Healey Library receives two National Endowment for the Humanities grants in support of archival collections and community collaboration

The Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston is proud to announce that it has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Division of Preservation and Access to support the work of the library’s University Archives and Special Collections department.

Logo for National Endownment for the HumanitiesThe Preservation Assistance Grant will allow University Archives and Special Collections in the Healey Library (UASC) to contract with the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) to assess the physical condition of the department’s extensive archival holdings. In addition, the grant will support a public photograph preservation training workshop that will be open to volunteers and professionals working in local historical societies and museums. UASC will use the assessment, resultant recommendations, and knowledge gained in the workshop to develop a 5-year preservation plan to ensure continued access to the unique collections.

“This support from the NEH is a tremendous opportunity to enable us to continue to improve how we preserve our collections,” explained Patricia Bruttomesso, the grant’s principal investigator and the department’s Archival Collections Project Manager. “We are grateful for the funding that will allow us to benefit from NEDCC’s expertise and share knowledge about preserving archival collections with other cultural institutions in the Boston area and across the Commonwealth.”

Edo G, Tony Rhome, Lisa Lee, and Pacey Foster speak on a panel as part of the launch event for the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive in November 2016.

Edo G, Tony Rhome, Lisa Lee, and Pacey Foster speak on a panel as part of the launch event for the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive in November 2016. Photo courtesy of Michael R. Colford.

UASC also received funding through NEH’s Common Heritage grant program to support a project called “Local Rappers, DJs, B-Boys, and Graff: Documenting the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Community from the 1970s to the present.” This funding will enable UASC and project partners at the Boston Public Library to work with the local hip-hop community and scholars to host a digitizing day event to collect photographs, stories, and other materials that will be added to the Healey Library’s Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive. It will further support four public programs at the BPL showcasing the four original elements of hip-hop culture—music, dance, DJs, and graffiti.

“We are looking forward to holding a thematic Mass. Memories Road Show event where everyone connected to hip-hop—musicians, DJs, dancers, graffiti artists, producers, and fans—can bring materials to document their experiences and share personal stories,” says Carolyn Goldstein, the grant’s principal investigator and the department’s Public History and Community Archives Program Manager. “The event will allow UMass Boston’s Healey Library to continue to build a unique collection documenting hip-hop in Massachusetts and, in collaboration with the Boston Public Library, engage a broad public in learning all about this important culture and its place in the Commonwealth.”

“Development of public programs is underway, which will further enable discovery of this important and historic hip hop archive, and Boston Public Library invites all to celebrate Boston’s unique music culture with us beginning this spring,” said Gianna Gifford, Boston Public Library’s Chief of Adult Library Services.

UMass Boston professor and hip-hop historian Pacey Foster notes that “Boston has had a vibrant Hip-Hop scene since the very early 1980s but never quite got the recognition it deserved from the popular press or commercial outlets. As a result, perhaps more than any other major metropolitan area in the nation, the story of Boston hip-hop remains relatively unknown. This project presents an incredible opportunity for the Hip-Hop community in Boston to share their stories and ensure that they remain accessible for generations to come.”

For more information about these grant-funded programs and about University Archives and Special Collections, email library.archives@umb.edu or call 617-287-5469.

About University Archives and Special Collections in the Healey Library at UMass Boston

UMass Boston logoUniversity Archives and Special Collections in the 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 carry out its mission, UASC is committed to working with, promoting, and assisting community archives in the Greater Boston area through facilitating cross-organization collaboration and access to informational, educational, and practical resources relevant to archival procedures and best practices.

For more information about these grant-funded programs and about University Archives and Special Collections, email library.archives@umb.edu or call 617-287-5469.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these initiatives and programs do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, Nov. 18 at Freedom House: Documentary screening hosted by Massachusetts Rock Against Racism and Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive

Screenshot from the documentary film, "Breakin’ Rappin’ Poppin’ and Graffin"

Screenshot from the documentary film, “Breakin’ Rappin’ Poppin’ and Graffin’” (1985).

When: Saturday, November 18, 2017 | Doors open at 2:30 pm, program runs from 3:00–5:00 pm

Location: Freedom House | 5 Crawford St. | Dorchester, Mass. 02121 | Click here for directions.

Massachusetts Rock Against Racism (RAR), in partnership with the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive and the Healey Library at UMass Boston, is hosting a reunion of the RAR community at Freedom House in Dorchester, Mass.

The event will feature a special screening of “Breakin’ Rappin’ Poppin’ and Graffin,’” a thirty-minute documentary produced by youth members of RAR in 1985 that documents a legendary b-boy battle at Madison Park in Roxbury, Mass. The records of Massachusetts Rock Against Racism are part of University Archives & Special Collections in the Healey Library at UMass Boston. View the finding aid for the collection here, and keep visiting blogs.umb.edu/archives to be notified when recordings from the collection are digitized and available online.

Flyer for Rock Against Racism Event at Freedom House on Nov. 18After the film screening, we will have a World Café-style discussion focused on the Rock Against Racism movement, local hip-hop history, and the engagement of youth in arts and culture as a tool for racial justice work.

This event is free, open to the public, and family friendly. To learn more and to RSVP, click here.

This event is co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive, Freedom House, and the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston, and is supported in part by the UMass President’s Creative Economy Initiatives Fund.

Download the flyer for this event and share it with your friends and colleagues.

For questions about this collection or to schedule a research appointment to view the materials at UMass Boston, 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.

Bookmark and Share

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.

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.

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.

Bookmark and Share

Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive launch: Saturday, November 19, at the Boston Public Library

hiphoparchive_nov19draft1In celebration of Hip-Hop History Month, the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston and the Boston Public Library invite the public to the launch of the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive.

When: Saturday, November 19, 2016  |  12:00 to 5:00 pm

Where: Boston Public Library, Rabb Lecture Hall  |  700 Boylston Street., Boston, Mass. 02116

For more information and directions, visit www.bpl.org or RSVP on Facebook.

Browse the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive here.

This event is free and open to the public and will include:

  • Artist panels with legendary local hip-hop artists from the 1980s to the present, including members of first-generation Boston groups The Almighty RSO, Top Choice Clique, FTI Crew, and artists including Rusti Pendleton, Edo G, Akrobatik, Bay Holla, Professor Lyrical, among others;
  • Listening sessions where the public can hear unreleased demo tapes from the Lecco’s Lemma collection from artists like Guru (Keithy E.), The Almighty RSO, Top Choice Clique, FTI Crew, and many others;
  • Hip-Hop in black and white: A discussion of racism and appropriation in American popular music and hip-hop history hosted by local activist scholars and cultural historians Jamarhl Crawford and Reebee Garofalo;
  • Official launch of the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive and Lecco’s Lemma collection and thanks to donors Magnus Johnstone, Willie “Loco” Alexander, and Tony Rose.
mhha

Photo credit (on right): John Nordell

 

Visit blogs.umb.edu/archives and follow the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive on Twitter for updates.


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.

Bookmark and Share