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The American Revolution Documentary Collection

The American Revolution Documentary Collection, ca.1968-2010
The American Revolution Documentary Collection image

On March 15, 1968, a failing classical music station, WBCN-FM, was reinvented as Boston’s first voice in radical underground radio, and its influence quickly spread nationally. Its characteristic blend of cultural chaos, including rock, folk, blues, and jazz, interspersed with news, radical politics, and community programming, provided a soundtrack for a generation fighting to remake its world. WBCN earned its nickname, “The American Revolution.” The station’s eclectic and unpredictable broadcasts included music from little-known performers who would emerge into the biggest acts of the day; regularly scheduled live musical performances from local clubs; trenchant political analysis and newscasts of the major events of the day; interviews with legendary cultural figures; and innovative new shows including one of the first women’s programs and the Lavender Hour, the nation’s first regularly broadcast LGBT radio show. Music, politics, culture, and community were intensely interconnected through WBCN, while its “listener line,” which took calls and answered questions on any subject, helped make it a virtual two-way hub for countercultural Boston.

While producing a documentary film about WBCN, and the music, politics, and social change during the period 1968-1974, former WBCN newscaster and announcer Bill Lichtenstein recognized the importance of archiving the wealth of primary materials that told the story of WBCN, its community and the dramatic changes of the era. The American Revolution Documentary Collection is the product of Lichtenstein’s energy, serving as an umbrella for a suite of interrelated collections focused on the impact of underground media in the Boston area and the profound social, political, and cultural changes of that time. These collections include the work of photographers, journalists, and writers who would go on to prominence, as well as activists, artists, and everyday people who witnessed and took part in an extended public conversation on the direction of our nation during the period of profound social, political, and cultural upheaval and who used media to help change it.

TAR collections include:

Selected recordings from the American Revolution Documentary Collection are available to stream through Airtime Pro, a web-based radio platform. ​Hear the music, news reports, ads, rare live musical broadcasts, station ID’s, interviews, zaniness, and more, as broadcast from WBCN-FM’s launch in 1968 and over the next seven years. You can listen using the player below or go directly to the Airtime Pro site, here: https://amrev.airtime.pro/

Subjects
  • Alternative radio broadcasting--Massachusetts
  • Boston (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Cambridge (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Nineteen sixties
  • Rock music
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
  • WBCN (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Sound recordings

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Locales Collection, 1905-1989
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 300

Materials, such as clippings, maps, and photographs, relating to Amherst, but also including items from other western Massachusetts towns. Topics covered include are Amherst writers such as Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost, town history, trees and birds of Amherst, and Connecticut River Valley history.

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--History
  • Massachusetts--History
Types of material
  • Maps
  • Photographs

Massachusetts Chicken and Turkey Broiler Test, Inc.

Massachusetts Chicken and Turkey Broiler Test Records, 1953-1959
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 082

Established to conduct poultry tests and research, the Massachusetts Chicken and Turkey Broiler Test, Inc. was located adjacent to the UMass campus in order to take advantage of the professional skills of the staff and students in the Poultry Department. Scientific data were collected for a number of variables including rate of growth, rate of feathering, age of maturity, and egg production and hatchability.

Records consist of minutes, financial documents, correspondence, and test results.

Subjects
  • Poultry industry--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Massachusetts Chicken and Turkey Broiler Test, Inc

Massachusetts Constitution

Massachusetts Constitution Revision Collection, 1948-1965
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 449

In the early 1960s the Council for Constitutional Reform, a nonpartisan citizen organization seeking to promote economical and efficient state government, called for a constitutional convention to convene in Massachusetts. The group cited the state’s national reputation for corruption and public immorality as reasons for amending the constitution, while others argued that the state’s problems, primarily governmental waste, a cumbersome state tax structure, and inefficient state agencies, could only be resolved by the legislature and governor. Opponents to the convention argued too that the cost of such a convention, in total more than $2 million, would only increase the financial burden of the state.

