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Guide to the American Youth Congress Records TAM 553

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 Meyer Filardo

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 19, 2018 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Title: American Youth Congress Records
Dates [inclusive]: 1938-1941
Abstract: The American Youth Congress Records was an umbrella organization of United States youth advocacy groups, active from 1938-1941. Its intention was to unite these disparate groups under a single voice to promote opportunities for education and civic involvement for Depression-era youth, and to lobby on behalf of the under-21 population which at this time had no voting voice. The collection contains official correspondence, office files (financial reports, dunning letters from creditors, internal memoranda, etc.), and printed promotional material including brochures, posters, flyers, broadsides and fundraising material from a wide variety of pre-World War II youth organizations in the United States, Latin America and Europe.
Quantity: 3.5 Linear Feet in three record cartons and one manuscript box.
Language: Materials are in English and Spanish.
Call Phrase: TAM 553

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Historical/Biographical Note

The American Youth Congress (AYC) was established in 1935 as an umbrella organization of American youth advocacy groups. Its intention was to unite these disparate groups under a single voice to promote opportunities for education and civic involvement for Depression-era youth, and to lobby on behalf of the under-21 population. The AYC won the vocal support of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and established itself as a powerful lobbying entity. Among many other causes, the AYC undertook lobbying efforts on behalf of racial justice, increased federal spending on education, and an end to mandatory participation in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) for male college students. In its final years, with WWII looming, the AYC fought a vigorous battle against the Conscription Act and advocated American neutrality in the war. From its inception the AYC followed a policy of inclusiveness, welcoming youth organizations of all political views to join and contribute. But as its membership grew (the AYC claimed to represent at least 4.5 million citizens in 1938), left-leaning groups such as the American Student Union and the Young Communist League began to comprise the largest block of members, and the leadership of the AYC became increasingly radicalized, until by 1940 many of its upper-level members, including Director Joseph Cadden and Secretary Joseph Lash, also claimed membership in Communist Party front organizations. The AYC came under frequent attack from the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and particularly from the committee chairman Martin Dies, whose 1940 book The Trojan Horse in America was largely an exposé of Communist infiltration in the AYC ranks. Under the pressure of these HUAC attacks, and following its notorious anti-war, anti-Roosevelt rally on the White House lawn in 1940, the AYC lost the support of its few remaining political allies, including Eleanor Roosevelt; by 1941 its influence had all but waned, and the group was effectively disbanded by the end of that year.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection documents in detail the AYC's activities during its final four years (1938-1941), under the directorship of Frances Williams and, later, Joseph Cadden (the most frequent correspondent). It includes an extensive file of correspondence between Cadden and members of the Senate and House of Representatives on legislation including the Conscription Act, the continuing funding of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and support of the Neutrality Act. Of great interest are the extensive files of correspondence with member organizations ranging from municipal boys' clubs and the YMCA on the right, to the Student Union, the Southern Negro Youth Congress, International Labor Defense, and other radical or semi-radical organizations on the left. There is also an extensive file of correspondence relating to the organization of an International Youth Congress in 1941, including correspondence with dozens of youth organizations in Latin America and Europe; much of this correspondence is accompanied by examples of these foreign delegations' publications and promotional materials, most of which are extremely ephemeral newsprint or mimeograph productions. Nearly all are unabashedly anti-Fascist, pro-Marxist in tone and the collected result must represent a nearly unique accumulation of several hundred pieces of International leftist youth propaganda in the years prior to the Second World War. Finally, the archive includes several hundred internal documents, including invoices (often accompanied by increasingly urgent letters from creditors), memoranda, and printed materials reflecting the increasingly deteriorated state of the organization in its final waning years.

Arrangement

The collection has not been arranged by an archivist.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Cadden, Joseph -- |v Correspondence

Document Type

  • Periodicals.
  • Printed ephemera.
  • Newsletters.
  • Financial records
  • Memorandums.
  • Correspondence.
  • Reports.

