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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:

Copeland, Thomas W.

Thomas W. Copeland Papers, 1923-1979
22 boxes (10 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 050
Thomas W. Copeland Papers image
Thomas W. Copeland, 1940

A scholar of eighteenth century British literature and culture, Thomas W. Copeland began what would become more than half a century of research on the statesman and political philosopher Edmund Burke while studying for his doctorate at Yale (1933). After publication of his dissertation in 1949 as Our Eminent Friend Edmund Burke, Copeland was named managing editor of the ten-volume Correspondence (1958-1978). After academic appointments at Yale and the University of Chicago, he joined the faculty at UMass in 1957, remaining here until his retirement in 1976. A chair was established in his name in the Department of English.

The Copeland Papers are a rich collection of personal and professional correspondence, journals and writings from Copeland’s Yale years, manuscripts, typescripts, notes, and draft revisions of his works on Edmund Burke, and a journal chronicling Copeland’s four-year exercise in the daily practice of writing.

Subjects
  • Burke, Edmund, 1729-1797
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
Contributors
  • Golden, Morris

Culley, Margo

Margo Culley Papers, 1973-1985
1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 103

A former Professor of English at UMass Amherst and contributor to the Program in Women’s Studies, Margaret (Margo) Culley was a specialist in women’s literature, particularly in women’s autobiography and diaries as a literary form. Her research drew variously upon work in literature, history, American studies, and religion, exploring gender and genre, language, subjectivity, memory, cultural diversity, and narrative. Between 1985 and 1994, she edited three volumes on American women’s autobiographical writing, and another on feminist teaching in the college classroom.

The Culley Papers offer a somewhat fragmentary glimpse into Culley’s academic career and her commitments to women’s literature. The collection includes selected notes for research and teaching, annotated bibliographies of women’s literature, a performance script for The Voices of Lost New England Women Writers, a federal grant proposal for The Black Studies/Women’s Studies Faculty Development Project (1981), and notes related to a study on minority women in the classroom. Letters collected by Culley’s students (late 18th and early 19th century) have been separated from the collection and designated as manuscript collections.

Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Women
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Women's Studies
Contributors
  • Culley, Margo

Cutter, Frederick A.

Frederick A. Cutter Papers, 1902-1996 (Bulk: 1902-1914)
6 boxes (4 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 090

A member of the Massachusetts Agricultural College class of 1907, Frederick A. Cutter participated in football, basketball, and baseball as a student, and was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity.

The Cutter collection contains photographs of the 1907 football team, the 1906 and 1907 members of Phi Sigma Kappa, and it includes a uniform from the M.A.C. basketball team, 1907, Massachusetts pennants and banners, a Lowell High School sweater from 1902, and early M.A.C. football equipment, including cleats and a nose guard.

Subjects
  • Caruthers, John T
  • Livers, Susie D
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Basketball
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Football
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Students
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Class of 1907
  • Phi Sigma Kappa (Massachusetts State College)
Contributors
  • Cutter, Frederick A
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Realia
  • Sports uniforms

Dall Family

Dall Family Correspondence, 1810-1843
2 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 282

Chiefly correspondence from various Dall family members in Boston, Massachusetts, particularly father William Dall, Revolutionary War veteran, merchant, businessman and former Yale College writing master, to sons William and James Dall in Baltimore, Maryland. Letters of son James Dall, then a student at Harvard University, provide accounts of Boston political and cultural activities of the time.

The correspondence documents the daily changes in the life of a merchant’s family in the early 19th century, reflecting anxiety over trade restrictions, embargoes, and other economic disruptions resulting from the War of 1812. The elder Dall (William 3rd) and much of his family lived in Boston, but two sons lived in Baltimore. The bulk of the correspondence consists of letters to the younger son, William 4th, who was then apprenticed to a Baltimore merchant. The letters of son James Dall, then a student at Harvard University, provide accounts of Boston political and cultural activities.

Acquired 1989
Subjects
  • Baltimore (Md.)--Biography
  • Baltimore (Md.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Boston (Mass.)--Biography
  • Boston (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Boston (Mass.)--Intellectual life--19th century
  • Boston (Mass.)--Politics and government--19th century
  • Dall family
  • Family--United States--History--19th century
  • Harvard University--Students
  • Merchants--Maryland--Baltimore
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Boston
Contributors
  • Dall, James, 1781-1863
  • Dall, John Robert, 1798-1851
  • Dall, John, 1791-1852
  • Dall, Joseph, 1801-1840
  • Dall, Maria, 1783-1836
  • Dall, Rebecca Keen
  • Dall, Sarah Keen, 1798-1878
  • Dall, William, 1753-1829
  • Dall, William, 1794 or 5-1875

Democratic Socialist Conference

Democratic Socialist Conference Collection, 1984-1991
2 boxes (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 325

Includes transcripts of papers delivered at conferences (1985-1990) on democratic socialism, and correspondence (1984-1991) between Stephen Siteman, former Executive Secretary of the Socialist Party of America, and Frank Zeidler, former Mayor of Milwaukee, Socialist Party candidate for President of the United States, and national chairperson of the Socialist Party USA.

Gift of Stephen Siteman, 1990, 1991
Subjects
  • Socialism--Africa
  • Socialist Party of the United States of America
  • United States--Politics and government--1981-1989
  • United States--Politics and government--1989-1993
Contributors
  • Siteman, Stephen
  • Zeidler, Frank P

Ellis, James, 1935-

James Ellis Theatre Collection, 1700-2005
ca.8,000 vols.
Call no.: MS 779

During a long career as Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College, James Ellis wrote on the Victorian stage and the work of Gilbert and Sullivan. A founding member of the Valley Light Opera Company, he was also an actor and director of theatricals in the Pioneer Valley.

