Digital UMass contains the results of several initiatives to document the history of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and its predecessors the Massachusetts Agricultural College and Massachusetts State College. In addition to an on-going project to capture the oral history of the University’s administrators and reflections on student life, the archives has digitized materials relating to the early years of co-education at MAC and women’s education at the University. Additional materials will be added as they become available.
- Annual Reports, 1864-1932/33
- College Monthly
- Student newspaper, 1887-1889
- Distinguished Visitors Program, 1972-1979
- Invited lectures on current topics by distinguished speakers (audio files in mp3 format).
- Oral Histories
- Barnard, Ellsworth and Mary, Classes of 1928 and 1934
- Bromery, Randolph W., Chancellor
- Class of 1919: Mary E. Garvey, Willard K. French, Anna Liebman Shore, E. Sidney Stockwell
- Conant, Eudora V., Nutritionist and wife of Ralph Van Meter, UMass President, 1947-1954
- Curtis, Helen, Dean of Women, 1945-1973
- McLaughlin, Fred, Class of 1911.
- Mitchell, Helen, Nutritionist; Dean, School of Home Economics
- Rand, Mrs. Frank Prentice, wife of Frank Prentice Rand, poet, writer, and UMass Professor of English. Reminiscences about Robert Frost, faculty lives, MAC.
- Wheeler, Mae Holden, Class of 1916
- Selected records related to women’s education at Massachusetts Agricultural College, 1906-1924
- Selected records related to women’s affairs at the Massachusetts Agricultural College (MAC), Massachusetts State College (MSC), and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, 1924-1951
Student Handbooks, 1890-1950
- Records, 1902-1993 (bulk, 1940-1973)
- Handbooks for Women, 1925/27-1941
(See also Record Group 30/00/2: Student Handbooks, 1890-1950)
- Keith, Vicky, “Mass Aggie Women, 1910-1923” (Fall 1983)
- O’Donnell, Robert, “Undergraduate Women and the Post-War College: The University of Massachusetts” (December 3, 1996)
Drawing upon the unique materials under their care, the staff of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives organize two to three exhibits a year in their reading room and work regularly with their colleagues in the general library to prepare other exhibits for display on the Lower Level of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library.
Deep in the Hole: Experiences of Imprisonment
- Sept. 15, 2014-Jan. 21, 2015
- Location: SCUA and Learning Commons, Du Bois Library
Deep in the Hole focuses on experiences of imprisonment and the prison-industrial complex, using documents from prison rights and activism collections held in Special Collections & University Archives. The exhibit examines a wide range of experiences of imprisonment including political prisoners, conscientious objectors in WWII, the war on drugs and marijuana decriminalization, psychiatric confinement, and the role of controversial activism and publications. The materials range from historic to contemporary, from the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois to the trenchant comics of prisoners.
Photographs of Alton Blackington
- Jan. 25, 2015-May 31, 2015
- Location: SCUA and Lower Level, Du Bois Library
The exhibit showcases “Blackie” Blackington’s New England photography from the 1920s to the 1940s. It covers terrain stretching from news of public officials and civic events to local personalities, but the heart of the exhibit is images of typically eccentric New England characters and human interest stories.
M.A.C. and the Women’s Land Army of America in World War I
- June 5, 2015-Sept. 21, 2015
- Location: SCUA and Learning Commons, Du Bois Library
This exhibit investigates Massachusetts Agricultural College’s participation in the Women’s Land Army of America, a women’s organization to work in agriculture replacing men called up to the military from 1917-1922.
Benjamin Smith Lyman in Japan
- Sept. 25, 2015-Jan. 21, 2016
- Location: Learning Commons, Du Bois Library
A native of Northampton, Massachusetts, Benjamin Smith Lyman was a prominent geologist and mining engineer. At the request of the Meiji government in Japan, Lyman helped introduce modern geological surveying and mining techniques during the 1870s and 1880s, and his papers from that period illuminate aspects of late nineteenth century Japan, New England, and Pennsylvania, as well as the fields of geology and mining exploration and engineering.
