As a child, W.E.B. Du Bois lived for several years on a five acre parcel of land on the Egremont plain near Great Barrington, Mass. Although barely five when his family moved into town, Du Bois never lost his feeling for this property that had been in his family for six generations, and when presented with the opportunity to reacquire the site in 1928, he accepted, intending to build a house there and settle.
Walter Wilson and Edmund Gordon purchased the Du Bois homesite in 1967 with the intention of erecting a memorial to Du Bois’ life and legacy. On October 18, 1969, the site was formally dedicated as the W. E. B. Du Bois Memorial Park, with civil-rights activist and future Georgia legislator Julian Bond giving the keynote address and Ossie Davis presiding as master of ceremonies. Nineteen years later, the Du Bois Memorial Foundation donated the property to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, designating the University of Massachusetts Amherst as custodian.
Narrated by Davis and including Bond’s keynote address, this documentary (originally shot on 16mm motion picture film) depicts the 1969 dedication ceremonies. For additional information, please visit the website for the Du Bois boyhood homesite.
- Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Homes and haunts
- Great Barrington (Mass.)
- Motion pictures (Visual works)
Drawing upon the unique materials under their care, the staff of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives organize two exhibits a year in their reading room and work regularly with their colleagues in the general library to prepare other exhibits for display on the Lower Level of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library.
|Rhetoric or Research
interprets student protests against CIA recruitment at UMass Amherst during the 1980s through a selection of images taken by student photojournalists.
By Tom Hohenstein (ETHIR recipient, 2011).
|Source, History, Story: Teaching U.S. History in the Archives
A digital curriculum for teaching U.S. history using archival resources.
An exhibit by Emily Oswald (ETHIR recipient, 2011).
|Behold And See As You Pass By
An online exhibit on gravestones and mortuary art in Early New England drawn from the Association for Gravestones Studies Collections.
By Molly Campbell (ETHIR recipient, 2011)
Science fiction readership in the Cold War and beyond.
An exhibit by Morgan Hubbard.
Conrad D. Totman’s letters home from Korea, 1954-1955.
An exhibit by Alex McKenzie.
|Du Bois: The Activist Life
An online exhibit on the life and legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois based on his papers.
|Herbals and Insects
A selection of rare botanical and entomological books from the SCUA collections.
|Apiculture and culture
Books on bees and beekeeping.
An exhibit by Richard A. Steinmetz.
Lewis Fried Collection of Jack Conroy, 1969-1995. 1 box (0.25 linear feet).
A voice of the radical working class during the Great Depression, Jack Conroy was the son of a union organizer, born and raised in the mining camps near Moberly, Mo. His novels The Disinherited (1933) and A World to Win (1935) were among the best known works of “proletarian” American fiction to appear in the 1930s.
The Conroy Collection includes a series of 24 letters from Jack Conroy to Lewis Fried, a professor of English at Kent State University and UMass PhD, along with a small number of letters by associates of Conroy, and a selection of publications associated with or including work by him. Of particular interest are Fried’s oral history interviews with Conroy (1971) and Sally Goodman (1978).
- Bontemps, Arna Wendell, 1902-1973
- Communists--United States
- New Anvil
- Working class authors
- Conroy, Jack, 1899-1990
- Farrell, James T. (James Thomas), 1904-1979
- Fried, Lewis Frederick, 1943-
- Gold, Michael, 1894-1967
- Goodman, Percival
- Goodman, Sally
- Snow, Walter
- Oral histories
John W. Haigis Papers, 1903-1974. 12 boxes (6 linear feet).
Western Massachusetts political leader, publisher, and banker (1881-1960), Trustee of the University of Massachusetts (1940-1956), and founder, editor and publisher of the Greenfield Recorder newspaper (1912-1928); political positions included State Representative (1909-1913), State Senator (1913-1915, 1923-1927), and State Treasurer (1929-1930); in 1934, was Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, and in 1936, candidate for Governor.
The Haigis collection includes scrapbooks (1903-1936), chiefly of clippings, together with speeches (1936), posters, badges, campaign material, and photographs, mainly from Haigis’s unsuccessful campaigns for lieutenant governor (1934) and governor (1936); and tape of an interview (1974) with Leverett Saltonstall about Haigis, conducted by Craig Wallwork.
- Campaign speeches--Massachusetts
- Legislators--Massachusetts--History--20th century
- Massachusetts--Politics and government--1865-1950
- Montague (Mass. : Town)--Politics and government--20th century
- Political candidates--Massachusetts--History--20th century
- Republican Party (Mass.)--History--20th century
- Haigis, John W., 1881-1960
- Saltonstall, Leverett, 1892-
- Wallwork, Craig
- Phonograph records
Hampshire Council of Governments Records, 1667-1952. 90 volumes, 17 boxes (80 linear feet).
The Hampshire Council of Governments is a voluntary association of cities and towns and the successor to the former government of Hampshire County, Massachusetts, that was abolished in 1999. A body politic and corporate, its charter ratified by Massachusetts General Law 34B, S20(b), the Council oversees roadways, the electricity supply, building inspection, tobacco control, cooperative purchasing, and other services for member communities.
The Hampshire Council collection contains a dense record of county-level governance in western Massachusetts from the colonial period through the mid-twentieth century with extensive documentation of the actions of the County Commissioners, and before them the Court of Common Pleas and Court of General Sessions. Rich in documenting the development of the transportation infrastructure of western Massachusetts, the collection offers detailed information associated with the planning and construction of highways, canals, ferries, and railroads, but the early records offer a broad perspective on the evolution of the legal and cultural environment, touching on issues from disorderly conduct (e.g., fornication, Sabbath breaking) to the settlement of estates, local governance, public works, and politics.
- Bridges--Massachusetts--Hampshire County
- Dams--Massachusetts--Hampshire County
- Hampshire County (Mass.)--History
- Hampshire County (Mass.)--Politics and government
- Indians of North America--Massachusetts
- Northampton (Mass.)--History
- Northampton (Mass.)--History
- Northampton (Mass.)--Social life and customs
- Roads--Massachusetts--Hampshire County
- Springfield (Mass.)--History
- Taverns (Inns)--Massachusetts--Hampshire County
- Hampshire Council of Governments
- Hampshire County (Mass.). County Commissioners
- Massachusetts. Court of General Sessions of the Peace (Hampshire County)
- Massachusetts. Inferior Court of Common Pleas (Hampshire County)
- Civil court records
Randy Kehler Papers, 1978-1997. 17 boxes (7.75 linear feet).
A veteran of the peace movement and founder of the Traprock Peace Center (1979), Randy Kehler was active in the National Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, the Peace Development Fund, and the Working Group on Electoral Democracy. Beginning in 1977, he and his wife became war tax resisters, withholding federal income tax to protest U.S. military expenditures, donating it instead to charity. As a consequence, their home was seized by the IRS in 1989, setting up a protracted legal struggle that resulted in Kehler’s arrest and imprisonment and the sale of the house. They remain tax resisters.
The Kehler Papers document the five year struggle (1989-1994) against the seizure and sale of the Kehlers’ home by the IRS. The collection includes meeting minutes, notes, correspondence, newspaper clippings; letters to the editor, essays, articles, plans and strategy documents for the vigil set outside the Kehler home; support committee information and actions; correspondence with government officials, the IRS, and the Justice Department; letters of support; documents from the legal proceedings; and political literature addressing the Kehlers’ situation.
- Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
- Argo, Ed
- Colrain (Mass.)
- Peace movements--Massachusetts
- Political activists--Massachusetts
- Tax collection--Massachusetts--Colrain
- Tax evasion--Massachusetts--Colrain
- Taxation--Law and Legislation
- Traprock Peace Center
- Valley Community Land Trust
- War tax resitance--Massachusetts--Colrain
- Withholding tax--Law and legislation
- Withholding tax--Massachusetts
- Corner, Betsy
- Kehler, Randy
- Link, Mary
- Mosely, Don
- Nelson, Juanita
- Court records
- Legal documents
- Letters (Correspondence)
Michael Lenson Collection, 1969-1970. 12 items (0.1 linear feet).
