Results for: “Palmer (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th century” (731 collections)SCUA

Mission and history


Cattle judging at Mass. Agricultural College
Judging cattle at Mass. Agricultural College

To fire the imagination and celebrate the activist spirit, SCUA pursues an ambitious program of collecting materials of enduring historical and cultural value and offers strong support for research and learning. Through our collections, programs, and exhibitions, we promote meaningful engagement with the histories of social change in America, with the record of innovation and entrepreneurship, and we foster exploration of the histories and cultures of New England and the UMass Amherst community. In fulfilling the university’s role as a center of knowledge for the diverse peoples of the Commonwealth, we are committed to using the highest professional standards and practices and the best technologies available to provide free and unfettered access to our holdings.

Department history

African dancers
African dancers
From the Horace Mann Bond Papers

In 1931, nearly half a century after Librarian Henry Hill Goodell first authorized the permanent retention of the official records of Massachusetts Agricultural College, the Library established a College History Collection. As the official record of the activities of the university’s administrators and faculty and a reflection of the life of its students, this collection grew steadily, until in 1953, the Library dedicated a room named in honor of Dean William L. Machmer to serve as the first true home of the University Archives.

Goodell’s initiative to assemble the College archives coincided roughly with the Library’s first efforts to build a collection of rare books to support its educational mission. Although the College had no separate library until 1885, its administrators nevertheless accepted several significant gifts of books, beginning with the 1868 donation of twenty scarce volumes on bee culture from the apiculturist and state Adjutant General Henry K. Oliver. By the time the library published its first catalog in 1875, rare books formed a small, but notable part of the collections, focused on the primary academic interests of the early college: agriculture, horticulture and botany, and the natural sciences. Among the Library’s earliest acquisitions were the first London edition of William Bartram’s Travels Through North and South Carolina (1792), François Augier de Marigny’s The History of the Arabians (London, 1758), and early bee manuals by John Keys, The Practical Bee-Master (London, 1780) and The Antient Bee-Master’s Farewell (London, 1796) — both courtesy of Oliver. All remain part of the collections today.

David Axelrod, Class of 1965
David B. Axelrod, ca.1980, Class of 1965, poet, author of The Man who Fell in Love with His Chicken (1980)

From these beginnings, the collections of rare books and manuscripts have evolved in concert with the evolution of the university and its academic programs. With the acquisition of the records of the Valley Peace Center and the papers of ethnographer Jozef Obrebski in 1973, the Library began to acquire collections of personal papers and organizational records of historical significance, and the arrival of the papers on W.E.B. Du Bois in that same year marked a turning point. The rare book and manuscript collections were combined administratively with the University Archives in the early 1990s to form the current Department of Special Collections and University Archives.

SCUA’s initial foray online came with a simple page on the library’s website in 1997, but by 2007, evolved into the UMarmot project, one of the earliest efforts to use freely-available software to create a comprehensive online archival catalog. SCUA launched its online digital repository, Credo in 2011, thanks to generous support from the Verizon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. The papers of W.E.B. Du Bois led SCUA’s way into the digital realm, followed by the papers of Horace Mann Bond, and then dozens of of other collections.

Peters, Charles A.

Charles A. Peters Papers, 1853-1971 (Bulk: 1894-1920).

6 boxes (3 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 066
Charles A. Peters
Charles A. Peters

Born in Worcester, Mass., in 1875, Charles A. Peters studied chemistry under Charles Goessmann at Massachusetts Agricultural College, graduating with the class of 1897. After receiving his doctorate at Yale in 1901, he joined the faculty at the University of Idaho for several years before completing his education with two years of post-doctoral work in Berlin (1908-1910). Offered the chance to return to his alma mater in 1912, Peters became a cornerstone of instruction in chemistry, teaching courses for many years in quantitative analysis, inorganic chemistry, and analytical chemistry, and serving as chair of the department. Although he retired when he reached the mandatory age in 1945, Peters remained in Amherst. In 1970, he was presented a gold cane by the Amherst selectmen as the town’s oldest man. He died on Oct. 4, 1973, at the age of 99.

A small, but diverse collection, the Peters Papers include an interesting assortment of materials from the early years of Charles Peters’ association with the Massachusetts Agricultural College. In addition to an assortment of correspondence, primarily from the turn of the 20th century, the collection includes a series of notes taken during undergraduate classes in economic botany, horticulture, chemistry, agriculture, and organic chemistry, some teaching materials, and personal photographs.