Subject Organizations

  • American Student Union.
  • American Youth Congress.
  • Southern Negro Youth Congress.
  • International Youth Congress |y (1941).
  • Lorne Bair Rare Books

Subject Topics

  • Peace movements -- United States.
  • Student movements -- United States.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -x Protest movements -- United States.
  • Socialism and youth -- United States.

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Administrative Information

Custodial History

Lorne Bair Rare Books purchased the American Youth Congress office files and correspondence in 2009 from a salvage company at a New York flea market. In 2010, Tamiment Library purchased the collection from Lorne Bair Rare Books.

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 1938-1941, are expected to enter the public domain in 2061.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; American Youth Congress Records; TAM 553; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The collection contains a significant portion of fragile material, as well as some material that is housed in fragile folders, and these materials may require preservation measures prior to being made available for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Lorne Bair Rare Books in 2010. The accession number associated with this gift is 2010.074.

Processing Information

In 2014, the original description provided by Lorne Bair Rare Books was reformatted to EAD.

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Container List

Container 1     Title Date
Box: 1 Congressional Correspondence
1939-1941
Container 1     Title Date
Box: 1 Letter from [Joseph Cadden] to Senator Josh Lee
Sep 21, 1938
Box: 1 Letter from [Joseph Cadden] to Senator Elbert D. Thomas
Oct 5, 1938
Box: 1 Response letter from M. Gross secretary to Senator Lundeen to Joseph Cadden
Sep 30, 1938
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Senator Pat Harrison
Oct 6, 1938
Box: 1 Telegraph from Joseph Cadden to Senator Alva B. Adams
Jan 16, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Representative Vito Marcantonio
Jan 17, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Vito Marcantonio to Joseph Cadden
Jan 18, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Senator Key Pittman
Jan 19, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Representative Bruce Barton
Jan 17, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Bruce Barton to Joseph Cadden
Jan 19, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Joseph Cadden to Bruce Barton
Jan 23, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Senator Lewis B. Schwellenbach
Jan 17, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Senator Lewis B. Schwellenbach to Joseph Cadden
Jan 26, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Senator Ernest Lundeen to Joseph Cadden
Jan 26, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Joseph Cadden to Ernest Lundeen
Jan 30, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Vito Marcantonio to Joseph Cadden
Jan 26, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Representative William H. Larrabee
Feb 2, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Norma Spelrein to Senator Elbert D. Thomas
Feb 7, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from T. Odon Mathews, acting clerk to Committee on Education and Labor, to William W. Hinckley, chairman of American Youth Congress
Feb 18, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Joseph Cadden to T. Odon Mathews
Feb 24, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Harry Seward secretary to Senator Pittman
Mar 10, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from George H. Seward (Harry Seward) to Joseph Cadden
Mar 14, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Senator Key Pittman as suggested by Harry Seward
Mar 15, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Mrs. Edith N. Roger
Mar 15, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Senator Lynn J. Frazier to Helen Hall
Mar 23, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Joseph Cadden to Senator Lynn J. Frazier
