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Rare book collections

Votes for women, Enfield Collection

Votes for Women, ca.1919 (Enfield Collection)

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives houses approximately 40,000 volumes reflecting an evolving history of collecting at UMass Amherst. Beginning in the late 1860s with a focus on agriculture and the natural sciences, SCUA has developed into a resource for the study of regional and local history in New England, emphasizing our varied cultural, social, religious, and political histories.

Beyond New England, SCUA has developed strength in several distinct areas, ranging from the literature of social change to the extraordinary collection of Japanese rarities collected by the geologist Benjamin Smith Lyman during the Meiji era and the works of an eclectic assortment of poets and writers. Other noteworthy collections include those pertaining to Cold War culture: a growing collection of books printed in East Germany and one of the largest collections of materials in the United States from the Solidarity movement in Poland.

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All books and periodicals held by SCUA are cataloged in the Library’s online catalog and summary descriptions of most major book collections, but not individual titles, are included in SCUA’s own online catalog, UMarmot.

Notice: due to renovations in the library, much of SCUA’s collection of printed materials (books and periodicals) will be unavailable until further notice. Please contact our archivists to see whether we can assist.

Selected areas of collecting interest:

Agriculture, horticulture, natural history

The library holds key works in apiculture, entomology, gardening, landscape design, organic agriculture, pomology, sustainability, and viticulture, with numerous works in animal husbandry. Materials date back to the 16th century, however the strength of the collections lies in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Cookery in New England

Knox gelatin

The Collection

The collections of Beatrice A. McIntosh, Athena Savas, and Lynette Foucher, among others, include books, pamphlets, and ephemera relating to the culinary history of New England, including many thousands of cookbooks published by church and community organizations.

European history and culture

Diverse collections ranging from materials on Revolutionary-era Europe, 1789-1848 (the Binet and Brabançonne Collections); Anglo-American Political Economy; twentieth century German history (the Harold Gordon Collection on the Interwar period and the Hans Joachim Ring Collection on East German cinema); and Communist-era Poland (Basia Jakubowska Schlatner Solidarity Collection).

Gay and Lesbian Literature

The centerpiece extensive of our holdings is the collection of gay rights pioneer Barbara Gittings and her partner, Kay Tobin Lahusen, which includes books on the history of homosexuality in America, works by and about gay writers, gay activism, and related topics.

Literary collections

Books by and about Robert Francis, Archibald MacLeish, William Manchester, William Lederer, and the Broadside Press; records of the Cummington School for the Arts and Massachusetts Review; and the poetry libraries of Francis, Wallace Stevens, and Anne Halley. Although the literary collections focus largely on New England writers, SCUA houses fine collections of the works of Charles Lamb, William Morris, and William Butler Yeats, signed first editions of works by Thomas Mann, and collections of French and Scottish writers. We are stewards of the papers of several writers from New England and collect their works comprehensively, including Andrew Coburn, Mary Doyle Curran, Mary McGarry Morris, Raymond Mungo, Jodi Picoult, and Harvey Swados.

New England history and culture

Massachusetts Agricultural College postcard

Massachusetts Agricultural College postcard

Local and regional histories, novels, and other writing about Massachusetts from the eighteenth century to the present. These include an array of election, ordination, installation, dedication, fast-day, mission, farewell, and funeral sermons; Fourth of July orations; and addresses to or by benevolent, cultural, and civic organizations in the Commonwealth. The New England Yearly Meeting of Friends collection contains thousands of books, pamphlets, and periodicals relating to Quaker history from the seventeenth century to the present. With an emphasis on New England Quakerism, these collections include the libraries of Moses and Obadiah Brown and libraries amassed by several monthly and quarterly meetings. SCUA also collects works printed in small towns and rural districts of Massachusetts from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Social change

Valuable collections for the history of antislavery in New England and politics of the left. The John P. Roche and Steven Siteman Collections focus on the American left from the late 19th century through the 1950s, with some European materials and materials from the political right.

Learn more:

Reynolds, Iona Mae

Iona Mae Reynolds Papers, 1927-2002
1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 012

After receiving her B.S. from Massachusetts State College in 1941 and M.S. in microbiology from UMass in 1957, Iona Mae Reynolds embarked upon a teaching career of over 30 years in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, later serving as the school’s Assistant Director. In 1985 Reynolds was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for her service to the University as a faculty member and her many years on the associate alumni Board of Directors.

The Reynolds Papers include reunion materials, photographs, and writings, as well as a small collection of UMass memorabilia.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts State College--Alumni and alumnae
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Stockbridge School of Agriculture
Contributors
  • Reynolds, Iona Mae
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Realia

Roche, John P.

