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Thresholds to Life Records, 1983-1986

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 156

Thresholds to Life is a training program for decision making, problem solving, and life planning taught by volunteers to prison inmates and offenders on probation in 30 locations in the United States. The records in this collection are those of the Thresholds program in Greenfield, Massachusetts, a United Way agency.


  • Prisoners--Massachusetts


  • Thresholds to Life

Thurber-Woolson Botanical Manuscripts Collection, 1803-1918

4 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 065 bd

Largely self-educated, George Thurber (1821-1890) began a career as a pharmacist before signing on as botanist to the U.S. Boundary Commission from 1850-1854. After completing a masters degree at Brown University, he emerged as a important horticultural writer and editor of American Agriculturist from 1863 to 1885.

Letters, photographs, engravings, and clippings compiled primarily by George Thurber and bequeathed to George Clark Woolson (MAC class of 1871) who added to it and donated it as a memorial to his class, the first to graduate from the College. The collection includes 993 letters written by 336 correspondents, and 35 photographs and engravings, primarily botanists and other scientists, including Asa Gray, Louis Agassiz, John Torrey, Frederick Law Olmsted, John James Audubon, Henry Ward Beecher, Jefferson Davis, Edward Payson Roe, Donald G. Mitchell, and George Brown Goode.


  • Botany--History
  • Horticulture--History


  • Thurber, George, 1821-1890
  • Woolson, George Clark

Types of material

  • Photographs

Conrad D. Totman Papers, 1800-2005

65 boxes (53 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 447
Conrad Totman in his office
Conrad Totman in his office

A scholar of the history and culture of early modern Japan, Conrad Totman began his career as a student of ornamental horticulture at the University of Massachusetts. After graduation in 1953, Totman served in the army for three years in South Korea where got his first taste of Japanese culture during leave. His experiences in Japan piqued his scholarly interest, and upon his return to the states with his new wife Michiko, he finished college at UMass and did his graduate work at Harvard where he received a doctorate in 1964 for a study of politics during the Tokugawa period. Totman held academic positions at UC Santa Barbara, Northwestern, and Yale before retiring in 1997.

The bulk of the collection documents Professor Totman’s education and professional work as a scholar and teacher of Japanese history. Dispersed throughout is a treasure trove of information on Japan in general, and particularly on his specialties: early modern Japan and forestry and environmental management. An enormous, highly influential, and cherished part of Totman’s life is his family, and the Totman clan is well represented in this collection. Reams of genealogical material document the rich heritage of the Totman family, including the transcribed love letters and diaries of his paternal grandmother and biographies of Totman ancestors, as well as hundreds of letters written between Michiko and her family in Japan.


  • Afforestation--Japan--Akita-ken--History
  • Agriculture--Japan--History
  • Agriculture--Korea--History
  • Conway (Mass.)--Genealogy
  • Dairy farms--Massachusetts
  • Family farms--United States
  • Farm life--United States
  • Forest management--Japan--Akita-ken--History
  • Forest policy--Japan
  • Forests and forestry--Japan
  • Human ecology--Japan--History
  • Human ecology--Korea--History
  • Japan--Civilization--American influences
  • Japan--Environmental conditions
  • Japan--History--1952-
  • Japan--History--Restoration, 1853-1870
  • Japan--History--Tokugawa period, 1600-1868
  • Japan--Politics and government--1600-1868
  • Korea--American influences
  • Korea--Environmental conditions
  • Korea--History--1948-1960
  • Lumber trade--Japan--History
  • Tokugawa, Ieyasu, 1543-1616
  • Totman family
  • United States--Army--Medical personnel--Correspondence


  • Drew, Raymond Totman, 1923-1981
  • Lewis, Gertrude Minnie, 1896-
  • Totman, Conrad D
  • Totman, Ruth J

Types of material

  • Genealogies
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Memoirs
  • Photographs

Mary E. Tucker Journal and Receipt book, ca.1854-1890

1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 076 bd

The second child of attorney George J. Tucker and his first wife, Eunice, Mary E. Tucker was born in Lenox, Mass., ca.1835, and raised there with her elder brother Joseph and sisters Maria, Harriett, and Sarah. Mary died at a tragically young age on August 20, 1855. She is buried with her father and sister Maria in the town’s Church on the Hill Cemetery.

