New Exhibit: Civil Rights and Labor: in the United States, in Poland, and in South Africa

New Exhibit: Civil Rights and Labor…in the United States, in Poland, and in South Africa

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Labor unions have long been advocates for equality in the workplace, civil rights and worker’s rights, however this wasn’t always the case before the AFL and CIO merged in 1955.  Understanding civil rights is still evolving today, as we see in current events in the United States and around the world.  The records of the AFL-CIO are a treasure trove, rich with a variety of materials available for research on this.  The University of Maryland is the official repository of the AFL-CIO records.  Find out more about all of our labor collections here.

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The Civil Rights Movement in the United States

The exhibit highlights the overlapping interests in equal rights, between the AFL-CIO Civil Rights Department and leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.  In 1961, Martin Luther King, Jr, spoke at the AFL-CIO Convention, and in the same year George Meany sent a telegram to King lauding King’s contributions to advance the cause of equality for all citizens, a goal AFL-CIO fully supported, and went on to say:

It is not mere coincidence that where civil rights are most strongly suppressed, unions are most vigorously opposed.  Nor is it coincidence that where negroes exist under miserable social and economic conditions, wages are lowest for all workers, social legislation least advanced and anti-labor legislation most severe.”

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was strongly supported by Martin Luther King, Jr., George Meany, and President Lyndon Johnson.  And, when King was assassinated, many national and international labor unions poured out telegrams to the AFL-CIO, and a number of press releases were written by AFL-CIO in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  On the night of King’s death April 4, 1968, Meany sent out a press release stating that the “murder of Dr. Martin Luther King is an American tragedy.”

Our collections also include some information about The March on Washington led by Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 28, 1963. The March was not fully sponsored by the AFL-CIO because of internal conflicts about civil rights.

IMG_3781Apartheid in South Africa

The AFL-CIO’s allied African American Labor Center was involved with the anti-apartheid movement responding to multiple civil and worker’s rights violations in South Africa, however the AFL-CIO did not fully engage until later because of the communist leadership in the anti-apartheid movement.  In 1986, the AFL-CIO participated in a global boycott of Shell Oil Company.

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Solidarnosc in Poland

The Polish Solidarnosc movement was strongly supported by AFL-CIO President, Lane Kirkland in the 1980s.  The AFL-CIO International Affairs Department sent monthly contributions of $500 to support the underground union organizers in Poland.  The AFL even sent CARE packages to Poland in 1949 and received handwritten letters of thanks from Polish citizens.

Our labor collections are comprised of AFL-CIO Department records, trade department records, international union records, union programs, union organizations with allied or affiliate relationships with the AFL-CIO, and personal papers of union leaders. We also have extensive photo documentation of labor union activities from the 1940s to the present in the photographic negative and digital collections. Additionally, collections of graphic images, over 10,000 audio tapes, several hundred films and videotapes, and over 2,000 artifacts are available for research and study.

Find out more about all of our labor collections here, or contact a curator for more information!

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New Exhibit: Highlights from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Archives

Do you work an eight-hour day? Get paid overtime? Have a safe workplace?

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You have unions to thank for all of those, and many other, changes to labor law. The University of Maryland is the official repository of one of the most influential labor unions in United States history, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners (UBCJA).

Visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to see a display of some interesting materials from the collection.

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The exhibit highlights union activities and important moments of union history, including photographs of the influential 1963 Reesor Siding strike, which became one of the bloodiest labor conflicts in Canadian history. You can also see Carpenters marching in 1947 with spears and shields to protest the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act.

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Photographs in the exhibit featuring the Reesor Siding Strike and the Taft-Hartley Act Protest

Not everything the Brotherhood did was so militant, however. President Dwight Eisenhower was the guest of honor at their 75th anniversary party in 1956, where he lit the candles on a cake adorned with tiny hammers and saws. The union also held conventions where its members discussed union goals and policies. And, when union carpenters were too old to work anymore, the union cared for them in their old age at the Carpenters Home in Lakeland, Florida.

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Ribbons on display worn at various conventions

To learn more about the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and the role it has played in American history since 1881, stop by the exhibit. Then use the collection to further your research about the union’s efforts toward anti-Communism, an eight-hour workday, open shops and many other issues. Learn about the various professions of the members of the UBCJA, from carpenters, house-framers and lumberjacks to furniture makers, wharf builders and pile drivers.

All of the 700 linear feet of UBCJA correspondence, meeting minutes, official union publications, photographs, blueprints and film recordings are available for your perusal in the Maryland Room. These materials are currently being processed, with the support of the UBCJA, in order to make them more accessible to researchers.

Contact a curator to find out more!

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New Exhibit: Recent Acquisitions to the Association for Childhood Education International Archives

Stop by the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library and take a look at some of the new items on display!

