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Collection policy

Frank Waugh's doves

Garden (white fan tailed doves in bird bath) by Frank Waugh, ca.1920

“… there must come vast social change in the United States; a change not violent, but by the will of the people certain and inexorable; carried out ‘with malice toward none but charity for all’; with meticulous justice to the rich and complete sympathy for the poor, the sick and the ignorant; with freedom and democracy for America, and on earth Peace, Good Will toward men.”

W.E.B. Du Bois, Chicago, June 29, 1951

In pursuit of our mission, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives collects materials of enduring historical and cultural value relating to four major thematic areas: the history and experience of social change in America; the histories and cultures of New England with an emphasis on Massachusetts; innovation and entrepreneurship; and the broad community associated with the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Our collections are highly integrated and span all formats, including personal papers and organizational records, books and periodicals, maps, photographs, audio and video recordings, and digital materials of all kinds.

Our approach to collecting

Echoing the philosophy of W.E.B. Du Bois, SCUA collects original materials that document the histories and experiences of social change in America and the organizational, intellectual, and individual ties that unite disparate struggles for social justice, human dignity, and equality. Our decision to adopt social change as a collecting focus emerged from considering one of Du Bois’s great insights: that the most fundamental issues in social justice are so deeply interconnected that no movement — and no solution to social ills — can succeed in isolation. Rather than focus on individual movements, we therefore focus on the connections between and among movements and the flow of people, organizations, and ideas, all in the hope of better representing the true histories of social engagement in America and laying the foundation for a deeper understanding of the experience of social change.

A related feature of SCUA’s approach to collecting is our commitment to documenting “whole lives and whole communities.” Rather than focus just on a person’s “significant” actions or ideas, our goal is to represent the person’s entire life in all its complexity: the person’s background, the events themselves, and the aftermath, as well as the range of colleagues and organizations engaged. Our goal is not to highlight simply the great achievements and great people, but to reveal the broad underpinnings of influences, interests, and organizations that shaped them and the communities in which they operated.

While not exhaustive, the following is a synopsis of the primary focal points for SCUA’s collections:

Social change

Emphasizing the cross-fertilization between social movements and centers of activist energy, SCUA collects materials from individuals and organizations involved in the struggles for peace and non-violence, social and racial justice, economic justice, agricultural reform, environmentalism, sustainability, alternative energy, organized labor, gay rights, disability rights, spiritual activism, antinuclear activism, and intentional communities. Our collections branch out to include anti-fluoridation activism, campaigns for voting rights and clean elections, community and charitable organizations, and the history of revolutionary-era Europe (1789-1848).

  • African and African American history and culture: The history of race and ethnicity in America, with particular emphasis on the struggle for racial equality and social justice.
  • Agriculture, horticulture, botany: Including agricultural science and practice, horticulture, animal husbandry, natural history, organic farming, sustainable living, and heritage breeds.
  • Antifluoridation movement: Including right-wing, left-wing, libertarian, popular, and scientific opposition to fluoridation of public water supplies.
  • Antinuclear movement: SCUA holds numerous collections documenting grassroots opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weaponry.
  • Arts management and arts administration:
    In partnership with the UMass Amherst Arts Extension Service, the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and several other arts agencies, SCUA documents the history of arts administration in America. Collecting the records of state and national arts agencies, we will provide a foundation for research into the evolution of arts policy, strategies for supporting the arts, and the economic and cultural impact of the arts on our communities.
  • Cold War Culture: The culture of the Cold War, with an emphasis upon East Germany, Poland, and Yugoslavia. Among other areas, SCUA has a strong interest in the Solidarity movement and in partnership with the DEFA Film Library, in East German cinema and graphic arts.
  • Disability: Organizational records and collections of personal papers documenting the history of disability and disability rights in the United States.
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender issues: Materials relating to the history and experience of the LGBTQ community and liberation struggles.
  • Labor, work, and industry: Organized labor, industrialization, manufacturing, business history, and the experience and culture of labor and working people.
  • Peace: Materials relating to the peace and antiwar movements and non-violence, with an emphasis on New England.
  • Spiritual approaches to social change: Materials relating to people and organizations motivated to take social action through spiritual consideration.

