Massachusetts Federation for Fair Housing and Equal Rights study records now available

The Governor's Special Study Commission Report, 1964 December 30

Massachusetts Federation for Fair Housing and Equal Rights: The Governor’s Special Study Commission Report, 1964 December 30

Guest post by Katie Burke, graduate student in UMass Boston’s History Department. Burke processed this collection.

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston is pleased to announce that the Massachusetts Federation for Fair Housing and Equal Rights study records are now processed and available for research.

The Massachusetts Federation for Fair Housing and Equal Rights advocated for the housing rights of minorities, people with disabilities, and other disadvantaged groups in Boston during the 1960s and 1970s. This collection reflects the University of Massachusetts Boston’s commitment to preserving Massachusetts history, supporting community involvement, and advocating for social justice.

Ma Federation for Fair Housing and Equal Rights: Report on MA Commission Against Discrimination Procedures, 1969 June

Massachusetts Federation for Fair Housing and Equal Rights: Report on MA Commission Against Discrimination Procedures, 1969 June

The collection contains business records, governance and legal records, photographs, press coverage, and other printed materials related to civil rights advocacy efforts of the organization over its tenure. The majority of material relates to a three-year project undertaken by the Massachusetts Federation for Fair Housing and Equal Rights between 1968 and 1971. The project documented cases involving housing discrimination in the Boston suburbs that were brought before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and investigated the practices of the agency to make recommendations for improvement. The resources within this collection will benefit researchers interested in suburban housing, housing discrimination, race and neighborhood demographics, and the fair housing movement, particularly in the Greater Boston area.

Materials in this collection are now available for consultation in the Archives Research Room (Healey Library, 5th floor). View the finding aid for this 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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Washington Street Corridor Coalition records now available

Auto restricted zone potential in the City of Boston report, Boston Redevelopment Authority, October 1975

“Auto restricted zone potential in the City of Boston” report, Boston Redevelopment Authority, October 1975

Guest post by Caroline Littlewood, graduate student in UMass Boston’s History Department. Littlewood processed this collection.

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston is pleased to announce that the records of the Washington Street Corridor Coalition (WSCC) are now processed and available for research.

The records document the WSCC’s community activism and organizing regarding transportation service and corporate development during the late twentieth century. From its inception, the WSCC sought to protect its members’ interests from both government neglect and unchecked or undesirable development along the Washington Street Corridor. The majority of WSCC activities have focused on the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority’s (MBTA) closure of the elevated Orange Line in 1987 and the subsequent decline in service from Washington Street neighborhoods to downtown Boston. Most recently, the WSCC has argued that the MBTA’s Silver Line extension is a harmful and unfair financial burden to low-income residents and communities of color.

Orange Line replacement flyer, 1986

“Orange Line replacement” flyer, 1986

This collection reflects the University of Massachusetts Boston’s commitment to preserving local history, community activism, and social justice. It contains meeting flyers, agendas, notes, and minutes which illustrate the WSCC’s grassroots organizing activities around transportation service. It includes correspondence between WSCC members, community allies, and transit and government officials, mostly advocating for implementation of a Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) system. It also includes materials relating to other Boston-area transit issues, such as the removal of the A-Watertown Green Line, auto-restricted zoning, the Circumferential Transit Feasibility Study Project, and the Southwest Corridor Project.

The resources within this collection will be of special interest to researchers investigating local grassroots activities around transportation service, corporate development, and community activism, particularly in the Greater Boston area.

Materials in this collection are now available for consultation in the Archives Research Room (Healey Library, 5th floor). View the finding aid for this 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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Betty Taymor papers now available for research

Letter from Hubert H. Humphrey to Betty Taymor, March 24, 1967

Letter from Hubert H. Humphrey to Betty Taymor, March 24, 1967

Guest post by Rachel Sherman, graduate student in UMass Boston’s History Department. Sherman processed this collection.

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston is pleased to announce that the papers of Betty Taymor are now processed and available for research. UASC’s recent acquisition of this collection reflects the university’s urban mission and strong support of community service.

Betty Taymor pioneered the path for women entering politics in Boston. This small collection of personal papers documents the activities of Betty Taymor during her democratic political career. The collection includes Taymor’s correspondence with political leaders including John F. Kennedy, Edward M. Kennedy, Michael Dukakis, and Jimmy Carter. It also includes manuscripts and scrapbooks featuring articles about Taymor’s political work.

Taymor served as a trailblazer for women entering community politics and public policy in the Greater Boston area. From her beginnings with volunteering for the Americans for Democratic Action to combat McCarthyism in the 1950s, to campaigning for both President John F. Kennedy and Senator Edward Kennedy in the 1960s, Taymor aimed to speak for the voices unheard. She established the Program for Women in Politics in 1968 at Simmons College. Over the subsequent two decades, the program developed into what is today the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy (CWPPP) at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Taymor’s legacy continues as the CWPPP serves to provide education and professional certification and experience for women leaders in politics. This collection sheds light on the political activities of women in Boston and helps document the history of the CWPPP at UMass Boston.

