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Guide to the Francis Franklin Papers TAM 182

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Peter Filardo

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 27, 2018
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Title: Francis Franklin Papers
Dates: 1920-1985
Abstract: The Francis Franklin Marxist Historical-Philisophical Manuscripts, 1920-1985 is composed of the unpublished writings of Francis Franklin. Franklin, born in Virginia the son of a Baptist minister, was a communist historian and student of philosphy. He engaged in political activities in the Lynchburg area, 1932-34, after joining the Communist Party in November, 1932. Franklin was expelled from the Party in 1949. The collection includes: Franklin's writings regarding the place of dialectical materialism in history; materials that describe his activity in the Communist Party, 1932-1949; and autobiographical sketches, fiction, poetry, student essays, etc., written from 1920-1933.
Quantity: 6 Linear Feet (6 boxes)
Location: Materials stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu at least two business days prior to research visit.
Call Phrase: TAM 182

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Historical/Biographical Note

Francis Franklin (1908-1994), born and raised in Virginia and the son of a Baptist minister, was a communist historian and student of philosphy. He attended the University of Richmond, 1926-29, contracted tuberculosis and spent part of 1929-30 at Blue Ridge Sanitorium in Charlottesville, Virginia. Franklin taught high school and engaged in political activities in the Lynchburg area, 1932-34, and joined the Communist Party in November, 1932. He attended the University of Virginia, 1934-37, later obtaining a MA in Philosophy (with a thesis on Spinoza), and also engaged in political activity in the Deep South. Franklin moved to New York and was the Education Director of the Young Communist League from 1937-39. During 1939-1941 he taught classes organized by F. Brown, the Communist Party's Organizational Secretary, and worked as an assistant to V.J. Jerome, editor of The Communist. Franklin was an instructor at the Workers School (1942-43), and at the Jefferson School of Social Science (1944-47). In 1944, his popular front history, Rise of the American Nation, 1789-1824was published by International Publishers. Franklin also published articles in the New Masses and other Party publications.

In the period following the June, 1945 ouster of Earl Browder as head of the Communist Party, Franklin was one of those who felt the Party had not gone far enough in repudiating Browder's policies, actively campaigned for a change in the Party's policy, and was expelled from the Communist Party on October 10, 1949. Franklin devoted the next thrity-five years to study and writing on the history of philosophy and dialectical materialism, to which he gave the working title "The place of dialectical materialism in the history of human thought as a whole and its role in the general history of humanity." Throughout this period, he was supported and assisted by his wife Anna May Franklin, who typed his manuscripts. Franklin died in 1994.

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    Scope and Content Note

    The collection contains the unpublished writings of Francis Franklin, twenty-eight portfolios organized into three series: I. Philosophical Writings; II. Communist Party Writings; III. Personal Writings. Portfolios 1-15 contain his philosophical writings, to which he gave the working title "The place of dialectical materialism in the history of human thought as a whole and its role in the general history of humanity." Portfolios 16-25 contain works written during Franklin's activity in the Communist Party, 1932-1949. Portfolios 26-28 contain autobiographical sketches, fiction, poetry, student essays, etc., written during Franklin's youth and early adulthood, 1920-1933. A brief (2 pp.) box contents listing of the portfolio titles and contents follows. Also available, in the Tamiment Archivist's files on the Franklin papers are: (1) a more extended (19 pp.) description of each of the three sections, written by Franklin, and (2) detailed descriptions of the contents of each of the portfolios, totalling some 125+ pages. In box 6, following portfolio 28, are several envelopes containing unpublished and published writings of Franklin. These are likely to be duplicates of items in the portfolios. Separated from the collection, for addition to the Library's serials holdings, is a complete set of Towards Socialism, a serial written by Franklin during the period leading up to his expulsion from the CPUSA on October 10, 1949, on behalf of the Bill Haywood Club, the name taken by a group of several expelles from Franklin's Greenwich Village, New York City, Communist Party club.

    Arrangement

    The collection contains the unpublished writings of Francis Franklin, twenty-eight portfolios organized into three series: I. Philosophical Writings; II. Communist Party Writings; III. Personal writings.

    Folders are generally arranged chronologically within each series.

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    Access Points

    Subject Names

    • Franklin, Francis.
    • Marx, Karl, 1818-1883
    • Franklin, Anna May

    Document Type

    • Manuscripts for publication.
    • Biographies.
    • Articles.
    • Essays.
    • Manuscripts (document genre)
    • Clippings (information artifacts)

    Subject Organizations

    • Communist Party of the United States of America

    Subject Topics

    • Communism -- United States.
    • Dialectical materialism.
    • Philosophy, Marxist.
    • Historical materialism.

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    Administrative Information

    Conditions Governing Access

    Materials are open without restrictions.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by Anna May Franklin, widow of Francis Franklin, were transferred to New York University upon her death in 1999. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive. Please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu.

    Preferred Citation

    Published citations should take the following form:

    Identification of item, date; Francis Franklin Papers; TAM 182; box number; folder number;
    Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
    Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
    70 Washington Square South
    New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

    Related Material at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

    The Jefferson School of Social Science (New York, N.Y.) Records and Indexes (Tamiment 005)

    Separated Material

    Separated from the collection, for addition to the Library's serials holdings, is a complete set of Towards Socialism, a serial written by Franklin from 1949.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Donated by Anna May Franklin in 1996; additional materials were donated in 2009. The accession number associated with this gift is 1996.006.

