Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Popular Music

The Sixties: An Era of Pop Cultural Revolution in America


What do The Rolling Stones, The Supremes, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, The Velvet Underground, and Woodstock have in common?  They were cultural symbols and products of the Sixties. The Sixties gave birth to a popular culture in film and music that reflected and influenced the decade's social upheavals: the rise of Cold War politics, civil rights movements, student protests, and the Vietnam war all profoundly affected American society and culture. 

Ride the Wild Surf, 1964Ride the Wild Surf, 1964

At NYPL, we have a huge collection of books, films, and music from and about the 1960s relating to history, politics, culture, sociology, literature, etc. You can find them all in our new Library catalog: BiblioCommons. You can review, rate or tag the items you have recently viewed and share them with others. The quickest way to find films and music at NYPL is in the catalog: search by TITLE or by KEYWORD, and then switch the formats to DVD for movies or Music CD for music. If you are researching this time period, search under SUBJECT and type or copy/paste "United States -- History -- 1961-1969" for a list of collection relating to that period. You can also narrow down your search by location.

If you are researching archival and manuscript collections from the 1960s, consider searching the Find Archival Materials Tool, where several divisions in the research libraries store these collections.

The NYPL also recently acquired the papers of the influential psychologist and author Timothy Leary, "whose advocacy of the use psychedelic substances to promote psychological well-being, increased creativity, and spiritual renewal made him a key figure in the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s." Read more >> 


Keith RichardsKeith Richards

Legendary guitarist Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones came to LIVE from the NYPL on October 29, 2010, to give a talk about his new memoir, Life. Watch the conversation online >> 

To honor the legacy and impact of popular culture of the Sixties in America, NYPL will host a free public program on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 6 p.m. in South Court Auditorium at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

Riding the surf at Waikiki, Digital ID 1629686, New York Public LibraryRiding the surf at WaikikiThis public program will highlight some of the key developments in popular film and music and consider the role of political and social factors in shaping popular culture, as well as the impact of pop culture on society. Author Tom Lisanti will explore some of the popular films from the Sixties beach movie genre, such as Beach Party, Ride the Wild Surf, and Beach Blanket Bingo, while Professor and Musician Susan Schmidt Horning will discuss popular music from Motown to Woodstock. After the presentations, a conversation will be moderated by Professor Joan DelFattore, one of NYPL's Allen Room scholars and a specialist in American culture.      

We hope you can join us for this exciting conversation on popular movies and music of the Sixties! 

Learn More About:

Requesting and holding items at NYPL >>

NYPL's new catalog, BiblioCommons >>

Social movements in America >>

A blog post about rock n' roll in the Sixties

NYPL's research collections on music and film at the Library for the Performing Arts >>

The Sixties Pop Culture Series on PBS >>

[Ernestine Eckstein in picket line] / Kay Tobin Lahusen, Digital ID 1605765, New York Public LibraryA Demonstration in 1965


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Wonderful collection of content

You do indeed have "a huge collection of books, films, and music from and about the 1960s..." What a treasure. Thanks.

Post new comment