“… there must come vast social change in the United States; a change not violent, but by the will of the people certain and inexorable; carried out ‘with malice toward none but charity for all’; with meticulous justice to the rich and complete sympathy for the poor, the sick and the ignorant; with freedom and democracy for America, and on earth Peace, Good Will toward men.”
W.E.B. Du Bois, Chicago, June 29, 1951
In keeping with our mission, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives collects materials of enduring historical and cultural value relating to four major thematic areas: the history and experience of social change in America; the histories and cultures of New England with an emphasis on Massachusetts; innovation and entrepreneurship; and the broad community associated with the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Our collections are tightly integrated and span all formats, including personal papers and organizational records, books and periodicals, maps, photographs, audio and video recordings, and digital materials of all kinds, and they currently include over 35,000 printed items, approximately 30,000 linear feet of manuscript and archival materials, tens of thousands of photographs, and a burgeoning array of digital assets.
While not comprehensive, the following includes a brief synopsis of some of the primary focal points for SCUA’s collections:
Following in the footsteps of W.E.B. Du Bois, we recognize the inherent interconnectedness of a broad range of issues in social justice and collect original materials that document the organizational, intellectual, and individual ties that unite disparate struggles for social equality, human dignity, and justice. In adopting social change as a primary collecting focus, we hope to move beyond viewing social and political movements in isolation and toward a vision that acknowledges the connections between and among them. Ultimately, we wish to lay a foundation for examining the larger histories of social engagement in America and the broader experience of social change that is difficult to encapsulate within a single social movement.
A distinctive feature of SCUA’s approach to collecting is our effort to include “whole lives and whole communities,” to provide a robust basis for interpreting the background of the persons and organizations we document, their influences, interests, and the communities in which they operate.
Emphasizing the cross-fertilization between several social movements and centers of activist energy, including peace, social and racial justice, agricultural reform, environmentalism, sustainability, labor activism, gay activism, antinuclear activism, and intentional communities, but branching out to include antifluoridation activism, campaigns for voting rights and clean elections, community and charitable organizations, and the history of revolutionary-era Europe (1789-1848).
- African and African American history and culture: The history of race and ethnicity in America, with particular emphasis on the struggle for racial equality and social justice.
- Agriculture, horticulture, botany: Including agricultural science and practice, horticulture, animal husbandry, natural history, organic farming, sustainable living, and heritage breeds.
- Antinuclear movement: SCUA holds numerous collections documenting grassroots opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weaponry.
- Arts management and arts administration:
In partnership with the UMass Amherst Arts Extension Service, the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and several other arts agencies, SCUA documents the history of arts administration in America. Collecting the records of state and national arts agencies, we will provide a foundation for research into the evolution of arts policy, strategies for supporting the arts, and the economic and cultural impact of the arts on our communities.
- Cold War Culture: The culture of the Cold War, with an emphasis upon East Germany, Poland, and Yugoslavia. Among other areas, SCUA has a strong interest in the Solidarity movement and in partnership with the DEFA Film Library, in East German cinema and graphic arts.
- Disability: Organizational records and collections of personal papers documenting the history of disability and disability rights in the United States.
- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender issues: Materials relating to the history and experience of the LGBTQ community and liberation struggles.
- Labor, work, and industry: Organized labor, industrialization, manufacturing, business history, and the experience and culture of labor and working people.
- Peace: Materials relating to the peace and antiwar movements and non-violence, with an emphasis on New England.
Materials that document innovative and entrepreneurial activities, and particularly social entrepreneurship. The collections in SCUA include the papers of Mark H. McCormack (a pioneer in sport and entertainment marketing), Carl C. Harris (inventor and President of Rodney Hunt Co.), and numerous collections that document our region’s distinctive history of innovation in manufacturing and technology.
The social, political, cultural, intellectual, literary, and economic life, with an emphasis upon western New England. The department houses thousands of books on New England cookery, with a particular emphasis on charitable and community cookbooks and cookbooks and ephemera published by corporations and the food industry.
