Vietnam Moratorium “Scroll” Documents George Mason College Community’s Activism

Student representative from the George Mason College Vietnam War Moratorium Committee presents Chancellor Lorin A. Thompson with petition asking college administration to excuse members of the campus community from classes on October 15, 1969. From The Gunston Ledger, Volume 7, Number 4. October 14, 1969.

Student representative from the George Mason College Vietnam War Moratorium Committee presents Chancellor Lorin A. Thompson with a petition asking college administration to excuse members of the campus community from classes on October 15, 1969. From The Gunston Ledger, Volume 7, Number 4. October 14, 1969.

On October 10, 1969 a neatly dressed George Mason College student presented Chancellor Lorin A. Thompson with a loosely-rolled scroll of paper containing the signatures of over 600 Mason students, faculty, and staff. The document petitioned Thompson to excuse students, faculty, staff and administration from classes and college business on October 15 so that they might have the opportunity to take part in local events pertaining to the Vietnam War Moratorium.  The Moratorium was a day-long series of events held in municipalities and on college campuses across the United States and the world to call attention to, and protest the United States’ involvement in, the Vietnam War. Thompson, photographed while receiving the petition, displayed a less-than-enthusiastic reaction to the document both in his facial expressions and in his words. He insisted that the college’s obligations to the state and its citizens mandated that it remain open, and students, instructors, and staff must be present on that day. He left the matter of attending the Moratorium activities up to the individual, who would be responsible for any consequences for missing class or work.

Vietnam War Moratorium petition photographed while taped to the wall of an unidentified George Mason College building. From The Gunston Ledger, Volume 7, Number 4. October 14, 1969.

Vietnam War Moratorium Petition photographed while taped to the wall of an unidentified George Mason College building. From The Gunston Ledger, Volume 7, Number 4. October 14, 1969.

George Mason College was not known for news-making protests or acts of civil disobedience during the Vietnam War era. Nearly all 1,890 George Mason students lived at home in their quiet suburban neighborhoods, most of them hailing from families with military or civil service backgrounds. Though students spoke their mind about the war regularly in the student newspaper, The Gunston Ledger, there had only been a handful of isolated incidences of antiwar activities at Mason. These were limited to symbolic draft card burnings and teach-ins, involving a few Mason students and faculty. The Vietnam War Moratorium movement of October 1969 marked a high point in activism at George Mason College. Just under one-third of the entire student body, faculty, and staff played a part in this movement-even if it was as small as putting a name to a piece of paper.

Box containing Moratorium Petition. From the George Mason University Office of the President records, 1949-2004 #R0019.

Box containing Vietnam War Moratorium Petition. From the George Mason University Office of the President records, 1949-2004 #R0019.

While working in our collections storage area in SCRC, the author came across a map storage box with a label reading: “Petition (Anti-Vietnam War) 1969”.  It was opened, and the 12-foot-by-16-inch manuscript was carefully unrolled for a few photographs before gently re-boxing it. The document still bears the masking tape that was used to attach it to a wall of one of the six campus buildings that comprised George Mason College in 1969.  Attached to the bottom of the document is a memorandum of October 3, 1969 from Mike Baker, the president of the Student Government, acknowledging that the body had voted 8 to 3 to endorse the Vietnam Moratorium. Student, faculty, and staff signatures grace the manuscript, which, when unrolled, bears a slight resemblance to the scroll containing Jack Kerouac’s original manuscript to On the Road.

The Vietnam Moratorium Scroll opened up in the SCRC collections storage area. The document is over 12 feet long. From the George Mason University Office of the President records, 1949-2004 #R0019.

The Vietnam Moratorium Petition opened up in the SCRC collections storage area. The document is over 12 feet long. From the George Mason University Office of the President records, 1949-2004 #R0019.

Moratorium Petition. From the George Mason University Office of the President records, 1949-2004 #R0019.

Top part of the Moratorium Petition. From the George Mason University Office of the President records, 1949-2004 #R0019.

It appears that this document itself played a relatively minor role in the larger Moratorium movement, judging by the small amount of newspaper space (a few sentences in two small articles) dedicated to it. The Moratorium events and corresponding editorial commentary received major coverage in the student paper for weeks afterwards.  But the scroll has survived as an artifact to help tell the story of this brief moment in the institution’s history, and it enables us to take a little trip into the past and understand what was important those who were here nearly 50 years ago.  Discoveries like this one help illustrate the value of archives and the archives professionals who preserve them.

