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Manuscript collections

Geisha, from the Benjamin Smith Lyman Papers
Geishas, from Benjamin Smith Lyman Papers

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives collects and preserves textual, visual, and auditory materials of enduring historical value and makes them available to researchers at no charge.

The collections held by SCUA are rich and deeply interrelated, documenting four areas of historic and cultural interest: social change, New England, the University of Massachusetts, and innovation and entrepreneurship.

Among the distinguished collections held by SCUA are the records of:

  • W.E.B. Du Bois and Horace Mann Bond (African American intellectuals and civil rights pioneers)
  • The Africa America Institute
  • The New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (350 years of Quaker history in the region)
  • The Hampshire Council of Governments (350 years of county-level governance in western Massachusetts
  • David Steindl-Rast (Benedictine monk, participant in interfaith dialogue, and student of the interaction between spirituality and science)
  • Kenneth R. Feinberg (attorney and public figure)
  • Congressman Silvio E. Conte and John Olver, Gov. Jane Swift, and state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (politicians)
  • The Clarke School for the Deaf, International Center for the Disabled, Elmer C. Bartels, Fred Pelka and Denise Kurath, Judi Chamberlin, Lucy Gwin (advocates for people with disabilities)
  • Benjamin Smith Lyman, William Smith Clark, and William Penn Brooks (natural scientists)
  • Mark H. McCormack and Sidney Topol (innovators)
  • William Lederer, Leonard Lewin, Jodi Picoult, Andrew Coburn, Mary McGarry Morris, Harvey Swados, Robert Francis, Charles Whipple (writers)
  • Carl Oglesby, Eric Mann and Lian Hurst, Raymond Mungo, Anna Gyorgy, Mary Wentworth, Randy Kehler, the Liberation News Service, and the Alternative Energy Alliance (activists)
  • Jeff Albertson, Burt Brooks, Alton H. Blackington, Lionel Delevingne, Clif Garboden, Nancy Palmieri, Peter Simon, Thomas and Margaret Tenney, and Diana Mara Henry (photographers and photojournalists)

Information about all of our manuscript and photographic collections is included in UMarmot. Use the search box and menus to the right to navigate our collections and to locate collections of interest.

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Massachusetts AFL-CIO

Massachusetts AFL-CIO Records

1902-1995
72 boxes 64 linear feet
Call no.: MS 369

Formed in 1887 as the Massachusetts branch of the American Federation of Labor, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO currently represents the interests of over 400,000 working people in the Commonwealth. Like its parent organization, the national AFL-CIO, the Mass. AFL-CIO is an umbrella organization, a union of unions, and engages in political education, legislative action, organizing, and education and training.

The official records of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO provide insight into the aims and administrative workings of the organization. These includes a nearly complete run of proceedings and reports from its conventions since 1902, except for a five year gap 1919-1923, minutes and agendas for the meetings of the Executive Council, and the President’s files (1982- ). The collection is particularly strong in the period since about 1980.

Subjects

  • Labor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • AFL-CIO
  • Massachusetts AFL-CIO
Mather, Jean Paul

Jean Paul Mather Papers

1932-1994
6 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: RG 003/1 M38
Image of Jean Paul Mather
Jean Paul Mather

Jean Paul Mather was the youngest president in his era to lead a land-grant university. He joined the University of Massachusetts in 1953 as Provost, and was appointed President in 1954, at the age of 39. During his tenure, he oversaw major academic restructuring and advocated fiscal autonomy for the University, struggling with state officials to raise salaries for the faculty. His work is credited with building a foundation for the academic strength of the University. Mather left UMass in 1960 to assume the Presidency of the American College Testing Program, and he later became President of the University City Science Center in Philadelphia from 1964 to 1969. In 1969, Mather returned to his alma mater, the Colorado School of Mines, to become head of the mineral economic department.

