Special Collections and University Archives
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General Store Daybook, 1828-1839

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 203

The unidentified owner of the store was a general provisioner operating near the towns of Norton and Mansfield, Massachusetts. This daybook indicates that he or she bought and sold food, cloth, fuel, wood, shoes, paper goods, glassware, and iron. While the Norton Manufacturing Company (a textile manufacturer) was a steady customer, the storekeeper also dealt extensively with individuals in Norton.


  • General stores--Massachusetts
  • Mansfield (Mass.)--History
  • Norton (Mass.)--History

Types of material

  • Account books

Joseph Obrebski Papers, 1923-1974

48 boxes (24 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 599

A student of Bronislaw Malinowski, the Polish ethnographer Jozef Obrebski was a keen observer of cultural change among eastern European peasantry in the years before the Second World War. After working with the resistance in Warsaw during the war, Obrebski went on to do additional ethnographic research in Jamaica (with his wife Tamara), taught at Brooklyn and Queens College and C.W. Post University, and from 1948-1959, he was senior social affairs officer with the United Nations. He died in 1967.

The Obrebski collection consists largely of ethnographic data collected by Obrebski in Macedonia (1931-1932), Polesia (1934-1936), and Jamaica (1947-1948), including field and interview notes, genealogies, government documents relating to research sites, and ca. 1000 photographs; together with correspondence (1946-1974), drafts of articles, analyses of collected data, and tapes and phonograph records, largely of folk music; and papers of Obrebski’s wife, Tamara Obrebski (1908-1974), also an ethnologist and sociologist.


  • Anthropologists--Poland
  • Ethnology--Jamaica
  • Ethnology--Macedonia
  • Ethnology--Poland
  • Peasantry--Macedonia
  • Peasantry--Poland


  • Obrebski, Joseph, 1907-1967

Types of material

  • Photographs

Jobs in SCUA

Child and dog, by Burt Brooks, ca.1910
Child and dog, by Burt V. Brooks, ca.1910

Every fall, SCUA offers a limited number of paid positions for undergraduates who wish to work in an active Special Collections or Library environment. Students should have an interest in writing and research, a passion for history and cultural heritage, a comfort with digital technologies, and a willingness to work collaboratively and collegially in an active and sometimes challenging setting.

In addition to these positions, SCUA regularly sponsors internships for either undergraduate or graduate students, from UMass Amherst and elsewhere. Taken for credit (and thus unpaid), these internships are designed to expose aspiring members of the profession to our daily work. As appropriate, internships can be adapted to the interests and needs of the individual student.

Because of the demand, hiring for SCUA positions usually takes place in the spring for students who wish to start in the fall, however positions occasionally open up mid-year. Please contact SCUA for more information.

Archival Training Program Student Assistanceships

Are you interested in exploring a future in history, cultural heritage, archives, libraries, or the information profession? The Library’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives, home to the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois, has openings for two Special Collections Archival Training Program Assistanceships to work with our team of professional archivists and graduate and undergraduate peers.

Two positions are available to undergraduate students from underrepresented populations in the archival profession (African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, Latino/a, and Native American). The students selected for these positions will have an opportunity to gain hands-on professional experience in the information field. Along with working with historical documents, audiovisual materials, and digital technologies, students in the Archival Training Program will assist researchers with their projects and will be responsible for their own research and writing projects.

Students will work a regular schedule of ten hours a week during the academic term.

For more information see the job posting at http://www.library.umass.edu/about-the-libraries/jobs/.

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Barbara Parker History of the Book Collection, 1508-1905

75 items (12 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 007

A long-time librarian at UMass Amherst and Brown University, Barbara Parker became an avid collector of rare books. Interested in the history of printing, binding, and book design, and herself a bookbinder, Parker collected widely, from early printing to the Victorian book artists of the Chiswick Press.

The Parker Collection contains an eclectic mix of books to illustrate various aspects of the history of the book through 1900. The collection includes eight volumes printed prior to 1600, a fine leaf from the Nuremberg Chronicles, and a strong collection of the work of Charles Whittingham and the Chiswick Press. In addition to fine examples of binding and illustration, the collection includes works printed by Elsevier, Gregorium de Gregoris, and Domenico Farri, five by Joseph Barbou, and two each by the Aldine Press, Simon Colin, and John Baskerville.


  • Books--History
  • Printing--History


  • Parker, Barbara

Peck-Sisson-White Family Papers, 1772-1975 (Bulk: 1830-1875)

2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 933

Perez Peck (1786-1876) and Asa Sisson (1815-1893) of the village of Anthony (Coventry), R.I., were innovative machinists and manufacturers of cotton looms. Active members of the Society of Friends, they were supporters of the antislavery struggle and sent their children to the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I.

