Alton H. Blackington Photograph Collection, 1898-1943.
15 boxes (4 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 061
A native of Rockland, Maine, Alton H. “Blackie” Blackington (1893-1963) was a writer, photojournalist, and radio personality associated with New England “lore and legend.” After returning from naval service in the First World War, Blackington joined the staff of the Boston Herald, covering a range of current events, but becoming well known for his human interest features on New England people and customs. He was successful enough by the mid-1920s to establish his own photo service, and although his work remained centered on New England and was based in Boston, he photographed and handled images from across the country. Capitalizing on the trove of New England stories he accumulated as a photojournalist, Blackington became a popular lecturer and from 1933-1953, a radio and later television host on the NBC network, Yankee Yarns, which yielded the books Yankee Yarns (1954) and More Yankee Yarns (1956).
This collection of Blackington’s glass plate negatives was purchased by Robb Sagendorf of Yankee Publishing around the time of Blackington’s death. Reflecting Blackington’s photojournalistic interests, the collection covers a terrain stretching from news of public officials and civic events to local personalities, but the heart of the collection is the dozens of images of typically eccentric New England characters and human interest stories. Most of the images were taken by Blackington on 4×5″ dry plate negatives, however many of the later images are made on flexible acetate stock and the collection includes several images by other (unidentified) photographers distributed by the Blackington News Service.
- Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933--Photographs
- Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937--Photographs
- Maine--Social life and customs--Photographs
- Massachusetts--Social life and customs--Photographs
- New England--Social life and customs--Photographs
- New Hampshire--Social life and customs--Photographs
- Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945--Photographs
- Sacco-Vanzetti Trial, Dedham, Mass., 1921--Photographs
Types of material
Boston Jazz Society Records, ca. 1973-2014.
6 boxes (10 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 880
Founded in 1973, the Boston Jazz Society grew from a small group of enthusiasts listening to music in living rooms to a thriving organization that “kept Jazz alive” in New England. As Jazz’s popularity began to fade in the late 1960s, local Jazz societies formed to provide support to artists and give them the means and venues to continue to perform on the road. The Boston Jazz Society was originally inspired by one of the earliest, the Left Bank Jazz Society of Baltimore. Like the Left Bank, BJS produced concerts in clubs, theaters, and hotels but expanded their efforts to include exhibits, television and radio shows, and a Jazz education program for grade school students. The longest running BJS activities, however, were the annual Jazz Barbecues and starting in 1975, the BJS Scholarships. The scholarship program raised funds for young Jazz musicians to attend the New England Conservatory of Music’s Jazz Department and the Berklee School Of Music and began the musical careers of many important musicians, composers, and teachers. BJS was also deeply connected to the local music scene, celebrating Roxbury, Mass. natives Alan Dawson and Roy Haynes, whose brother Vincent was a long-time board member, among many others. After 42 years of promoting Jazz music in Boston, the Boston Jazz Society, Inc. dissolved in 2015.
The Boston Jazz Society Records extensively document BJS’s meetings, events, business dealings, and scholarship administration through meeting minutes, posters, correspondence, photographs, recordings, videos, and BJS’s own propaganda and publications. The majority of the BJS records came from the collection of founding member and longtime president Aureldon Edward Henderson and also represents his involvement in promoting Jazz in the Boston area.
- Jazz musicians--Massachusetts--Boston
- Berklee School of Music
- Haynes, Roy
- Henderson, Aureldon Edward
- New England Conservatory of Music
Georgene A. Bramlage Leverett (Mass.) Collection, 1966-1992.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 656
A free-lance garden and landscape writer, Georgene A. Bramlage has published widely on garden and food-related topics and has been a member of the Garden Writers Association since 1980. She is the wife of William A. Bramlage, a member of the faculty in Plant and Soil Sciences at UMass Amherst. Long-time residents of Leverett, Mass., the Bramlages relocated to Roanoke, Va., in 2009.
An avid local historian, Bramlage collected pamphlets and ephemeral publications relating to the history of her town. This small collection includes a few items relating to the town’s bicentennial in 1974, newspaper clippings, genealogical information, and articles on its residents, and items relating to civic affairs in town. Several cookbooks donated by Bramlage were transferred to the McIntosh Cookbook Collection.
- Leverett (Mass.)--History
Daniel A. Brown Photograph Collection, 1968-2003.
Call no.: PH 011
Having joined the the Brotherhood of the Spirit commune in 1973, Dan Brown remained a member for a decade as it evolved first into Metelica’s Aquarian Concept and then into the Renaissance Community. Throughout his time as a member, he photographed his fellow communards as they moved through a variety of localities, including Turner’s Falls, Gill, and Warwick, Mass. Since leaving the community in 1983, he has written and lectured regularly on its history for audiences throughout the region.
