Theodore Yantshev Collection, 1947-1958.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 141
A native of Sofia, Bulgaria, Theodore Konstantin Yantshev found himself in danger in the years immediately after the Second World War when his anti-Communist activities became known to the new Communist regime. With the assistance of an American naval officer, Yantshev escaped to the United States as a stowaway aboard the American ship S.S. Juliet Victory in the spring of 1946. In July of 1947, however, Yantshev’s presence came to the attention of United States immigration authorities and a warrant for his deportation back to Bulgaria was issued against him.
This small collection consists chiefly of correspondence documenting Yantshev’s struggle to gain permanent residency and then citizenship in the United States.
- Bulgarians--United States
- Political refugees--United States
Doris E. Abramson Papers, ca.1930-2007.
(25 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 127
After earning her masters degree from Smith College in 1951, Doris Abramson (class of 1949) returned to UMass in 1953 to become instructor in the English Department, remaining at her alma mater through a long and productive career. An historian of theatre and poet, she was a founding member of the Speech Department, Theatre Department, and the Massachusetts Review. In 1959, a Danforth grant helped Abramson pursue doctoral work at Columbia. Published in 1969, her dissertation, Negro Playwrights in the American Theatre, 1925-1969, was a pioneering work in the field. After her retirement, she and her partner of more than 40 years, Dorothy Johnson, ran the Common Reader Bookshop in New Salem.
An extensive collection covering her entire career, Abramson’s papers are a valuable record of the performing arts at UMass, her research on African American playwrights, her teaching and directing, and many other topics relating to her diverse interests in literature and the arts.
- African-American theater
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Theater
Tamas Aczel Papers, ca.1950-1994.
18 boxes (26 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 031
Born on Dec. 1, 1921, to a middle class family, Tamas Aczel became affiliated with leftist politics in Hungary prior to the Second World War, joining the Party after. With degrees in literature from Peter Pazmany University (BA 1948) and Eotvos Lorent University (MA 1950), Aczel quickly established a reputation as a literary talent, publishing seven novels and winning the Kossuth Prize (1949) and Stalin Prize for Literature (1952). During this period, he became disenchanted with the Communist government and during the short-lived rebellion in 1956, he served as press secretary for Prime Minister Imre Nagy. When Nagy was deposed, Aczel escaped through Yugoslavia to Austria and then England. In 1966, he was invited to teach modern European literature at UMass, where he became Director of the MFA program (1978-1982). Aczel died in 1994, leaving his wife Olga A. Gyarmati (an Olympic gold medalist in the long jump, 1948) and son Thomas.
The Aczel collection consists primarily of numerous drafts of several novels, including The Hunt (1990), Illuminations (1981), and Ice Age (1965), along with other writing, translations, some student essays, and autobiographical material. Some material is in Hungarian.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
American Friends Service Committee Records, 1975-2005.
24 boxes (36 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 459
Established in 1968 in response to the war in Vietnam, the AFSC office in western Massachusetts did not limit its focus to draft and military counseling, instead the organization broadened its focus over time to include educational and outreach programs for a variety of peace and socal justice issues. Today the chapter focuses on economic justice, campaigns against U.S. military intervention, and actions to combat racism and classism. With an emphasis on serving the community of western Massachusetts, the program is equally committed to calling attention to issues of both national and local importance. Recent campaigns range from ending the war in Iraq and supporting peace in Columbia to preventing the construction of a new jail in Chicopee.
The collection consists chiefly of subject files that together provide a picture of the various issues in which the western Massachusetts AFSC was involved. Topics range from the organization’s earliest focus, the Vietnam War, to the first Gulf War, landlord/tenant relations, immigration, and landmines. The collection also includes materials relating to public figures, some of whom traveled to the region to speak.
- Massachusetts--Economic conditions
- Peace movements--Massachusetts
- Social justice--Massachusetts
- American Friends Service Committee. Western Massachusetts
Elwood Babbitt Papers, 1974-2000.
2 boxes (3 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 517
Clairvoyant from his youth, Elwood Babbitt developed his psychic abilities at the Edgar Cayce Institute, and by the mid-1960s, was well known in Western Massachusetts through his readings and lectures, often opening his home to other seekers. Charles Hapgood, a professor at Keene State College, worked closely with Babbitt studying the physical effects of the medium’s trance lectures, and by 1967, he began to take on the painstaking process of transcribing and copying them. With communications purporting to come from Jesus, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, and the Hindu god Vishnu, among others, these lectures formed the basis for several books by Hapgood and Babbitt, including Voices of Spirit (1975) and Talks with Christ (1981). Babbitt ultimately established a non-profit, alternative school, the Opie Mountain Citadel, which was essentially run out of Babbitt’s home in Northfield.
The collection consists of proofs of publications, lectures, some correspondence, film reels, and transcripts of spiritual communications for which Babbitt was the medium.
- Channeling (Spiritualism)
- Hapgood, Charles H
James Baker Free Spirit Press Collection, 1969-2005 (Bulk: 1969-1974).
3 boxes (1.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 834
James Baker was a member of the Brotherhood of the Spirit commune (later the Renaissance Community) in the early 1970s, and a key contributor to the Free Spirit Press, the commune’s publishing operation. Part promotion, information, and entertainment, the Free Spirit Press
magazine ran for four issues in the winter and spring 1972-1973.
