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Babbitt, Elwood, 1922-

Elwood Babbitt Papers, 1974-2000
2 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 517
Image of Elwood Babbitt, 1970.  Photo by Gary Cohen
Elwood Babbitt, 1970. Photo by Gary Cohen

Clairvoyant from youth, Elwood Babbitt developed his psychic abilities at the Edgar Cayce Institute, and by the mid-1960s, was well known in Western Massachusetts through his readings and lectures, often opening his home to other seekers. Charles Hapgood, a professor at Keene State College, worked closely with Babbitt studying the physical effects of the medium’s trance lectures, and by 1967, he began to take on the painstaking process of transcribing and copying them. With communications purporting to come from Jesus, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, and the Hindu god Vishnu, among others, these lectures formed the basis for several books by Hapgood and Babbitt, including Voices of Spirit (1975) and Talks with Christ (1981). Babbitt ultimately established a non-profit, alternative school, the Opie Mountain Citadel, which was essentially run out of Babbitt’s home in Northfield.

The collection consists of proofs of publications, lectures, some correspondence, film reels, and transcripts of spiritual communications for which Babbitt was the medium.

Subjects
  • Channeling (Spiritualism)
  • Hapgood, Charles H
  • Mediums–Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Babbitt, Elwood, 1922-

Bajgier Family

Bajgier Family Papers, 1925-1986
2 boxes (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 400
Image of Joseph and Martha Bajgier at Bell Market, Chicopee, 1937
Joseph and Martha Bajgier at Bell Market, Chicopee, 1937

On March 13, 1903, Joseph Michael Bajgier was born in Odrzykon, Poland, the youngest of three sons in a farming family. Schooled only through the third grade, Joseph served as a young man in the First Air Division of the Polish Army before following his older brother in emigrating to the United States in 1927. Settling in Chicopee, Mass., with its large and active Polish community, Bajgier began work as a slaughterer of pigs for a meat processing company, but within a few years, he had saved enough money to purchase a small grocery store in Longmeadow. In about 1935, he returned to Chicopee, purchasing a grocery and deli, Bell Market, that his family ran for 36 years. Bajgier was deeply involved in the local Polish community as a member of the Polish National Alliance, the Holy Name Society of St. Stanislaus Parish, and an organization of Polish veterans in exile (Stowarzyszenie Polskich Kombatantow). He and his wife Martha (Misiaszek) had two sons, Casimir and Edward

The Bajgier collection documents the lives of a Polish family in Chicopee, Mass., from the time of immigration through the 1970s. The core of the collection surrounds the life of Joseph Bajgier, and includes a number of documents and a diary from the time of his emigration in 1927, a fascinating series of letters from relatives in Turaszowka, Poland before and after the Second World War, and several photographs of the family and their business in Chicopee.

Subjects
  • Chicopee (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Bajgier, Joseph M
Types of material
  • Photographs

Baker, James

James Baker Free Spirit Press Collection, 1969-2005 (Bulk: 1969-1974)
3 boxes (1.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 834
Image of Spirit in Flesh tour bus
Spirit in Flesh tour bus

James Baker was a member of the Brotherhood of the Spirit commune (later the Renaissance Community) in the early 1970s, and a key contributor to the Free Spirit Press, the commune’s publishing operation. Part promotion, information, and entertainment, the Free Spirit Press magazine ran for four issues in the winter and spring 1972-1973.

The Baker collection consists of the surviving materials from the production of Free Spirit Press concentrated heavily in the period between winter 1972 and summer 1974. Accumulated mostly while preparing a brochure for the commune, the manuscript material contains copies of the commune’s by-laws and membership rolls, comments from community members on how they wished to be represented, and a story board for the brochure and series of quotes from community members to be included. The second half of the collection contains hundreds of images, mostly 35mm negatives, taken of or by the commune and its residents. The images depict the production and distribution of Free Spirit Press and the commune band (Spirit in Flesh, later called Rapunzel), but they also include several rolls of film taken by commune members of major rock and roll acts of the era, including the Grateful Dead, Taj Mahal, Jethro Tull, Santana, Chuck Berry, Hot Tuna, and Fleetwood Mac.

