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Guide to the Nelson Frank Papers TAM.060

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
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Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Tamiment staff

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 27, 2018 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Frank, Nelson, 1906-1974
Source - dnr: Frank, Tillie
Title: Nelson Frank Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1888-1971
Abstract: Nelson Frank (1906-1974) was a journalist, anti-communist, a special agent with U.S. Naval Intelligence, an investigator for the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee,and a bibliophile. He was a writer, labor editor and columnist for the New York World Telegram (1944-1955) where his article concerning the Duclos letter, which contributed to the ouster of Earl Browder, Communist Party USA head, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Much of his work concerned espionage and Soviet spy activities. As an investigator for the Senate International Security Subcommittee (1955-1957) Frank interviewed prospective witnesses, including on such topics as Soviet espionage, communist infiltration of the United Nations and labor unions, Soviet theft of U.S scientific secrets, and in reports advised the subcommittee on their value. The papers include correspondence, scrapbooks, clippings, manuscripts, biographical materials, printed materials, photographs research notes and subject files. There are materials on the Rosenberg trial and the grand jury indictment against Jack and Myra Sobel. Writings include an unpublished article, "The Red Spy Network in America," and articles for the  New York World-Telegram,  Life and  Fortune. Correspondents include Solon De Leon, Granville Hicks, and Frederick Woltmann. Research files deal with labor unions, especially communist influence therein, communism, "communist front" organizations, communist espionage activities and the development of U.S. leftist parties. See the container list for box level descriptions.
Quantity: 26 Linear Feet in 24 record cartons, one manuscript box, and one oversize flat box.
Location: Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu at least two business days prior to research visit.
Language: Materials are in English.
Call Phrase: TAM.060

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Historical/Biographical Note

Nelson Frank (1906-1974) was a journalist, anti-communist, a special agent with U.S. Naval Intelligence, an investigator for the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee,and a bibliophile. He was a writer, labor editor and columnist for the New York World Telegram (1944-1955) where his article concerning the Duclos letter, which contributed to the ouster of Earl Browder, Communist Party USA head, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Much of his work concerned espionage and Soviet spy activities. As an investigator for the Senate International Security Subcommittee (1955-1957) Frank interviewed prospective witnesses, including on such topics as Soviet espionage, communist infiltration of the United Nations and labor unions, Soviet theft of U.S scientific secrets, and in reports advised the subcommittee on their value.

Note: Additional biographical information is contained eleven page (double-spaced) preliminary inventory conducted around the time the collection was received, which is available at the Library.

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Scope and Contents

The papers include correspondence, scrapbooks, clippings, manuscripts, biographical materials, printed materials, photographs, research notes and subject files. There are materials on the Rosenberg trial and the grand jury indictment against Jack and Myra Sobel. Writings include an unpublished article, "The Red Spy Network in America," and articles for the New York World-Telegram,  Life and  Fortune. Correspondents include Solon De Leon, Granville Hicks, and Frederick Woltmann. Research files deal with labor unions, especially communist influence therein, communism, "communist front" organizations, communist espionage activities and the development of U.S. leftist parties. See the container list for box level descriptions, noting that where names and subjects are listed without further description, they may refer either clippings, NF notes and writings, printed ephemera, internal documents, sometimes correspondence, or any combination therof.

Correspondence from the 1930s is mostly related to Frank's ownership of bookstore[s?], along with correspondence with author Granville Hicks (1932-1940), while his 1940s correspondence principally relates to his work as a labor columnist and contains comments on hist articles from union officials. In later years, his correspondence principally consists of letters from publishers commenting on his ideas for articles, including a few letter from historian Arthur Schlesinger. There is also a file of correspondence from Frederick Woltman, recipient of a Pulitzer prize and also a writer for the World-Telegram, some of whose files on labor and communism seem to be a part of Frank's papers, as Woldman had a major stroke about 1950, and retired to Florida, leaving most of hist files at the newspaper. Files relating to espionage include Elizabeth Bently, the Rosenbergs, Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers and Klaus Fuchs. There is also a separate file on entertainer Harry Belafonte. There are also files on the development and structure of the CPUSA and the Socialist Labor Party, including minutes from SLP meetings in the 1920s and from the CPUSA's 1945 convention, a 1937 CPUSA membership book and lists of Party members. There are also a few routine letters by Solon De Leon, son of SLP founder Daniel De Leon.

