Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Oral history (20 collections)
SCUA

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League of Women Voters of Amherst (Amherst, Mass.)

League of Women Voters of Amherst Records, 1939-2001.
60 boxes (33 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 296

Non-partisan political organization based in Amherst, Massachusetts that influences public policy through education and advocacy by registering voters, organizing candidate forums, publishing voting guides, and disseminating general information on the legislative process and the functioning of government on the local, state, and federal levels.

Includes minutes, annual reports, financial records, publications, extensive files on specific programs, photographs, video- and audio-tapes, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings. Also contains information on two league members who rose to national prominence: Lucy Wilson Benson (Under Secretary of State in the federal government in 1977) and Jane F. Garvey (Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration in 1997).

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Education--Massachusetts--Amherst--History
  • Housing--Massachusetts--Amherst--History
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
Contributors
  • Benson, Lucy Wilson
  • Garvey, Jane F
  • League of Women Voters of Amherst (Amherst, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Lederer, Regina Berger, 1895-1988

Regina Lederer Oral History, 1984.
1 envelope (0.1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 358 bd

Regina Berger Lederer was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1895 into the family of a successful manufacturing chemist. Her singing career was promising, but never fully realized. With the rise of the Nazi Party and increase in oppression of Jews, she and her husband escaped by leaving for Italy and the United States in 1939. Settling in New York, she worked as a skilled sweater repairer for many years. She died in Maryland in 1988, where she had gone to live near her son Paul.

Transcript of an oral history of Lederer.

Subjects
  • Jewish women--United States--Interviews
  • Jews, Austrian--United States--Interviews
  • Jews--Austria--History--20th century--Sources
  • Knit goods--Repairing--New York (State)--New York
  • Refugees, Jewish--United States--Interviews
  • Sweater industry--New York (State)--New York--Employees--Interviews
Contributors
  • Lederer, Regina Berger, 1895-1988
Types of material
  • Oral histories

Lederle, John William, 1912-

John W. Lederle Papers, 1947-1983 (Bulk: 1960-1970).
(32.5 linear feet).
Call no.: RG 3/1 L43

John W. Lederle
John W. Lederle

John Lederle played a large role in shaping the Amherst campus as it looks today, transforming UMass Amherst into a nationally respected research university and “great public center for excellence in higher education.” Born in Royal Oak, Michigan, Lederle received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1942. Admitted to the Michigan Bar in 1936, he worked with a Detroit law firm from 1936 to 1940 before joining the political science department at Brown University from 1941 to 1944. He returned to the University of Michigan in 1944, filling a number of positions until 1960, when the University of Massachusetts elected him President. Under Lederle’s leadership, the Amherst campus enjoyed its greatest period of growth. From 1960 to 1970, student enrollment more than tripled and faculty salaries nearly doubled. The academic program expanded greatly, particularly at the graduate level, and under his watch, the university instituted an academic press, a public radio station, and collaborative arrangements between the local colleges. The University system also evolved in the Lederle years, with the establishment of the Boston campus in 1964 and the medical school in Worcester in 1962.

The Lederle Papers include professional correspondence, administrative records, subject files, committee notes, reports, and clippings; Extra-University records that document Lederle’s involvement and interactions with governmental and non-governmental organizations at the state, regional, and national levels; personal correspondence, speeches, bibliographies of his writings, biographical information, a transcript of an oral history describing his administration, and materials relating to his professional activities that followed his presidency; and a series of confidential records.

Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. President
Contributors
  • Lederle, John William, 1912-

Local Rural Life Audiotapes

Local Rural Life Audiotape Collection, 1980s.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 507

Audiotape recordings of interviews conducted with members of the Pioneer Valley community for a public radio program. Titles of the shows that aired include: “Portrait of a Farm Woman,” “Hadley: the Portrait of an Endangered Town,” Keeping Rural Businesses in Business,” and “Shepherds, Bumpkins and Farmers’ Daughters.”

Subjects
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--History
  • Hadley (Mass.)--History
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions
  • Massachusetts--Social life and customs--20th century
Types of material
  • Sound recordings

Loomis Communities

Loomis Communities Records, 1902-2009.
Call no.: MS 685

In 1902, a group of residents of Holyoke, Mass., secured a charter for the Holyoke Home for Aged People, wishing to do “something of permanent good for their city” and provide a “blessing to the homeless.” Opened in March 1911 on two acres of land donated by William Loomis, the Holyoke Home provided long-term care of the elderly, and grew slowly for its first half century. After changing its name to Loomis House in 1969, in honor of the benefactor, Loomis began slowly to expand, moving to its present location in 1981 upon construction of the first continuing care retirement community in the Commonwealth. In 1988, the Board acquired a 27-acre campus in South Hadley on which it established Loomis Village; in 1999, it became affiliated with the Applewood community in Amherst; and in 2009, it acquired Reeds Landing in Springfield.

The Loomis Communities Records offer more than a century perspective on elder care and the growth of retirement communities in western Massachusetts. The collection includes a nearly complete run of the minutes of the Board of Directors from 1902 to the present, an assortment administrative and financial records, and some documentation of the experience of the communities’ residents, with the bulk of materials dating from the 1980s to the present. An extensive series of oral histories with residents of Loomis Village was conducted in 2010.

