Bicycling tours, AIDS rides, and scrapbooks: Explore the history of bicycling in these newly-processed collections

The Wheelmen (first issue), volume 1, number 1, summer 1970

The Wheelmen (first issue cover), volume 1, number 1, summer 1970.

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston is pleased to announce that a number of our collections related to the history of bicycling have been processed and are now available for research. This is the first of several planned posts on Open Archives News that will highlight some of the recently-processed collections in University Archives & Special Collections related to the history of bicycling.

One recently-processed collection is related to The Wheelmen, an organization founded in 1967 at Hoopes Reservoir in Wilmington, Delaware. The organization’s mission is to promote the restoration and riding of antique bicycles produced before 1918 and encourage bicycling. Members receive a subscription to the biannual magazine The Wheelmen as part of their dues. The Wheelmen publication includes research articles, stories, book reviews, and pictures from the past and present. The back cover of the publication contains a list of The Wheelmen National Officers and Captains at the time of that issue’s publication. University Archives & Special Collections holds a full run of The Wheelman from 1970 through 2015. View the finding aid for this collection here.

Read more about the generous donation of The Wheelmen and view a video of the magazine’s Publications Chair, Stephen Hartson, riding a replica of a late nineteenth-century high wheeler on the UMass Boston campus in our April 2016 story “High Wheelin’ around the UMass Boston campus.”

Sharon's Bicentennial Bicycle Tour: Re-enactment of the Historic "Wheel Around the Hub," flyer, 1965

Sharon’s Bicentennial Bicycle Tour: Re-enactment of the Historic “Wheel Around the Hub” flyer, 1965.

The Stuart Bradford Nova Scotia Bicycling Tour collection documents the Nova Scotia bicycling tour that followed the League of American Wheelmen Round-up event in Rockport, Massachusetts, in 1969. The Rockport Rally was led by Dr. Paul Dudley White and included trick bicycle riders, unicyclists, and high wheelers. The day after the rally, cyclists participating in the Nova Scotia Tour continued on to Bar Harbor, Maine, where they took a ferry to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, for a week of cycling. Cyclists came from as far as Chicago, ranged in age from 11 to 61, and included members of the League of American Wheelmen, the Charles River Wheelmen of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Cyclists Touring Club. Materials in this collection include the National League of American Wheelmen Bulletin, maps, and information on the Nova Scotia post-roundup tour in 1969. View the finding aid for this collection here.

The Charles River Wheelmen, Post-Roundup tours of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, 1969

The Charles River Wheelmen, Post-Roundup tours of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, 1969.

The Chet Johnson bicycling collection documents the October 12, 1965, re-enactment of the annual bicycle tour “Wheel Around the Hub” by the Boston Bicycle Club in 1879, as described in a February 1880 issue of the popular magazine Scribner’s Monthly. The original tour traveled one hundred miles around Greater Boston, with bicyclists from a number of bicycling clubs riding high wheelers. The re-enactment in 1965 followed the original route, which included Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, West Roxbury, Brook Farm, First Canal, Fairbanks House, Dedham, Readville, Blue Hill, Ponkapoag, Canton, and Sharon’s Cobb Tavern. Materials in the Chet Johnson collection include newspaper clippings, a flyer, Chet Johnson’s Safety League Membership Card, a decal, and a pamphlet from the Bicycle Institute of America. View the finding aid for this collection here.

Daily Ride Guide, Massachusetts Red Ribbon Ride, 2005.

The Andi Genser AIDS bicycle rides collection (2005 to 2010) documents Genser’s participation in AIDS rides, including the Red Ribbon Ride of 2005. The Red Ribbon Ride raises funds and awareness to support AIDS organizations. Genser was a manager at the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts from 2006 to 2010 and organizer of the Red Ribbon Ride since the 1990s. Materials in this collection consist of a Red Ribbon Ride binder, which includes a pamphlet, photocopied photographs, Daily Ride Guide, and flyers. View the finding aid for the collection here.

“A Tramp on Wheels” “Kid” St. Onge, 1898.

The Fred St. Onge scrapbooks, circa 1896-1922, outline St. Onge’s multiple careers as a Boston bicycle racer during the 1890s, an international vaudeville trick rider from 1900 to 1915, and a traveling salesman and cycling extravaganza man (circa 1915-1930). The bulk of the scrapbooks consist of newspaper clippings. Other items include correspondence, notes, pamphlets, flyers, newsletters, and photographs. View the finding aid for the collection here.