Innovation and entrepreneurship

SCUA collects materials that document innovative and entrepreneurial activities and particularly social entrepreneurship. Representative collections in SCUA include the papers of Mark H. McCormack (a pioneer in sport and entertainment marketing), Carl C. Harris (inventor and President of Rodney Hunt Co.), and numerous collections that document our region’s distinctive history of innovation in manufacturing and technology.

New England history and culture

The social, political, cultural, intellectual, literary, and economic life, with an emphasis upon western New England. The department houses thousands of books on New England cookery, with a particular emphasis on charitable and community cookbooks and cookbooks and ephemera published by corporations and the food industry.

  • Cookery and culinary history
    SCUA has thousands of cookbooks and other materials on New England regional cuisine, including community and charitable cookbooks, commercial cookbooks by New England authors, corporate cookbooks, and culinary ephemera.
  • Literature and the arts
    Emphasizing poets and writers, playwrights, and the performing arts in New England.
  • Politics and political culture
    SCUA has rich collections documenting the history and politics of the Commonwealth, including the papers of Congressmen Silvio O. Conte and John Olver, State Senator Stanley Rosenberg, and State Representative John Clark; and the records of the Hampshire Council of Governments and several individual towns.

University Archives collecting

Serving as the memory of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, SCUA is steward for the official and unofficial records of the university that document the people, policies, programs, facilities, and activities of the campus community. The collections are a rich record of administrative activity at all levels, from system to program, but they focus on documenting the lives and activities of individual administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Other areas

SCUA has developed depth in a handful of other collecting areas, including:

  • American Study of Japan and Asia
    American relations with Japan from the Meiji period to the present, and connections with China and other Asian countries.
  • Gravestone studies and death
    Materials relating to the history, culture, preservation, and interpretation of gravestones and related subjects.
  • Protistology
    Records of the scholarly study of the protista (protozoans).

Learn more:

Double Edge Theater

Double Edge Theatre Records, 1970-2002
28 boxes (15.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 455
Double Edge Theatre Records image
Bold Stroke for a Wife

Since its founding, Double Edge Theatre has embraced a two-fold mission: to develop and promote the highest quality of original theatre performance, and to create a permanent center of performance, practice, training research, and cultural exchange.

The collection documents the Theatre’s focus on research, international collaboration, and the elevation of artistic performance above and beyond stage work into the realm of cultural exchange.

Subjects
  • Experimental theater
  • Theater and society
  • Theatrical companies--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Arnoult, Philip
  • Double Edge Theatre
  • Durand, Carroll
  • Klein, Stacy
  • Odin teatret
  • Staniewski, Wlodzimierz
  • Stowarzyszenie Teatralne "Gardzienice"
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Posters
  • Programs

East German Packaging Design Collection

East German Packaging Design Collection, ca.1955-1985
4 boxes (6 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 519

The concept of product marketing in a Communist state may seem slightly incongruous, but in the countries of the Eastern Bloc, consumer goods were packaged and sold with much the same care as they were in the west. The Packaging Design Collection contains examples of quotidian products sold during the post-war period, ranging from boxes for soap powder to toothpaste, shampoo, and sugar sacks. The collection documents the visual language used on consumer products in East Germany and the evolution of graphic design in the Communist states of Eastern Europe from the 1950s through 1980s.

Subjects
  • Germany, East
  • Packaging--Design--Germany, East

Ege, Otto F., 1888-1951

Otto F. Ege, "Fifty Original Leaves From Medieval Manuscripts", 12th-14th century
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 570
Otto F. Ege,
Beauvais Missal

The scholar of book history Otto F. Ege disassembled works from his personal collection of medieval manuscripts to create forty portfolios of fifty leaves each, offering these sets for sale to individuals and institutions under the title “Fifty Original Leaves From Medieval Manuscripts.” Marketing his portfolios as a resource for study of the history of the book, book illustration, and paleography, Ege justified his biblioclastic enterprise as a means of sharing the beauties of Medieval books with a wider audience.

