1980s Culture and Society

1980s Culture and Society

1980s Culture and Society is a collection of digitized primary sources illustrating 1980s social, cultural, and political concerns. These documents are from archival collections housed across the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. The collection includes mainstream media, government records from the Reagan and Thatcher administrations, and materials produced by grassroots organizations, including historically under-represented communities, countercultural movements, environmentalist groups, and left-wing groups. 

Topics covered include the rise of conservatism and right-wing movements, the threat of nuclear war, the AIDS crisis, consumerism, economic crises, technological advancements, sexuality and identity (including gay and lesbian rights), Black resistance movements, Indigenous land rights, subcultures, and health and social issues. Due to the age and nature of this material, some digitized items may contain views or terminology now considered to be outdated, biased, or offensive. 

Material types include campaign materials, newspapers and newsletters from grassroots organizations and local communities; government papers and speeches; Zines produced by various subcultures and fandoms; photojournalism galleries from Mirrorpix, the picture library and photographic archive of Reach PLC, the UK’s largest news publisher; image galleries for toys, gaming systems, and historical technology; and more. 

The original materials in this collection are from the collections of:

  • Bowling Green State University
  • British Film Institute
  • Interference Archive
  • Library and Archives Canada
  • Mirrorpix
  • The National Archives, UK
  • Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
  • Sequoyah National Research Center
  • State Library of New South Wales
  • The Strong National Museum of Play
  • The Modern Records Centre, The University of Warwick
Dates covered

late 1970s - early 1990s