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Michael Gold Manuscripts on Peter V. Cacchione TAM 339

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

Collection processed by Peter Filardo

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 23, 2018 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Title: Michael Gold Manuscripts on Peter V. Cacchione
Dates [inclusive]: circa 1948-1974
Quantity: 0.75 Linear Feet 3 Boxes
Call Phrase: TAM 339

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Historical/Biographical Note

Michael (Mike) Gold (1894-1967) was a noted Jewish Communist author and journalist. Peter V. Cacchione (1897-1947) was an Italian American Communist politician raised in Sayre, a Pennsylvania mining community, head of the Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) section of the Communist Party, and who was elected to New York's City Council in 1941, where he served until his death.

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Scope and Contents

The collection contains three (typed) manuscripts by Michael Gold, each about Peter V. Cacchione. The first two items are typed versions (127 leaves, 99 leaves) of The Honorable Pete, a two-act play (ca. 1953). Each version prominently features the story of Pete Panto (1911–July 14, 1939), the New York City rank-and-file longshore activist murdered in 1939. However, in the longer version he appears as "Rocky Greco," while in the shorter version he appears under his own name. The third (and untitled) item is a photocopy (apparently of a carbon copy) of an untitled, pamphlet-length biographical essay (ca. 1948; 49 leaves) whose sentence reads "Pete was a little guy who made a little history."

Two scenes from "The Honorable Pete," Act I, Scene III (young Pete is leaving his hometown of Sayre, Pa.) and scene VII (WWI veteran Pete at the Bonus March in Washington, DC), were published as "Councilman Pete" in Looking Forward: Sections of Works in Progress by Authors of International Publishers on the Occasion of Its Thirtieth Anniversary, pp. 143-153 (New York: International Publishers, 1954). The manuscript of the 127 pp. version is accompanied by a copy of a letter (13 July, 1974) from Gold's widow, Elizabeth Humeston, to Simon Gerson, in which she requests a copy of the untitled pamphlet (described below), and in which she states: "In 1948, we were in France [through 1952]. Later, Mike wrote his life, in the form of a play." This suggests that The Honorable Pete was actually written ca. 1953. (Note, however, that Alan Wald, on p. 53 of his Exiles from a Future Time: The Forging of the Mid-Twentieth Century Literary Left, states "in 1948 he [Gold] released parts of a play based on the life of…Pete Cacchione…"). The two versions described above are also among the thirteen versions of "The Honorable Pete" in the Mike Gold (Irwin Granich) and Mike Folsom Papers, housed in the Labadie Collection at the Special Collections Library, University of Michigan.

For the third (and untitled) item, two virtually identical texts (by Gold), for which this manuscript appears to have been a precursor, were later published. The first was titled "Making of a Communist: Pete Cacchione," Masses & Mainstream 3, no. 11, (Nov. 1950): 76-87. The second, titled "The Honorable Pete" (an essay, not a play), was published in  The Mike Gold Reader, pp. 146-159 (New York: International Publishers, 1954), with the date of authorship given as 1950, presumably in reference to the "Making of a Communist: Pete Cacchione." This manuscript is accompanied by a memorandum (10 March, 1974) from Simon W. Gerson (longtime Communist Party New York State legislative director, and Cacchione's friend and campaign manager), that was apparently addressed to International Publishers, the Communist Party, USA publishing firm. In this memo, Gerson critically evaluates the manuscript, suggests that what is needed is a full-length biography of Cacchione, and announces his intention to write a such a book, the subsequently-published  Pete: The Story of Peter V. Cacchione, New York's First Communist Councilman (New York: International Publishers, 1976).


Arranged alphabetically

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Cacchione, Peter V., 1897-1947
  • Gerson, Simon W.
  • Panto, Pete, 1911-1939 -- |v Fiction
  • Gerson, Deborah

Document Type

  • Plays (performed works)
  • Manuscripts for publication.
  • Scripts (documents)

Subject Topics

  • Stevedores -- New York (State) -- New York -v Drama.
  • Communists -- United States -v Drama.
  • Italian American communists |v Drama.
  • City council members -- New York (State) -- New York -v Drama.

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive 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 circa 1948-1974, are expected to enter the public domain in 2094.

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

Peter V. Cacchione Papers (Tamiment 073)

Simon W. Gerson Papers (Tamiment 330)

Mike Gold (Irwin Granich) and Mike Folsom Papers; Labadie Collection at the Special Collections Library, University of Michigan.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were donated by Deborah Gerson in 2005 with the Simon W. and Sophie Gerson Papers, TAM 330. The accession number associated with this gift is 2005.033.

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Container List

Container 1     Title Date
Box: 1 "The Honorable Pete," also includes a letter from Elizabeth Humeston to Simon Gerson (user copy)
circa 1953, 1974
Box: 2 "The Honorable Pete" (user copy)
circa 1953
Box: 3 "Pete was a little guy who made a little history," also includes a memorandum by Simon W. Gerson (original - closed)
circa 1948, 1974

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