Archives and Special Collections


Meet the Inaugural DRS Pilot Projects

Posted by: Amanda Rust



The Library’s Digital Scholarship Group is excited to announce projects chosen for the 2015 DRS Project Toolkit Pilot program. In this Pilot program, we work with selected digital projects at Northeastern to develop new tools for online scholarship. Projects will store and preserve their digital content in Northeastern’s next generation Digital Repository Service (learn more about the DRS here). Projects can then use platforms like WordPress and Omeka to curate and display this work in an engaging and accessible manner on the web. The Digital Scholarship Group received impressive proposals from a wide range of Northeastern’s colleges and departments, and are looking forward to working with the following three proposals for 2015-2016:

  • Debra Mandel (Libraries) will showcase the exciting work Northeastern students have created in Snell Library’s Digital Media Commons and Studios. A collaborative facility with state-of-the-art audio and video technology and support, the Digital Media Commons has helped students at Northeastern record music, create animated films, and produce a range of high-quality creative projects. The Digital Scholarship Group will help Digital Media Commons staff celebrate and preserve this work.
  • Giordana Mecagni (Archives and Special Collections) will create digital exhibits about the Boston Public Schools Desegregation, a process which began in the fall of 1974. The Digital Scholarship Group will help Northeastern’s Archives and Special Collections make digital records of this important event in the history of Boston more widely accessible and visible. In addition to Archives and Special Collections, an interdisciplinary coalition of students, faculty members, and archivists from the Northeastern community will participate in this project.
  • Jenny Sartori (Jewish Studies) and the University’s Holocaust Awareness Committee will create a publicly-accessible archive of Northeastern’s Holocaust Awareness Week programming. For more than thirty years, these events have reflected Northeastern’s commitment to Holocaust awareness and genocide prevention. This will be an important educational resource that highlights the digital records of survivor testimonies, distinguished lectures, and roundtable discussions, as well as the history of the Holocaust Awareness Committee itself.

These projects join three other new DSG initiatives from earlier in Spring 2015:

  • a web presence for content from the Library’s Arader Galleries collection (and the creation of new signage that directs viewers of the physical prints to this online collection)
  • the addition of Stephen Sadow’s collection of interviews with Latin American artists and writers to the DRS
  • the migration of the Catskill Institute materials from their current home at Brown University to the DRS (and a new website at Northeastern)

The Digital Scholarship Group also continues to support the ongoing work of the Women Writers Project; Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive; The Early Caribbean Digital Archive; Viral Texts; Digital Humanities Quarterly; and TAPAS. For more information on projects supported by the Digital Scholarship Group, please visit our Projects page.

If you’d like to contact the Digital Scholarship Group, please email us: We are also on Twitter: @NU_DSG.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Data Curation, Library News and Events, Scholarly Communications


Speeches, Posters, and the Presidency: Michael Dukakis’ 1988 Campaign

Posted by: Kristin Wright


In the past few weeks, the nation has had a number of politicians announce their intentions to run for the presidency. Soon the television, radio, and internet will be flooded with political advertisements, and our lawns and billboards will be plastered with the slogans and faces of the candidates. The information overload which accompanies a presidential race is not a new phenomenon. Past elections show the same intensity and fervor from the politicians and political parties. I was recently reminded of this intensity while processing Michael Aronson’s Papers (M206), for Northeastern’s Special Collections and Archives.

Michael Aronson Papers (M206), FF4/D4

The collection offers a behind the scenes look at a presidential campaign through items collected from Michael Dukakis’ presidential campaign against George H. W. Bush during 1987-1988. Michael Aronson was a member of Dukakis’ speech writing team, leaving him with numerous items from the campaign including:

• Speeches

• Speech Drafts

• Correspondence

• Campaign Posters

• Itineraries

Even though Dukakis did not win the presidency, these materials represent an impressive campaign, and demonstrate the difficulty and challenges which accompany such an endeavor. The items, particularly the posters, also represent some of the less wholesome parts of a presidential campaign. The satirical and accusatory posters are interesting pieces of cultural and political history, which demonstrate the fine line that politicians tread when running for office.

