UMass Dartmouth Archives and Special Collections Blog

Polish and American World War Veterans Auxiliary

Posted in UMass Dartmouth Archives and Special Collection, Uncategorized by jfarrar1895 on March 31, 2011

The archives staff recently completed the processing of the records of the Polish and American World War Veterans Association Auxiliary, New Bedford post, dated 1938 to 2008. These records were donated as part of the effort to collect the history of member organizations  of the New Bedford Council of Women’s Organizations. The Veterans Association was formed by veterans returning from World War I; at about the same time another organization was formed by those veterans who had volunteered for the United States service with the Polish Army. In 1923 the two associations combined, and in 1936 the Ladies Auxiliary formed. The collection includes scrapbooks, programs from charity balls and various ceremonies and dedications, photographs, and a uniform.  For further information, contact the archives at 508-999-8686 or email


That was then, this is now.

Posted in UMass Dartmouth Archives and Special Collection by jfarrar1895 on March 11, 2011

Did you know that the current home of the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives and the University Archives and Special Collections was once home to the campus television production studio?  In 1972 when the library first opened, it was conceived as a Library Communication Center, with a full television production studio and audiovisual department integrated within the building.

SMU Television was established by early 1974 under the library division Instructional Media Services.  Les Cory was the first director of Media Services.  Robert Archer became co-director with Walter Frost soon after that, and then director for Television Services.  Others who worked in the department and on programs included Roger Lavoie, Paul Souza, and Liz Bryne.  Jim Feeley, in charge of graphic design for the campus, designed television sets.  In addition to taping campus events, classroom teaching, and producing promotional and educational videotapes, SMU Television produced programs broadcast over the cable networks.  There was a news program by Dick Owen and seniors Mike Laney and Bob Johnson in the 1970s early 1980s; a game show entitled “The Third Degree;” a comedy show “Mezzanine Madness” both in the 1970s; and “SMU Horizons” a public relations show which ran from 1984 to 1987.  “Perspectives,” its descendant, ran from about 1989 to 1992.

Television studio control room, now the reading room, in 1998.

Prince Henry Society Reading Room today.


Espírito Santo School Photo from Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives

Posted in Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives by jfarrar1895 on February 9, 2011

The Espírito Santo School in Fall River, Massachusetts recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. It was the first Portuguese parochial school in the United States, opening its doors September 19, 1910. The Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives holds many interesting historical photographs documenting different aspects of the local Portuguese community, including this one of the school’s dedication on Labor Day, September 5th, 1910. Bishop Daniel Feehan provided the blessing for the new school. The crowd is gathered in front of the original rectory.  Two hundred and twenty pupils, 104 boys and 116 girls, enrolled as the first class, were also present for the opening ceremonies.  To read more see this article at

Archives comes alive to celebrate Howard Glasser’s 81st birthday

Posted in Howard T. Glasser Archives of Folk Music and Letter Arts by jfarrar1895 on February 2, 2011

On Sunday January 31st, the UMass Dartmouth Archives and Special Collections hosted a ceilidh (pronounced “kaylee”) to celebrate the 81st birthday of Howard T. Glasser – friend, artist, and founder of the SMU/UMD Eisteddfod.  About 70 of Howard’s friends gathered in the Prince Henry Society Reading Room in the afternoon to play and enjoy music, eat whoopie pies, and toast to his influence and friendship. Stay tuned for more photos to be posted on Flickr.


New Item Featured – Pressed Flower Souvenir Book from the Holy Land

Posted in Archives of the Center for Jewish Culture by jfarrar1895 on January 3, 2011

Amongst a group of books recently donated by Melvin Lash to the Archives of the Center for Jewish Culture was a small jewel – a souvenir book of pressed flowers from the Holy Land “accumulated from the most important and sacred localities in the holy land, with topographical, historical & statistical notes from the most accurate and latest statements in Hebrew and English”/Jerusalem. Inside are thirteen plates with actual pressed flowers in artful arrangements, along with a description of the location of the origin of the flowers. Although undated, it was probably made and/or purchased between 1914 and 1920, after comparing it with similar examples. The wooden covers may be made of olive wood. There is a detailed inlay work design on the cover, surrounding a stamped “Jerusalem.” This little book is a very nice example of one type of souvenir collected by tourists who made the pilgrimage to Palestine in the early part of the 20th century.  Or it may have been collected by a soldier serving overseas during World War I.  Plates include Mount Tabor, Mount Carmel, The Tomb of Rachel, The Jordan River, the Fountain of Shiloah, Hebron, and Mount Zion.

Origin Unknown: George Le Clerc Collection

Posted in UMass Dartmouth Archives and Special Collection, Uncategorized by jfarrar1895 on December 10, 2010

George H. LeClerc was a craftsman from New Bedford, MA active in designing miniature furniture in the 1930s. He likely designed for the Toy Furniture Shop in Providence, RI, which is connected to the TynieToy company, which also began in Providence. TynieToy was founded in 1917 by Marion Perkins, and is considered a preeminent maker of period American doll furniture made to scale; the company was most active between World Wars I and II.

This collection was part of the archives when I arrived in 1995, but I could never track down the donor or find additional information on the artist. Why did Le Clerc create and exhibit the miniature rooms? Was it related to his profession, or was it a hobby? What were the many metal chair back templates created for? There are hundreds, and their sizes do not always match the size of TynieToy furniture.

The collection includes operational records, on cards, tissue and blueprint doll furniture designs (mostly chair backs) and metal templates for chair backs and other furniture. Also includes photographs of templates of chair backs, as well as photographs of fully furnished rooms of miniature furniture. Includes photos of an exhibit of miniature furniture at Jordan Marsh, date unknown.