One of the principle photographers of the Brotherhood and Renaissance Community during the period 1973-1983, Brown preserved an archive of approximately 450 photographs documenting the commune from its founding in 1968 through the time of Michael Metelica’s death in 2003. In addition to his own work, he collected and preserved images of many other photographers, most notably Gary Cohen.
- Babbitt, Elwood, 1922-
- Brotherhood of the Spirit (Commune)
- Communal living--Massachusetts
- Metelica, Michael
- Renaissance Community (Commune)
- Brown, Daniel A
- Cohen, Gary
Types of material
Cambodian Americans in Amherst Exhibition Collection, 1986.
1 box (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 114
Organized by UMass anthropology professor Joel Halpern, the images in this collection were put on display during the Cambodian New Year celebration in 1986. As part of the celebration, members of the large community of Cambodian refugees who have resettled in Amherst were recognized.
Types of material
CIA on Trial Project Records, 1985-1989.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 508
In 1986 demonstrations against CIA recruitment on the University’s campus led by activists Abbie Hoffman and Amy Carter, daughter of former President Jimmy Carter, resulted in the takeover of two school buildings and more than sixty arrests. The CIA on Trial Project was a group established in Amherst to support the individuals arrested as well as to raise funds for their legal defense.
News clippings covering the protests, fliers, memos from the University’s administration, and correspondence with Chancellor Duffey capture the mood on campus during and after the protests.
- CIA on Trial Project (Amherst, Mass.)
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--History
CPPAX Franklin and Hampshire Chapter Records, 1991-1999.
2 boxes (2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 558
Founded in 1962, the mission of Citizens for Participation in Political Action (CPPAX) was to increase citizen involvement in politics and policy making, and to promote social and economic justice both within the U.S. and globally through U.S. foreign policy. The Franklin and Hampshire Counties chapter of CPPAX has been active in a number of issues of both local and national significance.
Minutes of meetings, subject files, and newsletters reveal issues of importance to the local chapter of CPPAX, issues that include clean elections, peace, nuclear abolition, and health care.
- Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
- Peace movements--Massachusetts
- Citizens for Participation in Political Action. Franklin and Hampshire Counties
Clarke School for the Deaf Records, ca.1867-2010.
130 boxes (195 linear feet linear feet).
Call no.: MS 742
With a $50,000 grant from the philanthropist John Clarke, Gardiner Green Hubbard founded the Clarke Institution for Deaf Mutes in 1867, a school predicated on the importance of acquiring oral skills for children with hearing loss. Opened in Northampton, Mass., under the direction of Harriet B. Rogers, Clarke differed philosophically from schools such as the American School for the Deaf where sign language was used for instruction, stressing speech-reading and speech as the primary methods of communication. With notable supporters such as Alexander Graham Bell, Clarence W. Barron, and Calvin Coolidge and his wife Grace (a former teacher), the school became a pioneer in training teachers in auditory and oral methods and in recognizing the importance of early intervention and mainstreaming children into neighborhood schools. Working in partnership with Smith College, Clarke began offering a master’s degree in Education of the Deaf in 1962. Known as the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech since 2010, the school has opened additional campuses in Boston (1995), Jacksonville (1996), New York (1999), and Philadelphia (2001).
The records of the Clarke School offer rich documentation of the history of oral deaf education in the United States and insight into the experience of deafness in America. The collection includes extensive correspondence of school administrators and teachers, organizational materials, records of the school’s programs, and an essentially complete run of the school’s annual reports and other publications. An extensive set of genealogical and genetic records generated by the research staff at the school is restricted for 75 years from the date of creation.
- Deafness--Genetic aspects
- Teachers of the deaf
- Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf
- Bell, Alexander Graham, 1847-1922
- Coolidge, Grace Goodhue, 1879-1957
Types of material
- Minutes (Administrative records)
Class Action Records, 2004-2010.
13 boxes (19.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 687
Since incorporating as a non-profit in 2004, Class Action has been dedicated to exploring issues surrounding class and identifying means of dismantling classism. Founded by Felice Yeskel (an activist and founder of the Stonewall Center at UMass Amherst) and Jennifer Ladd, Class Action offers training, workshops, and organizational consulting to raise awareness of the impact of class barriers and class privilege on the lives of individuals and communities and of the intersections between race and class. Their goals include making class a diversity issue and promoting a broader vision of economic and social justice that will create lasting systemic change.
The records of Class Action include administrative files for the organization along with a range of materials used in training sessions and workshops.
- Social classes
- Ladd, Jennifer
- Yeskel, Felice
Types of material
Cummington School of the Arts Records, 1908-1993.
30 boxes (45 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 891
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.