Ellsworth Barnard Papers

25 boxes (12.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 002
rotating decorative images from SCUA collections

Ellsworth "Dutchy" Barnard attended Massachusetts Agricultural College, and received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1928. Barnard began teaching college English in 1930 at Massachusetts State College. In the fall of 1957 he took a position at Northern Michigan University (NMU). As chairman of the English department, Barnard presided over a selection committee which brought the first African-American faculty member to NMU. During the 1967-1968 academic year, he led the faculty and student body in protesting the dismissal of Bob McClellan, a history professor. Although the effort to reappoint McClellan was successful, Barnard had already tendered his resignation at NMU and returned to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for the 1968-1969 academic year. He ended his career at UMass as the Ombudsperson, the first to fill that office. Barnard retired in 1973 and lived in Amherst until his death in December 2003.

Barnard's papers document his distinguished career as an English professor and author, as well as his social activism, particularly on behalf of the environment. They consist of course materials, personal and professional correspondence, drafts of essays, lectures and chapters, published works, a collection of political mailings, a number of artifacts both from the University of Massachusetts and other educational institutions and organizations, and a number of poems by Barnard and others.

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Background on Dutchy Barnard

An image of: Ellsworth Barnard

Ellsworth Barnard

Ellsworth 'Dutchy' Barnard was born in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, on April 11, 1907 to farmers David and Kate Barnard. After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree from Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1928, he continued on for a Master of Arts (1929) and Doctorate (1935) at the University of Minnesota. He was a lifelong naturalist and birdwatcher.

While still writing his dissertation, Barnard began teaching, first at his alma mater in 1930, now renamed Massachusetts State College, and then at the University of Tampa in 1936, the same year he married Mary Taylor. After publication of his dissertation on the religion of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1937, he accepted a position at Williams College, however he and colleague, Nathan Comfort Starr were dismissed in 1940 under what was considered scandalous circumstances. Barnard rebounded by accepting a position as head of the English Department at Alfred University, where he worked for nine years beginning in the fall of 1941.

A politically progressive critic of isolationist tendencies in the United States, Barnard had written in support of American entry into the Second World War as early as January 1940, and during his stint at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in the academic year 1940-1941, he spearheaded a faculty petition encouraging immediate aid for Britain and the Allies in Europe. Although rejected for military service when he tried to enlist after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Barnard taught in the Army Specialized Training Program at Alfred, instructing potential officers how to write accurate and readable reports.

The conflict with the administration that Barnard had experienced at Williams was repeated under two different presidents at Alfred, and after Barnard's refusal to swear that he was not a member of the Communist Party, he was forced out of his position in 1950. After a brief appointment teaching a summer session at the University of Rochester that year, he remained unemployed for two years, devoting his time to completing his second book, Edwin Arlington Robinson: A Critical Study, published in 1952.

With the completion of the Robinson book, Barnard secured a position at the University of Chicago, remaining a provocative figure in advocating for civil liberties. In his article "Communism is not the Question" (written in 1953, but published in 1955), he directly criticized the practice of barring communists from academic positions. During his three years at Chicago, he also began to build a home at High Ledges, a plot of land in Shelburne Falls that he had purchased with his wife.

After Chicago, Barnard held a one-year appointment at Bowdoin College, during which he began to explore a new and controversial system for teaching English grammar that focused on actual usage rather than specific rules, and he launched into a biography of Wendell Willkie. Moving on to Northern Michigan University in the fall 1957, he developed a system of student evaluations for professors, and remained long enough to rise up the ranks and become department chair in 1962-1963. He presided over a selection committee which brought the first African-American faculty member to NMU.

In 1961, after taking a leave of absence from Northern Michigan University for the fall of 1960, Barnard completed work on his biography Wendell Willkie: Fighter for Freedom (1966). Like his subject, Barnard remained politically active, leading a faculty and student protest against to the dismissal of Bob McClellan, a history professor who had opposed administrative policies. Although McClellan's dismissal was avoided, Barnard had already tendered his resignation and returned home to Massachusetts to accept a position at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The latter years of Barnard's career at UMass were highlighted by continued work on Edwin Arlington Robinson and a series of self-published autobiographical works, as well as publications on teaching grammar. The last two years of his career at the University (1971-1973) were filled in the newly-created office of Ombudsman.