John P. Roche Collection, 1886-1965
324 items
Call no.: RB 008

A political scientist, writer, and government consultant, John P. Roche was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on May 7, 1923, the son of a salesman. A liberal Social Democrat and fervent anti-Communist, Roche spent his academic career at Haverford College and Brandeis and Tufts Universities, writing extensively on American foreign policy, constitutional law, and the history of political thought in America, and maintaining a strong interest in the history of the American left. During the 1960s and early 1970s, he served as an adviser to the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations.

The Roche Collection consists of over 300 publications pertaining to the political left in the United States, with a smaller number of works from the radical right and from European Socialists and Communists. Concentrated in the years spanning the Great Depression, the Second World War, and the McCarthy hearings, many of the works were produced by formal political parties in response to particular political campaigns, current events, or social issues, with other works geared primarily toward consciousness raising and general political education on trade unionism, fascism, war and peace, American foreign policy, and freedom of speech and the press.

Gift of John P. Roche, 1964
Subjects
  • Communism
  • Fascism
  • Pacifism
  • Socialism
  • United States--Foreign policy--20th century
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Coughlin, Charles E. (Charles Edward), 1891-1979
  • Roche, John P.
Restrictions: Collection currently unavailable due to renovation in SCUA

Rugendas, Johann Moritz, 1802-1858

Juan Mauricio Rugendas Letters, 1835-1845
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 271

Born in Germany as Johann Moritz Rugendas, Juan Rugendas was a painter who spent much of his adult life working and traveling in South America. The collection includes a total of 4 poems and 192 personal letters received by Rugendas from four friends during the years 1835 to 1845. Rugendas received the bulk of these letters while living in Valparaíso, Chile, where he found political asylum, and in Lima, Peru from 1842 to 1844.

Gift of Robert Potash, 1988
Language(s): Spanish
Subjects
  • Argentina--Description and travel
  • Argentina--Social life and customs--19th century
  • Painters--South America
Contributors
  • Bustamante, José Javier y Tomás
  • Espinosa, Juan, 1804-1871
  • Godoy, Juan Gualberto, 1793-1864
  • Oro, Domingo de, 1800-1879
  • Rugendas, Johann Moritz, 1802-1858
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Poems

Rural American Women’s Conference

Rural American Women Conference Records, 1978-1981
5 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 146

Feeling the frustrations of millions of women and girls in rural America who lacked the support or resources necessary to combat unemployment, inadequate medical care, and domestic violence, Jane Threatt along with several other women decided to form a non-profit organization that would unite these women and give them a national voice. Established in 1978, Rural American Women (RAW) was organized to promote the interests of rural women in the areas of equal rights, employment, education, family life, and freedom of all forms of discrimination.

In 1981 RAW held a series of five regional conferences throughout the country, and the bulk of this collection consists of records relating to the New England meeting. The records also include some materials documenting the group’s activities at their national headquarters in D.C., such as minutes, correspondence, newsletters, and pamphlets.

Subjects
  • Rural women
Contributors
  • Rural American Women

Saltonstall, Stephen L.

Stephen L. Saltonstall Collection, 1962
60 items
Call no.: PH 014
Stephen L. Saltonstall Collection image
Civil rights demonstration, Cairo, Ill., 1962

In the summer 1962, future Harvard student Steve Saltonstall became one of the early wave of white northerners who went into the Jim Crow south to work for civil rights. During that summer, he worked with SNCC to organize public accommodations in Cairo, Ill., and with an AFSC crew to help clear brush from a drainage ditch near Circle City, Missouri, encountering local resistance in both places. Saltonstall later became an attorney and currently practices in Vermont.

The Saltonstall collection consists of approximately sixty photographs taken by John Engel during his tour with an AFSC crew during the summer of 1962. While most of the images depict the crew’s work near Circle City, Missouri, six photos document a civil rights rally in Cairo, Ill. The images are available in digital form only.

Subjects
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Cairo (Ill.)
  • Circle City (Mo.)
  • Civil rights demonstrations--Illinois--Photographs
Contributors
  • Engel, John P
  • Saltonstall, Stephen L
Types of material
  • Photographs

Samizdat

Samizdat Collection, 1955-1983
12 boxes (6 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 404

In the mid-1970s, the Center for the Study of New Russian Literature in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at UMass Amherst began collecting the self-published and underground literature of the Soviet Union as a means of documenting social and political dissent in the Communist state.

The Samizdat collection includes writings in several genres — chiefly fiction, poetry, drama, and literary, social, and political criticism — in handwritten, photocopied, and printed form, as well as photos, a passport application for Mikhail Baryshnikov, and memorabilia from an American production of one of the plays in the collection.