  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Chemistry


  • Peters, Charles A

Types of material

  • Photographs

Polish Jubilee

Polish Jubilee Catalogs and Souvenirs, 1906-1988.

5 boxes (2.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 057

Includes booklets containing parish and community histories, photographs, and local advertisements celebrating Jubilee, other anniversaries, and events in over twenty Massachusetts Polish American parishes; booklets furnishing histories and names associated with Polish American groups (such as the Brotherly Aid Society and Polish American Veterans); an historical paper on the Chicopee Polish Community; a pamphlet including songs and recipes; photographs; a booklet; and two books.


  • Chicopee (Mass.)--History
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts

Rural Massachusetts Imprints Collection

Rural Massachusetts Imprints Collection, 1797-1897.

48 items (3 linear feet).
Call no.: RB 012
John Metcalf
John Metcalf

Although printing requires a substantial capital investment in equipment before any hope of profitability can be entertained, there have been numerous attempts over the years to set up printing houses in communities with astonishingly small population bases. In even the most remote Massachusetts towns, people like John Metcalf (Wendell), Ezekiel Terry (Palmer), and John and Solomon Howe (Enfield and Greenwich) operated as printers during the nineteenth century, specializing in a quotidian array of broadsides, song sheets, almanacs, toy books, and printed forms, hoping to supplement, or provide, a decent living.

This small, but growing collection consists of materials printed prior to the twentieth century in small Massachusetts towns, defined as towns with populations less than about 2,500. Although few of these houses survived for long, they were important sources for rural communities. Typically simple in typography, design, and binding, even crude, the output of such printers provides an important gauge of the interests and tastes of New England’s smallest and often poorest communities.


  • Children's books--Massachusetts
  • Printers--Massachusetts


  • Howe, John, 1783-1845
  • Howe, Solomon, 1750-1835
  • Metcalf, John, 1788-1864
  • Terry, Ezekiel, 1775-1829

Types of material

  • Almanacs
  • Broadsides

Shattuck, Louise F.

Louise F. Shattuck Papers, 1881-2006.

31 boxes (24 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 563
Louise Shattuck
Louise Shattuck

A life-long resident of Lake Pleasant, Massachusetts, and a third-generation Spiritualist, Louise Shattuck was an artist, teacher, and noted breeder of English cocker spaniels.

Shattuck’s work as a teacher, writer, artist, and dog breeder are documented in this collection through decades of correspondence and diaries, artwork, publications, and newspaper clippings. Of particular note are the materials associated with the Spiritualist history of Lake Pleasant, including three turn of the century spirit slates, samples of Louise’s automatic writing, a ouija board and dowsing rods, and an excellent photograph album with associated realia for the Independent Order of Scalpers, a Lake Pleasant.


  • Dogs--Breeding
  • English Cocker spaniels
  • Lake Pleasant (Mass.)--History
  • Mediums--Massachusetts
  • Montague (Mass.)--History
  • Spiritualism


  • Shattuck, Louise F
  • Shattuck, Sarah Bickford

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs
  • Spirit slates
  • Spirit writing

W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture

Du Bois and Mao Tse-Tung, 1959
Du Bois and Mao Tse Tung, 1959

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives and the Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst co-sponsor an annual colloquium to commemorate W.E.B. Du Bois. Timed to coincide with the anniversary of his birth (February 23), the departments invite a distinguished Speaker to discuss Dr. Du Bois’ life, work, and legacy.


20th Annual W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, 2014
2014 Feb. 25. 4pm. Campus Center Auditorium, UMass Amherst
Performer: Brian Richardson and Pulse Ensemble Theatre
Title: “A Man for All Times: W.E.B. Du Bois”
Brian Richardson as W.E.B. Du Bois

This year’s Du Bois Birthday Celebration features performances of “A Man for All Times: W.E.B. Du Bois,” performed by the Pulse Ensemble Theatre. The one-hour one-man show of the 95-year-long life of W.E.B. Du Bois unfolds in a gripping performance by Brian Richardson, and a moving script by writer/director Alexa Kelly. Learn more about Great Barrington’s native son, civil rights leader, and visionary of equality and democracy at this free performance by Pulse Theatre Ensemble.

Additional free performances will be held on Saturday, February 22, 7:00 p.m., at Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and on Sunday, February 23, 10:00 a.m., at St. John’s Congregational Church, Springfield, Massachusetts.