The Baker collection consists of the surviving materials from the production of Free Spirit Press concentrated heavily in the period between winter 1972 and summer 1974. Accumulated mostly while preparing a brochure for the commune, the manuscript material contains copies of the commune’s by-laws and membership rolls, comments from community members on how they wished to be represented, and a story board for the brochure and series of quotes from community members to be included. The second half of the collection contains hundreds of images, mostly 35mm negatives, taken of or by the commune and its residents. The images depict the production and distribution of Free Spirit Press and the commune band (Spirit in Flesh, later called Rapunzel), but they also include several rolls of film taken by commune members of major rock and roll acts of the era, including the Grateful Dead, Taj Mahal, Jethro Tull, Santana, Chuck Berry, Hot Tuna, and Fleetwood Mac.
- Berry, Chuck
- Brotherhood of the Spirit (Commune)
- Communal living--Massachusetts
- Grateful Dead (Musical group)
- Grateful Dead (Musical group)--Photographs
- Metelica, Michael
- Renaissance Community (Commune)
- Rock music--1971-1980--Photographs
- Taj Mahal (Musician)
- Taj Mahal (Musician)--Photographs
Types of material
Tom Behrendt Papers, 1978-2003.
3 boxes (3.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 870
The attorney Tom Behrendt has worked for years in the cause of civil rights for people with mental disabilities. A past president and long-time member of the Board of Directors of the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy, Behrendt served previously as Legal Director of the Connecticut Legal Rights Project and he was a founding member of the Special Litigation and Appeals Unit of the Mental Hygiene Legal Service in New York. Behrendt’s involvements have included work with organizations such as Project Release, the Free Association, Advocacy Unlimited, and PAIMI (Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness).
The collection consists of a wide array of publications and documents relating the psychiatric survivors movement and Behrendt’s advocacy work. In addition to materials relating to NARPA conferences and a long run of NARPA’s newsletter, The Rights Tenet, the collection includes newsletters and other materials relating to the movement and issues such as electroconvulsive therapy.
- Electroconvulsive therapy
- Mental health laws
- National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy
Bernard B. Berger Papers, 1955-1993.
2 boxes (0.75 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 039
Bernard B. Berger served as the Director of the Water Resources Research Center from 1966 to 1978 and was a world-renown expert on water supply management and the effects of pollution. Berger was born in 1912 in New York City, earned a B.S. in 1935 from MIT and an M.S. in Sanitary Engineering in 1948 from Harvard. Before coming to the University of Massachusetts, Berger worked as a civil engineer for twenty-five years in the United States Public Health Service, where he researched and advocated policy on pollution control. While at the University, Berger served as the United States’ water resources specialist in the executive office of Science and Technology and worked as a consultant to Israel in 1972 on that country’s creation of the Israel Environmental Service, now the Department of the Environment and as a consultant to South Africa on a similar project in 1975. The year after retiring from the University in 1978, Berger earned an honorary doctorate of science. He died on December 8, 2000.
The Bernard B. Berger Papers includes correspondence and reports from his consultancy work with Israel and South Africa. The collection also includes several folders of Berger’s published and unpublished writings, personal and professional correspondence and documents relating to his receipt of his honorary degree and other awards and recognitions.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Water Resources Research Center
Michael H. Bernhard Solidarity Collection, ca.1975-1989.
3 boxes (4.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 575
A member of the Department of Political Science at Penn State University, Michael Bernhard specializes in the comparative history of institutional change in East Central Europe and the political economy of democratic survival and breakdown. Since receiving his doctorate from Columbia University in 1988, Bernhard has written extensively on various aspects of the democratic transition in Poland and East Germany.
The Bernhard Collection contains photocopies and some original materials of underground publications by the Solidarity Movement in Poland, most of which were crudely published and illegally distributed. The collection also includes a series of posters for Solidarity candidates during the first post-Communist election.
- NSZZ "Solidarność" (Labor organization)
- Underground press publications--Poland
Sam Bishop Bronx-Lebanon (N.Y.) Incinerator Collection, 1982-1997.
4 boxes (6 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 703
A new medical waste incinerator for New York city hospitals became the focal point of drawn-out controversy in the 1990s. After proposals to place the facility in Rockland County and downtown Manhattan were scotched, a site in the South Bronx was selected. Even before it opened in 1991, the Bronx-Lebanon incinerator touched off fierce opposition. Built to dispose of up to 48 tons per day of medical waste gathered from fifteen regional hospitals, the incinerator was located in a poor and densely populated area, and worse, raising charges of environmental racism. Making matters worse, during its years of operation, it was cited for hundreds of violations of state pollution standards. A coalition of grassroots organizations led an effective campaign to close the facility, and in June 1997 the plant’s owner, Browning Ferris Industries agreed. In an agreement with the state two years later, BFI agreed to disable the plant and remove the emission stacks.
Gathered by an environmental activist and consultant from New York city, Sam Bishop, this collection documents the turbulent history of public opposition to the Bronx-Lebanon medical waste incinerator. In addition to informational materials on medical waste incineration, the collection includes reports and legal filings relative to the facility, some materials on the campaign to close it, and a small quantity of correspondence and notes from activists.
- Bronx (New York, N.Y.)--History
- Incinerators--Environmental aspects
- Medical wastes--Incineration
Types of material