Dan Long Union Library and Therese O’Connell poster collections digitised

Kia ora koutou

We’re very pleased to announce the completion of a project to make digital images available as part of our finding aids to the Dan Long Union Library poster collection and the Therese O’Connell poster collection

Since May this year, with the generous support of the Dan Long Trust, Michael Brown has worked with the J.C.Beaglehole Room to negotiate permissions with copyright holders, the vast majority of whom have very kindly allowed us to include the images in our online finding aids, and to enhance the metadata we have recorded for each poster.  Here is what he has to say about the project:

Posters are a powerful and ubiquitous medium of visual communication, yet individual examples usually only spend a short time in the public eye. These online resources thus offer a unique opportunity to examine digital images of over 400 posters created during the last fifty years by trade unions, protest organisations, government departments and other groups, from New Zealand and overseas. They complement another online J. C. Beaglehole Room collection of music and cultural posters from the New Zealand Student Arts Council archives.

The Dan Long Union Library and Therese O’Connell Collections give many insights into trade union and political activity in the 1970s-1990s period. They include posters published by groups like the New Zealand Public Service Association, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, and International Labour Organisation, promoting the cause of trade unionism and taking positions on important issues of the day. Government posters document changing approaches to workplace safety and other issues. Other posters were created within protest movements opposing the Vietnam War, the 1981 Springbok rugby tour, and nuclear testing in the Pacific. Feminist and abortion rights groups are also well-represented.

The Dan Long Union Library Poster Collection was part of a large donation of research materials made by the New Zealand Public Service Association (PSA) in 1999. Most of the posters had been originally collected by veteran trade unionist and activist Therese O’Connell (MNZM). In 2010, she kindly donated another sixty or so examples to the Victoria University Library, which are now the Therese O’Connell Poster Collection.

The launch of these online collections is timely in several respects. Over fifty of the posters were designed by the Wellington Media Collective, the subject of the recent book published by Victoria University Press, We will work you: Wellington Media Collective 1978-1998 (2013). It also coincides with events being held this year to celebrate the centenary of the New Zealand Public Service Association.

 I’m sure you’ll find plenty of fascinating material in these two collections.


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