Library Displays Depression-Era Holdings in Radicalism

In support of the If All of Central New York Read The Grapes of Wrath initiative and the Syracuse Stage production of The Grapes of Wrath, the Library s Special Collections Research Center is now displaying holdings related to radicalism in literature and art. The exhibition, titled Steinbeck s Grapes of Wrath: Bitter Fruit of the Depression, will be available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the sixth floor exhibit gallery of E.S. Bird Library until May 27, 2005.

Along with examples of contemporary critical response to publication of John Steinbeck s The Grapes of Wrath, the exhibition includes other, if less well-known, Depression-era novels by Robert Cantwell, Edward Dahlberg, and Grace Lumpkin; an assortment of 1930s cartoons by A. Redfield, Otto Soglow, and Art Young; and a retrospective look at the uses of art, particularly drama, in the service of revolutionary ideology.

The exhibition is supported by the Peter Graham Fund for Radicalism in Literature and Art. Graham was University Librarian at Syracuse University from 1998 until his death in August 2004. During the 1960s, Graham was an active member of the Young People s Socialist League in Chicago and New York City. In 1963 he worked as an assistant to Bayard Rustin, executive director of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, managing the national office in Harlem for four months. Graham continued to be active in social organizations; in 2002, he and his wife, Lewraine Graham, were awarded the NAACP President s Award for service to the Syracuse/Onondaga County branch. The Graham Fund was established in Peter Graham s honor by his father, Harold Graham, and Harold s wife, Alaine Krim, of New York City.

The Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University Library has a rich array of materials pertaining to the expression of radical thought in literature and art. In addition to printed works, the Center holds the papers of Arna Bontemps, Granville Hicks, Lillian Gilkes, John Spivak, Horace Gregory, and Harry Roskolenko, and the records of Grove Press, to name a few of the more important collections.

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