Jennifer Burr, Library Faculty, recently visited Columbia University Libraries’ Rare Book and Manuscript Library as part of her sabbatical research. Jennifer is compiling the history of the student chapter of Amnesty International at Nazareth College. Nazareth’s chapter was
founded in 1986 by the late Helen Guthrie, Chair of the Social Work Department, Harry Murray, PhD, Professor of Sociology, Sharon Murphy, PhD, Professor of Political Science and International Studies and Kathy Weider, SSJ, then Director of Campus Ministry.
Jennifer has an MLS degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and an MA in International Relations from Syracuse University.
The Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia holds the archives of Amnesty International USA. At Columbia, Jennifer was able to locate an early registration form from 1987, identifying Sr. Kathy Weider as the adviser and Holly Raschiatore as "student coordinator".
Having the opportunity to view original documents relating to the history of the student groups was absolutely fascinating. The 1980s saw a dramatic growth in student chapters. At its peak, it is estimated that AIUSA had some 2500 chapters across the United States in all types of institutions. Some professional schools, such as law schools and medical schools had their own chapters. A report from the local group in Rochester even referred to collaborating with a group at the Eastman School of Music.
On a personal note, Jennifer also viewed her grandfather's 100-year-old masters' thesis! (See photo below.)
The results of Jennifer’s sabbatical project will be presented as an online collection and as an exhibit in the library during the month of December 2013, in recognition of Human Rights Day, December 10th.