All posts by Joanne Riley

Using Archival Collections in Your Research

UASC Stacks
UMass Boston’s archival storage space. The University holds more than 200 archival collections across a variety of research areas.

Developing a successful research strategy involves identifying and locating relevant resources including both secondary and primary source materials.  It may turn out that UMass Boston’s Archives hold archival collections that are of direct use to you in your research.  UMass Boston’s collections encompass a variety of subject disciplines.  We preserve archival materials related to the University’s history as well as records and documents that reflect the university’s urban mission and strong support of community service, notably in collections of records of urban planning, social action, alternative movements, community organizations and local history related to our neighboring communities including the Boston Harbor Islands.   A couple of examples:

ForestersRecords
A single MCOF Record. Source: University Archives and Special Collections, UMass Boston.

UMass Boston holds than 28,000 mortuary records from the Mass. Catholic Association of Foresters,  a fraternal organization begun in Boston in 1879 by Irish immigrants. These records include extensive data about the health, social networks, occupations and immigration patterns of thousands of people over many decades.  We also hold the records of the international organization “Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research”, the papers of Judge David Mazzone, who presided over the cleanup of Boston Harbor, the chambers papers of W. Arthur Garrity, who presided over the desegregation of Boston Public Schools, records of the League of American Wheelmen and many, many more organizations and individuals.

1968 photo of Columbia Point
Columbia Point before the construction of the UMass Boston campus; photo taken in 1968. The building in the center is the Calf Pasture Pumping Station. Source: University Archives and Special Collections, UMass Boston.
Bicycling postcard, “You Can Count On US, Solider ! We’ll Keep ‘Em Rolling!”, circa 1920-1950. Source: Archives and Special Collections, UMass Boston.

Of course, no single archival institution can hold everything. Around the world, different institutions have committed to taking responsibility for storing and preserving different chunks of the historic record, usually based on that institution’s own mission and goals. There are many other archival institutions in the area and around the world, and Healey Library’s Archives staff can help you to find out what they hold and how to access them. There are also several fine, online directories of archival holdings – “ArchiveGrid” from OCLC is a good one.  Another is WorldCat, where you may limit search results to “Archival Material” using the faceting options in the left-hand column.

BPD Duty Card, 1919
Duty roster card for a patrolman involved in the 1919 Police Strike in Boston. Source: Boston Police Department Archives; digital copies of the full set held at University Archives and Special Collections, UMass Boston.

So if your research can make use of archival materials in any format, please do contact us. The staff here in the University Archives and Special Collections is enthusiastically committed to assisting you in reaching your academic and research goals.  The best way to take advantage of the Archives department’s services is simply to email library.archives@umb.edu and tell us what you need or are hoping to accomplish. And you are welcome to stop by any weekday between 10 am and 4 pm to say hello and see our Reading Room and speak to an archivist.  The University Archives and Special Collections are located on the 5th Floor of the Healey Library.

Related Resources:

Descriptions of UMass Boston’s Archival Collections

UMass Boston’s Repository for Digital Collections

Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research (SAA handout)

 

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting Includes WUMB Programs

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between the Library of Congress, WGBH Boston and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, announced on April 7, 2015 that it has launched a new website at americanarchive.org, providing the public with access to a collection of American public radio and television content dating back to the 1950s. These audio and video materials, created by more than 120 public broadcasting organizations across the country, have been digitally preserved, and will be a resource for scholars, researchers, educators, filmmakers and the general public to delve into the rich history of public broadcasting across America. Continue reading The American Archive of Public Broadcasting Includes WUMB Programs