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Popular Culture in Britain and America, 1950-1975

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Rock and Roll, Counterculture, Peace and Protest


Music, Politics, Fashion, Youth Culture – the period from 1950 to 1975 witnessed dramatic changes in society. There was the onset of Rock & Roll; the introduction of computers and credit cards; the boom of radio and television; and campaigns for black power, civil rights and women’s liberation. All around the world there were challenges to authority.

By focusing on substantial collections of original archival material – manuscript, typescript and ephemera – from key libraries in Britain and America – we provide the primary sources that will enable students and scholars to examine these issues in detail and at first hand:

  • Changing Lifestyles, 1950-1975
  • Youth Culture
  • Student Protests
  • Mai ‘68
  • Popular Culture; TV; Music; Movies
  • Civil Rights; Women’s Liberation; Minority Groups
  • The Space Race
  • Consumerism; Credit Cards; Computers
  • Vietnam War
  • Nuclear Disarmament
Additional content available in Section II has a strong emphasis on popular entertainment, mass media and consumer culture and continues to explore the wide range of political, cultural and social themes introduced in Section I by complementing the collection with materials such as:

  • Original video footage spanning 1950-1975 featuring key personalities from JFK, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe to the Beatles and Rolling Stones.
  • Artist files, record company documents, chart lists, fan magazines, photographs and posters from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • Important records on the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland from the National Archives.
  • Press kits for popular feature films (movies) and television from Bowling Green State University.
  • Full colour mail order catalogues.
  • Advertising proofs.
  • Further photographic material sourced from the Mirrorpix Archives.
  • Documents from the Labour Party archive charting social change.
  • Complete run of Gandalf’s Garden magazine.
  • Music fanzines and music periodicals.
  • Additional Underground and Alternative Press titles.
  • Women’s and girl’s magazines.
  • Material from Warwick University regarding the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and student unrest.
  • Interviews with key figures of the day such as Suzi Quatro, Barry Miles and co-founder of Australian Oz magazine, Richard Neville.

Key Features:

Video Clips: Original video footage on key events and topics of the period: from consumerism, advertising and student demonstrations to the Vietnam war, key political figures (Malcolm X, JFK and Martin Luther King) to celebrities including Elvis and Marilyn Monroe.

We also include a massive, multi-faceted chronology of the period – with embedded articles and images – that helps to contextualise all of the issues discussed.

Comparison to Other Collections: Three key aspects that differentiate Popular Culture in Britain and America, 1950-1975 from all others are:

  • It covers a much broader period from 1950 to 1975
  • It offers international coverage
  • It includes original archival materials that will facilitate in-depth research and project work.
See detailed information for more on this collection.

Popular Culture receives an Honorable Mention