Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

African American (31 collections)
SCUA

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Calkins, David

David and Marshall Calkins Account Books, 1848-1855.
3 vols. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 178

These three accounting volumes of Monson, Massachusetts physicians David and Marshall Calkins encompass the period May 1848–December 1855. Medically, these volumes reflect a growing understanding of the human body and the analysis and treatment of its ailments. Additionally, these account books reflect a period of growing prosperity for Monson through the birth of stream powered milling industries.

Subjects
  • Monson (Mass.)--History--19th century
  • Physicians--Massachusetts--Monson
Contributors
  • Calkins, David
  • Calkins, Marshall
Types of material
  • Account books

Cooley, Bertha Strong

Bertha Strong Cooley Collection, 1939-1947.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 506

A resident of South Deerfield, Massachusetts, Bertha Strong Cooley wrote letters to the editor on a regular basis on topics ranging from anti-imperialism, democracy, capitalism, Communism, Russia, World War II, and civil rights. Her strong views on peace and and social justice were expressed in lively and intelligent submissions published in area newspapers. The collection consists of a scrapbook containing news clippings of Cooley’s letters to the editor as well as those submitted by others writing about the same topics.

Subjects
  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • Massachusetts--History
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Social justice--Massachusetts
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Cooley, Bertha Strong

Du Bois Homesite

Du Bois Homesite Dedication Video, 1969.
1 item

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.

Subjects
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Homes and haunts
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)
Types of material
  • Motion pictures (Visual works)

Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

W.E.B. Du Bois Papers, 1803-1984.
328 boxes (168.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 312

W.E.B. Du Bois
W.E.B. Du Bois

Scholar, writer, editor of The Crisis and other journals, co-founder of the Niagara Movement, the NAACP, and the Pan African Congresses, international spokesperson for peace and for the rights of oppressed minorities, W.E.B. Du Bois was a son of Massachusetts who articulated the strivings of African Americans and developed a trenchant analysis of the problem of the color line in the twentieth century.

The Du Bois Papers contain almost 165 linear feet of the personal and professional papers of a remarkable social activist and intellectual. Touching on all aspects of his long life from his childhood during Reconstruction through the end of his life in 1963, the collection reflects the extraordinary breadth of his social and academic commitments from research in sociology to poetry and plays, from organizing for social change to organizing for Black consciousness.

Subjects
  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • African Americans--History--1877-1964
  • Crisis (New York, N.Y.)
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on democracy
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  • Pan-Africanism
  • United States--Race relations
Contributors
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
Types of material
  • Photographs

Gordon, Ann

Ann Gordon Papers, 1986-1989.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 016

Ann Gordon served as the editor of the Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton papers as a member of African American Studies department from 1982 until the project’s conclusion in 1989. While at the University, Gordon, along with John Bracey, Joyce Berkman, and Arlene Avakian planned a conference discussing the history of African American Women voting from the Cady Stanton’s meeting at Seneca Falls to the Voting Rights Act. The conference, called the African American Women and the Vote Conference, was held in 1988.

The collection is comprised of proposals, reports, meeting transcripts, and correspondence from Gordon’s work planning the 1988 African American Women and the Vote Conference. Also included is preliminary work by Gordon to organize the papers given at the conference into book form.

Subjects
  • African American women
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Afro-American Studies
Contributors
  • Gordon, Ann

Heath, Gordon, 1918-1991

Gordon Heath Papers, 1913-1992.
44 boxes (22.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 372 and 372 bd

Gordon Heath, Paris
Gordon Heath, Paris

African American expatriate, stage and film actor, musician, director, producer, founder of the Studio Theater of Paris and co-owner of the nightclub L’Abbaye. Includes personal and professional correspondence, scrapbooks containing photos and clippings from assorted television and film productions in addition to songs, poetry, and reviews of plays or playbills from productions he attended.

The Papers also contain art work, sheet music, personal and production photographs, and drafts of his memoirs.

Subjects
  • Abbaye (Nightclub : Paris, France)
  • African American actors--France--Paris--History
  • African American singers--France--Paris--History
  • African Americans in the performing arts--History
  • African-American theater--History--20th century
  • Baldwin, James, 1924-
  • Chametzky, Jules
  • Dodson, Owen, 1914-
  • Expatriate musicians--France--Paris--History
  • Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967
  • Musicians--United States--History
  • Nightclubs--France--Paris--History
  • Paris (France)--Intellectual life--20th century
  • Payant, Lee--Correspondence
  • Primus, Pearl
  • Rive gauche (Paris, France)--Intellectual life--20th century
  • Studio Theater of Paris
  • Theater--Production and direction--France--Paris--History
Contributors
  • Abramson, Doris E
  • Heath, Gordon, 1918-1991
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Scripts
  • Sheet music
  • Sketches

Hudson Family

Hudson family Papers, 1780-1955 (Bulk: 1825-1848).
6 boxes (3 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 332

Correspondence (1825-1888) and journals (1830-1845) of Erasmus Darwin Hudson (1805-1880), anti-slavery organizer and orthopedic surgeon, relating chiefly to his activities for the Connecticut and American Anti-Slavery societies; his antislavery campaign map of New York state and surrounding areas (1841), with handwritten notes; account books (1831-1838) of Daniel C. Hudson and Erasmus Darwin Hudson; family records and writings of Erasmus Darwin Hudson, Jr. (1843-1887), thoracic physician, and other family members; notes on the branches of medicine and handwritten drafts of lectures; genealogies of the Hudson, Shaw, Clarke, Fowler, and Cooke families, and printed material, memorabilia, clipping and photographs. Includes correspondence from major antislavery figures, including Abby Kelley, Wendell Phillips, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Isaac Hopper, and Samuel May.

