Human Rights: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

As part of Human Rights week, SCRC is sharing some items from a few of our collections that relate to either the protection of human rights or a neglect for them. The first is a report on the Virginia Council on Human Rights, which was established on August 7, 1987. The goal of the council included protecting individuals from unlawful discrimination. This report is part of the Emilie F. Miller collection which covers a vast array of topics relating to politics within Virginia. She was local activist and supporter of equal rights for women.

"Virginia Council on Human Rights." Emilie F. Miller collection, Collection # C0048, Box 07, Folder 60, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

“Virginia Council on Human Rights.” Emilie F. Miller collection, Collection # C0048, Box 07, Folder 60, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

The second item comes from the French Communist Poster collection. The poster advocates for amnesty for the political prisoners and exiles of Spain. Though it did not gain enough support to win a presidential election, the PCF supported the workers and farmers of France and fought for more social welfare programs, like higher minimum wages, better retirement conditions, better working conditions, and equal pay and also sought female support by celebrating women’s issues and equal rights.

French Communist Party poster collection #C0168, MC folder 2, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

French Communist Party poster collection #C0168, MC folder 2, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

The last item is from the East German Poster political series collection. This poster is undated but references events of 1939. The quote is taken from a Bertolt Brecht poem about the “house-painter” and who made promises of “great times to come.” Brecht went into exile at the onset of the Second World War and is famous for many of his plays.

"Aus dem Reich kommen wenig Nachrichten",East German poster collection # C0169, AE-1825, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

“Aus dem Reich kommen wenig Nachrichten”,East German poster collection # C0169, AE-1825, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

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.

Robert Clark papers and the Process of Processing

Robert (Bob) Clark was born in May 1922 in Omaha, Nebraska. He received a B.S. and M.A. while studying journalism and politics. He went on to become a Washington and White House correspondent for ABC News throughout the 1950’s and 1970’s, but continued to work for ABC until the 1990’s. Most notably, he covered and witnessed the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. Later in his life, around the 1990’s, he was a guest commentator on C-SPAN. Bob Clark passed away in December 2015.

I have been fortunate enough to process this collection in its entirety. This is something I have wanted to do for a little while now. I am currently the Research Services Assistant, which means my main tasks are to assist researchers and answer questions they have along with updating our social media sites. This role is a graduate student position here at GMU and I have worked here since August of 2015. I have been lucky enough to pick up other tasks within my position, and processing is just one of those things that I have wanted to learn more about. Since this was a small donation, it was a great collection to start with. The donors, Douglas and Sandy First, were neighbors of Robert Clark and had organized his papers into five boxes which were then given to us. My first step was to re-folder all of the papers. Some were already in folders but many papers were placed in the boxes. I took papers out of old folders and placed them into new, acid-free folders. Other papers had to be organized into smaller sections based on the subject. There ended up being so many added folders that I had to add another box.

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Empty boxes that the Robert Clark papers were in when they were donated.

Once all of the papers were in new folders, I arranged them into Hollinger boxes. Most of the documents were already organized by subject. We typically keep all papers and materials in the same order they were donated in, if we can, so that SCRC staff and researchers can better understand the context and intent of the donor or author.

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Folders from all six boxes were then reorganized into these nineteen Hollinger boxes.

All folders have the collection title, “Robert Clark”, on the top left side. The middle of the folder is left for a brief title which explains the content, date, and sometimes the sort of materials that are in each folder. The right side always lists the box number followed by the folder number. In the image below, the folder says 8.1, meaning box 8, folder 1. This makes it easy for researchers to view our finding aid and know where to look for information and which boxes to request. It also helps keep everything in order. At this point, I had a pretty good idea of the contents of these boxes. I knew that I wanted to organize them into six series: JFK assassination, Politics, Foreign relations, Domestic issues, Personal files, and ABC files. But first, an inventory had to be made.

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The boxes are then organized into series by subject. Folders are labeled with the collection name, a description of what the folder contains, and a number which lists the box and folder.

