“Bless you for guaranteeing survival / Of poem after poem. In a home archival”: Remembering Duncan Nelson

Professor Duncan Nelson sits with a bunch of light pink carnations, holding one in his hand.

Professor Duncan Nelson handing out carnations at the 1996 Commencement.

Describing his career in 2015, UMass Boston’s Professor Duncan Nelson said: “I’m in the English department. I’ve been here since 1967. I came from two years at Harvard, three years at MIT, and then came home. This is the greatest school I could ever want to teach at.” Professor Nelson earned his BA at Wesleyan University in 1952 and his PhD at Harvard University in 1964. One of UMass Boston’s earliest faculty members, he taught at the university until his retirement in 2016. Professor Nelson passed away on December 20, 2018.

Known as UMass Boston’s “Poet Laureate,” Professor Nelson wrote more than 1,000 odes commemorating university events, such as building groundbreakings and openings, commencement breakfasts, chancellor farewell parties, and Years of Service galas, which he often wrote and delivered on the spot. Professor Nelson appeared on the cover of Lux, UMass Boston’s student magazine, in 2008. In 2010, he received the university’s Shining Beacon Award.

In 2015, Professor Nelson participated in the UMass Boston Mass. Memories Road Show, where he delivered one of his most well-loved pieces, “Butterfly Poem”:

Duncan Nelson at the UMass Boston Mass. Memories Road Show: Video Interview from UMass Boston Archives on Vimeo.

In 2017, Professor Nelson and his family began the process of transferring his large body of odes to University Archives and Special Collections, where they will be preserved and made available for research. He even wrote an ode in honor of the transfer:

Bless you for guaranteeing survival
Of poem after poem. In a home archival
We’ll amass hordes of odes — full of adjectival
And adverbial tropes — that I trust have no rival
In terms of both volume and traces of wit
That match with what Swift, Pope, and Dryden hath writ!

Professor Duncan Nelson stands on a chair and recites an ode at the 1999 Years of Service event.

Professor Duncan Nelson reciting a poem at the 1999 Years of Service event.

Contact library.archives@umb.edu for more information about Professor Nelson’s collection. View digitized historic university photographs of Professor Nelson, his contributions to the Mass. Memories Road Show, or a video of his ode “UMass Boston Runs on Duncan (Nelson).”

An integral part of UMass Boston’s history, Professor Nelson was beloved on this campus for many years. He will be greatly missed.


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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Videos from “Show ‘Em Whatcha Got” Mass. Memories Road Show available online now

The 42 videos collected at the “Show ‘Em Whatcha Got” Mass. Memories Road Show: The Hip-Hop Edition are available online now.

Held at the Boston Public Library in May, the event was a collaboration between UMass Boston’s Healey Library and the Boston Public Library. It was part of a larger project called “Local Rappers, DJs, B-Boys, and Graff: Documenting the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Community from the 1970s to the present” and was supported by a Common Heritage grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor and the UMass President’s Creative Economy Initiatives Fund. Learn more about this project here.

Contributors shared memories of their roots in the Boston hip-hop scene and launching a wide range of careers as visual artists, dancers, musicians, and producers. Many artists described their experiences creating original music and choreography, touring local, national and international stages, and producing events. Local success stories include major performing and record contracts which brought widespread recognition to Boston hip-hop and inspired up-and-coming artists.

The videos in the collection also testify to the significant contributions of Boston hip-hop artists in the development of innovative MCing, DJing, engineering and production techniques and technologies. This pioneering work led to cutting-edge recordings and the founding of independent Boston-based hip-hop record labels, which gained global audiences and recognition. Contributors described the importance of historic albums and recent discs to the hip-hop legacy.

Additionally, the video collection documents contributors’ stories about launching a number of Boston-area radio programs such as Hip-Hope Nation and TV shows such as The Somerville Line, which shared local hip-hop music and culture with wider regional and national audiences.

A few of the videos in the collection further highlight contributors’ experiences launching projects and founding organizations to use music as a vehicle for social change.  For example, the Loop Lab engages Boston youth-at-risk in training programs that address the opportunity gap, by teaching audio and video production skills. Other contributors have started peace-building initiatives to end violence through hip-hop and produced hip-hop performances that explore social justice and other current political issues. All of these initiatives illustrate how members of Boston’s hip-hop community have shaped a local music scene that communicates messages of hope for future generations.

