Scholar of African Diaspora History to head renowned center for the study of left politics, labor, and social protest movements

Timothy V Johnso
Timothy V Johnson (pictured above) Named Head of Tamiment Library

Dean of New York University Libraries Carol A. Mandel has announced the designation of Timothy V Johnson as Head of the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives.  Johnson is a librarian and historian who studies the intersection of communism and the African American community and has authored articles in the journals Science & Society and American Communist History. He will assume his duties at Tamiment Library in September 2015.

Johnson joined NYU in 2005 as librarian for Africana Studies, Food Studies, and Anthropology. He holds a master’s degree in African History with a minor in African American history from City College of New York, where his thesis was on the reaction to the Haitian Revolution in the United States, 1791-1804.  Johnson holds a master’s degree in Library Science from Case Western Reserve University, specializing in Academic Librarianship, and a BA from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.

Tamiment Library was established more than 50 years ago to archive the documents of left politics. Tamiment Library regularly holds presentations by authors of new books and scholarly papers.  In partnership with the History Department, Tamiment Library sponsors fellowships and conferences for scholars of the Cold War, academic freedom, and American social protest.

“Tim Johnson is steeped in the history of labor, the civil rights movement, and American communism,” says Mandel, “and he has been building collections and fostering research in Africana Studies, anthropology, and food studies for the past ten years.  His skillful librarianship and deeply held research interests will augment Tamiment Library’s collections and its national reputation.”

Johnson played a role in bringing to Tamiment Library the papers of the Communist Party, USA, one of its largest and most significant acquisitions of the past decade.  He was an organizer of a 2006 conference that brought Angela Davis and Pete Seeger to Tamiment Library to honor their friends James and Esther Jackson and explore the impact of the Jacksons’ activism.

“I am honored to continue the traditions of excellence set by my predecessors in collection building and access,” Johnson says.  “In addition, I look forward to charting new growth in such areas as food justice—for example, the fight for wage increases for fast food workers and for the inclusion of worker issues in the locavore movement.”

Johnson will take over leadership of Tamiment Library from Timothy Naftali, who is joining the faculties of NYU’s Department of History and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

About Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University:

The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University form a unique, internationally-known center for scholarly research on Labor and the Left. Tamiment has one of the finest research collections in the country documenting the history of radical politics: socialism, communism, anarchism, utopian experiments, the cultural left, the New Left, and the struggle for civil rights and civil liberties. It is the repository for the Archives of Irish America, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, the Estela Bravo Archive, and a growing Asian American labor collection.

In 1977 the Robert F. Wagner Archives was established as a joint program of the New York City Central Labor Council and the Tamiment Library. The Wagner is the designated repository for the records of the Council's more than 200 member unions. Today the Library has an extraordinary research collection documenting the history of organized labor in New York and the workers who built the City.

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