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The University of Minnesota Duluth

BRIDGE - Fall 2008, Volume 26, #1

UMD Alumnus Michael S. Berman

A New Political Collection for UMD

In Fall 2007, the UMD Library unveiled the Michael S. Berman Collection, a compilation of over 1,000 artifacts including photographs, political convention publications, bumper stickers, campaign buttons, posters, jewelry, and other items reflecting one man’s extensive involvement in the U.S. political arena.

Michael Berman ’61 also gave the first Sieur du Luth Lecture, “National Conventions and Their Role in Presidential Campaign Civility,” presented by UMD’s Masters Program in Advocacy and Political Leadership, the same day as the collection was unveiled.

Berman has spent most of his life immersed in politics. After graduating from UMD in 1961 and then law school at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 1964, he embarked on his professional career, working on Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 Presidential Campaign.

Above: Michael S. Berman ’61 and Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin.
“The artifacts are cultural gems . . . . They present a unique opportunity for the public to view important moments in U.S. political history.” — Bill Sozansky, Library director

He has played an active role in every presidential campaign since. His involvement behind the scenes in U.S. politics provided him with unique artifacts that he has contributed to the collection, including an entire photo album from the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

Also included in the collection are memorabilia from his time working closely with major U.S. politicians, including Walter Mondale, Hubert Humphrey, and the Clintons.

Items from Humphrey’s career are included in the collection including a program from 1968 featuring Humphrey at the Washington Hilton. Among these artifacts is a photograph signed by Mondale and President Jimmy Carter, showing Berman sewing a sleeve button onto Mondale’s jacket. The photo used to hang over Berman’s desk.
“The artifacts are cultural gems,” said Library Director Bill Sozansky. “They present a unique opportunity for the public to view important moments in U.S. political history.”

Berman’s autobiography, Living Large: A Big Man’s Ideas on Weight, Success, and Acceptance, was published in 2006. It focuses on Berman’s life-long struggle with weight. The book threw him into the public eye, a place he hadn’t spent much time previously.

Berman is particularly proud of his involvement with the Board of the Human Rights Campaign from 1998-2006, serving as co-chair from 2004-2006. “All people, no matter what party they are in, need to work for equal rights,” Berman said.

Berman is now the president of the Duberstein Group, a government affairs consulting group.

The Berman Collection includes photographs and artifacts from ten Democratic National Conventions from 1968 to 2004.

 

 

 

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