Although the Peck-Sisson-White family collection spans three families and three generations, the bulk of material is concentrated on the lives of Asa Sisson and his wife Mary Ann (Peck) and their daughter Emily, who married Willis H. White, with an emphasis on their poetry and their time at the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I. The family also copied verse from other writers, including works from George Miller (not otherwise identified) extracting Anthony Benezet and “Remarks on encouraging slavery” and a “lamentation over New England” which touches on the execution of early Quakers in Massachusetts Bay.


  • Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
  • Death--Poetry
  • Friends Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Quakers--Rhode Island


  • Peck, Perez, 1786-1876
  • Sisson, Asa, 1815-1893
  • Sisson, Mary Ann, 1816-1882
  • White, Emily Sisson, 1856-1945

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Poetry

Claude M. Penchina Papers, 1963-2008

12 boxes (18 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 129

A solid state physicist, Claude M. Penchina joined the faculty at UMass Amherst in 1965, one year after completing his doctorate at Syracuse and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois. A productive researcher and prolific author, his research centered on opto-electronics, but over the years, he also contributed to fields as diverse as physics education, transportation research, and pediatrics.

The Penchina collection includes a range of correspondence, lecture notes, grant proposals, and manuscripts, reflecting every phase of Penchina’s career from graduate school through retirement. The collection includes valuable research notes and communications with other physical scientists, as well as a large quantity of material relating to Penchina’s interest in undergraduate education.


  • Physics--Study and teaching
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Physics


  • Penchina, Claude M

Frank Waugh image of woman standing in a field

General inquiries scua@library.umass.edu 413.545.2780
Cox, Robert (Head of Special Collections) rscox@library.umass.edu 413.545.2780
Kay, Kirstin (Mark H. McCormack Sport Innovation Archivist) kay@library.umass.edu 413.545.6843
Kovacs, Danielle (Curator of Collections) dkovacs@library.umass.edu 413.545.2784
Moore, Anne L. (Special Collections Librarian) amoore@library.umass.edu 413.545.6888
Robinson, Steve (Special Collections Assistant) stever@library.umass.edu 413.545.0274
Rubinstein, Aaron (University and Digital Archivist) arubinst@library.umass.edu 413.545.7963
Spitz, Blake (Archivist) bspitz@library.umass.edu 413.545.6898
White, Caroline (Archivist) cjwhite@library.umass.edu 413.545.9637

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Edward Phinney Papers, ca.1957-1996

2 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 102

Classics professor Edward Phinney spent his formative years in Columbia, South America. Although technically a product of America’s Great Depression, Phinney hailed from a middle-class Texan family that placed a high value on education. After receiving his PhD from the University of California Berkeley (1963), he joined the Classics department at UMass in 1969, where he became an important advocate for educational technology and distance learning. At various times, he served as the faculty director of the Foreign Language Resource Center and as chair of the Department of Classics (1981-1992). A popular lecturer who was considered “extraordinarily generous with his time,” Phinney’s Greek mythology course typically drew 500-600 students. He remained devoted to the Classics – -even participating in skits in Pompeii — until his death in 1996.

The Phinney collection includes a copy of Phinney’s dissertation, “Apollonius Rhodius,” his diplomas and numerous awards, and selected notes for teaching and research, particularly for his very popular course on mythology. Also included are two books of poetry translated by Phinney as well as his translations of Modern Greek poetry written by family friend George Samuel.


  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Classics


  • Phinney, Edward

Rosalie Pedalino Porter Papers, 1989-2013

3 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 087

A noted activist opposing bilingual education, Rosalie Pedalino Porter was six when her family emigrated to the United States speaking no English at all. After marrying the Dickinson scholar, David Porter, and raising a family, Porter pursued three degrees in quick succession from UMass Amherst culminating in an EdD in bilingual education (1982). In her subsequent career, Porter worked as a Spanish teacher and coordinator of bilingual programs in the town of Newton, but she has become known nationally since the 1980s for her advocacy of structured immersion, rather than bilingual education, as the most effective means of educating English learners. A lecturer, writer, and consultant on educational policy, she is author or editor of four books.

Documenting Porter’s work against bilingual education, the collection contains particularly rich content for three successful initiatives opposing bilingual programs in California, Arizona (including the landmark Flores v. Arizona), and Massachusetts.


  • Bilingual education and bilingualism
History of Protistology

“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:

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

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