Who can use the collections?
Special Collections and University Archives is open at no cost to researchers, regardless of affiliation, during normal business hours. SCUA staff are happy to assist in planning or conducting research and welcome inquiries from students interested in internships in archival and library studies.
Although research appointments are not required, advance will help out staff to locate and retrieve research materials. First-time researchers will be asked to register and to provide name, institutional affiliation (when applicable), and current address. At registration, researchers must present a valid form of identification, including a photograph.
In the reading room
- Please sign in at the front desk each visit
- Only pencils and laptop computers may be used for taking notes. Please do not use pens.
- Smoking, food, and drink are not permitted
- Cell phones should be switched off or set to silent mode; calls may be taken in the adjacent elevator lobby
- Care and handling of materials
- Please use care in handling manuscripts and books to prevent damage
- Use only a single box of manuscript or archival material at a time; take care to preserve the existing arrangement of files
- Photographs for research purposes are permitted; check with a staff member first
- Scans and photocopies are made by staff members in keeping with our copying policies
- Upon leaving for the day, please notify the staff whether you are finished with your material or wish to place it on hold for a return visit
Instruction in SCUA
Classes are welcome to visit SCUA to make use of our collections and to learn about archival and historical research. Our staff are available to provide introductions to archival research, overviews of specific areas of historical interest, information about the collections, and discussions of the history of UMass Amherst. In recent years, the staff have hosted classes from history and American culture, African American studies, English and comparative literature, art history, education, anthropology, politics, business, and library and information science, among other disciplines.
To avoid scheduling conflicts, class visits should be arranged ahead of time. Please include the following information when contacting SCUA:
- Name of instructor or contact
- Date(s) requested, with start and finish time
- Number of students
- Subject area and research interests
- Special requests (for collections)
Learn more about:
Walther R. Volbach Papers, 1897-1996.
Call no.: FS 087
Born in Mainz, Germany on December 24, 1897, the theater historian and stage director Walther R. Volbach began directing operas and plays at the age of 17. After his immigration to the United States in 1936, he worked for several colleges, coming to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for five years as a visiting professor following his retirement in 1965. Noted as a director of operas and plays and for his set design, Volbach was author of three books: The Problems of Opera Production (1953), Adolphe Appia : The Prophet of The Modern Theatre (1968), and Memoirs of Max Reinhardt’s Theaters (1972).
The Volbach collection includes personal and professional correspondence in English and German, mostly from Volbach’s later years, regarding family, publishing, lectures, and employment. The collection also includes photographs of set designs, an image of Volbach teaching a class, publications, and lecture and research notes on theater history.
- Appia, Adolphe, 1862-1928
- Drama--Study and teaching
- Set designers
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Theater
- Volbach, Walther R. (Walther Richard), 1897-
George L. Waldbott Papers, 1930-1989 (Bulk: 1957-1982).
Call no.: MS 609
After receiving his medical degree from the University of Heidelberg in 1921, George L. Waldbott accepted a residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and embarked on a pioneering career in the study and treatment of allergic diseases. He is noted for his fundamental research on human anaphylaxis and penicillin shock, allergy-induced respiratory problems, and later in his career, the health impact of air pollutants. In 1955, Waldbott began conducting research in fluoride toxicity, becoming one of the first physicians to warn of the health effects of mass fluoridation. A founder of the International Society for Fluoride Research, he was considered one of the key figures in the antifluoridation movement for over two decades, contributing dozens of books and articles, including the influential The American Fluoridation Experiment (1957) and Fluoridation : The Great Dilemma (1978). He died in Detroit on July 17, 1982, from complications following open heart surgery.
The Waldbott Papers document one physician’s long struggle against the fluoridation of the American water supply. In addition to a considerable quantity of correspondence with other leading antifluoridation activists, the collection includes an array of subject files relating to fluoridation, air pollution, and allergens, as well as drafts of articles and offprints, newsclippings, and notes.
- Antifluoridation movement--Michigan
- Fluorides--Environmental aspects
- Public health
- Waldbott, George L., 1898-
Dana F. Ward Diaries, 1897-1982 (Bulk: 1904-1951).
Call no.: MS 577
Born in Chelsea, Mass., in 1874, and a long-time resident of Somerville, Dana F. Ward enjoyed a prominent career in the fisheries industry in Massachusetts. Entering the wholesale fish business in 1900 when he organized the firm of Whitman, Ward, and Lee, Ward became Director and Advertising Manager of the Boston Fish Market Corporation (builder and operator of the Fish Pier) and an investor. Before the U.S. entry into the First World War, Ward was employed by the state to lecture on the benefits of frozen fish as a food source. An active member in both the Congregational Church and local Masonic lodge, he married Katherine B. Symonds (d. 1948) in Leominster in October 1899.
Personal in nature, the Ward diaries provide a chronicle of the daily life of a relatively well to do fish wholesaler from 1897 through 1951, with some gaps. Generally small in size, the diaries are densely written and are laid in with letters, various sorts of documents, stamps, newsclippings, and other ephemera that help define the contours of Ward’s life. The collection is particularly rich for the years during the Second World War and it includes three diaries (1967, 1977, 1982) from later family members.
- Somerville (Mass.)--History
- Ward, Dana F
Types of material
William Weatherby Account Book, 1835-1837.
Call no.: MS 179 bd
Transient worker for Seth Porter and Co., a cotton mill in Cummington, Massachusetts and for Wells, Blackinton, and White, manufacturer of fine textiles in North Adams, Massachusetts. Includes accounts of his employers, debits, credits (a running account with a general store for the purchase of clothing and foodstuffs), and notations of providing room and board for other workers.
