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Information Privacy and the ACLU-MO Archives

Information privacy and access to information — on computers, in government records, by news outlets — is not a new concern in our nation.  This is one of the main messages Lizzie Franclemont found while working as the ACLU of Missouri’s archive intern.

Spring 2018 Intern

Majoring in American Culture Studies, with minors in Religious Studies & Legal Studies, Lizzie Franclemont, a second-year student at WU, worked as the project’s intern for Spring 2018.  This was her first experience diving into an archive collection.

Reflecting on the semester, Franclemont noted that experience really helped her see the ways primary materials intertwine across many subject areas.  And that privacy concerns discussed in the 1960s and 1970s such as wire-tapping and media restrictions remain similar to contemporary concerns, especially related to digital materials — from Facebook 3rd-party app sharing to online medical records.

Privacy was not the only area where she noticed connections between the past and present.   Franclemont explained that “many topics I encountered we have studied in my classes,”  such as excessive police violence, racial profiling, and the separation of religious teachings form public schools.

ACLU “The Working Parts” November 1975 highlighted work done in Missouri on the Privacy Project – a multi-media advertising effort to educate the public about “record keeping, wire tapping and political surveillance.”

American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri Archive Internship

As part of an ongoing project between the Washington University Libraries’ Julian Edison Department of Special Collections and the ACLU of Missouri, student interns are reviewing the ACLU-MO’s archived records for themes, important historic turning points, and other notable moments in the organization’s nearly-hundred-year history. The project began in 2017 and is expected to continue through the 2019-20 school year.

The academic internships are open to students enrolled in any local college or university.  For more information email or

Curator of Local History Miranda Rectenwald and Elizabeth Lizzie Franclemont, WashU Class of 2020, and Spring 2018 ALCU-MO archives intern.