Massive Online Archive of AIDS Posters Completed in time for World AIDS Day
November 27, 2013 - In time for World AIDS Day on Sunday, Dec. 1, one of the world's largest collections
of AIDS posters is now complete and available
online, marking the culmination of a multiyear project launched in 2011 during
the 30th anniversary year of the identification of HIV/AIDS. Thanks to catalogers at the University of Rochester, more than 6,200 posters
from 124 countries in 68 languages and dialects can be viewed by anyone with web access at http://aep.lib.rochester.edu/ .
The posters were donated to the University's Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation by
retired physician Dr. Edward C. Atwater, M.D., '50, an emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical
Center. Atwater, who began collecting the posters in 1990, donated the artwork with the stipulation that it be digitized
so the public could view the collection in its entirety.
"My hope is to show people the responses from various societies to a deadly disease. Looked at
chronologically, the AIDS posters show how social, religious, civic, and public health agencies tailored their
message to different groups," said Atwater, 87, who lives in Rochester, N.Y.
The posters provide a visual history of the first three decades of the HIV/AIDS crisis from 1981 to the present. Depending on their
audience, creators of the posters used stereotypes, scare tactics, provocative language, imagery, and even humor to educate the
public about the disease. Selections of the posters were previously on exhibit at colleges, high schools, public libraries,
and museums such as the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
"When Dr. Atwater decided to donate the collection, he thought it was appropriate to donate it to the University's library, because
he felt it is not just a medical history, but a social and cultural history," said Melissa S. Mead, the University's John M. and
Barbara Keil University Archivist and Rochester Collections Librarian. "Having the whole collection available online allows
viewers to discover things that are not evident even when seeing them in person. This includes country-by-country
comparisons, the use and re-use of imagery and themes, and a look at how the world handled-and continues to handle-this health epidemic."
In addition to the now complete collection of posters, the site contains research conducted by Rochester students who have used the
collections, an introduction to the collection by Alexander Brier Marr, a doctoral student in visual and cultural studies, and links
to additional AIDS educational resources.
On Friday, Dec. 6, a slideshow of highlights from the collection will be presented in conjunction with a talk by historian,
health policy analyst, and epidemiologist Gerald Oppenheimer on the politics and ethics associated with HIV and AIDS .
About the University of Rochester
The University of Rochester ( www.rochester.edu ) is one
of the nation's leading private universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives students exceptional opportunities
for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College,
School of Arts and Sciences, and Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are complemented by its Eastman
School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics,
School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, and the Memorial Art Gallery.
Public Relations Associate
University of Rochester
Source: University of Rochester
"Reproduced with permission - University of Rochester"
University of Rochester
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