In May 1985, a group of activists in Western Massachusetts opposed to the interventionist U.S. foreign policy of the Reagan era formed a construction brigade to assist with basic human needs and express solidarity with the people of Central America. Modeled on the Venceremos Brigade, Construyamos Juntos, Building Peace of Nicaragua, raised over $20,000 for construction supplies in addition to funds for individual travel. Between January and March 1986, the 17 activists joined a smaller brigade from West Virginia in constructing the Carlos Armin Gonzales elementary school in San Pedro de Lovago. During their first month in Nicaragua, they witnessed a Contra assault on the town that left one assailant dead and two residents of the town wounded.
This exhibit includes 55 mounted images and 99 35mm slides taken during the brigade’s time in Nicaragua, documenting the brigade’s construction work and providing a valuable visual record of life in Nicaragua during the Contra war. Used in public talks about Contruyamos Juntos, the collection includes exhibit labels that explain the purpose and activity of the brigade, the history of Nicaragua, and the Contra attack in January 1986.
An educator, farmer’s wife, and resident of South Deerfield, Massachusetts, Bertha Strong Cooley was an ardent Socialist who published regularly in local newspapers on topics ranging from anti-imperialism, democracy, capitalism, Communism, Russia, World War II, and civil rights.
The Cooley scrapbooks reflect the views of a teacher and farmer’s wife who used the newspapers to express her passion for social justice. Cooley ranged widely in responding to the news of the day, espousing Socialism and opposing racial injustice, war, imperialism, economic oppression, and Capitalism. One scrapbook contains writings by Cooley, the other clippings of articles dealing with topics of interest.
Scholar, writer, editor of The Crisis and other journals, co-founder of the Niagara Movement, the NAACP, and the Pan African Congresses, international spokesperson for peace and for the rights of oppressed minorities, W.E.B. Du Bois was a son of Massachusetts who articulated the strivings of African Americans and developed a trenchant analysis of the problem of the color line in the twentieth century.
The Du Bois Papers contain almost 165 linear feet of the personal and professional papers of a remarkable social activist and intellectual. Touching on all aspects of his long life from his childhood during Reconstruction through the end of his life in 1963, the collection reflects the extraordinary breadth of his social and academic commitments from research in sociology to poetry and plays, from organizing for social change to organizing for Black consciousness.
Acquired from Shirley Graham Du Bois, 1973
African Americans--Civil rights
Crisis (New York, N.Y.)
Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on democracy
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
United States--Race relations
Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
The barn, Montague Farm Photo by Roy Finestone, Oct. 1976
Ray Mungo’s Famous Long Ago (1970) and Steve Diamond’s What the Trees Said (1971) are classic visions of late 1960s counterculture and of life in New England communes. The communes on which Mungo and Diamond settled, Packer Corner and the Montague Farm, became the center of what might be considered a single extended community, embracing the Wendell Farm and Johnson Pasture and Tree Frog Farm in Vermont. The Farmers themselves were, and remain, a diverse group, including photographers, novelists, and poets, artists, actors, and activists.
Collection of chiefly newspaper clippings compiled by Georgana Foster documenting the response of the western Massachusetts community to a variety of local and national topics such as the Vietnam War, communes, the re-elections of Congressmen Silvio Conte and John Olver, the Amherst Peace Vigil, the Peace Pagoda in Leverett, and the Iraq War.
Amherst, Massachusetts, chapter of the national Gray Panther organization that sponsored the weekly Amherst Vigil for Peace and Justice, tackled such issues as fair and affordable housing for people of all ages, nursing home reform, Social Security policy, universal health care, safe-sex, and age discrimination, and also worked to improve the everyday life of senior citizens and the community at large, often collaborating with other local organizations to address world peace, environmental concerns, improved child care, educational opportunities, and handicapped accessibility.
Records include charter, by-laws, histories and mission statements, meeting agendas and minutes, correspondence, financial reports, fund raising materials, membership lists, membership questionnaire, newsletters, press releases, leaflets, clippings, a scrapbook, T-shirts, and program files, that document the founding and activities of the Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley.
