Sesquicentennial oral history project
Marking the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the University of Massachusetts, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) is conducting an oral history project to capture the many voices and diverse experiences that make up our campus community. The anniversary presents an opportunity to reflect on the real achievements — and real challenges — of public higher education over the past century and a half, and a chance to consider where we would like to be in the future.
Over the course of eighteen months, the staff of SCUA and our associates will conduct one hundred and fifty interviews with an array of administrators, faculty, students, alumni, and university employees, as well as selected members of the local community. As they are completed, the interviews will be made available to the public through this website and Credo, SCUA’s digital repository.
If you are interested in participating in the project, please contact the SCUA staff.
Charles H. Patterson Papers, 1930-1958.
Call no.: FS 089
For many years, Charles H. Patterson served as head of the Department of Language and Literature at Massachusetts Agricultural College. Born in Smithsonville, Ont., in 1863, Patterson received both a BA (1887) and MA (1893) from Tufts University before launching his teaching career. He joined the faculty at MAC as an assistant professor of English, in 1916, after 13 years at West Virginia University. A former professional actor, he taught courses in modern literature, with a particular interest in drama, and served as department chair for nearly a decade before his sudden death in 1933.
The Patterson Papers contain a small selection of correspondence and notes on English composition and literature as taught at Massachusetts Agricultural College. Most noteworthy, perhaps, is a draft of Patterson’s unpublished book, The Amazing Boucicault.
- Boucicault, Dion, 1820-1890
- Drama--Study and teaching
- Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
- Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of English
- Patterson, Charles H
The Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) makes reasonable attempts to clarify the copyright status of materials under its care, but cannot claim copyright for every individual item: even if a donor has transferred intellectual property to the letters she has written, for example, she cannot transfer copyright to letters written by others. When it comes to letters received by the donor — half or more of most collections — copyright remains with the writer.
Researchers are legally obligated to ensure their full compliance with the laws pertaining to copyright and intellectual property and must obtain written permission from all interested parties. By itself, permission to examine or duplicate materials held by SCUA does not constitute authorization to publish those materials. A separate written request for permission to publish must be made in advance to SCUA, and permission will be granted only after SCUA has received a properly completed permission form signed by the requester, along with payment for any applicable fees.
An approval of permission to publish from SCUA does not imply that all copyright demands have been met. The University of Massachusetts Amherst assumes no responsibility for infringement of copyright held by others: full responsibility for infringement is assumed by the individual requesting permission to publish.
How do I request permission?
- Download the form for requesting permission to publish and print two copies.
- Complete both copies of the form, including your full name and address, a complete listing of the material to be published, and the title, place, and expected date of publication.
- Sign and date both copies of the form and submit both to SCUA.
- ALL requests for permission must be accompanied by a cover letter providing information on the nature of the publication (including print run when appropriate), and acknowledging that use fees may apply.
- Permission to publish is granted for one-time, non-exclusive, world-wide rights, solely for the project specified in the agreement and in the medium indicated. Permission is granted for the life of the project.
Citation of material
Citations should take the form:
[Item details ]. [ Collection name ] ( [Call number] ), Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst Libraries.
Fees for publication
SCUA reserves the right to assess a modest fee for use of materials under its care. Proper attribution is required.
Cynthia Shepard Perry Papers, 1946-2010.
Call no.: MS 842
An educator, diplomat, and expert on Africa, Cynthia Shepard Perry was the first recipient of a PhD from of the Program in International Education at UMass Amherst (1972). Born in Burnett, Indiana, in 1928, Perry was raising a family when she set a twenty-five year goal of earning doctorate and entering international service. One year after earning a bachelor’s degree at Indiana State University in 1967, she arranged for her first trip to Africa, leading a secretarial training project at the University of Nairobi, and over succeeding decades, her connections to the continent deepened dramatically. On faculty at Texas Southern University (1971-1982), Perry served as Associate Director of the university’s Peace Corps Program, which resulted in her leading educational projects in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, and Kenya. In demand for the expertise she had gained, she worked as a consultant to the US Information Service in Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia and as Staff Development Officer at the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. Having become a full professor and Dean of International Affairs, she left TSU in 1982 to take her first diplomatic post as an officer of the Africa Bureau of the US Agency for International Development, followed by successive appointments as Ambassador to Sierra Leone (1986-1989) and Burundi (1989-1993), as Honorary Consul General of Rwanda, and finally an appointment as U.S. Executive Director of the African Development Bank (1996-2001). Although officially retired, Perry remains active in supporting education and development in Africa from her home in Houston. Among many other awards she has received, Perry was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from UMass for her international work and was recognized by the Salute to Service Award.
A record of a life in international service in Africa, the Perry papers includes materials from Perry’s time as head of the African Development Bank and her two ambassadorial appointments, including speeches, some correspondence, and a handful of publications. The collection also includes a series of awards and plaques, some family photographs, and memorabilia.
- Africa--Foreign relations--United States
- Sierra Leone--United States
- United States--Foreign relations--Africa
Types of material
Robert and Martha Perske Papers, 1964-2005.