Subjects
  • Berry, Chuck
  • Brotherhood of the Spirit (Commune)
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Grateful Dead (Musical group)
  • Grateful Dead (Musical group)--Photographs
  • Metelica, Michael
  • Renaissance Community (Commune)
  • Rock music--1971-1980--Photographs
  • Taj Mahal (Musician)
  • Taj Mahal (Musician)--Photographs
Contributors
  • Geisler, Bruce
Types of material
  • Photographs

Banfield, Walter

Walter Banfield Papers, ca.1945-1999
12 boxes (6.75 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 117

The plant pathologist Walter M. Banfield joined the faculty at UMass Amherst in 1949 after service in the Army Medical Corps during World War II. A native of New Jersey with a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, Banfield’s research centered on diseases affecting shade trees in the United States, and he is widely credited with identifying the origin of Dutch elm disease. As early as 1950, he emerged as a prominent advocate for the protection of open space and farmland, becoming a founder of the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. An avid hiker and canoeist, he remained in Amherst following his retirement. He died at age 95.

The Banfield Papers include records from his Army service, family records, and professional and family correspondence – particularly between Banfield and his wife Hertha whom he met in Germany during WWII. The professional correspondence documents Banfield’s commitment to land preservation, and include many applications for land to be set aside for agricultural or horticultural use. Banfield was also a talented landscape photographer, and the collection includes a large number of 35mm slides reflecting his varied interests, including images of Europe at the end of World War II and various images of landscape, trees, forests, and other natural features that he used in teaching.

Subjects
  • Dutch elm disease
  • Plant pathology
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Plant Pathology
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Banfield, Walter M

Barfield, Vivian M.

Vivian M. Barfield Papers, 1972-1977
3 boxes (1.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 098
Image of Vivian Barfield
Vivian Barfield

Vivian Barfield was the first female Assistant Athletic Director at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dedicated to the advancement of women’s athletics, Barfield began her tenure at UMass in January 1975. Charged with upgrading the women’s’ athletic program and contributing to the decision-making process in men’s athletics, Barfield made strides to bring UMass into compliance with Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1972. Barfield was ultimately unsuccessful in her efforts after a disagreement with Athletic Director Frank McInerney about her job description led to her resignation. After leaving UMass, Barfield became the Director of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (established 1975) at the University of Minnesota.

Although Barfield’s tenure at UMass was relatively brief, her papers are representative of a specific time in the country and at the University. With materials relating to Title IX, affirmative action, and perhaps most importantly, Barfield’s class action complaint against the University, the Barfield Papers speak to issues of second-wave feminism, women in sports, and discrimination at UMass in the mid-1970s.

Subjects
  • Sex discrimination in sports--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Athletics
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Women
  • Women physical education teachers
Contributors
  • Barfield, Vivian M

Barnard, Mary Taylor

Mary Taylor Barnard Papers, 1924-2004
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 008

Born in Groton, Massachusetts. In 1930, Mary Taylor became a student of botany at Massachusetts State College in 1930. While there, she struck up a romance with Professor Ellsworth “Dutchie” Barnard, and the two were married on December 31, 1936. The Barnards served on the University Millennium Time Capsule Committee and contributed memorabilia to the capsule. Both were Friends of the Library and for many years, Ellsworth served on the library’s Board of Trustees.

The Mary Taylor Barnard Papers include notes from Barnard’s Botany classes, newsclippings about the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and documents related to the Friends of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library.

Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Botany Department
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Students
Contributors
  • Barnard, Ellsworth., 1907-
  • Barnard, Mary Taylor

Baszak, Mark A.

Mark A. Baszak Papers, 1991-1992
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 653

Born in Springfield in 1960 and raised in the Pioneer Valley, Mark A. Baszak received a bachelors degree in music composition and MEd. from UMass Amherst. Beginning shortly after completing graduate study, Baszak played a prominent part for over two decades in promoting the arts at his alma mater, serving as Acting Director of the Performing Arts Division (1987-1989), Coordinator and then Director of the Jazz in July program (1990-2008), Associate Director of Multicultural Programs (1993), and organizer of the Black Musicians Conferences and Festival (1989-1999). As an arts and culture representative of the Massachusetts Hokkaido Sister State Association in the early 1990s, Baszak helped foster exchanges between the sister states, visiting Hokkaido with the first official state delegation in 1991. Baszak died after a brief illness on September 25, 2008.

