Exploring Labor’s History Through the AFL-CIO Poster Collection: A Blog Series (Part 4)

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One of the more unexpected items in the collection are two objects from student protests in Paris. 1968 was a tumultuous year in France which saw radical student demonstrations erupt in Paris. Most notably, students held demonstrations and occupied their universities in opposition to Charles de Gaulle. The first item depicts de Gaulle with the now iconic phrase “Le Chienlit C’est Lui!” (one translation: “He is the chaos”.) The phrase appropriates a pun de Gaulle made in a speech.  The second, larger item was created by a student group at the Sorbonne, a Parisian university, la Coordination des Comités d’Action. The poster criticizes de Gaulle along with Georges Pompidou, the president, and Christian Fouchet, the interior minister, claiming “Les provocateurs ce son eux!” (They are the agents of violence)

Contact us at askhornbake@umd.edu for more information about our Labor Collections.


Benjamin Bradley is a second year MLIS student in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. He works in the Labor Collections at UMD’s Special Collections and University Archives. You can also find him over in McKeldin Library where he is the GA for Electronic Resources.

Exploring Labor’s History Through the AFL-CIO Poster Collection: A Blog Series (Part 3)

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The above poster was created decades after the one before. AFL-CIO presidents George Meany and Lane Kirkland made opposing South Africa’s policy of apartheid a major aspect of their tenure. The poster depicted above is from a series of rallies organized by the AFL-CIO called the “Day of Solidarity With the Victims of Apartheid.” The AFL-CIO held a rally in DC along with other cities across the United States, and it memorialized the 26th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa. The AFL-CIO also encouraged union members to participate in other protest activities such as cutting up their Shell credit cards and mailing them to the AFL-CIO headquarters. For me, not only does this poster help represent the scope of the collection, but it demonstrates the scope of the AFL-CIO, how the organization has changed throughout history and how its mission has led it to work towards national and international goals.

Contact us at askhornbake@umd.edu for more information about this collection in our Labor Collections.

 

Benjamin Bradley is a second year MLIS student in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. He works in the Labor Collections at UMD’s Special Collections and University Archives. You can also find him over in McKeldin Library where he is the GA for Electronic Resources.

Exploring Labor’s History Through the AFL-CIO Poster Collection: A Blog Series (Part 2)

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Not only does the AFL-CIO poster collection span a great period of time, its items span the globe. The collection includes posters from Poland, Germany, Finland, the United Kingdom, and several other countries. One of the strengths of these international posters are items created by the Polish labor union, Solidarność, “solidarity.” The poster depicted above is one such poster. It reads Głosuj na Solidarność translates to “Vote for Solidarity.” The poster collection not only includes several posters created by the union, but also includes posters created by the AFL-CIO about the movement in Poland and some featuring images of the union’s leader, Lech Wałęsa. Working with these posters required some research as I was unfamiliar with the union and its history. By processing the posters and researching about Solidarity to help with my work, I learned about Solidarity and Wałęsa

Contact us at askhornbake@umd.edu for more information about this collection in our Labor Collections.

Benjamin Bradley is a second year MLIS student in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. He works in the Labor Collections at UMD’s Special Collections and University Archives. You can also find him over in McKeldin Library where he is the GA for Electronic Resources.

 

Exploring Labor’s History Through the AFL-CIO Poster Collection: A Blog Series (Part 1)

The American Federation of Labor was founded just about 150 years ago in 1886. Continuing today, the AFL-CIO and its member unions and organizations have traveled together through a tumultuous history of social challenges and changes: worker’s rights, child labor, segregation, World War II, Apartheid, the 40 hour work week, communism, LGBT rights, and so much more. During the past year, I have been inventorying the AFL-CIO poster collection here at the University of Maryland’s Special Collections and University Archives’ Labor Collections. This inventory will enable researchers and staff to find and access these posters and facilitate future digitization projects. As I finish up inventorying the collection, I thought I would share my experience with the collection.

This AFL-CIO Posters collection contains over 900 items ranging from broadsides, circulars, posters, and clipsheets. It spans the early days of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) up to the present-day AFL-CIO. It contains items from a variety of unions and organizations, international and American, and in a variety of languages including: French, Spanish, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Polish, Chinese, Korean, Icelandic, Hebrew, and Arabic. My time with this collection truly has been a journey through time and place. From late 19th century shipyards to contemporary, global struggles for human rights.

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African American History and Culture and Digital Humanities — DigiStew

The Libraries began their involvement in the Mellon Foundation grant project Synergies Among Digital Humanities and African American History and Culture in May 2016. This project is a collaboration between the College of Arts and Humanities, the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), the Libraries, and the David C. Driskell Center for the Study […]

via African American History and Culture and Digital Humanities — DigiStew

130 Years of Progress: The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, 1886-2016

Anniversaries are often a time to look back and reflect on past triumphs (and tribulations) for individuals, couples, and organizations. 2016 marks the 130th anniversary of the founding of the Journeymen Bakers National Union of the United States in 1886, which after multiple mergers and the inclusion of Canadian members is now known as the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union. The University of Maryland’s Special Collections and University Archives are the repository for the Bakers Union’s records, with some of the items dating back to the union’s earliest days. The collection includes a diverse range of materials that includes—beyond the standard office files—photographs, publications, posters, flags, charters, and scrapbooks. A look back at the union’s history reveals a complex story with periods of prosperity and hardship, of successes leavened by struggles, and stretches of political influence coupled with periods of internal dissension.

The early history of the union is one of inspired effort by a handful of individuals in the face of truly horrific working conditions. It is also one that, at least initially, took place largely among German immigrants in New York City, who almost exclusively formed the work force in bakeries during the late 1800s. Continue reading

Ask an Archivist: The Questions We Ask Ourselves

This year October 5th is “Ask An Archivist” Day!  For us, Ask an Archivist Day usually means fielding questions from the public about what life in an archive is like.

However, this week a group of student archivists working at the University of Maryland’s Special Collections and University Archives are taking this time to start a conversation about the nature of archives more broadly. This “Ask An Archivist” Day, they are asking: “Can I break the archive?”

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In the 2009 article published in Archival Science, Jeannette Bastian concludes that, “a cultural expression has no end; it is always becoming something else.” In one sense, this is intuitive: there is “culture” all around us and it is constantly evolving. This ceaseless evolution is exactly what can make  the dinner table at Thanksgiving so uncomfortable. After all, having so many generations in one place is bound to cause friction. But, it’s not just “culture” that’s evolving. It is all the things that culture entails. The objects, documents, and evidence of culture–typically the stuff of archives–is itself bound to the constant flux of relationships and activities that frame and contextualize their existence. We tend to think of archives as evidence of a distant past that are static. Safe in their archival boxes, nothing can harm or change the objects that have been chosen to represent the past.

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