- Cookery and culinary history
SCUA has thousands of cookbooks and other materials on New England regional cuisine, including community and charitable cookbooks, commercial cookbooks by New England authors, corporate cookbooks, and culinary ephemera.
- Literature and the arts
Emphasizing poets and writers, playwrights, and the performing arts in New England.
- Politics and political culture
SCUA has rich collections documenting the history and politics of the Commonwealth, including the papers of Congressmen Silvio O. Conte and John Olver, State Senator Stanley Rosenberg, and State rep John Clark and the records of the Hampshire Council of Governments and several individual towns.
Serving as the memory of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University Archives collects, preserves, and makes available official and non-official records documenting the policies, programs, facilities, and activities of the campus community, including its administration, departments and programs, faculty, and staff. The Archives also avidly collects materials that reflect the lives and experiences of its students and alumni.
SCUA makes an effort to document the histories of the entire UMass community. Our holdings include the comprehensive official records of the University since its founding in 1863, papers of faculty, staff, and students, official and unofficial publications, oral histories, and a wide range of other collections that reflect on our history as the Commonwealth’s land grant institution.
SCUA has developed depth in a handful of other collecting areas, including:
Margo Culley Papers, 1973-1985.
Call no.: FS 103
A former Professor of English at UMass Amherst and contributor to the Program in Women’s Studies, Margaret (Margo) Culley was a specialist in women’s literature, particularly in women’s autobiography and diaries as a literary form. Her research drew variously upon work in literature, history, American studies, and religion, exploring gender and genre, language, subjectivity, memory, cultural diversity, and narrative. Between 1985 and 1994, she edited three volumes on American women’s autobiographical writing, and another on feminist teaching in the college classroom.
The Culley Papers offer a somewhat fragmentary glimpse into Culley’s academic career and her commitments to women’s literature. The collection includes selected notes for research and teaching, annotated bibliographies of women’s literature, a performance script for The Voices of Lost New England Women Writers, a federal grant proposal for The Black Studies/Women’s Studies Faculty Development Project (1981), and notes related to a study on minority women in the classroom. Letters collected by Culley’s students (late 18th and early 19th century) have been separated from the collection and designated as manuscript collections.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Women
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Women's Studies
- Culley, Margo
Frederick A. Cutter Papers, 1902-1996 (Bulk: 1902-1914).
Call no.: FS 090
A member of the Massachusetts Agricultural College class of 1907, Frederick A. Cutter participated in football, basketball, and baseball as a student, and was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity.
The Cutter collection contains photographs of the 1907 football team, the 1906 and 1907 members of Phi Sigma Kappa, and it includes a uniform from the M.A.C. basketball team, 1907, Massachusetts pennants and banners, a Lowell High School sweater from 1902, and early M.A.C. football equipment, including cleats and a nose guard.
- Caruthers, John T
- Livers, Susie D
- Massachusetts Agricultural College--Basketball
- Massachusetts Agricultural College--Football
- Massachusetts Agricultural College--Students
- Massachusetts Agricultural College. Class of 1907
- Phi Sigma Kappa (Massachusetts State College)
- Cutter, Frederick A
Types of material
- Sports uniforms
Dall Family Correspondence, 1810-1843.
Call no.: MS 282
Chiefly correspondence from various Dall family members in Boston, Massachusetts, particularly father William Dall, Revolutionary War veteran, merchant, businessman and former Yale College writing master, to sons William and James Dall in Baltimore, Maryland. Letters of son James Dall, then a student at Harvard University, provide accounts of Boston political and cultural activities of the time.
The correspondence documents the daily changes in the life of a merchant’s family in the early 19th century, reflecting anxiety over trade restrictions, embargoes, and other economic disruptions resulting from the War of 1812. The elder Dall (William 3rd) and much of his family lived in Boston, but two sons lived in Baltimore. The bulk of the correspondence consists of letters to the younger son, William 4th, who was then apprenticed to a Baltimore merchant. The letters of son James Dall, then a student at Harvard University, provide accounts of Boston political and cultural activities.