As small as the volume is, it is a complex book, consisting of two main parts, neither with certain authorship. Approximately the first third of the volume is comprised of brief notes on sermons delivered by Congregational minister Edmund K. Alden and other, 1854-1862, while the rest is a well-organized receipt book kept in a different hand. The receipts are arranged in sections devoted to bread and cake, soups, fish, meats, vegetables, pastry, puddings, other desserts, cake, preserves and jellies, miscellaneous, and pickles and sauces. Several recipes are attributed to other writers, including the well-known cookbook author Juliet Corson.


  • Cooking, American--Massachusetts--Lenox
  • Lenox (Mass.)--History--19th century
  • Sermons--Massachusetts--Lenox


  • Alden, Edmund K.

Types of material

  • Cookbooks

Thomas L. Turk Papers, 1972-2003

2 boxes (1.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 831

Tom Turk played a significant role in the growth of state and community arts agencies across five decades. Beginning his career as an organizer of community arts agencies in Michigan in the mid-1960s, Turk went on to hold leadership positions with community arts agencies in Texas and Tennessee. Active on the national level, he served as a founding member of the Executive Board of the National Assembly of Community Arts Agencies, later the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies (1977-1985), and as president of the United States Urban Arts Federation (1999-2000), the association of local arts council and commission directors in the nation’s fifty largest cities.

Reflecting a long career in community arts, the Turk collection includes rich documentation of three important organizations involved in the development of the field during the late-1970s and early 2000s: the National Assembly of Community Arts Agencies, the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies, and the U.S. Urban Arts Federation. The records include a nearly complete run of minutes of the Board and Executive Committee for NACAA and NALAA, along with newsletters and some financial reports, as well as materials relating to the organization and name change.


  • Arts management--United States
  • Community arts projects


  • National Assembly of Community Arts Agencies
  • National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies
  • United States Urban Arts Federation

Types of material

  • Minutes (Administrative records)

United States Information Service Photographs of Laos, 1961-1969

1 envelope (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 145

Photographs taken in the 1960s by the United States Information Service depicting Lao dignitaries, the funeral of King Sisavongvong, the cremation of Prince Ratsamphanthavong at Luong Prabong, a Pathet Lao soldier, a Yao woman, and a Lao woman.


  • Laos--Photographs

Types of material

  • Photographs

Recent applicants for FLURA

Although scholarship in the humanities and social sciences is grounded in the skillful use of primary sources, few undergraduates ever have the opportunity to engage with original historical materials. To encourage scholarly and creative research and promote the use of our collections, the Friends of the Library and Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) have established an award for undergraduates at UMass Amherst recognizing excellence in the use of primary sources.

Students are invited to submit papers or projects they have completed at UMass Amherst during the 18 months prior to the deadline for submission. Submissions will be considered by the Evaluation Committee and winners will be announced in early April. The first place award will be presented to the recipient at the Library’s annual Dinner with Friends. All winning papers/projects will be published on the SCUA web site and added to the University Archives.

View past FLURA recipients

Application information

Eligibility: Projects must represent work completed for a class or independent study in any field within the 18 months prior to the application deadline and while the student was enrolled as an undergraduate at UMass Amherst.
Award: First place: $1000 scholarship awarded at the Library’s annual Dinner with Friends on Apr. 2, 2016
Honorable mention: $250 scholarship
Evaluation criteria:
  1. Papers or projects must draw upon primary sources either from collections in SCUA, other archives, or from other Library resources.
    What is a primary source?
    A primary source is a record of an event, an occurrence, or a time period produced by a participant or observer at the time. Typically, one thinks of primary sources as unique documents or manuscript material (such as letters, diaries, journals, writings, speeches, photographs, scrapbooks, etc.), or the historic records (archives) of an organization (such as correspondence, memoranda, minutes, annual reports, etc.). Primary sources may also include government documents, artwork, artifacts, maps, music, audiovisual materials (film, audiotape, and video tape), and electronic computer files.
  2. Creativity and originality
  3. Clarity and effectiveness of writing
Deadline for submission: Monday, Mar. 7, 2016 by 5 p.m.
Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) and the UMass Amherst Libraries reserve the right to extend the deadline or cancel the contest if too few entries are received. The determination of number of entries required to award a winner is at the sole discretion of SCUA and the UMass Amherst Libraries.
How to apply: Complete the cover sheet and submit a copy of your paper/project as two separate files. Note: your name must not appear on the paper itself. Submissions should be delivered to the following with “FLURA” in the subject line:

