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Brandeis Library becomes 12th partner to join Social Welfare History Image Portal

February 4, 2019
Care for Her Through the YWCA: For Every Fighter a Woman Worker. Image courtesy Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University Library.
Image: courtesy Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis Library

VCU Libraries welcomes Brandeis University as the 12th partner to join the Social Welfare History Image Portal.

The Image Portal presents archival materials related to the history of social reform and social welfare in the United States. The site was awarded the Center for Research Libraries' 2018 Primary Source Award for Access.

The Image Portal is part of the larger Social Welfare History Project, a project launched in 2010 by pioneering social worker John E. (“Jack”) Hansan. “Dr. Hansan received his doctorate in social welfare policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University,” said project manager Alice Campbell. “So, having Brandeis University Library join this effort feels wonderfully appropriate.”

The Brandeis Library in Waltham, Mass. houses more than 2 million volumes (both electronic and physical), 45,000 journals (both electronic and physical) and 4,000 films, with a growing collection in the sciences, creative arts, humanities, government documents, Judaica and social sciences—including rare and unique collections. The Robert D. Farber University Archives and Special Collections department holds a wide range of rare books and manuscript collections related to social justice, anti-Semitism, left- and right-wing radicalism and extremism, Jewish feminism, and other subjects, along with literary manuscripts, music and photographic collections, and the papers of such prominent figures as Lenny Bruce, Louis Brandeis and Joseph Heller.

Anne Woodrum, special collections librarian in the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections department, notes the project’s Image Portal gives them a way to expand outreach efforts for collections in new and imaginative ways. “At Brandeis, we have a number of special collections to support the study of social reform in the United States, from our Louis Brandeis and William Lloyd Garrison collections to our WWI and WWII propaganda posters, among others. Making these important materials discoverable and available for research, teaching and learning is a central part of our department's mission and we see the Image Portal as an exciting way for us to bring these collections to a wider audience. It's especially thrilling to see, through the curated Discovery Sets, how our materials connect with and provide context for materials from other archival repositories and help create compelling sub-collections for primary source analysis in the areas of social reform and social welfare.”

Project manager Alice Campbell added, “The Image Portal is a place to explore ideas of community and community responsibility, as well as how Americans have thought and argued about our national identity over the years. Brandeis Library’s materials tell stories of abolitionism, Americanization, and women’s contributions in World War I. Louis Brandeis’ oration is a profound statement that can be related to many items in the Image Portal. Brandeis speaks on what he views as distinctly American ideals and traditions—ideals such as democracy, social justice, decent wages and racial equality. It’s such a great document to begin any discussion of social welfare history.”

Welcome, Brandeis Library!


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