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Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage

Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage Records, 1998-1999
8 boxes (12 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 758
Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage Records image
Landing at Havana, Cuba, Nov. 24, 1998

Organized at the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett, Mass., the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage was a twelve-month walk through the eastern United States, the Caribbean, Brazil, West Africa, and South Africa in 1998-1999, reversing the direction of the Middle Passage symbolically and geographically. A “living prayer of the heart, mind, and body for the sons and daughters of the African Diaspora,” the Pilgrimage was intended by the participants to contribute to a process of healing the wounds inflicted by hundreds of years of slavery and racial oppression. Along the way, participants visited sites associated with the history of slavery, from slaves quarters in Virginia to stations on the Underground Railroad and villages that had been raided in Africa, offering prayers for those who had suffered under slavery and commemorating the dignity of those held in bondage and those who resisted.

Chronicling the course of the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage from conception to conclusion, this collection contains a rich textual and visual record of a spiritual approach to addressing the legacy of slavery in the Americas. The collection includes the range of materials collected by participants during the Pilgrimage, including lists of reading materials, information on the sites visited, a handful of mementoes and souvenirs, some correspondence, and notes and photographs taken along the way.

Subjects
  • Pilgrims and pilgrimages
  • Slavery--History
Types of material
  • Photographs

Josephs, Stephen

Stephen Josephs Photograph Collection, 1972-1978
13 images
Call no.: PH 013
Stephen Josephs Photograph Collection image
Stephen Josephs

The Guru Ram Das Ashram was founded in Montague, Massachusetts, in 1972 by Steve Josephs under the inspiration of Yogi Bhajan. Affiliated with the 3HO (Healthy Happy Holy Organization) and the Sikh Dharma Brotherhood, the ashram provided instruction in Kundalini Yoga and Tantric meditation, and at one point, there were as many as 21 residents of the house. Yogi Bhajan married Josephs and his wife Alice in an arranged marriage in 1972, and the couple (then called Gurushabd Singh and Gurushabd Kaur) left the ashram in 1983.

The Josephs Collection includes 13 digital images depicting the Montague ashram and its residents. The collection includes images of Yogi Bhajan and the Josephs.

Subjects
  • Ashrams--Massachusetts
  • Guru Ramdas Ashram (Montague, Mass.)
  • Josephs, Stephen
  • Montague (Mass.)--Photographs
Types of material
  • Photographs

Kehler, Randy

Randy Kehler Papers, 1978-1997
17 boxes (7.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 396

A veteran of the peace movement and founder of the Traprock Peace Center (1979), Randy Kehler was active in the National Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, the Peace Development Fund, and the Working Group on Electoral Democracy. Beginning in 1977, he and his wife became war tax resisters, withholding federal income tax to protest U.S. military expenditures, donating it instead to charity. As a consequence, their home was seized by the IRS in 1989, setting up a protracted legal struggle that resulted in Kehler’s arrest and imprisonment and the sale of the house. They remain tax resisters.

The Kehler Papers document the five year struggle (1989-1994) against the seizure and sale of the Kehlers’ home by the IRS. The collection includes meeting minutes, notes, correspondence, newspaper clippings; letters to the editor, essays, articles, plans and strategy documents for the vigil set outside the Kehler home; support committee information and actions; correspondence with government officials, the IRS, and the Justice Department; letters of support; documents from the legal proceedings; and political literature addressing the Kehlers’ situation.

Subjects
  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Argo, Ed
  • Colrain (Mass.)
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Tax collection--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Tax evasion--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Tax-sales--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Taxation--Law and Legislation
  • Traprock Peace Center
  • Valley Community Land Trust
  • War tax resitance--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Withholding tax--Law and legislation
  • Withholding tax--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Corner, Betsy
  • Kehler, Randy
  • Link, Mary
  • Mosely, Don
  • Nelson, Juanita
Types of material
  • Court records
  • Diaries
  • Legal documents
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Scrapbooks

Laymen’s Academy for Oecumenical Studies (LAOS)

Laymen's Academy for Oecumenical Studies Records, 1956-1976
22 boxes (11.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 020

An oecumenical ministry based in Amherst, Massachusetts, that sought to inspire local citizens to act upon their religious faith in their daily lives and occupations, and to reinvigorate religious dialogue between denominations.

