MAC baseball team, 1878
Literature and the arts play a vital role in the culture and traditions of New England. Western Massachusetts in particular has had a rich history of fostering writers and poets, musicians, dancers, and actors. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives seeks to document not only the lives and work of writers and performers in our region, but the creative and artistic process; showing not just the inspiration, but the perspiration as well.
View all collections in Literature and the arts
- Arts and arts management
- Significant collections under the National Arts Policy Archive and Library include materials from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and the Arts Extension Service.
- SCUA houses significant collections for the poets Robert Francis, Madeleine de Frees, and Anne Halley, as well as small collections for William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens. The records of the Massachusetts Review are an important literary resource.
- Prose writing
- Collections of note include the papers of writers William J. Lederer (author of The Ugly American, Nation of Sheep, and Their Own Worst Enemy), William Manchester (The Death of a President and American Caesar), Jodi Picoult (many novels from Songs of the Humpback Whale in 1992 to The Storyteller in 2013), Mary Doyle Curran (The Parish and the Hill).
- Journalists and photojournalists associated with traditional print and new media, including an important collection for the Liberation News Service, a media service for the alternative press, and the Social Change Periodicals Collection, which includes alternative and radical small press publications. The papers of Sidney Topol provide insight into the technical development of cable television.
- Literary criticism and linguistics
- The papers of literary scholars associated with the University; records of the Massachusetts Review.
- Performing arts
- The vibrant performing arts community in western Massachusetts is well represented in SCUA through groups ranging from the Arcadia Players Baroque music ensemble to theater troupes such as Double Edge Theater, the Valley Light Opera, and the New World Theater. Among the most significant national collections are the Roberta Uno Asian Women Playwrights Collection and the papers of African American expatriate actor and director Gordon Heath, while the James Ellis Theatre Collection includes nearly 8,000 printed volumes on the English and American stage, 1750-1915, along with numerous broadsides, graphics, and some manuscript materials. Musical collections include the papers of Philip Bezanson and Charles Bestor, the score collection of Julian Olevsky, and the Katanka Fraser Political Music Collection.
Within its holdings, SCUA houses collections of the published works of W.E.B. Du Bois, Robert Francis, Anne Halley, William J. Lederer, William Manchester, Thomas Mann, William Morris, Wallace Stevens, and William Butler Yeats, as well as the personal poetry libraries of Halley, Francis, and Stevens. The department also has an extensive collection of Science Fiction magazine fiction and Scottish literature.
Local Rural Life Audiotape Collection, 1980s.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 507
Audiotape recordings of interviews conducted with members of the Pioneer Valley community for a public radio program. Titles of the shows that aired include: “Portrait of a Farm Woman,” “Hadley: the Portrait of an Endangered Town,” Keeping Rural Businesses in Business,” and “Shepherds, Bumpkins and Farmers’ Daughters.”
- Hadley (Mass.)--History
- Massachusetts--Economic conditions
- Massachusetts--Social life and customs--20th century
Types of material
Samuel A. Locke Account Book, 1821-1829.
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 168
Businessman from West Cambridge, Massachusetts with additional dealings in Charlestown, Quincy, Waltham, and Tyngsboro.
The volume includes lists of personal and business purchases, services provided for his family, and business services such as whitewashing, carting coal, sawing wood, carrying letters, collecting debts, relaying a brick fireplace, and “work loading Sloop Rapid,” and barter and cash transactions. References made to Locke’s involvement with Universalism and members of the Tufts family of Cambridge and Middlesex County.
- Arlington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Building materials industry--Massachusetts--Arlington
- Building trades--Massachusetts--Arlington
- Charlestown (Boston, Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Quincy (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Tufts family
- Tyngsboro (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Universalist churches--United States--History--19th century
- Waltham (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Types of material
Fall River Loom-Fixers' Association Records, 1895-1917.
Members of the Fall River Loom Fixers Association included some of the most skilled workers in the New England textile industry. The association, on behalf of its members, sought to improve poor working conditions, to provide assistance for members affected by pay reductions or layoffs, and to intervene in conflicts between members and management. The union also served a social function, organizing parades, social gatherings, and excursions. In the 1910s it became affiliated with the United Textile Workers for America.
Records of the Loom Fixers Association include executive committee minutes (1900-1901 and 1911-1917), a treasurer’s book (1901-1905), and six dues books (1895-1907).
- Labor unions--Massachusetts
- Textile workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts
Loomis Communities Records, 1902-2009.