The majority of the texts scavenged for Otto Ege’s “Fifty Original Leaves From Medieval Manuscripts” (all but one in Latin) are liturgical in origin — Bibles, psalters, missals, breviaries, and Books of Hours — however Ege also included a few less common works such as the 15th-century manuscript of Livy’s History of Rome and a version of Thomas Aquinas’s Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. The leaves range in date from the late twelfth to the early sixteenth century and represent a number of distinctive regional styles in paleography and illumination from throughout western Europe, including Italy, France, Germany, the Low Countries, Switzerland, and England. The UMass Amherst set is number six of 40.

Subjects
  • Manuscripts, Medieval
  • Paleography
Contributors
  • Ege, Otto F., 1888-1951
Types of material
  • Books of hours
  • Breviaries
  • Missals

Eshbach, Charles E.

Charles E. and M. Sybil Hartley Eshbach Papers, 1913-1963
14 boxes (7 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 886
Charles E. and M. Sybil Hartley Eshbach Papers image
Charles Eshbach on pony, ca.1915

Charles Edgar Eshbach, Jr., a 1937 graduate of Massachusetts State College, and Maude Sybil Hartley met in late 1939, while she was a student at Simmons College and he was working for the New England Radio News Service, part of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. They soon began dating and in February 1941 were engaged. After graduating in 1942, Sybil lived at home in Rochester, Mass., and taught school. Charles was drafted and enlisted in the army December 30, 1942. Trained as a radio operator, he was assigned to the Army Air Force Technical Training Command’s 326th Signal Co. Wing. Charles and Sybil married in September of 1943, and by November, Charles was in England, part of the 67th Fighter Wing stationed at Walcot Hall in Lincolnshire. Although not in combat, Charles rose to the rank of Technical Sergeant. He returned to the U.S. in December 1945. He and Sybil moved to Weymouth and had four children. Charles was appointed professor of Agricultural Economics at UMass in 1959. The family moved to Amherst in 1964, as Charles’ department was transforming into the Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration Department. He taught at UMass until 1986, when he retired. He died in 1997. Sybil worked at the University store for thirty years and died in 2009.

Consisting chiefly of their letters to each other, the Eshbach Papers vividly document the courtship and early married life of Charles and Sybil, particularly during their long separation, against a wartime backdrop. The collection also contains diaries, photograph albums, loose photographs, histories and rosters from Charles’ army unit, and a variety of ephemera and memorabilia such as ration tickets, receipts, programs, and Charles’ army badges and dog tags.

Subjects
  • 4-H clubs
  • England--Description and travel
  • Simmons College (Boston, Mass.)
  • United States. Agricultural Marketing Service
  • United States. Army Air Forces. Technical Training Command
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Eshbach, M. Sybil Hartley
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Ephemera
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs

ETHIR recipients

How can I apply for an ETHIR Fellowship?

2015

Chelsea Sams (Art)
Delene White (German and Scandinavian Studies)

2014

David Bendiksen (Comparative Literature)
Gregory Coleman (English)
Donald Geesling (Afro-American Studies)

2013

Spencer Kuchle (Afro-American Studies)
Jaime Pagana (Art History)

2012

Matthew Ferrari (Communications)
Nature, Landscape, and the Visual Culture of Sport Marketing in the McCormack Archive
Thomas Hopper (English)

2011

Molly Campbell (History)
Behold And See As You Pass By: Gravestones and Mortuary Art In Early New England
A digital exhibit drawn from the collections of the Association for Gravestone Studies
Tom Hohenstein (History)
Rhetoric or Research: The CIA at UMass
An examination of protests and counter-protests against CIA recruitment at UMass Amherst in the 1980s.
Emily Oswald (History)
Source, History, Story: Teaching U.S. History in the Archives

Fellers, Carl R.