The Ellis Collection contains approximately 8,000 published works on the Anglo-American stage, 1750-1915, including individual plays and anthologies of English and American playwrights; biographical works on performers; works on the theatre in London, the provinces, and America; periodicals, playbills, prints, broadsides, and ephemera; and works that provide cultural context for interpreting the stage. Although the collection includes some works from the 18th century, it is deepest for the English stage in the period 1850-1900.

Subjects
  • Actors--Great Britain
  • Actors--United States
  • Amateur theater--Great Britain--19th century
  • Theater--Great Britain--19th century
  • Theater--United States--19th century
Contributors
  • Ellis, James, 1935-
Types of material
  • Broadsides
  • Lithographs
  • Photographs

Enfield (Mass.)

Enfield (Mass.) Collection, 1800-1939
8 boxes (4 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 010
Enfield (Mass.) Collection image
Birdseye view of Enfield, ca.1915

Situated at the confluence of the east and west branches of the Swift River in western Massachusetts, Enfield was the largest and southernmost of the four towns inundated in 1939 to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Incorporated as a town in 1816, Enfield was relatively prosperous in the nineteenth century on an economy based on agriculture and small-scale manufacturing, reaching a population of just over 1,000 by 1837. After thirty years of seeking a suitably large and reliable water supply for Boston, the state designated the Swift River Valley as the site for a new reservoir and with its population relocated, Enfield was officially disincorporated on April 28, 1938.

The records of the town of Enfield, Mass., document nearly the entire history of the largest of four towns inundated to create the Quabbin Reservoir. The core of the collection consists of records of town meetings and of the activities of the town Selectmen, 1804-1938, but there are substantial records for the Enfield Congregational Church. The School Committee, Overseers of the Poor, the town Library Association, and groups such as the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Bethel Masonic Lodge.

Subjects
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Religious life and customs
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Women--Societies and clubs
Contributors
  • Daughters of the American Revolution. Captain Joseph Hooker Chapter (Enfield, Mass.)
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town)
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town). Overseers of the Poor
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town). Prudential Committee
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town). School Committee
  • Enfield Congregational Church (Enfield, Mass.)
  • Enfield Congregational Church (Enfield, Mass.). Women's Auxiliary
  • Enfield Congregational Church (Enfield, Mass.). Women's Missionary Society
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Church records
  • Photographs
  • Sermons

Faber, William A.

William A. Faber Ledger, 1848-1853
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 244 bd

Owner of a livery stable in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Includes lists of stabler activities, customers (individuals and businesses), and employed ostlers. Also contains method of payment (cash and services), and one labor account for Fred Berry, a nineteen year old Afro-American who was one of three ostlers living in Faber’s household at the time.

Subjects
  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
  • Berry, Fred
  • Burghardt, Thomas, b. 1790
  • Cab and omnibus service--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
  • Coaching (Transportation)--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
  • Crane, Albert S
  • Girling and Doolittle
  • Granger and Hill
  • Great Barrington (Mass. : Town)--Economic conditions
  • Ives, George
  • Pynchon, George
  • Rose Cottage Seminary (Great Barrington, Mass.)
  • Stables--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
Contributors
  • Faber, William A., b. 1818
Types of material
  • Account books

FLURA recipients

2016

First prize: Emily Esten (2016)
“A Peculiar Project: Ethics and Analysis of the WPA Slave Narrative Collection of Oklahoma”
Honorable mention: Madeline C. Hodgman (2016)
“‘Freedom’ to Freedwomen After the Civil War”

2015

First prize: Joshua Castillo (2015)
“A Life Well Lived”
Honorable mention: Joy Silvey (2015)
“Queering the Institution: A Look at LGB Life at the University in the 1970s and 80s”

2014

First prize: Celeste Guhl (2015)
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Curfews for Women at the University of Massachusetts”
Honorable mention: Andrew Clinton (2014)
“Yung Wing, the Chinese Educational Mission, and the Politics of Chinese Exclusion”

2013

First prize: Ken Lefebvre (2013)
‘A Wise Conservator': The Life and Times of Henry Hill Goodell
Honorable mention: Daniel Stein (2013)
“David versus the State: Refusal to Serve in the Israeli Defense Forces during the Lebanon War and the First Intifada: 1982-1993

2012

First prize: Justine DeCamillis (2012)
Liminal Space and Identities: The Transitional and Juxtaposition of Opposites within the Prologue, Bisclavret and Lanval of Marie de France’s Lais
Honorable mention: Peter Arsenault (2012)
Poetic Liminality in the Middle Ages: The Case of Thomas Hoccleve

2011

First prize: Christopher Russell (2010)
A Tale of Two Cities: How the Government Caused and Maintained Racial Inequality in Oakland, ca. 1945-1970”
Honorable mention: Marjorie Connolly (2011)
Anarchy to Activism: Italian Immigrant Politics During Boston’s Great Molasses Flood
Honorable mention: Sarah Goldstein (2012)
Cambodian Immigration and the Cambodian Crisis Committee

2010

First prize: Paul Kinsman
Platonic and Pythagorean Ratios in the Formal Analysis of 15th Century Music”
Honorable mention: Vanessa De Santis
The Emergence of a Class of Informed, Working Italian Immigrant Women in the Early Twentieth Century
Honorable mention: Austin Powell
Woman-As-Witch
An Analysis of Gender in Pre to Early Modern Society

2009

First prize: Name removed upon request
Honorable mention: Amy Couto
Treaty of Canandaigua: The political necessity of peace
Honorable mention: Phil Jensen
We are history, we are legend: Perspectives of American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War

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