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Archive for the ‘Digital Collections’ Category


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by Nissa Thor, UB DLIS graduate student

In 1970, in the aftermath of the Stonewall Riots of 1969, a group of UB undergraduates started this campus’s first undergraduate student organization for gay students, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF). GLF was both a social and political organization for gay men at UB. As the years went on and attitudes changed, the organization too changed its name to be more inclusive to the other members of the community. In 1980, GLF became the Gay People’s Alliance. In 1982, the organization changed its name once again, to Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GALA). Around 1989, GALA became the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance (LGBA).

The undergraduate group was not the only LGB organization on campus. UB has had groups for graduate students (GGALA) and law students (OUTLAW), as well as for faculty and staff. In fact, the Graduate Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GGALA), which unfortunately disbanded in 1996 due to lack of involvement, was the only graduate gay and lesbian student organization in Western New York.

While the name of the organization has changed over the years, the central focus has not. Providing a safe space for students to socialize and work to fight homophobia on (and off) campus, as well as events for education and celebration, such as coffee houses, conferences, ‘Coming Out Week’ and Denim Day, have remained important parts of the organization during the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

Documents relating to the history of LGBT at the University at Buffalo have been digitized and are available online:  This collection will continue to grow to encompass more items from the 1970s to 1990s, and in time will include the 2000’s. If you would like to donate materials related to the LGBT community at UB, please contact University Archives at

*This post is part of an occasional series written by University Archives graduate assistants and practicum students.  To prepare students for careers in Special Collections, our graduate assistants survey, process, and describe archival collections, digitize items for online use, and provide reference service to patrons.  These posts allow our students to share their experience and impressions of working with primary source material in the Archives.

New Digital Collection – Prominent Visitors to Buffalo and UB

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University Archives is pleased to announce a new digital collection: Prominent Visitors to Buffalo.  This collection chronicles many of the politicians, authors, musicians, and activists that visited Buffalo as well as UB. Documentation from the Archives includes photographs, coverage of events from the UB Spectrum student newspaper, and related ephemera.  Speakers include Muhammad Ali, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard M. Nixon, and Lyndon B. Johnson.  Additional visitors and content are regularly added to the collection.  A portion of these images are available for purchase from the UB Libraries Store

Ali_2280_26Muhammad Ali

In December 1967, Students for a Democratic Society, The Resistance, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee invited Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) to speak at the University at Buffalo.  Ali appeared in Buffalo during the time of his resistance to the Vietnam draft.  Before he spoke, he requested that antiwar signs be removed from the room, explaining that he was not in Buffalo “to promote any demonstration or support any groups fighting the draft.”  Ali answered questions from students on the proposed 1968 Olympic Games boycott, his toughest fights, and President Johnson.

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader spoke at Clark Gym on the first Earth Day in 1970.  Sponsored by the Student Association, Nader had an audience of over 4,500.  The UB Spectrum reported, “Nader addressed himself to the problems of pollution and industrial violence while criticizing the major corporations, various legislatures and government regulatory agencies for carrying it out against the public.”

Robert F. Kennedy

Robert F. Kennedy drew a large and enthusiastic crowd during his visit to campus in the fall of 1964, speaking from the terrace of Norton Union (now Squire Hall). Kennedy was campaigning for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Kenneth Keating, who also visited campus that fall. Kennedy went on to win the election and was New York’s junior senator at the time of his death in 1968. Additional images are from RFK’s appearance at the Buffalo Model City Conference at City Hall in 1967.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King’s 1967 speech at Kleinhans Music Hall was entitled “The Future of Integration” and called for a “massive action program” to end an economic depression and suggested a $40-billion federal program over a two year period to wipe out slums and poverty in the United States. The UB Spectrum reported that Dr. King “castigated the national administration that is more concerned with an unjust war in Vietnam than with winning the war on poverty.”  Dr. King’s visit was sponsored by the University at Buffalo Student Association and Graduate Student Association. The collection includes audio of the speech, photographs of the event, and coverage from the  Spectrum.

LBJ_1377_29-1024x671Lyndon Johnson

President Lyndon Baines Johnson visited Buffalo on August 19, 1966.  Held outside City Hall on Niagara Square, Johnson’s speech centered on cleaning up pollution in Lake Erie and the Buffalo River.  He was accompanied by First Lady “Lady Bird” Johnson.  Other speakers at the event included Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller and Buffalo Mayor Frank A. Sedita.