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The Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) exhibit is sure to recall fond childhood memories, from books like The Tale of Peter Rabbit, dolls from around the world, and all kinds of puzzles and toys. The highlight is every young girl’s dream – a 19th century doll’s trunk, complete with a collection of handmade clothes and accessories. But be careful what you say in front of the wax doll from 1885 – she’s enduring, and maybe a little frightening in the dark!

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But the ACEI archives has even more to offer than cursed dolls and lost childhood dreams. The Association for Childhood Education International was founded in 1892 to promote early childhood education and its collection includes a variety of potential resources for research. Whether you’re looking at the history of common issues in education such as classroom diversity, multicultural education, social development, or the role of technology in education, you will find a varied collection of books, archival material, journals and publications, audiovisual tapes, recordings and cassettes, as well as a wide array of memorabilia like the ones on display.

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On your quest to demystify the virtues and struggles of childhood, you might listen to recorded speeches by the well-known critic Neil Postman, read out-of-print children’s books, research articles and publications on popular issues in education, admire dolls and toys from all over the world, or tune in to Macaroni at Midnight. You’ll find it all available for research in the Maryland Room.

Take a look at the ACEI archives finding aid to explore the collection, or contact a curator to find out more!

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William Morris Wayzegoose at Special Collections

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Join the University of Maryland Libraries’ Special Collections for a night of revelry and merriment–William Morris style! Enjoy entertainment, food, and an exhibit featuring the works of this incredible artist. Click on the invitation to the left for details!

Celebrate Black History Month in Special Collections

Typically during this month we focus on national figures of African descent. But we can also focus on local figures. These represent the front line of any struggle. Dr. King made a magnificent speech on the mall 30 years ago. But suppose no one showed up? The Million Man March focus for many was Minister Farakhan. But the real heroes were the hundreds of thousands who stood all day unified and disciplined.”

Taylor, P. “Passing the Torch.” UMD Black Faculty and Staff Association Newsletter. Vol. 6 No. 1. February 1996. UPUB B5.005, University Archives, Special Collections, University Libraries.

The display case in the Maryland Room features two UMD yearbooks and some items from Leon Washington Condol's papers.

The display case in the Maryland Room features two UMD yearbooks and some items from Leon Washington Condol’s papers.

Delve deeper into history with a monthly display in Hornbake Library’s Maryland Room! This month’s display celebrates Black History Month and recognizes the voices of Leon Washington Condol and his family.

Mr. Condol’s great grandmother, Mary Ann Cord, suffered slavery and separation from her children; the collection records her reunion with her youngest son, and her employment with Samuel Clemens. Louise Washington Condol carried on the history of grandmother Mary Ann Cord and passed this heritage to her son, Leon Washington Condol. He and his wife, Virginia, experienced the racial prejudices of their own times.

The Maryland Room also displays two yearbooks:

  • a 1952 edition of the Terrapin with a photo of Hiram Whittle, the first African-American undergraduate at UMD, and
  • a 1959 edition showing the senior photo of Elaine Johnson, the first female African-American to graduate from UMD.
Hiram Whittle, the first African-American undergraduate at UMD, is photographed with his dormmates (bottom-left photo).

Hiram Whittle, the first African-American undergraduate at UMD, is photographed with his dormmates (bottom-left photo).

Yuletide Books: On display now in the Maryland Room

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Get into the holiday spirit than by visiting the Special Collections Literature and Rare Books Collection in Hornbake Library! On display now in the Maryland Room are books written by celebrated authors about the holiday season or retelling classic tales. Visit the UMD Libraries hours website for our holiday hours – you definitely don’t want to miss this display!

The Night Before Christmas, Clement C. Moore Yuletide books by Alcott, Mencken, and HemingwayCharles Dickens: A Christmas Carol miniature bookDisplay Case

Books featured in the display include:

  • The Night Before Christmas, Clement C. Moore. Porter & Caotes: Philadelphia, 1883
  • A Christmas Story, Katherine Anne Porter. Mademoiselle: New York, 1958
  • The Cultivation of Christmas Trees, T.S. Eliot. Farrar, Straus and Cudahy: New York
  • Two Christmas Tales, Ernest Hemingway. The Hart Press: Berkeley, 1959
  • A Christmas Dream, Louisa May Alcott. Little, Brown & Co.: Boston. 1901
  • The Wood-Pile, Robert Frost. Spiral Press: New York, 1961
  • Christmas Verse. Oxford University Press: New York, 1945
  • The Untold Adventures of Santa Claus, Ogden Nash. Little, Brown & Co.: Boston, 1962
  • A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens. G. Routledge: London, 1880
  • Old Christmas, Washington Irving. Judd and Dettweiler: Washington, 1934
  • Come Christmas: A selection of Christmas poetry, song, drama, and prose, Lesley Frost. Coward-McCann Inc.: New York, 1935

Agnes Moorehead: Queen of Horror, Suspense, and the Supernatural

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Agnes Moorehead. Photo on cover of I Love the Illusion, by Charles Tranberg.

