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Labor, work, and industry

Picket line, New Bedford

Picket line, New Bedford, 195
“Teamsters crossed the Hathaway picket line”

Western Massachusetts was an early and important center of both industrialization and the development of organized labor, and in recent years, it has experienced many of traumatic effects of de-industrialization and economic transformation. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives seeks to document the history of organized labor, the experience of work, and business and industry in New England.

At the heart of the SCUA holdings is a suite of collections documenting the organized labor movement in New England. The official records of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, a large and important collection, is joined by records for trades ranging from clothing and textile workers to carpenters, electrical workers, and granite cutters.

Of particular note is the John W. Bennett Labor History Collection, a large assemblage of labor-related realia and ephemera, including hundreds of badges, pins, watch fobs, lighters, and other artifacts distributed to union members at annual conventions and other union events. The collection is a unique resource for study of the iconography of organized labor and includes items from representative unions and locals ranging from the Knights of Labor in the 1870s to the present. While centered on New England, the Bennett Collection extends nationally.

Notable collections

  • Organized Labor
    • From the records of the Massachusetts State AFL-CIO to the papers of union locals and labor leaders.
  • See all Business and industry
    • Manufacturing
      • The industrial heritage of New England is represented in collections ranging from the records of the Clement Co., Lamson and Goodnow, and the Northampton Cutlery Company (manufacturers of cutlery), the American Writing Paper Company, the Rodney Hunt Co. (a manufacturer of textile machinery and waterwheels), and Smith and Wesson. The most recent collection is the papers of Sidney Topol, CEO of Scientific-Atlanta, a corporation at the forefront of the growth of cable television in the United States.
    • Merchants and commerce
      • Account books and other business records for a number of New England merchants dating back to the eighteenth century, ranging from small scale traders to keepers of rural general stores to shipping merchants trading in the Atlantic economy.

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Lauman, Mary W.

Mary W. Lauman Papers

1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 534

Mary W. Lauman, a 1937 graduate of Cornell University, served in the United States Marine Corps from March 1944 through December 1945. During her 10 months of active duty, Mary wrote numerous letters to her mother detailing her everyday life from boot camp in Lejeune, North Carolina, to her work with the United States Army Personnel Department.

The Lauman letters contain interesting insights into the life of a woman Marine during World War II, including behavior, dress, and social interactions.

  • Camp Lejeune (N.C.)
  • Women marines
  • World War, 1939-1945--Women
  • Lauman, Mary W

Le, Van Khoa

Le Van Khoa Photograph Collection

7 items 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 170
Image of Going home
Going home

The composer, photographer, and educator, Le Van Khoa arrived in the United States as a war refugee from Vietnam in May 1975. Largely self-taught as a photographer, he was co-founder of the Artistic Photography Association of Vietnam and has published three books of his work. He holds the distinction of being the first Vietnamese photographer to mount an exhibition at the U.S. Congress building.

The seven photographs in the Le Van Khoa collection are artistic reflections of life in Vietnam, including four taken in the imperial city, Hue.

  • Vietnam--Photographs
Types of material
  • Photographs

Lederer, Karen

Karen Lederer Papers

1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 167
Image of Karen Lederer (r) with Arlene Akavian in 1997
Karen Lederer (r) with Arlene Akavian in 1997

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts’ Social Thought and Political Economy program in 1981, Karen Lederer has held many important roles in the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies since she started in 1986, including, Undergraduate Advisor and Undergraduate Field Work Coordinator, and has taught courses women’s careers and life choices. In addition to her work at the University, Lederer has been an activist for peace, labor, and women’s movements.

This small collection consists of departmental administrative files, Lederer’s course materials, several issues of New Roots magazine and other publications, and memorabilia from the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

  • Feminism
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Staff
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Lederer, Regina Berger, 1895-1988

Regina Lederer Oral History

1 envelope 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 358 bd

Regina Berger Lederer was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1895 into the family of a successful manufacturing chemist. Her singing career was promising, but never fully realized. With the rise of the Nazi Party and increase in oppression of Jews, she and her husband escaped by leaving for Italy and the United States in 1939. Settling in New York, she worked as a skilled sweater repairer for many years. She died in Maryland in 1988, where she had gone to live near her son Paul.

