Activism, artwork, nineteenth-century Roxbury schools, and Tour de Trump—Oh my!

Picture of the Town of Roxbury, MA school register dated 1846-1848

Town of Roxbury, Mass., school register, 1846-1848

University Archives & Special Collections (UASC) in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston is pleased to announce that six collections of previously unavailable archival material are now open for research. This is the third in a series of posts to announce newly available collections, toward the goal of making all of UASC’s collections, both processed and unprocessed, open for research.

Collections that have not been processed, or that are minimally processed, will be made available upon request to researchers in approximately two to three weeks, depending on the size and complexity of the collection. Contact library.archives@umb.edu for more information.

To learn more about the collections that were made available this week, click the collection title in the list below.

  • Town of Roxbury school register, 1846-1848: This register documents the activities of the primary school in the Town of Roxbury. The register was a result of the Statute of 1845 Chap. 157, enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives. The registers, intended to last five years, were provided to the school committees by the Secretary of State. The object of the register was to furnish the school committee with facts from which they could make their annual returns. The register also served to exhibit the condition of the school for a series of years, allowing for self-comparison and improvement. The register contains names of the members of the school committee, names of teachers and the value of their board per month, names of parents and guardians, names of students, students’ ages, the dates the students entered and left the school, a record of daily attendance, and a list of books prescribed by the school committee.
  • Paul Atwood activist flyers and publications collection, circa 1968-1971: This collection includes flyers, pamphlets, and activist newspapers. Some of the significant topics represented in this collection include counter culture in Boston, the antiwar movement, the Vietnam War, United States politics of 1968, activism, the expansion of Harvard’s campus, Cambridge rent control, the Black Panthers, racism, and feminism.
  • Activist Pamphlets collection, 1960-1979: This collection contains activist pamphlets, newspapers, and reports published locally, across the United States, and internationally. Some of the topics addressed in the collection include politics, labor, feminism, racism, war, and issues in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East during 1960-1979.
  • Resource file survey cards, circa 1981: These survey cards may have been created as a project after the University Archives and Special Collections department was established at the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1981. The cards contain descriptive data of various local activists and community and benevolent organizations and their records.
  • Cover of Tour de Trump magazine. Large photo of cyclist wearing helmet and goggles, small inset photo of Donald Trump with a different cyclist

    Tour de Trump magazine, 1990

    Tour de Trump ephemera, 1990: The Tour de Trump was a sporting event designed to showcase cycling’s elite and was intended to be America’s version of the Tour de France. The event was originally sponsored by Donald Trump’s Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and was known as the Tour de Trump in 1989 and 1990. Materials consist of a map guide of the race and the Tour de Trump official 1990 race magazine.

  • Roy Medeiros artwork, circa 1982-1984: The materials in this collection consist of five art pieces created out of spiral-bound notebooks by Roy Medeiros. The titles of the pieces are “Poker,” “Variations in Advertising,” “Self Portrait,” “American Flag Book,” and “Proud to be an American”.

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.

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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Book Reading and Reception: A People’s History of the New Boston

People's History of the New BostonWhen: Thursday, October 16, 2014 | 3:00 – 5:00 pm

Where: Point Lounge, Campus Center 3rd Floor, on the campus side, University of Massachusetts Boston

Join the Friends of the Joseph P. Healey Library for a reading from and reception for Jim Vrabel’s new book, A People’s History of the New Boston, published by UMass Press. Barbara Lewis, director of the William Monroe Trotter Institute, will introduce the author.

Books will be available for purchase, and refreshments will be served.

Although Boston today is a vibrant and thriving city, it was anything but that in the years following World War II. By 1950 it had lost a quarter of its tax base over the previous twenty-five years, and during the 1950s it would lose residents faster than any other major city in the country.

Credit for the city’s turnaround since that time is often given to a select group of people, all of them men, all of them white, and most of them well off. In fact, a large group of community activists, many of them women, people of color, and not very well off, were also responsible for creating the Boston so many enjoy today. This book provides a grassroots perspective on the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s, when residents of the city’s neighborhoods engaged in an era of activism and protest unprecedented in Boston since the American Revolution.

Using interviews with many of those activists, contemporary news accounts, and historical sources, Jim Vrabel describes the demonstrations, sit-ins, picket lines, boycotts, and contentious negotiations through which residents exerted their influence on the city that was being rebuilt around them. He includes case histories of the fights against urban renewal, highway construction, and airport expansion; for civil rights, school desegregation, and welfare reform; and over Vietnam and busing. He also profiles a diverse group of activists from all over the city, including Ruth Batson, Anna DeFronzo, Moe Gillen, Mel King, Henry Lee, and Paula Oyola. Vrabel tallies the wins and losses of these neighborhood Davids as they took on the Goliaths of the time, including Boston’s mayors. He shows how much of the legacy of that activism remains in Boston today.

Jim Vrabel is a longtime Boston community activist and historian. He is author of When in Boston: A Time Line & Almanac and Homage to Henry: A Dramatization of John Berryman’s “The Dream Songs.

For disability-related accommodations, including dietary accommodations, please visit www.ada.umb.edu two weeks prior to the event.

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