An inventory is the first step to creating a finding aid which will later be uploaded to the website for people to search. The only information required for this step is box and folder number, title, and date of materials in each folder.

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All of the information is placed into Excel to create an inventory of the materials to eventually be used for making the Finding Aid.

We currently use Archivists’ Toolkit for our collections. After the boxes are organized and the Excel inventory was created, I filled in the necessary information such as the description and container summary. I listed the six series that I thought best organized the collection and I added notes about copyright, restrictions, the donation and other details that go on our finding aids. Once that is completed, I hit the “Export EAD” button, which saves the file so it can be opened in Notetab and coded for our website. When all the coding is done, an html file is created and is made available to the public.

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Archivists’ Toolkit file for Robert Clark

The final step was to print out labels, place them on the boxes, and shelve them in our stacks with the other collections. Now the Robert Clark papers collection can be searched online, used for research, or used by SCRC staff for social media posts!

Putting labels on the new boxes before shelving.

Putting labels on the new boxes before shelving.

 

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.

About the Special Collections Research Center

The Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) in George Mason University Libraries serves the scholarly community and beyond. While our services are used mainly by students and faculty, we are open to the public for research or for personal interest. The SCRC staff is dedicated to preserving, organizing, and collecting various objects, books, and manuscripts.

Members of the SCRC staff include:

  • Head of Special Collections
  • Research Services Coordinator
  • University Records Manager
  • Records Management Specialist
  • Manuscripts & Archives Librarian
  • Processing Coordinator
  • Digital Collection and Exhibitions Archivist
  • and various student wage and Graduate Research Assistants

SCRC contact information can be found here.

Our collections are searchable online through our finding aids and library catalog.

From our home page, sca.gmu.edu, our finding aids are searchable by subject or alphabetical order. The finding aids are useful for browsing our manuscripts and mixed materials such as oral histories.

SCRC maintains a collection of rare and antiquarian books. The oldest volume dates from the early 1500’s. To search our rare book and artist book holdings from the home page, click the catalog tab in the search box and enter search terms. For a more specific search limited to holdings in SCRC, click the “classic catalog” option and then hit the “set limits” button on the right of the page and scroll until you find “Fenwick Special Collections” in the locations section. Hit set limits again, and then begin your search. More information about our rare books can be found on our infoguides page.  A small sampling of items found in SCRC includes:

Poe,Edgar Allan, The Raven, PS2609 .A1 1884, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Poe,Edgar Allan, The Raven, PS2609 .A1 1884, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Northern Virginia Oral History Project Collection, #C0030, Box 5, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Northern Virginia Oral History Project Collection, #C0030, Box 5, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Mason Family Manuscript Account Book, #C0214, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Mason Family Manuscript Account Book, #C0214, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Langerman, Elaine, The Fairy Tale , N7433.4.L36 F35 1993, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Langerman, Elaine, The Fairy Tale , N7433.4.L36 F35 1993, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Appianus of Alexandria, Historia Romana, PA3873 .A2 1592, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Appianus of Alexandria, Historia Romana, PA3873 .A2 1592, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Froissart, Jean, Chronicles of England, France, Spain, and the Adjoining Countries, D113 .F7 1843, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Froissart, Jean, Chronicles of England, France, Spain, and the Adjoining Countries, D113 .F7 1843, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congress, Committee on Un-American Activities, KF27.3.U53 H43, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Congress, Committee on Un-American Activities, KF27.3.U53 H43 1962 V.1, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

19th Century Civil War and Political Cartoon Lithograph, #C0285, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

“The Dawn of a Better Day,” 19th Century Civil War and Political Cartoon Lithograph, #C0285, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information about SCRC, our collections or to schedule an appointment, email us at speccoll.gmu.edu.