Photographs from the collection of Diana Mara Henry
An exhibit by Chuck Abel.
|Rhetoric or Research
interprets student protests against CIA recruitment at UMass Amherst during the 1980s through a selection of images taken by student photojournalists.
By Tom Hohenstein (ETHIR recipient, 2011).
|Source, History, Story: Teaching U.S. History in the Archives
A digital curriculum for teaching U.S. history using archival resources.
An exhibit by Emily Oswald (ETHIR recipient, 2011).
|Behold And See As You Pass By
An online exhibit on gravestones and mortuary art in Early New England drawn from the Association for Gravestones Studies Collections.
By Molly Campbell (ETHIR recipient, 2011)
Science fiction readership in the Cold War and beyond.
An exhibit by Morgan Hubbard.
Conrad D. Totman’s letters home from Korea, 1954-1955.
An exhibit by Alex McKenzie.
|Du Bois: The Activist Life
An online exhibit on the life and legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois based on his papers.
|Herbals and Insects
A selection of rare botanical and entomological books from the SCUA collections.
|Apiculture and culture
Books on bees and beekeeping.
An exhibit by Richard A. Steinmetz.
Charles H. Fernald Papers, 1869-1963.
Call no.: FS 059
During a long and productive career in natural history, Charles Fernald conducted important research in economic entomology and performed equally important work as a member of the faculty and administration at Massachusetts Agricultural College. Arriving at MAC in 1886 as a professor of zoology, Fernald served as acting President of the College (1891-1892) and as the first Director of the Graduate School (1908-1912), and perhaps most importantly, he helped for many years to nurture the Hatch Experiment Station.
Correspondence, published writings, publication notes, newspaper clippings, Massachusetts Board of Agriculture Reports, and biographical material including personal recollections of former student and colleague Charles A. Peters.
- Agriculture--Study and teaching
- Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
- Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of Zoology
- Zoology--Study and teaching
- Fernald, Charles H.
William F. Field Papers, 1948-1986.
Call no.: RG 030/2 F5
The University’s first Dean of Students, William F. Field held the post from 1961 until his retirement in 1988. The 27 years Field was Dean of Students was a critical time of growth and unrest, as the University’s student population more than tripled in size and the nation-wide movements for civil rights and against the Vietnam War were reflected through student activism and protest on the University’s campus. Responsible for ending student curfews and overseeing all dorms becoming co-ed, Field also worked with minority students and faculty to support the Black Arts Movement on campus and the founding of the W.E.B Du Bois Afro-American Studies Department.
The William F. Field Papers document Field’s career as an administrator at the University of Massachusetts and specifically his role as Dean of Students from 1961-1988. The correspondence, memoranda, reports, notes, and other official printed and manuscript documents are a rich resource for one of the most important and volatile eras in the University’s history. Of particular interest are extensive files on student protests and activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s and the growing diversity of the campus student population, flourishing of the Black Arts Movement on campus and the founding of the W.E.B. Du Bois Afro-American Studies Department.
- African American college students--Massachusetts
- Field, William Franklin, 1922-
- Race relations--United States
- Universities and colleges--United States--Administration
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dean of Students
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Afro-American Studies
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--United States
Types of material
Lynnette E. Foucher Cookbook Collection, 1902-2000.
Call no.: MS 684
Assembled by Lynnette E. Foucher, this collection consists chiefly of cookbooks produced by food companies between the 1920s-1970s. These cookbooks reflect the changing role of women in the home as well as new food trends and innovative technology. Taken together, the collection offers a glimpse into the way meal preparation changed in the U.S. during the second half of the twentieth century and how this change transformed the way we eat today.
- Convenience foods--United States--History--20th century
- Cooking, American--History--20th century
- Cooking--Social aspects
- Diet--United States--History
- Food--Social aspects
- Women consumers--United States--History
- Women in advertising--United States--History
- Foucher, Lynette E
Types of material
Robert Francis Papers, 1891-1988.