Note to contributors: We need your help to finish processing this collection! If you see something incorrect or misspelled–names and spellings of individuals and performing groups, for example–we want to fix it.  Please email carolyn.goldstein@umb.edu with the details and our team will make the corrections as soon as we can. Thank you!

Logo for National Endownment for the Humanities

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations in this program do not necessarily express those of the National Endowment of the Humanities.

If you have questions about the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive, please contact an archivist at UMass Boston, connect with the project on Facebook, or click here to explore the collections and learn how you can contribute materials.


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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Participatory Archiving Roadmap Project Manager

Contributors and volunteers at the scanning station at the Nahant Mass. Memories Road Show

This photograph shows a contributor with volunteers at the scanning station at the Nahant Mass. Memories Road Show, held in 2017.

University Archives and Special Collections in the Healey Library at UMass Boston is hiring a Roadmap Project Manager to coordinate all aspects of the development of a “Participatory Archiving Roadmap,” as part of a National Leadership Grant for Libraries from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The funded two-year project (Fall 2018 – Fall 2020) involves building an accessible, adaptable, and engaging online “roadmap” to guide libraries of all kinds through the process of planning event-based participatory archiving programs with the communities they serve. This is a two-year, full-time benefited position.

WHAT: Roadmap Project Manager

WHEN: Applications closed 17 December 2018

 

About this Position

The University Archives and Special Collections department in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston received a National Leadership Grant for Libraries from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for a two-year project (Fall 2018 – Fall 2020) to build an accessible, adaptable, and engaging online “roadmap” to guide libraries of all kinds through the process of planning event-based participatory archiving programs with the communities they serve. Read more about this grant here.

The interactive online roadmap will help libraries implement standards- and community-based participatory archiving programs and will be flexible enough to allow libraries to enter at their current point of need, helping them navigate the complexities of community partnerships, digitization event planning, and long-term digital preservation and access to support the vital work of documenting their communities’ cultural heritage.

The successful candidate will work directly with core project team members, national community partners, and others to ensure that the Library adheres to grant project goals and meets project deliverables. The Roadmap Project Manager will report to the Project Director and will coordinate with Healey Library staff and external colleagues as appropriate to ensure all aspects of the multi-faceted project are compatible and are successfully executed in a timely manner. The Roadmap Project Manager will also be responsible for supervising a 12-month, part-time instructional designer who will assist with the design and development of the roadmap.

The Healey Library is looking for a creative and dedicated individual who will fit with our university’s and our department’s collaborative culture. The ideal candidate will have previous experience supervising and delegating tasks to 2 or more people and in managing projects in cultural institutions, library and archives environments, and/or in academic settings. Candidates who enjoy working with other professionals engaged in community-focused library and archival work are encouraged to apply.

Examples of Duties:

  • Facilitate activities of core project team members through all phases of the grant project, including coordinating meetings, preparing agendas, leading workshops, and focus groups.
  • Work with identified local and national community partners to develop survey instruments to solicit both structured and informal feedback on grant project activities.
  • Supervise project-funded Instructional Designer in developing key project deliverables.
  • Track grant project performance, specifically to ensure the successful, on-time completion of short- and long-term goals as identified and outlined by the Project Director and by Healey Library administration.
  • Prepare regular reports including grant-required reports on project progress

Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree required. Master’s degree preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience with successfully employing project management techniques and tools
  • Previous experience managing large-scale projects
  • Experience assisting with the development of survey instruments
  • Excellent critical thinking, problem solving, and time management skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing
  • Proficient, working knowledge of Microsoft Office, especially Microsoft Excel
  • Strong planning and organizational skills with ability to prioritize and multi-task
  • Superb analytical skills, as applied to both historical content and organizational process
  • Proven ability to work independently while exercising good judgment in seeking appropriate guidance
  • Detail orientation
  • Demonstrated commitment to and experience in supporting culturally competent activities that emphasize the values of diversity and inclusiveness
  • Networking and ability to build long-term relationships with external constituencies
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively including identifying new ways to look at and express information

Read more about this grant and about the Healey Library’s work fostering community archiving programs.

For more information and to apply for this position, click here.


