Western Massachusetts was an early and important center of both industrialization and the development of organized labor, and in recent years, it has experienced many of traumatic effects of de-industrialization and economic transformation. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives seeks to document the history of organized labor, the experience of work, and business and industry in New England.
At the heart of the SCUA holdings is a suite of collections documenting the organized labor movement in New England. The official records of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, a large and important collection, is joined by records for trades ranging from clothing and textile workers to carpenters, electrical workers, and granite cutters.
Of particular note is the John W. Bennett Labor History Collection, a large assemblage of labor-related realia and ephemera, including hundreds of badges, pins, watch fobs, lighters, and other artifacts distributed to union members at annual conventions and other union events. The collection is a unique resource for study of the iconography of organized labor and includes items from representative unions and locals ranging from the Knights of Labor in the 1870s to the present. While centered on New England, the Bennett Collection extends nationally.
View our brochure on documenting labor, work, and industry (pdf).
- Organized Labor
- From the records of the Massachusetts State AFL-CIO to the papers of union locals and labor leaders.
- See all Business and industry
- The industrial heritage of New England is represented in collections ranging from the records of the Clement Co., Lamson and Goodnow, and the Northampton Cutlery Company (manufacturers of cutlery), the American Writing Paper Company, the Rodney Hunt Co. (a manufacturer of textile machinery and waterwheels), and Smith and Wesson. The most recent collection is the papers of Sidney Topol, CEO of Scientific-Atlanta, a corporation at the forefront of the growth of cable television in the United States.
- Merchants and mercantile exchange
- Account books and other business records for a number of New England merchants dating back to the eighteenth century, ranging from small scale traders to keepers of rural general stores to shipping merchants trading in the Atlantic economy.
Lamson and Goodnow Records, 1837-1911.
Call no.: MS 662
In 1834, Silas Lamson devised a curved snath that greatly improved the efficiency of the scythe, and riding the commercial success of his invention, Lamson, his sons Ebenezer and Nathaniel, and partner Abel Goodnow, founded the manufacturing firm of Lamson and Goodnow in Shelburne Falls, Mass., in 1837. Early in its history, Lamson and Goodnow recruited skilled workers from cutlery centers in England and Germany and began manufacturing the high quality knives and tableware that have remained the center of their production ever since. The firm was a major contributor to the region’s transformation from a primarily agricultural to an industrial economy, and by the time of the Civil War, they helped establish the Connecticut River Valley had emerged as the center of American cutlery production. At vartious points during their history, Lamson and Goodnow have been involved in the manufacture of arms (e.g. the Springfield Rifle), sewing machines, agricultural implements, and other tools. They remain active in the production of cutlery, trade tools, and kitchenware.
The Lamson and Goodnow records contain relatively dense documentation of a major manufacturer of cutlery and agricultural implements from roughly the time of its founding in 1837 through shortly after the turn of the twentieth century. In addition to account books, records of orders, sales, and production, and a dizzying array of canceled checks, receipts, and trade cards, the collection includes correspondence from field agents and customers that document the growth of the company during the first 75 years of its operation.
- Cutlery trade--Massachusetts
- Shelburne Falls (Mass.)--History
- Lamson and Goodnow
Types of material
- Account books
League of Women Voters of Amherst Records, 1939-2001.
Call no.: MS 296
Non-partisan political organization based in Amherst, Massachusetts 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.
Includes minutes, annual reports, financial records, publications, extensive files on specific programs, photographs, video- and audio-tapes, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings. Also contains information on two league members who rose to national prominence: Lucy Wilson Benson (Under Secretary of State in the federal government in 1977) and Jane F. Garvey (Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration in 1997).
- Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government
- Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
- Benson, Lucy Wilson
- Garvey, Jane F
- League of Women Voters of Amherst (Amherst, Mass.)
Types of material
- Oral histories
Gertrude M. Lewis Papers, ca.1920-2001.
Call no.: FS 096
Overcoming a deeply impoverished childhood, Gertrude Lewis struggled to build a career in education, putting herself through college and graduate school. At the age of 32, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State, continuing on to a masters degree at New York University (1933), and finally, at age 51, a PhD from Yale (1947). For many years after receiving her doctorate, Lewis was employed as a Specialist for Upper Grades with the U.S. Office of Education in Washington. Among other career highlights, Lewis spent two years in Japan (1950-1951) as a Consultant in Elementary Education in the Education Section of the Allied Occupation government (SCAP). Lewis outlived her life partner, Ruth Totman, dying at home on December 10, 1996, a few months after her one hundredth birthday.
