George Lister was a career foreign service officer who held State Department posts in Moscow, Warsaw, Rome, and Bogota, and worked in the State Department's Bureau of Latin American Affairs. In the 1970s, he played a leadership role in the creation of the Bureau of Human Rights, Democracy, and Labor, and in 1974 Lister became the first Human Rights Officer in the State Department's Bureau of Inter-American Affairs. Because of his important behind-the-scenes work in making human rights an important consideration in diplomacy, he was labeled "Mr. Human Rights" by historian Arthur Schlesinger. The Lister Papers include Lister's writings, correspondence, audio-visual materials and his collected materials on a variety of his professional and personal interests.
The large French collection of Carlton Lake contains several collections of particular interest to sexuality scholars. Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) knew everybody and was a prolific writer and correspondent. The Ransom Center has only a few works of hers in manuscript, including "Composition as Explanation" (1926), but holds a more significant number of letters to and from her. One group of correspondence is between Stein and Charles Henri Ford, and another large group consists of letters from Stein to the artist Sir Francis Rose (1909–1979). There is also a cache of photographs of Stein and a small archive of her secretary and companion, Alice B. Toklas (1877–1967).
Bought & Sold: An Investigative Documentary About the International Trade in Women, filmed between 1995-1997, investigates the illegal trafficking of women out of Russia and into Asia, Europe and the United States through interviews with trafficked women, traffickers, law enforcement officials, social workers, and mafia members in Russia, eastern Europe, and Japan. In partnership with WITNESS, Steve Galster, Executive Director, and Gillian Caldwell, Co-Director of the non-governmental organization Global Survival Network, filmed and conducted the investigative journalism for the documentary. In order to gain entry to trafficking networks, Galster and Caldwell established a dummy business that claimed to import foreign women. To the extent permissible by law, Galster and Caldwell secretly filmed in the environments in which trafficked women worked. Whenever possible, Galster and Caldwell disclosed their research intentions. The film was released in 1997 and received widespread media coverage in the US and abroad, including specials on ABC Primetime Live, CNN, and BBC.
Internationally recognized cultural theorist, creative writer, and independent scholar Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa, one of the first openly lesbian Chicana writers, played a major role in redefining Chicana/o, queer, feminist and female identities, and in developing inclusionary movements for social justice. Her theories of mestizaje, the borderlands, and the new mestiza, as well as her code-switching, have had an impact far beyond the field of Chicano/a studies. Her insistence on community and coalition-building united feminist concerns with issues of race, gender, class, sexuality, health, and spirituality. Anzaldúa also played a formative role in the development of Queer Theory.
Gustavo C. García was an attorney who advocated on behalf of Chicano rights to education and adequate workplace conditions. García is most known for his arguments against jury segregation in the Hernandez v. The State of Texas case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954. The García collection is small and includes photocopies of correspondence, legal documents and newspaper clippings reflecting his career-long involvement with Chicano rights.
This photography collection consists of original materials from an exhibition excerpted from the book El Salvador: Work of Thirty Photographers, including 69 gelatin silver prints by various photographers, one large chromogenic color print of the image from the book's cover, 13 bilingual text panels written by Carolyn Forché, and the paper work and comments book from the original exhibition tour. The first section of the exhibition was made up of 67 images taken by 30 international photojournalists during the intensely brutal period of conflict between 1979 and 1983. Photographers Susan Meiselas and Harry Mattison gathered these images into a traveling exhibition and book in 1983 to raise global awareness about the conflict. At a time when the Reagan administration insisted that military aid to El Salvador's government was essential to stopping the spread of communism and that progress was being made on human rights, the photographs contributed to the debate by providing a contrary eyewitness account. The images are accompanied by texts written by poet Carolyn Forché.
James Farmer founded the Committee on Racial Equality (later the Congress of Racial Equality, or CORE) in 1942 with a group of fellow students devoted to the principles of non-violent protest of racism and segregation. The organization is best known for launching the Freedom Rides of the summer of 1961 and for participating in the lobbying effort for the Civil Rights Bill of 1964. James Farmer and his wife, Lula, were active in civil rights work through the late 1990s, founding several civil rights organizations such as the Center for Community Action Education and the Council for Minority Planning and Strategy (COMPAS). James received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 1998. The collection includes extensive documentation of CORE, COMPAS and Farmer's other organizations, and Farmer's involvement with national politics and his speaking engagements.
Jessica Mitford (1917-1996) worked as executive secretary for the Civil Rights Congress and taught sociology at San Jose State University. After resigning from the Communist Party in 1958, she devoted her time to writing. Her first book, The American Way of Death (1963), exposed the avarice and unscrupulous practices of the American funeral industry. Mitford's second investigative study, The Trial of Dr. Spock (1969), documents the 1968 conspiracy trial of Dr. Benjamin Spock, the famous pediatrician and vocal opponent of the Vietnam War, in order to illustrate the American legal system's intolerance of civil disobedience. In Kind and Usual Punishment: The Prison Business (1973), her book about the American penal system, Mitford condemns sentencing procedures, the parole system, and the use of prisoners in psychological and physiological research. These three books are represented in the 67 boxes of correspondence, printed material, reports, notes, interviews, manuscripts, legal documents, and other materials in the Mitford Papers at the Ransom Center.
Joe Bernal was a Texas legislator who advocated for Mexican-American rights. His work was primarily focused on legislation for bilingual education, minimum wage, health care and civil rights. Toward the end of his career, Bernal also served on the boards of several organizations, including ACTION, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the Democratic National Committee. Materials in the collection include documents on a wide range of topics, such as Bernal's political campaigns, the Commission on Mexican-American Affairs, MALDEF, housing, equal employment opportunity and education. Some publications and ephemera from political campaigns are also included.
30 letters from former Texas Death Row inmate Johnny Ray Johnson (executed February 2009) to Joanna Vaughn.