Selected Archive Projects

A far-from-complete list of archive projects concerned with grassroots movements for social justice. Some are major projects, others are smaller. Some are physical archives, some digital/Internet-based, some are both.
If you know of others that should be added to the list, please let us know at mailroom [at] If you have a collection of social justice materials in your basement/locker, etc., and would like to participate in an exploration of co-operative archiving and/or searching for shared space, please fill out this form and email it to Connexions.
For more information related to grassroots archives and peoples’ history, try these headings in the Connexions Subject Index: Libraries/Archives Libraries Online ArchivesDigital ArchivingHistory/Archives Historical Records Destruction of Libraries and Archives Photography ArchivesCo-operatives/HistoryHistory/Canadian Labour History Left History Oral HistoryPeople's History Women’s History Workers’ History .


A working archive holding a substantial collection of materials from grassroots groups, primarily Canadian English-language materials from the 1960s to the present. A team of volunteers and interns works on cataloguing, indexing, and scanning the materials. The Connexions website also features thousnds of documents from a variety of sources in addition to the Connexions Archive itself. Archive-related content includes Connexipedia and Seeds of Fire.

Alternative Toronto 1980 - 1995
An online community archive and historical map of Toronto’s alternative cultures, scenes and spaces of the 1980s and early 1990s.

Anarchist Archive at the University of Victoria
Devoted to the study of anarchism, with special focus on history of the movement in Canada.

Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives
Collects and maintains information related to gay and lesbian life in Canada. Based in Toronto.

Canadian Women’s Movement Archives
Compiled by an independent project which ceased functioning in 1992. The collection is now housed in the University of Ottawa Library.

OPIRG Poster Archive
A website with posters produced by OPIRG-York and OPIRG Toronto from the 1980s to the present.

Psychiatric Survivor Archive of Toronto
Dedicated to ensuring that the rich history of people who have experienced the psychiatric system is preserved for our community and the wider community as a resource from which everyone can share and learn.

Rear-View Mirror: Toronto Activist Art (1976-1996)
A snapshot of Toronto activist art from the 1976 general strike to the 1996 Days of Action.

Rise Up Feminist Archive
A digital archive of feminist activism in Canada from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Ross Dowson archive
An archive of materials related to Canadian Trotskyist Ross Dowson (1917-2002). Some documents are online; with others being digitized.

Socialist History Project
Primarily materials related to the Trotskyist movement in Canada.

Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library at the University of Toronto
Several collections related to radical history, including: French Revolution collection (books, pamphlets and periodicals on the French Revolution); Spanish Civil War Collection (formed with the assistance of the Canadian Committee for a Democratic Spain, contains books, pamphlets, posters and some manuscript material, as well as historical works on Spain during the 1930s); Czechoslovakia 1968 (manuscripts and printed matter on the 1968 uprising); Solidarnosc (publications by members of the Solidarity and other workers’ movements in Poland); the Robert S. Kenney Collection (documents related Communism and other radical movements).

Joni Mitchell: Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you've got till it’s gone. Pave paradise, put up a parking lot.

Outside Canada

Aletta Institute for Women’s History
Home of the International Archives for the Women's Movement. Books, magazines, works of music, photographs, posters, diaries, letters, all sorts of household and personal objects relevant to women and women’s lives.

Alternative Press Center / Alternative Press Index
A subject index of the alternative press (mainly U.S.) with an extensive physical archive of alternative publications.

International Institute of Social History
Maintains a collection, conducts research and offers a range of services in the field of social history in general and labour history in particular. Based in the Netherlands.

Marxists Internet Archive
Large archive of the writings of Marx and Engels and others in the Marxist tradition, broadly defined.

American Native Press Archives
Extensive collection of Native American periodicals.

Anarchy Archives
An archive of anarchist writings by classic authors such as Rocker, Goldman, Proudhon, and Malatesta.

Center for Socialist History
A project to promote research and publication in the field of socialist history. (U.S.)

Docs Populi
Dedicated to documenting and publishing oppositional artwork of the late 20th century.

The Freedom Archives
Materials from the late-60s to the mid-90s chronicling the progressive history of the Bay Area, the United States, and international solidarity movements.

Emma Goldman Papers
Documents of the anarchist Emma Goldman.

Free Speech Movement Archives
Documents related to the Berkeley Free Speech Movement of the 1960s.

History from Below
DInternational network of historian-activists, artists and agitators.

Interference Archive
Objects created as part of U.S. social movements: posters, flyers, publications, photographs, moving images, audio recordings, and other printed matter.

Israeli Left Archive
Devoted mainly to the radical left and the women’s peace movement in Israel during the sixties, seventies and the eighties.

John Gray Website
A collection of documents related to libertarian socialism.

Kate Sharpley Library
Anarchist history collection. (U.S.)

Labadie Library
Radical history collection (U.S.)

British-based libertarian communist website with a large collection of current and archived articles.

Library of the Turtle
A small collection of ‘texts in the history of struggle’.

Marx Memorial Library
The Library is home to a number and variety of archives and collections including the full run of the Daily Worker and Morning Star, The International Brigade Archive, Bernal Peace Library, Klugnmann Collection and an extensive Photograph Library.

May Day Rooms
MDR states that its growing collections, based in London, ’challenge the widespread assault on collective memory and historical continuity by countering those prevalent narratives of historical inevitability and political pessimism.“

ONE Lesbian & Gay Archives
The largest repository of LGBTQ materials in the world. (U.S.)

Memorial Society (Russia)
Documents relevant to oppression and dissent in Russia.

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
Working to locate, document, digitise, and provide access to all archival materials related to Nelson Mandela.

