Category Archives: New Accessions

WANTED: Signs from the Women’s March on Washington

AU Archives in partnership with the Student Historical Society is documenting AU students’ participation in the historic Women’s March on January 21, 2017. We are building a collection of protest signs. At our first collecting event, we received five signs that reflect the diversity of messages at the march. We are still accepting donations as we want our collection to include signs for all of the issues of interest to AU students.



Sierra Apaliski’s poster from the Women’s March



Did you keep your sign from the march? Do you know someone with a sign? If so, please consider donating your sign to AU Archives before you leave at the end of the semester. For further information, send an email to

The Bill Gentile Photojournalism Collection

American University Library is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Bill Gentile Photojournalism Collection.

Bill Gentile’s career began in 1977. He worked as a reporter for the Mexico City News and for United Press International (UPI). He later became Newsweek Magazine’s Contract Photographer for Latin America and the Caribbean. He covered the 1979 Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua; the United States-backed Contra War in Nicaragua; the Salvadoran Civil War in the 1980s; the United States invasion of Panama; the 1994 invasion of Haiti, the ongoing conflict with Cuba, the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War and the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His book of photographs, “Nicaragua,” won the Overseas Press Club Award for Excellence.

The Bill Gentile Photojournalism Collection (1983-2002) covers 16 Caribbean and Latin American countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru. The photos document agriculture, daily life, demonstrations, earthquakes, elections, religion, politics and women’s health. The countries with the most images are Cuba, El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua. Featured individuals include political leaders Violeta Chamorro, Manuel Noriega, and Daniel Ortega. Of note are images of the Miskito Indians and the Yanomamis. Also included in the collection are images of the Persian Gulf War and U.S. related topics such as border patrols, elections, prisons, and Puerto Rico.

Harvesting Sugarcane 1986

Harvesting Sugarcane 1986

Miskito Indian Rebel, Yulu, 1986

Miskito Indian Rebel, Yulu, 1986


Newly acquired social protest materials

American University Library Special Collections is pleased to announce the acquisition of materials relating to early national protests in Washington, D.C.


The Army of the Commonwealth in Christ/Coxey’s Army

Ohio businessman Jacob Coxey led the first significant popular protest march on Washington, D.C. The purpose of the march was to protest the unemployment caused by the Panic of 1893 and to lobby for the government to create jobs and pay the workers in paper currency. The march originated with 100 men in Massillon, Ohio. Various groups of unemployed workers from the around the country joined en route eventually establishing a camp site in Colmar Manor, Maryland. Items acquired include Volume 1 Number 1 of The Industrial Army News (April 20, 1894) and a copy of the song Coxey’s Commonweal.

Coxey's Commonweal

Coxey’s Commonweal


The Bonus Expeditionary Force/Bonus Army

17,000 World War I veterans, their families, and affiliated groups gathered in Washington, DC, in June of 1932 to demand cash-payment redemption of their service certificates. The World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924 awarded veterans bonuses in the form of certificates that they could not redeem until 1945. Each service certificate’s face value was equal to the soldier’s promised payment plus compound interest.

The first veterans to arrive were accommodated in abandoned buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue that were owned by the government. As the numbers of veterans grew, they established integrated camps on the Anacostia Flats. Veterans were required to register and prove they had been honorably discharged before they could move into the camps. The camps were built from scavenged materials and had streets and sanitation facilities. The veterans held daily parades. The camps were extremely popular with tourists.

In addition to a scrapbook featuring photos and postcards of the camp, we recently acquired a lantern slide show which contains a combination of photos and newspaper articles including several images of the Toledo, Ohio contingent and the main protest at the United States Capitol on June 17.

Bonus Army Lantern Slide Show Introductory Slide

Bonus Army Lantern Slide Show Introductory Slide


If you would like to see more, several of these items are currently on display on the third floor of Bender Library.


Celebrating AU Alumni: Lee Marrs

Special Collections recently acquired a copy of Lee Marrs’ The Further Fattening Adventures of Pudge, Girl Blimp. No. 1. Published by Berkeley based Last Gasp-Eco Funnies in 1973, this is the first of three comics featuring Pudge, an obese virgin from Normal, Illinois, who hitchhikes to San Francisco in her quest to get laid. This collection includes “Pudge in the Case of the Venereal Virgin,” “Pudge in Who Was Dat Self I Saw You With?,” “Pudge in the Fat Rip-Off,” and “Pudge Takes a Trip.”

Cover of First Issue of Pudge Girl Blimp

Cover of First Issue of Pudge Girl Blimp

Lee Marrs graduated from AU with a degree in Fine Art in 1967. She drew comics on social and political themes for AU’s student newspaper, The Eagle. Marrs was one of the original contributors to the Wimmen’s Commix anthology. She started her own animation and computer graphics company in 1972. Marrs has written and drawn both underground and mainstream comics. She worked as an artist on Prince Valiant and author on Wonder Woman.

