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Guide to the Papers of John G. Mason MC.88

New York University Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2641
university-archives@nyu.edu


New York University Archives

Collection processed by Peter Braunstein.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on November 15, 2018
Description is in English.

 Finding aid revised by John Zarrillo Anti War Poster reintegrated into the collection by John Zarrillo  , June 2018 , November 2018

Descriptive Summary

Title: John G. Mason Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1963-1978
Abstract: The John G. Mason Collection contain various records from many of the student and student faculty organizations active at NYU during the years 1962 to 1978. The primary focus of this collection is student and faculty opposition to the Vietnam War between the years 1965 and 1971. The records include organizational position papers, flyers, and posters. These materials are a representative sample of information on student activity and do not contain comprehensive documentation of all student groups.
Quantity: 2.75 Linear Feet in 5 manuscript boxes and 1 flat box
Call Phrase: MC.88

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Biographical Note

A member of the interdepartmental Albert Schweitzer Program in the Humanities for undergraduates at New York University, John G. Mason was active in the Students for a Democratic Society and other university student organizations of the 1960s-1970s. Like many other students of the period, Mason was involved in organizations which were funded and/or organized by the university, and also in organizations which were external to the university and self-funded.

Mason was strongly affected by his matriculation in the Schweitzer Program, which was established by New York State in 1965 and given an endowed chair. The Schweitzer Program was led by Dr. Conor Cruise O'Brien from 1965-1969. Dr. O'Brien, a Left-opposition politician in the Republic of Ireland (Eire), and a longtime contributing editor to the Atlantic Monthly, had a significant intellectual influence upon Mason and other members of his student leadership cohort (see the general history of NYU contained within the collection).

In his collected correspondence Mason also attributed a portion of his political views to his experiences in Paris, France, which he visited in 1968 in the aftermath of the "Paris Commune" and the national students' strike, which strongly affected French educational policy through the mid-1970's.

After his involvement with NYU and the student movement as an undergraduate, Mason went on to get a M.A. from NYU's Politics Department and then a Ph.D. from CUNY.

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Scope and Contents

The John G. Mason Papers are a personal collection of records that document NYU student activity and the student movement. The collection is the result of selective recordkeeping on the part of the collection's creator and donor. Mason was an active or ex-officio member of many of NYU's student organizations during the late 1960s. As a result, several students and faculty members entrusted him with their materials regarding this period. The collection covers the period 1962-1978, although the bulk of the materials are concentrated upon the period from 1965 through 1971. It is also important to note that while there are some materials from the University Heights campus in the collection, the bulk of the material is from the Washington Square campus.

The primary collection materials include: leaflets, organizational position papers, flyers, posters, handbills, public-relations pamphlets, university and student publications, newsletters, newspapers, analytical, financial, and strategic documents, and multiple analyses of the university's structure, officers, trustees, financial activity, professoriate, and curriculum. The collection also includes ephemera such as buttons and organizational membership cards. Included as well is 16mm film footage of a student and faculty protest against Dow Chemical Corporation recruiters on campus. This footage was filmed by NYU Campus Security. These materials exist as manuscript, typescript, mimeographic reproduction, printed matter and freehand drawings.

Arrangement

Although the original order was noted and recorded, the collection has been reorganized so that the series are arranged chronologically by content (except where specially noted as exceptions), with the aim of facilitating research access. The collection consists of eight series, seven of which are boxed together; one of which is stored in the flat files.

The collection has been organized into eight series:

  1. Historical Overviews, Personal Papers and Ephemera
  2. SDS Material, Chi-Reston Papers, SDS "Successors"
  3. New York University (NYU) Student Organization Activity
  4. New University Conference (NUC) Materials
  5. Library and Cafeteria Workers--National Students' Strike of 1970
  6. NYU Administrative Documents
  7. Student Movement Organizations
  8. Student Organization Posters

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • O'Brien, Conor Cruise, 1917-2008
  • Mason, John, 1948
  • Nguyễn, Huệ Chi
  • Reston, James, 1946-

Document Type

  • Leaflets (printed works).
  • Fliers (printed matter)
  • Correspondence.
  • Newspapers.
  • Newsletters.
  • Buttons (information artifacts).
  • Posters.
  • Financial records
  • Drawings (visual works)
  • Film.
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Motion pictures (visual works).
  • Diaries
  • Publications (documents)
  • Membership cards.

