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Guide to the Solon De Leon Papers TAM.092

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
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10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
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tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Peter J. Arnade

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 07, 2018
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: De Leon, Solon, 1883-
Source - dnr: Gottesman, Ruth De Leon
Title: Solon De Leon Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1900-1980
Abstract: Solon De Leon, son of Daniel De Leon, Marxist theoretician and leader of the Socialist Labor Party, was a socialist, labor educator and labor journalist. The collection contains correspondence with his father and other SLP leaders, unpublished writings, clippings, and memorabilia.
Quantity: 2 Linear Feet in 2 record cartons
Location: This collection is held offsite. Please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu at least two business days prior to your research visit to coordinate access.
Language: Materials are in English.
Call Phrase: TAM.092

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Historical/Biographical Note

Solon De Leon was born in New York City on September 2, 1883. He was the son of Daniel De Leon, Marxist theoretician and leader of the Socialist Labor Party (SLP). Although his parents were Jewish, he was unaware of this until he was an adult. He graduated from City College in 1902 and after working in Connecticut as a carpenter, house painter, and teacher, he returned to New York in 1905 to work on the SLP publications Daily People and Weekly People as a reporter, re-write man, and assistant editor. He translated "The Sword of Honor, or the Foundation of the French Revolution" by Eugene Sue and "Patriotism and the Worker" by Gustave Herve for publication by the SLP publishing house, New York Labor News Company. De Leon received an MA in economics from Columbia University in 1912 and a social work degree from the New School of Social Work (then the New York School of Philanthropy) in 1913. He was employed by the American Association for Labor Legislation as a field investigator, writer, and researcher, 1912-1920, while continuing to contribute to SLP publications under the pseudonym, Braset Marteau, but became politically and personally estranged from his father and from the SLP and was expelled from the Party in 1918.

He was briefly a member of the Socialist Party of America, joining the Workers' Council group that became part of the Communist party in 1920. De Leon contributed to and helped to edit the Advance, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America's newspaper, 1919-1922; was director of the labor research department, Rand School of Social Science, during the 1920s, and edited the American Labor Year Book published by the Rand School. During the 1930s, he taught science and shop at the Walden School, a private progressive school in New York; was a nature and shop counselor at children's summer camps, and, as Bert Grant, wrote a science and nature column for the New Pioneer. From 1943 to 1964 De Leon was assistant research director for the National Maritime Union. He was also active in the Labor Research Association during the 1960s, and was a regular contributor of articles and book reviews to its publication Economic Notes. De Leon was a librarian and French instructor at Kettrell Junior College, a Black college in North Carolina from 1965 to 1967, and died in Ellenville, N.Y., on December 3, 1975.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection contains correspondence, essays, and fragmentary writings, both handwritten and typed, many touching upon union organization, and the politics and ideology of the American Left. Of special interest is his correspondence (between 1912 and 1914) with Daniel De Leon, Arnold Petersen, and other members of the Socialist Labor Party that capture the ideological conflicts that eventually led to De Leon's estrangement from his father and the Party. Correspondence from 1956-1965 between De Leon and League for Industrial Democracy members including Sidney Henchberg, Harry Laidler, Andrew Shiffrin, and Norman Thomas reflects De Leon's disenchantment with the League's lack of organizational activism. Bitter correspondence from 1964-1965 between De Leon and the president's office of The National Marine Union concerns the abolition of De Leon's position of assistant research director.

Printed materials include flyers, brochures, pamphlets, and arbitration briefs from various labor unions and political organizations, as well as syllabi for courses taught by De Leon and fellow socialists for workers. There is a great deal of material of a personal nature also contained in the collection, consisting of personal and collected poetry, political drama, a scrapbook, a postcard collection, and several job applications for research and civil service work. In addition, materials with references to De Leon consisting of newspaper clippings from The Daily and Weekly People, a political essay, and correspondence between De Leon and members of the Socialist Labor Party and one of its principal leaders, his father Daniel De Leon, have been taken from the Nelson Frank collection and added as an addendum.

