New! Online Resource: Black Nationalism and RAM; and Papers of Amiri Baraka 

I am pleased to report that the Vere Harmsworth Library has purchased the previously trialled databases Black Nationalism and the Revolutionary Action Movement and Papers of Amiri Baraka for Bodleian Readers.

Black Nationalism and the Revolutionary Action Movement: The Papers of Muhammad Ahmad (Max Stanford)

The Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) came into existence as a result of a year of organizing for student rights and involvement in the civil rights movement among a collective of undergraduate students at Central State College (now University) in late May to early June of 1962.

Originally focused in Philadelphia, RAM, engaged in voter registration/education drives, organized community support for the economic boycotts of the Philadelphia “400” ministers led by Rev. Leon Sullivan and held free African/African-American history classes at its office. RAM participated in support demonstrations of the struggles then being waged in the South to end racial segregation. It was also active in coalitions to eliminate police brutality against the African-American community.

RAM became a national organisation in 1964, organising African American students, raising the demand for Black studies and campaigning for economic, social and political equality. It also sent organisers into Southern states. RAM was the first African-American organization to denounce the US government’s war of aggression against the people of Vietnam and support the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF). RAM was dissolved in 1968, following pressure from US government intelligence agencies (most noticeably the FBI) and local police forces.

This collection of RAM records reproduces the writings and statements of the RAM and its leaders. It also covers organizations that evolved from or were influenced by RAM and persons that had close ties to RAM. The most prominent organization that evolved from RAM was the African People’s Party. Organizations which worked with RAM included the NAACP, SNCC and Deacons of Defense. Organizations influenced by RAM include the Black Panther Party, League of Revolutionary Black Workers, Youth Organization for Black Unity, African Liberation Support Committee, and the Republic of New Africa. Individuals associated with RAM and documented in this collection include Robert F. Williams, Malcolm X, Amiri Baraka, General Gordon Baker Jr., Yuri Kochiyama, Donald Freeman, James and Grace Lee Boggs, Herman Ferguson, Askia Muhammad Toure (Rolland Snellings), and Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael).

You can access Black Nationalism and Revolutionary Action Movement using your Single Sign On here.

Papers of Amiri Baraka, Poet Laureate of the Black Power Movement

The collection consists of materials from the years 1913 through 1998 that document African American author and activist Amiri Baraka and were gathered by Dr. Komozi Woodard in the course of his research. The extensive documentation includes poetry, organizational records, print publications, articles, plays, speeches, personal correspondence, oral histories, as well as some personal records. The materials cover Baraka’s involvement in the politics in Newark, N.J. and in Black Power movement organizations such as the Congress of African People, the National Black Conference movement, the Black Women’s United Front. Later materials document Baraka’s increasing involvement in Marxism.

The collection has been organised into 18 series,

  • Series I: Black Arts Movement, 1961-1998
  • Series II: Black Nationalism,, 1964-1977
  • Series III: Correspondence, 1967-1973
  • Series IV: Newark (New Jersey), 1913-1980
  • Series V: Congress of African People, 1960-1976 – Organisation founded by Baraka in 1970 to advance his own vision of African cultural nationalism.
  • Series VI: National Black Conferences and National Black Assembly, 1968-1975 –Includes the 1972 Convention in Gary, Indiana, where delegates adopted the National Black Political Agenda, also known as the Gary declaration and formed the National Black Assembly (NBA).
  • Series VII: Black Women’s United Front, 1975-1976 -Formed  in 1974 by Amina Baraka (Sylvia Jones), the wife of Amiri Baraka.
  • Series VIII: Student Organization for Black Unity, 1971
  • Series IX: African Liberation Support Committee, 1973-1976
  • Series X: Revolutionary Communist League, 1974-1982 – founded by Bakara when CAP disintegrated in conflict, and reflects Baraka’s move away from nationalism to a Marxist position.
  • Series XI: African Socialism, 1973
  • Series XII: Black Marxists, 1969-1980–  includes materials on black Marxist contemporaries of Baraka, and older black Marxists such as Harry Haywood, C.L.R. James, and Odis Hyde. The series also includes files on the All African Revolutionary Party, the Black Workers Congress, and the Progressive Labor Party.
  • Series XIII: National Black United Front, 1979-1981
  • Series XIV: Miscellaneous Materials, 1978-1988
  • Series XV: Serial Publications, 1968-1984
  • Series XVI: Oral Histories, 1984-1986 –  transcripts from sixteen interviews conducted by Komozi Woodard and his assistants as part of an oral history project entitled, “The Making of Black NewArk: An Oral History of the Impact of the Freedom Movement on Newark Politics.” Most of the people interviewed were primarily local Newark activists, although there are also interviews with Baraka, Maulana Ron Karenga, and scholar John Henrik Clarke. This series of oral histories is one of the most unique and valuable parts of this collection.
  • Series XVII: Komozi Woodard’s Office Files, 1956-1986

You can access the Papers of Amari Baraka using your Single Sign On here.