Transcript of an oral history of Lederer.

  • Jewish women--United States--Interviews
  • Jews, Austrian--United States--Interviews
  • Jews--Austria--History--20th century--Sources
  • Knit goods--Repairing--New York (State)--New York
  • Refugees, Jewish--United States--Interviews
  • Sweater industry--New York (State)--New York--Employees--Interviews
  • Lederer, Regina Berger, 1895-1988
Types of material
  • Oral histories

Leff, David K.

David K. Leff Papers

3 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 907
Image of David K. Leff
David K. Leff

A writer, poet, and environmental and historic preservation advocate, David K. Leff worked for many years as an agricultural and environmental policy adviser to the Connecticut legislature and as deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. A graduate of UMass Amherst (BA 1975) and the University of Connecticut School of Law (1978), Leff began writing and lecturing from early in his career and in addition to publishing dozens of magazine articles and serving as a regular contributor to the Hartford Courant, he has written five works of non-fiction, The Last Undiscovered Place (2004), Deep Travel: In Thoreau’s Wake on the Concord and Merrimack (2009), Hidden in Plain Sight (2012), Maple Sugaring (2015), and Canoeing Maine’s Legendary Allagash (2016); three books of poetry Price of Water (2008), Depth of Field (2010), and Tinker’s Damn (2013), and a novel in verse, Finding the Last Hungry Heart (2014). Leff has been active as a lecturer and instructor on various topics, ranging from the environment to local history and writing. In 2016, he was named the first Poet-in-Residence of the New England Trail.

In addition to containing a nearly comprehensive collection of the published writings of David Leff, the collection includes selected correspondence, unpublished poetry and short stories, a draft of an unpublished novel (Hungry Heart), talks, interviews, notes, newsclippings, over 400 pages of interviews with sugarmakers that Leff conducted for his book on maple sugaring, and selected materials relating to Leff’s work with the DEP in Connecticut and other endeavors. The collection also includes several thousand photographs (mostly digital) takenby Leff and used to illustrate his publications and lectures.

Gift of David K. Leff, 2016
  • Maple sugar industry--Connecticut
  • Newspaper columnists--Connecticut
  • Poets--Connecticut
  • Photographs

Lenn, Marjorie Peace

Marjorie Peace Lenn Papers

40 boxes 60 linear feet
Call no.: MS 838
Image of Marjorie Peace Lenn
Marjorie Peace Lenn

A leader in the global quality assurance movement in higher education, Marjorie Peace Lenn was founding president of the Center for Quality Assurance in International Education (CQAIE). Born in Bowling Green, Ohio, in 1946, and educated at Transylvania University (BA, 1968), Yale (MAR, 1970), and UMass Amherst (MEd and EdD, 1978), Lenn began her career in education as as assistant area director of student life at UMass Amherst, rising over the course of twelve years (1970-1982) to become the Director of Residential Life. From UMass, Lenn went on to senior positions with the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation (1982-1992) before founding the CQAIE in 1991. Throughout her career, Lenn was in high demand internationally as a consultant on quality assurance and accreditation systems. Working with dozens of governments, ministries of education, universities, and intergovernmental agencies such as the World Bank, UNESCO, OECD, Organization of American States, United Nations Development Program, and the Asia Development Bank, she also became an official advisor to the U.S. government on trade in education services as a member of the International Trade Advisory Commission, influencing the development of accreditation infrastructure in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. After a long battle with cancer, Lenn died at home in Alexandria, Va., on Oct. 16, 2010.

The Lenn Papers offer rich documentation of the international development of accreditation systems in higher education and the impact of Lenn’s ideas on quality assurance. The bulk of the records stem from Lenn’s work with the Center for Quality Assurance in International Education and Council on Postsecondary Accreditation, but also reflect her role as advisor to the US government and her varied consultancies.