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    Container List

    Series I: Philosophical Writings [Division I: My Writings (Portfolios 1 - 15)]

    Scope and Contents note

    "To which I have recently given the title "The place of dialectical materialism in the history of human thought as a whole and its role in the general history of humanity."

    Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
    Box: 1 Folder : 1 Essays on anthropology
    undated
    Box: 1 Folder : 2 Essays on clans and tribal societies
    undated
    Box: 1 Folder : 3 Essays on the disintegration of clan and tribal communism
    undated
    Box: 1 Folder : 4 Works dealing with the ruling class religions of the ancient slave civilizations
    undated
    Box: 1 Folder : 5 The essential nature of philosophy as distinct from non-philosophical thought
    undated
    Box: 1 Folder : 6 The age of philosophical enlightenment in ancient India
    undated
    Box: 2 Folder : 7 The history of pre-Platonic philosphy among the Greeks
    undated
    Box: 2 Folder : 8 Problems concerning the origins and histories of the earliest religious philosophies
    undated
    Box: 2 Folder : 9 New and popular religious movements of the oppressed masses and new religious trends of the ruling classes during the later centuries of ancient history
    undated
    Box: 2 Folder : 10 The revolutionary transition from ancient slavery to midieval feudalism
    undated
    Box: 2 Folder : 11 The rise of the bourgeois and bourgeois-democratic revolutionary struggles against medieval feudalism
    undated
    Box: 3 Folder : 12 How Marx and Engels developed...the philosophy of dialectical materialism, the social sciencesof historical materialism and political economy and the program and organizational principles of scientific communism
    undated
    Box: 3 Folder : 13 The place of dialectical materialism within the history of philosophy as a whole
    undated
    Box: 3 Folder : 14 The role of philosophy in history
    undated
    Box: 3 Folder : 15 The tasks which now confront philosophy and the sciences
    undated

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    Series II: Communist Party Writings [Division II: My Writings (Portfolios 16 - 25)]:

    Scope and Contents note

    "Works written during my years of activity in the Communist Party of the U.S.A., i.e. from November, 1932, through October 10, 1949. Also writings on contemporary social, economic, political and a few other subjects written during the years from October, 1949 until the present."

    Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
    Box: 3 Folder : 16 Works written in Virginia between 1932 and September, 1934, while I was teaching in village high schools and engaging in organizational and educational activities in Lynchburg, at the University of Virginia and also in Charlottesville, Richmond and Roanoke
    1932-1934
    Box: 4 Folder : 17 Works written in Virginia between September, 1934 and July, 1937, while I was doing graduate work in philosphy at the University of Virginia and while I was engaged in organizational activities in the deep south.
    1934-1937
    Box: 4 Folder : 18 Works written during my years as National Educational Directof in the national office of the Young Communist League in New York, 1937-1939.
    1937-1939
    Box: 4 Folder : 19 Works written during 1939-1941 when I taught classes organized by F. Brown, National Organizational Secretary of the CPUSA; worked as assistant to V.J. Jerome, editor of The Communist; commenced work on "The history of the U.S.A., vol. I" (enclosed); and completed a work on Spinoza for my M.A. at the University of Virginia (also enclosed)
    1939-1941
    Box: 4 Folder : 20 Works written during 1942 to May, 1945, while I was intstructor in the Workers School of New York and during my first two years as instructor at the Jefferson School of Social Science. - "The rise of the American Nation, 1789-1824" (enclosed), published in 1943. - Other writings on American history and on other subjects published in Party publications (enclosed).
    1942-1945
    Box: 4 Folder : 21 Outlines and notes prepared for classes and lectures at the Workers School, Jefferson School and elsewhere between 1939 and the latter part of 1947.
    1939-1947
    Box: 5 Folder : 22 Writings after the appearance in the USA in May, 1945 [...of the Duclos letter] through the summer of 1946
    1945-1946
    Box: 5 Folder : 23 Writings after the appearance in the USA in May, 1945 [...of the Duclos letter] between the summer of 1946 through February, 1948, and ending with my "Open letter to the membership of the Communist Party of the U.S.A." (enclosed)
    1946-1948
    Box: 5 Folder : 24 Complete set of all 13 issues of the bulletin Toward Socialism, published from May 1, 1948 to October 10, 1949; also a few other writings of the same period.
    1948-1949
    Box: 5 Folder : 25 Essays on contemporary and other miscellaneous subjects written after 1949
    1949 , undated

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    Series III: Personal writings [Division III: My Writings (Portfolios 26 - 28)]

    Scope and Contents note

    Autobiographical sketches and works written during my boyhood and youth from 1920-1933.

    Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
    Box: 5 Folder : 26 Autobiographical sketches dealing with different stages of my philosophical and general theoretical development, my studies and activities.
    1920-1933
    Box: 6 Folder : 27 Ficton, poetry and other works written between 1922 and 1931; synopses of works which were planned but only partially written; notes containing directions on how to write works which were merely conceived, but never commenced.
    1922-1931
    Box: 6 Folder : 28 Essays and various papers on philosophy, psychology, social and other questions, written at the University of Richmond, 1926-1929; also a few written at Big Island, Va.; at Hargrave Military Academy, Chatham, Va.; and at Blue Ridge Sanatorium, Charlottesville, Va., 1929-1933.
    1926-1933
    Box: 6 Folder : 29 Several envelopes containing unpublished and published writings of Franklin. These are likely to be duplicates of items in the portfolios.
    undated

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