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Researching Activism at The New School

This guide provides suggestions for approaching historical research concerning activism at The New School throughout its history.

Archival Collections

Below are archival collections, periodicals held in The Archives, and oral history interviews that may be helpful for researching activism at The New School in the 1960s-1970s.

Contact archivist@newschool.edu for assistance with accessing any of these collections.

New School Art Center records

The New School Art Center was established in the fall of 1960 with a donation from the Albert J. List Foundation, and remained in operation until 1973. Directed throughout its existence by Paul Mocsanyi, the Center's programs reflected the New School's founding commitment to engage provocative subjects, using art to explore contemporary political and social issues. Just a few examples include exhibitions exploring aspects of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, and Nazi propaganda. Materials in this collection include exhibition catalogs, press coverage, posters, fliers and other publicity, administrative correspondence, and photographs.

New School Adult Division Office of the Dean records

Included in this record group are files created by Deans William M. Birenbaum and Allen Austill, roughly covering the 1960s. Researchers will find documentation on such as events as the American Race Crisis Lectures, the Emancipation Centennial Lectures, the Negro Writer's Vision of America conference, and files on the Henderson Act, which required institutions of higher education to create plans in the event of student unrest. Also includes materials related to the New School administration's response to student unrest at the height of the anti-war movement and efforts by students to play a greater role in the university administration. There is currently no collection guide available, but researchers are welcome to consult unrestricted files in this collection.

Marketing and Communications Photographs

Photographs of events, faculty, speakers, and buildings at The New School, including speakers at the American Race Crisis Lecture series.

Joseph Marcella student work 

Joseph Marcella, a Parsons student who graduated in 1970, helped plan Parsons' participation in the very first Earth Day. Parsons had just joined The New School earlier that year. Included in Marcella's collection of student work is documentation on Earth Day planning activities as well as designs by Marcella demonstrating a concern for the environment.

John Everett papers and records

John Everett was president of The New School from 1965-1982. His papers include material on student protests and the anti-Vietnam War movement, including records about the student occupation oof 1970. The records of his presidency also include files on various campus protests and activism groups. There is currently no collection guide available for the records, but researchers are welcome to consult unrestricted files in this collection.

Periodicals

Locally published periodicals are a great resource for researching activism here on campus as well as activism that New School students, faculty and staff may have participated in off-campus. All of the periodicals listed below are available in the New School Archives by appointment. Titles in red have been scanned and are available online through our Digital Collections site. Unfortunately, we are missing many issues of student publications, so we do not have complete runs of all the titles below. 

  • New Speak (New School Chapter of Students for a Democratic Society), Volume 1, Numbers 1-2, 1967
  • Granpa [newspaper], 1967-1968
  • Crux: Journal of the Graduate Sociology Students, 1968-1969
  • Critical Anthropology (Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research), 1970-1972
  • ParsonsPaper, 1976-1990  -- This long-running Parsons School of Design student newspaper has been digitized and is fully available online. Click on the title to access it through our Digital Collections site.

Oral Histories

The New School Archives has supported several projects and ongoing programs to identify and interview individuals who can contribute to the documentary record through their personal experiences. Many of the oral histories touch upon activism at different points in time. Oral history recordings are available on our Digital Collections site, both in transcript form and as sound recordings.

American Race Crisis Lecture Series

The audio recordings and transcripts in this collection document lectures from a 15-part series on the race crisis in the United States, held in the spring of 1964 at The New School, and organized by New School professor Daniel S. Anthony. The speakers in the recordings include Charles Abrams, Algernon D. Black, Dan W. Dodson, Milton A. Galamison, Martin Luther King, Jr., Louis Lomax, Joseph Monserrat, Melvin Tumin, Robert C. Weaver, and Roy Wilkins. Open to the general public, the lectures were held in the auditorium of the school's flagship building at 66 West 12th Street in Greenwich Village.

Topics discussed range from the impact of school integration, housing discrimination, affirmative action, the growing Black separatist movement, and motivations for racial prejudice. Dr. King opened the conference.

Digitized sound recordings and transcripts are available here.