About the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston

UMass Boston logoThe Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston plays a leading role in the dynamic culture of teaching and learning at Boston’s only public research university, while also supporting the campus’ commitment to urban and community engagement. University Archives and Special Collections (UASC) in the Healey Library 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. UASC is committed to working with, promoting, and assisting community archives in the Greater Boston area and beyond through facilitating cross-organization collaboration and access to informational, educational, and practical resources relevant to archival procedures and best practices. Check in with Healey Library’s news and collections through FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Logo for the Institute of Museum and Library ServicesThe Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. They advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Their vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Healey Library at UMass Boston Receives $275,000 to Expand Community Archiving Programs Nationwide

Attendees and volunteers wearing purple event t-shirts at the Chinese American Experiences Mass. Memories Road Show

Contributors with volunteers at the information station at the Chinese American Experiences Mass. Memories Road Show in June 2018.

The Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston is pleased to announce two funding awards: a $25,000 grant from the LYRASIS Catalyst Fund, and a $250,000 National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). These awards will enable Healey Library, a pioneer in participatory archiving programs through its long-standing Mass. Memories Road Show, to build a suite of resources empowering libraries and cultural heritage organizations nationwide to lead their own community archiving programs and document the unique cultural heritage of their community members.

The LYRASIS Catalyst Fund award, launched in June 2018, will support the production of a video describing the Mass. Memories Road Show program and the development of a suite of online training materials to support libraries in the production of “personal archiving day” events with their communities. Healey Library expects the video and the training modules to be publicly available online by summer 2019.

Contributors and volunteers at the scanning station at the Nahant Mass. Memories Road Show

A contributor with volunteers at the scanning station at the Nahant Mass. Memories Road Show in 2017.

The IMLS award, launched in October 2018, will fund the development of a broad “roadmap” to guide libraries of all kinds through the process of planning participatory archiving programs with the communities they serve as well as in preserving the resulting digital collections and making them accessible. The roadmap, developed in close collaboration with archives and digital preservation experts and with a nationwide network of partners, will help libraries navigate the complexities of community partnerships, digitization event planning, and long-term digital preservation and access, all in support of the vital work of documenting their communities’ cultural heritage. Healey Library’s partners in the roadmap development include representatives from the Maine Historical Society, the Digital Public Library of America, the Metropolitan New York Library Council, the Massachusetts Archives, and the Boston Public Library. The roadmap is scheduled to be completed by fall 2020.

These two projects, taken together, will allow Healey Library to leverage its standing as a national leader in the participatory archiving movement to expand and enhance the capabilities of all libraries, regardless of size or available resources, to engage in and lead these vital community archiving initiatives themselves.

Six people in front of a graffiti painting.

Volunteers and contributors at “Show ‘Em Whatcha Got” Mass. Memories Road Show: The Hip-Hop Edition, which was held at the Boston Public Library in May 2018. Nearly 300 digital images were collected and 60 video interviews were recorded in one day as part of this event.

Libraries are critical community hubs, and these two projects will enhance their ability to bring together diverse participants and to leverage librarians’ unique expertise as information professionals to anchor a community’s collective memory. By helping libraries implement archival preservation standards and best practices, build effective partnerships with their communities, launch successful community archiving events, and navigate channels for publishing and preserving cultural heritage materials, Healey Library, LYRASIS, and the IMLS can ensure the longevity of and access to diverse cultural heritage materials, particularly from groups who might never before have been able to elevate their stories to a national audience. Libraries throughout the country will be able to use these resources to partner more effectively with their communities in preserving and sharing the unique, valuable stories that document our nation’s collective cultural history.

Carolyn Goldstein, Public History and Community Archives Program Manager at Healey Library and Project Director for the IMLS and Catalyst awards, explains, “Community archiving events are a way of collectively telling and preserving a community’s story. Participatory archiving programs are opportunities for community members to add to the historical record photographs and stories that are important to them. These two grants will enable our team to share what we’ve learned from producing the Mass. Memories Road Show for fifteen years, and to collaborate with archival and library colleagues to assess the need and create a set of resources that will empower libraries around the country to document and preserve their communities’ histories and make them accessible.”

