New Digital Archive

Library Acquires Digital Farmworker Movement Documentation Archive

All images from the Farmworkers’ Movement Documentations Archive

The Library has acquired a rich digital archive documenting the United Farmworkers’ Movement (UFW) in Central California from 1962 to 1993.  The archive, which was developed by movement organizer LeRoy Chatfield, includes a wide variety of information on the activities, accomplishments, challenges, and work of Cesar Chavez and those who participated in the farmworker movement.

“This fascinating archive is an excellent addition to the Library’s holdings,” said University Librarian Brian E. C. Schottlaender, “given the strength of the Library’s special collections related to California and Baja California. Our acquisition of the archive both ensures that these materials will be preserved while greatly expanding access for scholars, students, and members of the public.”

The Farmworker Movement Documentation Archive, which can now be accessed on the Library’s website, comprises thousands of items documenting the UFW’s history and related events, including a timeline of significant milestones, oral histories and manuscripts, as well as essays, and poetry penned by volunteers.  Also included are 13,000 photographs and videos, including a short video on the farmworker union (NFWA/UFW) historic march to Sacramento in 1966, and a variety of art and images of cultural artifacts such as stamps, posters, paintings, and illustrations.

“Cesar Chavez’s vision for the farmworker movement encompassed far more than organizing a union,” said archive developer Chatfield.  “His status as a revered icon has less to do with his union activities than with the personal sacrifices, commitment to nonviolence, and deep religious conviction that marked his life of service to impoverished farmworkers.”

Chatfield’s impetus to put together the archive was a reunion of members of the farmworkers movement upon the death of Chavez in 1993. At the reunion, he was flooded with fond memories about the movement and in 1994, published Cesar 1968, a private memoir recounting his experiences with Chavez, which is included in the archive. As he continued to collect primary source material, his book format morphed into an online presence in 2004, with the help of a young woman, Jennifer Szabo, who had the requisite skills to organize and present Chatfield’s materials in a digital format.

After spending many years building the archive, Chatfield said he was very pleased to be transferring ownership to the Library, where it will be properly maintained for future generations and is easily accessible to researchers, students, and others with an interest in the farmworker movement or social movements in general

“The Farmworker Movement Documentation Archive is a labor of love and commitment accomplished by one man – LeRoy Chatfield,” said Literature Professor Jorge Mariscal, director of UC San Diego’s Chicano/a--Latino/a Arts & Humanities program.  “But like the Farmworker Movement itself, one man stands in for the hundreds of dedicated contributors whose words and images live on in the archive. This will be a major research and educational tool for generations to come.  University Librarian Brian Schottlaender and the UC San Diego Library deserve high praise for acquiring this one-of-a-kind treasure trove of California history.”

To peruse the archive go to:  https://library.ucsd.edu/farmworkermovement/

Exhibits & Events

"San Diego Book Arts Exhibit."

  • May 5 - June 22
  • Mandeville Special Collections, Geisel Library.
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"Native Bee Exhibit."

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"Steampunk Tea."

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"Paper Theatre Festival & Exhibit."

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"Toy Piano Festival."

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"Dinner in the Library."

  • September 12
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    e-mail Taylor Haglund
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Domain Editor

Dolores Davies

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