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CSEA Archives 95-Year History at the University at Albany

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980
Contact: Stephen A. Madarasz (518) 257-1270, CSEA
Photos available upon request

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 9, 2005) -- The University at Albany will house the complete history of the Civil Service Employees Union (CSEA) Local 1000 AFSCME, AFL-CIO according to CSEA president Danny Donohue. The announcement was made today, at the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, where University President Kermit L. Hall accepted a framed commemorative poster from Donohue depicting the events and personalities that shaped the transformation from a small organization of state employees focused on civil service reform into "New York's Leading Union."

"These records portray the history not only of the union's evolution, but that of the state of New York over the past century," said Hall. "The University at Albany is honored to partner with CSEA to help record and preserve this important aspect of the state's history."

"A milestone like this provides a great opportunity to look back and look forward," added Donohue. "The story of CSEA is entwined in the history and transformation of New York and our nation over the course of the past 95 years since our founding. There is little doubt that CSEA has helped improve the quality of life for its members and all New Yorkers in dramatic ways over the decades; and it's also clear that there is a lot more work to do."

The original records are being transferred to the Grenander Special Collections Library at UAlbany. CSEA has worked with the UAlbany Department of Special Collections and Archives as well as the Center for Applied Historical Research to identify, index, catalogue and prioritize information and activities dating back to 1910. A pilot project of CSEA photos is now viewable in a searchable online database at the Grenander site.

"We've made great progress over the past year in the archiving and cataloging our material," Donohue said. "We will continue with that effort and will work with the university to eventually make the bulk of the archival material available online and more easily accessible to researchers."

"CSEA has taken great strides to preserve its long and rich history by donating its substantial archive to the University Libraries' Department of Special Collections and Archives," said Brian Keough, head of the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives. "Having access to these historical records is a marvelous opportunity for scholars, students and the public interested in researching the history and accomplishments of both CSEA and New York State."

As CSEA approached their centennial, they realized many of their officers and leaders had passed and part of that history had passed with them and that the full story of CSEA's accomplishments and challenges had never been fully told. They began conducting video interviews with prominent officials and key individuals who have played a role in CSEA's activities over the past 50 years to gain insight and perspective on the events and personalities that made an impact. The research and interviews will form the basis of a book and video documentary to commemorate the 100th anniversary of CSEA in 2010.


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