Language(s): Russian
Subjects
  • Underground literature--Soviet Union

Sarti, Roland, 1937-

Roland Sarti Papers, 1964-2002
11 boxes (5.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 011

Born in Montefegatesi, Italy, in April 1937, Roland Sarti began his academic career as a teaching assistant and instructor at Rutgers University from 1960-1964. In the fall of 1967, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Italian History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, becoming chair of the University Seminar on Studies in Modern Italy five years later. A scholar of the fascist movement in Italy, Sarti also wrote on topics ranging from rural life in the Apennines to the life of the revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini. During his tenure at UMass, he served on the Personnel, Curriculum, and Graduate Studies Committees, and played a prominent role in the Faculty Senate and the International Programs Office, particularly with respect to the summer programs in Italy. A past president of the New England Historical Society and the Society for Italian Historical Studies, he was a board member for the European History Quarterly and the H-Italy Network. He retired from active teaching in 2002.

The Sarti Papers document Sarti’s distinguished career as professor, author, and chair of the History Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. They consist of professional correspondence, history department records, records of major crises at the University, Italian studies newsletters, student publications, and historical society records. A significant amount of the materials, particularly among the correspondence and periodicals, are in Italian.

Subjects
  • Fascism
  • Italy--History--20th century
  • Italy--Politics and government--20th century
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History
Contributors
  • Sarti, Roland, 1937-

Sears, Fred Coleman, 1866-

Fred C. Sears Papers, 1911-1927
3 boxes (1.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 136
Fred C. Sears Papers image
Fred C. Sears

For nearly 30 years, Fred C. Sears served as Professor of Pomology at the Massachusetts Agricultural College. Born in Lexington, Mass., in 1866, Sears was raised on the Kansas prairies and educated at Kansas State College. After graduating in 1892, he taught horticulture in Kansas, Utah, and Nova Scotia before returning to Massachusetts and to MAC in 1907. The author of three textbooks and numerous articles on fruit culture and orcharding, he also developed the successful Bay Road Fruit Farm with his colleagues Frank A. Waugh and E.R. Critchett. Sears died at his home in Amherst in October 1949.

In addition to several offprints, the collection contains a set of articles written by Sears for the Country Gentleman bound with editorial correspondence; the well-edited original manuscripts of Sears’ textbooks Productive Orcharding (1914) and Productive Small Fruit Culture (1920), including correspondence, reviews, and photographs; Reports of the Massachusetts Fruit Growers Association (1911-1912, 1914-1916), and editions of Productive Orcharding (1927) and Fruit Growing Projects (1912) bound with Japanese titles.

Subjects
  • Fruit-culture--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of Pomology
Contributors
  • Sears, Fred Coleman, 1866-

Severy, Robert Bayard

Robert Bayard Severy Photograph Collection, 1980-2007
5 boxes (5.5 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 024
Robert Bayard Severy Photograph Collection image
Capt. Elisha Davis, d. Oct. 10, 1778

A local historian and photographer from Dorchester, Mass., and an official in the Dorchester Historical Society, Robert Bayard Severy was born on October 11, 1944, at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Roxbury, Massachusetts. After high school Severy attended Suffolk University and received a certificate from the Franklin Institute in Photography in 1967. For over 32 years, he was employed in the Human Resources Division of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, pursuing his interests in photography throughout and documented the changing streetscapes of Boston and nearby towns. Since the early 1980s, Severy has documented gravestones in New England cemeteries.

The Severy Collection includes nearly 2,000 black and white prints (with some color) of gravestones in cemeteries in Massachusetts and Vermont. The collection is arranged by town and cemetery, and includes particularly good documentation of gravestones in Barnstable, Boston (Old Granary, King’s Chapel, Copps Hill), Brimfield, Dorchester (Cedar Grove, Dorchester North), Manomet (Manomet), Newbury (1st Parish), Norwell (First Parish), Quincy (Hancock), Watertown (Mt. Auburn), and Weymouth (Old North, Mt. Hope, Fairmount) in Massachusetts; and Bennington and Wilmington, Vermont. Larger collections of Severy’s work can be found in many other institutions, including Historic New England, The Bostonian Society, The Boston Athenaeum, The Boston Public Library, University of Massachusetts Dorchester, and several local public libraries and historical societies.

Subjects
  • Gravestones--Massachusetts
  • Gravestones--Vermont
Contributors
  • Association for Gravestone Studies
  • Severy, Robert Bayard
Types of material
  • Photographs
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