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Guide to the Norman Thomas Papers TAM.423

Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY, 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive

Collection processed by Tamiment staff

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on September 02, 2014
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Edited by Maggie Schreiner to reflect updated administrative information  , September 2014

Descriptive Summary

 
Creator: Thomas, Norman, 1884-1968
Title: Norman Thomas Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1925-1969
Abstract: Norman Mattoon Thomas (1884–1968), was a leading American socialist, pacifist, author, and six-time presidential candidate for president on the ticket of the Socialist Party of America, between 1928 and 1948. The collection contains correspondence, including some in his capacity as co-executive director of the League for Industrial Democracy, unpublished political and biographical writings, biographical sketches of his grandfather, Stephen Mattoon, Daniel Bell’s 1954 correspondence with socialist luminaries around the world in preparation for the celebration of Thomas’s seventieth birthday, and one typescript each by Broadus Mitchell and Emil Rieve, president of the American Federation of Hosiery Workers.
Quantity: 0.25 linear feet (1 box)
Call Phrase: TAM.423

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Historical/Biographical Note

Norman Mattoon Thomas (1884–1968), was a leading American socialist, pacifist, author, and six-time presidential candidate on the Socialist Party of America ticket, between 1928 and 1948. Born in Marion, Ohio, he was a graduate of Princeton University, attended Union Theological Seminary, where he became a socialist, and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1911. Thomas opposed the United States' entry into the First World War, a position that earned him the disapproval of many in his socialist circle and in his church. He founded a magazine, The World Tomorrow, in 1918. In 1921-22 he was associate editor of  The Nation, and, also in 1922, he became co-director of the League for Industrial Democracy. He was later one of the founders of the National Civil Liberties Bureau (the precursor of the American Civil Liberties Union) and of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. At first Thomas was outspoken in opposing the U.S. involvement in the Second World War, and he served on the board of the  America First Committee. However, once the United States was attacked by the Japanese, he supported U.S. war effort, while opposing the war-time internment of Japanese Americans. Thomas frequently spoke on the difference between democratic socialism and Communism; his early admiration for the Russian Revolution and later sympathy with Popular Front activity evolved into fervent anti-Communism. He wrote several books, among them his defense of World War I conscientious objectors,  Is Conscience a Crime? (1927) and  Socialism Re-examined (1963).

Sources:

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Thomas (August 22, 2008)

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Scope and Content Note

This small collection contains some of Norman Thomas’ correspondence, including some in his capacity as co-executive director of the League for Industrial Democracy, unpublished political and biographical writings, including “Forty Years of Communism,” a 1939 radio speech on the revision of the Neutrality Act, a statement to the membership of the New York City Socialist Party, circa 1936, an undated memorandum on Local 306, Motion Picture Operators, biographical sketches of his grandfather, Stephen Mattoon (provided by the Johnson C. Smith University Library, North Carolina), Daniel Bell’s 1954 correspondence with socialist luminaries around the world in preparation for the celebration of Thomas’ seventieth birthday, and one typescript each by Broadus Mitchell and Emil Rieve, President of the American Federation of Hosiery Workers.

Arrangement

The folders are arranged alphabetically.

The files are grouped into 1 series:

  1. I, Papers, 1925-1969.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Bell, Daniel, 1919-2011
  • Mattoon, Stephen.
  • Mitchell, Broadus, 1892-1988
  • Rieve, Emil, 1892-1975.
  • Thomas, Norman, 1884-1968

Document Type

  • Autobiographies.
  • Correspondence.
  • Manuscripts for publication.
  • Speeches.

Subject Organizations

  • International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators of the United States and Canada. Local 306 (New York, N.Y.).
  • League for Industrial Democracy.
  • Socialist Party (U.S.).

Subject Topics

  • Pacifists -- United States.
  • Socialism -- United States.
  • Socialists -- United States.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Open for research without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

The Tamiment Library does not have information about who owns copyright to this collection. Materials in this collection are expected to enter the public domain in 2038. The Tamiment Library is not authorized to grant permission to publish or reproduce materials from this collection.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Norman Thomas Papers; TAM 423; 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 note

A portion of the material was donated by Daniel Bell; the provenance of the remainder is unknown. The accession number associated with this collecion is 1950.238.

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Container List

Series I: Papers, 1925-1969

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Bell, Daniel: Correspondence
Nov 1947
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Correspondence, General
1946-1964
Box: 1 Folder : 3 “Forty Years of Communism” (typescript, 18 pp.)
1958
Box: 1 Folder : 4 “From a Book Without a Name: For My Family, Not for Publication” (typescript, 21 pp.)
circa 1947
Box: 1 Folder : 5 “From Unpublished Reminiscences of Norman Thomas” (typescript, 3 pp.)
Aug 24, 1947
Box: 1 Folder : 6 League for Industrial Democracy: Correspondence
1925-1931
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Mattoon, Stephen [grandfather of NT]: Biographical Sketches Provided by Johnson C. Smith University Library (North Carolina)
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Memorandum on Local # 306, Motion Picture Operators
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Mitchell, Broadus: “Sabotage upon Civilization”
circa 1935
Box: 1 Folder : 10 “Norman Thomas in Final Appeal” (Socialist National Campaign Committee)
Nov 6, 1928
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Printed Ephemera: Card Announcing a Debate between Norman Thomas and Paul Douglas on the Topic “Should America Follow the Policy of Collective Security?”
Feb 24, 1938
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Radio Speech on Revision of Neutrality Act
Oct 13, 1939
Box: 1 Folder : 13 “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men”
circa 1939
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Rieve, Emil (president, American Federation of Hosiery Workers): “Planned Consumption and Production”
circa 1934
Box: 1 Folder : 15 “Security versus Abundance”
circa 1935
Box: 1 Folder : 16 70th Birthday Celebration: Daniel Bell Correspondence
Oct 5, 1954-Dec 20, 1954 , undated
Box: 1 Folder : 17 “Thomas Supports the War”
Dec 1, 1941
Box: 1 Folder : 18 “To the Membership of New York City [Socialist Party]”: Statement by Norman Thomas
circa 1936

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