Documenting the early efforts to build upon the 1990 designation of Hokkaido and Massachusetts as sister states, the Baszak collection includes materials concentrated on the first Hokkaido Week in Amherst and the delegation that accompanied Gov. William Weld to Hokkaido in 1991. In addition to correspondence and memos, the collection includes ephemera collected by Baszak during the various ceremonies and transcripts of speeches delivered.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts-Hokkaido Sister State Association
Contributors
  • Baszak, Mark A
  • Weld, William F

Belchertown Sentinel

Belchertown Sentinel Collection, 1915-2003

A weekly community newspaper from a small town in western Massachusetts, the Belchertown Sentinel began publication in 1915. Featuring a mix of news and features focusing on Belchertown and adjoining communities of Amherst and Granby, the Sentinel was edited and published by its founder, Lewis H. Blackmer, for fifty years. Since changing hands twice in the period 1965-1975, the Sentinel has been published by Turley Publications. In 2013, with the centennial of the paper drawing near, the publisher and the Belchertown Historical Society cooperated on a project to digitize 88 years of the Sentinel funded by a grant from the Community Preservation Committee.

The Sentinel collection consists of digital copies only of the newspaper from its founding through 2003.

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Belchertown (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Granby (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Newspapers--Massachusetts--Belchertown

Belchertown State School Friends Association

Belchertown State School Friends Association Records, 1954-1986
30 boxes (20 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 302

The Belchertown State School was formally opened in 1922 as an institution to train children with developmental disabilities and prepare them for integration into society. By the 1960s, conditions at the school had deteriorated to a degree detrimental to the residents, precipitating a string of lawsuits, beginning with Ricci v. Greenblatt in 1972, eventually leading to closure of the facility in 1992. The School’s Friends Association was established in 1954 to promote improved conditions at Belchertown State School and better treatment of “retarded” or “mentally challenged” citizens in Massachusetts more generally.

The bulk of the Belchertown State School collection consists of records of court appearances, briefs, the consent decree, and related materials, along with reports and correspondence relating to Massachusetts v. Russell W. Daniels, Ricci v. Greenblatt (later Ricci v. Okin), and other cases. Accompanying the legal files are clippings and photocopied newspaper articles; speeches; newsletters; draft of agreements; and scrapbooks.

Subjects
  • Persons with mental disabilities--Institutional care--Massachusetts
  • Ricci, Robert Simpson
Contributors
  • Belchertown State School
  • Ricci, Benjamin

Benedek, Tom

Tom Benedek Collection, 1967-1973
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 073
Image of Passengers on a plane, ca.1973
Passengers on a plane, ca.1973

A screenwriter and visual artist, Tom Benedek majored in film as an undergraduate at UMass Amherst, earning the distinction of becoming the first graduate of the Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration program in 1971. From early in his college career, Benedek worked as a photographer the newspaper, the Collegian, while studying with faculty such as Jerome Liebling (at Hampshire College) and Jerrold Maddox (at Amherst), and he spent his junior year in Paris studying at the Ecole du Louvre and l’Institut de Formation Cinematographique. In his career in Hollywood, he has written screenplays for the movies Cocoon, Zeus and Roxanne, and The Adventures of Pinocchio and worked with Robert Zemeckis, Lawrence Kasdan, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Sydney Pollack, Richard Rush, and Harold Ramis, among many others. He is a member of the Writers Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and teaches screenwriting at the University of Southern California and the University of Michigan.

The hundreds of images in the Benedek Collection document the development of a talented photographer. While some of the images stem from his work for the Collegian, most were taken on his own around campus and beyond, including trips to Boston and New Orleans, and his year studying abroad in Paris following shortly after the events of 1968. The collection consists entirely of 35mm black and white negatives and color slides.

Gift of Tom Benedek, 2016
Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Boston (Mass.)--Photographs
  • New Orleans (La.)--Photographs
  • Paris (France)--Photographs
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Photographs
Types of material
  • Photographs
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