The Alternative Press Collection in ARchives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut, is one of the oldest and largest collections of alternative press materials in the United States. The Alternative Press Collection (APC) was founded in the late 1960s out of student participation in activist movements for social, cultural and political change. The library from the Radical Education Project of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was added to the collection in 1972.
Currently, the APC includes thousands of national and international newspapers, serials, books,
pamphlets, ephemera and artifacts documenting activist themes and organizations, spanning from the 1800s to the
present. The collection contains more than 7,000 newspaper and magazine titles with 90 still on subscription,
5,000 books and pamphlets, 1,800 files of ephemera from activist organizations throughout the country, plus
miscellaneous posters, broadsides, buttons, calendars and manuscripts.
Subjects represented in the APC include (but are not limited to):
- Anti-War Movements/Peace and Solidarity (Particularly from the Vietnam Era)
- Publications by and for Racial, Ethnic, and Religious Minorities
- Women’s Liberation/Feminist Publications
- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer publications
- Student Protests and Activism
- Political Movements (Communism, Socialism, Anarchism, Radical Politics on the Left and Right)
- Environmental Movements
Searching for Publications in the Alternative Press Collection
Researchers can search for publication titles and subjects in HOMER, the library's online catalog.
From the University of Connecticut Libraries Homepage, click below the search box on the link for Other HOMER Searches
Click on the "Advanced Search" tab.
Then, click "Set More Limits" in the lower right corner. That will bring you to a new menu. In the Location box, scroll down and select "Dodd/Archives & Special Collections", and then click "Set Limits."
That will take you back to the Advanced Search page. To search by publication title, change the drop down search menu to “Title” and type the title in the search box. To search by subject, enter your search terms, such as "APC" and "Peace", and search as “Keywords.” Titles for books, periodicals, films, manuscript collections, and other resources at the Dodd Center will be retrieved.
Not all APC materials are cataloged in HOMER. The card catalog in the McDonald reading room in Archives & Special Collections has a more extensive listing of titles. Please contact the curator, Melissa.Watterworth@uconn.edu, if you need research assistance.
Anti-War Activism/Peace and Solidarity Movements
The bulk of the collection pertains to the Vietnam era and related activism. Alternative tabloids in the collection from the 1960s and early 1970s include Georgia Straight, The Berkeley Barb , and East Village Other. More contemporary peace movements regarding the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as materials pertaining to unrest in the Middle East, Central America and Africa are also included in the collection. In addition to newspapers, there are a number of newsletters from organizations working for peace, including Another Mother for Peace, Peace and Freedom News and Clergy and Laity Concerned.
The collection also contains materials pertaining to non-white racial and ethnic identities and power
movements, including the Oakland-based Black Panther newspaper as well as flyers and
ephemeral materials from demonstrations in New Haven, Connecticut, during the trial of Black Panther Bobby Seale.
Asian, Latino, Native American and interracial publications are all represented in the collection, including
Akwesasne Notes and Chicano Community News, as well as materials
advocating the rights of prisoners, children, the elderly and people with physical and mental challenges.
The collection contains a significant number of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender materials and queer liberation publications. The collection includes many early gay and lesbian liberation titles no longer in print, such as Christopher Street, Gay Crusader and The Body Politic . More contemporary LGBTQ publications include Bay Windows and Lesbian Connection. The collection also documents early feminist publications from the United States such as Off Our Backs and The National NOW Times, and includes a significant number of local Connecticut feminist newsletters. International feminist publications such as German-language Emma , and the Australian journal Hecate are also included in the collection.
The Alternative Press Collection grew out of student activism at the University of Connecticut. Flyers, handouts and locally produced tabloids collected during the heyday of student demonstrations at the University of Connecticut and other New England campuses formed the initial collection and encompass hundreds of files in the archives. In 1972, the collection grew with the addition of the Radical Education Project of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Current University of Connecticut student publications, such as the UConn Free Press and publications of local community groups are regularly added to the collection.
The Communist/Socialist Collection contains approximately 3,000 United States books and pamphlets from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It also includes an extensive collection of anarchist material advocating for the elimination of government. Publications of libertarians, radical feminists, members of the Green Party and other movements are included in the collection, as well as materials calling for government monitoring, prison reform and ending human rights violations. Titles include The Revolution, The Worker, Anarchist Worker and Class Struggle.
Conservative Politics and the Radical Right
In addition to the many left-leaning publications included in the Alternative Press Collection, conservative publications and materials from the radical right are also included in the collection. Titles of conservative materials include American Spectator, Review of the News and The Phyllis Schafly Report. Publications from far right wing groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, National Emancipation of the White Seed and the John Birch Society are also included in the collection.
Archives & Special Collections has over 150 newsletters, magazines and journals devoted to environmental concerns, including Mother Earth News, Everyone’s Back Yard, Earth Island Journal, Friends of the Earth and a number of publications from Greenpeace and other national and international organizations.
The Alternative Press Collection includes notable manuscript collections, including the Hoffman Family Papers, donated in 2000 by Jack Hoffman, the younger brother of activist Abbie Hoffman, the co-founder of the Yippie movement and co-defendant in the Chicago 7 Trial in 1969-1970. The Hoffman Family Papers include correspondence, family papers, written materials, government documents, newspaper clippings, photographs and artifacts including buttons, articles of clothing, posters and audiovisual materials. The Foster Gunnison Jr. Papers document the homophile and early Gay Liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The Poras Collection of Vietnam War Memorabilia includes over 150 posters from the era, as well as propaganda and protest materials. Other manuscript materials in the Alternative Press Collection include the Vivian Mayer Collection of Fat Liberation, the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union Records and the Connecticut Citizens Action Group Records.
Most of the materials in the Alternative Press Collection are cataloged with information located in the library's main catalog, HOMER. Additional access is available via a specialized card catalog in the department. For example, access by title and subject to the more than 1800 files of activist organizations is available only by using this card catalog. Reference sources, such as the Alternative Press Index, assist users in locating relevant materials.
1. Cover illustration for: Lesbian Connection, a nationwide forum of
news & ideas for, by, and about lesbians. Vol. 19, issue 3 (Nov./Dec. 1996).
Elsie Publishing Institute, P.O. Box 811, East Lansing, MI 48826
Illustration by Sudie Rakusin c 1987. Reprinted with permission.
2. Seed. Vol. 5, no. 4. (Chicago, IL., 1970?)
3. Prisoners Solidarity Committee. Newsletter. (New York, NY., Sept. 1971)
4. Let Freedom Ride the Rails. (Detroit: National Negro Labor Council, 1954?)
This page is maintained by M. W. Batt.