Long Vacation: Opening Hours, Lending updates and more!

Please be aware of the following updates as we move into the Long Vacation.

Opening Hours 

From the 17th June 2024, the VHL and the RAI Building, will have the following opening hours:

Monday – Friday            9am – 5pm

Saturday – Sunday        CLOSED

The Library will be closed on the August Bank Holiday (Monday 26th August). 

Please check the Vere Harmsworth Library website for updates and upcoming closure periods. 

Returning Loans

If your University and Library borrowing membership is expiring during the Long Vacation, please return any library books that you still have on your account as soon as possible. If your University membership has been renewed for the next academic year, or is likely to be renewed, please contact us, as we may be able to renew your books.

If you have lost any library books, or will be unable to return the books by September 30th 2024, please contact us as soon as possible via email (vhl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk) or phone (+44 (0)1865 282700).

If you do not return your books, you may be fined for a replacement copy.

Vacation Loans

Vacation loans are now in place at the VHL. Books checked out after Monday 10th June will not need to be returned until Tuesday 15th October. You may return your book before that time if you wish.

We hope you have a lovely summer, and if you are leaving the University, we wish you all the very best in your future endeavours!

If you have any further questions about working in the Vere Harmsworth Library or borrowing items, please ask at the Information Desk, or email vhl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk. If you have lost one of your VHL books, email Bethan Davies, VHL Librarian at bethan.davies@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

New! Online Resource: Archives of Sexuality and Gender: LGBTQ History and Culture Since 1940, Part II

Decorative poster from Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. Full citation: You Are Not Alone! n.d. TS Posters from the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives 1134;1992-077/11 N. Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. Archives of Sexuality and Gender, Gale Document Number ITJQWI002629288

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am pleased to report that Bodleian readers now have access to Archives of Sexuality and Gender: LGBTQ History and Culture Since 1940, Part II. This database was kindly funded by Bloomsbury Publishing.

The Archives of Sexuality and Gender: LGBTQ History and Culture Since 1940, Part II provides coverage of the development, culture, and society of LGBTQ groups in the latter half of the twentieth century. It provides new perspectives on a diverse community and the wealth of resources available in the archive allow for creating connections amongst disparate materials. Oxford researchers now have access to both Part I and II of the Archives of Sexuality and Gender (see our previous blogpost for more information about Part I).

Materials were selected from the following US archives:

  • ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, University of Southern California, Los Angeles – the world’s largest repository of LGBTQ materials, primarily focused on activities in California
  • GLBT Historical Society, San Francisco, California
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
  • Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
  • Lambda Archives, San Diego, California

Collections of interest to Americanists include:

Alongside the above are materials from Canadian and British based collections, alongside ephemera and publications from Mexico, giving researchers a broader geographic context.

You can access Archives of Sexuality and Gender: LGBTQ History and Culture Since 1940, Part II here, or via the Bodleian Libraries Database A-Z.  Note that you will need to use your Single Sign On to access this resource.

Alain Locke Collection: New titles!

Brown shelves containing a range of books that make up the 2023 Alain Locke Collection. In the middle of the image, above the books, there is a poster with a portrait of Alain Locke

The full display of the 2023 Alain Locke Donation.

The new selection of titles for the Alain Locke Collection are now available and on display in the Vere Harmsworth Library!

Readers will be able to see the new selections on the Ground Floor of the Library. This area, as part of our agreement with the Association of American Rhodes Scholars (AARS), will be dedicated to displaying and promoting the Collection. Alongside the titles are primary works by Alain Locke and items related to African American political history from our Philip and Rosamund Davies U.S. Elections Campaigns Archive.

A four by four grid of book front covers. These books are a selection of titles from the 2023 batch of

You can see above a selection of some of the titles that have been selected above. You can view the full list here.

About the collection

In spring 2021, the VHL and RAI agreed to create the Alain Locke Collection with support from the AARS. Named after the first African American Rhodes Scholar, the collection aims to focus on research monographs in the areas of African American history, politics, biography and culture, alongside notable gaps in material not produced by commercial publishers.