Carl R. Fellers Papers, 1918-1942
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 058
Carl R. Fellers Papers image
Carl R. Fellers

Carl R. Fellers, trained as a chemist and an expert in the nutritional value of cranberry juice, was a professor and head of the Food Technology department, now Food Science, at the University. Fellers was born in Hastings, New York in 1893, earned his B.A. from Cornell in 1915, his M.S. and Ph.D from Rutgers in 1918, and earned a Medal of Merit for fighting the influenza outbreak during World War I. Fellers began work at the University in 1925 and while a professor, conducted research in bacteriology and food preservation, research which he would eventually apply to the food preservation and distribution practices of the United States Army during World War II. Fellers also worked closely with the cranberry growers and producers organization The Cranberry Exchange to help preserve and determine the nutritional value of their products. Fellers retired from the University in 1957.

The Carl R. Fellers Papers document his research on cranberry preservation, nutrition, and his work with the cranberry growers and producers association through published articles on cranberry and general food preservation, correspondence with The Cranberry Exchange on matters of cranberry nutrition and product marketing, and a collection of pamphlets, reports, and clippings on cranberry production. A typescript, unpublished history of cranberries by Fellers is also included in the collection.

Subjects
  • Cranberries
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Food Science
Contributors
  • Fellers, Carl R

Jefferson, Lorian P.

Lorian P. Jefferson Papers, 1913-1929
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 072
Lorian P. Jefferson Papers image
Lorian Jefferson, photo by Frank Waugh

An historian of economics specializing in American agriculture, Lorian Pamela Jefferson was one of the first women in the field and became an expert on New England agricultural industry. Born in 1871 near Necedah, Wisconsin, Jefferson earned her B.L. from Lawrence University in 1892 and her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1907, continuing on to study towards her PhD though she never finished her research. Jefferson began working at the University in 1912 as an expert in the Division of Rural Social Science and became a professor of Agricultural Economics in 1915. Known as “Miss J”, Jefferson was a dedicated teacher and published extensively on various aspects of agricultural industry and marketing, including the McIntosh apple market and the agricultural labor movement. Illness forced Jefferson’s retirement from the University in 1935 and she died shortly thereafter.

Industry reports, farm and community market assessments, and many of her published articles make up the majority of the collection. There is also a bound volume of correspondence and pamphlets by Jefferson from 1914 titled “Letters Relating to economic Entomology in the United States.” Among the published work is a copy of the magazine Farm and Garden from April, 1924.

Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Agricultural Economics
Contributors
  • Jefferson, Lorian P

Lewis, Edward M.

Edward M. Lewis Papers, 1910-1936
5 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 003/1 L49

A one time baseball player, Edward M. Lewis was hired as a Professor of Language and Literature at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, serving as the College’s President from 1924 to 1927.

Includes personal and official correspondence primarily while Dean and President of Massachusetts Agricultural College, particularly with President Kenyon Leech Butterfield (1868-1935); administrative memoranda; student records; other records generated while Dean and President of MAC on such subjects as relations of the college with state officials, curriculum, purpose of the college, desirability of compulsory chapel, establishment of Jewish fraternities, and women’s education; also, transcripts of addresses, newspaper clippings, and biographical material. The collection includes nothing relating to Lewis’s baseball or teaching careers.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Faculty
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. President
Contributors
  • Lewis, Edward M

Lillydahl, Sandy

Sandy Lillydahl Venceremos Brigade Photograph Collection, 1970-2005 (Bulk: 1970)
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 056

A 1969 graduate of Smith College and member of Students for a Democratic Society, Sandy Lillydahl took part in the second contingent of the Venceremos Brigade. Between February and April 1970, Lillydahl and traveled to Cuba as an expression of solidarity with the Cuban people and to assist in the sugarcane harvest.

The 35 color snapshots that comprise the Lillydahl collection document the New England contingent of the second Venceremos Brigade as they worked the sugarcane fields in Aguacate, Cuba, and toured the country. Each image is accompanied by a caption supplied by Lillydahl in 2005, describing the scene and reflecting on her experiences; and the collection also includes copies of the file kept by the FBI on Lillydahl, obtained by her through the Freedom of Information Act in 1975.

Subjects
  • Cuba--Photographs
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)--Photographs
  • Sugarcane--Harvesting--Cuba--Photographs
  • Venceremos Brigade--Photographs
Types of material
  • Photographs

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