(Carson, CA) – The California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) Gerth Archives and Special Collections has acquired the vast Holt Labor Library – along with a donation of $200,000 to catalog and maintain the artifacts from the library’s founder, Apple Inc.’s fifth employee, Rod Holt. The collection is the largest archival donation in the university’s history and chronicles the history of the struggle to organize trade unions, the rise of anti-war and political movements, and the fight for civil rights and to protect the environment.
“The Holt collection is a fantastic expression of 20th century dissent, as well as the labor movement in the U.S., and includes a whole host of philosophical underpinnings,” said Greg Williams, director of the Gerth Archives. “The collection is vast and the topics for research are endless. It will bring our students and the community a wide range of research opportunities.”
Holt, who was credited with engineering the power supply for Apple’s first computer, was also a staunch labor activist. He left Apple in the 1980s and established the Holt Library in 1992 to preserve knowledge and make it available for academics and scholars, and to inform and engage union members, activists, youth, and under-represented communities.
The collection features books, current and historical periodicals, thousands of pamphlets, and archives with a significant number of out-of-print and difficult-to-find materials. These include a complete run of The Black Panther newspaper, the civil rights publication Freedomways, La Raza, and early 20th century labor periodicals such as The Liberator, the Marxist magazine New Masses, and Western Worker, published by the Communist Party in San Francisco.
The Holt Labor Library also includes nearly 5,700 books on labor and socialist history, including a diverse assortment of video and audio tapes, DVDs, CDs, and posters highlighting such events as the Vietnam War, civil rights, and France’s revolutionary protests in Paris in 1968, as well as union and political buttons and other ephemera.
The collection also contains the personal papers and collections of activists. Among the pieces are the papers of Berta Green Langston, which contains important primary resource materials regarding the Civil Rights Movement, and several cases relating to Robert F. Williams, the first African American civil rights leader to advocate for armed resistance.
The Holt Labor Library was originally located on the campus of New College of California School of Law in San Francisco. In 2010, the Library moved to a Geary Street location in San Francisco’s Richmond District.
“We are grateful to the Holt Library for the donation, as well as funding to support it,” said Williams. “We will begin making the collection accessible this summer, and those efforts will continue for the next few years.”