The endowment includes $1 million in private contributions matched by $500,000 from the Massachusetts endowment match program. The lead gift was made by Ms. Otilia Ferreira of Taunton whose father, Affonso “Ferreira Mendes” Ferreira, was a pioneer of Portuguese-American radio in the early 1930s. The archives will be named in honor of Mr. Ferreira.
Additional major gifts were made by Anthony Andrade, President of A&H Printing; Frank B. Sousa, president Colonial Wholesale Beverages; Elisia Saab, co-owner of Advanced Polymers, Inc. of New Hampshire; Luis Pedroso, president of Accutronics; Maria Furman, a UMass Dartmouth alumna and former managing director of Standish, Ayer & Wood investment firm in Boston; John Gallant of H & G Structures of Florida; and the Luso-American Foundation of Lisbon.
“Through the creation of the Ferreira Portuguese-American Archives Endowment, the University honors and explores the economic and cultural contributions made to the United States by the one million Americans of Portuguese descent, including nearly half of the SouthCoast population,” said Chancellor Jean MacCormack. “The University is deeply appreciative of the generosity shown by this group of philanthropists who are making possible the collection and examination of important cultural treasures.’’
“My father, Affonso Ferreira, or Ferreira Mendes, as he was known to the Portuguese in Massachusetts and Rhode Island through his 57 years of radio broadcasts, worked tirelessly to promote Portuguese language and culture through radio, newspapers, clubs and the showing of Portuguese movies,’’ said Ms. Ferreira, who also presented the university with recordings dating back to the 1930s and as well as papers related to the history of Portuguese –American radio in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. “By naming the Portuguese-American Archives after him, we honor his contributions to and sacrifices for things Portuguese in this region and beyond.”
Prof. Frank F. Sousa, director of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, said, “The archives will be a valuable resource for anyone wishing to study the social history and culture of immigrant communities or to understand the politics and economics of this region.”
The archives already house many important materials, including Diário de Notícias, published from 1919 to 1970, the only Portuguese-language daily newspaper ever published in the United States for a significant length of time.
The proceeds of the endowment will be used to further develop the archive collection. Archive staff will promote research, publications, colloquia, and exhibitions based on the holdings of the archives; facilitate the continued growth of the archives; and encourage the use of the archives for teaching purposes at the university and K-12 levels.
The archives will seek cooperation with museums, libraries, other archives, academic institutions, foundations and private collections throughout the United States, and aim to participate in joint projects, publications, exhibitions and conferences. The archives will also support the University’s commitment to promoting regionally-based research and establishing partnerships with community groups and regional institutions. Book-length studies based on the archives will be included in the recently founded Portuguese in the Americas Series, published by the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture.
About the Center For Portuguese Studies and Culture
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, established in 1975, is a multidisciplinary international studies and outreach unit dedicated to the study of the language, literatures and cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world. The Center publishes Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies, a highly regarded multilingual interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal, as well as the Portuguese in the Americas book series.
About the UMass Dartmouth Department of Portuguese
The Department of Portuguese, created in 2000, offers a solid foundation in the Portuguese language and a comprehensive curriculum of courses on the literatures and cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world. Beyond the regular academic year program, the annual Summer Program in Portuguese features intensive courses in language and Lusophone literatures and cultures.
About UMass Dartmouth
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is one of five UMass campuses. Its 8,300 students are enrolled in five colleges – Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Business, Nursing, Visual and Performing Arts -- and the School of Marine Sciences and Technologies. Its 500 faculty members annually conduct over $17 million in research linked to the needs of the SouthCoast Region and Massachusetts. The campus has satellite education and research centers in the cities of New Bedford and Fall River.