Includes by-laws, minutes, membership records, news clippings, press releases, treasurer’s reports, letters to and from David S. King, correspondence between religious leaders and local administrators, and printed materials documenting programs and organizations in which the Laymen’s Academy for Oecumenical Studies (L.A.O.S.) participated or initiated, especially Faith and Life Meetings. Also contains questionnaires, announcements, bulletins, and photographs.

Subjects
  • Christian union--Massachusetts--History
  • Interdenominational cooperation--Massachusetts--History
Contributors
  • King, David S., 1927-
  • Laymen's Academy for Oecumenical Studies (Amherst, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Photographs

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends Records, 1654-2016
(384.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 902

In 1661, less than a decade after the first Friends arrived in British North America, the precursor to the New England Yearly Meeting was organized as the Rhode Island Yearly Meeting. As one of approximately two dozen yearly meetings in the United States, the NEYM currently comprises eight quarterly meetings and approximately 85 monthlies, which are the basic unit of organization for the Society. Like many Yearly meetings, the NEYM has been diverse in spiritual practice, reflected in a history of separations and reunions. Most famously, Orthodox Friends in New England divided in the 1840s into the increasingly evangelically-oriented Gurneyites, who went by the name Yearly Meeting of Friends for New England (joining Friends United Meeting in 1902), and the Wilburites, sometimes called Conservative Friends. In 1945, the disparate branches formally reunited.

Consolidated beginning in the 1960s, the NEYM collection contains the official records of the New England Yearly Meeting from its founding in the seventeenth century to the present, along with records of most of its constituent Quarterly, Monthly, and Preparative Meetings and records of Quaker schools and trusts. As varied as the Quaker practice they document, these records include minutes of meetings for business; committee records; newsletters, financial records; some personal papers; printed books and serials; and an assortment of photographs, audiovisual materials, microfilm, and electronic records. Of particular note are the vital statistics recorded by the Monthly Meetings, including general information on births, deaths, marriages, membership, and obituaries, and specifically-Quaker information on removals (formal letters written as members moved from one meeting to another), denials, testimonies (beliefs and convictions), and sufferings (penalties Quakers suffered for following testimonies). The Archives Committee of the NEYM is a partner in records management and on-going documentation of the Meeting and its constituent bodies. The collection also includes several thousand Quaker books and pamphlets, including the libraries of Moses and Obadiah Brown and several individual monthly meetings. The records of most monthly meetings in Maine are held at the Maine Historical Society, while important bodies of records are held at the Newport Historical Society (some Nantucket and Rhode Island Meetings) or at individual Monthly Meetings.

An overview of the NEYM collections and a comprehensive inventory and finding aid prepared by Richard Stattler in 1997 at the Rhode Island Historical Society are available online. Stattler’s inventory includes materials in the NEYM Collection at UMass, as well as NEYM materials held at other institutions. SCUA’s updated inventory will follow in 2017.

Subjects
  • Quakers--New England
  • Society of Friends--New England--History

Perske, Robert

Robert and Martha Perske Papers, 1964-2005
13 boxes (19.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 772
Robert and Martha Perske Papers image
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.

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

Sanders, Paul Samuel

Paul Samuel Sanders Papers, 1937-1972
(9 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 084

Methodist Clergyman; literary and religious scholar.

Correspondence, drafts of writings, notes for lectures and sermons, book reviews, course materials, class notes taken as a student, biographical material, and other papers, relating chiefly to Sander’s studies of English and religious literature, his teaching career at several colleges (including the University of Massachusetts) and church-related activities. Includes draft of an unpublished book on the Bible as literature; correspondence and organized material from his participation in Laymen’s Academy for Oecumenical Studies, Amherst Massachusetts (LAOS); and notebook of funeral records (1940-1957).

