Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley

Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley Records, 1979-1994.
12 boxes (7 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 468

Amherst, Massachusetts, chapter of the national Gray Panther organization that sponsored the weekly Amherst Vigil for Peace and Justice, tackled such issues as fair and affordable housing for people of all ages, nursing home reform, Social Security policy, universal health care, safe-sex, and age discrimination, and also worked to improve the everyday life of senior citizens and the community at large, often collaborating with other local organizations to address world peace, environmental concerns, improved child care, educational opportunities, and handicapped accessibility.

Records include charter, by-laws, histories and mission statements, meeting agendas and minutes, correspondence, financial reports, fund raising materials, membership lists, membership questionnaire, newsletters, press releases, leaflets, clippings, a scrapbook, T-shirts, and program files, that document the founding and activities of the Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley.

Historical Note

The Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley were based in Amherst, Massachusetts and chartered in 1980 as a local chapter of the national Gray Panther organization founded in 1970 by Maggie Kuhn. Kuhn was determined to form an activist group with a few friends who, like she, were forced into retirement. Rather than become a special interest group for the elderly, they formed an intergenerational group to promote peace, justice and equality.

For nearly twenty years, the Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley organized local and national initiatives and partnered with other groups in their reform efforts. In addition to their role as the original sponsors of the long-running weekly Amherst Vigil for Peace and Justice, the Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley tackled such issues as fair and affordable housing for people of all ages, nursing home reform, Social Security policy, universal healthcare, safe-sex, and age discrimination. They also worked to improve the everyday life of senior citizens and the community at large, often collaborating with other local organizations to address world peace, environmental concerns, improved child care, educational opportunities, and handicapped accessibility.

The group was administered by a local convener and a steering committee in accordance with national Gray Panther by-laws.

The Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley disbanded in late 1998.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Charter, by-laws, histories and mission statements, meeting agendas and minutes, correspondence, financial reports, fundraising materials, membership lists, a membership questionnaire, newsletters, press releases, leaflets, clippings, a scrapbook, T-shirts, and program files, that document the founding and activities of the Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley. The records reveal the group’s frequent interactions with social and political movements, both local and international, of the time. The leadership of local activists Margaret Holt, Winifred Hillicker, Alan Root and Mazie Hough is evident throughout the collection. Correspondence files document the organization’s ongoing functions and include letters to and from Mary Brydon-Miller, the group’s first convener, and legislators. Programs and Events files document the group’s organized efforts for, among others, affordable housing, cessation of Anthrax research at University of Massachusetts, study of Canadian health care, elder abuse, health care and Medicaid reform, protest of Louis Foods supermarket relocation, Maggie Kuhn’s 1984 visit, Martin Luther King celebrations, Middle East/Gulf War, nursing home reform, veteran’s issues, and peace vigils. Program files are comprised of correspondence, publicity materials, petitions, and clippings. Affiliated Group files contain primarily printed materials (newsletters, flyers, brochures, government reports) that chronicle issues of interest as well as organizations, including other Gray Panther chapters, with which the group interacted.

Records are organized into the five following series, including Administrative, Financial, Programs/Events, Affiliated Groups, and Publications. Materials are arranged chronologically in each grouping.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley Records (MS 468). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

History of the Collection

Processing Information

Processed by Betsy Carpenter.


Additional Information

Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Language
English.


Contents List
Series 1. Administrative
1979-1992
Charter, by-laws, founding documents
1979-1986
Box 1:1
Histories and mission statements
n.d.
Box 1:2
Meeting agendas and minutes
1980-1981
Box 1:3
Meeting agendas and minutes
1982
Box 1:4
Meeting agendas and minutes
1984
Box 1:5
Meeting agendas and minutes
1985 January-July
Box 1:6
Meeting agendas and minutes
1985 August-December
Box 1:7
Meeting agendas and minutes
1986 January-June
Box 1:8
Meeting agendas and minutes
1986 July-December
Box 2:9
Meeting agendas and minutes
1987
Box 2:10
Meeting agendas and minutes
1988
Box 2:11
Meeting agendas and minutes
1989
Box 2:12
Meeting agendas and minutes
1990
Box 2:13
Meeting agendas and minutes
1991
Box 2:14
Meeting agendas and minutes
1992, n.d.
Box 2:15
Organizational restructuring notes
1984
Box 2:16
Appointment Calendar
1989
Box 2:17
Correspondence, Mary Brydon-Miller
1981
Box 2:18
Correspondence
n.d.
Box 2:19
Correspondence
1981
Box 2:20
Correspondence
1983
Box 2:21
Correspondence
1984
Box 2:22
Correspondence
1985 January-June
Box 3:23
Correspondence
1985 July-December
Box 3:24
Correspondence
1986
Box 3:25
Correspondence
1987
Box 3:26
Correspondence
1988
Box 3:27
Correspondence
1989
Box 3:28
Correspondence
1990
Box 3:29
Correspondence
1991
Box 3:30
Correspondence
1992
Box 3:31
Mailing lists (members)
1984-1990, n.d.
Box 3:32
Mailing lists (non-members, media)
1983-1987, n.d.
Box 3:33
Membership questionnaire
1983
Box 4:34
Clippings
1981-1992, n.d.
Box 4:35
Scrapbook
1987
Box 4:36
T-shirts
Box 12

