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Attica Prison riot printed materials

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS 182
A collection of ephemeral publications related to the riots at the Attica Correctional Institution in Attica, New York on September 9, 1971. Some items are undated.


  • circa 1971-1972


Terms of Access

The Attica Prison riot printed materials, circa 1971-1972 are open for research.


Copyright may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.


.2 Linear Feet (1 half manuscript box)


A collection of ephemeral publications related to the riots at the Attica Correctional Institution in Attica, New York on September 9, 1971, and the state's response.

Historical Note

On the morning of September 9, 1971, a group of inmates at the Attica Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in western New York, assaulted a prison guard and began rioting. They took prison employees hostage and gained control of portions of the facility. Negotiations between inmates and prison officials followed. The inmates demanded better living conditions at the overcrowded prison, which had been built in the 1930s. At the inmates’ request, a committee of observers that included politicians and journalists was formed to oversee the talks.

When negotiations broke down, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller ordered Attica to be taken by force. Rockefeller was planning to run for the Republican presidential nomination and reportedly wanted to combat the perception in some circles that he was soft on crime. On the morning of September 13, tear gas was dropped over the prison and state troopers opened fired on a group of over 1,200 inmates. In the chaos, 10 hostages and 29 inmates were killed by police gunfire and another 80 people were seriously wounded, the majority of them inmates, in what became the bloodiest prison uprising in U.S. history. Adding to the death toll were three inmates and a guard who had been killed earlier during the riot.

Some inmates later claimed that police took brutal revenge on them and that they were denied medical care for hours afterward. An investigation into the Attica revolt resulted in over 60 inmates being indicted and eight eventually convicted. One prison guard was charged with reckless endangerment, but his case was later dropped. A class-action suit filed in the 1970s on behalf of over 1,200 Attica inmates was settled in 2000 when a federal judge ordered New York State to pay $8 million to the surviving inmates. In 2005, the state also agreed to pay $12 million to the survivors and families of employees killed at Attica.


Original order was retained.

Acquisition Information

The collection was gifted to the University Archives by Jacqueline Simon in July 2010. Material collected by Marc C. Simon.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected for this collection.

Processing Information

Processed by John Edens, November 2010.
Finding aid encoded by LIS 503, as a class project for the Department of Library and Information Studies at the University of Buffalo. Encoding completed by: Mark Ahrens, Olli Baker, Carrie Blabac-Myers, Anne Cataldo, Matthew Corey, Patrick Dunleavy, Kate Eicher, Alexandra Fernandes-Hall, Joshua Firer, Lorelle Gianelli, Kathryn Goldbach, Alicia Gunther, Lara Herzellah, Arielle Hessler, Geoff Hinman, Lisa Hoover, Jennifer Hunt, Evalin Kay, Stephanie Mathieu, Victoria Meiswinkel, Rachel Panepinto, Marjorie Prak, Peter Raimondi, Gina Singer, Tara Thompson, Tom Tran, Mary Tuttle, Margaret Usiak, Valerie Williamson, and Mien Wong.



Finding Aid for the Attica Prison riot printed materials
Finding Aid prepared by John Edens.
15 June 2015
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

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