Skip to main content
Michigan State University

WRAC 150, Spring 2016, Shelby Pumphrey: Physical Artifacts in Special Collections

1963 March on Washington pennant

Archivist Lydia Tang shows off pennant from 1968 March on Washington

From the Radicalism Collection, a souvenir pennant from the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

African Solidarity T-Shirt Collections

Anti-apartheid t-shirt

The Prexy Nesbitt T-Shirt Collection and Michael Fleshman African Solidarity T-Shirt Collection document the anti-apartheid movement through the shirts and associated artwork worn by supporters.

Boston Coalition for the Liberation of South Africa

The Boston Coalition for the Liberation of South Africa Collection includes two banners with the messages "Independence 18th April 1980 Zimbabwe" and "U.S. Out of El Salvador and South Africa."

Manuscript collection 282, box 1

Cartonera books

Cartonera books are inexpensive printings of short literature (poetry, stories, essays) bound in hand-painted cardboard covers.

The first publisher of this genre, Eloísa Cartonera, started in 2001 as a response to the Argentine economic crisis of that year. Since then, cartonera publishing has spread throughout Central and South America as a political and social movement.

The cardboard for the covers is collected from garbage dumps by low-income residents. The publishers pay more than recyclers for the raw material, and also employ the cardboard collectors to paint the covers.

Searching the publisher's name as a keyword is the easiest way to retrieve these titles.

Use the MSU library catalog advanced search.

  • Limit to Special Collections.
  • Keyword search eloisa cartonera (Argentina)
  • Keyword search la propia cartonera (Uruguay)
  • Keyword search dulcineia catadora (Brazil)
  • Keyword search yiyi jambo (Paraguay)
  • Keyword search animita cartonera (Chile)
  • Keyword search sarita cartonera (Peru)

Chicano/Latino activism pinback buttons

United Farm Workers button

We have an extensive collection of pinback buttons documenting Chicano/Latino activism, especially the United Farm Workers movement, from the 1930s to the present.

Flag from the funeral of Cesar Chavez

Aztlan symbol on flag

Among the papers donated by Andrés G. Guerrero is an unusual artifact: the United Farm Workers flag used during the funeral of activist Cesar Chavez on May 2, 1993.

Manuscript collection 346, box 1, folder 2

Jon Stewart Rally to Restore Sanity/Stephen Colbert March to Keep Fear Alive

Restore Sanity / Keep Fear Alive Rally logos

Two local residents attended the Jon Stewart Rally to Restore Sanity/Stephen Colbert March to Keep Fear Alive, held on October 30, 2010 in Washington DC. They donated a t-shirt, buttons, and other souvenirs they gathered to the Radicalism Collection.

Manuscript collection 112

Quinceañera invitations

A group of quinceaneras invitations.

In Latin American countries and Hispanic communities in the United States, a quinceañera is a celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday.

The Penny Pangburn Burillo Papers are a collection of more than 50 invitations and table decorations from quinceañera celebrations in Western Michigan, primarily from the late 1990s to 2011.

Manuscript collection 388, boxes 1-2

Occupy Wall Street Collection

"Vendetta" mask collected at Occupy Wall Street event

Items collected during the Occupy Wall Street movement, 2011-2012 include a "V for Vendetta" mask and an Occupy t-shirt.

Manuscript collection 393, box 3

Queer Politics collection

Front of satire currency: "queer as a three dollar bill"

The Queer Politics collection includes pinback buttons, bumper stickers, and other printed items from the gay liberation movement.

An especially interesting item is a parody version of U.S. currency with the message "Front line of freedom, San Francisco: Queer as a three dollar bill."

Manuscript collection 343. Buttons in box 1, folders 7, 9, 11, 13, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 35, 36, 52-54, 97, 105, 110. Parody currency in box 1, folder 109.

Southern Africa Liberation Committee

The Patricia L. Beeman Southern Africa Libertation Committee Collection documents the work of a Lansing-area anti-apartheid group from 1973 to 1997.

The most striking artifact in the collection is a small black wooden coffin which was made for the Shanty Protest on the MSU campus in 1986, seen above.

Other artifacts include protest buttons, remembrance bracelets, t-shirts with anti-apartheid messages, and a banner with the message "Remember, Rejoice, Renew / Divest from South Africa / Divest Michigan Pension Funds."

Manuscript collection 258, boxes 28-32 (buttons, bracelets, posters, t-shirts) and box 33 (banner)

Vietnam War Protest Movement scrapbook

1960s scrapbook

In 1971, Steve Bouwkamp and Craig Brown assembled this scrapbook to document the Vietnam War protest movement and anti-war demonstrations in Washington D.C.

Waynesart Sculptures

Wayne Hampton sculpture Last Call

Sculptor Wayne Hampton, active in the 1970s and 1980s, is believed to be the first sculptor to create work specifically for the gay community. We have four of his works in Special Collections.

Manuscript collection 421

  • Call MSU: (517) 355-1855
  • Visit:
  • MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer.
Michigan State University