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.
David Ledbetter Nanney Papers, 1948-2008.
Call no.: MS 592
The experimental ciliatologist David L. Nanney spent much of his career studying the protozoan Tetrahymena. Under Tracy M. Sonneborn at Indiana University, he completed a dissertation in 1951 on the mating habits of Paramecium, but soon after joining the faculty at the University of Michigan, he turned his attention to Tetrahymena. During his subsequent career in Ann Arbor (1951-1959) and at the University of Illinois (1959-1991), Nanney made a series of fundamental contributions to the cytology, genetics, developmental biology, and evolution of ciliates, influencing the work of other biologists such as Joe Frankel, Janina Kaczanowska, Linda Hufnagel, and Nicola Ricci. Since his retirement in 1991, Nanney has remained in Urbana.
The Nanney Papers include a dense run of professional correspondence with ciliatologists, geneticists, students and colleagues regarding his pioneering research on ciliates and other professional matters. Of particular note is an extensive correspondence with Sonneborn, accompanied by several biographical essays written after Sonneborn’s death, and a large body of correspondence of the controversial reorganization of the biological sciences departments at the University of Illinois in the 1970s. The collection also includes a selection of Nanney’s writings and a handful of photographs.
- Developmental biology
- Evolution (Biology)
- University of Illinois--Faculty
- Allen, Sally
- Bleyman, Lea K
- Corliss, John O
- Frankel, Joseph, 1935-
- Kaczanowski, Andrzej
- McKoy, J. Wynne
- Nanney, David Ledbetter, 1925-
- Nyberg, Dennis Wayne, 1944-
- Orias, Eduardo
- Ricci, Nicola
- Siegel, Richard
- Sonneborn, T. M. (Tracy Morton), 1905-
New England Homestead Farm Accounts Collection, 1883-1884.
Call no.: MS 113
The New England Homestead, a magazine published in Springfield, Massachusetts from 1842 to 1969, conducted a contest in 1884 to which farmers submitted notebooks recording their farm accounts for the one year period, April 1, 1883 to March 31, 1884.
The collection includes bound and unbound farm accounts submitted as entries to the contest contest. The Library holds The New England Homestead, 1842-1850 on microfilm, and 1894-1968 in bound volumes.
- Agriculture--Accounting--Competitions--New England
- Agriculture--Economic aspects--New England--History--19th century
- Agriculture--New England--Accounting--History--19th century
- Contests--New England
- Farm management--Competitions--New England
- Farm management--New England--History--19th century
- Farmers--Competitions--New England
- Farmers--New England--Economic conditions--19th century
- New England--Economic conditions--19th century
- New England Homestead
New WORLD Theater Records, 1979-2010.
Call no.: RG 025/F2/N4
New WORLD Theater was founded at UMass Amherst in 1979 by Roberta Uno with the mission of presenting innovative works of theater by contemporary artists of color, with the goal of fostering creative communities, promoting cultural equity, and embracing diverse cultural backgrounds, social engagement, and a commitment to justice. For more than thirty years New WORLD Theater produced many dozens of plays and other dramatic works representing new voices in the theater, as well as plays from the traditional multicultural repertory, and they have supported the arts through performance residencies, conferences and colloquia, and a variety of initiatives aimed at the diverse communities they serve, youth, and theater professionals. New WORLD Theater has contributed significantly to national conversations on cultural equity. After more than three decades of acclaim and recognition, New WORLD Theater was closed by UMass Amherst in summer 2010.
The bulk of the New WORLD Theater collection consists of administrative records documenting the day-to-day activities of the theater, however, it also contains an extensive and exceptionally rich archive of taped interviews, conferences, and theatrical productions. Taken together, the audiovisual material traces the history of New WORLD through the words and performances of artists who both contributed to and benefited from the theater.
- African Americans--Drama
- American drama--Minority authors
- Asian Americans--Drama
- Ethnic groups--United States--Drama
- Hispanic Americans--Drama
- Minorities--United States--Drama
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
- New WORLD Theater
- Page, Priscilla
- Uno, Roberta, 1956-
Types of material
- Audiovisual materials
- Sound recordings
James Robinson Newhall Account Book, 1851-1883.
