The Department of Special Collections and University Archives collects and preserves textual, visual, and auditory materials of enduring historical value and makes them available to researchers at no charge.
The collections held by SCUA are rich and deeply interrelated, documenting four areas of historic and cultural interest: social change, New England, the University of Massachusetts, and innovation and entrepreneurship. Among other significant collections are the papers of:
- W.E.B. Du Bois and Horace Mann Bond (African American intellectuals and activists)
- Kenneth R. Feinberg (attorney and public figure)
- Congressman Silvio E. Conte and John Olver, and Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (politicians)
- Benjamin Smith Lyman, William Smith Clark, and William Penn Brooks (natural scientists)
- Mark H. McCormack and Sidney Topol (innovators)
- William Lederer, Charles Whipple, Leonard Lewin, and Harvey Swados (writers)
- Carl Oglesby, Mary Wentworth, Randy Kehler, the Liberation News Service, and the Alternative Energy Alliance (activists)
Information about all of our manuscript and photographic collections is included in UMarmot. Use the search box and menus to the right to navigate our collections and to locate collections of interest.
Joseph S. Marcus Papers, 1954-1977.
Call no.: FS 081
Joseph Sol Marcus arrived at UMass in 1948 as an Instructor in Civil Engineering and graduate student (MS 1954), remaining there for the rest of his career. Born in Oct. 29, 1921, he was educated at Worcester Polytech (BS 1944) and after war-time service with the Navy, he joined the rapidly growing engineering program at UMass. Although chemical engineer, he took responsibility for the fluid mechanics laboratory and taught in civil and mechanical engineering, and after gaining experience through courses from the Atomic Energy Commission and a year spent at Oak Ridge National Laboratories, he introduced nuclear engineering into the curriculum. As he rose through the academic ranks, Marcus became a key figure in university administration, serving as Associate Dean of Engineering, as preceptor for Emily Dickinson House on Orchard Hill, and Special Assistant to the Chancellor for long-range planning, while serving on committees for military affairs, Engineering hopnors, transfers and admissions, discipline, and Continuing Education. Marcus died of cancer on Nov. 1, 1985. Marcus Hall was named in his honor.
The Joseph Marcus Papers document Marcus’s extensive involvement in campus affairs at UMass Amherst, with an emphasis on the period 1965-1975. A small quantity of material relating to his profession activities and academic appointments is joined by well organized files relating to his participation in committees of Engineering honors, Military Affairs (1967-1968), the Orchard Hill residential college and Emily Dickinson House (1964-1969), ROTC and AFROTC curricula, transfers and admissions, the library, Upward Bound, Discipline (1964-1971), and Continuing Education (1970-1977).
- Continuing education
- Residential colleges
- United States. Army. Reserve Officers' Training Corps
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Civil Engineering
Michella Marino Oral History Collection, 2011-2012.
Call no.: MS 812
Michella Marino received her doctorate from the Department History of at UMass Amherst in May 2013. Her dissertation, Sweating femininity: women athletes, masculine culture, and American inequality from 1930 to the present, drew on extensive oral historical and archival research to examine how feminist women negotiated the cultural boundaries surrounding gender to carve out identities as women, athletes, and mothers. Focusing on women’s participation in two sports, basketball and roller derby, Marino wrote that her goal was to “explain the tension between women’s representation and agency, between cultural constructs and women’s lives, between images of women and their individual identities.”
The Marino Collection consists of 23 oral historical interviews with female and male participants in roller derby and basketball.
- Roller derby
- Sex discrimination in sports--History
- Sports for women
- Women athletes
- Women's basketball
Types of material
- Oral histories
George F. Markham Papers, 1902-1929.
Call no.: MS 456
The activist George Markham was born in Wisconsin on Aug. 15, 1909. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, he began working with the Associated Press in 1936 where he became an ardent member of the American Newspaper Guild. During the Second World War, he served with distinction on the aircraft carriers Saratoga and Yorktown in the South Pacific, however after the war, his leftist politics and associations with Communists led to his dismissal with less than honorable discharge. Following the trial, Markham returned to college to earn a masters degree in social studies and began teaching middle school in Pelham, NY, but was released, probably for political reasons. He later taught in colleges in New York before he and his second wife, Arky, moved to Northampton in the 1960s. George and Arky remain active on behalf of peace and social justice.
The Markham Papers contain materials relating to George Markham’s McCarthy-era trial and dismissal from the Navy, along with documents relating to other aspects of his life and career and the Markham family in Wisconsin. Among these is a fine Civil War unit history of the 20th Indiana Regiment written by Markham’s grandfather, William Brown.
- United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
- United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities
- Markham, George F
Perry Marshall Papers, 1902-1929.
