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Collins, Phebe

Phebe Collins Collection, ca.1875-1969
10 boxes (15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 958
Phebe Collins Collection image
Boy and his dog, 1931

The daughter of a Scottish immigrant and a 1923 graduate of Smith College, Phebe Hazel Ferris returned to her alma mater to pursue graduate work degree in Geology, but in 1928 she married her instructor, Robert Frank Collins. Settling in Williamsburg, Mass., the couple raised a family of three boys, Frank, Robert, and James. Robert, Sr., remained as a Professor of Geology and Geography at Smith, while Phebe eventually returned to graduate work, though in Physics, and thereafter worked for many years at Smith as a laboratory instructor. Phebe died in 1983, less than two months before her husband.

The Collins collection consists primarily of meticulously maintained scrapbooks assembled by Phebe Collins between the 1920s and the 1960s. The range of materials in these scrapbooks is remarkable, including not only photographs, postcards, and letters received, but children’s drawings, report cards, and the occasional surprise like a quarantine sign hung on the family door for a sick child. In aggregate, they are a rich record of the growth of an intellectually-inclined family across four decades. The collection also includes seventeen photograph albums and hundreds of Collins and Ferris family photographs, along with images taken by Robert during his geological work.

Gift of Cathy Englehardt, Jan. 2017
Subjects
  • Family--Massachusetts
  • Ferris family
  • Geologists--Massachusetts
  • Williamsburg (Mass.)--History
Types of material
  • Ephemera
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Common Reader Bookshop (New Salem, Mass.)

Common Reader Bookshop Collection, 1978-1997
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 472

Co-owned by Dorothy Johnson and Doris Abramson, the Common Reader Bookshop in New Salem, Massachusetts, specialized in women’s studies materials, or in their words, “books by, for, and about women.” A couple for almost 40 years and married in 2004, Johnson and Abramson, a professor in the theater department at UMass, opened the store in 1977. After nearly twenty-five years in operation, the book shop closed its doors for business in 2000. Comprised mostly of photographs, the collection highlights not only the shop as a place, but also the community it fostered.

Subjects
  • Booksellers and Bookselling--Massachusetts
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • Women--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Abramson, Doris
  • Common Reader Bookshop (New Salem, Mass.)
  • Johnson, Dorothy

Communist Party of Massachusetts

Communist Party of Massachusetts Collection, 1942-1954
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 538

Documenting Communist Party activities in Massachusetts during the 1940s-1950s, this small collection consists of pamphlets, broadsides, and election materials, which cover issues such as housing, freedom of speech, McCarthyism, and the war in Korea.

Subjects
  • Communism--United States--History
  • Communists--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Communist Party of Massachusetts

Craig, Edward Gordon, 1872-1966

Edward Gordon Craig Collection, 1951-1956
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 344

A noted figure in modernist theater, Edward Gordon Craig was born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, on Jan. 16, 1872, the illegitimate son of the renowned actress Ellen Terry and the architect Edward William Craig. Although the most productive portion of his career was brief, he exerted a strong influence on the field of set design and lighting, and was fairly prolific as a writer on theatre.

The six audio recordings that comprise the Craig collection originated from a series of BBC radio talks in the early 1950s. The reel to reel tapes include Craig’s reminiscences of Ellen Terry, Isadora Duncan, the old school of acting, celebrities, and how he played Hamlet in Salford, Lancashire.

Subjects
  • Duncan, Isadora, 1877-1927
  • Terry, Ellen, Dame, 1847-1928
  • Theater--Great Britain
Types of material
  • Oral histories
  • Sound recordings

Cummington School of the Arts

Cummington School of the Arts Records, 1908-1993
30 boxes (45 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 891
Cummington School of the Arts Records image
Poster, ca.1925

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.

Cushman, Artemas

Artemas Cushman Account Book, 1822-1846
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 073 bd

Born in Middleborough, Mass., in 1781, Artemas Cushman relocated to the central Vermont town of Braintree as a young man and spent decades as a carpenter and house joiner. He and his wife Phebe Spear raised a family of nine, one of whom (Artemas’ namesake) rose to local prominence as a officer in the state militia and representative in the state house and senate. Cushman died in Braintree in 1864.

Cushman’s small ledger is a fine record of the day-to-day work of an antebellum carpenter in rural Vermont. Part daybook and part account book, and often lacking in detail, Cushman’s entries document the work of a skilled artisan engaged in constructing or repairing houses, windmills, cider mills, bake houses, sheds, and barns, and at least one school. Occasionally, he applied his skills to smaller projects such as mending a wheel or making a wagon body or coffin, and less frequently he was compensated for manual labor (haying or planting). In a cash-poor economy, Cushman was typically repaid through an exchange of labor, or through commodities such as brandy, grain, or pork.

Subjects
  • Braintree (Vt.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Carpenters--Vermont--Braintree
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Daybooks

Czaja, Mrs. Joseph

Josephine Czaja Papers, 1936-1987
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 189

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.

Subjects
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Social conditions
Types of material
  • Scrapbooks

Davenport, Janina Smiertka

Janina Smiertka Davenport Papers, 1918-1990
7 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 343
Janina Smiertka Davenport Papers image
Janina Smiertka, 1934

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.

Subjects
  • Nurses--Massachusetts
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts
  • United States. Navy
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Davenport, Janina Smiertka
Types of material
  • Photographs

Davis, Bobby

Bobby Davis Photograph Collection, 1980-1983
1 box (0.2 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 065

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.

Gift of Bobby Davis, Jan. 2015
Subjects
  • Jazz musicians--Photographs
Types of material
  • Photographs

DeFrees, Madeline

Madeline De Frees Papers, 1951-1988
13 boxes (6 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 051

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.

Subjects
  • Poets--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • De Frees, Madeline
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
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