The University Archives contains the official and unofficial records of the University of Massachusetts Amherst throughout its evolution from a small agricultural college into a dynamic and complex university. Within the archives are letters and artifacts, records, photographs, and sound recordings documenting the lives of its founders, the pursuits of its faculty, and the changing attitudes of its students and alumni, revealing what high quality public education means to our Commonwealth and nation.
Among the hundreds of discrete collections and over 13,000 linear feet of records are the official papers of Chancellors, Presidents, Trustees, and other administrators; information about the University’s academic units and student organizations; and the founding documents of our sister campuses at Worcester, Boston, Lowell, and Dartmouth. The papers of faculty members add a wealth of information about the lives and intellectual pursuits of our campus community as well as their chosen academic disciplines.
Finding things in the archives
A comprehensive alphabetical index of UMass departments, programs, and other units, including acronyms. Each entry includes a reference to the archival Record Group where the records can be found.
YouMass is wiki devoted to the life and history of the campus community.
MFA Program for Poets and Writers (University of Massachusetts Amherst) Collection, 1963-2014.
Call no.: RB 023
One of the oldest programs of its kind in the country, the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass Amherst was established by the poet Joseph Langland in 1963, offering students an opportunity for intensive focus on their creative work. Unlike the Iowa Writers Workshop, where Langland had studied, students in the UMass program were required to take coursework outside of writing workshops. Over its first fifty years, the program has grown into one of the top ten in the nation and its graduates and faculty have been recognized with awards from the Pulitzer to the National Book Award, Pushcart Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and US Poet Laureate.
The MFA collection contains a growing body of work from students, alumni, and faculty affiliated with the Program for Poets and Writers at UMass Amherst. Among the hundreds of volumes are novels, collections of short stories, plays, and poetry, including a large number of chapbooks and small press imprints.
University of Massachusetts Amherst. College of Arts and Sciences, 1944-2007.
Call no.: RG 011
The records of the College of Arts and Sciences document the history of its various offices and programs. Notable series within the record group are those from the office of the Dean, the Curriculum Advisory Council, the University Internship Program, English as a Second Language, and the Fine Arts Council.
- English language--Study and teaching--Foreign speakers
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. College of Arts and Sciences
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Fine Arts Council
University of Massachusetts Amherst. College of Engineering, 1938-2007.
Call no.: RG 014
As early as 1867, Massachusetts Agricultural College offered engineering courses in surveying and the construction of roads and bridges — practical skills that would be valuable to farmers. After the establishment of a separate Department of Agricultural Engineering in 1914, and merger with the Department of Mathematics and Civil Engineering in 1938, UMass began to offer broader education in engineering. The Division of Engineering was created in 1945 to coordinate the expected post-war expansion. Since 1985, the College of Engineering has been organized in four academic departments: Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.
This record group documents the varied efforts to provide an applied technical education to students at UMass and its predecessors. In addition to the College’s annual reports and records of the Executive Council and Engineering Research Council; curriculum and program materials; reports and publications; the record group includes materials from the first four deans of the College of Engineering.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. College of Engineering
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Continuing Education, 1970-2007.
Call no.: RG 007
The Division of Continuing Education was established in 1970 as the de facto academic outreach arm of the University. Designed to improve access to the academic resources of the University for part-time students, this entailed both the development of a specialized admissions process and an integrated counseling, advising, registration, and records operation geared to the needs of part-time students. The Division continues to provide specialized services and programming for part-time students including Tutoring Enrichment Assistance Model for Public School Students (TEAMS) and the Arts Extension Service, which acts as a catalyst between the fine arts resources of the University and the people in the Commonwealth.
The record group documents the activities of the Division of Continuing Education (1970-2007), Everywoman’s Center — including the Women of Color Leadership Network (1971-2007), and the University Conference Services (1906-2007).
- Continuing education
- Everywoman's Center
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Arts Extension Service
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Division of Continuing Education
- Women of Color Leadership Network
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Isenberg School of Management, 1954-2007.
Call no.: RG 011
Business courses were first offered at the Massachusetts Agricultural College in the early years of the twentieth century, expanding rapidly during the 1930s and 1940s in response to student demand. The Board of Trustees established the School of Business Administration in 1947, and within seven years, it was conferring graduate degrees, including doctorates after 1967. In 1998, the School was renamed the Eugene M. Isenberg School of Management.
