A writer, publisher, and expert in the culture of cemeteries and death, Roberta Halporn was born in New York in 1927. Although she entered NYU intending to study medicine, Halporn soon turned to dance, eventually earning a masters degree and working in the field for nearly two decades. When an injury ended her dance career, however, she changed careers to publishing, opening her own house in 1978. Her growing interest in the culture of death meshed well with her job and following her interests, she founded ran the Center for Thanatology Research and Education in 1986. Based in Brooklyn, the Center was a non-profit organization that worked to raise public awareness of the artistic and historical importance of cemeteries, and in addition to a library and museum, the Center ran tours of cemeteries, published books and periodicals, and operated a retail store. Halporn published regularly on topics ranging from Jewish cemeteries to hospice, thanatology libraries, and her passion, gravestone rubbing. Halporn died in 2014.
The collection consists of files relating to Roberta Halporn’s extensive thanatological research, including drafts, correspondence, photographs, and ephemera from two of her projects: on Chinese American funeral practices (resulting in the book Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors) and on Jewish cemeteries. A significant number of books donated with the collection have been added to the Association for Gravestone Studies Book Collection.
William E. Harding Collection, 1972-2003 (Bulk: 1972-1981).
2 boxes (1 linear feet). Call no.: MS 843
As an undergraduate at Williams College, William (Bill) Harding undertook a research project on the Bennington Centre Cemetery in Vermont to document its stones, through which he became engaged in a longer-term study of the most important carvers represented there in the years after the American Revolution, Zerubbabel Collins and Samuel Dwight. Harding’s work was an important contribution to understanding the transition from death’s head imagery to the gentler cherubs of the early national period and he unearthed significant detail on the lives of noted carvers. Harding went on to study medicine, but remained active in the early conferences of the Association for Gravestone Studies and as a lecturer on the topic for several years until the demands of his professional life gradually intervened.
Centered on his study of Vermont carvers and early gravestone iconography, the Harding collection includes photographs, research and lecture notes, some correspondence, and a sampling of published material. The collection contains Harding’s bachelor’s thesis, “The graveyard at Old Bennigton, Vermont, and the gravestones of Zerubbabel Collins” (1972) and his later, more comprehensive study “Bennington Gravestones” (1975), and notably, two fine prints of gravestones by his colleague, Daniel Farber.
A noted comic illustrator, Irwin Hasen enjoyed a career spanning over five decades, including work as staff artist for a number of classic comic book titles. He is perhaps best remembered as the artist behind Dondi, a strip about a war orphan co-authored with Don Edson, that ran nationally from 1955 to 1986.
Hasen’s Legacy Portfolio includes ten hand-pulled serigraphs signed and numbered by the artist, reflecting artwork from throughout his career. The SCUA portfolio is number 16 of 35 sets in the limited edition, with each print hand separated and printed in collaboration with the master printer Gary Lichtenstein.
Mary Frances Healy, a young schoolteacher from Springfield, Mass., volunteered to serve with the National Catholic War Council in the waning days of the First World War. Stationed for sixth months at the Etoile Club in Paris in 1919, Healy helped provide meals, entertainment, and support for Catholic American serviceman awaiting demobilization. After returning home to Springfield, she resumed her teaching career at the Chestnut Street Junior High School.
This slender photograph album contains 53 photographs from Mary Healy’s time working with at the National Catholic War Council’s Etoile Club in Paris in 1919. Healy included a handful of images of the Club’s interior taken by a professional photographer, but also includes her own images depicting the staff and the area around the Club along with side trips to the scene of American military action at Belleau Wood and Chateau Thierry, the American military cemetery there and the devastation inflicted on the nearby town of Bouresches, and scenes in the streets of Paris, Rheims, and in the Haute Pyrenees.
Born into an affluent Reform Jewish family in Cincinnati in 1913, Carl Henry Levy studied philosophy under Alfred North Whitehead at Harvard during the height of the Great Depression. A brilliant student during his time at Harvard, a member of Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude in the class of 1934, Henry emerged as a radical voice against social inequality and the rise of fascism, and for a brief time, he was a member of the Communist Party. Two days before the attack in Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Henry met Edith Entratter, the daughter of Polish immigrants from the Lower East Side of New York, and barely three weeks later, married her. Shortly thereafter, however, he dropped his last name and enlisted in the military, earning a coveted spot in officer’s candidate school. Although he excelled in school, Henry was singled out for his radical politics and not allowed to graduate, assigned instead to the 89th Infantry Division, where he saw action during the Battle of the Bulge and liberation of the Ohrdruf concentration camp, and was awarded a Bronze Star. After the war, the Henrys started Lucky Strike Shoes in Maysville, Ky., an enormously successful manufacturer of women’s footwear, and both he and Edith worked as executives until their retirement in 1960. Thereafter, the Henrys enjoyed European travel and Carl took part in international monetary policy conferences and wrote under the name “Cass Sander.” He served as a Board member of AIPAC, the American Institute for Economic Research, the Foundation for the Study of Cycles, among other organizations. His last 17 years of life were enlivened by a deepening engagement with and study of traditional Judaism and he continued to express a passion for and to inform others about world affairs and politics through a weekly column he started to write at age 85 for the Algemeiner Journal. Edith Henry died in Sept. 1984, with Carl following in August 2001.
