In the Archives: A Revolutionary Campus Created in Park Square

Author: Kayla Allen, Archives Assistant and graduate student in the History MA Program at UMass Boston

Black-and-white photo of Albert Fulchino and John W. Lederle standing with Audrey Taub

Albert Fulchino and John W. Lederle with Audrey Taub, the first student accepted into the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts, 1965

Until the mid-twentieth century, there was only one public university serving students in our state, the University of Massachusetts located in Amherst. In the 1960s, the Massachusetts legislature decided that we needed another: a school in the city that would serve the people of Boston and the surrounding area. The first student accepted to the Boston campus was a young woman named Audrey Taub, and the school made a big to-do of the occasion. 

UMass Boston’s first campus was at Park Square, and it opened in 1965. Our collections show this community forming at a tumultuous time, a period of protest in an America ready for revolutionary change. According to David Outerbridge, class of 1970

“Looking back through the haze of fifty years, I would like to say my four years at UMass Boston were a seamless progression of academic and personal growth. And in some measure they were, but they were also extremely difficult years when the world impinged on our lives in a way that changed the experience of college. Vietnam and the Civil Rights struggle overshadowed everything. My focus couldn’t be entirely on my studies. There were books on the war to read, teach-ins and demonstrations to go to. The pull of engagement in the world was strong.”

UMass Boston became a place where students could learn, not just academics, but about life. They were often directly participating in the struggles of their era, both on and off campus. On page seven of the September 22, 1969 edition of Mass Media, UMass Boston Afro-American Society President Alvan Johnson called for equity at UMass Boston:

“Even though advancements have been made in several areas, much more needs to be done. For instance; of a possible 275 faculty members, nine are Black; of a possible 3,500 students, six to seven percent are Black; course offerings are still very limited, and there still is no major either in African or Afro-American studies. The faculty and administration have responded to the voice of the minority in its midst.

But silence on our part now might be mistaken for contentment. I assure you, this is not the case. We have several projects to undertake, many more dragons to slay before this university is fit for people of all ‘races, creeds, and national origins.’”

We have several collections and posts to share pertaining to the Park Square campus. There are wonderful stories and photographs collected from alumni like David, faculty, and staff in the Park Square History Project on our UMass Boston Memories blog. Please browse and/or contribute! 

To read more from students (like Alvan Johnson) who experienced the Park Square campus, be sure to check out our digitized run of the Mass Media

Black-and-white photo of the front of UMass Boston's main building in Park Square

Facade of UMass Boston’s main Park Square building [viewed] from Statler Park

We also have a collection of over 180 digitized photographs (and its finding aid) taken on and around the original UMass Boston campus. Many of the photographs feature the main building at 100 Arlington Street and the library in the Armory across the road. I’ve selected a few of these photographs for you to check out at the end of this post.

In addition, many of the UMass Boston yearbooks have been digitized by the Internet Archive. Here you can see the 1969, 1970, and 1971 yearbooks, the three issues we have digitized that were created on the Park Square campus.

There is so much more to say about this incredible campus and the experiences of the people that learned and worked there. It feels almost impossible to conclude this post here, but I must (for now). Please keep your eyes peeled for future posts featuring the collections that tell the stories of UMass Boston.

If you’re interested in learning a bit more about 100 Arlington Street as it is now, check out this blog post written by Andrew Elder in 2014, right after the building was converted into a luxury apartment complex.


All photographs featured here are courtesy of the University Archives and Special Collections Department, Joseph P. Healey Library, University of Massachusetts Boston: University of Massachusetts Boston, historic photographs.

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Historic university records, publications, and photographs now available for research

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.

Man leans against a pole with street signs for Arlington Street and Columbus Avenue in front of a University of Massachusetts building

UMass Boston’s original campus at Park Square in downtown Boston, circa 1964-1974. From UAPHO-0001, box 2, folder 34.

This is the second 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.