Fighting for Freedom: The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area

The League of Women Voters was formed by Carrie Chapman Catt in 1920 before the 19th amendment had been passed, allowing all women the right to vote. Multiple local leagues were established in counties and cities around the United States. In 1948, a League of Women Voters was created in Fairfax but was reestablished and stabilized in 1964 shortly after Fairfax City became separate from Fairfax County. Since 1948, the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area (LWVFA) has fought for many issues and provided educational resources to women and men on how to vote, choose candidates, information on current issues and much more.

Doc.1 The 1985 Congressional Forum regarding women in the Senate and House. Some issues regard the difficulty for women to gain experience and feel encouraged and confident enough to run for a seat in the Senate or House. There is also a list comparing women in these types of positions around the world. Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 13, Folder 02, Page 2/2 of "Our Daighters' Daughters Will Adore Us ," Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc.1 The 1985 Congressional Forum regarding women in the Senate and House. Some issues regard the difficulty for women to gain experience and feel encouraged and confident enough to run for a seat in the Senate or House. There is also a list comparing women in these types of positions around the world. Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 13, Folder 02, Page 2/2 of “Our Daighters’ Daughters Will Adore Us ,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

From the table in Doc. 1, Denmark’s People’s House had the largest percentage of women in a legislative role at 26.8% in 1985. Norway’s Stortinget followed  with 25.8%, while the U.S. Senate had 2% and the U.S. House had 5% of women involvement. Today, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union updated in February of 2016, the U.S. is ranked 95 out of 185, with women holding 19.4% of the House, and 20% of the Senate. Some of the countries ahead of the U.S. are Cuba, Mexico, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Canada.

Aside from urging more women to run for seats in the House and Senate, the LWVFA have fought for a number of environmental and class issues, female reproductive rights, equal pay among many others.

Doc. 2 references the pay gap of .64 cents earned by women for each dollar that a man earned in 1984 for full-time work. Currently, the wage gap stands at .79 cents for every dollar that a man makes in 2016, according to The American Association of University Women. This percentage is the average gap, but can shift slightly due to many factors such as age, education, race, location, and occupation.

Doc. 2 Document from LWVFA President, Sue Anderson, in February 1984 regarding equal pay. Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 14, Folder 01, "Letter from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area dated February 27, 1984," Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc. 2 Document from LWVFA President, Sue Anderson, in February 1984 regarding equal pay. Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 14, Folder 01, “Letter from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area dated February 27, 1984,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

The LWVFA also opposed and urged Congress against the Kemp amendment to Title X in 1985 (Doc. 3), which would remove federal funding for family planning at any organization or institution that performed abortions or provided abortion counseling. This amendment was passed and few alterations have been made.

Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 14, Folder 01, Page 1/2 of "Letter from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area to Congressman Frank R. Wolf dated November 25, 1985," Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc. 3. Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 14, Folder 01, Page 1/2 of “Letter from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area to Congressman Frank R. Wolf dated November 25, 1985,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

There has been a lot of correspondence between members of Congress and the LWVFA. League members wrote to leaders about issues of concern and received many responses back, often positively, from members of Congress thanking them for expressing their views. C0031B30F14: topics within these letters regard the Clean Air Act Amendment bill, the Equal Rights Amendment , and congratulatory letters to the elected President, Leslie Byrne, in 1981.

C0031B39F09: document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area records, Collection #C0031, Box 39, Folder 09, “Bylaws of the League of Women Voters of the United States,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. Bylaws were amended as of May 3, 1948.

C0031B27F03: document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection #C0031, Box 27, Folder 03, “How to Judge a Candidate” and “How to Watch a Debate,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. Documents were created for the Presidential Election of 1986.

 

 

For more information about the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area, important issues, and information on voting, visit http://www.lwv-fairfax.org/.

For information about Carrie Chapman Catt or the history of the League of Women Voters, go to http://www.catt.org/ or http://lwv.org/.

For information about the LWVFA records in the Special Collections Research Center at George Mason University, you can view our finding aid and contact speccoll@gmu.edu to look through our collection.