By Jasmine Nguyen, Staff Reporter
Radicals, revolutionaries and rebels have taken over the CSUDH Library.
OK, maybe not taken over, but the Gerth Archives and Special Collections recently obtained a trove of newspapers, pamphlets, books and other material documenting leftist political movements and political thought in the 20th Century.
The approximately 5,700-item collection was donated by The Holt Labor Library., a nonprofit labor and radical history library that has been located in San Francisco since 1992.
The collection includes obscure, rare and out-of-print writings, but also chronicles the history of the labor, civil rights and environment movements. The collection fits at CSUDH considering the university’s connection to the civil rights movements.
“The university was founded out of the Watts Rebellion,” Greg Williams, director of the CSUDH archives said. “ The location of the university was a result ..of that event.:”
Williams said that the archive will eventually be available to students and professional researchers as primary sources for research, whether seeking information about socialist labor movements, Marxist theory, the Black Panthers, civil rights leader Robert F Willaims or even the lyrics or pioneering folk singer Pete Seeger.
Along with the written works, the Holt Library donated funds to the Gerth Archives to help catalog the mass collection. Williams said that cataloging is a guide for students and researches to discover the collection.
“The collection is not in that bad of shape because it was in an actual functioning library….” Williams said. “We just have to accumulate to Dominguez Hill standards, that just means sometimes there’s a database that we can put into our database.”
This collection will join over 200 collections in the Gerth Archives and Special Collections will connect with other political collections that the archives have, such as the John M. Weatherwax Collection, who was a leftist activist in the early 1930s to the 1950s. The archives also have right-wing content, such as the John Birch Society collection and various flyers and pamphlets that are Anti-New Deal.
Students who are interested in social justice are permitted to come up to the Gerth Archives to view their collections. While the Holt collection is not readily available yet, there are many other pieces that can be analyzed.
“One of the more intriguing things about archives is the ability to touch something that’s over 100 years old,” Williams said.
The Gerth Archives and Special Collections is located on the fifth floor of the Library and is open from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.