  • scua@library.umass.edu

Download application materials (.rtf format)


United Congregational Church of Holyoke (Holyoke, Mass.) Records, ca.1830-1990

9 boxes (13.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 787
First Congregational Church, ca.1910
First Congregational Church, ca.1910

The present day United Congregational Church of Holyoke is the product of complex history of growth and consolidation of five separate churches responding to the changing demographics and spiritual needs of the city. Established in 1799, the First Congregational Church in Holyoke was initially a small congregation perched above the floodplain south of the center of town, sharing preachers with the equally sparse population of Baptists until the establishment of the First Baptist Church in 1826. The First Congregational Church was finally erected in 1838, and ten years later, the Second Church was established in to serve the needs of the growing Protestant population in the city center, building their own church in 1853 as the mill economy was booming. Reaching out to the millworkers, members of the Second Church opened the Grace Mission in 1870, which spun off into its own church in 1896. Skinner Chapel was founded in 1909 as an addition to the Second Congregational Church, dedicated to the prominent Skinner family. Finally, the German Reformed Church was organized in 1892, though meetings were held years earlier. In the latter part of the twentieth century, however, declining memberships in each of these churches led to a series of mergers, beginning in 1961 when the German Reformed Church united with the First Congregational to become the First United Congregational Church. Grace Church and the First UCC merged in 1973 to become Grace United, and in 1996, Grace joined with the Second Congregational Church to become the present UCC of Holyoke.

The records of the UCC of Holyoke document over 200 years of the ecclesiatical history of an industrial city. In addition to records of membership, baptisms, marriages, and church governance, the collection includes valuable records of the women’s missionary society, the German Maenner Bund, and a long run of church newsletters that offer insight into the weekly course of events in the religious community. Materials relating to Skinner Chapel are part of the collections of Wistariahurst Museum.


  • Congregational churches--Massachusetts--Holyoke
  • Holyoke (Mass.)--Religious life and customs
  • Missionaries--Massachusetts


  • First Congregational Church (Holyoke, Mass.)
  • German Reformed Church (Holyoke, Mass.)
  • Grace Church (Holyoke, Mass.)
  • Second Congregational Church (Holyoke, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Newsletters
  • Photographs

Arts Extension Service Records, 1973-2005

7 boxes (9.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RE 007/5

The Arts Extension Service (AES), a national arts service organization located at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is the nation’s leading provider of professional arts management education, serving the arts through education, research, and publications. The AES distinguished itself as the first program in the nation to offer a bachelor’s degree in Arts Administration and it has subsequently added a range of training programs for state, regional and local arts agencies, including Peer Advising and Artist-in-Business, research services, and two online Certificates in Arts Management.

The records of the Arts Extension Service (AES) are divided into three series: Administration; Programs; and Publications. Series one dates from 1973-2004 and contains correspondence, consulting logs, contracts, course catalogs, organizational plans, press releases, books, booklets, forms and documents. Series two dates from 1977-2005 and contains correspondence, handouts, flyers, news clippings, brochures, pamphlets, reports, proposals, registration forms, grants, evaluation forms, schedules, and planning documents. Series three is composed of news manuals, catalogs, news clippings, newspapers, books, booklets, advertisements, correspondence, entry forms and handbooks that date from 1974-1999.


  • Arts--Education
  • Arts--Management

Valley Women's Union Records, 1974-1976

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 201

The Valley Women’s Union was established in 1974 by members of the Valley Women’s Center, Northampton, Massachusetts, who were committed to political change benefiting women. They were concerned that the Valley Women’s Center had become a static umbrella organization and that many of its formerly vital functions had been absorbed by local social service agencies The VWU sought to unify groups that were working for political change beneficial to women.

Records include newsletters, agendas for meetings, reports, position papers, and mailings.


  • Feminism--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History
  • Feminists--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--Political activity--History
  • Social change--Political activity--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History
  • Women--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--Political activity --History


  • Valley Women's Union (Northampton, Mass.)
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