- Cummington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- General stores--Massachusetts
- North Adams (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Seth Porter and Co. (Firm)
- Textile industry--Massachusetts--19th century
- Textile workers--Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th century
- Wells, Blackinton, and White
- Weatherby, William
Types of material
- Account books
Tom Weiner Oral History Collection, 2004-2008.
Call no.: MS 729
Growing up in Elmont, Long Island and Teaneck, New Jersey, Tom Weiner attended Trinity College before facing the draft in 1971. After failing the physical and mental examination, Weiner studied alternative education in England, Europe, and Israel on a Watson Fellowship. Upon his return in 1972, he began study at NYU law school, but soon left the city for Northampton, Massachusetts. A life-long social justice activist, Weiner has worked as a sixth grade teacher for the past twenty-five years.
With a lottery number of 117, Tom Weiner knew for certain that he would be drafted immediately upon graduation from Trinity College. Decades later, Weiner was inspired to collect the stories of the men and women who came of age during the Vietnam War era. This collection consists of the oral history interviews, recordings and transcripts, Weiner collected, thirty of which appear in his book Called to Serve: Stories of Men and Women Confronted by the Vietnam War Draft.
- Draft--United States--History--20th century
- Vietnam Way, 1961-1975--Draft resisters
- Vietnam Way, 1961-1975--Personal narratives
- Weiner, Tom M.
Types of material
- Oral histories
William Wells Papers, 1796-1863.
Call no.: MS 347
A resident of Shelburne, Mass., William Wells served in various public offices during the early years of the republic. The Wells Papers consists of accounts, bonds, estate inventories, lists of jurors, meeting warrants and notices, petitions, and voting lists. Also includes a report on agricultural fairs, a Franklin Peace Society notice, and guardianship records for Isaac Winter and Lawrence Kemp.
- Shelburne (Mass.)--History
- Wells, William
Western Massachusetts Regional Library System Records, 1957-2010.
Call no.: MS 671
The Western Massachusetts Regional Library System was formed in 1962 as the Western Regional Public Library System, one of two organizations that provided professional support for the public librarians of the Commonwealth. Through the years, the two regions increased to three and then six, with the west consistently serving as a voice for the many small libraries that comprise its membership. Supported by funds from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, WMRLS provided a range of services, including continuing education for librarians; bookmobiles, delivery services, and interlibrary loan; reference support; catalog support and online databases; and youth services; as well as a purchasing cooperative. Following the national economic crisis in 2008-2009, WMRLS was consolidated with the other five regional library systems in Massachusetts and in June 2010, merged into the Massachusetts Library System.
The WMRLS collection contains a complete run of its newsletter from 1962 to 2010, copies of newsletters for continuing education and youth services, and a small assortment of administrative documents relating to its history and the services it provided.
- Public libraries--Massachusetts
- Western Massachusetts Regional Library System
Truman Wheeler, Jr., Account Book, 1813-1833.
Call no.: MS 036 bd
Truman Wheeler, Jr., of Great Barrington, Mass., is considerably more obscure than his father, a prominent merchant, but in the two decades after the War of 1812, he made his living raising and selling rye, oats, and corn, tending sheep, and operating a substantial cider mill.
Wheeler Jr.’s account book records an array of fairly typical transactions in a non-cash economy, in which goods (grain, cider, barrels, food) or services (rental of the cider mill, lodging, labor) of one sort were exchanged for another. The frequency and scale of his cidering operation, and his rental of his cider mill when not used, is a distinguishing feature of his account book, which includes accounts with members of the Burghardt, Ives, Tucker, Warner, Wheeler, Willcox, and other families, as well as with Jack Negro, to whom Wheeler sold grain, pork, and brandy in exchange for assistance in haying.
- Cider industry--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
- Farmers--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
- Great Barrington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Negro, Jack
Types of material
- Account books
Charles L. Whipple Papers, 1925-1991.
Call no.: MS 360
A noted journalist, editor, and first ombudsman for the Boston Globe, Charles L. Whipple was born in Salem, Mass., on May 8, 1914. A descendant of both a Salem witch and of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Whipple was a political radical as a young man, joining the Young Communist League during his sophomore year at Harvard in 1933, and taking part in a small communist study group within the American Newspaper Guild after joining the staff of the Boston Globe in 1936. Unfit for military duty due to a bad eye, Whipple served with the Red Cross for 30 months in Europe during the Second World War, earning a purple heart. He severed ties with the Communist Party when he returned to the Globe and civilian life, becoming the paper’s first opinion page editor, garnering attention in the 1960s for writing the first major newspaper editorial opposing the war in Vietnam. His last positions were as the paper’s first ombudsman in 1975 and, following his retirement from the Globe, as editor of the Beijing Review and the China Daily, China’s first English-language daily. Whipple died in Northampton, Mass., in 1991 from complications following surgery.
Containing both personal and professional correspondence, the Charles L. Whipple Papers document a long and distinguished career in journalism. The collection includes important information on Whipple’s experiences during the Vietnam War, as an employee of the Boston Globe, and as an American living in China in the late 1970s. Many of the correspondents in the collection reflect upon Whipple’s feelings toward his profession and the people he encountered along the way. Of particular note is the extensive correspondence relating to the American Newspaper Guild, including meeting minutes, schedules, and correspondence. The Subject Files include groupings of articles, news clippings, and writings collected by Whipple over his lifetime. The balance of the collection consists of printed materials with a few photos.
- American Newspaper Guild
- Boston Globe
- Journalists--Labor unions--Massachusetts
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975
- Whipple, Charles L.