In the Archives: Dorchester Recycling Volunteers Records

Dorchester Volunteers newsletter. Volume 1, No. 1. August 1990.

Dorchester Volunteers newsletter. Volume 1, No. 1. August 1990.

I thought that it would be fun to highlight the records of a local community group that had ties to UMass Boston for my final Archives Month post. The Dorchester Recycling Volunteers was an all-volunteer organization that strove to educate the public on recycling issues, and worked with the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services and the City of Boston’s Environment Department to establish a recycling drop-off program in Dorchester. The DRV’s recycling program began at the University of Massachusetts Boston on July 15, 1989. A station was established in the Service and Supply parking lot for monthly drop-offs of recyclable materials. From a September 15, 1989 memo from Chancellor Sherry H. Penney to the university community:

Members of Dorchester Recycles Volunteers. 1992.

Members of Dorchester Recycles Volunteers. 1992.

“I am pleased to announce that the recycling project we implemented a short time ago has been very successful. Workers from the Dorchester Recycling Volunteers reported that 144 cars dropped off 16,000 pounds of newspapers and hundreds of glass jars and bottles during the six hour collection period on August 19th. That was up from 46 cars and 1000 pounds on our first collection day in July, an astounding 155% increase in the number of cars unloaded.” [folder 8]

The DRV ended its program when Mayor Raymond L. Flynn established a citywide curbside recycling program in Boston in November 1994.

The Dorchester Recycling Volunteers records span 1989-1994 and include internal meeting notes, minutes of meetings with the Boston Recycling Coalition, volunteer lists, operation files, the DRV newsletter, correspondence, and general recycling information.

Dorchester Recycles bumper sticker. Circa 1990s.

Dorchester Recycles bumper sticker. Circa 1990s.

View the finding aid for the records of the Dorchester Recycling Volunteers here.

For questions about this collection or to schedule a research appointment, please contact library.archives@umb.edu or 617-287-5469.

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To celebrate Archives Month, I will be posting highlights from our collections throughout October. I hope that this will turn into a regular series. To learn more about Archives Month, visit the Society of American Archivists website.


University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collects materials related to the university’s history, as well as materials that reflect the institution’s urban mission and strong support of community service, notably in collections of records of urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, and local history related to neighboring communities.

University Archives & Special Collections welcomes inquiries from individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in donating materials of an archival nature that that fit within our collecting policy. These include manuscripts, documents, organizational archives, collections of photographs, unique publications, and audio and video media. For more information about donating to University Archives & Special Collections, click here or email library.archives@umb.edu.

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In the Archives: The Papers of an Antiwar Activist

Perrin, Richard. G.I. Resister: The Story of How One American Soldier and His Family Fought the War in Vietnam. Trafford Publishing, 2001.

Perrin, Richard. G.I. Resister: The Story of How One American Soldier and His Family Fought the War in Vietnam. Trafford Publishing, 2001.

Massachusetts native Richard Perrin enlisted in the United States Army in 1967. Soon after his enlistment, he became an antiwar activist, and was particularly opposed to the Vietnam War. Perrin and several others in the Army began distributing antiwar leaflets and the publication The Bond. Perrin’s antiwar activities eventually resulted in a court-martial for a minor pass infraction. In September 1967, Perrin deserted the Army, traveling by train from Heidelberg to Paris. While in Paris, Perrin connected with other deserters and formed Resistance Inside the Army (RITA). This Wikipedia entry offers a brief summary of RITA’s history and activities. RITA published a newsletter, ACT, which is considered the first underground GI paper. ACT had a mailing list of about ten thousand and had a worldwide circulation. In Perrin’s own words, “it turned on a lot of guys and opened up a lot of avenues.”

"Cloak and dagger: U.S. deserters at Paris press conference." Newsweek. February 26, 1968.

“Cloak and dagger: U.S. deserters at Paris press conference.” Newsweek. February 26, 1968.

In 1969, Perrin left France for Regina, Saskatchewan, where he taught a university seminar on the US Army and founded the Regina Committee of American Deserters, which provided housing and other assistance to military deserters. In 1975, Perrin was granted amnesty in the United States. In 2001, he published his autobiography, G.I Resister: The Story of How One American Soldier and His Family Fought the War in Vietnam.