The Bodleian is committed to providing students and researchers with world class access to resources to enable them to fulfil their scholarly ambitions. We are therefore hugely grateful to the AARS for pledging a gift of $25,000 over five years supporting the Alain Locke Collection. This supports our intention for the VHL to become a leading centre for the study of African American history, politics, and culture.

The establishment of the Alain Locke Collection will allow the VHL to expand the purchase of African American focused research monographs, without affecting expenditure on other research areas. It will build on the VHL’s current holdings and run alongside the continued intake of research monographs via the legal deposit agreements and e-book packages. It will allow the VHL to identify and address potential gaps in some of the older materials. Most significantly, it will demonstrate our commitment to representing African American history and culture within our collections.

Current students and researchers can recommend titles to be purchased for the Alain Locke Collection by contacting the Vere Harmsworth Librarian (bethan.davies@bodleian.ox.ac.uk).

If you have any further questions about the Alain Locke Collection, or the display, please contact Bethan Davies. To find out more about supporting the Vere Harmsworth Library and the Alain Locke collection please contact the Vere Harmsworth Library (vhl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk).

 

New AKS Books for 2023

Each year, the Association of American Rhodes Scholars generously pays for the library to purchase approximately £3000 worth of books in memory of Frank Aydelotte (first American Secretary of the Rhodes Scholarships), Paul Kieffer (President of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars, 1957-1969), and Courtney Smith (second American Secretary of the Rhodes Scholarships) in order to develop the breadth and depth of the VHL Collections.

The 2023 AKS Books

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The collection for 2023 is now available and can be found on the ground floor of the Vere Harmsworth Library, next to the Alain Locke Collection. All books in the AKS Collection are loanable.

Selections from previous years are shelved as part of the main collection. The books currently on display separately can be identified by the ‘AKS’ shelfmark prefix.

A list of acquisitions for 2023 can be found on SOLO by searching for ‘AKS’ in the shelfmark (limit to the Vere Harmsworth Library) or on our LibraryThing page.

We are grateful as ever to the Association of American Rhodes Scholars for funding these purchases and for their ongoing support of the library.

If you have any further questions about the AKS Collection, or the display, please contact Bethan Davies. If you have any further questions about working in the Vere Harmsworth Library, please email vhl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Trials: Black Nationalism and RAM; and Papers of Amiri Baraka (trial ended)

I am pleased to report that the Vere Harmsworth Library has organised trial access to Black Nationalism and the Revolutionary Action Movement and Papers of Amiri Baraka for Bodleian Readers. The trial ran until 18th February 2024 and is now finished.

Black Nationalism and the Revolutionary Action Movement: The Papers of Muhammad Ahmad (Max Stanford)

The Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) came into existence as a result of a year of organizing for student rights and involvement in the civil rights movement among a collective of undergraduate students at Central State College (now University) in late May to early June of 1962.

Originally focused in Philadelphia, RAM, engaged in voter registration/education drives, organized community support for the economic boycotts of the Philadelphia “400” ministers led by Rev. Leon Sullivan and held free African/African-American history classes at its office. RAM participated in support demonstrations of the struggles then being waged in the South to end racial segregation. It was also active in coalitions to eliminate police brutality against the African-American community.

RAM became a national organisation in 1964, organising African American students, raising the demand for Black studies and campaigning for economic, social and political equality. It also sent organisers into Southern states. RAM was the first African-American organization to denounce the US government’s war of aggression against the people of Vietnam and support the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF). RAM was dissolved in 1968, following pressure from US government intelligence agencies (most noticeably the FBI) and local police forces.

This collection of RAM records reproduces the writings and statements of the RAM and its leaders. It also covers organizations that evolved from or were influenced by RAM and persons that had close ties to RAM. The most prominent organization that evolved from RAM was the African People’s Party. Organizations which worked with RAM included the NAACP, SNCC and Deacons of Defense. Organizations influenced by RAM include the Black Panther Party, League of Revolutionary Black Workers, Youth Organization for Black Unity, African Liberation Support Committee, and the Republic of New Africa. Individuals associated with RAM and documented in this collection include Robert F. Williams, Malcolm X, Amiri Baraka, General Gordon Baker Jr., Yuri Kochiyama, Donald Freeman, James and Grace Lee Boggs, Herman Ferguson, Askia Muhammad Toure (Rolland Snellings), and Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael).