Read more about the various bicycling-related collections in University Archives & Special Collections at UMass Boston here. And learn more about researching the history of bicycling here.

For questions about these collections 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. To learn more about University Archives & Special Collections, visit blogs.umb.edu/archives.

Bookmark and Share

Mass. Memories Road Show heads to Eastham on Sunday, May 7

When: Sunday, May 7, 2017 | 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Location: Eastham Public Library | 190 Samoset Road | Eastham, Mass. | Click here for directions.

Do you have a connection to Eastham, Massachusetts? Do you live or work in Eastham? Are your roots in Eastham? Share your memories and take your place in Massachusetts history at this free, public event.

Please bring 2-3 photographs in their original format (digital or print photographs) and your stories to be recorded. We will scan unframed pictures and copy digital images and return the pictures back to you. All images will be added to the online collection at openarchives.umb.edu.

Local support for the Eastham Mass. Memories Road Show is provided by the Eastham Public Library.

For more information about the Eastham Mass. Memories Road Show, contact Debra DeJonker-Berry at ddejonkerberry@clamsnet.org or by calling 508-240-5950 (ext. 3137).

The Mass. Memories Road Show is a statewide digital history project that documents people, places, and events in Massachusetts history through family photographs and stories. It is produced by the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston and is co-sponsored by the Patricia C. Flaherty ’81 Endowed Fund.

Download the flyer for the Eastham Mass. Memories Road Show and remember to share it with your friends and family members!

Questions? Email carolyn.goldstein@umb.edu.

Bookmark and Share

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. To learn more about University Archives & Special Collections, visit blogs.umb.edu/archives.

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, April 22: Building a People’s History of Dorchester

When: Saturday, April 22, 2017 | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Location: Dorchester Historical Society | 195 Boston Street | Dorchester, Mass. | Click here for directions.

Come and share your aspirations for Dorchester history. Help make Dorchester’s past visible. Please join us in a conversation about our communities’ histories, sharing your thoughts on what histories you want to know and explore. What history is missing and why does it matter to you?

History empowers us. Sustaining our communities and supporting active citizenship requires that we understand and share our histories. Building a people’s history depends on your participation.

For more information, contact:

  • Jane Becker, PhD (Graduate Internship Coordinator and Lecturer, History Dept., UMass Boston), jane.becker@umb.edu
  • Monica Pelayo, PhD (Dir. of the Public History Track and Assistant Professor, History Dept., UMass Boston), monica.pelayo@umb.edu

This program is part of the Dorchester History Initiative, which includes John McColgan, City Archivist, City of Boston Archives; the Dorchester Historical Society; UMass Boston’s Department of History (Public History Track); and University Archives and Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston.

Download the flyer for this event here and help spread the word.


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. To learn more about University Archives & Special Collections, visit blogs.umb.edu/archives.

Bookmark and Share

Spring 2017 issue of New England Journal of Public Policy available on ScholarWorks

The most recent issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy is now available on ScholarWorks, the open access repository for scholarship and research at UMass Boston.

Describing the topics explored in this issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy, founding editor Padraig O’Malley writes: “This issue of the journal has three parts. The first part had its origins in a conference on extremism held at the Center for Study of Intractable Conflicts (CRIC), Harris Manchester College Oxford in October 2015; the second comprises four articles on conflicts referred to as ‘intractable’—Colombia, Syria, and Israel/Palestine—and a reflection on the Holocaust; the third is a stand-alone, one article that addresses the leadership attributes necessary to crack the iron walls of intractability.”

The New England Journal of Public Policy has been published since 1985 by the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Full issues of the open access journal are available on ScholarWorks.

In addition to the introductory note by journal editor O’Malley, who is also the John Joseph Moakley Distinguished Professor of Peace and Reconciliation at UMass Boston, the contents of this issue include:

To view the full issue, and to explore back issues of this publication, click here.


ScholarWorks is the University of Massachusetts Boston’s online, open access institutional repository for scholarship and research. ScholarWorks serves as a publishing platform, a preservation service, and a showcase for the research and scholarly output of members of the UMass Boston community. ScholarWorks is a service of the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston.

Bookmark and Share