  • Center for Quality Assurance in International Education
  • Council on Postsecondary Accreditation
  • Education, Higher--Evaluation
  • Quality assurance

Levasseur, Raymond Luc

Raymond Luc Levasseur Trial transcripts

12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 334

For over a decade, the radical United Freedom Front waged a concerted revolutionary campaign, confronting U.S. imperialism in Central America, apartheid, and other issues. Led by Raymond Luc Levasseur (b. 1940), the UFF carried out a string of bank robberies and bombings in the northeast, usually providing forewarning to avoid casualties. On November 4, 1984, following an intense nationwide manhunt, the FBI succeeded in apprehending Levasseur and his wife Patricia Gros near Deerfield, Ohio, and within a year, most of the remaining members of the UFF were under arrest. Levasseur and six of his comrades were eventually sentenced to long terms for the robberies and bombings and (two of them) for the death of a New Jersey state trooper. The government’s attempt in 1989 to bring charges of seditious conspiracy and violations of the RICO act, however, ended in an acquittal on most charges and a hung jury on the rest. Having served nearly half of his 45 year sentence, Levasseur was released from prison in November 2004.

The Levasseur Collection consists of the complete transcripts of the 1989 sedition trial of the “Ohio Seven” (US v. Levasseur).

  • Political prisoners--United States
  • Sedition
  • United Freedom Front
  • Levasseur, Ray Luc

Lewin, Julie

Julie Lewin Papers

11 boxes 5.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 454

Julie Lewin began her career as a freelance writer and newspaper journalist, and went from writing articles about sexual abuse of children and women’s prison reforms to lobbying for the protection and treatment of animals. The collection documents Lewin’s efforts to uphold the rights of animals, and in particular focuses on her opposition to the pet industry and to the use of animals in research.

  • Animal rights--Activism
  • Animal rights--Advocates
  • Animal rights--Law and legislation
  • Animal welfare--Rescue
  • Connecticut Humane Society
  • Greyhound racing
  • Hunting
  • Pet industry
  • Trapping--Leghold
  • Vivisection-Animal research
  • Lewin, Julie

Lewis, David L., 1936-

David Levering Lewis Papers

54 boxes 81 linear feet
Call no.: MS 827
Image of David Levering Lewis
David Levering Lewis

The historian David Levering Lewis is the author of eight remarkably diverse monographs. Raised in an academic family, his father was president of Morris Brown College, Lewis enrolled at Fisk University at the age of 15 and was only 26 when he was awarded a doctorate in modern European history from the London School of Economics (1962). Through an academic career that has included numerous stops, including Morgan State, Notre Dame, Howard, the University of the District of Columbia (1970-1980), and Rutgers (1985-2003), Lewis remained consistently productive. Author of the first academic biography of Martin Luther King (1970) and a history of the Dreyfus Affair (1974), he wrote an influential study of the Harlem renaissance (1981) and important works on colonialism in Africa (1987) and Islamic Spain (2008), but he is best known for his two monumental biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois (1993, 2000), each of which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. One of the most lauded African American historians of his generation, Lewis was recipient of the Bancroft Prize, the Francis Parkman Prizes, the 2009 National Humanities Medal, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and he was elected as a Fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. Lewis was Julius Silver University Professor in History at New York University from 2003 until his retirement.

The papers of David Levering Lewis document a long and productive career as an academic historian and scholar of African American history and culture. Beginning with his years in college and graduate school, the collection offers a rich perspective on the evolution of his career. Lewis’s essential biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois are particularly well documented, however the collection includes abundant materials for each of his earlier projects, including correspondence, research notes, and drafts.

  • African Americans--History
  • Colonies--Africa--History
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
  • Harlem Renaissance
  • Historians--United States
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
  • United States--History--20th century
Types of material
  • Photographs