Prepared by Gregory F. Gatto, April 17, 1998 and Rhonda Rinehart, December
17, 2003 5 record storage boxes, 5 cubic feet, 11th floor
Mark W. Weber received his Bachelor of Science degree in History from the
University of Wisconsin in 1968, a Master of Arts degree in History and
Education from Colgate University in 1970, and a Master of Library Science
degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1972. He also attended Case Western
Reserve University for doctoral studies in American History with a
specialization in Labor History. In addition, Weber completed the Labor
Leadership Program at Roosevelt University, 1973-1974, and the Certificate
Program in Labor and Industrial Relations at Cleveland State University,
He taught courses in reference and library management at the University of
Evansville from 1976 to 1979, and in library management at Indiana University in
1990. Weber also taught courses in labor history at Cleveland State University
in 1983, as well as courses in labor history and collective bargaining at
Cuyahoga Community College from 1984 to 1988.
His extensive career as a librarian includes Director of Public Services,
Clifford Library and Learning Resources, University of Evansville, 1975-1979;
Archives Assistant, as part of a graduate fellowship at Case Western Reserve
University, 1979-1980; Public Services/Outreach Librarian, Cuyahoga County
Public Library, 1981-1985; Assistant Personnel Director/EEOC Officer, Cuyahoga
County Library, 1985-1988; and Assistant University Librarian for Personnel,
University of Cincinnati, 1988-1991. He served at Kent State University as
Libraries and Media Services-Director of Staff Services, 1991-2000, and served there as Dean of Libraries and Media Services since from 2001-2010.
Weber has participated extensively in collective bargaining negotiations,
administered collective bargaining agreements, and served as a mediator to
resolve conflicts and potential grievances. He has also chaired and served on
staff development committees, and participated in presenting educational
programs on a variety of topics including: "Collective Bargaining in Ohio
Libraries," "Managing Employee Turnover," and "Collective Bargaining for Library
As an active member of the community, Mark Weber is a past president of the
Greater Cleveland Labor History Society, a member of the American Library
Association, the Association of Jewish Libraries, Jewish Secular Community, and
the Temple Tifereth Israel. He was a founder and member of the Board of The
Ethical Society of Cleveland until the organization dissolved in 2003.
His articles and book reviews have appeared in Journal of Library
Administration, Library Journal, Drexel Library Quarterly,
National Librarian, Chicago Sun-Times, The Plain Dealer,
Jewish Studies Newsletter, and Encyclopedia of Cleveland
I. The Left: 1964 - 2001
Mark Weber became active in politics as a high school senior in the spring
of 1964, when he became part of the Mississippi Summer Project. Over the
next few years, he participated in civil rights marches and peace marches
while a student at the University of Wisconsin. In the mid-1960s, he joined
the Trotskyist Young Socialist Alliance (YSA), but resigned in 1967 over
the issue of the Six-Day War in the Middle East. He briefly joined the
Young Workers Liberation League (YWLL), but resigned in protest over the
Soviet Union's invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. In 1970 to 1972, he
was a member of the Socialist Party, and sided with Michael Harrington's
anti-war faction in the debates over the Vietnam War. Eventually, the
Socialist Party broke up into three separate splinter organizations.
In May of 1973, he attended the founding convention of a newly-reconstituted
Socialist Party, USA. Strongly influenced by libertarian socialist ideas, he
wrote the party's first statement of principles. In 1973, he was also elected to
the party's first National Committee. He left the party in September, 1975, to
set up the Kropotkin Society, named after the famous Russian anarchist and
geographer, Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921). The Kropotkin Society served as a
publishing house for his libertarian socialist views, influenced by Kropotkin
and by the Polish revolutionary heretic Jan Waclaw Machajaski (1866-1926). He
tried and failed to get several of Machajaski's unpublished essays translated
into English. In 1982 he joined the Socialist Labor Party (SLP).
Uncomfortable with the SLP's opposition to the existing trade union movement
and its rigid internal life, he protested the party's withdrawal from a movement
opposing U.S. policy in Central America. As a result, he was expelled from the
party at its 1987 convention. In 1982, he was a founding member of the Greater
Cleveland Labor History Society. He served on the Society's Executive Board and
served two terms as president. In 1995, he joined Labor Party advocates and
attended the Founding Convention of the Labor Party. He was a member of the
Cleveland branch of the Labor Party until 2001.
II. Politics in a New Key: 2001 - present
In 1990, Weber participated with a number of moderate and conservative
academics in founding the Ohio Association of Scholars, an affiliate of the
National Association of Scholars. He also became close to the American
Association of Liberal Education and the Council on Basic Education. In the wake
of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Weber began to reassess his
political convictions. He critically supported the United States invasion of
Iraq in the spring of 2003, and in columns in Footnotes he called for colleges
and universities to invigorate liberal arts programs and to embrace once again
liberal democratic values. He championed a philosophy called distributism which
rejected both socialism on the one hand and corporate conservatism on the other.
It advocated conservation, civil liberties, the rule of law, private property,
individual responsibility and a new sense of civic engagement. Critics labeled
distributism a kind of "left-wing conservatism."
In Jewish life he has embraced liberal Judaism and was certified as a
Madrikh by the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism.
He was also the founder of the Ethical Society of Cleveland in 1997.
The four books which have been most influential in his political life are:
Bread and Wine, a 1936 novel by the Italian socialist writer Ignazio
Silone, Man's Search for Meaning, by the Austrian psychotherapist and
Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, The Constitution of Liberty by
Friedrich Hayek, and Natural Right and History by Leo Strauss.
Scope and Content
The Mark W. Weber papers were established on July 15, 1997, when Weber donated
historical materials from the Liberation Socialist League (circa 1949-1952). The
donation contains copies of Socialist Views, of which there were only
three issues. It also contains other materials, such as the Independent
Socialist and Discussion Bulletin. Weber was once a political
associate of Virgil Vogel, a founder of the LSL. The collection also includes
material on the United Labor Party (ULP) from the same period. The ULP had its
headquarters in Cleveland and ran a candidate for Mayor in Akron, Ohio
Weber's papers will prove of interest to researchers in a number of
fields since his materials reflect a wide range of interests. The papers would
be of particular value to labor history researchers, who would find the early
labor publications and essays both educational and informative. Political
history researchers, likewise, would find that the papers and publications
reflect an unique period for the Socialist Libertarian movement and the United
Labor Party in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, as well as in the United States.
Additionally, Weber's personal papers and essays highlight his insights,
activities, contributions and accomplishments in such areas as politics, labor,
management, librarianship, Judaism, and his professional career that has been
primarily directed toward the betterment of his fellow man.
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