Issue 1: Labor

Editors Note

Welcome to the first issue of Acid Free, a new quarterly online publication of the Los Angeles Archivists Collective. 

Conceived and edited by the dedicated volunteers of our Press and Publications Subcommittee, it’s a little like the grown-up version of our blog: seeking to be a smart, complicated, non-academic forum for a variety of voices and issues in our field, and to ground ourselves locally and regionally while also keeping an eye toward larger conversations and landscapes.

We chose labor as our inaugural theme for a couple of reasons: first, it’s fitting for literal reasons as we begin May by commemorating International Workers' Day. Second, we were excited by its ability to inspire interesting work across a variety of archival concerns: collections of work, workers, and labor organizing, of course, but also our own labor in archives, both technical and emotional.

In this issue, you’ll find audio from the Pacifica Radio Archives on women’s labor issues, highlights from digital labor history projects using archival materials, the story of the Port of Los Angeles archives, and reflections from a first-generation student finishing her masters’, among many other gems. We’re excited about everything we’re getting to publish here, and this note wouldn’t be complete without a wholehearted acknowledgement and thanks for the volunteer labor of our contributors. We wouldn’t have a publication without you, let alone one we can feel this proud of.

Our next issue, coming out in August, will focus on all things DISASTER—natural disaster preparedness and recovery, PR disasters, and collections documenting disaster, among other things. Please get in touch with all of your comments, questions, and ideas!


Person: Mark Clements

Person explores archival culture through interviews with professionals active in the field. This edition features Mark Clements, Archivist for Seafarers International Union, in conversation with Christine Hertzel.

Place: Port of Los Angeles

Place explores archival repositories and examines local landmarks as they appear in the archival record. This edition features the Port of Los Angeles and is written by Nicholas Beyelia who has led the recent advocacy efforts to save the Port’s historic materials following the sudden shutdown of its archival program in 2015.

Thing: May Day Posters

Thing explores archival culture by highlighting historic documents, collections, exhibits, and artifacts. This edition features a selection of May Day Posters from the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in Culver City provided by Executive Director Carol Wells and Archivist Emily Sulzer.

Audio: Women's Labor Rights

In this audio clip from the documentary Life in the Female Job Ghetto: Service and Office Work, members of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders International Union Local 2 protest the mental and physical brutality of their work in San Francisco, July 1980.

Nameless Multitudes

Erin Fletcher Singley relays the story of Harriet Williams Russell Strong’s life as a horticulturalist, engineer, and public citizen through the archives of the Whittier Museum and the Huntington Library.

Researcher: Tobias Higbie

Our new researcher spotlight highlights individuals making innovative uses of archival materials. This edition profiles projects by UCLA History Professor Tobias Higbie.

In Process: Mary Priest

In Process highlights the activities, experiences, and insights of current archival studies students as they develop their own perspectives on issues, trends, and events in the field. This issue focuses on one's journey through grad school and the uncertainty and excitement that waits at the other end.

Book Club No. 6: The Big Archive

The LAAC Book Club brings together LA-area archivists and friends to read and discuss publications exploring all matters archives. In this issue, Jeannie Freeburg discusses what's missing from Sven Spieker's The Big Archive.


A roundup of accomplishments and news from Los Angeles-area archivists and repositories.