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Archives and Special Collections: Boston Social Justice Organizations & Activists

A guide to historical materials housed in the Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department.

Boston Social Justice Organizations & Activists Collections

Members of Cambridge Eviction Free Zone march in the Caravan for Housing Justice, a project of the Campaign to Save 2000 Homes, 1998.  Photograph taken by Skip Schiel located in the Cambridge Eviction Free Zone collection.Flyer for Cambridge Rent Control Initiative Petition, 2002. Flyer from the Committee for Cambridge Rent Control collection.Anti-war, rent control, civil rights, and other cause buttons from the Mary M. Leno Button collection.Cover for Eviction Free Zone organizational brochure in Spanish, ca. 2003.  Brochure from the Eviction Free Zone collection.  


Action for Boston Community Development Records [unprocessed]

  • Founded in 1962, Action for Boston Community Development is a Boston-area anti-poverty agency serving Greater Boston residents through programs designed to develop skills and self-confidence.

Aetna AIDs Collection

  • The Aetna AIDs collection (1986-1992) was created by the Aetna Life and Casualty Company to stay abreast of the AIDs epidemic. The Company collected daily clippings from local, regional, and national newspapers and magazines and from national and international organization reports and conferences concerned with AIDs.

Alan Jay Rom, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under the Law Records [unprocessed]

  • The Lawyers' Committee is a non-profit organization specializing in pro bono legal representation of victims of race discrimination. The committee participates in community education on legal matters and promotes community economic development.

Natalie Ammarell Papers

  • Natalie Ammarell was a professional consultant who worked with Boston-based human service organizations from the early 1980's to early 2000's. She consulted for the Committee for Boston Public Housing, Boston Panel of Agencies Executives, United South End Settlements, Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses, Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center, New England Medical Center Community Planning Initiative, and WISH House.

The Boston Foundation Records [unprocessed]

  • The Boston Foundation was founded in 1915 to relieve hardship in Boston caused by World War I. Currently, the Foundation is involved in grant making, special funding initiatives for community improvement projects, and civic leadership programs.

Boston Living Center Records

  • Founded in 1989, the Boston Living Center is a nonprofit community organization providing education, support, and treatment information for HIV positive people. Additional unprocessed material available.

Cambridge Eviction Free Zone Records

  • Founded in 1988, the Cambridge Eviction Free Zone (EFZ) was a tenant-run community organization that worked for social and economic justice in the areas of housing and voting rights until its disbandment in 2007.

The Committee for Cambridge Rent Control Records

  • The Committee for Cambridge Rent Control (CCRC) was founded in 2003 by the Cambridge Eviction Free Zone to develop an initiative petition to re–establish rent control in Cambridge, Massachusetts until its disbandment in 2003.

Fenway Alliance Records [unprocessed]

  • Founded in 1977 as The Boston Plan, the Fenway Alliance, also called Boston-Fenway Program, is a consortium of organizations working together to promote and advocate cultural programs in the Fenway District of Boston.

Clif Garboden Papers [unprocessed]

  • Clif Garboden (1966-2011) worked at the Boston Phoenix for 40 years. He started as a freelance photographer and worked his way up to Senior Managing Editor at the Boston Phoenix. One of his best known pieces of writing was his "Hot Dots" TV reviews which were known to be acerbic and concise. After leaving the Boston Phoenix in 2009, he continued writing on a blog titled, "This Annoying World."

Martin Neal Gopen Papers

  • Martin Neal Gopen (1934-2006), a political activist and advocate for under-served communities, served on the board of and was involved in numerous social justice organizations and predominately worked at South End community organizations including United South End Settlements.

Grants Management Associates

  • Founded in 1982, Grants Management Associates, now called GMA Foundations, provides consulting, administrative, and organizational support services to grant-making organizations in the Boston area, including The Riley Foundation, a major funder of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative.

Mary M. Leno Button Collection [unprocessed]

  • Mary M. Leno, a social justice activist and an avid political button collector, collected buttons concerning women's rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, affordable housing, AIDS/HIV, LGBT rights, ecology, anti-nuclear power, health, Native American issues, multi-culturalism, African American rights, prisoners’ rights, labor unions, and ageism.

Massachusetts Human Services Coalition Records

  • Founded in 1976, the Massachusetts Human Services Coalition (MHSC) advocated for and improved state policies for at-risk children, low-income families, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and other vulnerable populations in Massachusetts until its closure in 2005.

Persistent Poverty Project Records

  • The Persistent Poverty Project was established by the Boston Foundation in 1987 to create a comprehensive picture of multi-generational poverty in Boston through the production of research reports and other means.

Earl Rubington Papers [unprocessed]

  • Earl Rubington (1923-2010) was a sociology professor at Northeastern from 1969 to 1999. His research focus was social issues and deviant behavior.

Mary Ellen Welch Papers

  • Mary Ellen Welch is a community activist and former teacher at Hugh R. O'Donnell Elementary School in East Boston, Massachusetts. Since the 1960s, she has been an advocate for East Boston residents on issues surrounding waterfront development, affordable housing, public schools, and the expansion of Logan International Airport.

Travelers Aid Family Services of Boston Records

  • Founded in 1916, Travelers Aid Family Services of Boston currently provides services to increase homelessness prevention efforts and create affordable housing in Boston.