  • University of Massachusetts Boston. Office of University Events and Ceremonies records, 1965-2016: Materials include convocation and commencement programs, invitations, and photographs. The programs include the order of events, names of degrees, honorary degrees, certificates, award recipients, and commencement facts and acknowledgements.
  • Publications Office records, 1979-1991: The Publications Office produced the majority of the university’s publications. On August 1, 1998, Chancellor Sherry H. Penney conducted reorganization of several departments at the administrative level to strengthen communication and enrollment efforts. This reorganization created one unit that was responsible for enrollment and communication services. Materials consist of files kept by regular staff and include receipts and correspondence for creating publications such as catalogs, invitations, and posters for various departments across campus. Some of these publications can be found within this collection.
  • University of Massachusetts Boston historical photographs, 1964-2009: These photographs document the history of the University of Massachusetts Boston from its founding in 1964 through 2009. Topics include the planning and establishment of the campus, campus construction, the founding convocation, commencements, student life, campus landscapes, campus building interiors, and campus events. Formats include photographs, slides, negatives, DVDs, CDs, and VHS tapes.
  • University of Massachusetts Boston. Government Relations and Public Affairs Office, 1982-2005: The Division of Government Relations and Public Affairs serves as the primary point of contact and source of information about the University of Massachusetts Boston, university events, and achievements. These photographs, negatives and CDs in the collection document the activities of the division.
  • University of Massachusetts Boston. Faculty Senate, 1967-1984: The Faculty Senate is the governing body of the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). Its primary task is to attend to collegiate matters, and its actions and views are to be considered the official actions and views of the college. These records document the activities of the Faculty Senate. Materials include by-laws, minutes, reports, correspondence and notes. Materials on various university committees can also be found in the collection.
  • University of Massachusetts Boston. Chemistry Department records, 1971-2012, bulk 1990-2005: These records document the activities of the Chemistry Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Materials consist of files kept by regular staff and faculty, and include semester highlights, annual reports, program proposals, a proposal for the Science College, and correspondence.

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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“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).” You can also listen to and read a transcription of a 1998 oral history interview with Professor 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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Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Planning records, 1964-2012, now available

Original UMass Boston Plan, 1964 September

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston is pleased to announce that archival materials from the university’s Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Planning records, 1964-2012, have been fully processed and are available for research. Read the finding aid for this collection.

This collection documents the activities of the Office of Institutional Research and Planning at the University of Massachusetts Boston from the establishment of UMass Boston in 1964 through 2012. The bulk of this collection contains long range plans, five-year plans, enrollment reports, statistical portraits pertaining to retention and student enrollment, white papers, notes, and correspondence.

One document of note is the 1964 University of Massachusetts plan for the creation of a public university in Boston to serve the educational needs of the metropolitan area. Included in the plan are the minutes of task force meetings, proposed curriculum, space projections, student distribution information, and sites for consideration downtown and in the Greater Boston area.

The Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Planning provides data in support of policy formation, decision making, assessment, and planning. Annual publications include: Fast Facts, Who Are Our Students? and Statistical Portraits. The office is the primary source for official campus statistics, complying with federal, state, and university reporting standards and requirements. The office coordinates or completes the major college guides and professional association surveys, and conducts student surveys and special research studies in support of university policy formation, assessment, and accountability (1).

The finding aid for the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Planning records is available here.

For questions about this collection or to schedule a research appointment, please contact library.archives@umb.edu or 617-287-5469.

For more information about the history of UMass Boston and related collections held in University Archives & Special Collections at UMass Boston, click here.

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Sources:

1. “Home Page.” Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Planning. University of Massachusetts Boston, n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2017.


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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Ann E. Berthoff papers now available for research

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston is pleased to announce that the Ann E. Berthoff papers have been processed and are available for research. The papers were processed by Ashlie Duarte-Smith and Donna Russo, graduate students in UMass Boston’s History Department.

Ann E. Berthoff, Red notebook: Advanced Composition, 1983-1986

Ann E. Berthoff, red notebook: Advanced Composition, 1983-1986

This collection documents the career of Ann E. Berthoff as an instructor and philosopher of the English language while at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Prior to joining the faculty at UMass Boston, Berthoff taught English at Bradford Junior College, Bryn Mawr College, Swarthmore College, and Haverford College.

Very little material pertains to Berthoff’s personal life. Correspondence primarily consists of communications with editors regarding various publications and intellectual exchanges with other authors and teachers. The collection also includes Berthoff’s records of her teachings, personal research materials that include work not her own, manuscripts of Berthoff’s published writing, and one unpublished manuscript.

The bulk of the collection contains professional and personal research that Berthoff collected over the course of her lifetime related to her writing and teaching. These materials include newspaper and magazine clippings, printouts of published third-party work, copious handwritten notecards, classroom exercises, syllabi, student work and grades (student names have been redacted), lectures, correspondence, and course reviews.

Subject matter includes reviews of student and colleague work, colleagues’ teaching syllabi, ventilation systems and air quality at the University of Massachusetts Boston, I.A. Richards, Susanne K. Langer, Paulo Freire, and various authors and their publications. Much of the collection was annotated and arranged in a secondary order by Hephzibah Roskelly as she conducted research for a book about Berthoff’s work.

Materials in this collection are now available for consultation in the Archives Research Room (Healey Library, 5th floor). View the finding aid for this 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.

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