Call no.: MS 493
A minister, published poet, and physician from New Salem, Massachusetts, Perry Marshall carried on a lively correspondence with Dorothy Bullard, also from New Salem, from 1927 until 1929.
Although personal in nature, Marshall’s letters are not romantic, but are written from the perspective of an older gentleman who late in life has come to admire, and perhaps adore, a young woman. Bullard, a lively and thoughtful young woman, clearly returns the admiration, if not the affection. The collection also includes several of Marshall’s published works.
- New Salem (Mass.)--History
- Bullard, Dorothy
- Marshall, Perry
Types of material
Praelection Chymicae, ca.1770.
Call no.: MS 640 bd
Bound in marbled paper boards and identified on the spine as “Praelection Chymicae, Vol. 1, G. Martin,” this mid-18th century volume on chemistry includes references to Andreas Marggraf, John Henry Pott, Hermann Boerhaave, Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, and [William] Cullen. Although incomplete and not certainly identified as to location, the front pastedown includes a manuscript notation from Lucien M. Rice indicating that the volume “came into my posession at Charleston, S.C. April 18th A.D. 1865,” while a member of the U.S.S. Acacia (in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron), along with a printed bookplate for Lucien M. Royce. Evidence of singeing at the top corners of the book may be connected to its provenance. The volume may represent a student’s notes, with Martin corresponding either to the lecturer or auditor.
- Chemistry--Study and teaching--18th century
- Martin, G
Jonathan Evan Maslow Papers, ca.1978-2008.
Call no.: MS 639
A man of diverse and interests, Jon Maslow was a naturalist and journalist, an environmentalist, traveler, and writer, whose works took his from the rain forests to the steppes to the salt marshes of his native New Jersey. Born on Aug. 4, 1948, in Long Branch, Maslow received his MA from the Columbia University School of Journalism (1974), after which he spent several years traveling through South and Central America, studying the flora and fauna, reporting and writing, before returning to the States. Always active in community affairs, he was a reporter with the Cape May County Herald (1997-2002) and the West Paterson Herald News (2002-2008). The author of six books, including The Owl Papers (1983), Bird of Life, Bird of Death, a finalist for the National Book Award in 1986, and Sacred Horses: Memoirs of a Turkmen Cowboy (1994), he often combined an intense interest in natural history with a deep environmentalist ethos and, particularly in the latter two cases, with a deep concern for the history of political turmoil. He died of cancer on Feb. 19, 2008.
A large and rich assemblage, the Maslow Papers document his career from his days as a young journalist traveling in Central America through his community involvements in New Jersey during the 2000s. An habitual rewriter, Maslow left numerous drafts of books and articles, and the collection includes valuable correspondence with colleagues and friends, including his mentor Philip Roth, as well as Maslow’s fascinating travel diaries.
- Authors--New Jersey
- Central America--Description and travel
- Journalists--New Jersey
- New Jersey--History
- Reporters and reporting--New Jersey
- Maslow, Jonathan Evan
- Roth, Philip
Mass Voters for Fair Elections Records, 1997-2005.
Call no.: MS 554
Since 1994 the Mass Voters for Fair Elections has been part of a national movement to minimize the role of money in elections. Watching both the cost of running a successful campaign and the role of fundraising increase, the organization led the fight to put the Clean Elections Initiative on the ballot in 1998. With overwhelming support for the initiative, the ballot question won only to be repealed by the Legislature in 2003. Until it ceased activity in 2007, Mass Voters for Fair Elections continued to work for reform in the electoral process not only to encourage more individuals to run for office, but also to affirm the principle “one person, one vote.”
The collection consists chiefly of subject files that document issues relating to elections and campaign reform addressed by the group and its volunteers. Also included: correspondence, meeting notes, publications, and mailings.
- Campaign funds--Massachusetts
- Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
- Political campaigns--Massachusetts
- Mass Voters for Fair Elections
Massachusetts Locales Collection, 1905-1989.
Call no.: MS 300
Materials, such as clippings, maps, and photographs, relating to Amherst, but also including items from other western Massachusetts towns. Topics covered include are Amherst writers such as Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost, town history, trees and birds of Amherst, and Connecticut River Valley history.
- Amherst (Mass.)--History
Types of material
Massachusetts Agricultural Surveys, 1910-1965.
Call no.: MS 261
Studies were conducted by departments of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, Massachusetts State College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus in conjunction with various other college departments and agencies of the state and federal governments. The surveys encompass a number of agricultural study areas such as land use, business and farm management, dairy farm and cost of milk production, tobacco and onion production, and poultry and livestock disease surveys. Supplemental statistical information and aerial photographs are also included.
- Land use--Massachusetts
Types of material
- Aerial photographs