Subjects
  • Layman's Academy for Oecumenical Studies
  • Methodist Church--Clergy
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
Contributors
  • Sanders, Paul Samuel
Types of material
  • Sermons

Schultze, Robert and Waldemar

Robert and Waldemar Schultze Papers, 1941-1950
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 528

Robert and Waldemar Schultze were brothers from Buffalo, New York, held in disciplinary army barracks because of their status as conscientious objectors during the Second World War. Both Robert and Waldemar wrote to their mother, Jennie Schultze, frequently, and she to them. The collection contains roughly 120 letters, almost all of them dated, spanning mainly from 1943 to 1944. Robert, the younger of the two Schultze boys, also wrote to his fiancee Helen Anne Rosen.

The letters concern everything from the family dog to the family business. Due to strictly enforced censorship, the brother’s were cautious in the official letters home to their mother. Waldemar and Robert were able to sneak a handful of letters out of prison to their mother, however, and in those letters they wrote honestly about the conditions they encountered. In one such letter, Waldemar wrote his mother and told her about the threat of postponing his good behavior release date if he should slip up and write something that had to be censored, or even if she wrote something to him that needed to be censored. A small amount of correspondence exists that is addressed to Jennie from Attorneys J. Barnsdall and J. Cornell, regarding Robert and Waldemar’s case.

Subjects
  • Conscientious objectors--New York
  • Pacifists--United States
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Schultze, Robert
  • Schultze, Waldemar

Sirius Community

Sirius Community Collection, 1979-2003
2 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 835

Founded in September 1978, Sirius is an intentional community in Shutesbury, Mass., built on four foundational pillars: spiritual, ecological, communitarian, and educational. Established by former members of the Scottish Findhorn Community, Sirius is rooted in a non-sectarian spirituality and practices consensus in the community governance process and in their shared vision of an ecologically sustainable future.

The Sirius collection contains a nearly complete run of the commune newsletter along with a selection of fliers and brochures about the community, and a small number of newsclippings and photographs.

Subjects
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Sustainability
Types of material
  • Newsletters

Steindl-Rast, David

Brother David Steindl-Rast Papers, ca. 1928-2015
60 boxes (75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 892
Brother David Steindl-Rast Papers image
Brother David at Mount Savior Monastery, ca. 1956

Brother David Steindl-Rast was born Franz Kuno in Vienna, Austria, in 1926. He discovered The Rule of St. Benedict as a young man, which sent him on a search for an authentic version of Benedictine practice. This search brought him through the Second World War in Vienna, where he earned a Ph.D from the University of Vienna in 1952 and to the Mount Savior Monastery in Elmira, New York, where he became a monk in 1953. Along with his friend Thomas Merton, Brother David is one of the most important figures in the modern interfaith dialogue movement, leaving Mount Savior in the mid-1960s to study Zen Buddhism with Hakuun Yajutami, Shunayu Suzuki, and Soen Nakagawa. He was the first Benedictine to learn directly from Buddhist teachers and received Vatican support for his bridge-building work in 1967. Through Merton, Brother David met Thich Nhat Hanh, who introduced him to the peace movement and grounded Brother David’s spirituality in a tradition of activism. When not in seclusion, Brother David has served as a teacher of contemplative prayer, the intersection of Zen and Catholicism, and gratefulness as a spiritual practice. Through many books and articles, lectures, and residencies in spiritual centers like Tassajara and the Esalen Institute, Brother David has developed an influential philosophy and much of the current popularity of mindfulness and Zen-influenced living and activism owes a debt to his teachings.

The Brother David Steindl-Rast Papers include Brother David’s extensive published and unpublished writings, sermons, memoirs, personal journals, correspondence, photographs, recordings, and videos of his teachings. His papers extend back to his youth in Vienna, documenting his childhood and experience during the war, including a complete run of Die Goldene Wagen, the children’s magazine published by Brother David’s mother Elisabeth Rast.

Subjects
  • Benedictines--United States
  • Buddhism--Relations
  • Christianity--Relations
  • Peace movements--United States
  • Peace--Religious aspects
  • Spiritual life--Buddhism
  • Spiritual life--Catholic church
Contributors
  • Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968
  • Steindl-Rast, David
Types of material
  • Photographs
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