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Guide to the Conference on Democracy in Education Records TAM 221

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 Tamiment Staff

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 03, 2018
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Conference on Democracy in Education Records
Dates [inclusive]: 1949-2000, (Bulk 1949-1950)
Dates [bulk]: 1949-1950
Abstract: The Conference on Democracy in Education (CDE) was originally scheduled to be held in December, 1949 at Columbia University, but the organizers were denied space, apparently because of the alleged Communist affiliations of its original organizers. The conference was eventually held at Midwood High School (adjacent to Brooklyn College) on March 11-12, 1950, after control of the conference organizing process had passed to a collection of liberals, socialists and Trotskyists, with Roger Baldwin giving the keynote address. While the CDE was conceived as an ongoing entity, political differences led to the executive committee's decision, on May 20, 1950, to dissolve the Conference. The collection contains correspondence, minutes, reports, publicity materials, newspaper clippings, and other documents relating to the organization of the CDE and its aftermath. There is also a paper by Michael McGiffert about the conference as well as McGiffert's later reseach notes.
Quantity: 0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)
Call Phrase: TAM 221

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Historical/Biographical Note

Michael McGiffert was a student at Union Theological Seminary during the 1949-1950 academic year, and he played an important role in the organization and convening of the Conference on Democracy in Education (CDE) along with his then-wife, Elizabeth McGiffert. The CDE was originally scheduled to be held in December 1949 at Columbia University, but the organizers were denied space, apparently because of the alleged Communist affiliations of its original organizers. The conference was eventually held at Midwood High School (adjacent to Brooklyn College) on March 11-12, 1950, and was attended by over 400 student and youth delegates from the NYC area. In the interim, control of the conference organizing process had passed to a collection of liberals, socialists and Trotskyists, with Roger Baldwin giving the keynote address. There were three panels, each dealing with an issue in higher education: economic problems, discrimination, and academic freedom. A fourth panel/topic, militarism and the Cold War, appears to have been dropped as the political complexion of the conference evolved. While the CDE was conceived as an ongoing entity, political differences led to the executive committee's decision, on May 20, 1950, to dissolve the Conference.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection contains correspondence, minutes, reports, publicity materials, newspaper clippings, and other documents relating to the organization of the CDE and its aftermath. There is also an unpublished paper by Michael McGiffert about the conference, "Techniques of Community Organization as Seen in the Conference on Democracy in Higher Education," apparently written in May 1950, for one of his classes at Union Theological Seminary. McGiffert's later research notes contain a chronology and a list of key people and their affiliations. In addition to Michael and Elizabeth McGiffert, Al Cain of the NAACP figures significantly in the collection. Prominent figures who sent letters declining to participate or endorse include Bayard Rustin and Stanley Isaacs. Participants who later attained prominence include Marxist academic Bogdan Denitch, and financier Bernard (Bernie) Cornfeld.

Arrangement

Folders are arranged alphabetically.

The files are grouped into one series:

Missing Title

  1. I, General Files

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • McGiffert, Michael.
  • Denitch, Bogdan Denis
  • Rustin, Bayard, 1912-1987
  • Isaacs, Stanley M. (Stanley Myer), 1882-1962
  • Cornfeld, Bernie, 1927-
  • McGiffert, Michael.

Document Type

  • Correspondence.
  • Reports.
  • Minutes (administrative records)
  • Clippings (information artifacts)

Subject Organizations

  • Conference on Democracy in Education (Brooklyn, N.Y.: March, 1950)

Subject Topics

  • Socialists -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Trotskyists |z New York (State) |z New York.
  • Communists -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Academic freedom -- United States.
  • Education, Higher -- United States -x Congresses.
  • Discrimination in higher education -- United States.

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright (and related rights to publicity and privacy) to materials in this collection created by Michael McGiffert was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; 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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were donated by Michael McGiffert in 2000. The accession number associated with this collection in 2000.006.

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Container List

Series I: General Files.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Conference on Democracy in Education (CDE): Correspondence
1949-1950
Box: 1 Folder : 2 CDE: Minutes
1949
Box: 1 Folder : 3 CDE: Minutes
Jan 1950-Mar 4, 1950
Box: 1 Folder : 4 CDE: Minutes and Other Documents
Mar 1950
Box: 1 Folder : 5 CDE: Minutes, Post-Conference
Mar 1950 , Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 6 CDE: Organizations and People
1949-1950
Box: 1 Folder : 7 CDE: Press Coverage
1949-1950
Box: 1 Folder : 8 CDE: Publicity
1949-1950
Box: 1 Folder : 9 McGiffert, Michael: Research Correspondence and Notes on CDE
1974-2000
Box: 1 Folder : 10 McGiffert, Michael: "Techniques of Community Organization as Seen in the Conference on Democracy in Higher Education".
May 19, 1950

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