Brainerd Taylor Family Papers, 1871-1964.
3 boxes (4 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 733
A member of a distinguished family of New England educators and clergymen, Brainerd Taylor played an key role in assisting the U.S. Army takes its first steps into modern mechanized warfare. Born in Newtonville, Massachusetts, in 1877, Taylor entered Harvard with the class of 1899, but during the rush of enthusiasm accompanying the start of the Spanish American War, he left before completing his degree to join the military. Serving with the Coast Artillery for several years, he became the Chief Motor Transport Officer for the Advance Section of the Service of Supply for the American Expeditionary Force during the First World War, earning promotion to Colonel, a Distinguished Service Medal, and the Legion of Honor from France for his efforts. Taylor married twice, first to Vesta Richardson, who died in 1919, and then to Helen Cady. Taylor died in 1955.
The Taylor family collection contains over 1,000 letters documenting the military career and personal life of Brainerd Taylor, with particularly thick coverage of the period of the First World War when he was stationed in France, building the Motor Transport Corps virtually from scratch. These letters are exceptionally well written and rich in description, both about his duties and his travels in France and Germany. The collection also includes Taylor’s extensive correspondence to his father, James Brainerd Taylor (1845-1929), and correspondence relating to Taylor’s wives, children, and grandchildren.
- France--Description and travel
- Germany--Description and travel
- World War, 1914-1918
- Taylor, Brainerd, 1877-
- Taylor, Helen M.
- Taylor, James Brainerd
- Taylor, Vesta R.
Roscoe Wilfrid Thatcher Papers, 1900-1934.
4 boxes (2 linear feet).
Call no.: RG 003/1 T43
The agronomist Roscoe Thatcher served as the last president of Massachusetts Agricultural College and the first when the institution changed its name to Massachusetts State College in 1931. Before coming to Amherst, Thatcher had extensive experience in both agricultural research and administration, having served as director of the agricultural station for the state of Washington, as professor of plant chemistry at the University of Minnesota (1913-1917), and as dean of the School of Agriculture and director of the Minnesota Experiment Station (1917-1921), and as director of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station at Geneva. Selected as President of the Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1927, he helped expand the two year program in practical agriculture to become the Stockbridge School of Agriculture and oversaw curricular reform, orienting vocational training toward citizenship education. The student health service also started during his tenure. Thatcher resigned due to ill health in 1933. Although he returned to research in agricultural chemistry at the College in April 1933, he died in his laboratory on December 6, 1933.
Official and administrative correspondence, memos, and other papers, relating to Thatcher’s service as president of Massachusetts State College together with writing and biographical material.
- Massachusetts State College. President
- Thatcher, Roscoe Wilfrid, 1872-1933
Sue Thrasher Poster Collection, ca.1975-2010.
50 posters, 1 box (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 861
The activist, writer, and educator, Sue Thrasher became involved in the civil rights movement while a student at Scarritt College in 1961. A native of rural West Tennessee, Thrasher was drawn to the local chapter of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee shortly after arriving on campus, and in 1964, she helped found the Southern Students Organizing Committee, serving as its first executive director and taking part in the “white folks project” during Mississippi Summer. As a stalwart of the freedom movement and its historian, she joined the staff at the Highlander Center in 1978, helping to organize their archives and conducting oral histories. After more than twenty years of social activism in the South, Thrasher came to UMass Amherst to earn a doctorate in Educational Policy and Research, and from 1997 until her retirement in 2013, she worked as Partnership Coordinator at Five Colleges Incorporated, linking faculty with public school districts in western Massachusetts. Among her several works on the civil rights movement is the collaborative volume Deep in Our Hearts: Nine White Women in the Freedom Movement (2000).
A visual record of Sue Thrasher’s involvement in movements for social justice, the collection includes dozens of posters reflecting international liberation movements (Mozambique, Palestine, Central America), Cuba, the antiwar movement, campaigns for literacy in Nicaragua, the International Council on Adult Education (Chile and Bangladesh), and activities at the Highlander Center (benefit concerts by Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, and Sweet Honey in the Rock). The collection also includes two Nicaraguan masks collected by Thrasher.
Frederick Tillis Papers, 1970-2010.
10 boxes (8 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 156
A composer, performer, poet, educator, and arts administrator, Fred Tillis was one of the major influences on the cultural life at UMass Amherst for forty years. Born in Galveston, Texas, in 1930, Tillis began playing jazz trumpet and saxophone even before his teens. A product of segregated schools, he graduated from Wiley College at the age of 19, and received his MA and PhD in music at the University of Iowa. As a performer and composer of unusual breadth, his work spans both the jazz and European traditions, and he has written for piano and voice, orchestra, choral pieces, chamber music, and in the African American spiritual tradition, drawing upon a wide range of cultural references. After teaching at Wiley, Grambling, and Kentucky State in the 1960s, Tillis was recruited to UMass in 1970 by his former adviser at Iowa, Philip Bezanson, to teach music composition and theory. Earning promotion to Professor in 1973, Tillis was appointed Director of the Fine Arts Center in 1978, helping to jump start some of the most successful arts initiatives the university has seen, including the the Afro American Music and Jazz program, the New World Theater, Augusta Savage Gallery, Asian Arts and Culture Program, and Jazz in July. Upon retirement from UMass in 1997, he was appointed Emeritus Director of the Fine Arts and remains active as a musician and poet.
The Tillis papers document an extraordinary career in the arts, focused on Fred Tillis’s work as a composer. Consisting primarily of musical scores along with an assortment of professional correspondence relating to his publishing and miscellaneous notes, the collection offers insight into the evolution of Tillis’s musical vision from the 1970s into the new millennium.
- African American composers
- African American musicians
- Fine Arts Center (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance
Types of material
Oswald Tippo Papers, ca.1930-1990.
