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Sommer, Mark

Mark Sommer Papers

1966-2017
13 boxes 16.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 973

Mark Sommer, with Zetta, the first newborn goat at the Sommer homestead in northern CA, May 1985

Mark Sommer is an explorer, storyteller, and award-winning public radio and print journalist focused on advocacy and narratives of social, political, and environmental change and positive action. In Washington, D.C., Sommer found himself on hand for some of the 1960s pivotal moments, where he was involved with the Liberation News Service and the New Left think tank, the Institute for Policy Studies. Sommer moved to California in 1969 to explore the counterculture, spending several years journeying – spiritually, psychedelically, and physically between communes, farms, and wilderness homesteads along the western coast – before he and his wife built a self-reliant organic homestead in the deep woods of northern CA, where they lived from the 1970s to the 1990s. The resilience of nature deeply impacted Sommer’s outlook and work as a writer and journalist, driving his interest in the human capacity for overcoming adversity. Sommer founded and directed the Mainstream Media Project, a nonprofit media placement service scheduling leading edge thinkers and social innovators for extensive radio interviews, and Sommer served as host and executive producer of the internationally syndicated and award winning, one-hour weekly radio program, A World of Possibilities. Sommer is the author of three books (Beyond the Bomb, The Conquest of War, and Living in Freedom), and hundreds of op-eds in major newspapers worldwide. Current projects include short and movie length videos crafted from his photographs, films, interviews, and experiences.

Chronicling over five decades of creative and journalistic output of a life-long explorer and progressive advocate, the Mark Sommer Papers are an extensive collection, covering Sommer’s entire career and personal life from the late 1960s to the present. Writings include personal and multiple travel journals (including a unique trip to North Vietnam in 1968), correspondence, student essays, op-eds, articles, project and grant plans, memoirs, and book manuscripts. Additional journals exist in audio format, along with radio interviews where Sommer served as a guest. Slides, photographs, and movies cover Sommer’s family and home life to his wide-ranging travels and interests. Some main topics of coverage include foreign policy and international politics, progressivism, peace and conflict studies, the anti-nuclear and disarmament movements, wilderness and back-to-the-land experiences, and later in life fatherhood. Materials from Mainstream Media Project have been separated into the Mainstream Media Project Records.

Gift of Mark Sommer, May 2017

Subjects

Antinuclear movementCounterculture--United StatesInstitute for Policy StudiesJournalists--CaliforniaNuclear disarmamentPeace--researchPeaceful change (International relations)Political activistsReconciliationSelf-reliant living--CaliforniaSustainable livingTravel writingVietnam War, 1961-1975

Types of material

ArticlesCorrespondenceDiariesMemoirsPhotographsSound recordingsVideo recordings
South Berkshire Friends Meeting

South Berkshire Friends Meeting Records

1982-2010
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 S347

Originating as an independent worship group in Monterey, Mass., in about 1952, the South Berkshire Friends Meeting came under the auspices of the Middle Connecticut Valley Monthly Meeting in 1955 as the Great Barrington Worship Group. It changed name to Gould Farm in 1962, and then to Berkshire in 1971 before setting off formally from the Mount Toby Monthly Meeting in 1984.

This small collection contains minutes and newsletters of the meeting since it was organized as a monthly in 1984.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2017

Subjects

Quakers--MassachusettsSociety of Friends--Massachusetts

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)Newsletters
Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia Collection

1925-1986
32 boxes 48 linear feet
Call no.: MS 407

The Southeast Asia Collection highlights the regional wars from the 1970s to the 1980s, including a series on Southeast Asian refugees in America, along with materials on regional economic development, especially in the Mekong River Basin. The collection contains hundreds of reports on agricultural and industrial projects in the region, examining everything from the impact of electrification on village life in Thailand to a description of a Soviet-built hospital in Cambodia in 1961, to an assessment of herbicide in Vietnam in 1971.

Collected primarily by Joel Halpern and James Hafner, the collection includes background, field, and situation reports by U.S. Operations Missions and U.S. Agency for International Development; reports, publications, statistics, and background information from other U.S. government agencies, governments of Laos and Thailand, and the United Nations; correspondence, reports, and reference materials of nongovernmental organizations; reports and essays by individuals about Southeast Asia; news releases and newspapers; published and unpublished bibliographies; and interviews with U.S. military personnel. Most material comes from governmental and organizational sources, but there are papers by, and debriefs of, numerous individuals.

Subjects

Cambodia--History--1953-1975Laos--HistoryVietnam War, 1961-1975

Contributors

Hafner, JamesHalpern, Joel Martin
Spaulding, Mary Patricia

Mary Patricia Spaulding Scrapbook

1956
1 vol. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 927

Pat Spaulding camera returning home, 1956 Sept.

In 1956, the graphic designer Pat Spaulding left for a tour of Europe. During her seven months abroad, she and her friend Maureen Jones traveled by motor scooter through France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, staying in hostels and taking in the sights. Perhaps most memorably, Spaulding tore her Achilles tendon while visiting in Siena, Italy, receiving generous care from her hosts during the four-week period of her recovery.

A refreshing record of two young American women traveling alone in Europe during the mid-1950s, this scrapbook is populated with dozens of well laid-out photographs of sites seen, along with Spaulding’s letters home and a raft of ephemera such as picture postcards, copies of ticket stubs and passport pages, an international driver’s license, smallpox immunization certificate, maps, newsclippings, and beer coasters. Notably, the album also includes a number of beautiful, skillfully-rendered line drawings.