Correspondence, memos, speeches, reports, biographical material, clippings, memorabilia, photographs and other papers, relating chiefly to Mather’s work as President, University of Massachusetts. Includes material relating to the Freedom Bill (granting the university autonomy in personnel matters), establishment of an exchange program with Hokkaido University, Japan, and Mather’s inauguration (including minutes of the Committee on Inauguration).

Subjects

  • Hokkaidō Daigaku
  • Universities and colleges--Administration
  • Universities and colleges--Law and legislation
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. President

Contributors

  • Mather, Jean Paul
Middleborough (Mass.) country store

Middleborough (Mass.) Country Store Daybook

1825-1827
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 221

Country store in the village of Titicut in Middleborough, Massachusetts, owned by members of either the Clark or Pratt families of the village. Includes goods for sale (groceries, cloth, hardware, and liquor), the method and form of payment (cash, rags, straw, wood, brick, and produce), customers’ names, and ways that families and women earned credit (producing braid or carting goods for the owners).

Subjects

  • Barter--Massachusetts--Middleborough--19th century
  • Braid--Massachusetts
  • Freight and freightage--Massachusetts
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Middleborough
  • Middleborough (Mass.)--Commerce--19th century
  • Titicut (Middleborough Mass.)--Commerce--19th century

Types of material

  • Daybooks
Miscellaneous Manuscripts

Miscellaneous Manuscripts

1717-2003
6 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 719

Miscellaneous Manuscripts is an artificial collection that brings together single items and small groups of related materials. Although the collection reflects the general collecting emphases in SCUA, particularly the history of New England, the content ranges widely in theme and format.

Subjects

  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Massachusetts--History
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government
  • Massachusetts--Social conditions--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Social conditions--19th century
  • Massachusetts--Social conditions--20th century

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
Myers, Wallace Haslett

Wallace Haslett Myers Papers

1938-1961
7 boxes 3.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 968

Wallace Haslett Myers was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on November 21, 1929, the elder of two sons of Roscoe and Priscilla Myers. Myers received his Bachelor’s Degree from Clark University in Worcester in 1951. He attended Boston University Law School in the summer of 1951, then enrolled in Harvard Law School, and received a law degree in 1954. Of note, he survived a close brush with the Worcester Tornado of 1953, classified as the 21st deadliest tornado in U.S. history. After graduating from law school, he served in the U.S. Army from 1954-1956 and was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. Upon his return from the Army, Myers began practicing law, specializing in probate, taxation and real estate matters. On August 23, 1985, he married Irene Healy in Worcester. He belonged to the Worcester Republican 21 Club, was active in the Episcopal Church, and was a supporter of the church’s summer retreat house, Bucksteep Manor in Washington, Massachusetts.

This collection covers the years 1941-1975, with the bulk of the collection between 1945-1957. Myers frequently exchanged letters with many individuals, so the majority is personal correspondence between family and friends, documenting daily life, and notably including one friend’s marriage to a Korean woman during the era of the Korean War. Other papers in the collection pertain to his attendance at Clark, Boston University and Harvard, social activities and clubs, and stamp collecting and trading.

Gift of S. Myron Weinblatt, Apr. 2017

Subjects

  • Harvard Law School
  • Korean War, 1950-1953
  • Law Schools--United States
  • Stamp collectiong
  • Worcester (Mass.)--History

Contributors

  • Chaffee, Fred
  • Chen, Phil
  • Kerwien, Priscilla
  • Myers, Priscilla Haslett, 1901-1980
  • Myers, Robert Haslett, 1933-
  • Myers, Roscoe, 1899-1982
  • Myers, Wallace Haslett, 1929-
  • Myers, Wallace P.
  • Seiler, Shirley

Types of material

  • Correspondence (Letters)
New England history

Two girls in carriage, Quabbin region, ca.1910

Two girls in carriage, Quabbin region, ca.1910

SCUA is dedicated to documenting New England history, including primary materials relating to the political, cultural, economic, and intellectual life of our region, and the lives and experiences of its residents.