Regina Committee of American Deserters (RCAD) stamps

Regina Committee of American Deserters (RCAD) stamps

Richard Perrin donated his papers to University Archives and Special Collections via the William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences at UMass Boston in July 2001. A large portion of his papers comprises correspondence between Perrin and his family members, documenting his life after he graduated from high school, his experiences in the Army after enlistment, and his desertion to Paris in the fall of 1967. The collection also contains a newspaper-clipping scrapbook of Perrin’s activities which was assembled over the years by his mother, Betty Perrin; information on amnesty rights and specific amnesty organizations; information on the Regina Committee of American Deserters; and a copy of Perrin’s book.

Campaign flyer for U.S. House of Representatives election. [1998]

Campaign flyer for U.S. House of Representatives election. [1998]

One folder that may be of particular interest in light of the current US presidential race is a subject file on Bernie Sanders, who was mayor of Burlington, Vermont in the 1980s and a member of the US House of Representatives from 1991-2007. The file spans 1975-1998 and includes correspondence between Perrin and Sanders, press coverage, and campaign items.

View the finding aid for the Richard Perrin papers here.

For questions about this collection or to schedule a research appointment, please contact library.archives@umb.edu or 617-287-5469.

aam_c_0To celebrate Archives Month, I will be posting highlights from our collections throughout October. I hope that this will turn into a regular series. To learn more about Archives Month, visit the Society of American Archivists website.


University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collects materials related to the university’s history, as well as materials that reflect the institution’s urban mission and strong support of community service, notably in collections of records of urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, and local history related to neighboring communities.

University Archives & Special Collections welcomes inquiries from individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in donating materials of an archival nature that that fit within our collecting policy. These include manuscripts, documents, organizational archives, collections of photographs, unique publications, and audio and video media. For more information about donating to University Archives & Special Collections, click here or email library.archives@umb.edu.

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In the Archives: Socialist Feminism Pamphlets of the 1970s

aam_c_0To celebrate Archives Month, I will be posting highlights from our collections throughout October. I hope that this will turn into a regular series. To learn more about Archives Month, visit the Society of American Archivists website.

The collection that I would like to highlight this week is the Judith Smith collection of socialist feminist pamphlets, 1970-1981. In the 1970s, Smith was part of a group of women that organized and ran the Somerville Women’s Health Project, a health clinic which offered free medical care to low-income women and children. She was also a member of the Boston’s Women Union and its orientation committee, the Tuesday Night Orientation Group. The committee was later renamed the Tuesday Night Socialist Feminist Group and continued to meet until 2001, even after the Boston Women’s Union dissolved. Smith is a professor in the American Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Smith’s collection comprises 28 pamphlets and booklets, many of them published by local small presses, on a variety of topics, including race, class, sexism, women’s liberation, women’s wages, housework, family, and witchcraft. Browse the gallery below for a selection of pamphlet covers from Smith’s collection, which she donated to University Archives and Special Collections in 2005.

View the finding aid for the Judith Smith collection here.

For questions about this collection or to schedule a research appointment, please contact library.archives@umb.edu or 617-287-5469.


University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collects materials related to the university’s history, as well as materials that reflect the institution’s urban mission and strong support of community service, notably in collections of records of urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, and local history related to neighboring communities.

University Archives & Special Collections welcomes inquiries from individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in donating materials of an archival nature that that fit within our collecting policy. These include manuscripts, documents, organizational archives, collections of photographs, unique publications, and audio and video media. For more information about donating to University Archives & Special Collections, click here or email library.archives@umb.edu.

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In the Archives: Transportation, Public Parks, and Community Activism in the Ann Hershfang Papers

aam_c_0To celebrate Archives Month, I will be posting highlights from our collections throughout October. I hope that this will turn into a regular series. To learn more about Archives Month, visit the Society of American Archivists website.

