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Community Organizing Archive

Joint project of the University Library and Swearer Center for Public Service. Comprised of archival and manuscript papers of activists (with a focus on Brown alumni) engaged in public service through non-governmental organizations.

Other community organizing archives

The Community Organizing Archive at the John Hay Library is available to all researchers - students, faculty, and independent researchers.  It represents a long-standing partnership between the Library and Brown alumni who have spent their lives in the field. 

Many universities, historical societies, regional museums, and other entities also contain significant collections of documents and digital material that illuminate the work of community organizing during the 20th and 21st centuries. Below are several resources to explore. We thank the academics and organizers who contributed to this list through the gatherings convened by the Brown Community Organizing Initiative.



ArchiveGrid is a searchable database of collections at academic, community, and other institutions.  It is sponsored by the Online Computer Library Center.  The search term “community organizing” links to over 5,000 collections (some of which are only faintly related to community organizing).  More helpful is that you can search by an individual’s name or the name of a community organization.  Links to the collections are provided.


National and Regional Collections

Scholars active in teaching about and researching community organizing have identified the institutions listed below as having valuable collections that document community organizations. These are often materials donated by experienced organizers or by entire organizations or organizing networks.  The list is not comprehensive and may expand over time.

Austin Public Library

Berea College - Special Collections and Archives

Brown University John Hay Library

California Historical Society

California State University - Fresno

Chicago History Museum

Chicago Public Library – Vivian Harsh collection at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library

Columbia University

DePaul University - John C. Richardson Library

Duke University

East Tennessee State University - Archives of Appalachia

Labor Archives and Research Center

Lawrence Public Library

Library of Congress

Loyola University of Chicago

Loyola Marymount University

Minnesota Historical Society collection

New York Public Library

Northeastern University - Archives and Special Collections Department

Oregon Historical Society Research Library

Rhode Island Historical Society

Rochester Public Library

Rockefeller Archive Center

San Francisco Public Library

Smith College

Smithsonian Institution - Anacostia Museum

Sonoma County Library

Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

Stanford University

Temple University - Special Collections Research Center

University of Baltimore

University of California - Berkeley

University of California at Los Angeles - Charles E. Young Research Library

University of Georgia -- Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies

University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Kentucky

University of Massachusetts at Boston

University of Michigan - Bentley Historical Library

University of New Mexico - Zimmerman Library

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of Notre Dame

University of Oregon

University of Pittsburgh

University of Tennessee at Knoxville

University of Texas at Austin - Center for American History

University of Texas at San Antonio

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin at Madison

University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

Vermont Historical Society

Wayne State University Library - Walter Reuther Collection

Western Reserve Historical Society

Wheaton College

Wisconsin Historical Society

Yale University - Manuscripts and Archives