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Ozer Family

Ozer Family Papers

ca. 1935-2015
8 boxes 10.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1002
Ruth and Abe Ozer celebrating their 90th birthdays in 2010.
Ruth and Abe Ozer celebrating their 90th birthdays in 2010.

Born five days apart in June 1920 in Manhattan, Abraham Jay Ozer (born Abraham Ozersky) and Ruth Sydell Ozer (born Ruth Sydell Newman) married in 1947 after Abe returned from his army service in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. Abe received the Purple Heart after being wounded by shrapnel from a kamikaze attack on his ship after the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944. Returning to New York, Abe and Ruth began their romance, after being friends earlier as part of a Workmen Circle teen group, and lived almost the entirety of the rest of their lives in the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative in the Bronx, the country’s oldest nonprofit housing cooperative. The Ozers were involved in the social, cultural, and financial community of the cooperative, originally founded by Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union members, and decidedly Jewish and progressive in its early decades. Working for RKO Pictures Inc. and as a substitute teacher, Ruth also volunteered at the local Amalgamated nursery school, which her daughters Alison and Stephanie attended as children. Self-employed in the insurance business, Abe served on several of the community’s boards and societies, and later volunteered as a dispatcher for ambulances in the Amalgamated, and as a tour guide at the Bronx Zoo. The two were also able to pursue their passion for travel, beginning their adventures in 1969 with a trip to the United Kingdom. Over the next thirty-five years they would take more than fifty international and national trips.

The Ozer Family Papers primarily document the lives of Abe and Ruth Ozer, including their high school and college years, their correspondence and other records from Abe’s military service in the 311th and then 168th Ordnance Depot Company, additional war correspondence between Ruth and other parties, and extensive documentation of the couple’s many years of travel, including selected slides, photographs, travel planning documents, and Ruth’s detailed travel journals for each trip from 1969 through 2005. Additional materials cover the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, RKO Pictures Inc., and other aspects of the Ozer’s lives, including numerous oral history interviews and home movies on formats ranging from 8mm film to digital. The greater Ozer family is also represented, from a family tree back to Abe’s grandparents from Belorussia, to content and interviews with his mother, Sadie Uretsky, and several folders of clippings about Abe’s brother, Bernard Ozer, an important figure in fashion, and former vice-president of Associated Merchandising Corporation. Additional content on the Ozer’s children, grandchildren, and extended family rounds out the collection.

Gift of Alison Ozer, November 2017

Subjects

  • Bronx (New York, N.Y.)--Social life and customs
  • Housing, Cooperative
  • Hunter College--Students
  • Jews--New York (State)--New York
  • Leyte Gulf, Battle of, Philippines, 1944
  • Tourism
  • Travel
  • United States. Army. Ordnance Corps
  • World War, 1939-1945

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs
  • Slides (photographs)
Putnam, William

William Putnam Papers

1840-1886
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 014

For several decades in the mid-nineteenth century, William Putnam (1792-1877) and his family operated a general store in Wendell Depot, Massachusetts, situated strategically between the canal and the highway leading to Warwick. Serving an area that remains rural to the present day, Putnam dealt in a range of essential merchandise, trading in lumber and shingles, palm leaf, molasses and sugar, tea, tobacco, quills, dishes, cloth and ribbon, dried fish, crackers, and candy. At various times, he was authorized by the town Selectmen to sell “intoxicating liquors” (brandy, whiskey, and rum) for “Medicinal, chemical and mechanical purposes only,” and for a period, he served as postmaster for Wendell Depot.

The daybooks and correspondence of William Putnam record the daily transactions of an antebellum storekeeper in rural Wendell, Massachusetts. Offering a dense record of transactions from 1840-1847, the daybooks provide a chronological accounting of all sales and credits in the store, including barter with local residents of the community and with contractors for the new Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad. The last in the series of daybooks lists a surprisingly high percentage of Wendell’s residents (by name, in alphabetical order) who owed him money as of October 1846. The correspondence associated with the collection continues into the 1880s and provides relatively slender documentation of Putnam’s litigiousness, his financial difficulties after the Civil War, and the efforts of his son John William to continue the business.