Call no.: MS 403
The poet and essayist Robert Francis settled in Amherst, Mass., in 1926, three years after his graduation from Harvard, and created a literary life that stretched for the better part of half a century. An associate of Robert Frost and friend of many other writers, Francis occasionally worked as a teacher or lecturer, including a brief stint on the faculty at Mount Holyoke College, but he sustained himself largely through his writing, living simply in “Fort Juniper,” a cottage he built on Market Hill Road in North Amherst. A recipient of the Shelley Award (1939) and the Academy of American Poets award for distinguished poetic achievement (1984), Francis was a poet in residence at both Tufts (1955) and Harvard (1960) Universities. He died in Amherst in July 1987.
The Francis Papers contains both manuscript and printed materials, drafts and finished words, documenting the illustrious career of the poet. Of particular note is Francis’s correspondence with other writers, publishing houses, and readers, notably Paul Theroux. Also contains personal photographs and Francis family records and a small number of audio recordings of Francis reading his poetry. Letters from Francis to Regina Codey, 1936-1978, can be found in MS 314 along with two typescript poems by Francis.
- Amherst (Mass.)--History
- University of Massachusetts Press
- Brown, Rosellen
- Ciardi, John, 1916-
- De Vries, Peter
- Fitts, Dudley, 1903-
- Francis, Robert, 1901-1987
- Hall, Donald, 1928-
- Humphries, Rolfe
- Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972
- Moss, Howard, 1922-
- Shawn, Ted, 1891-1972
- Theroux, Paul
- Wilbur, Richard, 1921-
Types of material
- Phonograph records
Barrie B. Greenbie Papers, 1934-1997.
Call no.: FS 142
Barrie Barstow Greenbie was a key member of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at UMass Amherst from 1970-1989. In a long and remarkably diverse career, Greenbie worked as an artist with the Works Progress Administration, as a soldier and journalist, as a professor of theater, an architect, inventor, author, and landscape planner. After earning a BA in drama from the University of Miami (1953),he worked for several years in the theatre program at Skidmore College. While there, he added architecture to his array of talents, designing the East 74th Street Theater in New York in 1959, and founded a company to produce a “self-erecting” building designed to substitute for summer tent theaters. Two years after joining the faculty at UMass in 1970, he completed a doctorate in urban affairs and regional planning at the University of Wisconsin and continued with a characteristically broad array of creative pursuits, designing the William Smith Clark Memorial, among other things, and conducting an extensive aerial survey of the landscapes of the Connecticut River Valley. In monographs such as Design for Diversity and Spaces: Dimensions of the Human Landscape, Greenbie examined the interactions between humans and nature. He died at his home on South Amherst in 1998.
The Greenbie Papers document a long career as academic, writer, artist, architect, and theatrical designer. Of particular note is the extensive and engrossing correspondence, which extends from Greenbie’s years as a student at the Taft School in the late 1930s through his World War II service with the Sixth Army in the South Pacific and Japan, to his tenure at UMass Amherst (1970-1989). The collection also includes a small, but interesting correspondence between Greenbie’s parents (1918-1919).
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning
- World War, 1939-1945
- Greenbie, Barrie B
Joseph A. Hagar Papers, 1897-1976 (Bulk: 1930-1965).
Call no.: MS 743
An ornithologist and conservationist for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Joseph A. “Archie” Hagar’s career was rooted in the generation of naturalists such as William Brewster, Edward Howe Forbush, and Arthur Cleveland Bent. Born in Lawrence, Mass., on May 13, 1896, Hagar’s undergraduate career at Harvard was interrupted by service in the First World War, after which he completed his studies at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, graduating with the class of 1921. An expert field biologist and ecologist, he was appointed State Ornithologist in the Department of Fish and Game in November 1934 serving in that position for almost twenty five years. A specialist in waterfowl and raptors, Hagar was deeply involved in early conservation efforts in New England, noted for his work on wetland conservation and for linking the use of DDT with eggshell thinning in peregrine falcons, and he was famously at the center of a dispute with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the design of the Parker River Wildlife Refuge. Never a prolific writer, he was an active member of the American Ornithological Union, the Nuttall Ornithological Club, the Wildlife Society, and other professional organizations, and after retirement, he was specially cited for his work in waterfowl conservation by Ducks Unlimited. Active until late in life, he died at home in Marshfield Hills on Dec. 17, 1989.