An additional box of materials was added to the collection in 2015. These documents consist of correspondence and papers predominantly related to Solon De Leon's participation in labor organizing and education between 1920 and 1980. They also include a number of teaching materials for De Leon's courses in labor research and manuscripts for labor related plays and sketches.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged alphabetically within each series. Series 8 was added to the colleciton in 2015. These materials have not been arranged by an archivist.

Organized into 8 series:

Missing Title

  1. Research and Writings
  2. Unions
  3. Workers' Education
  4. Political Organizations
  5. Applications
  6. Personal
  7. Addendum
  8. 2015 Accretion

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Schiffrin, André
  • Petersen, Arnold, 1885-1976
  • Laidler, Harry W. (Harry Wellington), 1884-1970
  • Thomas, Norman, 1884-1968
  • De Leon, Daniel, 1852-1914
  • Henchberg, Sidney
  • Gottesman, Ruth De Leon

Document Type

  • Typescripts.
  • Syllabi.
  • Briefs (legal documents)
  • Correspondence.
  • Essays.
  • Job applications.
  • Pamphlets.
  • Postcards.
  • Scrapbooks.

Subject Organizations

  • National Maritime Union of America. Education Department
  • Rand School of Social Science. Department of Labor Research
  • Walden School (New York, N.Y.)
  • Manumit School (Pawling, N.Y.)
  • Socialist Labor Party
  • League for Industrial Democracy
  • Socialist Party (U.S.)
  • American Association for Labor Legislation
  • Kittrell Junior College
  • Labor Research Association (U.S.)
  • Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America

Subject Topics

  • Labor unions -- Organizing -- United States.
  • Labor laws and legislation -- United States.
  • Socialists -- United States.
  • Teachers -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Labor leaders -- United States.
  • Collective bargaining -- United States.
  • Labor literature -- United States.
  • Journalists -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Working class -x Education -- United States.
  • Educators -- United States.
  • Editors -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Camp counselors -- New York (State)

Subject Uniform Title(s)

  • Daily people
  • American labor year book
  • New pioneer (New York, N.Y.)
  • Weekly people
  • American labor who's who

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection, created by Solon De Leon was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from Ruth De Leon Gottesman.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Solon de Leon Papers; TAM 092; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Ruth De Leon Gottesman in 1977; an additional accession was donated in 2013. The accession numbers associated with these gifts are 1977.003 and 2015.012.

Processing Information

One box of materials was added to the collection as Series 8 in 2015. These materials have been placed into archival housing based on rough groupings supplied by donor. This order has been maintained and folder titles were supplied by archivist when like items appeared to be grouped together.

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Container List

Series 1: Research and Writings

Scope and Content Note

Research and Writings, consists of a potpourri of personal essays, book reviews, research inquiries, and speeches that span nearly a fifty year period. Of perhaps the most interest is De Leon's 1974 credo of atheism; his 1925 one act musical drama presented at The League for Industrial Democracy conference; his book review of Robert Hoxie's Trade Unionism in the United States (undated); and his 1926 speech to The League for Industrial Democracy entitled "Communism in the USA."

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Aristotle and Slavery (6p.)
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Book Reviews
undated , 1962
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Drama: "Brains" (by De Leon and Wood), "Mechanization Dialogue" (Anonymous)
1925 , undated
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Elementary Socialism: Suggested 12-Session Course
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Essays: "My Credo," "March in Proletarian History"
1974 , undated
Box: 1 Folder : 6 The Historical Development of Socialism
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Letter to the Editor of World of Tomorrow
Dec 1962
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Marx
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Outline: Labor Fact Book #13
1956
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Reform
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Report to the N.E.C. [SLP] on Party Press and Literature
1956
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Research: Literary Inquiries on Lincoln Labor Quotes
1946 , 1950
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Scrapbook: Solon De Leon Typescripts (subdivided alphabetically by title)
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Speech to League for Industrial Democracy: "Communism in the USA"
1926
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Test: Test and Essay (fragment)
1932
Box: 1 Folder : 16 The Value of Labor Legislation and Karl Marx's Attitude Toward It
May 1913