If you can enlighten me about this collection, please comment on this blog or email me at

October is American Archives Month

October is American Archives Month — an “opportunity to raise awareness about the value of archives and archivists. There is strength in numbers and our collective voice can be more powerful than individual voices when we set aside time throughout the month to celebrate our collections” (from the website of the Society of American Archivists). The Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections, including the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives will celebrate Archives Month on October 28 with an open house and movie day from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. We will show movies from and related to our collections, especially short video productions about regional Portuguese culture.

Eisteddfod 2010

Posted in Howard T. Glasser Archives of Folk Music and Letter Arts by jfarrar1895 on July 22, 2010

The Folk Music Society of New York, Inc. is proud to announce the seventh Festival of Traditional Music to be held in New York after a 40 year history of festivals in Pittsburgh and Dartmouth, Massachusetts. The 2010 Eisteddfod returns to the Hudson Valley for a second year after being held in New York City for the previous five years. Enjoy a fun-filled weekend of traditional folk/roots music. Meet 20 or more outstanding performers in 30 workshops and three concerts, plus an open mike, late night singing, a contra dance, and informal socializing, music making, and outdoor walks plus convenient hotel rooms, good food, an indoor pool, and more.

The festival features performers who are representatives of the living ethnic traditions, and performers who have become steeped in those traditions. It has programs ideal for the whole family, and provides a very rare chance in New York to hear such diverse, and such high quality, performers all in a single venue.

Information at: Online sales at:
More Details will be forthcoming.

(The word “Eisteddfod” is Welsh. It connotes a gathering of poets and musicians, and there is a large Eisteddfod every year in Wales. The name was adopted by Howard Glasser, the founder of the American Eisteddfod, when he began these gatherings of singers and musicians four decades ago.)

———————– 00 ———————-
An electronic version of this release is available at
Accredited members of the press are always welcome at our events. Tear-sheets are appreciated. Press contact: Rosalie Friend, (718) 965-4074,, for further information.

The Folk Music Society of New York, Inc. / New York Pinewoods Folk Music Club is a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational corporation, an affiliate of the Country Dance and Song Society of America, and a member of the Folk Alliance. It is run by a volunteer Board of Directors, elected by the membership. It runs concerts, weekends, classes, singing parties, and get-togethers, all with an emphasis on traditional folk music of all flavors. Office: 444 West 54th St, #7, New York NY 10019; (718) 672-6399

Visit our website:

Folk Woodcuts from Brazil’s Northeast: From the Brazilian-American Cultural Institute Collection

Posted in Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives by jfarrar1895 on July 7, 2010

On exhibit in the William Q. and Mary Jane MacLean Gallery in the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives July 7, 2010 through August 30, 2010.

This exhibit features both examples of the “literatura de cordel,” or chapbooks, and many fine examples of woodblock prints by artists working in this tradition in Northeastern Brazil. One of the most famous artists represented is J. Borges. Other artists included are Dila (José Soares da Silva), and José Costa Leite. Chapbooks made their appearance in Brazil very early, introduced by missionaries from the Iberian peninsula, where they were most popular in the sixteenth and first half of the seventeenth centuries (in Portugal they were known as “folhas volantes”).

They took hold in the hinter regions, including the Northeastern Brazilian states of Pernambuco, Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte and Ceará, where many residents were illiterate. Originally just religious in nature, later authors were folk chroniclers, relaying, in poetic verse anything from European legends such as the tale of Charlemagne to modern political events, fables, anecdotes, and crimes of passion. The chapbooks were sold in market places and on the streets. The authors themselves often gave public readings from them. The genre became known as “literatura de cordel” since it was customary to display these chapbooks for sale hanging on strings from a pole.

The cordel in Brazil is a small pamphlet, usually measuring four by six and a half inches. It is printed on newsprint paper, and contains 8-32 pages of verse enclosed with a pastel cover illustrated with a woodblock print created by the author or another artist. Many of these illustrations are quite vibrant and appealing, and a number of the artists/authors became quite famous and were asked to create larger, separate prints for sale to collectors.

In 2008 the library purchased a collection of twenty original chapbooks and 76 individual woodblock prints by a variety of artists from Northeastern Brazil. The collection was originally compiled by the Brazilian American Cultural Institute (BACI), under the direction of José Neistein. At the same time, the library’s Archives and Special Collections acquired the institutional archives of BACI, which are currently in the process of being catalogued.

NCJW to celebrate 95th Anniversary

Posted in Archives of the Center for Jewish Culture by jfarrar1895 on June 18, 2010

The New Bedford Chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women celebrates its 95th anniversary on June 27, 2010 with a dinner at Ahavath Achim. The Archives and Special Collections at the Claire T. Carney Library, which preserves the archival records of the chapter in its Archives of the Center for Jewish Culture, assisted with the celebration by preparing an exhibit of historical documents, photographs and newspaper clippings.

The New Bedford Chapter of the NCJW was was formed in February 1915 by a group of 31 women who met at the home of Mrs. William Beserosky. Mrs. Harry Lumiansky was elected the first president. This was during World War I, so naturally early projects focused on helping soldiers and those displaced by war. Members rolled bandages, knitted and sold War Bonds. They also supplied relief funds for Jews in Europe by sending financial assistance to Zionist organizations in Jerusalem. During World War II the local council provided help to the Red Cross, the U.S.O., The Blood Bank, and raised funds by selling War Bonds. After the wars, and over the years, council projects included the Ship-A Box program, which shipped toys to Israel, Medical Loan Chest, which provided medical equipment to those in need, and a scholarship program. Council also provided assistance to the New Bedford Mental Health Clinic, Sol-E-Mar Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, and Hebrew University Secondary School in Israel, among others. According to the current president, Rachel Levinson, “there isn’t anything we haven’t done.”