The collections in SCUA touch on many aspects of the history of the region with developing depth in immigration, labor, work, and industry, social change and movements for social change, and literature and the arts. Of particular note are two exceptionally large and rich collections: the records of the Hampshire Council of Governments, which contains over 325 years of county-level governance in western Massachusetts, and the records of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, which contains 350 years of Quaker history.

The recent political history of the region is documented through the papers of congressmen Silvio O. Conte and his successor John Olver, Governor Jane Swift, state Senator Stanley Rosenberg, state representatives John G. Clark, Maurice Donahue, Whiting Griswold, and John Haigis, and other figures involved in the political life of the Commonwealth.

In addition to holding material relating to many individual towns and communities in western Massachusetts, SCUA maintains a special interest in the history of the towns of the Quabbin watershed.

Significant collections

  • Business and industry
    • In addition to collections relating to organized labor and the labor movement, SCUA attempts to document the experience of work and the business community to provide a rounded understanding of work life in New England. For a more complete listing, see our guide for Labor, Work, and Industry.
  • Civic organizations and charities
    • Collections ranging from the records of charitable organizations that provide social services to groups that foster civic engagement and social justice, benevolent and ethnic self-help societies, to organizations that support social and professional communities.
  • Family history
    • SCUA has a strong interest in “family collections,” typically collections that include correspondence, photograph albums, family and farm accounts, and other materials that reveal the every day lives of New Englanders. Researchers on family life and genealogy should note that many collections indexed under other subjects contain personal and family information of some importance. Our printed materials collections include many local and county histories, genealogies, and other resources which may be useful for understanding family life.
  • Immigration, demography, and ethnicity
  • Medical history
    • Collections include daybooks and medical accounts of physicians, primarily from the nineteenth century, personal papers of physicians, and some materials on public health policy.
  • Military history
    • Although SCUA has scattered holdings relating to earlier wars, the department houses interesting materials relating to World War II and the War in Vietnam, with the latter concentrated on the antiwar movement.
  • Political life and culture
    • The distinctive political culture of Massachusetts and formal and informal political activity in the Commonwealth. Although the collections extend back into the nineteenth century, our focus is primarily on the post-World War II period.
  • Printing in rural Massachusetts
    • SCUA collects books, broadsides, and other materials printed in rural New England prior to 1900. The collections include a growing collection for the printers in the Quabbin region, Solomon and John Howes, but also includes works printed in small towns throughout Berkshire, Hampshire, Hamden, and Franklin Counties.
  • Quabbin Regional collections
    • Collections relating to all aspects of life and the legacy of the four towns inundated by the Quabbin Reservoir: Dana, Greenwich, Enfield, and Prescott, as well as surrounding communities such as New Salem, Petersham, and Wendell. In our rare books holdings, we have a number of works printed in Enfield or Greenwich, mostly by Solomon and John Howe.
  • Religious life
    • Our efforts to document the spiritual lives and religious commitments of New Englanders has resulted in a number of manuscript and archival collections. Our social change holdings include a number of collections on spiritually-motivated social reform, and our rare book holdings include hundreds of published sermons and other printed materials relating to religious life in the region.
  • New England regional history

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New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse League

New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse League Records

1893-1977
9 boxes 5.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 331

When Charles Marsters founded the Boston Lacrosse Club in 1913, the club was the only one in New England to play teams from outside of the region. Under Marsters’s leadership, however, participation in the sport rose steadily at both the high school and collegiate level, helping establish New England as one of the centers of the American game. In 1935, he and Tom Dent founded the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse League (NEILL) to continue to build the sport.

The NEILL records document the growth of lacrosse from informal club team play to a more regulated, interscholastic and intercollegiate varsity sport. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence, minutes, and agendas kept by co-founder Charles Marsters and a handful of other NEILL officers, but with material documenting the growth of the sport at UMass Amherst from the 1950s onward and the addition of women’s lacrosse as a collegiate sport. The collection also includes some printed material (including rulebooks), news clippings, and photographs.