The record group consists of annual reports, deans’ records, correspondence, committee reports, long-range planning, self-study reports, proposals, research reports, faculty reprint series, lists of faculty publications, general publications, brochures, seminar information, newsletters, newsclippings and other related materials.
- Business schools--Massachusetts
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Isenberg School of Management
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Theses and Dissertations, 1894-2011.
Call no.: RG 046
Most masters theses and dissertations written by UMass Amherst students are available in electronic form through the university’s institutional repository, ScholarWorks (restricted to the UMass community). The Record Group also includes a nearly complete run of undergraduate honors theses.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
The Office of the Dean of Students at UMass Amherst was established by President John Lederle in 1961 to replace the separately structured offices of the Dean of Men and Dean of Women, and to provide more effective, more flexible support for a growing and changing student body. In the 1960s, the Dean of Students had responsibility for almost all operational units related to student life, including Admissions, Records, Residence Halls, Dining Halls, Student Union, Student Activities, Placement, and Financial Aid. As the University became a statewide administrative unit with the opening of UMass Boston and the Medical School, there was an increasing conflict between the Office of the Dean of Students on the Amherst campus and the growing demands for a responsive administrative hierarchy. In 1970, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs was therefore created to provide an appropriate level of supervision for the various Student Affairs divisions with regard to budget, personnel and administration. The Office of the Dean of Students then became a student contact-based office, which cooperated and collaborated with the other divisions. The first Dean of Students, William Field came to UMass in 1951 as a guidance counselor and assistant professor of psychology. His tenure coincided with the massive expansion of campus and the turbulent years of the late 1960s and early 1970s, during which he played an important mediating role. The recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal in 1983, Field retired from office in 1988.
An important series of records documenting student life on the UMass Amherst campus, with an emphasis on the 1960s and 1970s. Among these are an extensive series of bylaws and charters for residence halls and registerred student organizations (RSOs) at UMass, as well as subject files on campus protests and demonstrations, students of color, and student groups of various sorts.
- African American students–Massachusetts.
- Field, William.
- Student movements–Massachusetts.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dean of Students.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst–Students.
Western Massachusetts Bridge Association Records, 1957-2007.
Call no.: MS 801
Established in 1957, the Western Massachusetts Bridge Association (WMBA) Unit 196 was created by founding members of the Springfield Bridge Club eager to share their love for the game with the wider western Massachusetts area. The unit played a prominent role in teaching interested individuals to learn to play contract bridge by reaching out to colleges, clubs, and churches. Over the years, WMBA has remained an active unit in the New England Bridge Conference District 25, one of the largest districts of the American Contract Bridge Association.
Records of the WMBA and District 25 document the growth of contract bridge in New England. From the earliest days of the unit, members drafted by-laws, oversaw membership services, organized tournaments, and tracked finances. Materials in the collection shed light on every aspect of these activities.
- Contract bridge
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Trustees, 1864-2007.
Call no.: RG 002
When Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew incorporated the Board of Trustees for the Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1863, the fourteen members of the board were charged with creating a new agricultural college. Since that time, the Board of Trustees (including student trustees) had governed the University, meeting regularly to act on University-wide matters of policy, mission, finance, and campus maintenance. Governance responsibilities in some areas (e.g., tuition, academic program review and approval) are shared with the statewide Board of Higher Education. The Board of Trustees maintains a Chair and six standing committees: Executive, Administration and Finance, Academic and Student Affairs, Athletics, Audit, and External Affairs. The President and the Five College Chancellors administer board policy.
The bulk of the Board of Trustees records consists of meeting minutes (1906-2007) and Trustee Documents (1963-2007), along with the papers of a small number of individual trustees and the records of the Trustees’ “Commission on the Future of the University of Massachusetts” (1988-1989), which resulted in the consolidation of the state’s five public university campuses under a single President and Board of Trustees. In partnership with the Board of Trustees, SCUA has digitized the complete minutes of the Board from chartering of the university in 1863 through 2004.
- Massachusetts Agricultural College. Trustees
- Massachusetts State College. Trustees
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Trustees
Types of material