You can access Black Nationalism and Revolutionary Action Movement using your Single Sign On here.

Papers of Amiri Baraka, Poet Laureate of the Black Power Movement

The collection consists of materials from the years 1913 through 1998 that document African American author and activist Amiri Baraka and were gathered by Dr. Komozi Woodard in the course of his research. The extensive documentation includes poetry, organizational records, print publications, articles, plays, speeches, personal correspondence, oral histories, as well as some personal records. The materials cover Baraka’s involvement in the politics in Newark, N.J. and in Black Power movement organizations such as the Congress of African People, the National Black Conference movement, the Black Women’s United Front. Later materials document Baraka’s increasing involvement in Marxism.

The collection has been organised into 18 series,

  • Series I: Black Arts Movement, 1961-1998
  • Series II: Black Nationalism,, 1964-1977
  • Series III: Correspondence, 1967-1973
  • Series IV: Newark (New Jersey), 1913-1980
  • Series V: Congress of African People, 1960-1976 – Organisation founded by Baraka in 1970 to advance his own vision of African cultural nationalism.
  • Series VI: National Black Conferences and National Black Assembly, 1968-1975 –Includes the 1972 Convention in Gary, Indiana, where delegates adopted the National Black Political Agenda, also known as the Gary declaration and formed the National Black Assembly (NBA).
  • Series VII: Black Women’s United Front, 1975-1976 -Formed  in 1974 by Amina Baraka (Sylvia Jones), the wife of Amiri Baraka.
  • Series VIII: Student Organization for Black Unity, 1971
  • Series IX: African Liberation Support Committee, 1973-1976
  • Series X: Revolutionary Communist League, 1974-1982 – founded by Bakara when CAP disintegrated in conflict, and reflects Baraka’s move away from nationalism to a Marxist position.
  • Series XI: African Socialism, 1973
  • Series XII: Black Marxists, 1969-1980–  includes materials on black Marxist contemporaries of Baraka, and older black Marxists such as Harry Haywood, C.L.R. James, and Odis Hyde. The series also includes files on the All African Revolutionary Party, the Black Workers Congress, and the Progressive Labor Party.
  • Series XIII: National Black United Front, 1979-1981
  • Series XIV: Miscellaneous Materials, 1978-1988
  • Series XV: Serial Publications, 1968-1984
  • Series XVI: Oral Histories, 1984-1986 –  transcripts from sixteen interviews conducted by Komozi Woodard and his assistants as part of an oral history project entitled, “The Making of Black NewArk: An Oral History of the Impact of the Freedom Movement on Newark Politics.” Most of the people interviewed were primarily local Newark activists, although there are also interviews with Baraka, Maulana Ron Karenga, and scholar John Henrik Clarke. This series of oral histories is one of the most unique and valuable parts of this collection.
  • Series XVII: Komozi Woodard’s Office Files, 1956-1986

You can access the Papers of Amari Baraka using your Single Sign On here.

Please send any feedback you have regarding these resources to bethan.davies@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Electric works (11th-14th DEC) and ALL DAY CLOSURE (15th DEC)

Planned essential electric works will occur throughout the RAI building (including the Vere Harmsworth Library) throughout the 11th-14th December, culminating in an all day closure on Friday 15th December 2023. Readers are advised that there will be some noise disruption throughout the week, and some reader spaces, including the 1st Floor Group Study Rooms, will be off limits.

The work will begin on Monday 11th December, and will be focused on the Ground Floor on the western side of the building (past the PCAS machine). This area from the electric cabinet onwards will be closed off to readers. Access to the PCAS machine will be maintained. The Library has been advised that there will be drilling for around half an hour, and that this noise will affect the Ground Floor level. Readers are advised to move to the upper floors to avoid disturbance.

After works on the Ground Floor are completed, the electricians will move up the building, to the 2nd and 3rd Floors. This work will be focused in the Group Study Rooms and RAI Office space (former Breakout Room). This will reduce noise disruption in the main reading rooms, but some disturbance may be expected.

Earplugs are available at the Enquiry Desk for readers if necessary.

The 1st Floor Group Study Rooms will be unavailable throughout the week of 11th-15th December. The Godfrey Hodgson Room will be available throughout the 11th-14th December. Please check the Bodleian Libraries Group Study Rooms pages for alternative spaces.