19th Annual W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, 2013
2013 Feb. 26. 4pm. Lower Level, W.E.B. Du Bois Library
Speaker: Arthur McFarlane II
Title: “The Life of W.E.B. Du Bois and Its Relevance to Today
Colorado Department of Public Health and Envrionment

McFarlane, the great-grandson of W.E.B. Du Bois, will discuss the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois, civil rights activist, co-founder of the NAACP, and the first African American to receive a PhD from Harvard University.

Previous Du Bois Lectures:
2012 Feb. 23
Speaker: Derrick Alridge
Title: “Ideas Have Consequences: The Radical Pedagogy of W.E.B. Du Bois”
Professor in the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Derrick Alridge

Derrick Alridge is author of The Educational Thought of W.E.B. Du Bois: An Intellectual History, lead editor of Message in the Music: Hip Hop, History, and Pedagogy, and Distinguished Lecturer for the Association of the Study of African American Life and History. He is currently completing an intellectual history of Hip Hop as a social movement called The Hip Hop Mind: An Intellectual History of the Social Consciousness of a Generation (University of Wisconsin Press) and is conducting research for a book on the role of education in the civil rights movement.

An educational and intellectual historian, Alridge is associate editor of the Journal of African American History and served as Director of the Institute for African American Studies. Alridge’s areas of scholarship include the history of African America education, African American intellectual history and the history of ideas, and civil rights studies. His work has been published in the Journal of African American History, the Journal of Negro Education, and teh History of Education Quarterly, among others.

2011 Feb. 28
Speaker: Bettina Aptheker
Title: “W.E.B. Du Bois: Personal Stories/Political Reflections”
Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies and History
University of California, Santa Cruz
Bettina Aptheker

Bettina Aptheker is Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies and History at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she has taught for more than 30 years. Her most recent book is a memoir, Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech and Became a Feminist Rebel (2006). It contains many stories of her early friendship with W.E.B. and Shirley Graham Du Bois. Other major books include, The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis (1976; 2nd edition, 1999); Woman’s Legacy: Essays on Race, Sex, and Class in American History (1982) and Tapestries of Life: Women’s Work, Women’s Consciousness, and the Meaning of Daily Experience (1989). She is the biographer of Shirley Graham Du Bois for Notable American Women, and is currently writing a critical essay on Graham Du Bois’ creative career as an opera composer, playwright, biographer, and novelist. She is also at work on a major research project: “Queering the History of the American Left: 1940s-1980s.”

2010 Feb. 25
Speaker: Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham
Title: “The Many Lives of W.E.B. Du Bois in the New From Slavery to Freedom
Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African and African American Studies
Harvard University
Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham has been chair of the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard since 2006. She also served as Acting-Director of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute in the Spring 2008. A prolific author, she is co-editor with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., of the African American National Biography (2008)—a multivolume-reference work that presents African American history through the lives of people, and she and Gates also co-edited African American Lives (2004), which served as the forerunner to the AANB. Professor Higginbotham was the editor-in-chief of The Harvard Guide to African-American History (2001) with general editors Darlene Clark Hine, and Leon Litwack. She also co-edited History and Theory: Feminist Research, Debates and Contestations (1997).

Professor Higginbotham is the author of Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church: 1880-1920 (1993), which won numerous book prizes, most notably from the American Historical Association, the American Academy of Religion, the Association of Black Women Historians, and the Association for Research on Non-Profit and Voluntary Organizations. Righteous Discontent was also included among the New York Times Book Review’s Notable Books of the Year in 1993 and 1994.

2009 Feb. 26
Speaker: Howard Dodson
Chief of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
New York Public Library
Howard Dodson

A scholar, historian, educator, curator, consultant, and lecturer, Howard Dodson, has committed his professional life to the retrieval, preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of the history and culture of African and African American peoples.

Since 1984, Dodson has served as chief of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the world’s leading and most prestigious repository for materials and artifacts on black cultural life. Under Dodson’s leadership, the Schomburg Center has developed into the world’s most comprehensive public research library devoted exclusively to documenting and interpreting African diasporan and African history and culture.

Dodson’s books include Becoming American: The African American Journey (Sterling Publishing, Inc., 2009), In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience (National Geographic Press, 2004), Jubilee: The Emergence of African-American Culture (National Geographic Press, 2002), and The Black New Yorkers: Four Hundred Years of African American History (Wiley, 2000).

