"All Of Us Or None"
The AOUON Archive of Political Posters

Dear reader:
Michael Rossman passed away May 12, 2008. Continued processing of the AOUON archive under the direction of Lorca Rossman will be coordinated by Lincoln Cushing, lcushing "at" igc.org

Website portal for the All Of Us Or None poster archive

[General Information]

          The “All Of Us Or None” Archive project began in 1977 to gather and document the poster-work of modern progressive movements in the United States. Though earlier work is included, its focus is on the domestic political poster renaissance, which began in 1965 and continues to this day. The Archive gathers posters from all streams of progressive activity — from movements of protest, liberation, and affirmative action, trade-union and community struggles, to electoral and environmental organizing, community services, and visionary manifestos. Though strongest in work from the San Francisco Bay Area, its scope is national: one-quarter of its holdings come from out-of-state. These are complemented by an archive of international work.

          The Archive's name comes from a poem by Brecht. "All Of Us Or None" evokes the democratic spirit of the movements represented by these posters, and also the spirit of this collection. Rather than focus only on work of artistic merit or central historical significance, the Archive's mandate has been omnivorous — to gather a broadly-representative sample of a vast, collective work of social art, documenting in detail the history and textures of progressive activism. Since 1965, the domestic political poster renaissance has generated over 400,000 designs in a diverse and decentralized productive process emanating from every focus of progressive activity. By late 2007, the Archive had salvaged over 24,000 designs from this domestic flow; and had long since become, with the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in L.A., one of the two major repositories of this work.

          Though the Archive has no space for public display, its holdings are accessible to scholars, artists, and activists. Major exhibitions are infrequent, but smaller displays are mounted on occasion in community and campus locales. A sub-collection of 5,000 duplicate posters is available for loan to community groups. The Archive's long-term projects include its cataloging and photographic documentation, collaborative study with historians and other scholars, producing slide-sets and digital media for teachers and research, and making its holdings accessible on the Web. It publishes an irregular journal, Bulletin of the AOUON Archive, discussing the work it surveys. Its first webpages are now visible at http://mrossman.org/posters/posterindex.html.

          The Archive's curator is Michael Rossman, a Berkeley writer and social historian. His books include a history of the 1960s Movement, critical studies of higher educational reform and of the early New Age movement, and an anthology of  translated poetry from the Spanish Civil War. At the time of his death, he was preparing a book on the political poster renaissance.        

[Main Holdings as of 9/2007]

3057   Peace/anti-war           
                    1340                  Vietnam
                      535                  Iraq & 9/11
                    1182                  other

2201   International solidarity
                    1198                  Latin America
                      395                  Africa
                      349                  Middle East
                      259                  other

4464   Ethnic/racial minorities
                    1794                  African-American
                      957                  Latino-American
                      899                  Native American
                      378                  Asian-American
                      436                  racism, diversity, multicultural

2238   Gender
                    1368                  women
                      870                  gay/lesbian

2271   Ecology/environment
                   1495                  ecology
                     776                  environment

1790   Electoral and tendencies
                    849                  electoral
                    430                  radical tendencies

1710   Community struggles/alternatives
                    450                  labor
                    490                  services
                    770                  other

6557   Other 
                    1745                Alternative media and culture
                    1560                Counter-culture
                    712                  Marijuana & psychedelics
                    244                  AIDS
                    2296                Minor movements/miscellaneous

24,288 Distinct titles

[Ancillary holdings, 1/07]

  1860   International political posters
    400   Rock posters and flyers
  3150   Punk rock flyers
  3000   Rave flyers/cards

[Catalogued Exhibitions]

"Know Your Enemy"/"We Can Make a Difference" — Posters of the Anti-Vietnam War Movement; Heller Gallery, University of California, Berkeley; September 3 - October 7, 1984

"Speak! You Have the Tools!" — The Evolution of the Social Serigraphy Movement  in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1966-86; de Saisset Museum, University of Santa Clara,  January 16 - March 15, 1987

"Posters of the U.S. Movement Against the Vietnam War" in KUNST & KRIEG: 1939-1989; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; June 12 - July 29, 1990

“The Politics of the Counter-Culture” (unpublished, in preparation at time of death)

Return to:   Index to Poster Writing | Michael Rossman main page

page last updated 5/19/2008

below - "The Joysday Machine," the only poster designed by Michael Rossman, December 1966