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Archives & Special Collections

Student Political Activism of the 1930s and 1940s

This collection features ephemera largely produced and disseminated by student-led political organizations in the 1930s and early 1940s, in the years leading up to and including WWII. Local and national branches of The Young Communist League, The American Student Union, and The Young People’s Socialist League feature prominently in efforts to secure workers’ rights, work toward racial and class equality, combat fascism, and oppose war. Most of the 347 items in the collection are one-page flyers espousing a particular viewpoint or encouraging attendance at meetings and demonstrations. Issues range in scale from America’s entry into WWII to support for embattled CCNY professors.

The digital collection would be of interest to researchers of the history of The City College of New York and broader topics such as American anti-fascist and peace movements and political life on university campuses.

The Student Political Activism Collection was produced by The City College Libraries with support from Project Sesame, a collaborative effort of Long Island University’s Palmer School of Library and Information Science, The Institute of Museum and Library Services, and The City University of New York Office of Library Services.

For inquiries, contact the Division of Archives and Special Collections at the Morris Raphael Cohen Library at


View the online exhibit "The Struggle for Free Speech at CCNY, 1931-42".