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Social Justice Collection



Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Boston and Cambridge


Social Justice Collection | Boston Public Library Archival and Manuscript Finding Aid Database

By Emily Sylvia and Brenda Craig

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Collection Overview

Title: Social Justice CollectionAdd to your cart.

Predominant Dates: 1968-1983

Collection Identifier: MS 7403

Extent: 24.0 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: Organized into 2  series. 1) Boston and Camridge, Massachusetts and 2) National. Topics arranged alphabetically.

Subjects: Agricultural Laborers -- Labor Unions., Boston (Mass.) -- Race Relations., Boston (Mass.)., Busing for School Integration -- Massachusetts -- Boston, Cambridge (Mass.)., Civil Rights., Community Organization -- Massachusetts -- Boston., Gay rights., Housing -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge,, Labor Unions., Landlord and Tenant -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge., Nuclear Disarmament., Prisoners -- Civil Rights., Protest Movements., Socialism., Social Justice., Social Movements., United Farm Workers -- History., Vietnam War, 1961-1975., Women's Rights.

Languages: English, Spanish;Castilian


This collection documents the social justice movements and grassroots activism efforts in Boston, Cambridge, and surrounding areas but also throughout the United States from 1968-1983. The topics reflect counterculture ideologies, shifts in social and political thought, and major cultural movements, such as anti-nuclear, anti-war, busing, civil rights, feminism, and housing and tenant rights. Materials include flyers, brochures, leaflets, pamphlets, posters, and newspapers.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection contains eight boxes of activism-related ephemera from 1968-1983, documenting changing American ideologies at the grassroots level in Boston and Cambridge. Particularly strong topics represented in the collection are Boston’s busing crisis, boycotts of major companies such as J.P. Stevens & Co., workers strikes, farmworkers’ rights, housing and tenant rights in Cambridge, anti-nuclear activism regarding Seabrook Station Nuclear Power Plant, advocacy for nuclear disarmament, feminism and issues of equal and reproductive rights, and anti-war action relating to the Vietnam War and the draft. The materials largely promote events, marches, protests, and meetings that raised awareness for or benefited different social and political advocacy efforts in Boston.

Among the organizations that are represented in Boston and Cambridge are the Eastern Service Workers Association, Greater Boston Peace Action Coalition, People’s Coalition for Peace and Justice, Progressive Labor Party, and Students for a Democratic Society. The Eastern Service Workers Association is an existing membership association for Boston’s service, temporary, domestic, and other low-income workers and their families. The Greater Boston Peace Action Coalition and People’s Coalition for Peace and Justice were active anti-war groups. Many of the political and student organizations worked collaboratively to host events or marches in Boston and Cambridge.

Subjects, such as women’s rights, anti-war, and anti-nuclear, include materials from other organizations that advocated specifically for these causes. Examples of these groups are 9to5 Organization for Women Office Workers, Indochina Peace Campaign, and Mobilization for Survival. These items are organized topically, as the nature of their materials and organizational missions dealt with specific topics.

Collection materials include posters, flyers, brochures, pamphlets, and newsprint.

Subject/Index Terms

Agricultural Laborers -- Labor Unions.
Boston (Mass.) -- Race Relations.
Boston (Mass.).
Busing for School Integration -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Cambridge (Mass.).
Civil Rights.
Community Organization -- Massachusetts -- Boston.
Gay rights.
Housing -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge,
Labor Unions.
Landlord and Tenant -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge.
Nuclear Disarmament.
Prisoners -- Civil Rights.
Protest Movements.
Social Justice.
Social Movements.
United Farm Workers -- History.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975.
Women's Rights.

Administrative Information

Repository: Boston Public Library Archival and Manuscript Finding Aid Database

Alternate Extent Statement: 8 boxes; 24 linear feet

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions:

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. The Boston Public Library does not hold copyright on the material in this collection. Researchers are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright.

When reproducing material from this collection please include the credit line "Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.”

Acquisition Source: Material collected by by Ellen M. Oldham, former Rare Books and Manuscripts Department staff member, beginning in 1968.

Preferred Citation: Social Justice Collection. Rare Books and Manuscripts Department, Boston Public Library. Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.

Processing Information: Processed and finding aid prepared by Emily Sylvia, April 2016.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Boston and Cambridge],
[Series 2: National],

Series 2: NationalAdd to your cart.
Box 8Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Animal Rights, 1967-1979Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Bicentennial, 1975-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Draft, 1969-1980Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Farmworkers, 1972-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 5: General, 1968-1983Add to your cart.
Folder 6: General, 1968-1983Add to your cart.
Folder 7: General, 1968-1983Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Guns, no dateAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Health, 1976-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 10: International Chile-Iran, 1969-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 11: International Ireland-Ukraine, 1969-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Nuclear, 1976-1981Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Political Organizations, 1969-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Political Prisoners, 1972-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Student, 1974-1981Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Vietnam, 1969-1979Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Women, 1971-1980Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Boston and Cambridge],
[Series 2: National],

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