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Literature & the arts

MAC baseball team, 1878

MAC baseball team, 1878

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.

View all collections in Literature and the arts

Significant collections

  • Arts and arts management
    • Significant collections under the National Arts Policy Archive and Library include materials from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and the Arts Extension Service.
  • Poetry
    • 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), Jodi Picoult (many novels from Songs of the Humpback Whale in 1992 to The Storyteller in 2013), Mary Doyle Curran (The Parish and the Hill).
  • Journalism
    • Journalists and photojournalists 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.

Printed materials

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.

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Livers, Susie D.

Susie D. Livers Papers

1903-1907
1 flat box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 122

Susie D. Livers arrived at Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1903 as a member of one of the college’s first co-ed classes. After graduating in 1907, Livers worked at Ginn & Company Publishers in Boston and then as a Detail Officer at the State School for Girls in Lancaster, Massachusetts.

Included in the scrapbook are handwritten personal correspondence in the form of letters, postcards, holiday cards, and telegrams; unidentified photographs; MAC report cards dated 1904 and 1907; class papers and a class notebook; and programs and tickets for sporting events, weddings, and campus socials. In the back of the scrapbook are 35 herbarium samples which include dried plants with notations of plant names as well as dates and locations indicating where the plants were found.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Students
Contributors
  • Livers, Susie D
Types of material
  • Ephemera
  • Herbaria
  • Scrapbooks

Lloyd, Richard E., b. 1834

Richard E. Lloyd Daybook

1859-1862
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 229 bd

Born in Wales in 1833, Richard E. Lloyd found great financial success after migrating to Vermont in the 1850s. Beginning as the proprietor of a dry goods business in Fair Haven, Vermont, he diversified and expanded his holdings, eventually becoming a senior partner in the slate manufacturing firm Lloyd, Owens, and Co.

The daybooks from Richard Lloyd’s dry goods firm include numbered accounts of customers (many with Welsh surnames), lists of items purchased, price per measure, forms of payment (cash, goods, services, credit, making clothes), and the goods sold. Lloyd dealt in a typical range of goods found in a rural general store, including fabrics, ready-made clothes, eggs and dairy products, fruits and nuts, garden seeds, cutlery and tinware, and jewelry.

Subjects
  • Consumer goods--Vermont--Fair Haven--Prices--19th century
  • Fair Haven (Vt.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Fair Haven (Vt.)--History--19th century
  • General stores--Vermont--Fair Haven
  • Welsh Americans--Vermont--Fair Haven--19th century
Contributors
  • Lloyd, Richard E.
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Machmer, William L.

William L. Machmer Papers

1899-1953
18 boxes (9 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 006/1 M33
Image of William L. Machmer
William L. Machmer

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.

Connect to another siteView selected records on women's affairs at UMass, 1924-1951
Subjects
  • 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
Contributors
  • 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

MacLeish, Archibald

Archibald MacLeish Papers

1938-1982
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 494

American poet, writer, and Librarian of Congress, Archibald MacLeish was associated with the modernist school of poetry and awarded the Pulitzer Prize three times. The collection features a manuscript of “An Evening’s Journey To Conway, Massachusetts,” written to commemorate the bicentennial anniversary of the town, as well as correspondence with Kenneth Murdoch documenting their friendship over three decades.

Subjects
  • Poets--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • MacLeish, Archibald

Manfredi, John, 1920-

John Manfredi Papers

1938-1983
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
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.

Subjects
  • Sociology--Study and teaching
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Sociology
Contributors
  • Manfredi, John, 1920-
  • Parsons, Talcott, 1902-1979
  • Sorokin, Pitirim Aleksandrovich, 1889-1968
  • Zimmerman, Carle Clark, 1897-1983
Types of material
  • Lecture notes

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, 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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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

Mayants, Lazar, 1912-

Lazar Mayants Papers

1941-2003
2 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 009

Born in Gomel, Russia in 1912, Lazar Mayants earned a PhD in chemistry (1941) from the Karpov Institute for Physical Chemistry and a Doctor of Science in physics and mathematics (1947) at the Lebedev Institute for Physics (FIAN), both in Moscow. With primary research interests in theoretical molecular spectroscopy, applied linear algebra, quantum physics, probability theory and statistics, and the philosophy of science, he began his career as Professor and Chair of the Theoretical and General Physics Departments at Ivanovo, Saratov, and Smolensk Universities in Russia. Mayants came to University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1981 as a visiting professor, becoming an Adjunct in 1987. He taught at UMass for over six years, often forgoing a paycheck as a result of decreased funding in the sciences. He remained in Amherst until his death in November 2002.

The Mayants Papers are comprised of professional correspondence, drafts of articles, personal and financial records, and notes for research and teaching. Mayants’s dissertation from the Lebedev Institute for Physics is also included with the collection.

Subjects
  • Physics--Research
  • Quantum theory
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Physics
Contributors
  • Mayants, Lazar, 1912-

McCarthy, Harold T.

Harold T. McCarthy Papers

1958-1989
4 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 028

Author, English professor, and University of Massachusetts alumnus (class of 1941) Harold T. McCarthy taught at the University of Massachusetts from 1959 and into his retirement in the late 1980s. In addition to his books on Henry James (1968) and the expatriate perspective on the idea of America (1972), he wrote fiction and poetry as well as critical articles on Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, and Richard Wright.

The McCarthy collection includes correspondence, typescript manuscripts, poems, travel journals, and class materials including syllabi and lecture notes.

Subjects
  • American literature--Study and teaching (Higher)--United States
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Intellectual life--20th century
  • College teachers--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • McCarthy, Harold T. Expatriate perspective
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Alumni and alumnae
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
Contributors
  • McCarthy, Harold T
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Lecture notes
  • Letters (Correspondence)