Subjects

  • College sports--New England
  • Lacrosse for women--United States
  • Lacrosse guide
  • Lacrosse--New England--History
  • School sports--New England
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Sports

Contributors

  • Boyden, Frank L. (Frank Learoyd), 1879-1972
  • Marsters, Charles E
  • New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse League
Oglesby, Carl, 1935-2011

Carl Oglesby Papers

ca.1965-2004
96 boxes 67.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 514
Image of Carl Oglesby, 2006. Photo by Jennifer Fels
Carl Oglesby, 2006. Photo by Jennifer Fels

Reflective, critical, and radical, Carl Oglesby was an eloquent voice of the New Left during the 1960s and 1970s. A native of Ohio, Oglesby was working in the defense industry in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1964 when he became radicalized by what he saw transpiring in Vietnam. Through his contacts with the Students for a Democratic Society, he was drawn into the nascent antiwar movement, and thanks to his formidable skills as a speaker and writer, rose rapidly to prominence. Elected president of the SDS in 1965, he spent several years traveling nationally and internationally advocating for a variety of political and social causes.

In 1972, Oglesby helped co-found the Assassination Information Bureau which ultimately helped prod the U.S. Congress to reopen the investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A prolific writer and editor, his major works include Containment and Change (1967), The New Left Reader (1969), The Yankee and Cowboy War (1976), and The JFK Assassination: The Facts and the Theories (1992). The Oglesby Papers include research files, correspondence, published and unpublished writing, with the weight of the collection falling largely on the period after 1975.

Gift of Carl Oglesby, 2006-2008

Subjects

  • Assassination Information Bureau
  • Gehlen, Reinhard, 1902-1979
  • Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963--Assassination
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
  • Pacifists
  • Political activists
  • Student movements
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
  • United States--Foreign relations
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
  • Watergate Affair, 1972-1974

Contributors

  • Oglesby, Carl, 1935-2011
Peasley, Alonzo A.

Alonzo A. Peasley Diaries

1861-1863
2 vols. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 608 bd
Image of Fragments of the 1st Massachusetts Infantry flag
Fragments of the 1st Massachusetts Infantry flag

Born in Dorchester, Mass., Alonzo A. Peasley enlisted in the 1st Massachusetts Infantry in May 1861, only weeks after the outbreak of the Civil War. Sent almost immediately southward, Peasley’s regiment was deployed in the Battles of Glendale and First Bull Run in July, and served with the Army of the Potomac throughout the Peninsular Campaign, Frederickbsurg, and Chancellorsville. As part of the 2nd Division, 3rd Army Corps on July 2, 1863, the 1st Massachusetts suffered a 40% casualty rate during fierce fighting along the Emmitsburg Road in Gettysburg, with Peasley sustaining serious wounds. Hospitalized for several months, he was transferred to the Veterans Reserve Corps to serve out his enlistment. In later life, Peasley worked as a letter carrier in Boston.

Exceptionally well-written, observant, and above all active, Peasley’s diaries offer a fine account of a private’s life in the Civil War. The two volumes include detailed descriptions of life in the 1st Massachusetts Infantry covering the entire period from the day the regiment left the state in June 1861 until the time of Peasley’s wounding at Gettysburg in July 1863. Among the highlights are a minutely detailed, thoroughly extended account of Peasley’s first major engagements (Blackburn’s Ford and First Bull Run), excellent account for the Peninsular Campaign, and a stunning account of the Second Battle of Bull Run.

Gift of William A. Carroll, June 2009

Subjects

  • Bull Run, 1st Battle of, Va., 1861
  • Bull Run, 2nd Battle of, Va., 1862
  • Peninsular Campaign, 1862
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
  • United States. Army--Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 1st (1861-1864)

Contributors

  • Peasley, Alonzo A

Types of material

  • Diaries