Subject Organizations

  • Black Panther Party
  • New University Conference (U.S.)
  • New York University
  • Peace and Freedom Party (U.S.)
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.).

Subject Topics

  • Civil rights movements -- United States.
  • Radicals -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Students -- Political activity
  • Student movements -- France.
  • Student movements -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975. -- Protest movements
  • Student-administrator relationships.

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Administrative Information

Provenance

The John G. Mason papers are a personal collection of records of NYU student activity and the student movement. John G. Mason personally arranged the collection and titled the folders. The collection is the result of selective recordkeeping and possibly selective culling.

The collection was partially accessioned by the University Archives in early 1978. Additional material was accessioned throughout 1978.

Access Restrictions

Repository permission is required for access. Please contact New York University Archives, (212) 998-2641, university-archives@nyu.edu

Use Restrictions

Because of the assembled nature of this collection, copyright status varies across the collection. Copyright is assumed to be held by the original creator of individual items in the collection; these items are expected to pass into the public domain 120 years after their creation. Please contact New York University Archives, (212) 998-2641, university-archives@nyu.edu.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form: Identification of item, date (if known); John G. Mason Papers; MC 88; box number; folder number; New York University Archives, New York University Libraries.

Related Material at the New York University Archives

Other materials on the SDS, NYU student involvement, the Anti-War Movement, NYU's transformation of the 1960s and 1970s are contained within the University Archives, the Tamiment/Wagner Archives, and NYU's Bobst Library. A short list of the collateral sources would include:

Chancellor Heald's Administrative and Personal Papers Collection. New York University Archives, Bobst Library, New York University, New York.

Chancellor Hester's Administrative and Personal Papers Collection. New York University Archives, Bobst Library, New York University, New York.

Chancellor Sawhill's Administrative and Personal papers Collection. New York University Archives, Bobst Library, New York University, New York.

Minutes of the New York University Trustee Council, 1962-1976. New York University Archives, Bobst Library, New York University, New York.

Miller, Peter. "Violets on the Picket Line," Public History Records, NYU History Department, New York City, New York.

Myers, David R. Toward A History of the New Left: Essays From Within The Movement.

Photographic Records of Student Protests 1962-1978, New York University Archives Photographic Collection. University Archives, Bobst Library, New York University, New York.

Reports of the Chancellors of New York University, 1962-1976. New York University Archives, Bobst Library, New York University, New York.

Reports of the Secretary of New York University, 1962-1976. New York University Archives, Bobst Library, New York University, New York.

Reports of the Treasurer of New York University, 1962-1976. New York University Archives, Bobst Library, New York University, New York.

Still, Bayrd. Administrative Papers and Personal Records. New York University Archives, Bobst Library, New York University, New York.

Students For A Democratic Society (SDS) Records 1934-1966. Tamiment Library/Wagner Labor Archives, Bobst Library, New York University, New York.

Students for A Democratic Society: Alternative Education Project, Radical America.

Unger, Irwin. The Movement: A History of the American New Left, 1955-1977.

University Christian Foundation Records, 1906-1980. New York University Archives, Bobst Library, New York University, New York.

Processing Information

For conservation purposes oversize posters have been stored in flat file cases, newspapers have been copied and removed (some to the Tamiment/Wagner collections), non-annotated University publications have been discarded or separated to the general collection of University publications, and fragile materials have been copied. All photocopies have been made onto acid-free paper, and the collection has been processed in accordance with the NYU Archives' standard rules arrangement and description, and disposition.

The following newspapers were discarded from the collection:

Columbia Daily Spectator: March 23, 1970

New Left Notes: Vol. 2 No. 34, October 2, 1967; Vol. 3 No. 3, January 22, 1968

New Mobilizer: No. 3, October 8, 1970

NYU Alumni News: May 1974

The Ticker: April 14, 1970; November 18, 1970; December 9, 1970; September 20, 1971

Washington Square Journal: November 7, 1968; December 18, 1968, March 9, 1970; April 7, 1970; April 9, 1970; April 13, 1970; April 15, 1970; April 20, 1970; April 21, 1970; April 29, 1970; April 30, 1970; May 4, 1970; November 16, 1970

The Anti War Conference poster (1971) was reintegrated into the collection in November 2018.

