheaf of material from the Tri-County Fair, and four remarkable scrapbooks from the internationally famous animal act Fred Kerslake’s Pigs. Beginning in 1889, Fred Kerslake and his wife, Mary, traveled the world with a team of acrobatic intellectual pigs (and later donkeys) performing to packed houses. In the 1960s, Mary Kerslake gave the scrapbooks to Emery to assist in his research and writing on circus history.

Gift of Chris Emery, July 2017
Subjects
  • Circus performers
  • Circus--History
  • Clowns
  • Pigs
  • Tri-County Fair
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Alumni
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Staff
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