Jay Cassidy was a student photographer for The Michigan Daily
from 1967 to 1970. The collection contains an inventory, background notes, negatives, a printed catalogue containing an image thumbnail and metadata for each image in the collection, and 4,882 digitized images of Cassidy's photography while at the University of Michigan. Subjects include student protests and anti-war demonstrations in Ann Arbor, Poor Peoples March/Resurrection City in Washington, D.C., Democratic primary campaigns of Robert Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy and George Wallace, 1968 Democratic Party National Convention, 1969 Ann Arbor Blues Festival and a wide variety of campus activities. Cassidy digitized the images and created the printed catalogue in 2010.
The Jay Cassidy photograph collection covers Cassidy's student days at the University of Michigan (1967-1970). The collection consists of approximately 5000 original 35mm negatives and 4,882 digitized copies of the negatives. The images in the collection were taken while Cassidy was a photographer for the student publications The Michigan Daily and Michiganensian.
Cassidy took the original images on Kodak 35mm black and white film. The scanned images are black and white 5904 by 4000 resolution uncompressed tiff files. Cassidy catalogued each roll of film by subject and gave each frame a unique identifier, which is a combination of the category, date, roll number, and the scan number. The category abbreviations are as follows:
MD -- Assignments for the The Michigan Daily, 1968-1970
RFK -- Robert Kennedy Campaign, 1968
DNC --Democratic National Convention in Chicago, 1968
DC -- Inauguration and March on Washington, 1969
MNCN -- Photographs taken for Michiganensian, 1967-1968
Initially, the Bentley Historical Library asked Cassidy to consider donating a selection of the images he took from 1967 to 1970. Instead of selecting only a portion of images, however, Cassidy donated all of his negatives from 1967 to 1970. He digitally scanned the majority of the negatives. The bulk of these images have never been printed, and, according to Cassidy, were "barely examined by myself or another photo editor as we raced to get the daily paper out." Only one or two of each sequence of photographs was used in The Michigan Daily. This collection, therefore, contains a series of images previously unavailable to researchers.
Cassidy's photographs for the campus yearbook, the Michiganensian, cover 1967 and 1968 and include images of homecoming parades, football, rugby, intramural sports, and campus groups such as Wyvern and Scabbard and Blade. He also photographed Engineering Council meetings discussing Vietnam War research and protests at a Dow Chemical Company stock holders meeting. Note: Most of the Michiganensian photos were not scanned and exist only as negatives.
His work for The Michigan Daily included diverse subjects. Among the most prominent were photographs of musical performances and visiting celebrities, politics, and campus unrest. Musical acts include concerts by Joan Baez, the Doors, MC5, Ramsey Lewis, Buffy Sainte Marie, and the 1969 Ann Arbor Blues Festival. A 1967 Johnny Carson Show at Hill Auditorium (negatives only) is covered as is an appearance by author Kurt Vonnegut at Canterbury House and film director Sam Fuller.
Off campus events photographed by Cassidy for The Michigan Daily include the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago (including police intervention in street protests), Richard Nixon's inauguration, March on Washington, Resurrection City and the Poor People's Campaign in Washington, D. C., and 1968 political campaign stops in Indianapolis and Detroit by Robert F. Kennedy, George Wallace campaigning in Lansing, Eugene McCarthy in South Bend, Indiana, and a protest at Eastern Michigan University.
Other campus subjects include SDS meetings, the White Panther Party, Ann Arbor's police chief, a campus murder at University Towers, Welfare Mothers demonstration, the South University riot, the Ann Arbor Moratorium (Vietnam War protest), Army ROTC protests and a bombing of the campus ROTC building, a student rent strike, and Black Action Movement demonstrations.
The collection is organized as it was received. It consists of five series: Background Information, Digital Images, Original 35mm Camera Negatives, 1967-1970, Printed Catalogue of Digital Scans, 1967-1970, and Original 35mm Contact Sheets, 1967-1970. The strength of the collection lies in its documentation of student life and American politics in the late 1960s, an era of unrest on college campuses.
1. Jay Cassidy, Letter to Nancy Bartlett and Brian Williams, July 31, 2010, Jay Cassidy Photograph Collection, Box 1, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.