U.C. Berkeley
1970 workshop posters

This is an unofficial "work-in-progress" page sharing content of a significant unprocessed Bancroft Library collection, hosted by former cataloger Lincoln Cushing.
For similar work. return to Docs Populi

After the antiwar student demonstrations and killings at Kent State, Ohio (May 4, 1970) and Jackson State, Mississippi (May 14, 1970) there was a massive upswelling of resistance culture in the United States. Political poster workshops blossomed all over the country (including The Media Project at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, and the University of Southern California's School of Architecture; one exemplary such workshop was the Poster Factory in Minneapolis) to express public outrage. At the University of California, Berkeley faculty at the College of Environmental Design encouraged the use of campus facilities for a short-lived workshop that created an estimated 50,000 copies of hundreds of works.

One mystery of these posters was the presence of the number "4973' or the word "RAPE" on many of them. In November of 2007 I was informed by Robin Repp, one of the participating artists, that "
We put the number 4973 on the posters because it was a sort of 'stamp of approval' number from the Berkeley Police Department. We were led to believe that if we put the number on a poster, it would not be torn down from city poles or signs." 

Primary collection:

Reconstitution of the campus : anti-war posters created and distributed on the University of California, Berkeley campus, [graphic]. 1970 May. ca. 300 items (in 6 boxes and 9 oversize folders).

Call number: ff 308h.R311.p
UC Archives

Summary: These posters were generated during the protest of the escalation of the Vietnamese Conflict, when the Berkeley campus was to be 'reconstituted' into a peace-promoting institution. Primarily silkscreen on paper or cardboard.

Related UCB collections and titles:

Views of protest movements at the University of California, Berkeley, 1964
Author: Loewenberg, Theresa.
Published: 1964-1970.
Format: Visual
140 photographic prints
Location(s): UARC: UARC PIC 24E
OAC finding aid

see items under "Posters from poster workshops on display at the University Art Museum." Many of the posters were in fact from other sources, including Cuba and the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.

Unite against the war.
UC Archives f308h.R311.U58
Place/Publisher [Kentfield, Calif. : Western Star Press,
Date 1970]
Description 9 posters in portfolio ; 49 cm.
Notes Introductory essay by Herschel B. Chipp.

Catalog of posters chosen from exhibition at the then-new University Art Museum at the University of California, Berkeley, May 1970.

H.K. Yuen Social Movement Archive
(unprocessed collection)

Other collections and resources:

University of British Columbia
1969-1973 Poster Collection finding aid
Essay and sample gallery

[link no longer works, but a corporation would like to sell the URL!]

"California Art for Peace: May 1970"
Paula Hays Harper, Art Journal
Vol. 30, No. 2 (Winter 1970-1971) pp. 163-164

"Origins of the clenched fist - peace symbol combination graphic"

Michael Rossman's essay on Bay Area posters, including this workshop movement

Kent State and the 1970 National Student Strike
[webpage by Alan Canfora]

The Imagination of the New Left: A Global Analysis of 1968, by George Katsiaficas [book]

Review of 4973: Berkeley Protest Posters 1970

Exhibition "Design Radicals: Creativity and Protest at Wurster Hall,"
UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design library 2014

This page originally posted May 1, 2006, last updated  4/23//2021