In 1902, a group of residents of Holyoke, Mass., secured a charter for the Holyoke Home for Aged People, wishing to do “something of permanent good for their city” and provide a “blessing to the homeless.” Opened in March 1911 on two acres of land donated by William Loomis, the Holyoke Home provided long-term care of the elderly, and grew slowly for its first half century. After changing its name to Loomis House in 1969, in honor of the benefactor, Loomis began slowly to expand, moving to its present location in 1981 upon construction of the first continuing care retirement community in the Commonwealth. In 1988, the Board acquired a 27-acre campus in South Hadley on which it established Loomis Village; in 1999, it became affiliated with the Applewood community in Amherst; and in 2009, it acquired Reeds Landing in Springfield.
The Loomis Communities Records offer more than a century perspective on elder care and the growth of retirement communities in western Massachusetts. The collection includes a nearly complete run of the minutes of the Board of Directors from 1902 to the present, an assortment administrative and financial records, and some documentation of the experience of the communities’ residents, with the bulk of materials dating from the 1980s to the present. An extensive series of oral histories with residents of Loomis Village was conducted in 2010.
- Holyoke (Mass.)--History
- Holyoke Home for Aged People
- Loomis Communities
- Loomis Village
- Older people--Care--Massachusetts
- Retirement communities--Massachusetts
Lyman Loomis Daybook, 1836-1857.
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 626 bd
Born on July 31, 1818, the fifth of eight children of Squire and Patience (Root) Loomis, Lyman Loomis spent his life as a farmer and agricultural worker in Westfield, Mass. Loomis married Elmina Hayes in March 1846, and died in May 1902.
A slender and rough hewn volume kept by a farm laborer, the Loomis account book contains sketchy records detailing work performed and crops tended, with occasional notes on commodities purchased.
- Agricultural laborers--Massachusetts--Westfield
- Westfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Types of material
Marijuana Policy Project Records, 1995-2014.
27 boxes (40.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 920
Rob Kampia, the valedictorian of his high school class, was an undergraduate at Penn State when he was arrested for growing marijuana for personal use and sentenced to three months in a Pennsylvania county jail. Out of that experience, he decided to move to Washington, D.C., to work for the legalization of marijuana. After working briefly at NORML, he and colleagues Chuck Thomas and Mike Kirshner established the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) in January 1995, which lobbies at the federal level to changes laws to enable states to set their own policies regarding marijuana and at the state level to promote legalization and regulation. MPP has an educational branch, the MPP Foundation, and a branch that donates to congressional candidates, MPP PAC.
The Marijuana Policy Project Records span MPP’s work from its early years through recent efforts and include voluminous research files and reports, promotional materials, newsletters and mailings and other printed items, strategic plans, and grants funded by its foundation. Additions to the collection are expected.
- Marijuana--Law and legislation
Jonathan Evan Maslow Papers, ca.1978-2008.
20 boxes (30 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 639
A man of diverse and interests, Jon Maslow was a naturalist and journalist, an environmentalist, traveler, and writer, whose works took his from the rain forests to the steppes to the salt marshes of his native New Jersey. Born on Aug. 4, 1948, in Long Branch, Maslow received his MA from the Columbia University School of Journalism (1974), after which he spent several years traveling through South and Central America, studying the flora and fauna, reporting and writing, before returning to the States. Always active in community affairs, he was a reporter with the Cape May County Herald (1997-2002) and the West Paterson Herald News (2002-2008). The author of six books, including The Owl Papers (1983), Bird of Life, Bird of Death, a finalist for the National Book Award in 1986, and Sacred Horses: Memoirs of a Turkmen Cowboy (1994), he often combined an intense interest in natural history with a deep environmentalist ethos and, particularly in the latter two cases, with a deep concern for the history of political turmoil. He died of cancer on Feb. 19, 2008.
A large and rich assemblage, the Maslow Papers document his career from his days as a young journalist traveling in Central America through his community involvements in New Jersey during the 2000s. An habitual rewriter, Maslow left numerous drafts of books and articles, and the collection includes valuable correspondence with colleagues and friends, including his mentor Philip Roth, as well as Maslow’s fascinating travel diaries.
- Authors--New Jersey
- Central America--Description and travel
- Journalists--New Jersey
- New Jersey--History
- Reporters and reporting--New Jersey
- Maslow, Jonathan Evan
- Roth, Philip
Massachusetts Agricultural Fairs Posters Collection, 1852-1860.
Call no.: MS 169
With one of the first agricultural fairs in the country taking place in Massachusetts in 1807, the state has a special place in the history of agricultural fairs in the United States. Twenty antebellum posters promoting agricultural fairs in western Massachusetts, primarily from agricultural societies in Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin, and Berkshire Counties.
- Agricultural exhibitions--Massachusetts--Posters
- Agricultural exhibitions--Rhode Island--Providence--Posters
- Agriculture--Social aspects--Massachusetts--History
- Agriculture--Social aspects--Rhode Island--History
Types of material