In 1923, Katherine Frazier established the Playhouse-in-the-Hills as a venue for theatrical performances in the small Berkshire County town of Cummington, Mass. Frazier’s vision, however, soon led her to expand the project into the Cummington School of the Arts (later the Cummington Community of the Arts), which she envisioned as “an environment congenial to creative activity.” Over its seventy years of operation, the School emphasized creative collaboration across the fine arts, offering not only performances, but summer residencies and six-week courses where writers, artists, performers, and musicians could study and practice under the guidance of visiting artists. Among its noted alumni were luminaries such as Helen Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning, Diane Arbus, Marianne Moore, and Archibald Macleish, and the school was a starting point for Harry Duncan’s renowned Cummington Press. The increasing financial challenges facing not-for-profit organizations led a cessation of operations in about 1993.
The records of the Cummington School of the Arts offer a cross-sectional view of the School across its years of operation. In addition to a very small selection of personal material from Katherine Frazier, the collection includes valuable correspondence and ephemera relating to the school’s philosophy and founding, and nearly a third of the collection consists of records of students, often including their applications, comments on the work accomplished in Cummington, and occasionally, copies of work produced. The balance of the collection consists of many of the school’s publications, administrative materials (including curricula and planning documents), and financial and fundraising materials.
Born in Poland, Josephine Latonsinska emigrated with her parents to the U.S. at the age of two. After studies at the Booth and Bayliss Commercial College in Waterbury, Connecticut, Josephine worked as a secretary for a Waterbury firm. Married to Joseph Czaja in 1926, the couple moved to Springfield, Massachusetts where Joseph worked as a druggist. Trained as a musician, Mrs. Czaja was an active member of the St. Cecilia Choir and the Ladies Guild, both of Our Lady of the Rosary Church.
The collection consists of photocopies of news clippings, probably compiled as a series of scrapbooks by Mrs. Czaja, depicting the activities of Polish community of Springfield from 1936 to 1987.
Raised in a Polish American family from Greenfield, Mass., Janina Smiertka Davenport was the epitome of a life-long learner. After graduating from Greenfield High School in 1933, Davenport received degrees from the Pratt Institute in Food Management and from the Franklin County Public School for Nurses (1937). In 1938, she began work as a nurse in the U.S. Navy, receiving two special commendations for meritorious service during the Second World War. She continued her formal and informal education later in life, receiving degrees from Arizona State University in 1958 and UMass Amherst in Russian and Eastern European Studies (1982). Davenport died in Greenfield in March 2002.
The Davenport Papers contain a thick sheaf of letters and documents pertaining to her Navy service before and during World War II, along with assorted biographical and genealogical data, materials collected during educational trips to Poland and elsewhere, and approximately one linear foot of family photographs and photo albums.
A native of Providence, R.I., Bobby Davis arrived in Amherst in 1977 and soon afterward entered the University Without Walls program at UMass to earn his college degree. A talented jazz musician, Davis became immersed in the vibrant local arts scene, learning photography while writing for the student publications Nummo News and the Collegian, and covering performances by a steady stream of jazz and R&B acts touring through the area. Working later as a photographer for Smith College and traveling for the yearbook company, Delmar Studios, Davis eventually settled in Northampton, where he remains active as a photographer.
The Davis collection contains ten exhibition prints of jazz musicians performing in Amherst, including Art Blakey, Angela Bofill, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Yusef Lateef, Oscar Peterson, Max Roach, Gil Scott-Heron, and Archie Shepp.
After receiving her MA from the University of Oregon in 1951, Madeline De Frees embarked on a career teaching English and writing to students ranging in age from elementary school to college (University of Montana, Seattle University). Joining the faculty at UMass Amherst in 1979, she served as Director of the MFA program in Creative Writing from 1980 to 1983, retiring in 1985.
The DeFrees Papers are a collection of personal and professional correspondence, poems and other writings, interviews and photographs. Biographical materials, financial records, and interviews comprise the remainder of the collection.
De Frees, Madeline
University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
Elaine Dobrowski Boston Polish Community Collection, ca.1935-1995.