Call no.: MS 772
While serving with the U.S. Navy in the Philippines during World War II, the teenaged Bob Perske became aware of the vulnerable and disabled in society and turned his life toward advocacy on their behalf. Studying for the ministry after returning to civilian life, Perske was appointed chaplain at the Kansas Neurological Institute, serving children with intellectual disabilities for 11 years, after which he became a full-time street, court, and prison worker — a citizen advocate — laboring in the cause of deinstitutionalization and civil rights of persons with disabilities, particularly those caught in the legal system. After Bob married his wife Martha in 1971, the two became partners in work, with Martha often illustrating Bob’s numerous books and articles. In 2002, Perske was recognized by the American Bar Association as the only non-lawyer to ever receive the Paul Hearne Award for Services to Persons with Disabilities.
The Perske Papers contains a fifty year record of published and unpublished writings by Bob Perske on issues surrounding persons with disabilities, along with correspondence, photographs, and other materials relating to the Perskes’ activism. The correspondence includes a particularly rich set of letters with a fellow advocate for persons with disabilities, Robert R. Williams.
- Mental retardation--Social aspects
- People with disabilities--Deinstitutionalization
- People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
- Perske, Martha
- Williams, Robert R.
Types of material
Charles A. Peters Papers, 1853-1971 (Bulk: 1894-1920).
Call no.: FS 066
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
Louis Pictou Mi'kmaq Manuscript, Prior to 1903.
Call no.: MS 342 bd
The Pictou family were prominent members of the Bear River Band of the Mi’kmaq nation in Nova Scotia during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Notably, Chief Benjamin Pictou (1830-1931) lived for over a century, witnessing the evolution of the Mi’kmaq economy from hunting, fishing, and trapping to include guiding and attempts at agriculture, and was listed by the anthropologist Frank G. Speck in 1922 as having a hunting allocation near Sporting Lake, southwest of the Bear River.
An extensive, unidentified manuscript written in Mi’kmaq (Micmac) language, using the “hieroglyphic” (pictographic) writing system. At one time, the manuscript was apparently in the possession of Louis Pictou, an “Indian guide” on the Bear River, who stating that the manuscript was written by his “ancestors.”
- Indians of North America--Nova Scotia
- Micmac Indians--Manuscripts
- Pictou, Louis
Politella Family Papers, 1915-2004 (Bulk: 1938-1956).
Call no.: MS 885
When Antonio Politella emigrated from Italy to Lawrence, Mass., in 1910, he joined an older half-brother Walter Pollano, but left behind his wife and infant son. Working as a pharmacist under Pollano, Politella was successful enough to reunite his family in 1919, and eventually raised a family of three, all of whom went on to earn undergraduate degrees at Massachusetts State College and dedicate their lives to education. The eldest child, Joseph (’33), served in the Army Air Corps during the Second World War, earned a PhD in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, and taught in eastern religions at Kent State University. Lillian (’42) became a French teacher, while Dario (’47), an aviator during the war, earned his doctorate at Syracuse and taught journalism at UMass Amherst for many years.
The Politella family collection contains correspondence received primarily by Lillian Politella (’42), the bulk of which reflects the impact on the war on both her family and college. Among the letters are dozens written by her brothers Joseph (’33) and Dario (’47) and friend Donald W. Cadigan (’39) while in the service, which are joined by an evocative series from their teacher and mentor, Ray Ethan Torrey. Torrey’s letters in particular offer insight into Mass. State College during and after the war and are replete with news about acquaintances and complaints about liberals and current events.
- Buddhism--Study and teaching
- Hinduism--Study and teaching
- Massachusetts State College--History
- Massachusetts State College--Students
- World War, 1939-1945
- Politella, Dario
- Politella, Joseph
- Politella, V. Lillian
- Torrey, Ray Ethan, 1887-1956
Types of material
- Photograph albums
Rosalie Pedalino Porter Papers, 1989-2013.
Call no.: MS 087
A noted activist opposing bilingual education, Rosalie Pedalino Porter was six when her family emigrated to the United States speaking no English at all. After marrying the Dickinson scholar, David Porter, and raising a family, Porter pursued three degrees in quick succession from UMass Amherst culminating in an EdD in bilingual education (1982). In her subsequent career, Porter worked as a Spanish teacher and coordinator of bilingual programs in the town of Newton, but she has become known nationally since the 1980s for her advocacy of structured immersion, rather than bilingual education, as the most effective means of educating English learners. A lecturer, writer, and consultant on educational policy, she is author or editor of four books.
Documenting Porter’s work against bilingual education, the collection contains particularly rich content for three successful initiatives opposing bilingual programs in California, Arizona (including the landmark Flores v. Arizona), and Massachusetts.
- Bilingual education and bilingualism
Post War World Council Collection, 1942-1961.
Call no.: MS 307
Founded and chaired by Norman Thomas in 1942, the Post-War World Council sought to lay the groundwork for a democratic and anti-imperialist end to the Second World War. As the face of the organization, Thomas promoted the pacifist ideals of internationalism, disarmament, and decolonization, however his failing health in the early 1960s led to the decline of the Council and its formal dissolution in 1967.
This collection consists of pamphlets from the Post War World Council that document a range of opinions concerning the war and the world, including titles such as “Saboteurs of Victory,” “The Case Against Compulsory Peacetime Military Training,” “The Future of the Far East,” and “Disarmament in the Post War World.”
- Anti-imperialist movements
- Peace movements
- World War, 1939-1945
- Post-War World Council
Types of material