Even in retirement, Barnard continued to write. In 1998, the Massachusetts Audubon society published his book In a Wild Place: A Natural History of High Ledges, and his own Dinosaur Press issued both a collection of his poetry, Verses in a Vanished Mode (2002) and a posthumous collection of essays, Don't Give Up the Fight, Ever. Barnard lived in Amherst and High Ledges until his death on December 29, 2003.

Scope of collection

The papers of Ellsworth 'Dutchy' Barnard document his long and distinguished career as an author and professor of English, as well as his social activism and environmental conservationism. The papers contain the usual detritus of an academic career, including personal and professional correspondence, drafts of essays, lectures and chapters, published works, and course materials, along with a collection of letters to the editor (both published and unpublished), political correspondence, and a handful of artifacts. The collection is organized in 6 series: General correspondence, Subject files, Politics, Course materials, Published works, and Realia.

Series descriptions

4 boxes (1.75 lin. feet)

The Correspondence consists of letters to and from Ellsworth Barnard. There are three types of correspondence in the collection. Folders labeled "Correspondence" hold letters organized alphabetically by correspondent.

While original order could not be maintained for the bulk of the correspondence, in cases where a clear grouping of correspondence on a single subject existed, the order was maintained. In cases where other material clearly relevant to the correspondence was grouped with the correspondence, the additional material was included with the correspondence.

8 boxes (4 lin. feet)

The Subject Files contain materials relating to specific topics grouped by subject and medium.

2 boxes (0.75 lin. feet)

The politics series includes correspondence with public officials, writings on political topics and political publications and mailings.

2 boxes (1 lin. foot)

This series contains lecture notes, syllabi and assignments for classes taught by Ellsworth Barnard. Because the material was mostly unorganized when received, it has been organized by subject, course number and course title, depending on available identification, in alphabetical and numerical order.

1 box (0.5 lin. feet)

This series includes Barnard's published books and publications with articles or essays by him. It also includes a small collection from his personal library. Below is a listing of included works.

6 boxes (2.5 lin. feet)

This series consists of a variety of artifacts from Barnard's time at the university, as well as audio and video cassettes and academic scrolls.