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Series 2: Unions

Scope and Content Note

Unions, consists of both printed and nonprinted materials including resolutions, organizational histories, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, flyers, meeting notices, and arbitration briefs from theBakery and Confectionery Workers, The National Marine Union, and The United Office and Professional Workers. Also included is correspondence from. 1943 1944 between De Leon and various union officials concerning exhibits and arbitration briefs, and bitter correspondence from 1964 1965 between De Leon and the president's office of The National Marine Union concerning the abolition of De Leon's position of assistant research director of that organization.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Bakery and Confectionery Workers: Printed materials and newspaper clippings
1961
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Bakery and Confectionery Workers: Resolution on the elimination of night work
1946
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Correspondence: Union officials to De Leon
1943-1944
Box: 1 Folder : 20 National Marine Union: Correspondence to and from De Leon concerning the abolition of his position
1964-1965
Box: 1 Folder : 21 National Maritime Union: Printed materials
1953-1954 , 1958
Box: 1 Folder : 22 National Maritime Union: Procedure on Financial Reports on Companies
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 23 Report: "Me and The National Marine Union," De Leon
1965
Box: 1 Folder : 24 Pension Certificate, Local 153
1965
Box: 1 Folder : 25 United Office and Professional Workers (Arbitration Brief by Solon De Leon)
Sep 1942
Box: 1 Folder : 25 United Office and Professional Workers (Arbitration Brief no author)
Jan 1944
Box: 1 Folder : 26 United Office and Professional Workers: The Place of the Industrial Insurance Agents Union in the Recent Improvements in Industrial Insurance (Arbitration Brief prepared by De Leon)
Jan 1943

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Series 3: Workers' Education

Scope and Content Note

Workers' Education, consists of course syllabi from Margaret Daniels, Solon De Leon, David Saposs, and A.L. Wilbert for courses taught to workers in conjunction with The International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and The Jefferson School of Social Science. Also included is an outline by Martin Beardslee of John Cannon's History of Labor in the United States and a lecture by De Leon for The United Labor Education Committee.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 27 Beardslee, Martin: Outline of John R. Commons' History of Labor in the United States
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 28 Daniels, Margaret: Syllabus for course on Industrial and Trade Union History of the United States, International Ladies' Garment Workers Union
1922-1923
Box: 1 Folder : 29 De Leon, Solon: outline of talk for United Labor Education Committee
1920
Box: 1 Folder : 30 De Leon, Solon: Syllabi for course of Applied Economics, International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
1921-1923
Box: 1 Folder : 31 De Leon, Solon: Syllabus and attendance roll for course on Methods of Labor Research, Jefferson School of Social Science
1944
Box: 1 Folder : 32 De Leon, Solon: Course syllabi for courses on Labor Legislation, Trade Unionism
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 33 Saposs, David: Syllabus for course on Trade Union Policies and Tactics, International Ladies' Garment Workers Union
1922-1923
Box: 1 Folder : 34 Wilbert, A.L.: Syllabus for course on modern Economics and Institutions, International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
1920-1921

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Series 4: Political Organizations

Scope and Content Note

Political Organizations, consists of printed materials from The League for Industrial Democracy and The Southern Conference Education Fund. The League for Industrial Democracy materials consist of form letters, ballots, flyers, reports, and pamphlets from 1955 1958, while The Southern Conference Educational Fund materials consist of speech transcripts, form letters, minority caucus resolutions, policy committee report positions, and a newspaper (the Southern Patriot) from the years 1973 1975 that chronicle internal political disputes over party ideology and strategy. Also included is correspondence from 1956 1965 between De Leon and League for Industrial Democracy members including Sidney Henchberg, Harry Laidler, Andre Shifften, and Norman Thomas that focus upon De Leon's disenchantment with the League's lack of organizational activism as well as a 1974 letter to Ann Braden and Penny Lane of The Southern Conference Education Fund.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 35 League for Industrial Democracy: Correspondence to and from De Leon
1956-1958 , 1965
Box: 1 Folder : 36 League for Industrial Democracy: Printed material
1955-1958 , 1965
Box: 1 Folder : 37 Southern Conference Education Fund: letter from De Leon to Lane and Braden
Sep 1974
Box: 1 Folder : 38 Southern Conference Education Fund: Printed material
1973-1975

