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League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire

League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire Records
1959-2001
9 boxes (4 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 478

First founded as a chapter for Pittsfield and later for all of central Berkshire county, this local league is one of many Massachusetts chapters of the national non-partisan political organization, League of Women Voters, that influences public policy through education and advocacy by registering voters, organizing candidate forums, publishing voting guides, and disseminating general information on the legislative process and the functioning of government on the local, state, and federal levels.

The bulk of the collection documents the activities and topics of interest to members of the League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire during the last three decades of their work before disbanding in 2001. The chapter consistently served to educate the public on voter registration, the voting process, and on the functioning of local and state government. Other issues of importance included child care and rights, prison reform, clean water, and health care.

Subjects
  • Berkshire County (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Drinking water--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
  • Prisons--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire

Leland, James

James Leland Daybook
1854-1855
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 094

Owner of a general store in Enfield, Massachusetts. Includes notations for the sale of a wide variety of goods (notably Know Nothing hats), names of customers (both individuals, particularly Irish, and businesses), and types of payment (cash, barter, and services).

Subjects
  • Barter--Massachusetts--Enfield--History--19th century
  • Consumers--Massachusetts--Enfield--History--19th century
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Ethnic relations--19th century
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Enfield
  • Irish American Catholics--Massachusetts--Enfield--History--19th century
  • J.M. Crosby (Firm)
  • Leonard Woods (Firm)
  • Minot Manufacturing Company
  • Nativism--History--19th century
  • Shopping--Massachusetts--Enfield--History--19th century
  • Swift River Company
Contributors
  • Leland and Smith Co.
  • Leland, James
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Lenn, Marjorie Peace

Marjorie Peace Lenn Papers
ca.1980-2010
40 boxes (60 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 838
Image of Marjorie Peace Lenn
Marjorie Peace Lenn

A leader in the global quality assurance movement in higher education, Marjorie Peace Lenn was founding president of the Center for Quality Assurance in International Education (CQAIE). Born in Bowling Green, Ohio, in 1946, and educated at Transylvania University (BA, 1968), Yale (MAR, 1970), and UMass Amherst (MEd and EdD, 1978), Lenn began her career in education as as assistant area director of student life at UMass Amherst, rising over the course of twelve years (1970-1982) to become the Director of Residential Life. From UMass, Lenn went on to senior positions with the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation (1982-1992) before founding the CQAIE in 1991. Throughout her career, Lenn was in high demand internationally as a consultant on quality assurance and accreditation systems. Working with dozens of governments, ministries of education, universities, and intergovernmental agencies such as the World Bank, UNESCO, OECD, Organization of American States, United Nations Development Program, and the Asia Development Bank, she also became an official advisor to the U.S. government on trade in education services as a member of the International Trade Advisory Commission, influencing the development of accreditation infrastructure in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. After a long battle with cancer, Lenn died at home in Alexandria, Va., on Oct. 16, 2010.

The Lenn Papers offer rich documentation of the international development of accreditation systems in higher education and the impact of Lenn’s ideas on quality assurance. The bulk of the records stem from Lenn’s work with the Center for Quality Assurance in International Education and Council on Postsecondary Accreditation, but also reflect her role as advisor to the US government and her varied consultancies.

Subjects
  • Center for Quality Assurance in International Education
  • Council on Postsecondary Accreditation
  • Education, Higher--Evaluation
  • Quality assurance

Lenson, Michael, 1903-1971

Michael Lenson Collection
1969-1970
12 items (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 745

Born in Russia in 1903, the realist painter Michael Lenson emigrated to the United States at the age of eight, and from early in life, took an interest in art. While a student at the National Academy of Design in 1928, Lenson was awarded the Chaloner Paris Prize, enabling him to spend four years of study in Europe and leading to his first three one man shows. With the Great Depression in full effect upon his return to America, he accepted a position as director of mural projects for the Works Progress Administration in New Jersey, through which he built a reputation as one of the most important muralists in the eastern states. Exhibited widely, he was productive as both an artist and critic until his death in 1971. His works are included in the collections of the RISD Museum, the Maier Museum of Art, the Johnson Museum of Art, the Newark Museum, the Montclair Art Museum, and the Wolfsonian Collection, among others.

