Immerse yourself in the captivating realm of people-powered politics, counterculture, and the vibrant social movements that have shaped modern Western history.
Power to the People showcases a range of ideas, initiatives, and social movements devoted to people-powered politics and organizing from the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries with subjects like the civil rights movement, the 1960s counterculture movement, coinciding popular cultural trends that would introduce figures like the hippie, and other social movements in U.S. history that impacted the nation.
Ranging beyond a few specific movements, the archive is a resource that paints a broad picture of the counterculture and many disparate organizations that represent this moment in modern Western history. Although the archive concentrates mainly on the United States and the United Kingdom, it also covers events and topics from around the globe.
Value of the Archive
- Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI): Expand your library’s EDI holdings while helping researchers explore the history behind Juneteenth, examine issues around institutional racism in American society, bear witness to calls for police reform, investigate human rights issues and abuses, study workers’ rights movements, and assess the legacies of colonialism and the struggles of anti-colonial movements through social movements in U.S. history.
- Relevance to Today’s Issues: We can better understand social movements in U.S. history by the visions and goals of the originators in their own words through counterculture primary sources. Throughout the archive, original voices persuade, inspire, educate, and move the reader with passion, eloquence, and purpose.
- Comprehensive Coverage: The collection offers a myriad of counterculture primary sources, guides, papers, and opportunities to see how movements and issues are interconnected and interrelated.
- Visually Appealing: These materials are ideal for teaching and learning in easily accessible publications and images.
About the Collection
The primary sources in this collection document issues of social justice and social movements in twentieth-century U.S. history—and how attitudes about civil rights, gender equality, the environment, the government, and many of society’s institutions shifted dramatically to include citizen involvement, public welfare, and the planet’s health.
The archive presents a social history that highlights equity, diversity, and inclusion in materials created by the last generations that depended on primarily print communication, offering a unique reflection of the time before the growth of the internet and social media. Alternative press publications throughout the archive represent antiestablishment and countercultural ideas and movements. Although these are often overlooked as vehicles for providing perspectives on social movements and countercultural ideas, they can impact just as greatly as mainstream social movements. The alternative press titles in the collection are unique, examining social issues, politics and government, sexuality, diversity, and more.
- The Pacific Coast Counterculture Collection documents political dissent and personal rebellion during social movements in the United States, like the counterculture movement of the 1960s and the anti-war and social change movements of the later twentieth century in the San Francisco Bay Area and nationally. This collection from Robert P. J. Cooney Jr. includes leaflets, pamphlets, magazines, newspapers, comic books, and posters spanning several decades and covering topics like animal rights, sexuality, anti-war movements, disarmament, women’s liberation, the Black Panthers, environmental activists, the Weather Underground, the Diggers, and more. Approximately 200,000 pages.
- The University of Bradford’s Special Collections on Peace, Politics, and Social Change highlights social movements around the world. The collection comprises more than 4,400 pamphlets and ephemeral materials gathered by Commonweal Library from their rich network of connections in social change campaigns. The materials also offer a fascinating visual record of counterculture primary sources of social movements in the United States, with many well-known artists contributing designs. Approximately 100,000 pages.
- Fortean Times, Bizarre, and Viz are key alternative press publications that represent anti-establishment satire and countercultural ideas and movements. These unique titles examine social issues, social movements in the United States, government, sexuality, diversity, and more. Fortean Times digs into conspiracy theories and offers research on historical events. Bizarre focuses on alternative lifestyles; unusual news events from around the world; and the development and impact of legislation concerning censorship, civil liberties, sex offenses, and incidents of human rights abuses. Viz picks apart society and culture in a satirical manner, with the artists and contributors addressing social inequalities through humor. Approximately 75,000 pages.
- Pamphlets on Left-Wing Politics and Radical Political Movements — Selections from the Ron Heisler Collection includes more than 2,600 pamphlets covering a variety of subjects. It was donated to the Senate House Library of the University of London by Ronald Heisler, a British book collector, trade unionist, socialist, and self-described “delinquent historian.” His collection focuses on left-wing theory; radical political movements; and the influence of these ideas on all spheres of human endeavor and social movements in U.S. history, including art, literature, and drama.
- The Liberal Students of 1960s University of Michigan Collection is tightly focused at 255 pages and provides a unique snapshot of student activism at U-M and social movements in U.S. history. The collection of counterculture primary sources highlights a turbulent time—when individuals from all walks of life were promoting civil rights, social justice, and peaceful protest. Materials including flyers, pamphlets, newsletters, and newspapers cover the New Politics Party, the Black Panthers, Students for a Democratic Society, conscientious objectors, anti–Vietnam War peace movements, and the underground press.
- Communication & Media Studies
- Gender & Women's Studies
- Western Civilization
- Nineteenth Century Studies
- Political Science
- Social Sciences
- Twentieth Century Studies
- Current Events
- Social History
- Civil Rights
Platform Features & Tools
Researchers can see the frequency of search terms within sets of content to begin identifying central themes and assessing how individuals, events, and ideas interact and develop over time.
By grouping commonly occurring themes, this tool reveals hidden connections within search terms—helping to shape research by integrating diverse content with relevant information.
Search across the content of complementary products in one intuitive environment, enabling innovative new research connections.