2008 Feb. 28: W.E.B. Du Bois and Ralph Ellison
Speaker: Arnold Rampersad
Department of English, Stanford University

A distinguished biographer and literary critic, Arnold Rampersad is the Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English at Stanford University. A scholar of race and American literature and the Harlem Renaissance, Rampersad has written books on W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and most recently, Ralph Ellison. He has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and was a 1991 recipient of a MacArthur “genius grant.” He is a recipient of fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Professor Rampersad has recently published Ralph Ellison, a biography of the novelist (1914-1994). His other books include The Art and Imagination of W.E.B. Du Bois (1976); The Life of Langston Hughes (2 vols., 1986, 1988); Days of Grace: A Memoir (1993), co-authored with Arthur Ashe; and Jackie Robinson: A Biography (1997). In addition, he has edited several volumes including Collected Poems of Langston Hughes; the Library of America edition of works by Richard Wright, with revised individual editions of Native Son and Black Boy; and (as co-editor with Deborah McDowell) Slavery and the Literary Imagination. He was also co-editor, with Shelley Fisher Fishkin, of the Race and American Culture book series published by Oxford University Press. His teaching covers such areas as nineteenth and twentieth-century American literature; American autobiography; race and American literature; and African-American literature.

2007 March 9: The Unknown Du Bois: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Future of Black Studies in the Twenty-First Century
Speaker:James Turner
Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University
Poster (pdf)
2006: W.E.B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King
Speaker: Clayborne Carson
Stanford University, editor, Papers of Martin Luther King
Press release (pdf)

2005: The Enduring Greatness of the The Souls of Black Folk
Speaker: Robert Hill
UCLA, editor, Papers of Marcus Garvey
Press release (Word file)

2004: Du Bois and Bond: Black Education in the Age of Jim Crow
Speaker: John H. Bracey
Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst

2003: Revisiting The Souls of Black Folk: A Centenary Celebration
Horace Clarence Boyer
Music, UMass Amherst
Esther Terry
Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst
Phil Zuckerman, “Du Bois, Religion, and The Souls of Black Folk
Sociology, Pitzer College
David Blight, “A Poet’s Sense of the Past: The Souls of Black Folk as History”
History, Yale University
Ernest Allen, “The Education of Black Folk: The Educational Philosophies of W.E.B. Du Bois”
Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst
Gerald Friedman, “Reconstructing the Color Line: The New Economics of Race in the Post-bellum South”
Economics, UMass Amherst

2002: Recollections of W.E.B. Du Bois in the McCarthy Era by His Friends and Colleagues
Esther Cooper Jackson
Co-founder, Freedomways
James Jackson
Editor, Daily Worker
Abbott Simon
Executive director, Peace Information Center and co-defendant with Dr. Du Bois

2001: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Problem of the Twenty-first Century
Speaker: David Levering Lewis
History, Rutgers University

2000: Du Bois’ Prophecy: The Color Line and Education at the Start of a New Century
Speaker: Ruth Simmons
President, Smith College

1999: Du Boisian Double Consciousness: The Unsustainable Argument
Speaker: Ernest Allen
Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst

1998: Du Bois in Context
Speaker: Randolph W. Bromery
President, Springfield College and former Chancellor, UMass Amherst

1996: W.E.B. Du Bois
Speaker: David Levering Lewis
History, Rutgers University

1995: Celebration of Learning
David Du Bois
William Strickland
Michael Thelwell

1987: The Du Bois Legacy: Reflections on His Birthday
Speaker: Herbert Aptheker
Editor, Complete Published Works of W.E.B. Du Bois
Listen to a recording of Aptheker’s lecture.

Wells, William, 1767-1848

William Wells Papers, 1796-1863.

1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 347

A prominent figure in the rural town of Shelburne, Mass., during the early nineteenth century, William Wells served for many years as a town selectman, representative in the state legislature, and captain of the militia. He died in Shelburne in July 1848, leaving behind his wife Prudence (May) and their nine children.

This tightly focused body of documents from William Wells represents a cross-section of public life in the town of Shelburne during the early decades of the nineteenth century, touching on the town’s finances, care for the church, school, highways, roads, and the local militia.


  • Shelburne (Mass.)--History


  • Wells, William

Wheeler, William

William Wheeler Papers, 1876-1930.