While researching materials for the Halloween display from the Mass Media and Culture collections, one name kept popping up: Agnes Moorehead (1900 – 1974). Her repertoire extends from the golden years of radio to popular television, from movies to the stage. She also had a special flair for horror, suspense, and the supernatural. Her work in radio drama included participation in Mercury Theater on the Air and a role as Margo Lane on The Shadow, co-starring with Orson Welles. In the CBS show Suspense, Moorehead’s greatest success was her incredible performance as Mrs. Stevenson in the quintessential horror, Lucille Fletcher’s “Sorry, Wrong Number.”

Spooky Special Collections Display, containing a feature of Agnes Moorehead's work in the realm of suspense and supernatural.

Spooky Special Collections Display, containing a feature of Agnes Moorehead’s work in the realm of suspense and supernatural.

Her role as Mrs. Stevenson later inspired director Douglas Heyes to cast Moorehead in an episode of The Twilight Zone, where she played an old woman attacked by miniature aliens. On stage, Moorehead played Donna Ana in Don Juan in Hell. Later, Moorehead was recruited to play Endora on the television comedy Bewitched. A versatile and respected actress, Moorehead succeeded across genres and performing-arts mediums, and especially made her mark on the world of the strange and supernatural.

Moorehead is just one of the many actresses and actors featured in the Mass Media and Culture collections. There are a lot of resources pertaining to spooky and otherworldly subjects; if you ever feel like researching terror in radio, television, or movies, or if you just want to revisit the history of your favorite shows, this is a great place to start!

Collage of films, radio, and television

What is your favorite horror or fantasy movie, radio program, or television show? Leave us a comment below!

William Morris: A Rebel of His Time

Sitting at the welcome desk in Hornbake Library puts me right in front of our exquisitely designed William Morris exhibit, which opened at the beginning of September. Aesthetic quality aside, I did not have the slightest clue as to who William Morris actually was. So I decided that the only reasonable decision would be to find out exactly who this guy was and how he contributed to society. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that William Morris was a rebel of his generation and in simpler terms, a pretty cool dude.

Morris was born in England in 1834 and raised in a wealthy family. He was a child who was incredibly spoiled by his parents who lavished him with extravagant gifts. Around the age of nine, he became the lucky recipient of a pony and a suit of armor. Morris, in addition to his fiscal wealth, was also very intelligent. He was reading novels at the age of four and attended Oxford at the age of nineteen. When he was seventeen, Morris began to receive a generous allowance of 900 £ a year from his family fortune, which equates to $114,000.00 in today’s money. To me and probably a lot of other people, it sounds like Morris was living the dream.

However, Morris was a remarkably independently principled individual who rejected the values of the Victorian class system. Growing up in the Victorian Era, Morris was a part of the upper class that was born into money. One could not acquire wealth through individual strengths such as intelligence, hardwork, and perseverance. A family legacy of wealth and success dating years and years back was the only route to a life of the utmost privilege. In an impressive demonstration of autonomy, Morris became an advocate for socialism, a far cry from the principles he had been exposed to throughout his youth. Morris wrote various books about socialism and was the founder of the Socialist League, which dealt with equality, workers’ rights, and anti-war movements. He also fraternized with other famous socialists who joined the Socialist League, such as Eleanor Marx, Karl Marx’s daughter. Without much success, Morris often tried to persuade his rich friends to join the socialist movement. Morris also participated in protests for the freedom to publish pro-socialism texts and was actually arrested on more than one occasion.

Morris often felt that he belonged in another time period, much like many young people of today wish they were born in the 1960s. He was fascinated with the medieval way of life. The art, labor, and writings of the Middle Ages influenced much of his fantasy literature. Morris is considered the father of the fantasy literary genre, and has been cited as a major influence upon fellow authors J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. So next time you crack open a Game of Thrones novel or decide to sit down for a Harry Potter marathon, thank William Morris.

If you need someone interesting to focus on for a class project (Morris was active in politics, literature, and architecture), come visit the William Morris exhibit! Hornbake Library also has poetry and books written by Morris. Or, if you have an awkward gap between classes and want something better to do than wander through cyberspace, come visit our exhibit. You won’t be disappointed.

For more information on William Morris, visit:
http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/morris/wmbio.html

For more information on Hornbake Library’s William Morris exhibit, visit:
http://www.lib.umd.edu/williammorris/index.html

Tracey G.

Visit “How We Might Live: The Vision of William Morris”

William Morris Exhibit Poster

HOW WE MIGHT LIVE: The Vision of William Morris

The exhibit is free and open to the public in the Maryland Room Gallery, Hornbake Library, University of Maryland from September 2012 through July 2013.

Gallery Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm

Extended hours, academic semester only: Wed 10am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm

Access the digital exhibit  “How We Might Live: The Vision of William Morris” available September 2012.

Follow us on Twitter @WmMorrisUMD

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