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Social Justice Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Call Number: MS 7403

Scope and Contents

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.


  • Majority of material found in 1968-1983

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.


24.00 Linear Feet (8 boxes; 24 linear feet)

Language of Materials



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

Source of Acquisition

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

Processing Information

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

Processing Information

This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.

Statement on harmful description

Archival description reflects the biases of time periods and cultures in which it was created and may include direct quotations or descriptions that use inappropriate or harmful language. Creator provided descriptions may be maintained in order to preserve the context in which the collection was created and/or used. Legacy description and potentially offensive content may be made available online until a collection can be reprocessed because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.

Social Justice Collection
Emily Sylvia and Brenda Craig
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

About this library

Part of the Boston Public Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

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