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Common Reader Bookshop (New Salem, Mass.)

Common Reader Bookshop Collection

1978-1997
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 472

Co-owned by Dorothy Johnson and Doris Abramson, the Common Reader Bookshop in New Salem, Massachusetts, specialized in women’s studies materials, or in their words, “books by, for, and about women.” A couple for almost 40 years and married in 2004, Johnson and Abramson, a professor in the theater department at UMass, opened the store in 1977. After nearly twenty-five years in operation, the book shop closed its doors for business in 2000. Comprised mostly of photographs, the collection highlights not only the shop as a place, but also the community it fostered.

Subjects

  • Booksellers and Bookselling--Massachusetts
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • Women--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Abramson, Doris
  • Common Reader Bookshop (New Salem, Mass.)
  • Johnson, Dorothy
Five College Women’s Studies Exhibit

Five College Women’s Studies Exhibit Collection

1970-1984
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 986

Established as a pilot project in the fall of 1974, the Women’s Studies program at UMass Amherst was proposed by the Faculty Senate Committee on Women in 1973. The committee asked for a two-year mandate to develop the pilot project into a permanent program with a major and certificate minor by the fall of 1976. Despite the steady growth of the department over the next few years, the university offered minimal financial support. There were roadblocks, too, on the way to becoming a permanent program. Even after the Faculty Senate voted to approve a five-year extension of the program, university administrators continued to delay awarding the program independent degree-granting status. Finally, on April 30, 1980, the Women’s Studies Program received the approval of the Chancellor.

This collection consists of materials displayed as part of an exhibit curated by Lisa Baskin that celebrates the history of Women’s Studies Programs at UMass Amherst and in the Five Colleges, including photographs, reports, publications, and course catalogs.

Subjects

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Women
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Women's Studies
League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire

League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire Records

1959-2001
9 boxes 4 linear feet
Call no.: MS 478

First founded as a chapter for Pittsfield and later for all of central Berkshire county, this local league is one of many Massachusetts chapters of the national non-partisan political organization, League of Women Voters, that influences public policy through education and advocacy by registering voters, organizing candidate forums, publishing voting guides, and disseminating general information on the legislative process and the functioning of government on the local, state, and federal levels.

The bulk of the collection documents the activities and topics of interest to members of the League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire during the last three decades of their work before disbanding in 2001. The chapter consistently served to educate the public on voter registration, the voting process, and on the functioning of local and state government. Other issues of importance included child care and rights, prison reform, clean water, and health care.

Subjects

  • Berkshire County (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Drinking water--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
  • Prisons--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire
Polish American Collection

Polish American Collection

1940s-2000
5 boxes 5.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 464

Collection documenting Polish American culture, language, and history consisting of newspapers and news clippings, programs for Polish religious and cultural events, newsletters of Polish American organizations, and Polish publications including religious works and language textbooks.

Subjects

  • Polish Americans
Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts

Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts Newsletter

1990-2000
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 366

The Biuletyn Korzenie (Roots Bulletin) is the semiannual newsletter of the Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts.

Subjects

  • Poland--Genealogy
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Polish Genealogical Society
Rural American Women’s Conference

Rural American Women Conference Records

1978-1981
5 boxes 2.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 146

Feeling the frustrations of millions of women and girls in rural America who lacked the support or resources necessary to combat unemployment, inadequate medical care, and domestic violence, Jane Threatt along with several other women decided to form a non-profit organization that would unite these women and give them a national voice. Established in 1978, Rural American Women (RAW) was organized to promote the interests of rural women in the areas of equal rights, employment, education, family life, and freedom of all forms of discrimination.

In 1981 RAW held a series of five regional conferences throughout the country, and the bulk of this collection consists of records relating to the New England meeting. The records also include some materials documenting the group’s activities at their national headquarters in D.C., such as minutes, correspondence, newsletters, and pamphlets.

Subjects

  • Rural women

Contributors

  • Rural American Women
Saint Stanislaus Society (Tuners Falls, Mass.)