The timeline of the documents ranges from 1955 to 2009, with the bulk of the records dating from 1960 to 1994. The materials within the collection include correspondence such as letters, invitations, and telegrams between local, regional, and national democratic political members. Other documents include four scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, and photographs focusing on Betty Taymor’s political career and personal life.

Materials in this collection are now available for consultation in the Archives Research Room (Healey Library, 5th floor). View the finding aid for this 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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Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive: Lecco’s Lemma collection processed and open for research

Artist tapes and inserts from the Lecco’s Lemma collection.

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston is pleased to announce that the materials in the Magnus Johnstone and Willie Alexander: Lecco’s Lemma collection, 1984-2001, have been processed and are available for research. View the finding aid for this collection here.

This collection contains nearly 500 audiocassettes consisting of artist demo tapes and home recordings of Magnus Johnstone’s Lecco’s Lemma radio show, which aired on MIT’s WMBR (88.1 FM) and, later, on Boston College’s WZBC (90.3 FM) from 1985 to 1988. In addition to exposing listeners to mainstream hip-hop artists, the Lecco’s Lemma radio show provided Boston’s underground hip-hop community an outlet through which to be heard. Johnstone, the show’s eclectic host, encouraged area artists to send in their own recordings to play on air. The first series in the Lecco’s Lemma collection includes nearly 300 demo tapes by local hip-hop artists.

The Lecco’s Lemma collection includes nearly 300 artist tapes, including a number of early works from Guru and the original Gang Starr lineup. This is a j-card from a recording featuring the track “Fresh Avenue.”

The second series in this collection consists of nearly 200 recordings of Lecco’s Lemma broadcasts recorded by Boston’s “Godfather of Punk,” Willie “Loco” Alexander, on his home boom box. Read more about the process of making these recordings available here.

Cassette images and audio for both series (the artist tapes and the show tapes) have been digitized and are available on our digital collections site here.

Read more about the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive here and keep visiting blogs.umb.edu/archives for future updates.

View the finding aid for the Lecco’s Lemma 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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Tales from the Tapes: Processing the Lecco’s Lemma collection

Guest post by Gayle Schechter

Show tapes from the Lecco’s Lemma show (writing by Willie Alexander).

Not many people are required to listen to hip-hop at their jobs, but for the past few months as a University Archives and Special Collections intern in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston, listening to hours of freestyles and beatboxing has all been part of a typical day’s work. Tasked with processing recordings of radio broadcasts from the Lecco’s Lemma collection, part of the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive, I’ve not only gained valuable experience with digital collections, but also gotten a crash course in the history of Boston hip-hop. The Lecco’s Lemma collection chronicles an era when hip-hop in Boston was still in its infancy, and when you would record your favorite songs off of the radio instead of searching for them on YouTube.

The Lecco’s Lemma collection contains recordings of radio broadcasts of Lecco’s Lemma, a local hip-hop program hosted by Magnus Johnstone from 1985-1986 on MIT’s WMBR and from 1986-1988 on Boston College’s WZBC. Along with nearly 200 audiocassettes of Lecco’s Lemma broadcasts, the collection also contains more than 200 demo tapes from area hip-hop artists sent to Johnstone to be played on air. In addition to airing local artists, those familiar with old school hip-hop would recognize many of the artists played on broadcasts of Lecco’s Lemma, from Boston-bred Gang Starr to New York City’s Run D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys. The digitized recordings are available online here.

Show tapes from the Lecco’s Lemma show (writing by Willie Alexander).

While the Lecco’s Lemma collection provides a window into Boston’s underground hip-hop scene of the 1980s, the unique nature of the recordings created a number of issues to be considered by University Archives and Special Collections staff. Many of the recordings contain explicit language, necessitating content warnings for our digital collection. The do-it-yourself nature of recording demo tapes often meant artists would take commercially-released cassettes and dub their recordings over the originals. While one side of the tape may contain original beatboxes and rhymes from a Boston crew, the other side could contain half of a Donny Osmond album.

Cassette recordings of the Lecco’s Lemma radio program are not official recordings, but rather were created at home by Boston punk rocker Willie “Loco” Alexander, who recorded them off the radio on his boom box. One broadcast of the show can span a number of cassettes, and many cassettes contain portions of episodes recorded on different days creating instances where one object has more than one date associated with it.

Despite the challenges that the Lecco’s Lemma collection has presented, it’s been an honor to help preserve the history of hip-hop. Though the story of hop-hop in Boston has in many ways remained a well-kept secret, the Lecco’s Lemma collection shows that hip-hop artistry was very much alive and thriving in Boston during the 1980s.

Explore the Lecco’s Lemma digital collection online here.

Read more about the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive here and keep visiting blogs.umb.edu/archives for future updates.

Gayle Schechter is an M.S. candidate from Simmons School of Library and Information Science.


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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