Gift of Mary Patricia Spaulding, 2016

Subjects

France--Description and travelGermany--Description and travelItaly--Description and travelItaly--PhotographsLondon (England)--Description and travelLondon (England)--PhotographsParis (France)--Description and travelParis (France)--Photographs

Contributors

Jones, Maureen

Types of material

PhotographsPostcardsScrapbooks
Spragens, John

John Spragens Cambodian Photograph Collection

1983
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 116

The photojournalist John Spragens spent the better part of a decade living in Southeast Asia from 1966-1974, working for a variety of relief and peace organizations.

Taken by John Spragens late in 1983, the black-and-white photographs in this collection document Cambodia shortly after the Vietnamese Army defeated Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge and installed a new order.

Acquired from John Spragens, 1986

Subjects

Agriculture--Cambodia--PhotographsCambodia--PhotographsFarmers markets--Cambodia--PhotographsFishing--Cambodia--PhotographsOrphans--Cambodia--Photographs

Types of material

Photographs
Restrictions: The photographer retains copyright to all images in the collection.
Springfield Environmental Coalition

Springfield Environmental Coalition Collection

1964-1977 Bulk: 1970-1976
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 875

In the early 1970s, the Springfield Environmental Coalition emerged as one of the grassroots organizations dedicated to environmental causes in the lower Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. Under the leadership of its president, William R. Lenville, the Coalition took part in regional planning efforts relating to urban expansion in the city of Springfield as well as issues relating to regional land use, agriculture, and water quality in the Connecticut River.

A tightly-focused assemblage of formally and informally published materials from the lower Pioneer Valley, the SEC collection addresses a range of issues in regional planning during the early 1970s, including land use, agriculture, water resources, zoning, and urban growth. Of particular note are a series of interesting typewritten studies of individual neighborhoods in Springfield, 1970-1972. The collection includes one folder of correspondence regarding the Coalition’s work.

Subjects

City planning--Massachusetts--SpringfieldConnecticut River Valley (Mass.)Land useRegional planning--Massachusetts--Springfield regionSpringfield (Mass.)--History

Contributors

Lenville, Wilfred R.
Sroka Family

Sroka Family Papers

1842-1960
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 216

Polish family who emigrated to the United States in 1912-1913 and settled in Chicopee, Massachusetts, working in meat packing firms and textile factories, and also as seamstresses and farmers.

Includes birth and wedding certificates, military and employment documentation, residential and passport applications, photographs, and lists of baptisms, weddings, and deaths. Also contains a family history written by Gary Sroka, correspondence, payment book for the Society of St. Joseph (Chicopee, Massachusetts), and a news clipping. All materials exist as photocopies and are written primarily in Polish, German, and Hungarian, though some are in English, Ukrainian, and Russian.

Subjects

Chicopee (Mass.)--HistoryImmigrants--MassachusettsPolish Americans--Massachusetts
St. Kazimier Society (Turners Falls, Mass.)

St. Kazimier Society Records

1904-1984
15 boxes 8 linear feet
Call no.: MS 253 bd

The St. Kazimier Society was an early mutual aid society formed in the Polish community in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Established in 1904, the Society preceded the founding of Our Lady of Czestochowa Church by five years.

Records of the St. Kazimier Society of Turners Falls include administrative files, financial records, educational materials, and photographs. Account books generally reflect members’ premium payments and benefits, the income and expenses of the society itself, and of the club.

Subjects

Mutual aid societies--MassachusettsPolish Americans--Massachusetts--Turners FallsTurners Falls (Mass.)--History

Contributors

St. Kazimier Society (Turners Falls, Mass.)

Types of material

Account books
Stack, Jonathan

Jonathan Stack Collection

1992-2000
36 boxes, films 65 linear feet
Call no.: MS 969
Depiction of Gabriel Films logo
Gabriel Films logo

A renowned independent film maker and founder of Gabriel Films, Jonathan Stack has written and produced over two dozen documentary films and fifty television programs. Born in New York City in 1957, Stack graduated from UMass Amherst in 1979. From the time of his film Damned in the USA (1992), Stack has taken on challenging subjects, earning a reputation for gaining access into forbidden and often dangerous situations, from crack dens in Harlem to war-torn Liberia. The recipient of numerous honors in his career, Stack has been awarded five Emmy Awards, has twice been nominated for the Academy Award, and his film The Farm, on Angola Prison, won Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize in 1998.

The films and videos in the Stack collection include copies of his work in Liberia and Haiti and material from his documentary on prison rodeos at Angola Prison. The collection includes film from Damned in the USA (1992), Final Judgment (1996), and The Farm (1998), as well as footage from Harlem, Angola Prison, St. Gabriel Women’s Prison, and on body piercing, rodeo, and the prisoner Vincent Simmons.

Gift of Jonathan Stack, April-Dec., 2017

Subjects

Documentary filmsLouisiana State PenitentiaryMotion picture producers and directors

Types of material

Videotapes
Stagebridge

Stagebridge Records

1979-2017
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1024
Depiction of Dorothy Doty in Changes/Ages/Images, 1980 (College Avenue Players)
Dorothy Doty in Changes/Ages/Images, 1980 (College Avenue Players)

A theater company of older adults based in Oakland, Calif., Stagebridge is recognized as a pioneer in the field of creative aging. Founded by Stuart Kandell in 1978, the organization sponsors workshops, performances, and other opportunities for lifelong learning that provide a creative means to transform the lives of older adults and their communities through the performing arts. Organized “for and of” older adults, Stagebridge is testimony to the ways in which elders enrich our culture and communities.

The Stagebridge collection contains scrapbooks, photograph albums, news clippings, and some scripts beginning in the earliest years of the organization. Digital materials in the collection are even richer, ranging from videos of performances to promotional materials and organizational records.

Gift of Stuart Kandell, May 2018

Subjects

AgingCreative agingOlder peopleTheater--California

Types of material

PhotographsVideotapes