Wisconsin Historical Society

Resource Description

About Our Social Action Collection

Social Action Collection at the Wisconsin Historical Society | Wisconsin Historical Society
EnlargeCrowd holding picket signs at an anti-Vietnam War rally in Pioneer Park in Minneapolis.

Anti-War Rally, 1966

Minneapolis, Minnesota. Anti-Vietnam War rally in Pioneer Park held as part of the Second International Days of Protest, March 25-26. View the original source document: WHI 54994

For nearly a century the Wisconsin Historical Society has documented the major sociopolitical issues and movements in the United States, as well as the state of Wisconsin. Today our Social Action collection is one of the nation's largest.

Learn more about this collection using the links below:

Collection Overview

From our beginnings as the first institution to collect labor and working class history, we have continued to identify and document the major issues of the day throughout the twentieth century, including:

  • Anarchism
  • Anti-Vietnam War
  • Civil Liberties
  • Civil Rights
  • Communism
  • Community Organizing
  • Contemporary U.S. Peace Movement
  • Free Speech
  • GI Rights and Resistance
  • The New Left
  • Reproductive Rights and Right to Life
  • Social Security and Entitlement
  • Socialism
  • Student Activism
  • Welfare Rights

Within Wisconsin we have also documented protest against nuclear power, environmental activism, the women's movement and the Native American treaty rights controversy.

How the Social Action Collection is Organized

Research materials in the Social Action collection can be found in both the Library and the Archives. Manuscript collections and photographs can be found in the archives collection. Books, serials and other publications can be found in the library collection.

Search Online

The library and the archives share an online catalogs used to describe their holdings. 

Search the Library Catalog

Search in Person

The Library and Archives are free and open to the public. See more information on Visiting the Library and Archives.

Purchasing Copies

Researchers who cannot visit the Library-Archives may order copies by mail, fax or e-mail. We do not accept orders by phone.

See all details on Purchasing Copies

Social Action Collection Donations

The Society's Archives continues to accept collections that augment our existing holdings in aspects of social action including organized labor and social reform movements seeking to promote economic justice, Social Security and entitlements, civil rights, civil liberites, free speech, anti-Vietnam war protest and the New Left, community organizing, and peace and justice activism. The Archives also seeks collection that document the organic and sustainable foods movement in the United States. 

See the Social Action Archives fact sheet (PDF, 116 KB) and more information on Donating an Item or Collection.

Learn More

Have Questions?

Contact our Library and Archives staff at 608-264-6535 or by email below: