Special Collections and University Archives
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Geisha, from the Benjamin Smith Lyman Papers
from Benjamin Smith Lyman Papers

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives collects and preserves textual, visual, and auditory materials of enduring historical value and makes them available to researchers at no charge.

The collections held by SCUA are rich and deeply interrelated, documenting four areas of historic and cultural interest: social change, New England, the University of Massachusetts, and innovation and entrepreneurship.

Among the distinguished collections held by SCUA are the records of:

  • W.E.B. Du Bois and Horace Mann Bond (African American intellectuals and civil rights pioneers)
  • The Africa America Institute
  • The New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (350 years of Quaker history in the region)
  • The Hampshire Council of Governments (350 years of county-level governance in western Massachusetts
  • David Steindl-Rast (Benedictine monk, participant in interfaith dialogue, and student of the interaction between spirituality and science)
  • Kenneth R. Feinberg (attorney and public figure)
  • Congressman Silvio E. Conte and John Olver, Gov. Jane Swift, and state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (politicians)
  • The Clarke School for the Deaf, International Center for the Disabled, Elmer C. Bartels, Fred Pelka and Denise Kurath, Judi Chamberlin, Lucy Gwin (advocates for people with disabilities)
  • Benjamin Smith Lyman, William Smith Clark, and William Penn Brooks (natural scientists)
  • Mark H. McCormack and Sidney Topol (innovators)
  • William Lederer, Leonard Lewin, Jodi Picoult, Andrew Coburn, Mary McGarry Morris, Harvey Swados, Robert Francis, Charles Whipple (writers)
  • Carl Oglesby, Eric Mann and Lian Hurst, Raymond Mungo, Anna Gyorgy, Mary Wentworth, Randy Kehler, the Liberation News Service, and the Alternative Energy Alliance (activists)
  • Jeff Albertson, Burt Brooks, Alton H. Blackington, Lionel Delevingne, Thomas and Margaret Tenney, and Diana Mara Henry (photographers and photojournalists)

Information about all of our manuscript and photographic collections is included in UMarmot. Use the search box and menus to the right to navigate our collections and to locate collections of interest.

Learn more:

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
  • Kampia, Rob

Praelection Chymicae, ca.1770

1 vol., 539p. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 640 bd

Bound in marbled paper boards and identified on the spine as “Praelection Chymicae, Vol. 1, G. Martin,” this mid-18th century volume on chemistry includes references to Andreas Marggraf, John Henry Pott, Hermann Boerhaave, Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, and [William] Cullen. Although incomplete and not certainly identified as to location, the front pastedown includes a manuscript notation from Lucien M. Rice indicating that the volume “came into my posession at Charleston, S.C. April 18th A.D. 1865,” while a member of the U.S.S. Acacia (in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron), along with a printed bookplate for Lucien M. Royce. Evidence of singeing at the top corners of the book may be connected to its provenance. The volume may represent a student’s notes, with Martin corresponding either to the lecturer or auditor.

  • Chemistry--Study and teaching--18th century
  • Martin, G

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.

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

Massachusetts Agricultural Surveys, 1910-1965

25 boxes (18 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 261

Studies were conducted by departments of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, Massachusetts State College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus in conjunction with various other college departments and agencies of the state and federal governments. The surveys encompass a number of agricultural study areas such as land use, business and farm management, dairy farm and cost of milk production, tobacco and onion production, and poultry and livestock disease surveys. Supplemental statistical information and aerial photographs are also included.

  • Agriculture--Massachusetts
  • Land use--Massachusetts
Types of material
  • Aerial photographs

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.

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

Massachusetts Governmental Activities Exposition Photograph Album, 1930

88 images (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 043
Massachusetts Governmental Activities Exposition Photograph Album image
Library exhibit

To celebrate its tercentenary in 1930, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts organized over two thousand events in 253 communities, drawing over eleven million visitors. One of the most elaborate of these events was the Exposition of Governmental Activities held at the Commonwealth Armory in Boston between September 29 and October 11. A celebration more of contemporary governmental activity than the historical precedents, the exposition featured displays representing nearly every branch of government, from the Department of Education to the state police, mental and public health, public welfare, transportation, agriculture, labor, and industry.

P.E. (Paul) Genereux (1892-1977), a commercial photographer from East Lynn, was hired to document the exhibits and displays in the Exposition of Governmental Activities, producing commemorative albums containing silver gelatin prints, carefully numbered and backed on linen. This disbound album includes 88 of the original 175 prints, including interior and exterior shots, with an additional image by Hildebrand.

  • Massachusetts Governmental Activities Exposition--Photographs
  • Massachusetts--Centennial celebrations, etc.
  • Genereux, P. E.
Types of material
  • Photographs

Massachusetts Indian Association Stockbridge Auxiliary Records, 1886-1909

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 151 bd

The Stockbridge Auxilliary of the Massachusetts Indian Association was formed by prominent local women in western Berkshire County who sought to aid in educational and missionary work for and among Indians, and to “abolish all oppression of Indians within our national limits.”

Records include minutes that document the group’s committees, meetings, dues, and contributions to Indians on reservations nation-wide, accounts, membership lists, and a letter.

  • Indians of North America--Arizona--Social conditions
  • Indians of North America--Government relations--History
  • Indians of North America--Missions--History
  • Indians of North America--Social conditions
  • Indians, Treatment of--United States--History
  • Lake Mohonk Conference of Friends of the Indian
  • Lake Mohonk Conference of Friends of the Indian and Other Dependent Peoples
  • Stockbridge Indians--Social conditions
  • Carter, Henry J
  • Massachusetts Indian Association. Stockbridge Auxiliary

Massachusetts Review Records, 1958-2006

(82.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 555

The Massachusetts Review is an independent quarterly of literature, the arts, and public affairs. Co-founded by Jules Chametzky and Sidney Kaplan in 1959 to promote eclectic, nontraditional, and underrepresented literary and intellectual talent, the Review has been an important venue for African American, Native American, and feminist writers and poets, mixing new and established authors.

The records of the Massachusetts Review document the history and operations of the magazine from its founding to the present, including general correspondence and nearly complete editorial files for published works. The collection also includes a small number of audio recordings of MR2, a radio show hosted by Review editor David Lenson with interviews of writers, artists, and cultural critics.

  • Criticism--20th century--Periodicals
  • Literature--20th century--Periodicals
  • Poetry--20th century--Periodicals
  • Abramson, Doris E
  • Chametzky, Jules
  • Massachusetts Review

Massachusetts Women in Public Higher Education Records, 1985-2006.

6 boxes (9 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 513

Founded in 1982, the Massachusetts Women in Public Higher Education (MWPHE) is a non-profit organization open to current and prospective women administrators in public higher education in the Commonwealth. Founded in 1982, the MWPHE serves as a support network, enhances professional development, encourages and promotes upward mobility, and addresses issues affecting Massachusetts public higher education and the status of women within the system.

The MWPHE records include administrative files and correspondence that document the organization’s work since its founding.

  • Education, Higher--Massachusetts
  • Women educators--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Women in Public Higher Education
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