Consisting of pencil portraits of poets, each approximately 12 x 18″, the Lenson Collection contains twelve late works by Michael Lenson that were included in an exhibition held at the Montclair Art Museum in 1970. The subjects of the portraits include William Blake, Robert Browning, George Gordon Lord Byron, Robert Burns, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Donne, T.S. Eliot, John Keats, John Milton, Sean O’Casey, Alexander Pope, and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Subjects
  • Blake, William , 1757-1827
  • Browning, Robert, 1812-1889
  • Burns, Robert, 1759-1796
  • Byron, George Gordon Byron, Baron, 1788-1824
  • Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400
  • Donne, John, 1572-1631
  • Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965
  • Keats, John, 1795-1821
  • Milton, John, 1608-1674
  • O'Casey, Sean, 1880-1964
  • Pope, Alexander, 1688-1744
  • Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 1792-1822
Contributors
  • Lenson, Michael, 1903-1971
Types of material
  • Drawings (Visual works)

Leonard, Samuel B., b. 1807

Samuel B. Leonard Account Book
1833-1845
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 206 bd

Blacksmith from Foxborough, Massachusetts. Documents the various kinds of work performed, such as mending chain links, shoeing horses, bolting and riveting wagons, repairing stoves, and the prices charged for such work. Includes customers arranged by surname and notations of the settlement of long-standing debts (without mention of the methods of payment).

Subjects
  • Blacksmithing--Massachusetts--Foxborough--History--19th century
  • Blacksmiths--Massachusetts--Foxborough--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Foxborough (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Foxborough (Mass.)--History--19th century
Contributors
  • Leonard, Samuel B., 1807-
Types of material
  • Account books

Lerner, Steve, 1946-

Steve Lerner Papers
1994-2011
15 boxes (22.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 673
Image of Diamond, La.
Diamond, La.

For decades, the writer Steve Lerner has been a significant contributor to public awareness of the issues surrounding environmental justice. Immersed in the environmental movement through his work as research director at Commonweal, a health and environment research institute founded with his brother Michael in 1976, Lerner earned wide recognition for his first book, Eco-Pioneers (1998), about “practical visionaries” who developed pragmatic solutions to environmental problems. In two subsequent books, Lerner turned to an examination of the impact of environmental toxins and industrial pollutants on low-income communities and people of color and the rise of grassroots opposition within those communities. In Diamond (2006), Lerner explored the impact of a Shell Chemical plant in Louisiana as a microcosm of the broader environmental-justice movement, and more recently, Sacrifice Zones (2010) traced the organization and resistance against industrial and chemical pollutants in a dozen communities in the eastern United States. In 2007, Lerner left his position at Commonweal, but continues his research and writing on environmental issues.

The research notes, interviews, photographs and other documentation comprising the Lerner collection form the basis for Lerner’s three major books.

Subjects
  • Environmental justice
  • Environmentalism
Types of material
  • Audiotapes
  • Photographs

Lesinski-Rusin family

Lesinski-Rusin Family Papers
1908-1925
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 131
Image of Nun and two girls at first communion, ca.1920
Nun and two girls at first communion, ca.1920

Polish immigrants Jan Lesinski and his wife Weronika (Rusin) settled in Easthampton, Massachusetts, in 1909 and worked in the textile mills there for decades. Married in 1922, the couple raised a son and daughter in their home on Franklin Street. Weronika Lesinski died in Northampton in 1961, her husband following twelve years later.

The Lesinski and Rusin family collection reflect the lives of an average working-class Polish family from Easthampton, Mass., during the early twentieth century. Numerous family photographs document important occasions for the families, such as baptisms, first communions, and weddings, and the photographic postcards and commercial postcards document their relationships, interests, and travel.

Gift of Mary Ryan, June 1990
Language(s): Polish
Subjects
  • Lesinski family
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Easthampton
  • Rusin family
  • Soldiers--Massachusetts--Easthampton--Photographs
  • World War, 1914-1918--Photographs
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Postcards
  • Scrapbooks

Levy, Donald

Donald Levy Papers
1966-1987
2 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 878
Image of Richie Havens at Krackerjacks, ca. 1968
Richie Havens at Krackerjacks, ca. 1968

The co-owner with Alan Peterson of Krackerjacks, a psychedelic clothing store in Boston, Donald “Jack” Levy grew the boutique he started in 1966 into a staple of the counterculture in the Boston area and eventually a franchise. Levy was at the center of a controversy in Cambridge when the city tried to ban “obscene” buttons. Though several stores removed the buttons, Levy refused and with community support, fought the city’s ban. Levy also opened several clothing stores in the Boston-area: Garbo, a women’s clothing store; Dazzle in 1973, a vintage clothing store; Goods in 1976, a natural fiber and novelty store; and purchased and refurbished the Blue Diner in 1986 (now the South Street Diner). He currently owns diners in Newton, Framingham, and Watertown Mass.

