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Archive for April, 2015

On May 5, 1970, students and faculty of Amherst College joined more than 1,250 other colleges and universities in a nationwide student strike.

00000005The May 5 strike followed on the heels of a May Day demonstration at Yale protesting the trial of the New Haven Black Panthers and the surveillance of the Black Panthers by the FBI.  As the protest grew into a national movement, the motivation for the strike expanded to include President Nixon’s recent expansion of the Vietnam War and the death of four students at a demonstration at Kent State. (more…)

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On April 24 Armenians commemorate the genocide of 1915. The event is marked every year, but the centenary in 2015 has particular resonance and will be widely noted.

Even so, what happened in 1915 and the years that followed was not the first time of troubles for Armenians in Turkey. The nineteenth century had seen many massacres and had ended with several years of intense conflict now known as the “Hamidian Massacres” (named for Sultan Abdul Hamid II and the troops, mostly Kurdish, he used against the Armenians).

1898-Dwight-Harrison-Griswold-OlioSince several Amherst College missionaries were in the region for decades, the Archives and Special Collections contains many eyewitness accounts of what happened during the last years of the century. Most of the missionary accounts are in fairly obvious places, in what we think of as “missionary collections.” But there was one folder in another collection that lay quietly for many years, a folder in the Harrison Griswold Dwight Papers.

Harry Dwight (1875-1959; AC 1898) was born in Turkey to a family of missionaries but was not a missionary himself. His life was a more literary one, and his papers are filled with interesting correspondence and other writings from his career. Sometime in 1941 Harry wrote his cousin Mary W. Riggs (1873-1943) to ask for a packet of letters that had belonged to his father, Henry Otis Dwight (1843-1917), an important missionary based in Constantinople who married two of the Bliss sisters, thus linking him with our Bliss-Ward family of missionaries. (more…)

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This is part of an ongoing series of entries being written about the Samuel French archives at Amherst College

peekaboo

M. Abbott Van Nostrand served as the head of theatrical publishing company Samuel French, Inc. for an incredible thirty-eight years, from 1952 until his retirement in 1990. Early on, he realized that French’s history and output could be immensely valuable to scholars, performers, and theatrical enthusiasts.

Van Nostrand approached Amherst College (his alma mater) in 1964, offering a gift of Samuel French records and publications to the Amherst College Library. Over the next fifty years, the library accepted more than four hundred and fifty linear feet of unprocessed archival material including thousands of plays and publications, photographs, costume design illustrations, acting editions, musical scores, theatrical ephemera, and documentation of the Samuel French’s business transactions dating back to the mid 1800’s. (Take a moment to watch Mr. Van Nostrand talk about his experiences working at Samuel French in these oral history videos from 1994!) (more…)

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Update: Happy April Fools Day!

Amherst College Archives and Special Collections is very excited to announce our newest product: the Tickle-Me-Melvil (Dewey) doll! Now you can have your very own squeezable, huggable version of this library icon!

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