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Counter culture poster collection

Call Number: RH MS R23


Miscellaneous collection of counter culture, youth culture, drug culture, and Vietnamese conflict-related posters primarily from the mid- to late 1960s, but probably including some of early 1970s vintage. The collection is divided into 4 categories: Prominent individuals, Vietnam and related, Psychedelic and drug, and Counter culture and miscellaneous.


  • Creation: approximately 1960s-early 1970s

Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Counterculture Movement

The counterculture movement of the 1960s and early 1970s was an anti-establishment phenomenon prominent in both the United States and Great Britain that was born out of a push for change. It coincided with, and often overlapped, several civil rights movements, including women’s rights, queer visibility, and racial justice. The youth of the time, particularly students, latched onto the counterculture movement as a rejection of social norms and a statement against several prominent issues, including the Vietnam War, consumerism, corrupt politicians, and civil injustice.

Several notable markers of the counterculture movement included fashion and appearance, music, sexual liberation, and protests and activism. Musicians including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Janis Joplin, the Beatles, and Jim Morrison were often seen as leaders and helped establish the trends of the movement. Students and young people participated in several countercultural trends including free love movements, or a movement for a more generally free expression of sexuality; drug use, including psychedelics and marijuana; protests; and music festivals. Participants often had distinctive style, including long hair for men, bell-bottom jeans, prominent use of patterns, flowy shirts and pants, and denim jackets. Many counterculture enthusiasts also practiced alternative forms of religion and spirituality, often related to the occult, and helped define the still-existent New Age movement.

Other important figures of the counterculture movement include Che Guevara, Cesar Chavez, George Carlin, Gloria Steinam, Mick Jagger, Kurt Vonnegut, Ken Kesey, Allen Ginsburg, Jerry Garcia, Andy Warhol, William S. Burroughs, and Timothy Leary. By around 1974 the movement had lost most of its momentum, and was mostly being co-opted by the consumer market as an image to sell.

[Information retrieved from The 1960s: A Bibliography by Rebecca Jackson and]


23 folders (219 posters) ; 59 x 90 cm

Language of Materials



The folders are grouped into 4 topical series: posters of prominent people, including pop culture stars and musicians and political figures; posters related to the Vietnam war; posters related to recreational drug usage, particularly psychedelics; and a variety of posters reflecting the 1960s counterculture, including caricatures of United States politicians.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Susan Anderson, 1977.

Guide to the Counter Culture Posters Collection
Counter culture poster collection
Finding aid compiled by chh, js, 1977. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2004. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2017. Finding aid revised by cmp, 2021; kls, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Counter culture posters collection, RH MS R23, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States