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Michigan State University

The Radicalism Collection


The Radicalism Collection contains 50,000+ items – including books, first-hand accounts, government propaganda, manifestos, posters, flyers, pamphlets, serials, ephemera, underground newspapers, and objects – as well as materials from other countries and in other languages. Many of the acquisitions in the Radicalism Collection have been made possible thanks to the Radicalism Collection Endowment Fund in Memory of Beth Shapiro.

Furthermore, MSU Libraries carries a number of relevant books and database subscriptions that relate to topics within radicalism. 

Due to the multidisciplinary and intersectional nature of radicalism, materials that could be considered “radical” may not be included in this collection. In particular, the Africana, Chicanx/Latinx, Changing Men, and LGBTQ+ Collections contain items that frequently overlap with radical ideology.

When searching for radical materials across disciplines, we strongly recommend searching within specific subject areas in addition to the resources on this LibGuide. 

Sources by type

Archival collections consist of the personal papers, printed materials, and/or ephemera from specific organizations or individuals who donated their archives to MSU. These collections are stored in boxes, many of which are kept in Remote Storage (an offsite storage facility). They can be requested and used like any other Special Collections item. 

Archival collections related to Radicalism include:

  • The Communist Party of the USA (MSS 357) 
    Finding aids | Reserve materials
    Contents include: work published by and about the Communist Party and its front organizations; books, pamphlets, newspapers, mimeographed reports dated from 1913-1960. 

  • East Lansing Peace Education Center archives / records (MSS 217) 
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    The East Lansing Peace Education Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting peace and civil rights. Contents include: the Center's work in promoting peace and justice from the late 1960s to the early 1990s (mostly focused on 1980s); educational and promotional materials, correspondences, press releases, audiovisual materials, drafts of legislative bills.

  • Edith and Arthur Fox Collection (MSS 316) 
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    Edith and Arthur Fox were political and labor activists in the Detroit area who were employed in the auto industry and active in local United Auto Workers (UAW) groups. Contents include: correspondences, pamphlets, election materials, shop papers that highlight the Foxes’ work from the 1930s-1970s.

  • Occupy Wall Street Collection (MSS 393)
    Finding aids | Reserve materials
    Occupy Wall Street was a movement that began in 2011 to protest social and economic inequality. Contents include: efforts by the Occupy Wall Street Movement throughout Michigan and at the national level; posters, bumper stickers, newspapers, articles. 

  • Katherine Guins Peace and Social Justice Collection (MSS 625)
    Finding aids | Reserve materials
    Katherine Guins was a peace, civil rights, and social justice activist. Contents include: peace and social justice organizations in the Lansing and East Lansing area from 1941-2010 (focusing on 1970-1994); newsletters, meeting minutes, correspondences, membership lists, conference materials, leaflets, brochures.

  • Lansing Area Peace Council Records (MSS 245)
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    The Lansing Area Peace Council was founded in January of 1970 in response to the rising militarism in the United States. Contents include: anti-war movements and local peace actions from the Lansing Area Peace Council (1950-1996), student movements at MSU (1964-1996), Spring Mobilization against the war in Vietnam (April 15, 1967), the trial of the Catonsville Nine, the World Council of Churches, newsletters, signed petitions, pamphlets, news releases, flyers, personal correspondence, newspaper articles.

  • Saul Wellman Collection (MSS 473)
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    Saul Wellman (1913-2003) was a political activist who served in the Spanish Civil War before coming to the U.S., where he became a member of the Communist Party. Contents include: Wellman’s personal and research files and participation in left wing organizations; peace organizations, political action, the Soviet Union, labor activism, social problems in the U.S. 

  • Stuart N. Dowty and Janet Goldwasser Collection (MSS 438)
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    Topics include: communism, draft resistance, the Detroit coalition to end the war in Vietnam, the Black Panthers, local communist groups and labor unions, and youth culture (1964-2000).

  • Underground Press and Alternative Newspaper Collection (MSS 358)
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    Includes many issues from the Underground Press Syndicate, a network of countercultural newspapers and magazines that formed in 1966, such as the Berkeley Barb, the Los Angeles Free Press, the Fifth Estate, and The Paper (East Lansing's alternative paper from the 1960s). Most papers are from the United States with some originating in Canada, England, Denmark, and other European countries. Topics include alternative views on religion, war, music, drugs.

Leftist Political Posters Collection (MSS 719)
Includes 100+ posters from mostly European leftist social movements and activist groups from the 1970s and 1980s. Many of the posters come from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and Ireland as well as Spain, Palestine, China, Chile, and other Latin American countries. Topics include communism, terrorism, the Irish Troubles, and anti-imperialism.

Browse and reserve posters in this collection by:

  1. Searching for leftist political posters
  2. Under Books & Media, click See More
  3. On the left side panel, filter Library Location to Special Collections

Radicalism Posters Collection (MSS 431)
Finding aids | Reserve materials | View selected digitized posters  
Nearly 300 posters from social movements and activist groups in the U.S., mostly from the 1960s and 1970s. Topics include nuclear arms control, feminism, anti-apartheid movements, Vietnam protest movements, communism, and labor unions. 

The Special Collections Vertical Files are thousands of individual, subject-specific paper files that contain pamphlets, flyers, newspaper clippings, and other printed materials and ephemera. Some files are specific to MSU, East Lansing, Detroit, and Michigan. 

For a comprehensive (but not fully exhaustive) list of the vertical files, browse the Special Collections Vertical Files list.

Unfortunately, there are no finding aids for the vertical files. You can browse and reserve vertical files by: 

  1. Searching for your topic on (ex. abortion
  2. Under Books & Media, click See More
  3. On the left side panel, filter Library Location to Special Collections
  4. In each search result, look for the Call No. ARVF (American Radicalism Vertical File)