The Hagar Papers are a deep and valuable resource for the study of New England birds and the growth of modern conservation biology. With abundant professional correspondence, field notes on shorebirds and raptors, and drafts of articles, the collection documents the full range of Hagar’s activities as State Ornithologist, including a particularly thick run of material for the controvery over the Parker River Wildlife Refuge. Hagar also acquired a set of field notes, 1897-1921, from the Harvard ornithologist John E. Thayer.
- Black duck
- Massachusetts Agricultural College--Alumni and alumnae
- Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
- Hagar, Joseph A. (Joseph Archibald), 1896-1989
Types of material
- Field notes
- Letters (Correspondence)
Edward M. Lewis Papers, 1910-1936.
Call no.: RG 003/1 L49
A one time baseball player, Edward M. Lewis was hired as a Professor of Language and Literature at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, serving as the College’s President from 1924 to 1927.
Includes personal and official correspondence primarily while Dean and President of Massachusetts Agricultural College, particularly with President Kenyon Leech Butterfield (1868-1935); administrative memoranda; student records; other records generated while Dean and President of MAC on such subjects as relations of the college with state officials, curriculum, purpose of the college, desirability of compulsory chapel, establishment of Jewish fraternities, and women’s education; also, transcripts of addresses, newspaper clippings, and biographical material. The collection includes nothing relating to Lewis’s baseball or teaching careers.
- Massachusetts Agricultural College. Faculty
- Massachusetts Agricultural College. President
- Lewis, Edward M
To spark imagination and celebrate the legacy of innovation and the activist spirit, SCUA pursues an ambitious program of collecting materials of enduring historical value and offers strong support for research and learning. Through our collections, programs, public events, and exhibitions, SCUA promotes meaningful engagement with the record of social change in America and innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as the histories and cultures of the peoples of New England and the UMass Amherst community. We embrace the university’s historic role as a center of knowledge for the people of the Commonwealth and are committed to using the highest professional standards and practices and the best available technologies to provide free and unfettered access to our holdings for all.
In 1931, nearly half a century after Librarian Henry Hill Goodell first authorized the permanent retention of the official records of Massachusetts Agricultural College, the Library established a College History Collection. Documenting the activities of the administration and faculty and the life of its students, this collection grew steadily, until in 1953, the Library dedicated a room named in honor of Dean William L. Machmer to serve as the first true home of the University Archives.
The timing of Goodell’s proposal to preserve the College archives coincided roughly with the Library’s first efforts to assemble a collection of rare books to support its educational mission. Although the campus had no separate library building until 1885, the College accepted several significant gifts of books, beginning as early as 1868, when the apiarist and state Adjutant General Henry K. Oliver donated twenty scarce volumes on bee culture, followed by other donations of important works in agriculture, history, and science. By the time the library published its first catalogue in 1875, rare books were a small, but distinctive part of the collections. Among the Library’s earliest acquisitions were the first London edition of William Bartram’s Travels Through North and South Carolina (1792), François Augier de Marigny’s The History of the Arabians (London, 1758), and two early bee manuals by John Keys, The Practical Bee-Master (London, 1780) and The Antient Bee-Master’s Farewell (London, 1796) — both courtesy of Oliver. All remain part of the collections today.
From its initial focus on agriculture, horticulture, and the natural sciences, the Library soon extended its collections to encompass the history and culture of New England. With the acquisition of the records of the Valley Peace Center and the papers of ethnographer Jozef Obrebski in 1973, the Library began to acquire collections of personal papers and organizational records of historical significance. The rare book and manuscript collections were combined administratively with the University Archives in the early 1990s to form the current Department of Special Collections and University Archives. Today, SCUA oversees a growing research collection of primary materials that includes rare books and manuscripts, historic maps, photographs, prints, and the official records of the campus at UMass Amherst.