The document is part of George Mason University Office of the President records, 1949-2004 #R0019.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

Hispanic Heritage month begins September 15th and continues until October 15th. In 1988 President Reagan formally established this 30-day period, which includes the anniversary of independence for many Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Chile, to celebrate and draw attention to Hispanic heritage and culture in America.

Chavez, Linda, Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation , Booknotes 1992-03-22, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Chavez, Linda, Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation , Booknotes 1992-03-22, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

 

 

 

Linda Chavez in, Out of the Barrio, discussed immigration and the progress made by Hispanics in America while analyzing government policies, the importance of assimilation, and attitudes towards immigrants in our country.

 

 

Nichols, Madaline W., Sarmiento: A Chronicle of Inter-American Friendship , F2846_S26_N5_1940, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Nichols, Madaline W., Sarmiento: A Chronicle of Inter-American Friendship , F2846_S26_N5_1940, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

 

 

 

 

Sarmiento is about the activist and President of Argentina (1868-1874), Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. This book is significant for telling the story of a man and his travels for which there is little known, written, or translated for an English-speaking audience.

 

 

 

Planned Community Archives, Collection # C001, Box 101, Folder 04, Page , Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

A look at Hispanic communities as part of George Mason University’s local history. Planned Community Archives, Collection # C001, Box 101, Folder 04, Page 22, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. (Click link for Page 23)

 

George Mason University celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month in September 1995. Office of University Relations, Collection # R0004, Box 56, Folder 29, Page 3/3, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

George Mason University celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month in September 1995. Office of University Relations, Collection # R0004, Box 56, Folder 29, Page 3/3, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

 

Helpful Information:

GMU Calendar for Hispanic Heritage Month 2016

Hispanic Latino Leadership Association (HLLA)

Hispanic Heritage

PBS Films and TV

GMU Office of University Relations

Planned Community Archives

 

To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us at speccoll@gmu.edu or call 703-993-2220 if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions. Appointments are not necessary to view collections.

 

Where Are You Really From?: Exploring Ideas About Asian-American Identities

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Wu, Frank H., Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White, Booknotes 2002-03-31, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Frank H. Wu, associate professor at the Howard University School of Law, wrote Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White. In this book, he discussed stereotypes towards Asian-Americans, racial identity, and experiences of Asian-Americans in the United States. Through his analysis of race, he demonstrated how ideas about race are used to separate groups of people, damaging community relationships. He argued that racial profiling takes away an individual’s liberty to define who they are.

 

Barnouw, Erik, Radio Drama in Action: 25 Plays of a Changing World, PN6120.R2 B35 C.3, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Barnouw, Erik, Radio Drama in Action: 25 Plays of a Changing World, PN6120.R2 B35 C.3, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Erik Barnouw’s Radio Drama in Action: 25 Plays of a Changing World, features a play called “Japanese-Americans” written by Harry Kleiner during World War II. This play was part of a series for the Armed Forces Radio Service Education Unit. The series dealt with contributions of different cultural groups in United States history and during the war. The scripts aimed to tell the story of an American in the armed forces. It first aired in the summer of 1944 and avoided the use of stereotypical dialects to prevent the separation of groups within this play and instead, demonstrated their common interests and war efforts. At this time, there was a lot of American propaganda negatively depicting the Japanese, therefore this program was especially important to understanding how Japanese-Americans have contributed to the welfare of the United States.

 

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Chan, Irene, Asian American ? project, N7433.4.C415 .A85 2009, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Asian American ? project by Irene Chan features 35 cards with topics pertaining to the Asian-American experience in the United States such as Asian stereotyping regarding gender, class, and race. A few cards review the question, “Where are you really from?” which is a common question asked to many Asian Americans and other minority groups. As many, including Frank H. Wu, has pointed out, this question represents the idea that individuals who do not “look American” or white, are automatically placed in a category of being a foreigner.

 

 

 

 

 

For more information:

C-SPAN interview with Frank H. Wu, author of Yellow: Race in American Beyond Black and White.