Series 1. Correspondence
4 boxes (1.75 lin. feet)
General correspondence
American Association of University Professors
Anderson, Paul Bunyon
Bartol, Frank
Bernstein, Melvin
Bothwell, Kay and Henry
Bowdoin, Helen
Brogan, Howard
Brown, Herbert
Bush, Douglass
Call, Reuben
Clark, Harry
Cram, Robert and Gertrude
Crane, Doris
Dennett, Tyler
Dunkelberger, Toby
Foley, Mary
Fure, Robert
Gainer, Ruth
Gray, Richard
Greason, Roy
Gurney, Louis
Hale, Morris
Harris, Helen
Hedlund, Harry
Houston, Howard
Hughes, Merritt
Laub, Herbert
Langworthy, Russ
Lund, Bruce
McLaughlin, James
Miller, William
Modern Language Association of America
Moore, Cecil
Quinn, Jack
Ryan, Alvin and Polly
Shafer, Robert
Sherman, John
Starr, Nathan
Stoddard, Herbie
Stone, Brint
Tippo, Oswald
Torrey, Ray
Wells, Carlton
Willkie family
Subject correspondence
"In Sunshine and in Shadow Vol III: Life in the Ivory Tower"
Job Search
Mass Audobon- High Ledges
McClellan Controversy Case
McClellan Controversy and Honorary Degree from Northern Michigan University
Modern American Authors Memoranda
16 Modern American Authors (Later Edition)
Notes and Writings on Robert Frost
Press and Publication: Dinosaur Press
Press and Publication: "Generally Speaking"
Press and Publication: Robinson Book
Press and Publication: "Robinson's Reputation"
Press and Publication: Selected Poems by Shelley
Press and Publication: Willkie
E. A. Robinson Review
Taylor (Peace Corps) 1987-1990
"War and the Verities" and Job Search 1939-1941
"The Williams Debacle" Evidence
Series 2. Subject files
8 boxes (4 lin. feet)
Alumni (Class of 1928)
Atom Spy Case
Book Reviews
College English Association
Student Evaluations
English Language
By Others
High Ledges
"In Sunshine and in Shadow"
Letters to the Editor
Arab-Israeli Conflict
Atom Spy Case
William Bulger
Civil Liberties
Death Penalty
Fair Reporting
Foreign Aid
Government Programs
Government Waste
International Agreements
Justice System
Labor Issues
Politics and Campaigns
Terrorism and State-Sponsored Terrorism
Wendell Willkie
Massachusetts Agricultural College (MAC)
Massachusetts Audubon Society
Modern American Authors
"The Nature of Things"
Northern Michigan University
Bernstein, Melvin
Frost, Robert
Gatterman, Bruce
Grossman, Allen
Hecht, Anthony and John Hollander
Heyen, William
Holmes, John
Kinnell, Galway
Knapp, Lewis
MacDougal, Eveline
Richer, Ted
Starr, Nathan Comfort
Tagliabue, John
Walker, Paul
Robinson, E. A.
Term Papers
Willkie, Wendell
World War II
Series 3. Politics
2 boxes (0.75 lin. feet)
Affirmative Action
Committee on Un-American Activities
Environment: Human Beings and Nature speech
Gun Control
National Committee for an Effective Congress
General correspondence
General correspondence
General correspondence
General correspondence
General correspondence
General correspondence
Brooke, Edward
Carter, Jimmy
Clinton, Bill
Conte, Silvio O.
Dukakis, Michael
Gore, Al
Kennedy, Edward M.
Kerry, John
McGovern, George
Suggested Political Agendas
Series 4. Course materials
2 boxes (1 lin. foot)
Series 5. Published works
1 box (0.5 lin. feet)
Books by Barnard
Shelly's Religion (Inscribed to Max Goldberg)
Wendell Willkie: Fighter for Freedom
English for Everybody (Inscribed to Max Goldberg)
In Sunshine and in Shadow: A Teacher's Odyssey
Volume I: A Hill Farm Boyhood
Volume II: An Academic Apprenticeship
Volume III: Life in the Ivory Tower
Volume IV: Full Circle
In a Wild Place: A Natural History of High Ledges
Don't Give Up the Fight, Ever: Lectures and Essays 1930-2003
Publications by Barnard (excludes book reviews)
Harper's Magazine "War and the Verities"
1940 Jan.
Vital Issues: "The Road to Peace"
1941 Aug.
Liason: "Two New England Poets"
1944 Fall
Liason: "That War is Never Won"
1945 Spring
College Composition and Communication: "On Teaching Teachers"
Books in the collection not by Barnard
Dickson, G. Lowes: A Modern Symposium. New York : Doubleday Doren
Hilton, Miriam: Northern Michigan University: The First 75 Years. Marquette, Mich. : Northern Michigan University Press
Series 6. Realia
6 boxes (2.5 lin. feet)
Audiocassettes (2)
Baseball Uniform from the University of Massachusetts
Buckled Leather Strap with Massachusetts Agricultural College Insignia Badge
Eveline Sears Senior Activist Award
Frederick S. Troy medal
Grade Books (Restricted until 01/01/2009)
Graduate Hood
Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Northern Michigan University
1996 Dec. 14
Mortar-board cap
Recognition of 70th Reunion Plaque, University of Massachusetts
1998 June 6
AAUP recognition scroll
1989 June 18
Bachelor of Science Degree, Massachusetts Agricultural College
1928 June 11
Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, University of Massachusetts
1969 May 31
Phi Kappa Phi diploma
QTV Fraternity Scroll
1925 Jan. 26
Varsity Baseball Letter
1924 June 4
Videocassettes (2)
William Smith Clark Society Decorative Tile, University of Massachusetts

Administrative information


The collection is open for research.


Gift of Mary Taylor Barnard, widow of Ellsworth Barnard, 2004.

Related Material

Among other archival collections relating to Ellsworth Barnard are:

  • The Lilly Library at Indiana University holds research material related to Wendell Willkie: Fighter for Freedom
  • The University of Massachusetts at Amherst Oral History Project has an interview with Ellsworth and Mary Barnard
  • Mary Barnard Papers (FS 008), held in SCUA

Processing Information

Processed by Michael G. Herman, March 2007.



Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: Ellsworth Barnard Papers (FS 002). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms


  • College teachers--Massachusetts
  • English teachers--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Dept. of English
  • Massachusetts State College. Dept. of English
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dept. of English
  • World War, 1939-1945


  • Barnard, Ellsworth, 1907-1993 [main entry]

Genres and formats

  • Photographs

Link to similar SCUA collections