The entire RAI building, including the VHL will be closed on Friday 15th December 2023. The Library aims to re-open on Monday 18th December, subject to completion of works. Please check the VHL webpage or Twitter account for regular updates. Any change to the plan of works above will be communicated as soon as possible.

We would like to thank our readers for their patience during these essential works.

If you have any further questions about working in the Vere Harmsworth Library, please ask at the Information Desk, or email vhl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk. For further information about the planned works, email Bethan Davies, VHL Librarian at bethan.davies@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

VHL Opening Hours – Christmas Vacation

From Monday 4th December, the VHL will be operating under Vacation opening hours, which are as follows:

Monday-Friday – 9am-7pm

Saturday – CLOSED

Sunday – CLOSED

The Library will close at 5pm on Wednesday 20th December and will remain closed for the Christmas Holidays until January 2nd, 2024, when we will re-open at 9am.

Please check the Vere Harmsworth Library website for updates and upcoming closure periods. 

Access to online Anglican missionary archive resources – Early North American History

[The following is adapted from the History Faculty Library blogpost]

The landing page of USPG. It shows a black & white print of harbour scene, links to browse through volumes and documents, a link to view highlights. and a text box of insights which read: "The USPG and other missionary organisations aim to facilitate the spread of Christianity by appointing missionaries to visit and stay in various countries around the world. Whilst on a mission, representatives of the Church are expected to perform a number of tasks to promote Christianity. This may involve providing a Christian education, engaging in charitable work, and performing services."

America in records from colonial missionaries, 1635-1928

We are pleased to announce that Oxford researchers now have online access to 14 collections of the Anglican missionary archive, the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG), which have been digitized by British Online Archives. Previously only available in the Weston Library, the digitised material can now be accessed throughout the University and remotely with the Oxford SSO.

The USPG is a UK-based Anglican missionary organisation, founded in 1701, which sent missionaries to many parts of the world and was involved in educational, charitable and medical work as well as evangelization. The material also throws light on social conditions, travel and daily life abroad from the view point of British missionaries and their families.

The digitized material is relevant to British, Commonwealth and global history, covering the 17th to mid-20th centuries. It has been organised into 14 collections which can be found via SOLO or Databases A-Z

Of particular interest to North Americanists are:

  1. America in Records from Colonial Missionaries, 1635-1928
  2. ‘Bray Schools’ in Canada, America and the Bahamas, 1645-1900
  3. Colonial missionaries’ papers from America and the West Indies, 1701-1870
  4. The West Indies in records from colonial missionaries, 1704-1950
  5. Canada in records from colonial missionaries, 1722-1952

Early modern and modern source materials

The digitized material dates from 1635 to 1967 and includes letters, journals, reports, minute books, financial records, statistical returns, drawings, leaflets, questionnaires, school records, press cuttings, and printed books and magazines.

A single page handwritten letter from Franklin to Lyttleton.

Letter of 3 June 1786 from Benjamin Franklin, while President of Pennsylvania, to Rev. Thomas Lyttleton concerning the lease of land for a school.
Shelfmark: USPG Bray/N.America/3/f.2/item 4
©2014 Microform Academic Publishers with permission of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel

Topics covered include:

  • the establishment of the Anglican Church in north America
  • the American War of Independence
  • slavery and its abolition
  • the establishment of Christian schools
  • indigenous communities
  • women missionaries
  • the impact of colonialism
  • philanthropy

The digitized material represents a proportion of the whole USPG archive which is held on deposit in the Bodleian Library and is available for consultation in the Weston Library.

Lucy McCann, Senior Archivist, Special Collections, Bodleian Libraries

Other useful subscription resources:

New! Book the VHL group study spaces online

[UPDATE: room bookings can now be made at least 1 hour in advance, rather than the previous 2 hours – December 2023]

The Vere Harmsworth Library will be trialling a new online room booking system, alongside the Social Science Library and Radcliffe Science Library. 

Current University members will be able to book slots in any of the three VHL Group Study Rooms (including the Godfrey Hodgson Room). Users will be able to book up to 10 hours per week up to 10 weeks in advance. You must place your booking at least 2 hours before your booking starts. [UPDATE: this timeframe has been adjusted to 1 hour in advance – December 2023]

Screenshot of new online booking system homepage

Users of the Group Study Rooms on the 1st Floor of the Library will still need to come to the Enquiry Desk to exchange their University Card for the key to the room.

Visit our online page to check availability and place your booking here.

Please note that readers with a Bodleian Readers Card will not be able to place an online booking and should email vhl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk if they are interested in booking a study room.