The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
Benjamin Collins papers
Repository: University of Vermont Libraries. Special Collections
Collection Description (Extant): The Ben Collins Papers consist of approximately sixteen linear feet of materials spanning a twenty year period from the mid-1950's to the mid-1970's. The collection is divided into four major sub-divisions. Each division is arranged alphabetically by topic, chronologically within topics. The arrangement of the divisions also reflects the chronological progression of Collins' career. The largest group in the collection is the Hoff Administration papers. These cartons contain material from 1964-68 during Collins' tenure in the administration. Approximately four linear feet of manuscripts comprise the second sub-division of the collection, The New York City-Vermont Youth Project. This group contains manuscripts and photographs, as well as audio and videotapes from the two year experiment in racial understanding, begun in 1968 in response to the Kerner-Lindsay Report on Civil Disorder. Materials in the Hoff Senatorial Campaign subdivision relate exlusively to activities between January and November, 1970 during Hoff's campaign for the U.S. Senate. Collins' Personal Correspondence is designated as a final subdivision. The materials cover a twenty year span, from Collins' years as a reporter to his tenure on the Goddard College administration, although much of the correspondence focuses on his activities in the Hoff administration.
The Collins Papers cover a period of dramatic governmental growth and change in Vermont and reflect the reform spirit of the 1960's and of the Hoff administration. The collection is particularly strong in the areas in which Collins had the most responsibility-- civil rights, economic opportunity, constitutional revision, employment and labor, and general administration. The Collins collection also shows off Collins' strength as a writer. He drafted most of Governor Hoff's speeches, and represented him at events across the state. Many of the speeches underwent several drafts as the chief executive and his chief administrator honed their liberal message for Vermonters.
The Hoff Senatorial Campaign and Personal Correspondence subdivisions also reflect the ideological gap which developed between Collins and Hoff. In confidential memoranda and in his resignation letter from the Hoff senatorial campaign Collins appeared impatient with what he perceived as Hoff's shift from liberal to moderate democratic ideals.
The manuscripts in the New York City-Vermont Youth Project subdivision complement the larger Wilbur collection of New York City-Vermont Youth Project materials. The Collins papers contain project correspondence, reports and evaluations and administrative paperwork (W-4 forms, grant applications, medical insurance claims, etc.) Two films on the project, 'The First Step' and 'We Are Not Afraid,' as well as tape recordings of evaluation hearings, are included.
As in the larger collection of Hoff gubernatorial papers, the Ben Collins Papers contain correspondence with noted state and national figures including: William Meyer, Robert 'Bill' Daniels, Madeleine Kunin, Richard Snelling, John Daley, Winston Prouty, George Aiken, Robert Stafford, Hubert Humphrey, Edward M. Kennedy, John Kenneth Galbraith, Daniel Inouye, and more.
In the papers, researchers will find useful illustrations of a chief executive's relations with his staff, and the effects of rapid social and political change on small state governments.
Digital Status: No
Existing IDs: mss.094
Extent: 16.0 Linear feet
Finding Aid URL: http://cdi.uvm.edu/findingaids/viewEAD.xql?pid=collinsb.ead.xml
Related Archival Items: The Aldrich Library also contains a set of Ben Collins papers that includes audio tapes that might be oral histories of Collins. The University of Vermont Special Collections also has other papers dealing with civil rights including the Winston L. Prouty Papers, Youth Project of Vermont Records, Vermont Political Oral History collection, and Vermont in Mississippi Collection (see the database records on the latter three items). It contains the George Aiken Papers and Philip Hoff Papers. The WCAX You Can Quote Me radio series collection may deal with civil rights, and the Kake Walk collection and related 1962 videorecording of the Kake Walk deal with race relations in Vermont.
Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights
African Americans--Civil rights--Vermont
Civil rights movements--Vermont
Vermont--Politics and government