Correspondence and position statements arguing both sides of the debate offer insight into the politics of the 1960s as well as the public’s response to the political climate in the Commonwealth. Newspaper clippings trace the movement for constitutional reform from early proposals to the approval of four amendments during the November 1964 election.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions--20th century
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
  • Massachusetts. Constitution

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute Records, 1966-1993 (Bulk: 1975-1985)
3 boxes (3.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 889

Founded in 1968, the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) is a statewide non-profit poverty law and policy center. Their mission is to advance economic, racial, and social justice through legal action, education, and advocacy, specializing in large-scale impact litigation and policy reforms in a wide range of poverty law fields. The MLRI Housing Unit was involved in several cases attempting to protect low-income and minority housing in urban settings in Massachusetts in the 1980s. In a 1982 case, Olga Ramos et al. v. Ernest Proulx et al., nine minority residents of Holyoke and two Hispanic non-profit service agencies sued Mayor Proulx and the City of Holyoke for discriminatory practices related to disproportionately demolishing housing in low income and minority neighborhoods. In Boston, MLRI joined as council for the plaintiffs in a 1981 case, Viviana Munoz-Mendoza, et al. v. Samuel R. Pierce, Jr., et al., where South End residents sued the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), claiming federal funds were being used to racially desegregate their neighborhood when a HUD grant for the Copley Place development did not make a thorough study of the impact on residential integration or address a long standing desire for low-income housing on an adjacent site known as Tent City.

The MLRI Records consist of legal records, memos, correspondence, and strategy related to litigation for fair housing practice in the Holyoke and Boston cases, Ramos v. Proulx and Munoz-Mendoza v. Pierce. Newspaper clippings, city statistics and reports, and other documents stemming from the discovery portions of the cases are also abundant.

Subjects
  • Boston (Mass.)--History
  • Discrimination in housing--Law and legislation
  • Holyoke (Mass.)--History
  • Housing--Law and legislation
Types of material
  • Legal documents

Massachusetts Public Information Research Group (MassPIRG)

Massachusetts Public Information Research Group Records, 1972-1989
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 054

A non-profit, nonpartisan organization, MassPIRG is an advocate for the public interest in Massachusetts. Taking a stand on issues like public health, political corruption, consumer protection, and voting rights, MassPIRG uses the combined power of research, the media, grassroots organizing, and advocacy to initiate change that will improve the lives of citizens of the state.

Records of MassPIRG include reports on topics of research and investigation, issues of their publication, MassPIRG Reports, and documents relating to the establishment of Western Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (WMPIRG) on the UMass Amherst campus in 1972.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
Contributors
  • Massachusetts Public Information Research Group

Massachusetts Town Monographs

Massachusetts Town Monographs Collection, 1963-1969
2 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 509

Town Monograph series published by the Massachusetts Department of Commerce and Development providing general information about towns in the Commonwealth including population from the U.S. Census (1960) and state census (1965), historic and recreational attractions, housing, and economic base.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions
  • Massachusetts--History

Massachusetts. Special Commission on the Reorganization of Higher Education

Massachusetts. Special Commission on the Reorganization of Higher Education Records, 1980
1 box (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 125

The Special Commission on the Reorganization of Higher Education was established to investigate and review Massachusetts laws concerning elementary and secondary education. In order to determine the existence and extent of unequal educational opportunity services, the commission reviewed the state’s school systems as well as the educational laws, programs, and school systems of other states.

Consists of records of the Special Commission on the Reorganization of Higher Education Records, including materials relating to the Boston Community Reorganization, a federal finance proposal, lottery distribution, and school finance reform.

Subjects
  • Education, Higher--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Massachusetts. Special Commission on the Reorganization of Higher Education

Massachusetts. Special Commission on Unequal Educational Opportunity

Massachusetts Special Commission on Unequal Educational Opportunity Records, 1970-1986
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 126

The Special Commission on the Reorganization of Higher Education was established to investigate and review Massachusetts laws concerning elementary and secondary education. In order to determine the existence and extent of unequal educational opportunity services, the commission reviewed the state’s school systems as well as the educational laws, programs, and school systems of other states.

Consists of records of the Special Commission on the Reorganization of Higher Education Records, including materials relating to the Boston Community Reorganization, a federal finance proposal, lottery distribution, and school finance reform.

Subjects
  • Education--Massachusetts--History
Contributors
  • Massachusetts. Special Commission on Unequal Educational Opportunity

Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts

Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts Newsletter, 1990-2000
1 box
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
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