Note: Additional scope and contents information is contained in an eleven page (double-spaced) preliminary inventory conducted around the time the collection was received, which is available at the Library.

Arrangement

The collection has been arranged into two series. The collection has not been arranged by an archivist on the box level.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Woltmann, Frederick, 1908-
  • Frank, Nelson, 1906-1974
  • Belafonte, Harry, 1927-
  • Hicks, Granville, 1901-1982
  • De Leon, Solon, 1883-
  • Frank, Tillie
  • Bentley, Elizabeth
  • Schlesinger, Arthur M. (Arthur Meier), 1917-2007

Document Type

  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Pamphlets.
  • Photographs.
  • Manuscripts for publication.
  • Minutes (administrative records)
  • Notes.

Subject Organizations

  • Communist Party of the United States of America
  • New York World-Telegram
  • Socialist Labor Party

Subject Topics

  • Labor unions -- United States.
  • Espionage, Soviet -- United States.
  • Socialism -- United States.
  • Espionage -- United States.
  • Communism -- United States.
  • Labor unions and communism -- United States.

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Tamiment Library has no information about copyright ownership for this collection and is not authorized to grant permission to publish or reproduce materials from it. Materials in this collection, which were created in 1888-1971, are expected to enter the public domain in 2045.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Nelson Frank Papers; TAM 060; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Related Archival Materials

Tamiment also holds another anti-communist collection, The Church League of America Collection of the Research Files of Counterattack, the Wackenhut Corporation, and Karl Baarslag (TAM 148).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Nelson Frank's widow, Mrs. Tillie Frank, in 1974 and 1976. The accession numbers associated with these purchases are 1974.011 and 1974.012.

Materials found in repository were added to collection in 2014. The accession number associated with this material is 2014.160.

Processing Information

Photographs were separated from this collection during initial processing and were established as a separate collection, the Nelson Frank Photographs (PHOTOS 034). In 2013, the photograph collection was reincorporated into the Nelson Frank Papers. In 2013, Series II was further described by an archivist.

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Container List

Series I: Papers, 1888-1971

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Personal correspondence, 1931-1966; Fred Woltman (World-Telegram) correspondence; Committee for the Nation's Health; Red spy stories; Spy story: chapter for a possible book; clippings by and about NF; Notes and stories on espionage, including Elizabeth Bently; Harry Belafonte research file; Labor movement research notes; Senate Internal Security Committee documents; Various autographs of prominent figures, congressmen etc. collected by Frank; Frank's WPA ID card, City Projects Council ID card, International Labor Defense membership card, other various material related to his involvement with these organizations, and 3 unidentified photographs.

1931-1972
Box: 2 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Frank story on Russian tariff and relief food shipments, 1940s, some correspondence; Waste paper handling during WWII, series of Frank stories; Notes, unrelated to other material; New York Toiler, 19871; Frank: misc. articles, 1940s-1950s; Frank: bio/historical sketches of 19th century U.S. labor, socialist progressive individuals and organizations; NF correspondence, 1946-1965; NF articles on Theodore Kheel, JFK; Newspaper clippings: 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952.

1940-1965
Box: 3 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Files of Newspaper clippings(1953-1954); Correspondence and clippings regarding the FBI.

1953-1954
Box: 4 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Newspaper clippings: the CIA, Cuba, Spies, the Kennedys, Communist organizations, American China policy, the Foreign Policy Association, Maxwell S. Stewart, Telford Taylor, Faculty of Social Science; National Committe to Combat Anti-Semitism.