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Container List

Series I: Historical Overviews, Personal Papers and Ephemera, 1969-1977

Scope and Contents note

Arranged chronologically but preceded by Mason's graphical map of NYU student organizations (1963-1978), and a general history of the 1960s and 1970s at NYU co-authored by Mason. Series I includes various membership cards, buttons, and ephemera.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 General History and Information
1971-1977
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Buttons & Organization Membership Cards
[196-] - [197-]
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Untitled: notes poster collection location
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Mason Correspondence & Diary
1969-1973

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Series II: SDS Material, Chi-Reston Papers, SDS "Successors", 1962-1974

Scope and Contents note

Series II contains records regarding the creation of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at NYU, materials on the SDS's Radical Education Project at NYU, records from both the student and administration's viewpoints regarding the SDS-led demonstration against Ambassador Chi and James Reston's pro-Vietnam War presentations, and materials on what Mason termed "SDS successor" organizations.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 5 SDS Period #1: Regional & NYU Chapter
1962-1966
Box: 1 Folder : 6 SDS Period #1: Regional & NYU Chapter
1962-1966
Box: 1 Folder : 7 SDS Period #2: Regional & NYU Chapter
1966-1970
Box: 1 Folder : 8 SDS Period #2: Regional & NYU Chapter
1966-1970
Box: 2 Folder : 1 SDS Radical Education Project:
1965-1967
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Account of Chi-Reston Demonstration
[1970]
Box: 2 Folder : 3 NYU Administration Response to Chi-Reston Demonstration and Aftermath
1968
Box: 2 Folder : 4 SDS Successor Organizations
1970-1974

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Series III: New York University (NYU) Student Organization Activity, 1965-1975

Scope and Contents note

Series III contains various student publications from the Washington Square campus during 1968-1975, some records from the New Student Union of 1965 and, in general, a group of records from the Weinstein Residence Hall, Washington Square Campus-All Square Congress, Faculty of Arts and Sciences-Graduate Students Organization, and the NYU Student President's Conference.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 5 New Student Union-New York University
1965
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Weinstein Residence & Library Materials
1965-1969
Box: 2 Folder : 7 All Square Congress-New York University
1966-1969
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Graduate Student Organization Politics
1967-1972*
Box: 2 Folder : 9 NYU Student President's Conference: Proposal for a more Democratic University
1968
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Vietnam Moratorium Duplicates: Graduate Student Organization, School of Education
??
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Homer Watt Lecture: The Writer & the Power Structure
1966
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Various Student Publications
1968-1975

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Series IV: New University Conference (NUC) Materials, 1968-1975

Scope and Contents note

Series IV deals with the New University Conference (NUC), an Ann Arbor-based and socialist-influenced organization which was led primarily by faculty. Students active in the Anti-War Movement also played a significant role in the organization. NUC-NYU's activities fully reflected the national organization's concerns with providing leftist education alternatives for undergraduate and graduate students. Some of the NUC-NYU projects documented in this series are: the publication of NYU Inc., a financial and social analysis of NYU's Trustees Council, endowment investments, Law School, and financial ties to war contractors and the South African government; the early research for and support of the "University Without Walls" program at Washington Square, and involvement in the creation of the Metropolitan Studies Program; and finally, the Ivan Bennett Affair, to name only a few of the more prominent examples of NUC's activities.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 1 NUC: National & Regional Materials I
1968-1971
Box: 3 Folder : 2 NUC: National & Regional Materials I
1968-1971
Box: 3 Folder : 3 NUC: National & Regional Materials II
1971
Box: 3 Folder : 4 NUC: N.Y.U Chapter (NUC-NYU)
1968-1974
Box: 3 Folder : 5 NUC-NYU: Ivan Bennett Affair Papers
1970
Box: 3 Folder : 6 NUC-NYU: Raw Data for NYU Inc. I
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 1 NUC-NYU: Raw Data for N.U.U. Inc. II
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 2 NUC-NYU: Radical History Caucus
1971
Box: 4 Folder : 3 NUC-NYU: Study Group
1972-1974
Box: 4 Folder : 4 NYU Center for Marxist Studies
1975-1978
Box: 4 Folder : 5 NUC Newsletters
1969-1971
Box: 4 Folder : 6 NYU President's Urban Studies Report and Early Metropolitan Studies Program
1969-1971
Box: 4 Folder : 7 NYU Inc.: Posters Advertising Sale
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 8 American Political Science Association Reprint from APSA Newsletter vol. II
1969, 1972-1974
Box: 4 Folder : 9 NUC & Strike Coordinating Committee Materials
1968-1971