Call no.: MS 177 bd
Prominent lawyer, judge, and author from Lynn, Massachusetts. Includes services as lawyer and judge (such as selling stocks, writing wills, mortgage notices, and lien certificates, and acting as administrator of estates), mention of various court cases, family members, and prominent townspeople. Also contains personal records pertaining to a rental property, and the sale of his book, History of Lynn.
- Curtin, Martha
- Green, Benjamin F
- Guardian and ward--Massachusetts--History--19th century
- Hazeltine, Phebe
- Hilton, John
- Judges--Massachusetts--Lynn--Economic conditions--19th century
- Lawyers--Massachusetts--Lynn--Economic conditions--19th century
- Lindsay, James N
- Merritt, Charles
- Mount Holyoke Female Seminary--History
- Munroe, James
- Newhall, James R. (James Robinson), 1809-1893. History of Lynn
- Practice of law--Massachusetts--Lynn--History--19th century
- Rent charges--Massachusetts--Lynn--History--19th century
- Rental housing--Massachusetts--Lynn--History--19th century
- Usher, Roland
- Vennard, John C
- Newhall, James R. (James Robinson), 1809-1893
Types of material
- Account books
Otis Company Records, 1846-1847.
Call no.: MS 310
The Otis Company of Ware, Massachusetts, was founded in 1839 and became a major producer of textiles, including checks, denims, and cotton underwear. At the height of their operations, the company operated three mills with a workforce of over 1,300.
The collection contains correspondence between Otis agent Henry Lyon and the firms of Parks, Wright & Co. (1846-47) and Wright, Whitman & Co. (1847), both of Boston. It includes bills, invoices, letters, and memos, covering orders for such goods as lamp glasses, patent starch, whale oil, gas pipes, bales of cotton, pot and pearl ashes, fish glue, sour flour, fire buckets, potato starch, tar, sheet copper, and indigo.
- Mills and milling--Massachusetts--Ware
- Textile industry--Massachusetts
- Ware (Mass.)--History
- Otis Company
Robert and Martha Perske Papers, 1964-2005.
Call no.: MS 772
While serving with the U.S. Navy in the Philippines during World War II, the teenaged Bob Perske became aware of the vulnerable and disabled in society and turned his life toward advocacy on their behalf. Studying for the ministry after returning to civilian life, Perske was appointed chaplain at the Kansas Neurological Institute, serving children with intellectual disabilities for 11 years, after which he became a full-time street, court, and prison worker — a citizen advocate — laboring in the cause of deinstitutionalization and civil rights of persons with disabilities, particularly those caught in the legal system. After Bob married his wife Martha in 1971, the two became partners in work, with Martha often illustrating Bob’s numerous books and articles. In 2002, Perske was recognized by the American Bar Association as the only non-lawyer to ever receive the Paul Hearne Award for Services to Persons with Disabilities.
The Perske Papers contains a fifty year record of published and unpublished writings by Bob Perske on issues surrounding persons with disabilities, along with correspondence, photographs, and other materials relating to the Perskes’ activism. The correspondence includes a particularly rich set of letters with a fellow advocate for persons with disabilities, Robert R. Williams.
- Mental retardation--Social aspects
- People with disabilities--Deinstitutionalization
- People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
- Perske, Martha
- Williams, Robert R.
Types of material
Portland Granite Company Records, 1836.
Call no.: MS 648 bd
Three months after it was incorporated by the state of Maine in March 1836, the Portland Granite Company acquired 17 acres of land from Seth Clark in Westbrook, Me., and began its quarrying operation. With 160 shares of common stock, the company’s members elected a board of three directors (Henry Iseley, M.P. Sawyer, and George Clark), with Henry R. Stickney serving as Treasurer and Secretary.
Recorded in a bound ledger, the records of the Portland Granite Company provide slender, but critical documentation of the organization of a significant quarrying operation. Included are the formal act of incorporation for the company, a record of approval by the corporation to accept their charter; a list of company by-laws; approval for the distribution of stock to members of the company (160 shares); and an agreement with Seth Clark to purchase 17 acres in Westbrook for the operation. The records were apparently kept by Stickney.