1930s-1960s
Box: 5 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Trials against pro-Communist figures; U.S.S.R; Communist (Commie) Party; Marxian Theory; Fascism-Nazism, Italy and Germany; Book Reviews on Russia, CPUSA and Unionism; O'Dwyer and Reds in 1945 NYC Mayoral Campaign; 1940s, Russia and U.S. Army; Fascists: U.S. Native Groups; Nuremburg Trials, Mikhail Shastakovitch[?]; Russia: 1946 and after, and American Relations; Socialist party; Russo-German War; Accusation against Office of War Information of including reds in anti-fascist front; Reader's Digest clippings; Reds in unionism; Russian foreign affairs; John Reed; Upton Sinclair and other personalities; Marx; Personalities: Clarence Darrow, Samuel Gompers, etc.; the  Daily Worker clippings.

1930s-1960s
Box: 6 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

International and U.S.S.R.; War clippings and notices; John Altigeld and others; Communism and the atomic bomb; 1940s: Palestine; U.S.S.R.; CPUSA Clippings; CPUSA: back to Marx; CPUSA; New Masses and  Daily Worker; CPUSA Policy; American Youth Congress and Soviet Union students.

1930s-1960s
Box: 7 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Comintern and Communist Party; CP: [illegible] and Policy; Communist Radicals; CP Trials; UAW-CIO: Clippings, Correspondence, bios of union leaders; Union picketing and legal opinions; labor newspaper clippings; News clippings on Dr. Jerome Davis and Labor Unions; Victor Riesel; rackets in various unions; CIO Publications; Labor, early 20s and 30s; Communist Party, AFL-CIO, Carbon 1921, S. Gompers letter; correspondence on Distributive, Processing, and Office Workers Union and C.P. affiliation; Union activities and communists; Eugene Syms: books; Communism in trade unions; Communism and Socialism: Unionism materials; Africa (NF?); Unions and government action; William Green: AFL and Russian connections; Workers Party, unionism/radical groups; American Communications Association; Telegraphers Union story.

1930s-1960s
Box: 8 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Newspaper clippings, 1940s and 1950s; Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union's communist ties, 1950s; Welfare and Union material; Department of Labor press releases, correspondence; union and organized labor publications; Transportation Union; 1952 AFL Convention; news clippings, pamphlets and mailings related to the NAACP; news clippings and other print pieces regarding government figures, communists, Linus Pauling, and Herbert Hoover Jr.; Printed materials regarding Democratic and Republican presidential candidates; 1960 Presidential election material; J.F.K and Nixon election materials, and reports on Kennedy's private life; Robert Kennedy; Lyndon Johnson; Story on suspected Communists in the New York City Housing Authority; local New York election materials (1960s); Lee Pressman; newsclippings about Hollywood figures.

1950s-1960s
Box: 9 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Background material for the 7th Biennial Textile Workers Union of America; CIO Convention; newsclippings and union publications about the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, and a change in the union's leadership; Printed materials regarding Textile Workers Union; Correspondence: Louise Waldman, Longshoremens Union; International Brotherhood of Teamsters material focusing on Dave Beck; Politics and unions; International Longshoremens Association: clippings, newsletters, releases; National Maritime Union: clippings, newsletters, releases; National Lawyers Guild; National Maritime Union; Bakery Union.

1943-19691947-1959
Box: 10 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Dinner programs and related materials; Printed materials on alcoholism; Clippings on science; "Common Cause" notes, story; The Svetlana [Stalin's daughter] Memoirs; Clippings on crime, the mafia; Stories about the Communist Party in the U.S.; Printed materials on communist sabotage; Clippings, including from The People (Socialist Labor Party); Reports and correspondence regarding the Socialist Labor Party; Information from clipppings and releases on U.S. soviet organizations and supporters; Pro-communist publications and leftist flyers, etc.; Foreign publications; Printed materials about anti-communist and anti-Soviet groups; Materials on fascism and Germany; Piece on Tokyo Rose.

1913- 1950s
Box: 11 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Freedom House materials; printed materials on peace groups, Vietnman, Cuba and the women's movement; Spanish Civil War and Franco; printed materials by and about Upton Sinclair; Nelson's notes and memos on suspected Soviet spies and Eizabeth Bentley; Taylor Kent, correspondence; clippings about spies and Alger Hiss / Whittaker Chambers; clippings on Russian agents in U.S. government; printed material on the Rosenbergs; grand jury indictment Rudolf Abel; clippings, grand jury idictments about Robert Soble, Dodd Sterns, the Zlatovskis.