The centerpiece of the Henry collection is an extraordinary series of letters written during the Second World War while Carl was serving in Europe with the 89th Infantry. Long, observant, and exceptionally well written, the letters offer a unique perspective on the life of a soldier rejected for a commission due to his political beliefs, with a surprisingly detailed record of his experiences overseas.
Recognized for her coverage of historic events and personalities, the photographer Diana Mara Henry took the first steps toward her career in 1967 when she became photo editor for the Harvard Crimson. After winning the Ferguson History Prize and graduating from Harvard with a degree in government in 1969, Henry returned to New York to work as a researcher with NBC News and as a general assignment reporter for the Staten Island Advance, but in 1971 she began to work as a freelance photographer. Among many projects, she covered the Democratic conventions of 1972 and 1976 and was selected as official photographer for both the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year and the First National Women’s Conference in 1977, and while teaching at the International Center for Photography from 1974-1979, she developed the community workshop program and was a leader in a campaign to save the Alice Austen House. Her body of work ranges widely from the fashion scene in 1970s New York and personal assignments for the family of Malcolm Forbes and other socialites to political demonstrations, cultural events, and photoessays on one room schoolhouses in Vermont and everyday life in Brooklyn, France, Nepal, and Bali. Widely published and exhibited, her work is part of permanent collections at institutions including the Schlesinger Library, the Library of Congress, Smithsonian, and the National Archives.
The Henry collection is a rich evocation of four decades of political, social, and cultural change in America beginning in the late 1960s as seen through the life of one photojournalist. This diverse body of work is particularly rich in documenting the women’s movement, second wave feminism, and the political scene in the 1970s. Henry left a remarkable record of women in politics, with dozens of images of Bella Abzug, Elizabeth Holtzman, Shirley Chisholm, Liz Carpenter, Betty Friedan, Jane Fonda, and Gloria Steinem. The collection includes images of politicians at all levels of government, celebrities, writers, and scholars, and coverage of important events including demonstrations by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the Women’s Pentagon Action, and marches for the ERA. The many hundreds of exhibition and working prints in the collection are accompanied by the complete body of Henry’s photographic negatives and slides, along with an array of ephemera, correspondence, and other materials relating to her career.
Benjamin Hoag Records, 1901-1915 (Bulk: 1907-1914).
3 boxes (4.5 linear feet). Call no.: MS 710
Born at Ancram, N.Y., the merchant Benjamin Hoag (1865-1932) lived most of his life in Stephentown, N.Y., near the Massachusetts border. In 1900, he was listed as a dealer in bicycles, but by 1910, he was operating a broader retail trade in dry goods and grains. At the same time, he conducted a thriving trade in ornithological and oological supplies, announcing in journals such as The Oologist that he sold “books, periodicals, tools, supplies, eggs” as well as “fine line fish tackle and rods.” He also appears to have run a magazine subscription agency, offering everything from the Saturday Evening Post and Good Housekeeping to professional journals such as the Condor Magazine.
The Hoag collection consists of 1,345 letters, mostly incoming, and over 800 pieces receipts, ephemeral items, and other documents, relating to both Hoag’s oological and magazine businesses. Concentrated between 1901 and 1914, the collection offers a rich documentation of the oological trade in the years shortly before it was outlawed in 1918.
Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., during the academic year, except major holidays. During semester breaks, on certain holidays, and in the summer, SCUA is open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. SCUA will be closed on days when the W.E.B. Du Bois Library is closed.
If you are planning a visit from a distance, please contact us in advance to verify that the department will be open. A small number of collections are stored off site and advance notice will expedite service.
Dates SCUA is closed:
New Year’s Day
Dec. 25, 30, 31, and Jan. 1
Location and contact information
25th Floor W.E.B. Du Bois Library UMass Amherst
W.E.B. Du Bois Library 154 Hicks Way UMass Amherst Amherst, Mass. 01003-9275
Independent Melville scholar, Jeanne Howes proved that Herman Melville’s first book, Redburn, or, The Schoolmaster of Morning, was published anonymously in 1844. This collection contains her published articles and book about Melville, as well as a self-published work about Nathan and Seth Howes who were credited with creating the first American tented circus.
Also a poet, her papers include letters from Robert Francis, with whom she carried on a regular correspondence for nearly a decade, as well as unpublished typescripts of her own poems.