Mar 24, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Senator Lynn J. Frazier to Joseph Cadden
Mar 28, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Joseph Cadden to Senator Lynn J. Frazier
Mar 30, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Senator Key Pittman
Apr 7, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Senator Arthur Capper to American Youth Congress
Apr 12, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Senator Key Pittman to Joseph Cadden
Apr 14, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to I. R. Barnes, clerk to House Committee on Foreign Relations
Apr 19, 1939
Box: 1 Telegraph from Joseph Cadden to I. R. Barnes
Apr 18, 1939
Box: 1 Telegraph from I. R. Barnes to Joseph Cadden
Apr 18, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from I. R. Barnes to Joseph Cadden
Apr 13, 1939
Box: 1 Duplicate telegraph from I. R. Barnes to Joseph Cadden
Apr 18, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Senator Key Pittman to Joseph Cadden
Apr 27, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Senator Knute Hill to Joseph Cadden
May 3, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Senator Knute Hill
Apr 29, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Representative Matthew A. Dunn to Joseph Cadden
May 3, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Representative Matthew A. Dunn
Apr 29, 1939
Box: 1 Response letter from Representative Sol Bloom to Joseph Cadden
May 9, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Representative Sol Bloom
Apr 28, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Senator William H. King
Sep 21, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Senator Wmillard E. Tydings
Sep 22, 1939
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Representative Albert J. Engel
Jan 18, 1940
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Representative John M. Houston
Jan 18, 1940
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Representative Harry R. Sheppard
Jan 18, 1940
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Representative Malcolm C. Tarver
Jan 18, 1940
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Representative Butler B. Haret
Jan 18, 1940
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Representative Frank B. Keefe
Jan 18, 1940
Box: 1 Letter from Representative William M. Colmer to Frances M. Williams
Jan 19, 1940
Box: 1 Response letter from Frances M. Williams to Representative William M. Colmer
Mar 2, 1940
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Congressman Wright Patman
Feb 28, 1940
Box: 1 Telegram from Jack McFall to Joseph Cadden
Feb 29, 1940
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Jack McFall
Mar 1, 1940
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to George W. Norris
Mar 19, 1940
Box: 1 Telegram from Senator Walter F. George to Joseph Cadden
Jan 30, 1941
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Senator Arthur Capper
Jan 31, 1941
Box: 1 Response letter from Charles A. Murray, secretary to Committee on Education and Labor, to Joseph Cadden
Jan 31, 1941
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Senator James E. Murray
Jan 31, 1941
Box: 1 Letter from Joseph Cadden to Representative Robert L. Doughton
May 14, 1941
Box: 1 Response letter from Barron K. Grier, clerk to Committee on Ways and Means, to Joseph Cadden
May 16, 1941
Box: 1 Telegraph from Joseph Cadden to Barron K. Grier
May 14, 1941
Box: 1 Telegraph from Frances M. Williams to Representative Frances Walter
Jun 9, 1941
Box: 1 Telegraph from Frances M. Williams to Edith N. Johnson
Jun 16, 1941
Box: 1 Response letter from Edith N. Johnson to Frances M. Williams
Jun 16, 1941
Box: 1 Response letter from Senator Elbert D. Thomas to Frances M. Williams
Aug 6, 1941
Box: 1 Letter from Edward E. Strong to Senator Sheridan Downey
Sep 10, 1941
Box: 1 Letter from Edward E. Strong to Senator Robert R. Reynolds
Sep 10, 1941
Box: 1 Letter from Edward E. Strong to Senator Lister Hill
Sep 10, 1941
Box: 1 Response letter from Senator Sheridan Downey to Edward E. Strong
Sep 11, 1941
Box: 1 15 original letters and 6 carbon
circa 1939-1941