Gift of Donald W. Howe, 1957; Robert Lucas, 1987 (correspondence); and Dan Casavant, 2001

Subjects

  • Barter--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Consumer goods--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Consumers--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Liquor stores--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Panama hat industry--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Schools--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad
  • Wendell (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Wendell (Mass.)--History--19th century

Contributors

  • Putnam, William

Types of material

  • Daybooks
Rainford, Sheila

Sheila Rainford Collection

1978-2016
4 boxes 2.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 426
Image of Brookfield Farm, 1995
Brookfield Farm, 1995

A resident of Amherst, Massachusetts and member of the UMass class of 1965, Sheila Rainford has a strong interest in local history and is a staunch supporter of her local public library, the Jones Library. An area of particular interest is the role of agriculture in the Pioneer Valley. She is co-editor with Ruth Owen Jones of a book on local agricultural history, Harvesting History: Amherst Massachusetts Farms, 1750-2010 (Amherst, Mass., 2010).

The collection consists chiefly of subject files relating to farms and farming in Amherst and the Pioneer Valley. Topics include CISA, NOFA, area farms, local CSAs . Eight audiocassettes contain presentations or interviews ranging from Doris Abramson on the history of the Jones Library to personal recollections and sewing as a business.

Subjects

  • Agriculture--Massachusetts--History
  • Amherst (Mass.)--History
  • Jones Library
  • Pioneer Valley (Mass.)--History

Contributors

  • Abramson, Doris E.
Reinsch, Henry Gustave

Henry Gustave Reinsch Papers

1942-1960
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 527

Born in Germany in 1888, Henry Gustave Reinsch became an American citizen in 1912, serving in the military during the First World War, marrying an American girl, and starting a family. In 1942, however, two FBI agents showed up at Reinsch’s office, and a year later, Reinsch’s citizenship was revoked when he was accused by the U.S. government of living a double life — publicly loyal to America, privately loyal to Germany. Reinsch appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court and won. His citizenship was reinstated in 1945.

The Reinsch Papers contains newspaper clippings, personal and business correspondence, and official documents pertaining to both citizenship trials, that tell of uncommon wartime experiences.

Gift of Vincent DiMarco, June 2007

Subjects

  • Citizenship, Loss of--United States
  • Fascists--United States
  • German Americans--Washington
  • Silver Shirts of America (Organization)
  • World War, 1939-1945--German Americans

Contributors

  • Reinsch, Bernice
  • Reinsch, Henry Gustave

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
Richards family

Richards Family Collection

1692-1818
2 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1030 bd

A prosperous farmer in the southern reaches of Massachusetts Bay Colony, James Richards was born on June 2, 1658, and never ventured far from his from his home in Weymouth or the adjoining town of Braintree. The son of William Richards and his wife Grace Shaw, and a member of the third generation of Richards in the new world, James was characteristically diverse in his economic activities, raising livestock (sheep and pigs), harvesting salt grass, making salt, and raising crops including rye, corn, and barley, which he malted, presumably for the production of beer. Although most of his transactions were local, he traded as far away as Charlestown and Barnstable.

The Richards family ledgers include a daybook from James Richards kept between 1692-1710 and an account book from his great grandson Jacob Richards kept a century later, along with loose receipts from generations of Richards in between. The volume associated with James Richards records sales of goods produced on his Weymouth farm, including barley, rye, “Indian corn,” salt, mutton and lamb, pork, and eggs, along with occasional records of the sale of goods such as shingles, “board nails,” clapboards, molasses and sugar, lamp oil, tobacco, and cloth. The sparser records from Jacob Richards include accounts that include the sale of cider; cord wood; pine, oak, and maple boards; and shoes.

Gift of Carolyn Taylor, June 2017, through the UMass Press.

Subjects

  • Agriculture--Massachusetts--Weymouth
  • Agriculture--Massachusetts--Weymouth
  • Weymouth (Mass.)--Economic conditions--17th century
  • Weymouth (Mass.)--Economic conditions--18th century

Contributors

  • Richards, Jacob, 1778-
  • Richards, James, 1658-1711

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Daybooks
Riggs, Maida L.

Maida L. Riggs Papers

1925-2000
8 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 095
Image of Maida Riggs, ca.1944
Maida Riggs, ca.1944

Maida Leonard Riggs, class of 1936, taught women’s physical education at UMass before shifting to teacher preparation. Riggs was a beloved member of the UMass faculty for 28 years before her retirement. An adventurous spirit took Riggs around the globe: to Europe with the Red Cross during World War II; as a bicycling tour leader after the war; on a trek across Nepal at age 62; to Russia, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Uzbekistan. After retiring, Riggs, a self-described compulsive traveler, embarked on a more personal journey to explore her roots. Riggs transcribed more than 250 letters by her pioneer great-grandmother, Mary Ann Clark Longley, and published them under the title A Small Bit of Bread and Butter: Letters from the Dakota Territory, 1832-1869, an absorbing and sometimes heartbreaking account of life on the frontier. An avid photographer, Riggs took advantage of any opportunity to use her camera. These images, particularly from World War II, tell as many stories as do her correspondence. Her memoir, Dancing in Paratrooper Boots, contains typed copies of her letters from her days as a Red Cross volunteer during the war.