Southwest Corridor Park Grand Opening, May 5, 1990

During the 1960s, a section of Interstate 95 called the “Southwest Expressway” was slotted for construction in Boston. This project spurred massive protests by local residents whose neighborhoods would have been affected by the twelve-lane highway. The protests were successful, and in 1969 Governor Francis W. Sargent cancelled plans for the Southwest Expressway. Highway funds were used to reroute a section of the MBTA’s Orange Line along the course of the proposed highway, and to concurrently create public open green spaces. These green spaces make up the Southwest Corridor Park, a 4.7-mile, 52-acre linear park in Boston that stretches from Back Bay to Forest Hills, and connects the neighborhoods Back Bay, the South End, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain.

New York Times, October 13, 1988

The New York Times, October 13, 1988

University Archives and Special Collections holds the papers of Ann Hershfang, a long-time resident of the South End who has been involved in community activism in her neighborhood since the late 1960s, primarily with issues relating to highways and transit. She was part of the fight to stop the construction of the Southwest Corridor project. Hershfang’s papers document the resistance to the Southwest Expressway and the creation of the Southwest Corridor Park. The collection also includes materials on WalkBoston (founded by Hershfang), the Massachusetts Port Authority, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation and Construction (now the Massachusetts Department of Transportation), the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, the creation of Titus Sparrow Park, and open space plans in Boston.

I also want to let you know that Ann Hershfang will be speaking as part of a panel on October 28 at the Massachusetts Historical Society, Transforming Boston: From Basket Case to Innovation Hub Program 2—Connecting the Communities Back to the City, 1960–1990. The panel, part of a series for which UMass Boston is serving as a non-profit partner, will feature Langley Keyes, Paul Chan, Ann Hershfang, and Karilyn Crockett, and is moderated by Rep. Byron Rushing. Learn more and RSVP for this event here.

View the finding aid for the Ann Hershfang papers here.

For questions about this collection or to schedule a research appointment, please contact library.archives@umb.edu or 617-287-5469.


University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collects materials related to the university’s history, as well as materials that reflect the institution’s urban mission and strong support of community service, notably in collections of records of urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, and local history related to neighboring communities.

University Archives & Special Collections welcomes inquiries from individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in donating materials of an archival nature that that fit within our collecting policy. These include manuscripts, documents, organizational archives, collections of photographs, unique publications, and audio and video media. For more information about donating to University Archives & Special Collections, click here or email library.archives@umb.edu.

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In the Archives: The People and Animals of Thompson Island

aam_c_0To celebrate Archives Month, I will be posting highlights from our collections throughout October, beginning with this first post about one of our most popular collections, the Thompson Island collection. I hope that this will turn into a regular series. To learn more about Archives Month, visit the Society of American Archivists website.

As the reference archivist in University Archives and Special Collections at UMass Boston, I get to work with a wide range of interesting historic materials and want to share some of what I find in the archives. One of our most heavily-used collections is the Thompson Island collectionOne of 34 islands in Boston Harbor, Thompson Island has a long history of education and social welfare. The island has been home to several schools since the early nineteenth century: the Boston Farm School Society (1833-1835), the Boston Asylum and Farm School (1835-1907), the Farm and Trades School (1907-1956), and Thompson’s Academy (1956-1975). Learn more about the records of these schools and the history of education on Thompson Island here. The island is currently home to the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, which was established in 1988.

In addition to human residents, Thompson Island has seen a number of animal inhabitants over the years, from dogs and cats to various livestock. Browse the gallery below for a selection of historic critter-related photographs from our Thompson Island collection.

View the finding aid for the Thompson Island collection here, digitized photographs here, and digitized copies of the Thompson Island Beacon, a student-produced newspaper, here.

For questions about this collection or to schedule a research appointment, please contact library.archives@umb.edu or 617-287-5469.


University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collects materials related to the university’s history, as well as materials that reflect the institution’s urban mission and strong support of community service, notably in collections of records of urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, and local history related to neighboring communities.

University Archives & Special Collections welcomes inquiries from individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in donating materials of an archival nature that that fit within our collecting policy. These include manuscripts, documents, organizational archives, collections of photographs, unique publications, and audio and video media. For more information about donating to University Archives & Special Collections, click here or email library.archives@umb.edu.

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