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Box: 1 Press Correspondence: Letters to the Editor, Correspondence
1930s-1940s
Box: 1 Government Correspondence and Publications: Treasury Department Correspondence; Department of Justice Correspondence; State Department Correspondence; State Department Press Release; Secretary of Commerce Correspondence; Attorney General Correspondence; White House Stationery; Weekly List of Selected United States Gov't Publications, No. 13, 15, 16; Pamphlet: Strengthening the National Defense
1941
Box: 1 Mayor La Guardia + other correspondence: La Guardia/Mayor's Office correspondence; Hamilton House Junior League; Other Correspondence; Liberal Survey
1930s-1940s
Box: 1 Broadcasting Correspondence: Correspondence; Broadcasting Schedule; American Youth Commission broadcast times; Cooperation b/n Rural and Urban Youth essays
1930s-1940s
Box: 1 Congressional Bills: Congressional Record; Press Releases; Pamphlets; Correspondence
1930s-1940s
Box: 1 Anti-Poll Tax Documents: Flyers; Bulletin; Correspondence
1930s-1940s
Box: 1 Financial Documents: Petty Cash; Bills/Invoices; Dunning letters from service providers; Expense Reports/notes; Ledgers/Monetary Reports; Tax Statement; Donations; Checks
1930s-1940s
Box: 1 Lina Odena Fund: Correspondence; Bulletins
1930s-1940s
Box: 1 Inter-American Student Conference: Questionnaires (Completed, in Spanish); Blank Questionnaire; Correspondence; Information Packet/Pamphlets
1930s-1940s
Box: 1 Correspondence between American Countries in reference to Inter-American Student Conference: Argentina; Cuba; Mexico; Panama; Brazil; Ecuador; Chile; Costa Rica; Dominican Republic; Colombia; Jamaica; Paraguay; Uruguay; Nicaragua; Guatemala; Honduras; Bolivia; El Salvador; Venezuela; Puerto Rico
1930s-1940s
Box: 1 Inter-American Press Clippings: Photos (Frances Williams pictured with other ppl); Banquet Invitation (Spanish)
1930s-1940s
Box: 1 Latin/South American Newspapers: Cultura (Ano 13, No. 112 + Ano 14, No 115) 2 issues;  Boletim da C.E.B (Ano 4, No 24-26 +Ano 4, No 30-32 + Ano 5, No 33-36);  Avanzada (Ano 1, no 16 + No 21 + No 24 + No 25 + No 26);  Juventud de Espana (Ano 1 No. 1 + Ano 2 No. 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20);   O Lider (Ano 1 No. 1);  AECI (Asociacion Estudiantil de Correspondencia Interamericana) (Ano 1 No. 1);  FEC Cartel (Ano 1 No 19); Unidade; Roja Estrelia (Ano 14); La Defensa (Ano 5, No 383);  Espana Democratica (Ano 5, No 207)
1941-1942
Box: 1 Latin/South American Magazines: Revista Agronomica (Ano 5, No 45)
1930s-1940s
Box: 1 Latin/South American Pamphlets: Unidos por Cuba y la Juventud; U.F.E.H. Bulletin (No. 1 and 2);  Manifiesto de la Union Federal de Estudiantes Hispanos; Camp Vernet Press Release (In English)
1930s-1940s
Box: 1 Bulletins/Newsletters: Newscast; University Labor Federation Bulletin, No. 7-9, 11-16;  Youth for Victory, No.1; Department of Labor; Labor Information Bulletin, Volume 8, No 3; Division of Public Contracts, Bulletins 231-234
1941
Box: 1 Fundraising: Letters (none signed); Pamphlets; Return cards
1930s-1940s
Box: 1 Studies, Essays, Papers: AYC Creed; Vassar Peace Pact; Civil Liberties Manual Draft/Documents; Miscellaneous Documentation
1930s-1940s
Box: 1 Publicity Proposals/Press Releases
1930s-1940s
Box: 2 Foreign Policy Association: Subscription pamphlets; Foreign Policy reports and bulletins; Form Letters; Membership forms for students; Timeline: Teachers Institute on International Affairs ; Branch Officers and Chairmen of Special Committees; Institute on International Affairs Flyers; Press Releases; Other Documentation: Flyers/Bulletins/Questionnaires; Event Flyers and Invitations
1930s-1940s
Box: 2 American Peace Mobilization: Correspondence; Press Release ; Pamphlets/posters; Meeting minutes and information items
1930s-1940s
Box: 2 New York Conference for Inalienable Rights: Correspondence; Bulletins/Newsletters; Press Release/Statement
1930s-1940s
Box: 2 Posters, Logos, Miscellaneous Prints
1930s-1940s
Box: 2 International Youth Congress (Held in Mexico City)
1941
Box: 2 More International Youth Congress Correspondence and Roster
1930s-1940s
Box: 2 Event Correspondence, Flyers, and Programs
1930s-1940s
Box: 2 New York Peace Committee for April 6th Correspondence
1930s-1940s
Box: 2 Rural Youth Commission: Rural Outlook Newsletter; Meeting Minutes; Press releases/Misc Documentation; Correspondence
