American Civil Liberties Union Papers, 1912–1990, from the Mind of an Archivist

Enable your users to immerse in civil rights history like never before with our new archive American Civil Liberties Union Papers, 1912–1990, part of the Making of Modern Law collection. Drawing from the records of the ACLU, it focuses on civil rights, race, gender, and issues relating to the U.S. Supreme Court—topics highly relevant to today’s curriculum and controversies. Explore 80 years of controversies surrounding the rights of Americans The ACLU’s records span from before its founding in 1920 through the twentieth century. Its records offer researchers a unique view of the inner workings of the organization and the hundreds of groups with which it interacted.

Dive deeper into American Civil Liberties Union Papers with a review:

The site’s clean and intuitive search interface features full-text keyword searches as the default (and likely the most useful), while advanced name, date, and subject searches are also supported. The full-text search yields good results, and it is possible to limit results by content type, document type, language, or source. Other features of note include the “term clusters” and “term frequency” options, which provide excellent graphics depicting important trends in 20th-century civil liberties. Selected files appear in a window within the page. The total number of items in the file is reported, and one can page through the documents just as if exploring the contents of a file folder. Researchers can search within the files, and results appear alongside the documents with keywords highlighted on the pages; if illustrations are available, these are indicated as well. In clippings files (of which there are many), additional indexing allows researchers to quickly locate or easily disregard large portions. Full citation information appears under the document window. The quality of the original documents varies, but zooming and shrinking are simple and the full-screen option works well.

This excellent collection of primary documents provides first-rate access to unique materials important to the study of modern US history and law. It will be challenging for beginning students or novice online researchers to appreciate the depth or breadth of this newly organized content, but the collection will certainly aid scholarship among advanced researchers. 

—E. B. Scott, Saint Michael’s College
    Originally published by CHOICE, July 2017

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