Born in Russia in 1903, the realist painter Michael Lenson emigrated to the United States at the age of eight, and from early in life, took an interest in art. While a student at the National Academy of Design in 1928, Lenson was awarded the Chaloner Paris Prize, enabling him to spend four years of study in Europe and leading to his first three one man shows. With the Great Depression in full effect upon his return to America, he accepted a position as director of mural projects for the Works Progress Administration in New Jersey, through which he built a reputation as one of the most important muralists in the eastern states. Exhibited widely, he was productive as both an artist and critic until his death in 1971. His works are included in the collections of the RISD Museum, the Maier Museum of Art, the Johnson Museum of Art, the Newark Museum, the Montclair Art Museum, and the Wolfsonian Collection, among others.
Consisting of pencil portraits of poets, each approximately 12 x 18″, the Lenson Collection contains twelve late works by Michael Lenson that were included in an exhibition held at the Montclair Art Museum in 1970. The subjects of the portraits include William Blake, Robert Browning, George Gordon Lord Byron, Robert Burns, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Donne, T.S. Eliot, John Keats, John Milton, Sean O’Casey, Alexander Pope, and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
- Blake, William , 1757-1827
- Browning, Robert, 1812-1889
- Burns, Robert, 1759-1796
- Byron, George Gordon Byron, Baron, 1788-1824
- Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400
- Donne, John, 1572-1631
- Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965
- Keats, John, 1795-1821
- Milton, John, 1608-1674
- O'Casey, Sean, 1880-1964
- Pope, Alexander, 1688-1744
- Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 1792-1822
- Lenson, Michael, 1903-1971
- Drawings (Visual works)
Literature and the arts play a vital role in the culture and traditions of New England. Western Massachusetts in particular has had a rich history of fostering writers and poets, musicians, dancers, and actors. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives seeks to document not only the lives and work of writers and performers in our region, but the creative and artistic process; showing not just the inspiration, but the perspiration as well.
- SCUA houses significant collections for the poets Robert Francis, Madeleine de Frees, and Anne Halley, as well as small collections for William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens. The records of the Massachusetts Review are an important literary resource.
- Prose writing
- Collections of note include the papers of writers William J. Lederer (author of The Ugly American, , Nation of Sheep, and Their Own Worst Enemy), William Manchester (The Death of a President and American Caesar), Mary Doyle Curran (The Parish and the Hill).
- Journalists associated with traditional print and new media, including an important collection for the Liberation News Service, a media service for the alternative press, and the Social Change Periodicals Collection, which includes alternative and radical small press publications. The papers of Sidney Topol provide insight into the technical development of cable television.
- Literary criticism and linguistics
- The papers of literary scholars associated with the University; records of the Massachusetts Review.
- Performing arts
- The vibrant performing arts community in western Massachusetts is well represented in SCUA through groups ranging from the Arcadia Players Baroque music ensemble to theater troupes such as Double Edge Theater, the Valley Light Opera, and the New World Theater. Among the most significant national collections are the Roberta Uno Asian Women Playwrights Collection and the papers of African American expatriate actor and director Gordon Heath, while the James Ellis Theatre Collection includes nearly 8,000 printed volumes on the English and American stage, 1750-1915, along with numerous broadsides, graphics, and some manuscript materials. Musical collections include the papers of Philip Bezanson and Charles Bestor, the score collection of Julian Olevsky, and the Katanka Fraser Political Music Collection.
Within its holdings, SCUA houses collections of the published works of W.E.B. Du Bois, Robert Francis, Anne Halley, William J. Lederer, William Manchester, Thomas Mann, William Morris, Wallace Stevens, and William Butler Yeats, as well as the personal poetry libraries of Halley, Francis, and Stevens. The department also has an extensive collection of Science Fiction magazine fiction and Scottish literature.