The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
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University of Massachusetts Amherst. University as a Whole

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University of Massachusetts Amherst. University as a Whole

82.75 linear feet
Call no.: RG 001

Established under the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1863, the Massachusetts Agricultural College began with four faculty members and 56 students distributed among four wooden buildings and acres of farms, orchards, and fields. In keeping with the progressive educational principles of its early years, the College offered advanced instruction in the eminently practical pursuit of agriculture, while its fellow land grant college, MIT, covered the mechanical arts. Although “Mass Aggie’s” fortunes waxed and waned, it grew to become Massachusetts State College in 1931, and the University of Massachusetts in 1947.

Among the official publications of the University in Record Group 1 are institutional histories, annual reports, special reports, minutes, directories, catalogs, newsclippings, press releases, and memorabilia.

Historical Note

The Massachusetts Agricultural College was established in 1863 under the original Morrill Land Grant act of 1862. Four faculty members and four wooden buildings awaited the first entering class of 56 students in 1867. The first graduate degrees were authorized in 1892. What was known as “Mass Aggie” became Massachusetts State College in 1931, and the University of Massachusetts in 1947.

After World War II, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst experienced rapid growth in its physical facilities, enrollment, and programs. A temporary campus opened at Fort Devens (1946-1949) to accommodate the influx of returning veterans. The University’s second campus was opened in Boston in 1965, and expanded into the Harbor campus in 1974. A third campus, the University of Massachusetts Medical Center at Worcester, was founded in 1962, and enrolled its first class in 1970. The same year, the President’s Office was moved from Amherst to separate offices in Boston, and the Office of Chancellor was established as the chief executive position at each campus.

In 1991, Governor William F. Weld signed legislation creating a new five campus University of Massachusetts with a single president and a board of trustees. This legislation consolidated five public university campuses (the three UMass campuses, the University of Lowell, and Southeastern Massachusetts University) into a single university system with an autonomous governing board. The Board of Higher Education is the governing body of the University system.

The University is one of the founding members of the original Four College Cooperation (1956) and of the Five College Cooperative program established in 1965, offering reciprocal student access among the University and Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges.

Scope and Contents

This record group consists of official University records and unofficial historical files. The wide range of documentation in this record group includes annual reports, special reports, minutes, directories, catalogs, newsclippings, press releases, and memorabilia. RG 1 is arranged into four major subject groups:

  • Official Publications
  • Founding and Legislation
  • Official Ceremonies
  • University Historical Collection
00. Publications (except as noted below)
1. Bibliography, Organization Charts
2. Annual Reports 1863-1989
3. Special Reports 1917-2007
4. Catalogs (Bulletin Series); General Information Bulletins 1898-1978
5. Directories, Mugbooks, Catalogs of Graduates, and All-University Lists of Students 1862-2007
1. Founding Committees 1860-2007
2. Charters and Legislation 1858-2007
Includes documentation of the Morrill Land Grant as well as federal and state charters and legislation.

3. University Governing Body 1966-2007
1966 – Massachusetts Board of Higher Education

1980 – Board of Regents

1991 – Higher Education Coordination Council

1996 – Board of Higher Education

6. University Symbols 1870-2007
7. Commencement
1. Press Information 1871-2007
2. Honorary Degrees 1927-2007
3. Addresses 1871-2007
4. Marshals 1982-1985
8. Anniversaries and Special Events 1868-2007
9. Convocations 1934-2007
10. Assemblies 1946,1991
11. Awards, Prizes 1907-2007
12. Invited Lecturers (not sponsored by Distinguished Visitors Program or other unit) 1911-2007
13. University Historical Collection 1850-2007
202. Published Histories
1. History of the University
2. University Historical Materials
203. Ephemera
204. Student Life
205. Tuition and Fees
206. Degrees, Courses, and Curriculum
207. Oral Histories
208. University History Project


University of Massachusetts Amherst