Patrick Frazier Political and Social Movements Collection

In addition to his day job as Reference Specialist at the Library of Congress, Patrick Frazier worked as a freelance writer and photographer. He assembled an impressive collection of broadsides, flyers, handbills, photographs and posters. The collection covers all of the major political and social movements of the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s including civil rights, gay and lesbian rights and feminism as well the anti-nuclear and the Vietnam War protests. The focus of the collection is the Washington, DC area.

Poster2               Poster3

Dorothy A. and Charles A. Moore Jr. Japanese Woodblock Print Collection

Dorothy A. Moore earned her MA (1959) and EDD (1970) from American University and is a generous donor to campus. Along with her husband, Charles, she built a diverse collection of Japanese woodblock prints.

In the spring of 2014, she donated forty-eight Ukiyoe and Shin-hanga prints by a variety of artists including Chikanobu, Konubu Hasegawa, Hiroshige, Kaoru Kawano, Kunichika, Kuniyoshi, Tomikichiro Tokuriki, Toyokuni, Utamaro, and Yoshitoshi. The subjects are as diverse featuring bathing scenes, Kabuki performances, landscapes, the Meiji government, and samurai. An exhibit of works from this collection is planned for the spring semester.

kiyonaga bath alone

Currently on Display – Winning Directions: The Art of Direct Mail for Political Campaigns 1997-2012

In honor of the mid-term elections, AU Special Collections is highlighting one of its more recent acquisitions, The Anthony J. Fazio Direct Mail Archive, with an exhibit on the third floor of Bender Library.

Winning Directions is an award winning Democratic direct mail firm which was started in 1989 by Anthony J. Fazio. It offers a variety of services including campaign planning, fundraising, polling, voter database design, and a photo studio. Winning Directions works for individual campaigns as well as PACs and labor unions. The exhibit features examples of attack ads, candidate bios and endorsements, and hot topic pieces and will be on display through the end of the fall semester.

Museum Exhibition Design

In support of American University’s Public History program, Special Collections has launched a new collecting initiative on the history of museum exhibition design.   Our first acquisition, the archive of the design firm, Staples & Charles, is arriving in installments. The first set of materials relate to exhibition work for the Chicago Historical Society (1975-1987) and the Levine Museum of the New South (1999-2001). The archive contains artwork, catalogs, design and fabrication binders, drawings, photographs, posters, press kits, programs, publications and reviews.

Currently on Display: Bannockburn Under Construction

AU Archives and Special Collections is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Bannockburn Cooperators, Inc. (BCI) Archive.  The BCI Archive (1944-2006, bulk 1946-1959) consists of membership files, house plans and construction documents, financial records, stock certificates, and minutes from board and membership meetings.  A small exhibit featuring photographs of the construction of the first Bannockburn houses will be on display through mid-August 2014 on the third floor of Bender Library.

A Brief History of Bannockburn

The Group Housing Cooperative (GHC) was organized in 1944 in Washington, D.C. It developed a concept for a planned community which included single family homes, apartments, a neighborhood shopping center, recreational facilities, a club house, an elementary school, and park land.

At an auction in April 1946, GHC bought the 124 acre Bannockburn Golf Club for $193,000 to serve as the site for this community.  GHC selected a team of architects, Burket, Neufeld and DeMars, to develop site plans and see the project through completion.

GHC transferred the property in August 1946 to BCI which it incorporated to manage the project.  BCI’s membership originally consisted of GHC members who elected to live in the community but was open to new residents as well.

The first 24 houses were constructed in 1949 and 1950 at Wilson Lane and Braeburn Place and included a variety of house types.  BCI was unable to get permission to rezone the property so much of the original plan was tabled. The final Bannockburn house was completed by late 1960.

Northwest Washington, DC Real Estate Brochures

Here are a couple of new items that we acquired at last month’s Washington Antiquarian Book Fair:
When AU’s founder, Bishop John Fletcher Hurst, purchased the land for American University, northwest Washington, DC was the country.  Over the intervening years, a number of communities were built in the neighborhood. We have had a photocopy of a brochure produced by the developers of American University Park in the archives so we were excited to see the real brochure and purchased a copy. The brochure is titled “The American University Park, Washington, D.C.” and was distributed by the developers, J.D. Croissant and David D. Stone Trustees, around 1897.  The brochure includes photographs of the area, existing houses, and a map.  The developers were selling lots and included information on lot prices and restrictions. We also picked up a copy of W.C. and A.N. Miller’s 1927 promotional brochure for Wesley Heights –  “Wesley Heights: The Garden Spot of Washington – A Miller-Built Community.”  Unlike with AU Park, W.C.& A.N. Miller were selling houses.  The illustrated brochure includes information on lot sizes, house types, landscaping, community features, and prices.