- Baltimore (Md.)--Biography
- Baltimore (Md.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Boston (Mass.)--Biography
- Boston (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Boston (Mass.)--Intellectual life--19th century
- Boston (Mass.)--Politics and government--19th century
- Dall family
- Family--United States--History--19th century
- Harvard University--Students
- Dall, James, 1781-1863
- Dall, John Robert, 1798-1851
- Dall, John, 1791-1852
- Dall, Joseph, 1801-1840
- Dall, Maria, 1783-1836
- Dall, Rebecca Keen
- Dall, Sarah Keen, 1798-1878
- Dall, William, 1753-1829
- Dall, William, 1794 or 5-1875
Democratic Socialist Conference Collection, 1984-1991.
Call no.: MS 325
Includes transcripts of papers delivered at conferences (1985-1990) on democratic socialism, and correspondence (1984-1991) between Stephen Siteman, former Executive Secretary of the Socialist Party of America, and Frank Zeidler, former Mayor of Milwaukee, Socialist Party candidate for President of the United States, and national chairperson of the Socialist Party USA.
- Socialist Party of the United States of America
- United States--Politics and government--1981-1989
- United States--Politics and government--1989-1993
- Siteman, Stephen
- Zeidler, Frank P
James Ellis Theatre Collection, 1700-2005.
Call no.: MS 779
During a long career as Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College, James Ellis wrote on the Victorian stage and the work of Gilbert and Sullivan. A founding member of the Valley Light Opera Company, he was also an actor and director of theatricals in the Pioneer Valley.
The Ellis Collection contains approximately 8,000 published works on the Anglo-American stage, 1750-1915, including individual plays and anthologies of English and American playwrights; biographical works on performers; works on the theatre in London, the provinces, and America; periodicals, playbills, prints, broadsides, and ephemera; and works that provide cultural context for interpreting the stage. Although the collection includes some works from the 18th century, it is deepest for the English stage in the period 1850-1900.
- Actors--Great Britain
- Actors--United States
- Amateur theater--Great Britain--19th century
- Theater--Great Britain--19th century
- Theater--United States--19th century
- Ellis, James, 1935-
Types of material
Enfield (Mass.) Collection, 1800-1939.
Call no.: MS 010
Situated at the confluence of the east and west branches of the Swift River in western Massachusetts, Enfield was the largest and southernmost of the four towns inundated in 1939 to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Incorporated as a town in 1816, Enfield was relatively prosperous in the nineteenth century on an economy based on agriculture and small-scale manufacturing, reaching a population of just over 1,000 by 1837. After thirty years of seeking a suitably large and reliable water supply for Boston, the state designated the Swift River Valley as the site for a new reservoir and with its population relocated, Enfield was officially disincorporated on April 28, 1938.
The records of the town of Enfield, Mass., document nearly the entire history of the largest of four towns inundated to create the Quabbin Reservoir. The core of the collection consists of records of town meetings and of the activities of the town Selectmen, 1804-1938, but there are substantial records for the Enfield Congregational Church. The School Committee, Overseers of the Poor, the town Library Association, and groups such as the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Bethel Masonic Lodge.
- Enfield (Mass.)--History
- Enfield (Mass.)--Politics and government
- Enfield (Mass.)--Religious life and customs
- Enfield (Mass.)--Social life and customs
- Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
- Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--Social life and customs
- Women--Societies and clubs
- Daughters of the American Revolution. Captain Joseph Hooker Chapter (Enfield, Mass.)
- Enfield (Mass. : Town)
- Enfield (Mass. : Town). Overseers of the Poor
- Enfield (Mass. : Town). Prudential Committee
- Enfield (Mass. : Town). School Committee
- Enfield Congregational Church (Enfield, Mass.)
- Enfield Congregational Church (Enfield, Mass.). Women's Auxiliary
- Enfield Congregational Church (Enfield, Mass.). Women's Missionary Society
Types of material
- Account books
- Church records
Tom A. Faber Ledger, 1848-1853.
Call no.: MS 244 bd
Owner of a livery stable in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Includes lists of stabler activities, customers (individuals and businesses), and employed ostlers. Also contains method of payment (cash and services), and one labor account for Fred Berry, a nineteen year old Afro-American who was one of three ostlers living in Faber’s household at the time.
- African Americans--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
- Berry, Fred
- Burghardt, Thomas, b. 1790
- Cab and omnibus service--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
- Coaching (Transportation)--Massachusetts--Great Barrington --History--19th century
- Crane, Albert S
- Girling and Doolittle
- Granger and Hill
- Great Barrington (Mass. : Town)--Economic conditions
- Households--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
- Ives, George
- Pynchon, George
- Rose Cottage Seminary (Great Barrington, Mass.)
- Stables--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
- Faber, Tom A., b. 1818
Types of material
- Account books
- First prize: Celeste Guhl (2015)
- “Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Curfews for Women at the University of Massachusetts”
- Honorable mention: Andrew Clinton (2014)
- “Yung Wing, the Chinese Educational Mission, and the Politics of Chinese Exclusion”
- First prize: Ken Lefebvre (2013)
- “‘A Wise Conservator’: The Life and Times of Henry Hill Goodell“
- Honorable mention: Daniel Stein (2013)
- “David versus the State: Refusal to Serve in the Israeli Defense Forces during the Lebanon War and the First Intifada: 1982-1993“
- First prize: Justine DeCamillis (2012)
- “Liminal Space and Identities: The Transitional and Juxtaposition of Opposites within the Prologue, Bisclavret and Lanval of Marie de France’s Lais“
- Honorable mention: Peter Arsenault (2012)
- “Poetic Liminality in the Middle Ages: The Case of Thomas Hoccleve“
- First prize: Christopher Russell (2010)
- “A Tale of Two Cities: How the Government Caused and Maintained Racial Inequality in Oakland, ca. 1945-1970”
- Honorable mention: Marjorie Connolly (2011)
- “Anarchy to Activism: Italian Immigrant Politics During Boston’s Great Molasses Flood“
- Honorable mention: Sarah Goldstein (2012)
- “Cambodian Immigration and the Cambodian Crisis Committee”
- First prize: Paul Kinsman
- “Platonic and Pythagorean Ratios in the Formal Analysis of 15th Century Music”
- Honorable mention: Vanessa De Santis
- “The Emergence of a Class of Informed, Working Italian Immigrant Women in the Early Twentieth Century“
- Honorable mention: Austin Powell
An Analysis of Gender in Pre to Early Modern Society
- First prize: Name removed upon request
- Honorable mention: Amy Couto
- “Treaty of Canandaigua: The political necessity of peace
- Honorable mention: Phil Jensen
- “We are history, we are legend: Perspectives of American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War
James A. Freeman Broadcast Radio Collection, ca.1930-1955.
Call no.: MS 759
A professor of English at UMass Amherst, James A. Freeman is a scholar of seventeenth century British literature who has compiled an impressively eclectic array of publications and research projects. Educated at Amherst College (AB 1956) and the University of Minnesota (PhD 1968), Freeman joined the faculty in the English Department at UMass shortly after completing his doctorate. He has published on topics ranging from Latin and Greek poets to Shakespeare, Milton, Swift, Tennyson, James Agee, Donald Duck, 17th century regicides, and 1930s radio. He has also served as a regular contributor and editor for the Association for Gravestone Studies Quarterly.
The Freeman collection consists of many hundreds of cassette tapes of radio broadcasts from the 1930s through early 1950s, reflecting the culture of commercial radio during its golden age. The collection includes representatives of most of the major genres, including comedy, drama, suspense and mystery, soap operas, and westerns. There is some depth popular programs such as Amos and Andy, the Great Gildersleeve, Philip Marlowe, and Nero Wolfe, but the collection also includes less common and short-lived shows.
- Freeman, James A., 1935-
Types of material