1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: RG 002/3 W54
William Wheeler, ca.1876
William Wheeler, ca.1876

The civil engineer William Wheeler was a member of the first graduating class of Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1871, and was one of its most prominent alumni of the nineteenth century. In 1876, Wheeler joined MAC President William Smith Clark and two other alumni of the college in helping to found the Sapporo Agricultural College in Japan (now Hokkaido University), succeeding Clark as president of SAP from 1877 to 1879. In later life, he was a successful hydraulic engineer and long-time trustee of MAC (1887-1929).

A small, tightly focused collection, the Wheeler Papers consist largely of letters written home by Wheeler while working at the Sapporo Agricultural College, 1876-1880. Typically long and descriptive, the letters include excellent accounts of travel in Japan and Wheeler’s impressions of Japanese culture, but they provide detailed insight as well into the work involved in establishing Sapporo Agricultural College.


  • Agriculture--Japan
  • Clark, William Smith, 1826-1886
  • Hokkaido (Japan)--Description and travel--19th century
  • Hokkaido Daigaku
  • Japan--Description and travel--19th century
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College
  • Penhallow, D. P. (David Pearce), 1854-1910
  • Sapporo (Japan)--Description and travel--19th century


  • Hudson, Woodward
  • Wheeler, William, 1851-1932

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)

Albertson, Jeff

The American Revolution Documentary Collection

Jeff Albertson Photograph Collection, ca.1966-2005.

7 boxes (10.5 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 057
Jeff Albertson, ca.1970
Jeff Albertson, ca.1970

Born in Reading, Mass., on Sept 13, 1948, Jeff Albertson was still a student at Boston University, working on the staff of the BU News, when he was hired as a photographer by the Boston Globe. Reflecting the youth culture of the late 1960s and early 1970s, his photographs earned him positions with several prominent Boston alternative media outlets. Covering news, music, and the political interests of his generation, he served as photo editor for the Boston Phoenix and associate publisher for the Real Paper, and his work appeared regularly in mainstream publications such as Rolling Stone, People, and Boston Magazine. After becoming photo editor for the Medical Tribune News Group and moving to New York City in the 1980s, he met and married Charlene Laino. In later years, he became involved in early efforts to create websites devoted to issues surrounding health. Albertson died in 2008.

As a photographer, Albertson covered a wide range of subjects, with particular focus on music and social change. The many thousands of prints, slides, and negatives in the collection include stunning shots of Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and John Lee Hooker, activists such as Abbie Hoffman, politicians, and public personalities. The collection also includes several photographic essays centered on poverty, old age, fire fighting in Boston, and prisoners in Massachusetts (among other issues) along with a wide array of landscapes and street scenes.


  • Boston (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Musicians--Photographs
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements


  • Simon, Peter

Types of material

  • Photographs

Alternative Energy Coalition

Famous Long Ago Collection

Alternative Energy Coalition, ca.1975-1985.

9 boxes (13.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 586

A product of the vibrant and progressive political culture of western Massachusetts during the early 1970s, the Alternative Energy Coalition played a key role in the growth of antinuclear activism. In 1974, the AEC helped mobilize support for Sam Lovejoy after he sabotaged a weather tower erected by Northeast Utilities in Montague, Mass., in preparation for a proposed nuclear power plant, and they helped organize the drive for a referendum opposing not only the proposed plant in Montague, but existing plants in Rowe, Mass., and Vernon, Vt. Forming extensive connections with other antinuclear organizations, the AEC also became one of the organizations that united in 1976 to form the Clamshell Alliance, which made an art of mass civil disobedience.

The AEC Records provide insight into grassroots activism of the 1970s and 1980s, galvanized by the seemingly unrestrained growth of the nuclear power industry. The records, emanating from the Hampshire County branch, contain both research materials used by the AEC and organizational and promotional materials produced by them, including publications, minutes of meetings, correspondence, and materials used during protests. Of particular interest are a thick suite of organizational and other information pertaining to the occupation of the Seabrook (N.H.) nuclear power plant in 1979 and minutes, notes, and other materials relating to the founding and early days of the Clamshell Alliance. The collection is closely related to the Antinuclear Collection (MS 547).


  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--History
  • Nonviolence--Massachusetts
  • Nuclear energy--Massachusetts
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Renewable energy source
  • Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant (N.H.)
  • Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station


  • Alternative Energy Coalition
  • Clamshell Alliance

Types of material

  • Realia
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