Subjects
  • Abolitionists
  • African Americans--History
  • American Anti-slavery Society
  • Antislavery movements--Massachusetts
  • Connecticut Anti-slavery Society
  • Connecticut--History--19th century
  • Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Physicians--New York
  • United States--History--1783–1865
Contributors
  • Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895
  • Foster, Abby Kelley, 1810-1887
  • Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879
  • Gay, Sydney Howard, 1814-1888
  • Hopper, Isaac T. (Isaac Tatem), 1771-1852
  • Hudson Family
  • Hudson, Daniel Coe, 1774–1840
  • Hudson, Erasmus Darwin, 1806–1880
  • Hudson, Erasmus Darwin, 1843–1887
  • Phillips, Wendell, 1811-1884
  • Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874
  • Stone, Lucy, 1818-1893
  • Weld, Theodore Dwight, 1803-1895
  • Wright, Henry Clarke, 1797-1870
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage

Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage Records, 1998-1999.
8 boxes (12 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 758

Landing at Havana, Cuba, Nov. 24, 1998
Landing at Havana, Cuba, Nov. 24, 1998

Organized at the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett, Mass., the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage was a twelve-month walk through the eastern United States, the Caribbean, Brazil, West Africa, and South Africa in 1998-1999, reversing the direction of the Middle Passage symbolically and geographically. A “living prayer of the heart, mind, and body for the sons and daughters of the African Diaspora,” the Pilgrimage was intended by the participants to contribute to a process of healing the wounds inflicted by hundreds of years of slavery and racial oppression. Along the way, participants visited sites associated with the history of slavery, from slaves quarters in Virginia to stations on the Underground Railroad and villages that had been raided in Africa, offering prayers for those who had suffered under slavery and commemorating the dignity of those held in bondage and those who resisted.

Chronicling the course of the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage from conception to conclusion, this collection contains a rich textual and visual record of a spiritual approach to addressing the legacy of slavery in the Americas. The collection includes the range of materials collected by participants during the Pilgrimage, including lists of reading materials, information on the sites visited, a handful of mementoes and souvenirs, some correspondence, and notes and photographs taken along the way.

Subjects
  • Pilgrims and pilgrimages
  • Slavery--History
Types of material
  • Photographs

Kaplan, Sidney, 1913-

Sidney and Emma Nogrady Kaplan Papers, ca.1937-1993.
58 boxes (85 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 149

Sidney Kaplan, May 1972
Sidney Kaplan, May 1972

An eminent scholar of African American history and activist, Sidney Kaplan was raised in New York City and graduated from City College in 1942. After wartime service as a Lieutenant in the Army, Kaplan returned to his education, completing an MA in history from Boston University (1948) and PhD at Harvard (1960), taking up the study of African American history at a time when few white scholars showed interest. Joining the English Department at UMass in 1946, Kaplan’s influence was widely felt at UMass Amherst and in the local community: he was among the founders of the Department of Afro-American Studies, a founder of the UMass Press, a founder and editor of the Massachusetts Review, and he was the editor of Leonard Baskin’s Gehenna Press. Over more than thirty years at UMass, he worked on diverse projects in history, literature, and the arts, often in partnership with his wife Emma Nogrady, a librarian at Smith College whom he married in 1933, ranging from studies of Poe and Melville to a biographical dictionary of African Americans and a study of Shays’ Rebellion. In 1973, they were co-authors of the first comprehensive study of depictions of African Americans in the visual arts, The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution (based on an exhibition planned for the National Portrait Gallery), and in 1991, the UMass Press published a collection of Sidney’s essays, American Studies in Black and White. A Fulbright lecturer in Greece and Yugoslavia and exchange Professor at the University of Kent, Kaplan was the recipient of the Bancroft Award from the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History for best article of the year in the Journal of Negro History, and he was awarded the UMass Amherst Chancellor’s Medal in 1979, one year after his retirement. Sidney Kaplan died in 1993 at age 80 and was followed by Emma in 2010.

The Kaplan Papers document a long career devoted to the study of African American history and life. The extensive correspondence, research notes, and drafts of articles and other materials offer important insight into the growth of African American studies from the 1950s through 1970s as well as the growth of UMass Amherst into a major research university.

Subjects
  • African Americans--History
  • Massachusetts Review
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Afro-American Studies
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
  • University of Massachusetts Press
Contributors
  • Kaplan, Emma Nogrady, 1911-
  • Kaplan, Sidney, 1913-

Katzman, Lillian Hyman

Lillian Hyman Katzman Papers, 1952-1989.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 611

When Lillian Hyman volunteered to work with the Democratic Party in New York City in 1948, she was sent over to the office of W.E.B. Du Bois to assist him with some secretarial work. From that beginning, she was hired as a secretary, remaining in Du Bois’s employ for several years until she, regretfully, left for higher pay. Hyman later earned her masters degree and taught in the public schools in New York, starting the first class for children diagnosed with brain injury.

The Katzman Papers contains a series of letters and postcards sent by Du Bois during the early 1950s when Hyman worked as his secretary. Friendly and informal, they concern lecture tours by Du Bois and his wife, Shirley Graham, out west, and arrangements for his home at Grace Court in Brooklyn. The collection also includes a handful of publications by Du Bois, newspaper clippings, and some congratulatory letters to Hyman on her marriage.

Contributors
  • Du Bois, Shirley Graham, 1896-1977
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
  • Katzman, Lillian Hyman

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