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Joan McClure papers, 1967-1985

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Preferred Citation

Joan McClure, 1967-1985, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information

Abstract

Joan McClure (1914-2005) was a resident of the West Village in New York City for more than sixty years and active in many local civic and social issues. She was closely involved in the planning for the Westway highway along the Hudson River, the creation of a landscaped traffic island at Abbingdon Square, and the founding of the Village Halloween Parade.

At a Glance

CLIO record: View CLIO record
Creator(s):McClure, Joan, 1914-2005.
Title:Joan McClure papers, 1967-1985
Physical description:7 linear feet
Language(s): Materials are in English.
Access: The bulk of this collection is stored in Columbia University Libraries' off-site storage facility. Materials will be recalled by request. This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please call (212) 854-4110 or email avery-drawings@libraries.columbia.edu.  More information »

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is made up of three series:

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Description

Scope and Content

The collection includes correspondence, meetings and speeches notes, articles, newspaper clippings, communicational material, proposals and petitions, research material, photographs, audio recordings, [35mm film] and realia related to the community activism of Joan McClure from the 1960s through the 1980s. The material is arranged into three series: Westsiders For Westway (Formly Villager For Westway), Community Files, and Media Files.

Series I: Westsiders For Westway (Formly Villager For Westway)

A more extensive documentation of McClure’s close involvement with the West Side (Westway) Highway Project through the community organization she founded, the series contains administrative records of the organization, correspondence with affiliated personnel and agencies, as well as related information, study and research of the project.

Series II: Community Files

The series consists of administrative records, correspondence, newsletters, flyers, documentational photographs, articles and newspaper clippings of McClure’s other community organizational activities such as Village Halloween Parade (VHP), Beautiful Abingdon Square Is Coming (BASIC), Bank/ Bethune Block Association and various other initiatives with primarily focus on the West Village neighborhood.

Series III: Media Files

This series contains mixed media material including audio cassette tapes, ¼” audio reels, 35mm films, [large format posters] and some realia related to the files arranged in the previous two series as well as other civic activities.

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Using the Collection

Access Restrictions

 The bulk of this collection is stored in Columbia University Libraries' off-site storage facility. Materials will be recalled by request. This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please call (212) 854-4110 or email avery-drawings@libraries.columbia.edu.

Restrictions on Use

Columbia University is providing access to the materials in the Library's collections solely for noncommercial educational and research purposes. The unauthorized use, including, but not limited to, publication of the materials without the prior written permission of Columbia University is strictly prohibited. All inquiries regarding permission to publish should be submitted in writing to the Director, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. In addition to permission from Columbia University, permission of the copyright owner (if not Columbia University) and/or any holder of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) may also be required for reproduction, publication, distributions, and other uses. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of any item and securing any necessary permissions rests with the persons desiring to publish the item. Columbia University makes no warranties as to the accuracy of the materials or their fitness for a particular purpose.

Preferred Citation

Joan McClure, 1967-1985, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

For Further Information

For more information about using the collections and conducting research in the Department of Drawings & Archives, please see our FAQ.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library. Department of Drawings and Archives; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Chialin Chou (Archives Intern) under the supervision of Shelley Hayreh, Avery Archivist, in 2013.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion June 25, 2009 Finding aid written in English.
    2009-06-25 File created.

CLIO ID: 6636546 View CLIO record

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Index Terms

The names and terms listed below are represented in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a consortial/union catalog offered by OCLC that allows users to search the holdings of multiple archives and libraries.

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Subjects

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Westway (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Greenwich Village (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Greenwich Village (New York, N.Y.)--Buildings, structures, etc.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Greenwich Village (New York, N.Y.)--Social life and customs--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Community development--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
City planning--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Waterfronts--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Women political activists--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Women in community development--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biography

Joan McClure was a resident of the West Village in New York City for more than sixty years and active in many local civic and social issues. Worked initially as an advertising copy writer for Vogue, and later became full-time community activist, McClure’s many activities ranged from the local beginnings of the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, the creation of a landscaped traffic island at Abbingdon Square, to the close involvement in the planning for the Westway highway along the Hudson River.

Westway was first proposed in 1969 by the city planner Samuel Ratensky responding to the rapid deterioration of the highway along Manhattan's Far West Side which was originally built in the 1930s. In 1971, the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) proposed to build the highway at the Interstate standard. The UDC plan, the "Water Edge Study," called for the highway to be routed along the ends of the then mostly abandoned piers on the Hudson River and some additional land for parks and apartments, all to be constructed on concrete platforms between the bulkhead and the pierhead lines. Renamed "Westway" in 1974, the final plan called for burying the highway in new landfill south of 40th Street, placing the accompanying development on land instead of on platforms, and a construction budget of $2.1 billion. The project had since become the largest development battle in New York City history in the following sixteen years.

McClure’s concern about increasing park space in the Village prompted her in the 1980s to work enthusiastically in favor of the proposed Westway highway and park on Hudson River landfill. She organized community support, participated in many regional development meetings and led a protest after then Mayor Koch announced against the project. In 1982, the U.S. District Court blocked the permit, and the order was subsequently affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On September 30, 1985, the City officially gave up on the project, allocating portions of its interstate highway funds to mass transit and the "West Side Highway Replacement Project".

In addition to Westway, McClure was involved in setting up free health clinics in the Village and Chelsea in the 1960s and 70s, supporting people with H.I.V., and working with Housing Works in finding places for homeless people with AIDS to live. She organized for the first Halloween Parade, helped address several neighborhood safety issues from adding lights to the sidewalk to implementing the whistles program.

With her husband, Dean McClure, an architect, Joan lobbied for years for a green traffic island at Abingdon Square. The proposal came through after she’d moved to California in 1995. She died in August 2005 at the age of 90.

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