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Social Action Collections

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. It has often been the first and sometimes the only repository to recognize the value of documenting these movements.

Today our holdings are the largest in the nation. 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: socialism, communism, anarchism, Social Security and entitlements, welfare rights, civil liberties and free speech, civil rights, anti-Vietnam War, the New Left, student activism, GI rights and resistance, community organizing, the battle over reproductive rights and right to life, and the contemporary peace and justice movement. Within Wisconsin we have also documented the battle against nuclear power, environmental activism, the women's movement, and the Native American treaty rights controversy.

Reference Resources

  • Social Action Collections at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin: A Guide was published by the Society in 1983. This guide includes brief descriptions of more than 450 of the Society's Social Action collections, indexed by name and subject. It is available for use in both the Historical Society's Library and the Archives Research Room.
  • To search the Social Action Collections, use ArCat, the Archives Computer Catalog.
  • If you have specific reference questions, visit the Archives Research Room or your local Area Research Center.

Social Action Collecting


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