- Granite industry and trade--Maine
- Sepulchral monuments--Maine
- Stickney, Henry Rolfe, 1799-1887
Types of material
- Ledgers (Account books)
“The province of protozoa, reminiscent of the fertile crescent in the Middle East, straddles the highways of thought that run between the major continents of biology. Down these roads come caravans of concepts and analogies: ideas about hierarchies and taxonomies from one direction, convictions about the basic structures and functions of life from another, opinions about reproduction and development from a third, and theories of the origin and evolution of life’s forms from still another quarter. It is uncanny how these separate trains of thought intersect one another in the land of the single-celled organisms. There they interact, exchange views, and rearrange their loads before they disperse again to inform other regions of biology of their contents and conclusions. A complete history of protozoology must recognize the centrality of this terrain.”
Frederick B. Churchill. 1989. “Toward the History of Protozoology,” Journal of the History of Biology 22: 185-187.
Protistology (formerly called protozoology) is the scientific study of unicellular eukaryotes and their relatives — single cells as living organisms. Protists make up 57 of the 60 distinct “ultrastructural identities” of eukaryotes, with the macroscopic forms most familiar to us (plants, animals and fungi) nestled amongst the other three (Simpson and Patterson, 2007). An extraordinarily diverse assemblage of organisms, protists have distinctive genetic systems, numerous primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of symbiosis, and unique cytoskeletons, and they play important roles in food webs and as pathogens. Among them are some of the most serious human parasites, including the malaria parasites Plasmodium spp., Leishmania, Trypanosoma, Entamoeba and Trichomonas. Many protists, such as Chlamydomonas, Tetrahymena, and Dictyostelium, have become important experimental organisms in scientific and medical research.
What do the Protistology Collections include?
The Protistology collections at UMass focus on the unique aspects of protist biology, those not found in plants, animals and fungi, but which inform our understanding of the evolution of these macroscopic lineages. In addition to having the professional papers, lab notebooks and journals of some of the leading 20th century protistologists, the collection includes the world’s primary repository of light and electron micrographs of protists. Due to the ubiquity and diversity of protists, the collections cross a broad range of disciplines and methodologies, from evolutionary biology to ecology, physiology, medicine, and public health.
The growing number of collections include the papers of:
- Greg Antipa (ciliate development)
- William Balamuth (ciliate biology)
- Lea Bleyman (ciliate genetics)
- Phyllis C. Bradbury Papers (parasitical ciliates)
- Henry James Clark (flagellates)
- David G. Chase Collection (flagellates, TEM)
- Bronislaw Honigberg (parasitic trichomonads)
- Seymour Hutner (protist nutrition)
- John Kloetzel micrograph collections (ciliate cytoskeleton)
- Paul Kugrens (cryoptophytes)
- David L. Nanney (Tetrahymena genetics and evolution)
- Hope T. Ritter (flagellate endosymbionts)
- Eugene B. Small (ciliophoran systematics and evolution)
- Arthur I. Stern (photosynthesis in Euglena)
- F.J.R. “Max” Taylor (phytoplankton)
- Peter G. Verity (phytoplankton, pelagic ecology)
- Howard C. Whisler (marine fungi)
- Christopher L. F. Woodcock (Acetabularia)
For further information, please contact the Archivists.
Simpson and Patterson, 2007. In Katz, L.A. and D. Bhattacharya, eds. Genomics and Evolution of Microbial Eukaryotes. Oxford
Quabbin Broadside Collection, 1859-1938.
Call no.: MS 022
During the 1920s and 1930s, the populations of four towns in the Swift River Valley, Mass., were relocated to make way for completion of the Quabbin Reservoir. Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were formally disincorporated in 1938, marking an end to over a century of small town government in the region.
The Quabbin Broadside Collection contains as assortment of printed and posted notices issued in three of the four Massachusetts towns that were flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir. These include announcements for dances (including the Enfield Fire Department Farewell Ball in 1938), for plays performed by the North Dana Dramatic Club, and notification of voter registration and tax assessment.
- Dana (Mass.)--History
- Enfield (Mass.)--History
- Greenwich (Mass.)--History
- New Salem (Mass.)--History
- Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
Types of material