The Riggs Papers are a rich documentary history of the World War II era, both in America and Europe, as well as an engrossing study (in transcripts) of the American frontier. Included with extensive correspondence and photographs are published and unpublished prose, and Lovingly, Lucy: Vignettes of a Pioneer Woman’s Life, an essay on Riggs’s paternal grandmother, Lucy Dodge Riggs. Additional items in the collection include handwritten journals, one detailing a trip to China and Japan in 1982, and Riggs’s photographs of young children at play taken for her book on child development, Jump to Joy: Helping Children Grow Through Active Play. Riggs also took her genealogical research seriously, meticulously charting her family’s 1638 immigration from England to Massachusetts. With camera in hand, she later traveled to England in search of more evidence of the Longleys’ English roots.

Gift of Maida Riggs, 2000-2006

Subjects

  • China--Description and travel
  • Longley family
  • Riggs family
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Alumni and alumnae
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Physical Education
  • Women physical education teachers
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • World War, 1939-1945--Women

Contributors

  • Riggs, Maida L.

Types of material

  • Photographs
Rural Massachusetts Imprints Collection

Rural Massachusetts Imprints Collection

1797-1897
48 items 3 linear feet
Call no.: RB 012
Image of 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.

Subjects

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

Contributors

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

Types of material

  • Almanacs
  • Broadsides
Sharpe, Wayne G., 1915-1991

Wayne G. Sharpe Papers

1943-1944
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 462

Wayne G. Sharpe was a secretary for Company A in the 1874th Engineers Aviation Battalion of the Army Air Corps and a middle-class family man from Belmont, Massachusetts. Enlisted in February of 1943 at the age of twenty-seven, Wayne left his wife and infant son for a year’s training at home before his Battalion was dispatched to New Guinea in late December. Flown to a hospital on the island in late April 1944, he returned to the United States in August.

The papers of Wayne G. Sharpe, Sr. are primarily made up of his letters and V-mails home during his training and service abroad, but also include his wife’s letters to him from April 1943-August 1944.

Subjects

  • World War, 1939-1945

Contributors

  • Sharpe, Wayne G., 1915-1991
Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia Collection

1925-1986
32 boxes 48 linear feet
Call no.: MS 407

The Southeast Asia Collection highlights the regional wars from the 1970s to the 1980s, including a series on Southeast Asian refugees in America, along with materials on regional economic development, especially in the Mekong River Basin. The collection contains hundreds of reports on agricultural and industrial projects in the region, examining everything from the impact of electrification on village life in Thailand to a description of a Soviet-built hospital in Cambodia in 1961, to an assessment of herbicide in Vietnam in 1971.

Collected primarily by Joel Halpern and James Hafner, the collection includes background, field, and situation reports by U.S. Operations Missions and U.S. Agency for International Development; reports, publications, statistics, and background information from other U.S. government agencies, governments of Laos and Thailand, and the United Nations; correspondence, reports, and reference materials of nongovernmental organizations; reports and essays by individuals about Southeast Asia; news releases and newspapers; published and unpublished bibliographies; and interviews with U.S. military personnel. Most material comes from governmental and organizational sources, but there are papers by, and debriefs of, numerous individuals.

Subjects

  • Cambodia--History--1953-1975
  • Laos--History
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Contributors

  • Hafner, James
  • Halpern, Joel Martin
Stonewall Center

Stonewall Center Records

1962-2005
22 boxes 33 linear feet
Call no.: RG 030/2/6

Following a series of homophobic incidents on the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1985, the Program for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Concerns was established as an administrative center in the Office of Student Affairs. Later renamed after the notorious riots in New York, the Stonewall Center has provided the campus and surrounding community with cultural and educational programming through speakers, films, video and book library, Speakers Bureau on LGBTQ issues, referrals and support, advocacy and community outreach.

The records of the Stonewall Center include documentation of day to day operations, including phone logs, memos, and budget information, as well as posters and press releases for events, publications, campus and external reports, training manuals, surveys, newspaper clippings, and ephemera such as banners, tee-shirts, and buttons.

Subjects

  • Gay college students--Massachusetts
  • Gays--Services for
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Concerns

Contributors

  • Stonewall Center
  • Yeskel, Felice