University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Western Massachusetts Library Club

Western Massachusetts Library Club Records
1898-2006
7 boxes (3.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 492
Image of Deerfield Public Library
Deerfield Public Library

Situated in a region known for its progressive spirit, the Western Massachusetts Library Club was established in 1898 to respond to the unique needs of librarians overseeing small or rural libraries, and to foster camaraderie among local colleagues. Almost immediately, however, the club expanded its focus, taking positions on issues ranging from modern library practices to national legislation and leading the way in the expansion of services for public libraries, all while maintaining its identity as an advocate for local libraries and librarians.

The collection is richest in records that document the early history of the club including detailed meeting minutes, news clippings, programs, and circulars. Beginning in the late 1960s, the club’s activities are captured primarily through membership lists and meeting notices and programs. Taken together, the records trace the growth of the WMLC for more than a century from its establishment to the present.

Subjects
  • Cutter, Charles A. (Charles Ammi), 1937-1903
  • Libraries--Massachusetts--History
Contributors
  • Western Massachusetts Library Club

Western Massachusetts Regional Library System

Western Massachusetts Regional Library System Records
1957-2010
2 boxes, oversized (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 671
Image of Bookmobile, 1957
Bookmobile, 1957

The Western Massachusetts Regional Library System was formed in 1962 as the Western Regional Public Library System, one of two organizations that provided professional support for the public librarians of the Commonwealth. Through the years, the two regions increased to three and then six, with the west consistently serving as a voice for the many small libraries that comprise its membership. Supported by funds from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, WMRLS provided a range of services, including continuing education for librarians; bookmobiles, delivery services, and interlibrary loan; reference support; catalog support and online databases; and youth services; as well as a purchasing cooperative. Following the national economic crisis in 2008-2009, WMRLS was consolidated with the other five regional library systems in Massachusetts and in June 2010, merged into the Massachusetts Library System.

The WMRLS collection contains a complete run of its newsletter from 1962 to 2010, copies of newsletters for continuing education and youth services, and a small assortment of administrative documents relating to its history and the services it provided.

Subjects
  • Public libraries--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Western Massachusetts Regional Library System

Citizens for Participation in Political Action. Franklin and Hampshire Counties

CPPAX Franklin and Hampshire Chapter Records
1991-1999
2 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 558

Founded in 1962, the mission of Citizens for Participation in Political Action (CPPAX) was to increase citizen involvement in politics and policy making, and to promote social and economic justice both within the U.S. and globally through U.S. foreign policy. The Franklin and Hampshire Counties chapter of CPPAX has been active in a number of issues of both local and national significance.

Minutes of meetings, subject files, and newsletters reveal issues of importance to the local chapter of CPPAX, issues that include clean elections, peace, nuclear abolition, and health care.

Subjects
  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Citizens for Participation in Political Action. Franklin and Hampshire Counties

New Approaches to History

New Approaches to History Collection
1967-1985
23 boxes (10.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 182

During the late 1960s, the Department of History at UMass Amherst created a new undergraduate course entitled New Approaches to History, relying almost exclusively on primary sources. The theme of the course varied from the Salem witch trials to Daniel Shay’s Rebellion to the Lizzie Borden murders.

The collection includes the course proposal, correspondence, syllabi, course assignments, and resources for three units: Salem witchcraft, Shay’s Rebellion, and Lizzie Borden.

Subjects
  • History--Study and teaching
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History

Pioneer Valley Activists

Pioneer Valley Activist Collection
2000-2007
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 474

Collection of posters and newspaper clippings documenting the work of activists throughout the Pioneer Valley. Although the bulk of the materials relate to protests against the war in Iraq, other issues include rallies and protests at UMass, revival of SDS, the Valley Anarchist Organization, and pro-union demonstrations.

Subjects
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)

Tax Equity Alliance of Massachusetts

Tax Equity Alliance of Massachusetts Intiative Collection
1988-1989
1 folder (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 321

The Tax Equity Alliance for Massachusetts (TEAM) was formed in 1987 as a coalition of tax reformers made up government groups, civic and business leaders, human services advocates, unions, and others who shared the conviction that fair taxation and quality services must go hand-in-hand and who opposed extreme tax reduction for the dire impact it would have on state budgets and support for state programs.

This small collection contains a copy of “Talking Tax,” a publication of the Tax Equity Alliance for Massachusetts, along with brochures for their volunteers and for the public.

Gift of Ken Fones-Wolf, 1990
Subjects
  • Taxation--Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Oral History Collection
1974-2014
ca.300 interviews
Call no.: RG 001/207

Beginning in the 1970s, UMass Amherst began conducting oral histories to record the memories and experiences its community, and it has conducted several focused projects since, including projects tied to the 125th and 150th anniversaries of the university. The Department of Special Collections in the University Libraries regularly conducts audio and video interviews throughout the university and with members of the local community.

