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Activism, 1960-1999

Identifier: Series I

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

In 1996, Powell deliberately organized one box of his own materials to be donated to the University Archives. He included class hand-outs and copies of an autobiographical work in progress. He also included a table of contents and a cover letter to explain the documents (the original letter and table of contents sent to the University Archivist is located in the accession folder). The folders from Powell's original donation were incorporated into the larger collection; however they are differentiated by an asterisk (*) in the finding aid. He arranged them into five parts and describes them in his cover letter as follows:

Part I. Choosing Peace/Making Trouble: A Project in Participatory Sociology, 1960-1990 is a still uncompleted manuscript (about 200 pages) dealing mainly with my antiwar activity on this campus. Most of this material was previously printed in the Buffalo Alternative Press and in Catalyst.

Part II. Catalyst, 1985, an issue mainly of the autobiographical writings of UB students in a Soc. 101 class. 211 pages.

Part III. Lecturing by Letter: Teaching 410 people to write a book and alter their consciousness, with a 30 page correspondence with a suicide attempter. 200 pages.

Part IV. Self as Project: On Choice, Consciousness and Conduct... Class Handouts, 1987-1996... approximately 1000 to 2000 pages. Includes here is a table of contents, circa 40 pages. This collection I am now rewriting as a book. I think the handouts give a glimpse of UB life over the past decade.

Part V. Proactive Evolution... toward a Paleosociology includes published papers, handouts, and notes on the role of consciousness in human evolution.

After his death in 2001, an additional 62 boxes of materials were donated to the University Archives. Organization of this post-humus installment of papers was significantly less deliberate. Files were generally grouped as activism, research, coursework and correspondence.

Because Powell was an avid photocopier and owner of a photocopy machine, there were many duplicate copies of class handouts, letters, flyers, and leaflets. Most duplicates were discarded. A selection of the discarded documents was used in an exhibit/installation, Epicircle: The Ed Powell Project. Reviews and an announcement of the event are available in the accession folder.


  • 1960-1999


Terms of Access

The bulk of the Elwin H. Powell papers, 1960-2001, is open for research.


Student work is restricted. Please see the Archivist for details.


From the Collection: 40 Linear Feet (95 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



This series is divided into three subseries documenting Powell's activism at the university, local, national and international levels. Each subseries is further divided by specific events and then arranged alphabetically.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)