1930s-1960s
Box: 12 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Clippings on spy stories, electronic monitoring, codes; Clippings and other print material on Soviet espionage in the U.S. and at the U.N.; Clippings on Gary Powers etc.; Spies: Gary Powers' flight; Clippings and stories on spies, intelligence information; Nelson's notes, stories and clippings on possible communist spies; Clippings on Russian spy efforts, U-2 flights; Stories on Solzhenitsyn and other Soviet emmigrants; Clippings on Russian/U.S. spies; clippings on spies, with an international theme; Clippings on Red Defectors; clippings, Canadian 'affairs' booklets, Notes on atomic secrets and spying; book reviews, New Yorker article, and clippings on Soviet/Sweden spying; Americans syping for Russia; clippings on Soviet trials of spies, escaped agents; clippings on spy cases in Germany, France and Israel.

1950s-1970s
Box: 13 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

American Labor Party; clippings on Blue Cross; article on Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union; Carlo Tresca; Jay Lovestone; Tom Mooney, Benjamin Gitlow; Sacco and Vanzetti; Cafe Society and Barney Josephson; American Peace Mobilization, etc.; Red Channels, Counterattack; Jewish Groups; Norman Thomas correspondence; Communist Youth, Labor Youth League; International Workers Oorder; RFF 51; RJG 45; RFG 42.

1930s-1950s
Box: 14 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Clippings on Soviet Spies around the world; WBAI; Clippings on various unions; Building Trades; Morton Sobell; Soviet Affairs Analysis documentsl; Commies in CIO; Browder, ex[pulsion from?] CP; Browder (cont.); Free Browder campaign.

1940s-1960s
Box: 15 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Maxwell S. Stewart; Mrs. Earl Browder; CPUSA History; IWW; CIO: Eight U.S. Commies; Trotsky-Jacson; Senate etc. Committes; May Day.

Box: 16 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Martin Dies Committe; Lists of [Communist] Fronts; Socialist Party and League for Induatrial Democracy; Socialist publications; Orlemanski clippings; Otepka; PM; Assorted columns; Clippings on China; Hanns Eisler clippings and biographical information; Clippings and pamphlets involving William Gailmor;UAW; Notes and clippings on Communists in American labor organizations; League of American Writers; Morton Sobell; Misc. clippings on CIO; Clippings:  Daily Worker, etc.; Politics; Anti-Nazi/German print material; Communist people, Fellow Traveler fronts.

1940s-1970s
Box: 17 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Peoples Council of America for Democracy and Peace, and misc.; Press releases regarding Communism and trade unionism; Unions; Socialist Party Organizations; AFL-Theater and Music Unions; Clippings on unemployment, pensions, etc; Publications analyizing Communist activity in the U.S.; Soviet fronts; Meyer Levin.

Box: 18 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Ford Foundation; Live RIR and Cold War; CPUSA, 1972; Clifford McAvoy; Jewish Peoples Committes; War and peace; Mail, Woltman; Army-Navy; Frederic Hammer.

1930s-1970s
Box: 19 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Newspaper clippings regarding Communist activity in American groups; Clippings regarding Russians in the U.S.; National Council of American-Soviet Friendship: newsletters; American Civil Liberties Union, Ford [Foundation?], Misc.; Rosenberg II: clippings; Communists, espionage, Russia: clippings; Workers Alliance for Peace in Vietnam: clippings; Organizations: Fronts, Fellow travellers, others; Binghamton: Publicity materials, pamphlets; Newspaper Clippings; Research Institute of America: Twenty-Fifth Century; Clippings and stories of active socialists; William Donovan.

1930s-1960s
Box: 20 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Nelson Frank Clippings; World Telegram clippings, CPUSA; Clippings and other print materials regarding deportations; NF [?]; Joseph F. Suffey; Roger N. Baldwin.