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Series V: Library and Cafeteria Workers--National Students' Strike of 1970, 1970-1971

Scope and Contents note

This series includes materials from the Library and Cafeteria Workers strike committees, records from the faculty-student strike coordinating committee for the academic side of the university, the participating departments, the coordinating committees of the buildings which students seized and occupied, and finally, a collection of student analyses of the strike which were written for Professor Fleming's class in the Politics Department. For an analysis of these events which is based primarily upon the records of the Cafeteria and Library workers' union local, and upon oral histories, see Peter Miller's video "Violets on the Picket Line." The video, as well as a research paper, are available for use at the Public History Program office in the NYU Department of History, 19 University Place, Fifth floor. Both the video and the paper are scheduled for accession by the University Archives.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 4 Folder : 10 Library & Cafeteria Workers Strike
1970
Box: 4 Folder : 11 Worker--Student--University Issues
1970-1976
Box: 4 Folder : 12 National Students Strike at NYU Diaries and Comments
1970
Box: 4 Folder : 13 National Students Strike: Flyers, Demands, News and Newspaper
1970
Box: 4 Folder : 14 National Students Strike: Courant
1970
Box: 4 Folder : 15 National Students Strike: N.Y.U Movement for a New Congress
1970
Box: 4 Folder : 16 National Students Strike: NYU Politics Department
1970
Box: 4 Folder : 17 National Students Strike: NYU Psychology Department
1970
Box: 4 Folder : 18 National Students Strike: NYU Strike Coordinating Committee
1970
Box: 4 Folder : 19 National Students Strike: Kimball
1970
Box: 5 Folder : 1 Collective & Transcendental Students
1970
Box: 5 Folder : 2 National Students Strike: Various Other NYU Groups and Departments
1970
Box: 5 Folder : 3 National Students Strike: Various Strike Related Documents
1970
Box: 5 Folder : 4 National Students Strike: General Press Releases and Publications
1970
Box: 5 Folder : 5 National Students Strike: Strike Issues of NYU Newspapers
1970
Box: 5 Folder : 6 National Students Strike: External Publications, Strike Issues
1970
Box: 5 Folder : 7 National Students Strike: Professor Fleming's Guide and Student Analyses
1971

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Series VI: NYU Administrative Documents, 1964-1975

Scope and Contents note

This series contains three different classes of records which have been arranged chronologically by class: 1) those reports and press releases which indicated NYU's efforts to deal with specific problems in its student body that had been created by demographics, politics, economic circumstances, etc. (folder 49); 2) materials which presented NYU's long-range plans to the wider university community and the general public, and those internal reports and bulletins that fulfill the same purpose on a day to day level (folders 50-51); and finally, 3) a surveillance film from Campus Security which depicted a student-faculty demonstration in 1968, whose focus was the appearance of and pro-war speeches on campus by Ambassador Chi and James Reston (folder 52).

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 8 The University Viewpoint
1968-1972
Box: 5 Folder : 9 NYU Capital Program
1964-1965
Box: 5 Folder : 10 University Reports & Bulletins
1969-1975
Box: 5 Folder : 11 NYU Surveillance Film of 3/6/68 Dow Chemical Demonstration
1968

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Series VII: Student Movement Organizations, 1967-1971

Scope and Contents note

Arranged chronologically by organization. These student groups arose out of the opposition to the Vietnam War, and included within their membership both students and non-university members.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 12 Peace and Freedom Party Materials
1967-1970
Box: 5 Folder : 13 Campus Voice--Committee to End the War in Vietnam Materials
1967-1968
Box: 5 Folder : 14 International Socialists: Regional Materials
1968-1970
Box: 5 Folder : 15 Black Student Activities: NYU
1968-1970
Box: 5 Folder : 16 Black Panther Defense Materials
1970
Box: 5 Folder : 17 Gay Liberation Material
1970

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Series VIII: Student Organization Posters, 1971

Scope and Contents note

This series contains one Anti War Conference Poster dated 1971. Other posters (dated 1962-1978) in this collection have been separated to the University Archives' Poster Collection.

Container 1     Title Date
Box: Shared University Archives 004 Anti War Conference Poster
1971

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