1 box (0.25 linear feet). Call no.: MS 376
Compiled by Elaine Dobrowski, this collection of photographs, printed materials, and news clippings documents the Polish community in Boston during the 1930s through the 1990s. Includes photographs of the Kosciusko Monument in the Boston Public Gardens, a children’s dance festival, and a Polish Women’s circle outing at Blinstrub’s Village as well as images of parades, receptions, and conventions.
As a child, W.E.B. Du Bois lived for several years on a five acre parcel of land on the Egremont plain near Great Barrington, Mass. Although barely five when his family moved into town, Du Bois never lost his feeling for this property that had been in his family for six generations, and when presented with the opportunity to reacquire the site in 1928, he accepted, intending to build a house there and settle.
Walter Wilson and Edmund Gordon purchased the Du Bois homesite in 1967 with the intention of erecting a memorial to Du Bois’ life and legacy. On October 18, 1969, the site was formally dedicated as the W. E. B. Du Bois Memorial Park, with civil-rights activist and future Georgia legislator Julian Bond giving the keynote address and Ossie Davis presiding as master of ceremonies. Nineteen years later, the Du Bois Memorial Foundation donated the property to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, designating the University of Massachusetts Amherst as custodian.
Narrated by Davis and including Bond’s keynote address, this documentary (originally shot on 16mm motion picture film) depicts the 1969 dedication ceremonies. For additional information, please visit the website for the Du Bois boyhood homesite.
Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Homes and haunts
A 21 year-old farmer from Hardwick, Mass., Marcus A. Emmons enlisted in the 21st Massachusetts Infantry in August 1861, and saw active service in North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Having survived many of the great battles of the eastern theatre, Emmons was killed in action at Bethesda Church on June 2, 1864.
The letters and journals that comprise this collection document Emmons’ tragically brief experience in the Civil War. Both letters date from April 1864, while the 21st Massachusetts was stationed in Annapolis, Md., prior to the campaigns of that summer. One journal includes some miscellaneous pre-war accounts, a complete list of the Civil War volunteers from Hardwick and their regiments (some with notation of fate in service); a list of conscripts added to Co. K, 21st Mass., in 1863; a list of Civil War battles; military accounts; recruits added to the regiment in 1862, listing place of residence; and a roster of Co. K, 21st Mass. Infantry, with place of residence and fate in the service. The other journal begins as a spelling exercise book and includes diary entries for Mar.-Sept., 1862, discussing farm work.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
United States. Army. Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 21st (1861-1864)
Born on a farm in Hungary in 1932, the landscape architect Julius Fabos survived the Second World War and the onset of Stalinism before escaping to America during the Revolution of 1956. Able to resume his studies, Fabos received his BS in plant science from Rutgers (1961) and MLA from Harvard (1964), joining the faculty at UMass Amherst shortly thereafter while continuing toward a doctorate in Resource Planning and Conservation at the University of Michigan (1973). A charismatic teacher and prolific writer, Fabos is noted internationally for his work on landscape assessment and planning and greenways. In the early 1970s, he helped establish the METLAND (Metropolitan Landscape Planning) interdisciplinary research group, which pioneered the use of GIS technology in landscape planning. Fabos has received numerous honors in his career, including recognition as a Fellow of American Society of Landscape Architects (1985), as a Medalist for the ASLA (1997), and recipient of an honorary degree from the Hungarian University of Horticulture. Fabos retired in 1997.
The Fabos papers contain a record of a distinguished career in landscape architecture, including Fabos’ numerous publications, grey literature, conference materials, notes, and selected correspondence.
University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning
George Lewis Farley helped build the model for extension services before the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which mandated federal funds to land-grant Universities for supporting local agriculture. Referred to as “Uncle” George, Farley lead the Massachusetts 4-H Club for 25 years beginning in 1918 and was the first to create a 4-H clubhouse on a University campus. Born in Lynn, Mass. in 1873, Farley worked as the superintendent of schools in Brockton, Mass. before joining the University extension service. Farley died in 1941.
The George L. Farley Papers document the 4-H and Massachusetts extension service’s appreciation of Farley’s leadership through two books presented to Farley in 1936 and 1937. The first book contains the signatures of the members of all the Massachusetts 4-H clubs, organized by county and town. The second book is a scrapbook of letters of appreciation from friends, colleagues, farmers, senators, among which is a letter from then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt.
University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Extension Service