1930s-1970s
Box: 21 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

AFL-CIO Unity; [illegible]-CP; Fellow Traveler; CP Fellow Traveler; Obituaries: CP general front; Obits: Labor; Obits: General; Obits: Socialists, Trotskyists; Obits: HUAC, experts, friends; Press Libel: Faulk; Libel-newspapers; Newspapers: Time, etc.; Oppenheimer, Ed Teller, Atomic Energy, A-Bomb; Richard Rovere, Granville Hicks; Robert Morris, J.B. Matthews, Don Levine; Grantland Rice; American Youth for Democracy; Youth; Union Clips File.

1930s-1970s
Box: 22 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Clippings regarding Communists, unions, and espionage; Maxwell S. Stewart; Labor: Teamsters; Misc. Newspaper clippings; Literary CP, etc.; England: spies; LBJ and Walter Jenkins.

1930s-1960s
Box: 23 Nelson Frank Papers

Scope and Content Note

Vassal; Blake; Lonsdale, Cohen; Non C, Orgs; Fronts; Amerasia; Amerasia, Few; Barghoorn; Bentley, Chambers, White, Hess, etc.; Bentley; Budenz; McSean, Petrov, etc.; Noel Field, etc.; Walter Krivitsky; Semi-CP, American Labor Party; China, Japan, Asia, etc.

1930s-1960s
Box: 24 Nelson Frank Papers
Frank, Tillie ()
Frank, Nelson, 1906-1974

Scope and Content Note

Counter-Subversives Seminar: Addresses(bound); Report on Venezuela (bound); Flyers, notices, press material regarding anti-war protests and anti-communist movements; Profile of Fred Woltman; Flyers: Peace movements and other social movements; Flyers: Peace rallies, socialist meetings, ect.; The American Forum of the Air: "Do we need a new labor legislation?"; Unsere Zeit (Basil, Switzerland): German language periodical; The  International Socialist Review;  Die Neue Zeit; "America Now": from The Navy League of the United States; Clippings and letters to the editor from communist newspapers; "A Catalogue of Books:" periodical; "The Problem of Police Legislation": publication; "Obsequies of Red Jacket at Buffalo": publication; "Birds and all of Nature": publication; Notes, memos and correspondence regarding communists in the United States; Notes, memos and correspondence regarding unions and communists in the United States; Publications on social ecomics, political econmy of the Left and Zionist strategy; Flyers: Peace Activists and Civil Rights information;  Fortune:  Hammer and Tongs:"The New C.P. Line"; Newspaper Clippings; Flyers: Anti-Imperialism, Socialist, Anti-Fascist; Peace; Agreement Between the United States and the Republic of Nicaragua; Two photo prints; Joseph Gasset, bar of music; German print materials; Centennial Book of the John Wanamaker New York Store; Correspondence; Correspondence: William Moody to Bessie; Theodore Roosevelt: booklet, newspaper clipping; Newspaper clippings; "On a Labor Faker's Trail: The Shady Record of Frank Farrington";  Communistic Infiltration in Venezuela III, issued by Anti-Soviet Inter-American Committee.

1856-1970
Box: MSOS003 Folder : 1 Nelson Frank Papers: Bulletin of the Joint Committee for the Defense of Revolitionists Imprisoned in Russia (Oversize)
1925

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Series II: Photographs and other Nonprint Material, 1940-1952

Scope and Content Note

This series includes panoramic photographs from the 3rd and 8th CIO Constitutional Conventions, Manhattan Police Headquarters Reporter outings, New York Building Service Joint Council Dinner for SEIU President McFetridge among others. The series also includes photographs with Russian captions, a few portraits, and cartoons drawn by David Smell for the New York World Telegram. Also included are photographs of Frank covering labor stories, strikes, and protests. There are also some photographs of Russia post-revolution.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 25-26 Photographs and Portraits
Box: XOS002 Folder : 1 Cartoons
Box: XOS002 Folder : 2 Certificates and Panoramas
1950-1953
Flat-file: 7 Drawer : 15 Panoramas

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