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"Great Society Liberalism" exhibition opens January 27th; Noted Georgetown Univ. Professor Michael Kazin to speak

Senator Harrison A. Williams, Jr. with President Lyndon B. Johnson, June 1964, Harrison A. Williams, Jr. Papers.

Members of the Rutgers community and the general public are invited to attend the opening reception for "Crossroads: Senator Harrison A. Williams Jr. and Great Society Liberalism, 1959-1981," the spring exhibition in Special Collections and University Archives. The opening reception will be held on Tuesday January 27th, starting at 5:00 pm, in the Scholarly Communication Center, on the 4th floor of Alexander Library in New Brunswick. Michael Kazin, Professor of History at Georgetown University, will be the featured speaker at the opening reception, where he will discuss the evolution of liberalism through the 1960s and 1970s.

The "Crossroads: Senator Harrison A. Williams Jr. and Great Society Liberalism, 1959-1981" exhibition will look at the socio-political philosophy of liberalism - the view that an active government can be a positive force for social justice and social welfare - as exemplified by the legislative career of Senator Harrison Williams, Jr.. The exhibit will consider many of the programs associated with President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society initiatives of the 1960s -- including those concerned with civil rights, education, health, labor, the elderly, environmental conservation, and metropolitan affairs -- and legislation enacted in the 1970's that reflected the Great Society approach.

The exhibition will celebrate the completion of the three year project to organize the papers of U.S. Senator Harrison Williams, Jr. of New Jersey, which are held in Rutgers University Libraries' Special Collections and University Archives. The exhibition places Williams in the context of the emergence and decline of Great Society-style liberalism, spanning the period from Williams' entry into the Senate in 1959 to the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan and the replacement of Williams as Labor and Human Resources Committee Chairman in 1981.

Exhibition opening keynote speaker Michael Kazin is an award-winning professor of history at Georgetown University and political commentator. He is the author of five books, most recently A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan (2007) and America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s (1999), which he coauthored with Maurice Isserman. He has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and a Research Fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 1998, and currently serves on the editorial board of the political opinion journal Dissent. He is working on Big Dreamers, a forthcoming history of the American left, to be published by Knopf.

To RSVP for the exhibition opening, please send an email to or call 732.932.7505. Alexander Library is located at 169 College Ave in New Brunswick, on Rutgers University's College Ave. campus. Parking assistance for this event is available upon request.

Posted December 22, 2008