New resource: ACLU papers

New resource: ACLU papers

The HLS Library now has access to the American Civil Liberties Union Papers, 1912-1990, part of Gale’s Making of Modern Law Collection.

Material included in the collection includes bills, briefs, correspondence, court documents, legal case files, memorandums, minutes, newspaper clippings, reports, scrapbooks, and telegrams.

The folks at Gale have put together a short video tutorial (below) demonstrating features of the collection, which include:

  • explore collections contained in the Papers
  • narrowing results by topic, collection, document type, and more
  • search within a document
  • advanced search options with fields and ability to limit by date, collection, document type, and documents with illustrations
  • view material in PDF or text format
  • ability to download individual pages to whole documents
  • export citation details to citation tools including EndNote, RefWorks, and others
  • bookmark URLs that can be used as permalinks in syllabi
  • explore term clusters to visualize use and frequency of keywords and subjects across the collection

If you’d like personal assistance, ask a librarian and we’ll be happy to meet with you.

Here’s a short summary of the collection from Gale:

“For most of the twentieth century the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was the principal defender of the rights that citizens can assert against government. Its primary aims have been the defense of the freedoms of speech and press, the separation of church and state, the free exercise of religion, due process of law, equal protection of the law, and the privacy rights of all citizens. The organization has been responsible for what historian Samuel Walker has called “a revolution of law and public attitudes toward individual liberty.” Walker estimates that modern constitutional law has been shaped in no small measure by the ACLU, with the organization involved in some eighty percent of the landmark cases of the twentieth century. The ACLU fostered the growth of tolerance, fought to end racial discrimination, promoted a legal definition of privacy rights, and defended the rights of the unpopular, the powerless, and the despised.

“The files cover numerous topics that resonate for contemporary research. Subjects include: the first “Red Scare” following the Russian Revolution of 1917; debates in the 1920s on immigration; the American Birth Control League; lynchings in the 1930s; debates on aliens and immigrants in the years immediately preceding the U.S. entry into the Second World War; and the ACLU’s involvement in two of the mid-century’s most important issues: the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement. In the Second Reconstruction, 1945-1968, the ACLU played a vital role in the gradual but progressive movement to provide full political rights for African Americans and to begin to redress longstanding economic and social inequities.”

About: Meg Kribble

Research Librarian & Outreach Coordinator at the HLS Library.
%d bloggers like this: