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COLLECTION Identifier: FB9.A100.968p

Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library May 1968 Paris protest collection


Posters, fliers (printed matter), and printed and other materials (including a partially cut linoleum block) produced during the May 1968 Paris student protests.


  • 1968 May-June


Language of Materials

Collection materials are in French.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.


1.2 linear feet (3 boxes, 29 folders in 3 drawers)
Includes 143 posters, nine postcard-size prints, and numerous fliers (printed matter), issued during the May-June student protests in Paris. The posters are all silkscreen prints; the postcard-size prints are linoleum cuts (an unfinished lino block is included).

Many posters produced during May 1968 were created by art students of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, calling themselves the Atelier Populaire. Other posters were produced by Comités d’Action and strikers’ committees. All work was produced anonymously.

Reference is given in the guide to the catalog of the production of the Atelier Populaire, Beauty in the streets: A visual record of the May ’68 Paris uprising, edited by Johan Kugelberg with Philippe Vermès (London: Four Corners Books, 2012), pp. 190-202, which gives numbered, color, thumbnail images. This is meant to facilitate browsing of images prior to request; no reference number does not mean a poster is not in the book, simply that there is no color reproduction.

Biographical / Historical

The events of May-June 1968 were the culmination of months of struggles between students and university administration over issues of overcrowding, rising education costs, treatment of female students, the Vietnam War, and other issues. Protests were not limited to Paris; indeed, it was when the university administration closed the University of Paris X--Nanterre on May 2 that conflict began to escalate. On May 3, students gathered at the Sorbonne in Paris to protest the closing in Nanterre. The police were called to remove them, and the Sorbonne was then sealed. On May 6, some 20,000 students, faculty, and their supporters marched towards the Sorbonne to protest the closing, and violence broke out between police and protesters, with police wielding batons and tear gas, and students throwing cobbles, and overturning police vehicles. Some 300 students were arrested.

Things continued to escalate, and encounters between students and police became increasingly violent. Students began to erect barricades, which police then fought to remove. The brutality of the police the night of May 10 effectively turned public opinion in favor of the students and radicals, and union leaders met to discuss a strike to support the students. On May 13, millions of workers went on strike in solidarity with the students, effectively bringing the country to a halt, and many factories were occupied. Unrest had reached the point where the government feared an open revolution or civil war. On May 30, President de Gaulle dissolved the National Assembly, called for a national election on June 23, and ordered workers to return to work or he would declare a state of emergency. The Communists agreed to a new election and, from that point on, revolutionary feelings, and violence, faded quickly. Workers began to return to work; the national student union called off the street demonstrations. By mid-June, things had returned to normal.


Arranged in four series:
  1. I. Posters
  2. II. Postcards
  3. III. Fliers (printed matter)
  4. IV. Printed and other material.

Physical Location


The first drawer contains items 1-48, which are shelved with pfMS Russ 129 (58).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2013-1119. Deposit, Julio Santo Domingo III; received: 2012 April.

Forms part of the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

  • Kugelberg, Johan, with Philippe Vermès. Beauty in the streets: A visual record of the May ’68 Paris uprising. London: Four Corners Books, 2012.
  • Rohan, Marc. Paris ’68: Graffiti, posters, newspapers & poems of the events of May 1968. London: Impact Books, 1988.

Processing Information

Processed by: Grace Dhanraj, with the assistance of Heather Cole, Leslie Morris, and Melanie Wisner.
Link to catalog


Santo Domingo, Julio Mario, 1957-2009, collector. Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library May 1968 Paris protest collection, 1968: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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