The Mai '68 Collection

Scope and Content

Gathered directly from the streets, the Mai '68 Collection is a compulsive record of that inflammatory era, a vivid collection of primary source material which documents the insurrection in a mixture of printed agitprop and large numbers of striking black and white prints. Other material, which pre-dates the clashes, helps to contextualise the protesters' acts. Events leading up to the unrest in Nantes, Paris and across France are included in the form of leaflets and handouts detailing problems with universities and criticism of the higher education system. There are printed papers from student and workers' unions as well as political organisations. Some leaflets relate to the General Strike. The uprising itself is well represented in the form of nearly 250 dynamic black and white photographs of rallies, together with a collection which records the posters and graffiti which adorned city walls. There is also some material relating to student unrest in Germany.

The collection has been supplemented with printed papers depicting more recent dissension in France: the Presidential election of 1981, for example, is well represented by posters and leaflets.

Administrative / Biographical History

When student protests and clashes between left and right in the France of 1968 led to uprisings on the streets of Paris, the authorities' heavy-handed repression precipitated a general strike and sent ripples of unrest around the world.

Access Information

Items in the collection may be consulted for the purpose of private study and personal research, within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Special Collections Reading Rooms.

Acquisition Information

Not known.


Prepared by John Farrant, September 2002.

Other Finding Aids

A brief list to the files is available in the Library.

Conditions Governing Use

COPIES FOR PRIVATE STUDY: Subject to copyright, conditions imposed by owners and protecting the documents, the Library can supply, at a charge, photocopies, photographs or digital copies.

PUBLICATION: A reader wishing to publish material in the collection should contact the Head of Special Collections, in writing. The reader is responsible for obtaining permission to publish from the copyright owner.