Richard Nixon

20,000 people attended a Richard Nixon campaign rally at Memorial Auditorium on October 7, 1968.  Also in attendance were First Lady Pat Nixon, Bandleader Lionel Hampton (who sang the National anthem), Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, and New York Senators Jacob J. Javits and Charles E. Goodell.  The visit was marked by over 200 protesters, calling themselves “The United Front Against Nixon-Humphrey-Wallace.”  The demonstration was a coordinated effort of 5 student groups: Students for a Democratic Society, Peace and Freedom Party, Buffalo Draft Resistance Union, Youth Against War and Fascism, and a peace group from Canisius College.

Thanks to Kris Miller and Stacy Person of the UB Libraries Digital Team for getting this collection up quickly.  And a special thanks to Joe Patton, Archives graduate assistant for digitizing the images.

View Prominent Visitors to Buffalo

Purchase Select Images at the UB Libraries Store.



Muhammad Ali on Buffalo Campus

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On December 18, 1967, an overflow crowd filled the Fillmore Room on what is now the University at Buffalo’s South Campus to hear boxer Muhammad Ali speak. Ali was invited by the school’s Students for Democratic Society, The Resistance, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Early in 1967, Ali was stripped of his boxing license and heavyweight boxing title and after refusing to be conscripted into the U.S. military citing his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. He was eventually arrested and found guilty on draft evasion charges. As his case worked its way through the appeal process, Ali was free on bail and spoke at colleges across the nation advocating African American pride and racial justice.

Before he spoke at the University at Buffalo, Ali insisted that all antiwar signs be removed from the room, explaining that he was not in Buffalo “to promote any demonstration or support any groups fighting the draft.” He said his refusal to be drafted into military service was a “personal matter and I’m just here to meet all my fans.” Ali answered questions from students on the proposed 1968 Olympic Games boycott, his toughest fights, and his financial status. Ali claimed he “earned over $2.5 million in boxing but taxes, lawyer fees, a divorce, and expensive tastes had taken most of it.” He refused to answer a question of what he thought about President Johnson stating “whether you like the man or not, you must have respect for him.” Muhammad Ali would also tour schools in Rochester, Syracuse and Albany during the week before Christmas of 1967.

The Muhammad Ali photos are part of the Prominent Visitors to Buffalo digital collection and come from the University Archives. This collection chronicles many of the politicians and activists that visited Buffalo in the past 50 years. Documentation from the University Archives includes photographs, coverage of events from the UB Spectrum student newspaper, and related ephemera. The collection currently includes Robert F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson, Muhammad Ali, and Ralph Nader.

University Archives Oral History Collection

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The University Archives Oral History Collection, now available in the University at Buffalo Libraries Digital Collections, contains over 40 taped interviews with members of the University at Buffalo community. Those interviewed include administrators (such as Dr. Thomas R. McConnell, Chancellor of the University of Buffalo, 1950-1954), alumni, faculty, staff, and UB Council members.

Although covering some 25 years, the bulk of the collection consists of interviews conducted in 1978-1979, and offers a wide range of topics and personal insight into University history by those that lived it. A majority of the interviews were conducted by part-time University Archives staff members Jenny Peterzell and Brenda Shelton. Other interviewers include then Head Archivist Shonnie Finnegan and Josephine Capuana. The Oral History Project was organized by the University Archives and University at Buffalo Emeritus Center, and was made possible through a grant from the University at Buffalo Foundation, Inc.

Of the original project, Ms. Finnegan wrote, “The University has a rich, multi-layered past which is not fully reflected in the written record. These oral accounts … fill gaps in the record and capture the past in more vivid, human terms.

University Archives Oral History Collection

Buffalo Jazz Report

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Buffalo Jazz Report

We are delighted to announce that the complete run of the Buffalo Jazz Report is now available online.

Founded in Buffalo, New York in 1974 by Bill Wahl, the Buffalo Jazz Report was a free newspaper distributed at clubs and record stores in the Buffalo, NY area as a service to the local jazz community. It provided record reviews, articles on jazz musicians from the area, interviews with visiting musicians, and new album listings. Later issues broadened its focus beyond Buffalo, NY to include the Toronto, ON and Rochester, NY jazz scenes.

With the permission of Bill Wahl, the UB Libraries host issue 1 (March, 1974) through issue 58 (December, 1978) providing jazz lovers everywhere with access to the Libraries’ entire run of the Buffalo Jazz Report.