Pacifica Radio Archives
Chronicling the political, cultural and artistic movements of the second half of the 20th century, Pacifica radio programs include documentaries, performances, discussions, debates, drama, poetry readings, commentaries and radio arts.

Palestine Poster Project Archive
An online collection of thousands of posters from, or related to, Palestine.

Palestine Remembered
Preserve the memories and the experiences of Palestinian people around the world, especially the Palestinians refugees.

Prometheus Library (US)
A working library of American and international Marxist history, documentation, and related interests, maintained by the Trotskyist League.
Online Archives of the Communist Left

Spunk Library
Documents on anarchism, libertarian socialist and related topics. The content has not been updated since 2002, but the collection assembled to that point is still preserved online. or

Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Collections relating to labour and social history; the history of the Left, the place of the worker in American society, the evolution of labour law, women's history, immigrant history, and more. (U.S.)

Texas Archives of Autonomous Marxism
Documents related to the history of autonomous Marxism, maintained by Harry Cleaver.

University of Minnesota Human Rights Library
Extensive collection of official human rights documents such as UN treaties.

H.K. Yuen Social Movement Archive
Primary source artifacts of San Francisco Bay Area based social movements from the 1960s and 1970s.

Zochrot (“Remembering”) seeks to raise public awareness of the Palestinian Nakba, especially among Jews in Israel, who bear a special responsibility to remember and amend the legacy of 1948.

Nelson Mandela: Anyone who has explored the world of archives will know that it is a treasure house, one that is full of surprises, crossing paths, dead ends, painful reminders and unanswered questions.

General online archives that include some social justice materials

A conservancy of freely available information, including software, music, literature, art, history, science, politics, and cultural studies.

Internet Archive
A project devoted to preserving the content of Internet sites. The Wayback Machine crawls a large number of websites on an intermittent basis and preserves snapshots of what it finds.

Mumia abu Jamal: Before this generation goes on to its ancestors, we should, we must, do our level best to pass on our lessons, so that they live in our people’s minds and lives.

Institutional archives

Library and Archives Canada
Canada’s pre-eminent archive, charged with the mandate of preserving Canada’s archival heritage. Subject to Harperization in 2012 with significant cuts to funding and staffing.

Archives of Ontario
The official archives of the Province of Ontario.

City of Toronto Archives
The official archives of the City of Toronto.

Directory of Canadian Archives

Seamus Milne: The battle over history is never really about the past - it’s about the future.

Archive-related associations and projects

Alternative Libraries - Montréal
A network of resource centres and libraries maintained by activist groups in Montréal; working on a shared database of their holdings.

Association of Canadian Archivists

Council of Canadian Archives

Librarians and Archivists with Palestine

Progressive Librarians Guild (U.S.)
Providing a forum for the open exchange of radical views on library issues.

Radical Reference
Providing a forum for the open exchange of radical views on library issues.

Toronto Workers History Project
A group of workers, unionists, professors, students, artists, teachers, librarians, educators, researchers, community activists, and retirees dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the history of working people in Toronto.

If you know of other archives that should be added to the above list, please let us know at mailroom [at]
If you have a collection of social justice materials in your basement/locker, etc., and would like to participate in an exploration of co-operative archiving and/or searching for shared space, on donating them to an archive, please fill out this form and email it to Connexions.

Memory Resistance Grassroots Archives People’s History

William Faulker: The past is never dead, it’s not even past.

Utah Phillips: Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through and everything they gave their lives to, and every song they created, and every poem that they laid down flows down to me - and if I take the time to ask, and if I take the time to see, and if I take the time to reach out, I can build that bridge between my world and theirs. I can reach down into that river and take out what I need to get through this world.

George Orwell: Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.

Ulli Diemer: The social transformation we are working for is a long revolution - a process that requires the efforts of generations of activists.

Michael Riordon: Each life will never come again, and a whole range of knowledge passes with each person.

Ulli Diemer: One of the problems with our society is that we believe everything has to be new and different. I don't apologize for having ideas that are

Wangari Maathai: Before anything happens to me I want to know that the seeds have really been planted, that things will carry on changing.

Oscar Wilde: Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.

William Least Heat Moon: We can’t select our ancestors, but they, often in ways never to be guessed, can select pieces of our future.

Pia Barros: The memory of the vanquished is dangerous for the conquerors.

When an old man dies a library burns to the ground

William Morris: Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes, turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name.

Utah Phillips: The long memory is the most radical idea in America. That long memory has been taken away from us. You haven't gotten it in your schools. You're not getting it on your television. You're being leapfrogged from one crisis to the next. Mass media contributed to that by taking the great movements that we've been through and trivializing important events. No, our people's history is like one long river. It flows down from way over there. And everything that those people did and everything they lived flows down to me, and I can reach down and take out what I need, if I have the courage to go out and ask questions.

Ulli Diemer: We are part of a movement for justice that stretches across continents and across generations. People have always resisted injustice, and always sought to create a world based on values of community, sharing, freedom and justice. We are part of a continuum.

Milan Kundera: The struggle of humanity against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.

Christopher Lasch: There is history that remembers and history that arises from a need to forget.

William Least Heat Moon: Memory, that force which our humanity, our humanness, our civilization, our lives and lives, proceed. We can survive without morality or arithmetic or logic, but without memory, we haven't a chance. We are who we are and where we are in no insignificant measure because of immaterial memories.

George Orwell: Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.

Heinrich Heine: Wherever they burn books they will also end up burning people.

William Least Heat Moon: A human’s best chance for something approximating life everlasting lies in the memory of others.

Ulli Diemer: We need all the help we can get in overthrowing capitalism, including the help of people who are dead.

You are not expected to complete the work in your lifetime. Neither must you refuse to do your part.

Ulli Diemer: We’re not going to stop working for justice just because we’re dead.