University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Rare book collections

Votes for women, Enfield Collection
Votes for Women, ca.1919 (Enfield Collection)

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives houses approximately 40,000 volumes reflecting an evolving history of collecting at UMass Amherst. Beginning in the late 1860s with a focus on agriculture and the natural sciences, SCUA has developed into a resource for the study of regional and local history in New England, emphasizing our varied cultural, social, religious, and political histories.

Beyond New England, SCUA has developed strength in several distinct areas, ranging from the literature of social change to the extraordinary collection of Japanese rarities collected by the geologist Benjamin Smith Lyman during the Meiji era and the works of an eclectic assortment of poets and writers. Other noteworthy collections include those pertaining to Cold War culture: a growing collection of books printed in East Germany and one of the largest collections of materials in the United States from the Solidarity movement in Poland.

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All books and periodicals held by SCUA are cataloged in the Library’s online catalog and summary descriptions of most major book collections, but not individual titles, are included in SCUA’s own online catalog, UMarmot.

Notice: due to renovations in the library, much of SCUA’s collection of printed materials (books and periodicals) will be unavailable until further notice. Please contact our archivists to see whether we can assist.

Selected areas of collecting interest:

Agriculture, horticulture, natural history

The library holds key works in apiculture, entomology, gardening, landscape design, organic agriculture, pomology, sustainability, and viticulture, with numerous works in animal husbandry. Materials date back to the 16th century, however the strength of the collections lies in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Cookery in New England

Knox gelatin
The Collection

The collections of Beatrice A. McIntosh, Athena Savas, and Lynette Foucher, among others, include books, pamphlets, and ephemera relating to the culinary history of New England, including many thousands of cookbooks published by church and community organizations.

European history and culture

Diverse collections ranging from materials on Revolutionary-era Europe, 1789-1848 (the Binet and Brabançonne Collections); Anglo-American Political Economy; twentieth century German history (the Harold Gordon Collection on the Interwar period and the Hans Joachim Ring Collection on East German cinema); and Communist-era Poland (Basia Jakubowska Schlatner Solidarity Collection).

Gay and Lesbian Literature

The centerpiece extensive of our holdings is the collection of gay rights pioneer Barbara Gittings and her partner, Kay Tobin Lahusen, which includes books on the history of homosexuality in America, works by and about gay writers, gay activism, and related topics.

Literary collections

Books by and about Robert Francis, Archibald MacLeish, William Manchester, William Lederer, and the Broadside Press; records of the Cummington School for the Arts and Massachusetts Review; and the poetry libraries of Francis, Wallace Stevens, and Anne Halley. Although the literary collections focus largely on New England writers, SCUA houses fine collections of the works of Charles Lamb, William Morris, and William Butler Yeats, signed first editions of works by Thomas Mann, and collections of French and Scottish writers. We are stewards of the papers of several writers from New England and collect their works comprehensively, including Andrew Coburn, Mary Doyle Curran, Mary McGarry Morris, Raymond Mungo, Jodi Picoult, and Harvey Swados.

New England history and culture

Massachusetts Agricultural College postcard
Massachusetts Agricultural College postcard

Local and regional histories, novels, and other writing about Massachusetts from the eighteenth century to the present. These include an array of election, ordination, installation, dedication, fast-day, mission, farewell, and funeral sermons; Fourth of July orations; and addresses to or by benevolent, cultural, and civic organizations in the Commonwealth. The New England Yearly Meeting of Friends collection contains thousands of books, pamphlets, and periodicals relating to Quaker history from the seventeenth century to the present. With an emphasis on New England Quakerism, these collections include the libraries of Moses and Obadiah Brown and libraries amassed by several monthly and quarterly meetings. SCUA also collects works printed in small towns and rural districts of Massachusetts from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Social change

Valuable collections for the history of antislavery in New England and politics of the left. The John P. Roche and Steven Siteman Collections focus on the American left from the late 19th century through the 1950s, with some European materials and materials from the political right.

