September 2, 2014 at 12:02 pm

University of Michigan acquires activist Hayden's papers

Ann Arbor— The University of Michigan has acquired the papers of Tom Hayden, an alumnus and founding member of Students for a Democratic Society, the school announced Tuesday.

The SDS was created at the University of Michigan, and its early declaration, the Port Huron Statement, helped embody the liberal idealism of the early 1960s. The group supported civil rights, opposed the nuclear arms race and was critical of the U.S. government.

“Tom was there ‘at the creation,’ you might say, of ’60s protest movements,” said UM history professor Howard Brick.

The Tom Hayden Papers, which includes personal documents, photographs and recordings, will open Sept. 18 for access by external scholars, as well as U-M faculty and undergraduate and graduate students.

Also included in the collection is Hayden’s extensive FBI file, which contains detailed government records of his travels, speeches and other activities spanning the 1960s and ’70s. Hayden, along with ex-wife Jane Fonda and folk singer Joan Baez, acquired the documents after successfully suing the federal government over suspected illegal surveillance.

In the decades since his student activism, Hayden served as a California state lawmaker and wrote 20 books. His latest is “Inspiring Participatory Democracy: Student Movements from Port Huron to Today.”

Hayden plans to be back on campus Sept. 15-21 to engage with students and discuss the collection.

“Ann Arbor is really where a new life began for me. So many memories are deeply embedded there,” he said. “There are so many ‘nuggets’ in these thousands of pages, and I want to share my interpretations with the young student researchers who will become the future.”