The interviews that comprise the this collection represent a lengthening history of oral historical work centered on the history of the UMass Amherst community. The topics of interviews range widely from administration, academic research teaching, state and local politics, student life, and activism

Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--History
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Staff
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students
Types of material
  • Oral histories
  • Sound recordings

Artwork

Artwork Collection
ca.1645-2003
ca.100 items
Call no.: MS 597
Image of Ernst Toller, portrait by Lydia Gibson Minor
Ernst Toller, portrait by Lydia Gibson Minor

Over the years, SCUA has become home to both two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of art pertaining to three of its key thematic collecting areas: the University of Massachusetts Amherst, New England, and social change.

The Artwork Collection is comprised of miscellaneous works visual art, realia, and decorative arts, relating primarily to figures in UMass or to leftist or proletarian artists. Among the artists represented are Michael Russo, Cook Glassgold, Lydia Gibson Minor, Laura Wheeler Waring, Daniel Chester French, and Laurence Bradshaw. For reference purposes, we have cross-listed paintings belonging to other SCUA collections.

Subjects
  • Portraits
Types of material
  • Oil paintings
  • Prints (Visual works)
  • Sculpture (Visual works)

Lewin, Julie

Julie Lewin Papers
1947-2003
11 boxes (5.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 454

Julie Lewin began her career as a freelance writer and newspaper journalist, and went from writing articles about sexual abuse of children and women’s prison reforms to lobbying for the protection and treatment of animals. The collection documents Lewin’s efforts to uphold the rights of animals, and in particular focuses on her opposition to the pet industry and to the use of animals in research.

Subjects
  • Animal rights--Activism
  • Animal rights--Advocates
  • Animal rights--Law and legislation
  • Animal welfare--Rescue
  • Connecticut Humane Society
  • Greyhound racing
  • Hunting
  • Pet industry
  • Trapping--Leghold
  • Vivisection-Animal research
Contributors
  • Lewin, Julie

Social change

Anti-war sit-in, Whitmore Hall, ca.1971

Anti-war sit-in, Whitmore Hall, ca.1971

Building upon the activist legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives collects primary materials relating to individuals and groups devoted to the political, economic, spiritual, and social transformation of American society. Our intent in taking such a broad collecting scope is to view social change as a totality, rather than as isolated movements and to document how ideas about one set of social issues informs other issues, and how social causes cross-pollinate, organizationally and conceptually. By preserving a record of these activities, SCUA makes it possible for future scholars, activists, and members of the community to continue to engage with the ideas that have motivated so many.

Although our interests extend to any endeavors that reflect the efforts of individuals and groups promote social change, the collections in SCUA provide particularly valuable documentation of the movements for peace, social justice, and racial equality, environmentalism, labor activism, intentional communities, and gay rights.

View our brochure on documenting social change (pdf).

 

Significant collecting areas

  • Antinuclear movement
    • New England has been a hotbed of activity for the antinuclear movement, spawning groups such as the Clamshell Alliance, the Citizens Awareness Network, the Renewable Energy Media Service, and the Musicians United for Safe Energy.
  • Antiracism and civil rights
    • The Du Bois Papers document the lifelong commitment of W.E.B. Du Bois to addressing issues of racial and social injustice in the twentieth century, but SCUA houses a number of other collections that address various aspects of “the problem of the twentieth century,” and the varied approaches to its resolution. See also our research guide for African American history.
  • Community organizations and charities
    • SCUA houses the records of civic organizations involved in relief work, community assistance, and social justice.
  • Environmentalism
    • Collections relating to the history of the environment in New England and of environmentalism in the broad sense. SCUA is also interested in documenting the history of land use, organic farming and sustainability, and similar topics.
  • Intentional Communities
    • Communes seemed to spring up everywhere in New England during the 1960s, but communes of various sorts have been part of our landscape for two centuries. In both its printed and manuscript collections, SCUA documents a wide variety of approaches to communal living and the cultural legacy of communes. The Famous Long Ago Archive focuses intensively on documenting a cluster of related communes in Massachusetts and Vermont, including the Montague Farm, Packer Corners, Wendell Farm, and Tree Frog Farm.
  • Labor activism
  • Peace Collections
    • Among the department’s collections documenting peace and antiwar movements, SCUA holds the records of several regional peace centers, the AFSC Western Massachusetts branch, and a number of peace activists.
  • Political activism
    • As part of its collections on political life and culture, SCUA houses collections for individuals and organizations working within the political system or against it, and several relating to Socialism and Communism and Cold-War era Eastern Europe.
  • Social Justice
    • Social justice is a catchall term that captures the complex relationships between and among a wide variety of movements for economic justice, social and civic equality. In addition to the other collecting areas listed elsewhere on this page, SCUA documents gay rights, Animal rights, prison issues, and social reform in its various guises.

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