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Research guides

Hula cats
Postcard, Miriam Chrisman Papers

The SCUA staff have assembled a series of introductory guides to assist researchers in navigating through our collections. These guides provide a broad overview of our collections for the history of social change; labor, work, and industry; agriculture; and the regional history of New England, and intended for use in conjunction with the descriptions in UMarmot and our finding aids.

On the right side of this page, UMarmot includes a suite of menus to help you find what you need in our manuscript and archival collections: from top to bottom, you may search collections by entering terms in the search box; browse by general category using the drop down menu; browse our university archives; or browse all collections alphabetically by clicking on the appropriate letter.

We encourage researchers with more specialized interests or who require more in-depth work with our collections to consult with our staff.

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Rosellini, Jay

Jay Rosellini East German Book Collection
ca.1960-1990
ca.190 vols. (15.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 032

A scholar of East German literature and cultural politics, Jay Rosellini completed his doctorate at Indiana University in 1976, and held faculty positions at MIT and Purdue before becoming Professor of German and Humanities at Suffolk University in 2001. His writings include monographs on the writers Volker Braun and Wolf Biermann and a study of the right-wing tradition in German literature from the Romantic era to post-unification. Rosellini retired in 2017.

The Rosellini Collection contains novels, poetry, and drama from East German writers, primarily from the 1960s to 1989.

Gift of Jay Rosellini, June 2017
Language(s): German
Subjects
  • Authors, German--Germany (East)
  • Germany (East)--History
Types of material
  • Books

Roxbury Action Program

Roxbury Action Program Collection
1944-1975 (Bulk: 1966-1974)
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 765
Image of Ernest Hamilton, <em>Black Power: What is it?</em> (1966)
Ernest Hamilton, Black Power: What is it? (1966)

The Roxbury Action Program and Black Panther Party of Boston were both founded in the Roxbury section of Boston following the riots of 1968. RAP pursued community revitalization through Black self-determination and enjoyed success in its housing initiatives and in providing social services ranging from support for Black businesses to Black draft counseling, health and legal referrals, a Black library, and community awareness program.

Although the exact provenance of this small collection is uncertain, the materials appear to have been collected by an individual, possibly a woman, associated with the early days of the Roxbury Action Program and Boston branch of the Black Panther Party. Steeped in Black Power ideology, the collection includes publications of the Black Panther Party, the Nation of Islam, and other organizations, as well as an insightful series of transcripts of Roxbury Action Program meetings held during its first few months of operation.

Gift of Ken Gloss, Jan. 2013
Subjects
  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Black Panther Party
  • Black power
  • Housing--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Nation of Islam (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Roxbury (Boston, Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • Morrison, George
Types of material
  • Newspapers
  • Photographs

Rugendas, Johann Moritz, 1802-1858

Johann Moritz Rugendas Collection
1835-1845
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 271

The painter Johann Moritz Rugendas was born in Augsburg, Germany, in 1802, and achieved fame for his depictions of the landscape, natural history, and cultural history of South American early in the era of independence. Beginning as a member of George Heinrich Langsdorff’s scientific expedition to Minas Gerais in 1821, and then on his own, Rugendas traveled widely in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and Peru. His best-known published work is the monumental four-volume set, Malerische Reise in Brasilien (1827-1835).

The Rugendas collection consists of 192 letters and 4 poems written to Rugendas by four of his South American artist friends who shared his passion for the country and culture of Argentina.

Gift of Robert Potash, 1988
Language(s): Spanish
Subjects
  • Argentina--Description and travel
  • Argentina--Social life and customs--19th century
  • Painters--South America
Contributors
  • Bustamante, José Javier y Tomás
  • Espinosa, Juan, 1804-1871
  • Godoy, Juan Gualberto, 1793-1864
  • Oro, Domingo de, 1800-1879
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Poems

Sagendorph Woolen Co.

