Michael Rossman in the AOUON archive, 2003, photo by Lincoln Cushing

"All Of Us Or None"
The AOUON Archive of Political Posters

Michael Rossman passed away May 12, 2008. Continued processing of the AOUON archive will be directed by Lincoln Cushing, who can be reached at
lcushing "at" igc.org

For more on Michael Rossman and his work, see his website at http://www.mrossman.org/

General Information

000The AOUON Archive project began in 1977 to gather and document the poster-work of modern progressive movements in the United States. Though earlier work is included, its focus is on the domestic political poster renaissance, which began in 1965 and continues to this day. The Archive gathers posters from all streams of progressive activity — from movements of protest, liberation, and affirmative action, trade-union and community struggles, to electoral and environmental organizing, community services, and visionary manifestos. Though strongest in work from the San Francisco Bay Area, its scope is national: one-quarter of its holdings come from out-of-state. These are complemented by an archive of international work.

000The Archive's name comes from a poem by Brecht. "All Of Us Or None" evokes the democratic spirit of the movements represented by these posters, and also the spirit of this collection. Rather than focus only on work of artistic merit or central historical significance, the Archive's mandate has been omnivorous — to gather a broadly-representative sample of a vast, collective work of social art, documenting in detail the history and textures of progressive activism. Since 1965, the domestic political poster renaissance has generated over 400,000 designs in a diverse and decentralized productive process emanating from every focus of progressive activity. By late 2005, the Archive had salvaged over 20,000 designs from this flow; and had long since become, with the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in L.A., one of the two major repositories of this work.

000Though the Archive has no space for public display, its holdings are accessible to scholars, artists, and activists. Major exhibitions are infrequent, but smaller displays are mounted on occasion in community and campus locales. A sub-collection of 5,000 duplicate posters is available for loan to community groups. The Archive's long-term projects include its cataloging and photographic documentation, collaborative study with historians and other scholars, producing slide-sets and digital media for teachers and researchers, and making its holdings accessible on the Web. It publishes an irregular journal, Bulletin of the AOUON Archive, discussing the work it surveys. A website of images and texts, beginning with some hundreds of African-American posters, will be available soon.

000The Archive's curator is Michael Rossman, a Berkeley writer and social historian. His books include a history of the 1960s Movement, critical studies of higher educational reform and of the early New Age movement, and an anthology of translated poetry from the Spanish Civil War. He is preparing a book on the political poster renaissance.


return to Database of American Labor Graphics

Main Holdings as of 12/2005

2710 Peace/anti-war
0001210 Vietnam
0001450 other

1995 International solidarity
0001140 Latin America
000 365 Africa
000 490 other

4060 Ethnic/racial minorities
0001530 African-American
000 965 Latino-American
000 785 Native American
000 340 Asian-American
000 430 general

1810 Gender
0001320 women
000 650 gay/lesbian

1840 Ecology/environment
0001090 ecology
000750 environment

930 Electoral and tendencies
000600 electoral
000330 radical tendencies

1540 Community struggles/alternatives
000245 labor
000360 services
000845 other

1370 Alternative media and culture
1795 Counter-culture
1405 Minor movements/miscellaneous

Ancillary holdings

1400 International political posters
400 Rock posters and flyers
1450 Punk rock flyers
3000 Rave flyers/cards

page last updated 4/23/2021