January 21, 2022

New Research Resource: The Social Welfare History Image Portal (Ephemera from Women’s Suffrage, Temperance, Civil Rights and Other Social Movements)

From Virginia Commonwealth University:

Sheet music for the suffragists’ rallying song “Votes for Women.” A Superboy comic PSA from the 1950s extolling the virtues of public education. A Victrola ad from 1920 suggesting that community singing would bring immigrants “into the fold of American citizenry.” A temperance movement handbill warning that alcohol is the “Fluid Extract of Hell” and “GUARANTEED TO KILL BOYS.”

These are just a few of the intriguing items to be found in a new project by VCU Libraries and seven partner institutions that showcases photographs, pamphlets, placards, advertisements, buttons and other ephemera from the history of social reform movements and social services.


The Social Welfare History Image Portal features images of primary source items drawn from the collections of VCU Libraries, Union Presbyterian Seminary Library, Beth Ahabah Museum & Archives, University of Minnesota Libraries, Simmons College Library, University of Mary Washington Libraries, Baylor University Libraries, and The Valentine.


The image portal can be freely accessed and is a discovery tool for researchers with various levels of experience. Students and professors alike can find a wide range of archival materials related to women’s right to vote, child-labor reform, charity organizations, desegregation, rights for people with disabilities, and the “Americanization” of immigrants.

Each item in the portal is accompanied by a brief description that links to the holding institution.

Researchers can peruse the items individually, click on various tags, or explore curated “discovery sets” of materials related to special topics, such as women’s suffrage, temperance and prohibition, Americanization and the National Social Welfare Assembly Comics Project.

Learn More, Read the Complete Announcement

Direct to the Social Welfare History Image Portal

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.