Archives and Special Collections


University Archivist and Head of Special Collections Departs Northeastern

Posted by: Kelsey Strout


Joan Krizack, University Archivist and Head of Special Collections, will depart Northeastern University after 17 years since her arrival as the founding archivist. Joan resigned her position on July 7th to pursue a career as a freelance consultant. Joan leaves a legacy at the University of several hundred historical collections that document the struggles and triumphs of Boston’s African American, Chinese, Latino and GLBTQ communities. She has also received numerous awards; most recently the Champions of Freedom Award for her work managing Northeastern University’s collection of the historical records of Boston’s Freedom House and digitizing the Freedom House photograph collection.

View the press release in its entirety below:

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Library News and Events


Joan Krizack Receives Champion of Freedom Award

Posted by: Kirsten Forsberg


Joan Krizack, University Archivist and Head of Special Collections, received the Freedom House Champions of Freedom Award on April 5, 2011. The award recognized Joan for preserving the historical records of Freedom House in Northeastern University’s archives, including digitizing the Freedom House photographs and making them available online:

Freedom House was founded in 1949 by African American social workers Muriel S. and Otto P. Snowden to centralize community activism in the fight for neighborhood improvement, good schools, and harmony among racial, ethnic, and religious groups in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Freedom House Awards are given annually to outstanding individuals, non-profit organizations, and corporations in recognition of their commitment to diversity, educational achievement, and business development.

To learn more Joan’s award, read this article from the Jewish Women’s Archive Blog:

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Library News and Events, Serendipity


Freedom House Collections featured in The Scout Report

Posted by: Nina Shah


Established in 1949 by two African American social workers, Muriel S. and Otto P. Snowden, Freedom House was created to centralize community activism in Roxbury, MA, a middle-class, racially mixed neighborhood. The hope of its founders was to link community members to existing services and to create new services in areas that were lacking by focusing on neighborhood improvement, good schools, and harmony among racial, ethnic, and religious groups.

Eventually, archives from the Freedom House came to Northeastern University and were digitized creating the Northeastern University Libraries’ Freedom House Collection consisting of 2,265 photographs, negatives, and slides. These images document a variety of topics including the organization’s early activities to create an integrated Roxbury, to initiate citizen participation in the urban renewal of Roxbury, and the early oversight of Boston Public Schools desegregation.  The images also include representations of well-known figures like Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator John F. Kennedy.

More recently, on March 18, 2011, the The Scout Report listed NU Libraries’ Freedom House Collection as a featured research and education source. The article can be found here. The The Scout Report is a weekly publication that provides information on new or newly discovered online resources of interest to researchers and educators. To sign up to receive the The Scout Report in text or HTML format go to:

To find out more about Northeastern University’s Digital Collections go to

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Library News and Events, Serendipity


Cambridge Eviction Free Zone records available for historical research

Posted by: G. Karen Merguerian


We are pleased to announce that the historical records of the Cambridge Eviction Free Zone are now available in the NU Archives, located on the lower level of the Snell Library.

This collection is part of the local history collections in the NU Libraries Archives and Special Collections. Many people do not realize that, in addition to collecting historical records of Northeastern, we also collect local history records and documents, focusing especially on Boston-area social justice organizations that serve under-represented communities.

Founded in 1988, the Cambridge Eviction Free Zone (EFZ) was an independent, tenant-run community organization that worked for social and economic justice in the areas of housing and tenants’ rights, rent control, and immigrant voting rights.

The collection includes meeting minutes, reports, newsletters, newspaper clippings, promotional materials such as flyers, photographs, signs, and memorabilia. View a guide to the collection and read a complete press release about the collection.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, History, Library News and Events


Papers of African American Architects Now at Northeastern

Posted by: damong


If you are like me and think the Southwest Corridor Park is one of the great hidden treasures of Boston, then you should read this article from the Globe about Donald Stull and David Lee, two great African American architects from the 1960′s whose achievements include the design of the Southwest Corridor, along with numerous other buildings in the Roxbury neighborhood.

Snell Library’s Archives and Special Collections department has acquired the designs, drawings, and sketches of both men, now in their 60′s and 70′s. The Archives is in the process of applying for a grant that will allow them to hire new staff to sort through the 1,400 tubes and boxes containing Lee and Stull’s documents.

Stull and Lee have connections with Northeastern dating back to 1966. Chuck Turner, who was a Northeastern administrator at that time, turned to both men to create the Southwest Corridor and re-vamp the surrounding neighborhood in order to make a better space for the mostly poor residents who lived nearby. The plan to build the park included the renovation of nine Orange Line stops that we all find so convenient today. It came as a welcome alternative to a proposed highway extension that was to be built in the same spot.

Both architects empathized with the ideas behind the project because they had grown up poor, though they managed to graduate from the Harvard School of Design. In the Globe article, Stull said, “We were very much active in social change. We wanted people to have the opportunity to create their own destiny.”

Today, the Southwest Corridor officially stretches from Dartmouth Street to Forest Hills, though the bulk of it runs through Roxbury. Today, Northeastern is no longer the mostly white commuter school it was in the 60′s, but a racially diverse boarding college located at the heart of the park. Most people, including most Northeastern students, probably do not realize how frequently they use the Southwest Corridor. But with this new acquisition of Stull and Lee’s archives, perhaps the beauty of this part of the city can be acknowledged once again.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Library News and Events, Serendipity