The Donald Levy Papers contain ephemera, photographs, and clippings primarily documenting Krackerjacks as well as Levy’s other clothing stores and the opening of Blue Diner. Of particular interest is a petition circulated by Levy during the city’s attempt to ban “obscene” buttons. Included among the signatures is a 15-year-old Jonathan Richman, who called the button ban, “an example of lingering Victorianism.”

Subjects
  • Counterculture--United States--20th century
  • Fashion--United States--20th century
  • Massachusetts--Cambridge--History--20th century
  • Stores, Retail--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Richman, Jonathan (Vocalist)
Types of material
  • Clippings
  • Petitions
  • Photographs

Literature & the arts

MAC baseball team, 1878

MAC baseball team, 1878

Literature and the arts play a vital role in the culture and traditions of New England. Western Massachusetts in particular has had a rich history of fostering writers and poets, musicians, dancers, and actors. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives seeks to document not only the lives and work of writers and performers in our region, but the creative and artistic process; showing not just the inspiration, but the perspiration as well.

View all collections in Literature and the arts

Significant collections

  • Arts and arts management
    • Significant collections under the National Arts Policy Archive and Library include materials from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and the Arts Extension Service.
  • Poetry
    • SCUA houses significant collections for the poets Robert Francis, Madeleine de Frees, and Anne Halley, as well as small collections for William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens. The records of the Massachusetts Review are an important literary resource.
  • Prose writing
    • Collections of note include the papers of writers William J. Lederer (author of The Ugly American, Nation of Sheep, and Their Own Worst Enemy), William Manchester (The Death of a President and American Caesar), Jodi Picoult (many novels from Songs of the Humpback Whale in 1992 to The Storyteller in 2013), Mary Doyle Curran (The Parish and the Hill).
  • Journalism
    • Journalists and photojournalists associated with traditional print and new media, including an important collection for the Liberation News Service, a media service for the alternative press, and the Social Change Periodicals Collection, which includes alternative and radical small press publications. The papers of Sidney Topol provide insight into the technical development of cable television.
  • Literary criticism and linguistics
    • The papers of literary scholars associated with the University; records of the Massachusetts Review.
  • Performing arts
    • The vibrant performing arts community in western Massachusetts is well represented in SCUA through groups ranging from the Arcadia Players Baroque music ensemble to theater troupes such as Double Edge Theater, the Valley Light Opera, and the New World Theater. Among the most significant national collections are the Roberta Uno Asian Women Playwrights Collection and the papers of African American expatriate actor and director Gordon Heath, while the James Ellis Theatre Collection includes nearly 8,000 printed volumes on the English and American stage, 1750-1915, along with numerous broadsides, graphics, and some manuscript materials. Musical collections include the papers of Philip Bezanson and Charles Bestor, the score collection of Julian Olevsky, and the Katanka Fraser Political Music Collection.

Printed materials

Within its holdings, SCUA houses collections of the published works of W.E.B. Du Bois, Robert Francis, Anne Halley, William J. Lederer, William Manchester, Thomas Mann, William Morris, Wallace Stevens, and William Butler Yeats, as well as the personal poetry libraries of Halley, Francis, and Stevens. The department also has an extensive collection of Science Fiction magazine fiction and Scottish literature.

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Loomis Communities

Loomis Communities Records
1909-2015 (Bulk: 1980-2000)
11 boxes (15.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 685
Loomus House logo
Loomis House logo

In 1902, a group of residents of Holyoke, Mass., secured a charter for the Holyoke Home for Aged People, wishing to do “something of permanent good for their city” and provide a “blessing to the homeless.” Opened in March 1911 on two acres of land donated by William Loomis, the Holyoke Home provided long-term care of the elderly, and grew slowly for its first half century. After changing its name to Loomis House in 1969, in honor of the benefactor, Loomis began slowly to expand, moving to its present location in 1981 upon construction of the first continuing care retirement community in the Commonwealth. In 1988, the Board acquired a 27-acre campus in South Hadley on which it established Loomis Village; in 1999, it became affiliated with the Applewood community in Amherst; and in 2009, it acquired Reeds Landing in Springfield.

The Loomis Communities Records offer more than a century perspective on elder care and the growth of retirement communities in western Massachusetts. The collection includes a nearly complete run of the minutes of the Board of Directors from 1909 to the present, an assortment administrative and financial records, and some documentation of the experience of the communities’ residents, with the bulk of materials dating from the 1980s to the present. An extensive series of oral histories with residents of Loomis Village was conducted in 2010.

Subjects
  • Holyoke (Mass.)--History
  • Holyoke Home for Aged People
  • Loomis Communities
  • Loomis Village
  • Older people--Care--Massachusetts
  • Retirement communities--Massachusetts
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