St. Stanislaus Society Records

1959-1969
2 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 254 bd

Named for a Polish saint, Stanislaus Kostka, the Saint Stanislaus Society of Turners Falls was Lodge 549 of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America, the oldest Polish fraternal organization in the United States. Like many ethnic fraternal societies, it served as a buffer between the customs and language that immigrants brought with them and the new traditions and language they were expected to learn upon entering American society. Fraternal societies like St. Stanislaus offered members a place to celebrate their Polish heritage and Roman Catholic faith, while also assisting them with some of the more practical matters of living in a new country, such as securing life insurance and home mortgages.

The two volumes in this collection contain minutes of monthly meetings of the Saint Stanislaus Society. The minutes are recorded in Polish.

Unrecorded
Language(s): Polish

Subjects

  • Fraternal organizations--Massachusetts--Turners Falls
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Turners Falls
  • Turners Falls (Mass.)--History

Contributors

  • Polish Roman Catholic Union of America
  • St. Stanislaus Society (Tuners Falls, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Minute books
Valley Women’s Union

Valley Women's Union Records

1974-1976
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 201

The Valley Women’s Union was established in 1974 by members of the Valley Women’s Center, Northampton, Massachusetts, who were committed to political change benefiting women. They were concerned that the Valley Women’s Center had become a static umbrella organization and that many of its formerly vital functions had been absorbed by local social service agencies The VWU sought to unify groups that were working for political change beneficial to women.

Records include newsletters, agendas for meetings, reports, position papers, and mailings.

Gift of Dale Melcher, 1986

Subjects

  • Feminism--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History
  • Feminists--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--Political activity--History
  • Social change--Political activity--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History
  • Women--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--Political activity --History

Contributors

  • Valley Women's Union (Northampton, Mass.)
Women Against Garage (WAG)

WAG Records

1995-2002
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 530

Informally referring to themselves as WAGs (Women Against Garage), Fay Kaynor, Mary Snyder, Merrylees Turner, and Mary Wentworth, opposed the building of a parking garage in the center of Amherst. Together they collected newspaper clippings, reports, minutes of meetings, and flyers that tell both sides of the story, but in particular shed light on the motivations of those opposed to the garage, concerns not well represented in the local paper, the Amherst Bulletin, at the time. Potential problems raised by garage opponents focused on the environmental issues that added traffic in Amherst would introduce, as well as the financial impact both on the town, if the revenues from the garage did not cover the investment or maintenance costs, and on locally-owned businesses that might not be able to afford higher rents if property values near the garage increased significantly.

Subjects

  • Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government

Contributors

  • Kaynor, Fay
  • Snyder, Mary
  • Turner, Merrylees
  • Wentworth, Mary L
Alternative Energy Coalition

Alternative Energy Coalition

ca.1975-1985
9 boxes 13.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 586

A product of the vibrant and progressive political culture of western Massachusetts during the early 1970s, the Alternative Energy Coalition played a key role in the growth of antinuclear activism. In 1974, the AEC helped mobilize support for Sam Lovejoy after he sabotaged a weather tower erected by Northeast Utilities in Montague, Mass., in preparation for a proposed nuclear power plant, and they helped organize the drive for a referendum opposing not only the proposed plant in Montague, but existing plants in Rowe, Mass., and Vernon, Vt. Forming extensive connections with other antinuclear organizations, the AEC also became one of the organizations that united in 1976 to form the Clamshell Alliance, which made an art of mass civil disobedience.

The AEC Records provide insight into grassroots activism of the 1970s and 1980s, galvanized by the seemingly unrestrained growth of the nuclear power industry. The records, emanating from the Hampshire County branch, contain both research materials used by the AEC and organizational and promotional materials produced by them, including publications, minutes of meetings, correspondence, and materials used during protests. Of particular interest are a thick suite of organizational and other information pertaining to the occupation of the Seabrook (N.H.) nuclear power plant in 1979 and minutes, notes, and other materials relating to the founding and early days of the Clamshell Alliance. The collection is closely related to the Antinuclear Collection (MS 547).

Subjects

  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--History
  • Nonviolence--Massachusetts
  • Nuclear energy--Massachusetts
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Renewable energy source
  • Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant (N.H.)
  • Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station

Contributors

  • Alternative Energy Coalition
  • Clamshell Alliance

Types of material

  • Realia