The Lewis Papers document the work and life of an educator of the masses, a traveler of the world, and a woman of the twentieth century. Documents pertaining to her work as an educator of both young students and veteran teachers show the changes within the theory and practice of pedagogy over time, over various geographic locales, and also highlight her role in that change. This collection also documents the numerous on-going side projects on which Lewis worked, including fostering creativity in schoolchildren, a biography of Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, and her own poetry and prose.
- Education, Elementary--Japan
- Education, Elementary--United States--History
- Education--United States--History
- Health Education--United States
- Japan--Civilization--American influences
- Students--Health and hygiene
- Lewis, Gertrude Minnie, 1896-
- Totman, Conrad D
- Totman, Ruth J
Types of material
- Motion pictures (Visual work)
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.
- 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), Mary Doyle Curran (The Parish and the Hill).
- Journalists 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.
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.
Lyman Family Papers, 1839-1942.
Call no.: MS 634
The descendants of Joseph Lyman (1767-1847) flourished in nineteenth century Northampton, Mass., achieving social prominence, financial success, and a degree of intellectual acclaim. Having settled in Northampton before 1654, just a generation removed from emigration, the Lymans featured prominently in the development of the Connecticut River Valley. A Yale-educated clerk of the Hampshire County courts, Joseph’s descendants included sons Joseph Lyman (an engineer and antislavery man) and Samuel Fowler Lyman (a jurist), and three Harvard-educated grandsons, Benjamin Smith Lyman (a geologist and traveler in Meiji-era Japan) and brothers Joseph and Frank Lyman (both trained in the natural sciences).
Consisting of the scattered correspondence and photographic record of three generations of an intellectually adventurous Northampton family, the Lyman collection explores the ebb and flow of family relations, collegiate education, and educational travel in Europe during the mid-nineteenth century, with important content on antislavery and the Free State movement in Kansas. Although the family’s tendency to reuse names (repeatedly) presents a challenge in distinguishing the various recipients, the focal points of the collection include the geologist Benjamin Smith Lyman, his uncle Joseph (1812-1871), cousins Joseph (1851-1883) and Frank, and Frank’s son Frank Lyman, Jr. Antislavery is a major theme in the letters of Samuel F. Lyman to his son Benjamin, and in the letterbook of the Kansas Land Trust, an affiliate of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, of which the elder Joseph was Treasurer.
- Antislavery movements--Massachusetts
- Germany--Description and travel--19th century
- Harvard University--Students
- Kansas Land Trust
- New England Emigrant Aid Company
- Lawrence, Amos Adams, 1814-1886
- Lyman, Benjamin Smith, 1835-1920
- Lyman, Joseph B, 1812-1871
Types of material
Benjamin Smith Lyman Papers, 1831-1921.
Call no.: MS 190
A native of Northampton, Massachusetts, Benjamin Smith Lyman was a prominent geologist and mining engineer. At the request of the Meiji government in Japan, Lyman helped introduce modern geological surveying and mining techniques during the 1870s and 1880s, and his papers from that period illuminate aspects of late nineteenth century Japan, New England, and Pennsylvania, as well as the fields of geology and mining exploration and engineering. From his earliest financial records kept as a student at Phillips Exeter Academy through the journal notations of his later days in Philadelphia, Lyman’s meticulous record-keeping provides much detail about his life and work. Correspondents include his classmate, Franklin B. Sanborn, a friend of the Concord Transcendentalists and an active social reformer, abolitionist, and editor.
The papers, 1848-1911, have been organized into nine series: correspondence, financial records, writings, survey notebooks, survey maps, photographs, student notes and notebooks, collections, and miscellaneous (total 25 linear feet). A separate Lyman collection includes over 2,000 books in Japanese and Chinese acquired by Lyman, and in Western languages pertaining to Asia.
