James “Jim” Zarichny was a lifelong activist in the labor, civil rights, peace, and socialist movements. During his undergraduate career in Michigan, he was put on probation for distributing leaflets, sentenced to prison (for a day!), and eventually expelled for his Communist Party membership. After a few years working at an auto plant, Zarichny enrolled in and graduated from Columbia University and became a computer programmer in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute at Florida State University. He commutied to Boulder to use the supercomputer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and became a leader of the Boulder chapter of the “New American Movement.” His activist nature must have been in his blood as both his mother and father participated in the 1937 sit-down strike against General Motors in Flint, Michigan where workers converted the factories into fortresses which they lived in and held for a month until General Motors recognized the union. Zarichny was also a target of McCarthy period anticommunist investigations. His collection contains his military and activist correspondence, records, publications, and photographs.
The University of Colorado Boulder Libraries will celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Archives on June 6, 2018. This is story #40 in our series: 100 Stories for 100 Years from the Archives!