“To directly invest in our community of libraries and archives, the LYRASIS Catalyst Fund allows our members the chance to explore their groundbreaking ideas that will help the library and archive landscape at large,” explains Mary Meyer of LYRASIS. “We are very proud to support the Healey Library in its  Online Instruction for Participatory Archiving’ project and are excited about the wide impact this effort will have in sustaining cultural heritages in communities across the country.”

“As centers of learning and catalysts of community change, libraries and museums connect people with programs, services, collections, information, and new ideas in the arts, sciences, and humanities. They serve as vital spaces where people can connect with each other,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “IMLS is proud to support their work through our grant making as they inform and inspire all in their communities.”

For additional information about these projects, please contact: Patricia Bruttomesso, Archival Collections Project Manager, at Patricia.Bruttomesso@umb.edu or 617-287-7696.


About the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston

UMass Boston logoThe Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston plays a leading role in the dynamic culture of teaching and learning at Boston’s only public research university, while also supporting the campus’ commitment to urban and community engagement. University Archives and Special Collections (UASC) in the Healey Library 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. UASC is committed to working with, promoting, and assisting community archives in the Greater Boston area and beyond through facilitating cross-organization collaboration and access to informational, educational, and practical resources relevant to archival procedures and best practices. Check in with Healey Library’s news and collections through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Logo for the Institute of Museum and Library ServicesThe Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. They advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Their vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

About LYRASIS

Lyrasis logoLYRASIS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization whose mission is to support enduring access to the world’s shared academic, scientific and cultural heritage through leadership in open technologies, content services, digital solutions and collaboration with archives, libraries, museums and knowledge communities worldwide. LYRASIS is home to more than 1,000 member academic and public libraries, museums, archives and other collections-holding organizations located in 28 countries. The Catalyst Fund is a program administered by LYRASIS and Leaders Circle members. The Fund is designed to foster new ideas that will benefit the archive, library, and museum communities. Catalyst Fund awards support LYRASIS members as they test and try innovative approaches to advance their field.  

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Cutz Beatz & Blendz: Free event at the Boston Public Library this Saturday about the art of DJing and making beats

Flyer for hip-hop event at the Boston Public Library, graphic shows outline of DJ as sound board.What: Cutz Beatz & Blendz: Beat Makers, Producers, and DJs!

When: Saturday, November 10, 2018 | 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Where: Boston Public Library, Central Library in Copley Square, 700 Boylston Street, Teen Central

Boston Public Library and UMass Boston invite hip-hop enthusiasts of all ages to attend a free hip-hop event in Teen Central at the BPL’s Central Library on Saturday, November 10, from 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Spend the afternoon with Dane “DanejaZone” Bradley and fellow DJs learning the art of DJing and making beats. Enjoy live performances, special guests and more. Participants will wear headphones that allow them to switch to different channels and hear everything going on at the individual DJ stations. Participants will also have a chance to explore Teen Central’s Digital Maker Lab and learn how to use the music software. In addition, Michael Jeffries, Associate Professor of American Studies at Wellesley College, will share a documentary entitled “Scratch” as well as insights about DJ history.

Since 2016, Boston Public Library and the Healey Library at UMass Boston have been working together to preserve and share the history of hip-hop in Boston and Massachusetts. They continued their collaboration to expand awareness and access to the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. As part of this grant, UMass Boston and the BPL hosted the “Show ‘Em Whatcha Got” hip-hop digitization event in May 2019 at the Central Library, which was attended by more than 200 members of the local hip-hop community. View the digital collection here and learn about other grant-related events here.

The Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive at UMass Boston includes a collection of almost 300 demo tapes featuring the biggest artists from Boston’s early hip-hop scene, which were digitized thanks to the support of the Boston Public Library. University Archives and Special Collections in the Healey Library at UMass Boston is currently working to expand the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive and welcomes donations of archival materials from musicians, DJs, breakdancers, graffiti artists, producers, promoters, and fans that will help document the rich heritage and legacy of hip-hop culture in Boston and Massachusetts. Click here to learn more about what we collect.

Download and share the flyer for this event.

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Special thanks to Dane “DanejaZone” Bradley for helping to make this event possible. Cutz Beatz & Blendz is presented in partnership through Boston Public Library and the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston, and made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations in this program do not necessarily express those of the National Endowment of the Humanities.


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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