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Sources for University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD) History

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Primary sources that have been donated to an archival repository are generally available for research.  University records are public records, and public records in the Commonwelath of Massachusetts are not restricted for access, unless exempt under privacy law.   Primary sources are original letters, documents, diaries, notebooks, photographs, and sometimes newspapers.  The identification and analysis of primary sources and other sources contemporary with the events are essential parts of historical research.  Some primary sources are, of course, only available in the library or archival collection that owns the documents.  Most archival repositories are working towards providing full text access to their holdings via the Internet. 

For access to university records collections, see the finding aids online at:

ArchivesSpace finding aids



Copyright & Fair Use

According to provisions of the Copyright Law of the United States, under certain conditions, libraries and archives may provide photocopies or other reproductions of materials to individuals for research and private study. Duplication in no way transfers either copyright or property rights, nor does it constitute permission to publish, display or rebroadcast in excess of "Fair Use."
The Archives reserves the right to deny certain requests for duplication if doing so would put the material at risk for damage, would violate restrictions placed by the donor, or would violate privacy statutes. 
Copyright ownership of University records, regardless of format, are generally retained by UMass Dartmouth and educational use by students and faculty constitutes fair use and is allowable by law.  Regardless of the use on or off campus,we request that attribution to the the Archives and Special Collectionsbe included.

Primary Sources in the UMass Dartmouth Archives and Special Collections

  Bradford Durfee Technical Institute seal.New Bedford Textile Institute seal.Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute seal.Southeastern Massachusetts University seal.


In addition to university records (left hand box) that are identified as part of the records of an office or individual employee of the UMass Dartmouth, the following are common sources for our history:

Catalogues - This is often the first source to check, especially to narrow down a date that a program began, or to get a short course description.  Catalogues give basic information on programs, curriculum, school history, facilities, equipment, enrollment and faculty.  Some years also list alumni and their current employment. 

The archives has a complete set of Bradford Durfee Catalogues 1904-1965, New Bedford Textile Institute Catalogues 1899-1965, SMTI and SMU catalogues 1963-1990, UMass Dartmouth Catalogues 1990-1997, and Swain School of Design catalogues, bulletins and circulars, 1885-1987.  Most catalogues have been digitized and are available online at:

Yearbooks - Yearbooks are a good picture source; photos are clear and can often be reproduced or scanned with little loss of detail.  They are also a source of information on faculty, administrators, students, student activities, and facilities.  Yearbooks have been used to refresh one’s memory about a student when asked to serve as a job reference.  There are yearbooks from both parent schools in the archives, back to 1922.  This is not a complete set and we welcome any donations from alums, especially for the older yearbooks.  Yearbooks have been digitized and are available online at:

Newspapers, Magazines and Newsletters - Whether published by students or the administration, these sources offer more insight into an issue of concern on campus, offer another point of view, or simply supply us with more detailed information on new faculty and administrators.  They record events as they happen, and are therefore a straightforward source of information.  There have been a dizzying array of papers published at UMD and its parent schools:  Distaff (BDTI), 1947-1957, The Technolog (BDTI), 1958-1964, Tech Talker and its shorter title, The Talker ( BDTI), 1959-1964, Tech Talk (NBIT), 1954-1964,  The Tech (NBIT), 1964, SMU News, 1970-1971, The Talker (SMTI), 1964-1969, The Torch, 1964-1967, and The Observer, 1991-1997.  A good source of campus information are the alumni magazines, Campanile and Compass, 1975-1990.  Not yet online; please see the archivist for access.

Newsclipping collections - The archives also retains an extensive set of newsclippings from local papers of articles about the university.  These have been kept since the early days and are still being compiled by the Office of Public Affairs.  Many are indexed, making it easier to find the subject you are looking for.  Holdings include:  Bradford Durfee Textile School, Scrapbooks 1910-1928, New Bedford Textile School, clippings, 1902-1964, SMU clippings, 1963-1987, and various sets of sports clippings.  Not yet online; please see the archivist for access.

Board of Trustees Minutes - All final decisions affecting the campus community originate from the Board of Trustees, including the school charter and organization, faculty appointments, salaries, curriculum, new programs and benefits, tuition and fees, and in some cases, admission of students.  To really get the true date something occurred in university history, you must consult the Trustees minutes, which serve as the official record of the Board’s activities and are a legally acceptable source  of information.  The Archives has the minutes of the Boards of both Bradford Durfee Textile School, 1899-1917, 1932-1961, the New Bedford Textile School, 1899-1965, and SMTI/SMU 1965-1990. Since joining the 5-campus system, UMD no longer has its own Board of Trustees, therefore the archives no longer collects the minutes.  Older minutes not yet online.  Recent minutes of the UMass System Trustees are available online at

Other committee minutes of interest:  Faculty meeting minutes, 1926-1964, Faculty Federation, Commencement, Honorary Degree, Space Planning and Allocation, Budget, Curriculum, and many others.  Committee activity offers insight into opinions of staff other than administrators and gives us information about the decision-making process. These records often include data and information gathered on a topic by committee members.  Often a report was published with findings and recommendations.Most are not yet online; please see the archivist for access.  Online access available for the Faculty Senate minutes at Minutes

President’s/Chancellor’s Records: We unfortunately have no records of the early principals of the parent schools, however, we do have the administrative files and correspondence of several SMTI/SMU presidents and chancellors including Dr. Joseph Driscoll, 1962-1971, Dr. Donald Ezzell Walker, 1972-1983, Dr. William Wild, 1983-1984, Dr. John Brazil, 1984-1992, Dr. Joseph Deck, 1992-1993, Dr. Peter Cressy, 1993- and Chancellor Jean MacCormack, 1999-2012.  These files include information on a number of topics affecting the university.  For the finding aids, see ArchivesSpace Finding Aids

Oral History Collections:  Over 100 interviews were conducted in 2005 and 2006 for the compilation of the campus history book, Trials and Triumph:  Univeristy of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 1966-2006.  Interviews include trustees, students, staff, faculty and other important individuals.  For access to audio recordings, see the Digital Archives at Trials and Triumph, URC 76.

    UMass Dartmouth logo.