Thusenelda Martin (1896-1986) was a graduate of the University of Illinois, a country school teacher, and, for 27 years, a science teacher at Urbana High School. An active member of the Champaign County Humane Society and the American Legion Auxiliary of Urbana, she was an advocate for animal welfare and a political conservative.
The collection, which reflects Martin's interests, contains publications of such groups as the John Birch Society, Carl McIntire's 20th Century Reformation Hour, Citizens' Councils of America, the Manion Forum, and the Christian Action Movement. Primarily covering the period from 1958 to 1968, this material reflects the views of conservatives and right-wing extremists regarding communism, unions, civil rights legislation, fluoridation, mental health programs, and the United Nations.
Martin's father, the Rev. William F. Gross, was a German-born minister who served the Evangelical Association and, later, the Methodist Church. The collection contains some items from his years as a pastor, including religious periodicals and German language materials. Because of her German background, Martin also collected information dealing with Germany's role in World War I and II.
The Champaign County Historical Archives of the Urbana Free Library transferred this collection to the University Library in 1987, but retained other items, including genealogical materials.