Co-founded by Charles Light and Daniel Keller, Green Mountain Post Films has produced and distributed films for more than twenty-five years. Their first documentary film released in 1975, Lovejoy’s Nuclear War, was one of the first films to question the nuclear energy policy of the United States. Since then GMP Films has continued to produce movies that explore social issues, and their films have been used as educational and organizational tools for activists working on peace, veteran, nuclear, environmental and other related issues.
The collection contains very little that documents the activities of GMP Films, chiefly research files, correspondence, and proposals relating to film projects either produced or under consideration. The bulk of the collection consists of alternative press publications from the 1960s-1970s.
A theoretical physicist at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Paul Halpern is the author of a dozen popular books on science and dozens of scholarly articles. After spending his undergraduate years at Temple University, Halpern received a doctorate at SUNY Stony Brook, and has since written on complex and higher-dimensional solutions in general relativity theory and the nature of time as well as the history of the modern physical sciences. He has been a Fulbright Scholar and fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.
The hundreds of ephemeral publications, fliers, and handbills in the Halpern Collection provide a window into political and social activism in Philadelphia during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The content ranges widely from publications produced by peace and disarmament groups to the literature of anti-imperialist (e.g. CISPES), antinuclear groups (SANE and post-Three Mile Island mobilization), radical political parties, and religious organizations including the Unification Church and the Church of Scientology.
Diana Mara Henry at the Harvard Crimson, 1967 Photo by Charles Hagen
Recognized for her coverage of historic events and personalities, the photographer Diana Mara Henry took the first steps toward her career in 1967 when she became photo editor for the Harvard Crimson. After winning the Ferguson History Prize and graduating from Harvard with a degree in government in 1969, Henry returned to New York to work as a researcher with NBC News and as a general assignment reporter for the Staten Island Advance, but in 1971 she began to work as a freelance photographer. Among many projects, she covered the Democratic conventions of 1972 and 1976 and was selected as official photographer for both the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year and the First National Women’s Conference in 1977, and while teaching at the International Center for Photography from 1974-1979, she developed the community workshop program and was a leader in a campaign to save the Alice Austen House. Her body of work ranges widely from the fashion scene in 1970s New York and personal assignments for the family of Malcolm Forbes and other socialites to political demonstrations, cultural events, and photoessays on one room schoolhouses in Vermont and everyday life in Brooklyn, France, Nepal, and Bali. Widely published and exhibited, her work is part of permanent collections at institutions including the Schlesinger Library, the Library of Congress, Smithsonian, and the National Archives.
The Henry collection is a rich evocation of four decades of political, social, and cultural change in America beginning in the late 1960s as seen through the life of one photojournalist. This diverse body of work is particularly rich in documenting the women’s movement, second wave feminism, and the political scene in the 1970s. Henry left a remarkable record of women in politics, with dozens of images of Bella Abzug, Elizabeth Holtzman, Shirley Chisholm, Liz Carpenter, Betty Friedan, Jane Fonda, and Gloria Steinem. The collection includes images of politicians at all levels of government, celebrities, writers, and scholars, and coverage of important events including demonstrations by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the Women’s Pentagon Action, and marches for the ERA. The many hundreds of exhibition and working prints in the collection are accompanied by the complete body of Henry’s photographic negatives and slides, along with an array of ephemera, correspondence, and other materials relating to her career.
A peace activist since the 1960s, Margaret Goddard Holt not only demonstrated against war, she led efforts to educate others about the effects of war. A member of the Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley and a co-founder along with her husband, Lee Holt, of the Amherst Vigil for a Nuclear Free World, she was sent as a delegate to Rome, Italy to visit Pope John XXIII advocating for a world without war. In addition to her dedication to peace and nuclear disarmament, Holt’s concern for prisoners developed into an involvement in prison-related issues.
The Holt collection of publications, brochures, news clippings, and correspondence reveals her interests and documents her role as a community activist during the 1980s.