- Geological surveys--Alabama
- Geological surveys--Illinois
- Geological surveys--India--Punjab
- Geological surveys--Japan
- Geological surveys--Japan--Maps
- Geological surveys--Maryland
- Geological surveys--Nova Scotia
- Geological surveys--Pennsylvania
- Geological surveys--Pennsylvania--Maps
- Geologists--United States
- Geology--Equipment and supplies--Catalogs
- Geology--Japan--History--19th century
- Japan--Description and travel--19th century
- Japan--Social life and customs--1868-1912
- Mining engineering--Equipment and supplies--Catalogs
- Mining engineering--Japan--History--19th century
- Mining engineers--United States
- Lyman, Benjamin Smith, 1835-1920
- Sanborn, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), 1831-1917
Types of material
- Account books
- Book jackets
- Field notes
- Letterpress copybooks
- Trade catalogs
William L. Machmer Papers, 1899-1953.
Call no.: RG 006/1 M33
Enjoying one of the longest tenures of any administrator in the history of the University of Massachusetts, William Lawson Machmer served under five presidents across 42 years, helping to guide the university through an economic depression, two world wars, and three name changes. During his years as Dean, Machmer witnessed the growth of the university from fewer than 500 students to almost 3,800, and helped guide its transformation from a small agricultural college into Massachusetts State College (1931) and finally into the University of Massachusetts (1947).
Machmer’s papers chronicle the fitful development of the University of Massachusetts from the days of Kenyon Butterfield’s innovations of the 1920s through the time of the GI Bill. The collection is particularly strong in documenting the academic experience of students and the changes affecting the various departments and programs at the University, with particular depth for the period during and after the Second World War.
- Agricultural education
- Fort Devens (Mass.)
- Massachusetts Agricultural College
- Massachusetts State College
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dean
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Mathematics
- World War, 1939-1945
- Baker, Hugh Potter, 1878-
- Butterfield, Kenyon L. (Kenyon Leech), 1868-1935
- Lewis, Edward M
- Machmer, William L
- Van Meter, Ralph Albert, 1893-
Types of material
- Letters (Correspondence)
- Student records
John Manfredi Papers, 1938-1983.
Call no.: FS 148
One of four young sociologists who joined the faculty at UMass Amherst in the years after the Second World War, John Manfredi carried the entire load of teaching theory from 1948 to 1967. A native of Philadelphia and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (BA 1942), Manfredi came to Amherst after completing an MA at Harvard in 1948, teaching while simultaneously completing his dissertation, “The Relationship of Class-Structured Pathologies to the Contents of Popular Periodical Fiction, 1936-1940″ (Harvard, 1951). A specialist in social theory and cultural systems, he taught anthropology for several years and both his research and teaching revolved around the sociology of religion and art. His best know work, The Social Limits of Art, appeared in 1982, three years before his retirement. Manfredi died in February 1993.
Consisting of essays and course notes from his days as a graduate student at Harvard, the John Manfredi collection documents the training and early professional work of a sociologist. Notable among these are materials relating to classes offered by eminent figures such as Talcott Parsons, Carle C. Zimmerman, and P.A. Sorokin.
- Sociology--Study and teaching
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Sociology
- Manfredi, John, 1920-
- Parsons, Talcott, 1902-1979
- Sorokin, Pitirim Aleksandrovich, 1889-1968
- Zimmerman, Carle Clark, 1897-1983
Types of material
- Lecture notes
Arthur P. Mange Photograph Collection, 1965-2010.
Call no.: PH 044
Arthur P. Mange taught in the Biology Department at University of Massachusetts Amherst for 31 years before retiring in 1995. A co-author of numerous works in human genetics, Mange served on the chair of the Conservation Committee in Amherst, and currently serves on the Burnett Gallery Committee. In 1983, his New England images were featured in Across the Valley (from Cummington to New Salem) held at the Burnett Gallery. This exhibition was followed at the Hitchcock Center in 1984 with Delight in Familiar Forms (celebrating some well-known plants and animals), with Ring Bell to Admit Bird at the Jones Library and Net Prophet at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Architectural Sights — Big and Small, Mange’s most recent show (2002), appeared at the Burnett Gallery. In addition to exhibitions, Mange has also donated collections for fund-raising auctions at New York University, the Cooley Dickinson Hospital, the University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center, the Amherst Historical Society, Jones Library, and the Amherst Community Arts Center.
His photographic collection spans more than half a century of subjects reflecting his varied interests in animals, plants, our region, gravestones, what he calls “whimsical signs,” and attention-grabbing shadows.
- Amherst (Mass.)--Pictorial works
- Cemeteries--Pictorial works
- Hadley (Mass.)--Pictorial works
- New England--Pictorial works
- New Salem (Mass.)--Pictorial works
- New York (N.Y.)--Pictorial works
Types of material