Sagendorph Woolen Company Daybook
1885-1887
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 430

The Sagendorph Woolen Company of East Brookfield, located about sixty miles southwest of Boston in Worcester County, Massachusetts, maintained sixteen looms and specialized in the carding of shoddy and the manufacture of cashmeres, repellents, and suitings. There is some evidence that Sagendorph also spun raw materials for other companies and sold some textile goods on commission.

This daybook records the daily transactions between the Sagendorph Woolen Company and other businesses, local residents, and the company’s labor force. These detailed entries present a dynamic picture of the company’s manufacturing operations ranging from the purchase of raw materials to the sales of finished products.

Subjects
  • Carding (textiles)
  • East Brookfield (Mass.)--History
  • Textile construction processes and techniques
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts--History
  • Textile manufacturers--Massachusetts
  • Textile materials
  • Yarn-making processes and techniques
Contributors
  • Sagendorph Woolen Company
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Saltonstall, Stephen L.

Stephen L. Saltonstall Collection
1962
60 items
Call no.: PH 014
Image of Civil rights demonstration, Cairo, Ill., 1962
Civil rights demonstration, Cairo, Ill., 1962

In the summer 1962, future Harvard student Steve Saltonstall became one of the early wave of white northerners who went into the Jim Crow south to work for civil rights. During that summer, he worked with SNCC to organize public accommodations in Cairo, Ill., and with an AFSC crew to help clear brush from a drainage ditch near Circle City, Missouri, encountering local resistance in both places. Saltonstall later became an attorney and currently practices in Vermont.

The Saltonstall collection consists of approximately sixty photographs taken by John Engel during his tour with an AFSC crew during the summer of 1962. While most of the images depict the crew’s work near Circle City, Missouri, six photos document a civil rights rally in Cairo, Ill. The images are available in digital form only.

Subjects
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Cairo (Ill.)
  • Circle City (Mo.)
  • Civil rights demonstrations--Illinois--Photographs
Contributors
  • Engel, John P
  • Saltonstall, Stephen L
Types of material
  • Photographs

Sargent, Orlando, 1728-1803

Orlando Sargent Account Book
1753-1808
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 139

Prosperous, slave-owning farmer from Amesbury, Massachusetts, who also served as town warden, selectman, and representative. Includes details of the purchases of agricultural products (corn, potatoes, lamb, rye, hay, molasses, wood, cheese), and related services with some of the town’s earliest settlers, widow’s expenses, expenses in support of his grandmother, and family dates.

Subjects
  • Agricultural prices--Massachusetts--Amesbury--History--18th century
  • Amesbury (Mass.)--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Amesbury (Mass.)--History--18th century--Biography
  • Amesbury (Mass.)--Officials and employees--History--18th century
  • Farm produce--Massachusetts--Amesbury--History--18th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Amesbury--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Sargent family
Contributors
  • Sargent, Orlando, 1728-1803
Types of material
  • Account books

Sawin-Young Family Papers

Sawin-Young Family Papers
1864-1924
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 583
Image of Atop Mt. Tom
Atop Mt. Tom

At the turn of the twentieth century, Albert Sawin and his wife Elizabeth (nee Young) lived on Taylor Street in Holyoke, Massachusetts, with their three children, Allan, Ralph, and Alice. Elizabeth’s brother, also named Allan, traveled in the west during the 1880s, looking for work in Arizona, Utah, and Montana.

The bulk of the Sawin-Young Family Papers consists of letters exchanged between Elizabeth “Lizzie” Sawin, her sisters, and Jennie Young of nearby Easthampton. Later letters were addressed to Beatrice Sawin at Wheaton College from her father Walter E. Sawin, who contributed to the design for the Holyoke dam. The photograph album (1901) kept by Alice E. Sawin features images of the interior and exterior of the family’s home, as well as candid shots of family and friends and photographs of excursions to nearby Mt. Tom and the grounds of Northfield School.

Subjects
  • Holyoke (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Montana--Description and travel
  • Sawin family
  • Utah--Description and travel
  • Young family
Contributors
  • Sawin, Alice E.
  • Sawin, Beatrice
  • Young, Allan
  • Young, Elizabeth
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Photographs

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
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