1930s-1940s
Box: 2 Canadian Youth Congress: Correspondence; Pamphlets/Petitions/Other Documentation
1930s-1940s
Box: 2 Youth Congresses/Councils/Clubs of NYC/NY and surrounding areas: East Side Youth Congress, Remembering Congressman Edelstein bulletin; Park West Youth Congress; Brooklyn Youth Federation; Bay Ridge Youth Council; West Side Youth Council; Harlem Youth Congress; Crown Heights Youth Council; East Side Federation of Social Clubs; New Haven Conference of Youth;
1930s-1940s
Box: 2 Pamphlets Published by American Youth Congress
1930s-1940s
Box: 2 Pamphlets Published outside of American Youth Congress
1930s-1940s
Box: 2 Other Youth Organizations: American Jewish Congress; American Student Union; California Youth Legislature; International Student Services; New York National Youth Association (N.Y.A.); Student Defenders of Democracy; Young Men's Vocational Foundation; Young Austria in Great Britain; Youth Relief and Refugee Council; YWCA/YMCA; Massachusetts Youth Council; American Youth Congress of Chicago; World Student Association; New York Youth Congress; Southern Negro Youth Congress
1930s-1940s
Box: 2 Civil Rights Organizations: NAACP; American Committee Protection of Foreign Born; National Committee for People's Rights; National Federation for Constitutional Liberties; Civil Liberties Commission; Miscellaneous Organizations; International Labor Defense; American Labor Party
1930s-1940s
Box: 3 Military Welfare (Several Organizations): Army Welfare Committee
1930s-1940s
Box: 3 Publications - Newspapers: University Forward (Volume 3, No 11, Volume 4, Nos 13 + 17, Volume 7);  On Dit (Volume 11, Nos 1, 3-8);  University of Cape Town (Volume VII, No 13 + 14) ;  Salient (Volume 4, No 1);  In Fact (Volume III, No 25);  The Quoddy Eagle (Volume III, No 13); Random Bulletins/Newspaper Clippings
1930s-1940s
Box: 3 International Correspondence/Documentation: Australia/New Zealand; Africa; Palestine; Asia; India (including letter from Rajni Patel); Correspondence; Britain/International Youth Rally in London; France; Norway; Sweden; USSR
1930s-1940s
Box: 3 Correspondence Regarding World Youth Congress
1930s-1940s
Box: 3 Annual Youth Congresses: Correspondence; Flyers and Pamphlets; Manual
1930s-1940s
Box: 3 American Youth Congress Bulletins and Meeting Minutes
1930s-1940s
Box: 3 American Youth Congress National Office: Correspondence, Flyers/Pamphlets
1930s-1940s
Box: 3 American Youth Fellowship Fund: Press Releases, Flyers/Pamphlets, Correspondence
1930s-1940s
Box: 3 Research on American Youth Congress: Correspondence
1930s-1940s
Box: 3 Mr. Youth Goes to Washington (American Youth Congress Institute)
Feb 9-12, 1940
Box: 4 Interfaith Commission
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 Interfaith Commission
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 Greetings: Telegrams, Letters
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 Trade Union: Pamphlets, Flyers, Bulletins, Press Releases, Correspondence
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 Teachers Union: Pamphlets/Flyers
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 Handwritten Notes/Checklists
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 Frances Williams: Map of Salzburg, Form Letters
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 Mailing Lists
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 Revolutionary War School Project
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 Youth
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 Speakers Service
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 The People's Lobby + American Youth Congress Stationery
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 Christian Missionary Society
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 United American Artists Anti-War Protest
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 United States Junior Chamber of Commerce
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 Roswell Perry Rosengren
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 United Synagogue of America
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 Housing
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 Other Correspondence
1930s-1940s
Box: 4 Other Posters, Flyers, and Pamphlets
1930s-1940s

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