Subjects
  • Holyoke (Mass.)--History
  • Holyoke Home for Aged People
  • Loomis Communities
  • Loomis Village
  • Older people--Care--Massachusetts
  • Retirement communities--Massachusetts

Memory Corps

Memory Corps oral histories, 2011-2012.
Call no.: Digital

Memory Corps was launched in 2011 to collect brief oral histories of the alumni of UMass Amherst. Interviews will include alumni from throughout the history of the university and center on memories of their experiences at UMass and their careers since.

Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Alumni
Types of material
  • Oral histories

Our Hideaway

Our Hideaway Collection, 1998-1999.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 647

Founded in Chicopee, Massachusetts in 1949 under another name, Our Hideaway was the oldest women’s bar on the east coast, offering the local lesbian community a safe haven in which to socialize for fifty continuous years. Before the bar was forced to close after losing its lease in 1999, it was home to a diverse community of women from those known as “old timers,” comprised of women patronizing the bar for upwards of 25 years, to college students new to the area.

As part of a project to research the lesbian bar as a social institution, Smith College student Heather Rothenberg conducted interviews of the women who frequented Our Hideaway. During the course of her research an unexpected announcement was made: the bar was closing. As a result, Rothenberg’s efforts to document Our Hideaway extended far beyond her original intent, and she was able to capture the final days of the bar as both a physical place as well as a community of women assembled over five decades. The collection consists of interview transcripts, emails, photographs and Rothenberg’s written reports. Transcripts of the interviews were modified to protect the privacy of the women interviewed; the original transcripts are restricted.

Subjects
  • Lesbian bars--Massachusetts
  • Lesbian business enterprises--Massachusetts
  • Lesbian community--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Rothenburg, Heather

Shapiro, Leon

Leon Shapiro Papers, 1939-1985.
15 boxes (8.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 127

Historian, author, Professor of Russian and Soviet Jewish History at Rutgers University, who helped arrange the escape of Jews from Europe during World War II and was active in several organizations concerned with the emigration of Soviet and Eastern European Jews to Palestine. Papers include biographical materials, correspondence, legal documents, writings, lecture and research materials, statistical data in the world Jewish population before and after World War II, oral history transcripts, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and four photographs.

Subjects
  • Europe, Eastern--Ethnic relations--History--20th century
  • Israel--Emigration and immigration--History
  • Israel--History--1948-1967
  • Jews, Soviet--History--Sources
  • Jews--Europe, Eastern--History--Sources
  • Jews--Migration--History
  • Jews--Population--History
  • Jews--Soviet Union--History--Sources
  • Occupational training for Jews--History--Sources
  • Palestine--History--1929-1948
  • Romania--Emigration and immigration--History
  • Rutgers University--Curricula
  • Rutgers University--Faculty
  • Soviet Union--Ethnic relations--History
  • World ORT Union--History
Contributors
  • Shapiro, Leon
Types of material
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs

Slonecker, Blake, 1981-

Blake Slonecker Collection, 2008.
4 items (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 795

An historian of twentieth century social movements, Blake Slonecker received his doctorate at the University of North Carolina in 2009 and joined the history faculty at Waldorf College soon thereafter. In a dissertation examining the utopian impulses of the New Left (published in 2012 as A new dawn for the New Left: Liberation News Service, Montague Farm, and the long sixties), Slonecker explored how the political and cultural activism of the 1960s helped reshape American political culture in the decade following.

In June 2008, Slonecker conducted oral historical interviews with four individuals who were part of the extended community centered on the Montague Farm and Packer Corners communes during the late 1960s: Tom Fels, Charles Light, Sam Lovejoy, and Richard Wizansky. In wide-ranging interviews, the former communards discuss topics ranging from the fraught politics of the era, political and cultural activism, gender roles and sexuality, and daily life on the communes.

Subjects
  • Amherst College
  • Babbitt, Elwood, 1922-
  • Bloom, Marshall, 1944-1969
  • Brotherhood of the Spirit Community
  • Clamshell Alliance
  • Green Mountain Post Films
  • Johnson Pasture Community (Vt.)
  • Liberation News Service (Montague, Mass.)
  • Montague Farm Community (Mass.)
  • Musicians United for Safe Energy
  • Packer Corners Community (Vt.)
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
Contributors
  • Fels, Thomas Weston
  • Light, Charles
  • Lovejoy, Sam
  • Wizansky, Richard
Types of material
  • Audiocassettes
  • Oral histories (document genres)

Valley Women’s History Collaborative

Valley Women's History Collaborative Records, 1971-2008.
15 boxes (10 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 531

During the early phases of second wave feminism (1968-1978), the Pioneer Valley served as a center for lesbian and feminist activity in western Massachusetts, and was home to over 400 hundred, often ad hoc, groups, such as the Abortion and Birth Control (ABC) Committee, ISIS Women’s Center, the Mudpie Childcare Cooperative, and the Springfield Women’s Center.

The records of the Valley Women’s History Collaborative document the activities of these groups as well as the efforts of the founders of the Women Studies program and department at UMass Amherst to preserve this history. Of particular value are the many oral histories conducted by the collaborative that record the history of women’s activism in the Pioneer Valley, especially as it relates to reproductive rights.

Subjects
  • Abortion--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History--20th century
  • Birth control--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History--20th century
  • Feminism--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--History
  • Feminists--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--Political activity--History
  • Mary Vazquez Women's Softball League
  • Women--Massachusetts--Pioneer Valley--Political activity--History
Contributors
  • Valley Women's History Collaborative
Types of material
  • Oral histories

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