Catalog records for:

Yellow: Race in American Beyond Black and White

Radio Drama in Action: 25 Plays of a Changing World

Asian American ? Project

If you have any questions or wish to schedule an appointment with Special Collections Research Center at George Mason University, contact us at speccoll@gmu.edu.

Records and Information Management: What We Do With Student Records

Graduation season has come again! Most of the colleges here at Mason will be using the quiet months ahead to pack away the files of the spring graduates who have finished their academic career. For some offices, that means small hills of archival boxes packed against the wall until they can get them out of their way to make room for the incoming summer and fall students.

As a state university, Mason is required to follow the Public Records Act policies set forth by the Commonwealth. The Library of Virginia has set specific guidelines for state colleges that certain types of student records need to be retained for specific periods of time before the universities are allowed to dispose of them. Those laws do not just apply to paper records, but our digital-born documentation as well!

University Records Management works with Mason offices to ensure that all faculty and staff are aware of the retention requirements and that there are resources available to help with issues such as long-term storage. Most student documents are temporary records – this means is that the records are eligible for shredding, burning, or pulping after a certain number of years after graduation. Some types of information – such as students’ grades – are considered permanent records, and it is up to University Records Management to ensure that Mason maintains the security and accessibility of these records forever. Not just 100 or 10,000 years, but forever. Or until the Library of Virginia decides that maybe 10,000 is a bit too long.

Starting any day now, Mason faculty and staff will begin sorting through graduates’ files and dividing them up between the different types of records series; some examples of series are admission files, academic counseling files. Once they are aware of how much paper there is, someone usually reaches out to University Records Management to acquire archival boxes to store these records for the remainder of their life cycle. When these boxes are packed and labels with the contents and inclusive records dates, the Records Manager arranges to have them stored at the University Records Center on Fairfax campus. There, the records are kept safe and sound until an office needs to request a file back or until the records meet their retention period.

Then it is time to call in the shredders!

Here are some helpful definitions:

Permanent Record –  Materials created or received in the conduct of affairs that are preserved by the creator because of the enduring historical value or as evidence of the roles and responsibilities of the creator

Records Series – Group of similar or related records that are arranged according to a file system and that are related as the result of being created, received, or used in the same activity

Life Cycle – Distinct phases of a record’s existence, from creation, to use, to maintenance, and finally disposition

(Definitions are from the Library of Virginia Public Records Management Manual)

For more information about SCRC and Records and Information Management look here.

The University Records Manager is Samara Carter. You can reach her at  scarte25@gmu.edu or  703.993.2201.

Amateur Radio, Pat Hawker, and World War II

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Doc. 1 covers the involvement of amateur radio during World War II. Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 01, Page 1/2 of “The Secrets of Wartime Radio,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Amateur radio, also known as HAM radio, is a hobby that allows people to communicate non-commercially with each other by creating personal radio stations. Amateur radio began around 1890 and began picking up interest in the early 1900’s. Radio communication has been used by the government and military for intercepting communications from other countries. During and right before World War II, many men and women who held radiating licenses became involved in wartime radio (Doc. 1).

Doc. 2 is a booklet containing information and diagrams of British reception sets. Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 02, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc. 2 is a booklet containing information and diagrams of British reception sets. Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 02, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

John Patrick Hawker was born in Somerset, England in 1922 and became interested in wireless broadcasting as a kid. He got the AA license at age 14, giving him two years to learn Morse code and take the test for his full license. By October 1938, he earned his full license as G3VA. In 1940, he was asked to join the Radio Security Service as a Voluntary Interceptor and over a year later was given the opportunity to become a full-time interceptor for the new military unit (SCU3).

 

 

Doc. 2 Document is from

Doc. 4 is a diagram of an American WWII clandestine radio set. Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 12, Page 14/30 of a hand-made booklet by Pat Hawker. Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc. 3 Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 17, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc. 3 discusses UK Intelligence operations, Belgian Escape Lines. Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 17, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information:

American Radio Relay League

International Amateur Radio Union

International Amateur Radio Union (Region 2 specific)

John Patrick Hawker Papers can be found in the finding aid for Special Collections Research Center at George Mason University. You may also contact speccoll@gmu.edu to look through our collection.