20 boxes (30 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 106
A 1932 graduate of Massachusetts State College (later University of Massachusetts Amherst), Oswald Tippo earned his doctorate in botany from Harvard in 1937. A respected plant anatomist, Tippo’s career was divided relatively evenly between the laboratory and higher administrative offices. Joining the faculty at the University of Illinois in 1937, he was eventually tabbed to become Dean of the Graduate School. After moving to Yale as Eaton Professor of Botany (1955-1960), he served as Provost at the University of Colorado and Executive Dean of Arts and Sciences at New York University (1963), before returning to UMass Amherst in 1964. As Provost under President John W. Lederle, Tippo oversaw a period of rapid expansion at the University, and in 1970, he was appointed as the first Chancellor of the Amherst campus. One year later, he was named Commonwealth Professor of Botany, remaining in that position until his retirement in June 1982. After his retirement, Tippo was often seen “holding court” at his regular table at the University Club. He remained in Amherst with his wife Emmie until his death in 1999.
The Tippo Papers are a robust collection of professional and administrative correspondence, speeches, research notes, notes from Tippo’s student years, photographs, and several of his publications. The collection documents Tippo’s unique relationship with UMass as both Provost and Chancellor as well as his tenure as a Professor of Botany.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Alumni and alumnae
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Botany Department
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Chancellor
Gifford H. and Marjorie B. Towle Papers, 1970-1987 (Bulk: 1945-1980).
24 boxes (33 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 881
For thirty five years, Gifford Towle (1907-1987) and his with Marjorie worked as missionaries in the state of Maharashtra, India. Born and raised a Quaker, Towle was educated at the Mt. Hermon School and Massachusetts State College, graduating in 1932. After marrying in a Quaker ceremony held in Congregational Church that September, Towle entered the Hartford Seminary with the goal of preparing himself for foreign missionary work. Gaining experience through appointments at churches in Packardville, Pelham, and Southampton, Massachusetts, he enlisted with the American Marathi Mission in 1939. Assigned to the Vadala Mission in Ahmadnagar, the oldest missionary outpost of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, he drew on his education at Mass. State to introduce modern agricultural engineering technologies and concepts, particularly in the “the practical field of water resources.” After retiring in 1973, Towle toured the country lecturing on India and his experiences.
The Towle collection is a remarkably rich assemblage reflecting over three decades of life as a foreign missionary and agricultural engineer in rural India. Between regular reports on the progress of the mission and his extensive correspondence with his family and American and Indian associates, the collection provides a detailed record of the massive changes affecting India from the end of colonialism through the beginning of India’s green revolution and into the early 1970s. A diligent writer, meticulous record keeper, and avid photographer, Towle left a thorough record of his life’s work and its impact on the lives of rural Indians.
- India--Description and travel
- Maharasthra (India)--Economic conditions
Types of material
Trent Family Papers, 1850-1996.
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 373
Five generations of an African-American family that achieved commercial success and wealth through the restaurant and catering business as well as extensive real estate investments at the turn of the 20th century in New York City, Brooklyn, and Sea Cliff, Long Island, New York. Includes letters, public and church records, news clippings, ephemera, a videotape, and 87 photographs.
- African American capitalists and financiers--New York (State)--Biography
- African American families--New York (State)--History
- African Americans--Genealogy--Handbooks, manuals, etc
- African Americans--New York (State)--Biography
- African Americans--New York (State)--Social life and customs
- Burleigh, H. T. (Harry Thacker), 1866-1949
- Capitalists and financiers--New York (State)--Biography
- Fuller, Meta Warrick, 1877-1968
- Landowners--New York (State)--Biography
- Restauranteurs--New York (State)--Biography
- Smith family
- Smith, William H. (William Henry), 1836-1923
- Trent family
Types of material
- Baptismal certificates
- Vital statistics records
United Paperworkers International Strike Support Group Collection, 1988.
1 folder (0.1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 322
By February 1988 members of of United Paperworkers International Union Local 14 of Jay, Maine, had been on strike for seven months. With the support of their state officials and officials of Massachusetts and Northampton AFL-CIO, a caravan of strikers traveled to Northampton to inform the public of their struggle. Collection is limited to a city of Northampton resolution and a brief report of the strikers position and their trip to the city.
- Paper industry workers--Labor unions--Maine
- Strikes and lockouts--Paper industry--Maine
- United Paperworkers International Union. Local 14
United Steelworkers of America Local 3654 Records, ca. 1940-1979.
11 boxes (5.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 316
Local 3654 of the United Steel Workers of America was organized in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. Records include Minutes, by-laws, newsletters, grievances, company reports, and publications.
- Labor unions--Massachusetts
- United Steelworkers of America. Local 3654
Ralph Van Meter Papers, 1919-1958.
2 boxes (1 linear feet).
Call no.: RG 003/1 V36
Ralph Van Meter, the first president of the University of Massachusetts after it changed its name from Massachusetts State College in 1947, spent nearly 40 years learning, teaching, and leading on the Amherst campus. A graduate of Ohio State University (B.S., 1917), he came to the Massachusetts Agricultural College as a specialist in Food Conservation in 1917, serving in the Pomology Department first as a professor, and then as the head from 1936 to 1948. The Board of Trustees appointed Van Meter as Acting President in 1947 and President in 1948. He was responsible for a number of innovations, including the creation of the position of Provost (first held by John Paul Mather) and the establishment of new schools of business administration and engineering.
Correspondence, memos, reports, clippings, and other papers, relating to matters at issue during Van Meter’s presidency of University of Massachusetts including the building program, World War II veterans, accreditation, and the university seal; together with published writings, biographical material, military records, and material from Van Meter’s inauguration as university president.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. President
- Van Meter, Ralph Albert, 1893-