Series 2. Financial
Tax-exemption correspondence and reports
1981-1985
Box 4:37
Grant reports
1984-1985
Box 4:38
Grant reports
1986-1987
Box 4:39
Grant reports
1989
Box 4:40
Treasurer’s reports
1989-1993
Box 4:41
Fundraising
1987-1990
Box 4:42
Fundraising
n.d.
Box 4:43
Bills and receipts
1984
Box 5:44
Bills and receipts
1985
Box 5:45
Bills and receipts
1986
Box 5:46
Bills and receipts
1987-1992
Box 5:46a
Office equipment
Box 5:46b

Series 3. Programs and Events
Affordable housing
1985-1991, n.d.
Box 6:47
Anthrax research at University of Massachusetts
1990, n.d.
Box 6:48
Canadian health care meeting
1985
Box 6:49
Central America, U. S. out of
1981-1988, n.d.
Box 6:50
Conferences
1984-1987, n.d.
Box 6:51
Council on Aging
1988-1993
Box 6:52
Downtown development
1971-1984
Box 6:53
Elder abuse
1982-1988
Box 6:54
Elder Advocacy Network
1981-1985, n.d.
Box 6:55
Food Buying Club
1984-1985, n.d.
Box 7:56
Hallmark Cards
1984-1985, n.d.
Box 7:57
Handicapped license plates
1984-1985
Box 7:58
Health care/Medicaid reform
1983-1985, n.d.
Box 7:59
Health care/Medicaid reform
1986-1994, n.d.
Box 7:60
Influences of Childhood Experiences on Social Activism Study
1988
Box 7:61
Louis Foods campaign
1984-1986
Box 7:62
Maggie Kuhn birthday celebration
1988
Box 7:63
Maggie Kuhn visit
1984
Box 7:64
Martin Luther King celebrations
1987-1992
Box 7:65
Massachusetts Health Action Alliance
1984-1986
Box 7:66
Middle East/Gulf War
1990-1991
Box 7:67
Miscellaneous events (notes)
1988, 1992
Box 8:68
Nursing home reform
1981-1986, n.d.
Box 8:69
Safe sex
1989
Box 8:70
Senior Health Action Day, one act play for
1984
Box 8:71
Styrofoam-Free Amherst
1988
Box 8:72
Thirteenth Annual Celebration
1993
Box 8:73
Veterans
1986-1989, n.d.
Box 8:74
Vigils
1982-1983
Box 8:75
Vigil for Peace and Justice
1979-1987
Box 8:76
Women Elder Empowerment Network (WEEN)
1987-1988
Box 8:77

Series 4. Affiliated Groups
Gray Panthers (national)
1979-1985
Box 9:78
Gray Panthers (national)
1986
Box 9:79
Gray Panthers (national)
1988-1990
Box 9:80
Gray Panthers (national)
1991-1994
Box 9:81
Gray Panthers (national)
n.d.
Box 9:82
Gray Panthers of Hampden County
1987-1991
Box 9:83
Gray Panthers (other chapters)
Box 9:84
Other Regional Groups
1981
Box 10:85
Other Regional Groups
1984-1985
Box 10:86
Other Regional Groups
1986-1988
Box 10:87
Other Regional Groups
1989-1991
Box 10:88
Other Regional Groups
1992-1994
Box 10:89
Other Regional Groups
n.d.
Box 10:90

Series 5. Publications
1983-1993
Newsletters
1983-1985
Box 11:91
Press releases/announcements
1984-1993, n.d.
Box 11:92
Leaflets, miscellaneous
Pre-1985, n.d.
Box 11:93
Leaflets, miscellaneous
1985
Box 11:94
Leaflets, miscellaneous
1986
Box 11:95
Leaflets, miscellaneous
1986
Box 11:96
Leaflets, miscellaneous
1987
Box 11:97

Subjects
  • Older people--Massachusetts
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Social justice--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley
  • Holt, Margaret
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