Michael Aronson Papers (M206), FF4/D4

This collection offers a great opportunity to learn about political elections in the U.S. through primary evidence, and through a behind the scenes perspective, which media coverage does not always provide.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections


American Composers Forum New England Records Now Available for Research

Posted by: Andrew Begley


The records of the New England chapter of the American Composers Forum (ACFNE) are now available for research in the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections.

The collection documents the role of ACFNE in promoting local composers and their music, and includes administrative records for the organization, as well as scores and recordings of original compositions. The collection also provides some interesting intersections with the Archives’ existing social justice collections. During the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, ACFNE’s Community Partners Program provided funding to place composers in diverse non-musical community settings in the Boston area, with the goal of integrating community participants in the making, playing and enjoyment of new music. Program participants in the Boston area included City Year, Casa Myrna Vasquez, and Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción.









A flier for “Know the Ledge: An Expression of Afro-Caribbean Culture Through Hip-Hop,” sponsored by Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción and ACFNE.



Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Music


Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive – WBUR Oral History Project Announces Lesson Plans

Posted by: Claudia Willett


In the wake of the events that occurred on April 15, 2013 at the 117th Boston Marathon and on April 19, 2013 in Watertown, Northeastern University English Professor Elizabeth Maddock Dillon and Assistant Professor Ryan Cordell recognized the obvious need for a space where people could tell and share their stories with each other.  They believed that sharing stories from survivors, families, witnesses, visitors to the city, and everyone around the world touched by the event will speed the healing process, and wanted to create that space as a gift to the community.

Together, they established the Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive, a crowd-sourced, digital archive of pictures, videos, stories, and social media related to the Boston Marathon bombing.  Thus far, they have acquired an archive of almost 10,000 items, 3 interactive exhibits, and 3 major collections.


[April 21, 2013, from the Public Submissions collection]

This summer, I contributed to this remarkable endeavor as a Simmons School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) graduate summer intern sponsored by the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Department and supported by the Project Co-Director James McGrath. In addition to exhibit building and social media, the main task of my internship was to create lesson plans for schoolroom use.

Because children were affected by this crisis as well, the team at Our Marathon thought it would help the healing process for children to use the Our Marathon archives—to remember and share stories in the safety of their own classrooms.  Additionally, it can be difficult for teachers to navigate the complex questions young students ask and a resource like the digital archive can work as a great tool to facilitate age appropriate discussion.

To that end, I helped create a Teaching Resources page for Our Marathon. This page showcases five lesson plans for Kindergarten through Grade 12 that utilize Letters to the City of Boston and The Copley Square Memorial collections,  and the WBUR Oral History Project as the basis for a teaching unit. These lesson plans are designed to demonstrate mastery of grade and subject appropriate Common Core Standards.

Hopefully, these assignments will generate more student submissions to the archive as well as create a platform for an important dialogue amongst students and teachers. I look forward to reading about their experiences in the Our Marathon archives.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, History, Information and Society, Library News and Events, Read, Listen, Watch, Research Online


New History of the South End Highlights Northeastern Archives’ Latino History Collections

Posted by: Andrew Begley


In her new book Legendary Locals of Boston’s South End, historian Hope J. Shannon highlights the role of community group Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (Puerto Rican Tenants in Action) in securing affordable housing for the South End’s Puerto Rican community in the late 1960s.

Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA) began in 1967 as a grassroots movement against the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s urban renewal plan, which would have torn down affordable housing units in the South End, replacing them with new housing unaffordable to the existing residents. IBA incorporated in 1968 as the Emergency Tenants Council of Parcel 19, Inc. (ETC) and successfully designed its own housing development plan for a parcel of land in the South End (known as Parcel 19). In 1969, the Boston Housing Authority named ETC sponsor-developer of Parcel 19, and the resulting Villa Victoria housing development would become a model of citizen participation in urban renewal for housing developments across the country.

The records of Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción can be found in the Archives and Special Collections Department at Snell Library, just one of a number of collections documenting the history of Boston’s Latino community. The Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción collection’s photographs have been digitized and are available online as part of the Boston’s Latino Community History exhibit on the Archives and Special Collections website.

Residents of Villa Victoria gather together

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Latin American and Caribbean Studies