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Series 5: Applications

Scope and Content Note

Applications, consists of college transcripts from Columbia and The City College of New York, inquiries, correspondence, and application forms, both Empty and filled out, for teaching, labor research work, and federal civil servant positions. Also included are letters of recommendation and personal resumes.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 39 Applications: Inquiries for research and teaching, includes correspondence to and from De Leon
1931-1932 , 1941-1943
Box: 1 Folder : 40 Applications: Civil Service positions, includes letters to and from De Leon
1942-1943
Box: 1 Folder : 41 College Transcripts: City College of New York, Columbia University
1932 , 1942
Box: 1 Folder : 42 Letters of Recommendation
1942-1943
Box: 1 Folder : 43 Resumes
1943 , 1945 , undated

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Series 6: Personal

Scope and Content Note

Personal, consists of a collection of poetry of aesthetic and political orientation, either typewritten or clipped from newspapers and magazines, including a few works of poetry by De Leon himself; and an informal scrapbook that contains clippings on humorous subjects.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 44 Manumit School
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 45 Memorabilia: Bookplates (Daniel De Leon), Membership Cards, Seals
1901-1971 , undated
Box: 1 Folder : 46 Poetry: Personal Poems
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 47 Poetry: General
1910-1928
Box: 1 Folder : 48 Scrapbook
1900
Box: 1 Folder : 49 Walden School
undated

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Series 7: Addendum

Scope and Content Note

Addendum, consists almost exclusively of letters sent and received by De Leon concerning specific ideological and party procedure disputes with the Socialist Labor Party in the form of typewritten and handwritten correspondence as well as letters clipped from the letters to the editor column of The Daily People and Weekly People. Correspondents include such party notables as Daniel De Leon and Arnold Petersen. Also included is a political allegory of the class struggle written by Solon De Leon and entitled "Step At A Time And Something Now."

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 50 Clippings from Daily People and  Weekly People concerning the minutes of the SLP with reference to De Leon
1913
Box: 1 Folder : 51 Correspondence: Solon De Leon to Daniel De Leon
1912-1913
Box: 1 Folder : 51A Correspondence: Solon De Leon to "Helena"
Jun 20, 1964
Box: 1 Folder : 52 Correspondence: Solon De Leon to SLP leadership (Petersen, et al)
1912
Box: 1 Folder : 53 Correspondence: Solon De Leon to SLP leadership (Petersen, et al)
1913
Box: 1 Folder : 54 Correspondence: Solon De Leon to SLP leadership (Petersen, et al)
1914
Box: 1 Folder : 55 Essay: "Step-At-A-Time And Something Now,"
ca.1913
Box: 1 Folder : 56 Johnson, Oakley C.: Correspondence re Carl Reeve's The Life and Times of Daniel De Leon (1972)
1969-1970
Box: 1 Folder : 57 Writings By and About Daniel De Leon: a Bibliography / Oakley C. Johnson & Carl Reeve (26 pp)
1966

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Box
2
 

Series 8: 2015 Accretion, 1920-1980

Scope and Content Note

This series contains additional correspondence and papers related to Solon De Leon's involvement in labor organizing and education. Correspondence ranges from personal letters from friends spanning several decades to more formal correspondence with organizations with which De Leon was affiliated, including the Rand School of Social Science, League for Industrial Democracy, and the Socialist Labor Party. These records also contains a number of teaching materials related to classes De Leon taught to union workers. These materials also contain some of De Leon's personal writing including plays, sketches, and short stories. It also contains a number of biographical materials related to his father Daniel De Leon.

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