University of Massachusetts Amherst
Special Collections and University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries
SCUA

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Chrisman, Miriam Usher

Miriam Chrisman Papers, 1937-2007
13 boxes (9 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 128
Miriam Chrisman Papers image
Miriam U. Chrisman, 1964

A noted scholar of the social impact of the German Reformation, Miriam Usher Chrisman was born in Ithaca, New York, on May 20, 1920. With degrees from Smith College, American University, and Yale, she served for over thirty years on the faculty of the Department of History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, becoming a well-loved professor and treasured mentor to a generation of students.

A faithful and colorful correspondent, the bulk of Miriam Chrisman’s papers consist of letters written to family and friends stretching from her college days at Smith through the year before her death. The bulk of the correspondence is with her husband, Donald Chrisman, an orthopedic surgeon who was enrolled at Harvard Medical School during their courtship. Soon after the Chrismans married in November 1943, Donald left for active duty in the Navy on the U.S.S. Baldwin. The couple’s war correspondence is unusually rich, offering insight on everything from the social responsibilities of married couples to their opinions on the progression of the war. Of particular note is a lengthy letter written by Donald during and immediately after D-Day in which he provides Miriam a real-time description of the events and his reactions as they unfold. Later letters document Miriam’s extensive travels including a trip around the world. .

Subjects
  • Smith College--Students
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Chrisman, Miriam Usher
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Cigar Makers of the U.S.A. Local 39 (New Haven, Conn.)

Cigar Makers of the U.S.A., Local 39 Minute Books, 1886-1941
2 vols. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 383

Founded in 1864, the Cigar Makers were charted by the AFL in 1887. The collection consists of two minute books for Local 39 of New Haven, Connecticut, the earlier dating from 1886-1891 and the later volume dating from 1930-1941. Beginning in 1880, cigar manufacturers who negotiated labor contracts with the union affixed blue labels to boxes of “union made” cigars. A sheet of these union labels are laid into the back of the earlier minute book.

Subjects
  • Cigar makers--Labor unions
  • Labor unions--Connecticut
Contributors
  • Cigar Makers Union

Clark, John G., d. 1972

John G. Clark Papers, 1960-1969
3 boxes (3.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 499
John G. Clark Papers image
John G. Clark and H. P. Hood milk truck

With a life long interest in politics, John G. Clark of Easthampton, Massachusetts worked on a number of campaigns before running for office himself. He ran for state senator in 1958, but lost in the Democratic primary. Two years later he ran again, this time for state representative of the 3rd Hampshire District, and won. Clark served in the State House of Representative for eight years until he was appointed clerk of the district court in Northampton and chose not to run for reelection.

While this collection is small, it is packed with campaign materials, letters, position statements, speeches, and press releases that together offer a good sense of the political climate in Massachusetts during the 1960s, especially issues of local concern for Hampshire County. Four letters from a young neighbor written while serving in Vietnam provide a personal account of the war.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts--History
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Contributors
  • Clark, John G., d. 1972

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:

Collections in SCUA

Rope pull participants, ca.1913
Rope pull participants, ca.1913

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives is a center for research into the history and impact of social change and the history and cultures of New England.

Regardless of format, the collections in SCUA are richly interconnected, with particular depth for a suite of movements devoted to social justice. We have exceptional holdings for African American history and culture; organized labor; the peace, antiwar, and antinuclear movements; political and cultural radicalism; alternative societies; spiritual approaches to social change; and the history of agriculture, with an increasing emphasis on organic agriculture and sustainability.

SCUA houses approximately 40,000 rare books, hundreds of thousands of photographs, and nearly 45,000 linear feet of archives, including nationally significant manuscript collections and the official records of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. SCUA supports the work of a wide range of researchers, from undergraduates to senior scholars and journalists to family historians, and we are resource for the individuals and communities we document.

In addition to the major areas of collecting interest, SCUA in home to an eclectic assortment of materials documenting Revolutionary-era France and Belgium (1789-1848); the history of protistology; and the American study of Japan.

Learn more:

Common Reader Bookshop (New Salem, Mass.)

Common Reader Bookshop Collection, 1978-1997
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 472

Co-owned by Dorothy Johnson and Doris Abramson, the Common Reader Bookshop in New Salem, Massachusetts, specialized in women’s studies materials, or in their words, “books by, for, and about women.” A couple for almost 40 years and married in 2004, Johnson and Abramson, a professor in the theater department at UMass, opened the store in 1977. After nearly twenty-five years in operation, the book shop closed its doors for business in 2000. Comprised mostly of photographs, the collection highlights not only the shop as a place, but also the community it fostered.

Subjects
  • Booksellers and Bookselling--Massachusetts
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • Women--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Abramson, Doris
  • Common Reader Bookshop (New Salem, Mass.)
  • Johnson, Dorothy

Concordance to the Archives

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Conte, Silvio O. (Silvio Oltavio), 1921-1991

Silvio O. Conte Papers, 1950-1991
389 boxes (583.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 371

Massachusetts State Senator for the Berkshire District, 1950-1958, and representative for Massachusetts’s First District in the United States Congress for 17 terms, 1959-1991, where he made significant contributions in the areas of health and human services, the environment, education, energy, transportation, and small business.

Spanning four decades and eight presidents, the papers offer an extraordinary perspective on the major social, economic, and cultural changes experienced by the American people. Includes correspondence, speeches, press releases, bill files, his voting record, committee files, scrapbooks, travel files, audio-visual materials and over 5,000 photographs and slides.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
  • Massachusetts. Senate
  • United States--Politics and government--20th century
  • United States. Congress. House
Contributors
  • Conte, Silvio O. (Silvio Oltavio), 1921-1991
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Sound recordings

Cook Borden & Co.

Cook Borden and Co. Account Books, 1863-1914
3 vols. (1.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 288 bd

Cook Borden (a great uncle of Lizzie Borden) and his sons were prosperous lumber dealers from Fall River, Massachusetts who supplied large mills and transportation companies in the region. Three volumes include lists of customers and building contractors, company and personal profits and losses, accounts for expenses, horses, harnesses, lumber, and the planing mill, as well as accounts indicating the cost of rent, labor (with the “teamers”), insurance, interest, and other items.

Subjects
  • Callahan, Daley & Co
  • Construction industry--Massachusetts--History
  • Contractors--Massachusetts--History
  • Crates
  • Lumber
  • Lumber trade--Massachusetts--Fall River--Accounting--History
  • Textile factories--Massachusetts--History
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Transportation--Massachusetts--History
  • Wages--Manufacturing industries--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Borden, Cook, 1810-
  • Borden, Jerome
  • Borden, Philip H
  • Borden, Theodore W
  • Cook Borden & Co
Types of material
  • Account books

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
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