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Guide to the James W. Ford Papers and Photographs TAM 588

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
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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 22, 2018
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Title: James W. Ford Papers and Photographs
Dates [inclusive]: 1920s-1989
Abstract: James W. Ford (1893-1957) was a prominent African American Communist of Jamaican origin and the vice-presidential candidate of the Communist Party in 1932, 1936, and 1940. He was a delegate to the Profintern Congress in Moscow in 1928, organized the first International Conference of Negro Workers in Hamburg, Germany in 1930, and became the editor of the Negro Worker, published by the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers, established at the Conference. After World War II his role in the Party diminished, however, he chaired the Bedford-Stuyvesant Party organization, and was executive director of the National Committee to Defend Negro Leadership, a Party group set up to support Smith Act defendants. The papers include correspondence, inclcuding items from Ralph Bunche, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois, and Paul Robeson, memorabilia, including registration cards for international Communist conferences, obituaries and condolence cards sent to his widow Reba, and a specially bound personal copy of his book The Negro and the Democratic Front (1938). The photographs include a group shot of notable Communists taken in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, Angelo Herndon being carried on the shoulders of Ford and others, images of Communist conferences, of Ford in Mexico, campaigning in 1936, head shots and family portraits.
Quantity: 0.75 Linear Feet in 2 manuscript boxes.
Language: Materials are in English
Call Phrase: TAM 588

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Historical/Biographical Note

James W. Ford (1893-1957) was a prominent African American Communist of Jamaican origin and the vice-presidential candidate of the Communist Party in 1932, 1936, and 1940. He was a delegate to the Profintern Congress in Moscow in 1928, organized the first International Conference of Negro Workers in Hamburg, Germany in 1930, and became the editor of the Negro Worker, published by the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers, established at the Conference. After World War II his role in the Party diminished, however, he chaired the Bedford-Stuyvesant Party organization, and was executive director of the National Committee to Defend Negro Leadership, a Party group set up to support Smith Act defendants.

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Scope and Content Note

The papers include correspondence, inclcuding items from Charlotta Bass, Ralph Bunche, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois, Ferdinand Smith and Paul Robeson, a telegram from Cyril Briggs of the Crusder News Service to Ford in Paris, requesting he go to Spain to write a series of articles on the Spanish Civil War, a letter of introduction from the French Communist Party to the Spanish Communist Party, memorabilia, including registration cards for international Communist conferences, including the 6th Congress of the Communist International (1928), the 5th Congress of the Red International of Labor Unions (1930), the Conference International pour l'Enfance Africaine (1931), obituaries and condolence cards sent to his widow Reba, the text of a speech by William Patterson given at Ford's funeral, and a specially bound personal copy of his book The Negro and the Democratic Front (1938). The photographs include a group shot of notable Communists taken in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, including Harry Haywood and Robert Minor, a picture of Angelo Herndon being carried on the shoulders of Ford and others, images from Communist conferences, of Ford in Mexico, campaigning in 1936, head shots and family portraits.

Arrangement

Orangized into two alphabetically arranged series:

Series I, Papers

Series II, Photographs.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Bunche, Ralph J. (Ralph Johnson), 1904-1971
  • Jones, Claudia, 1915-1964.
  • Ford, Reba
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
  • Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976
  • Haywood, Harry, 1898-1985
  • Smith, Ferdinand
  • Briggs, Cyril V. (Cyril Valentine), 1888-1966
  • Bryant, Solliah
  • Ford, James W., 1893-1957
  • Bryant, Solliah

Document Type

  • Identity cards.
  • Obituaries.
  • Correspondence.
  • Greeting cards.
  • Photographs.
  • Correspondence.

Subject Topics

  • African American communists -- History.
  • Communism -- United States.

Subject Places

  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |x African Americans.

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection, created by James W. Ford, was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; James W. Ford Papers and Photographs; TAM 588; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased by the Tamiment Library from Solliah Bryant in 2011. The accession number associated with this collection is 2011.108.

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Container List

Papers

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Biographical Clippings
1989, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Briggs, Cyril (Crusader News Service): Telegram to JWF [in Paris] "Request you proceed Madrid immediately series articles Negro angle Spanish struggle...
1937
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Bunche, Ralph, Jr.: Letters (2) to JWF [in Mexico City] on letterhead of the Carnegie-Myrdal Study
Feb 26, 1940
Box: 1 Folder : 3A Death: Condolence Card from Dr, and Mrs, W.E. Burghardt Du Bois
1957
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Death: Condolence Cards and Letters
1957
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Death: Condolence Cards and Letters from Notables (Communists, Others), including Herbert Aptheker, James Aronson, Charlotta Bass, Claudia Jones, John Pittman
1957
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Death: Condolence Telegrams
1957
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Death: Obituaries
1957
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Death: Poems Sent to Reba Ford (widow)
1957
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Death: Unity Funeral Home Register, Memorial Serive (Includes text of speech by William Patterson)
1957
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Dictionary of American Negro Biography Entry for JWF
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Membership Cards: Jamaican Organizations
1956
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Membership Ticket: Conference Internationale pour L"Enfance Africaine [Paris]
1931
Box: 1 Folder : 13 The Negro and the Democratic Front [Disbound copy of book by JWF with notes on first page]
1938
Box: 1 Folder : 14 The Negro and the Democratic Front [Specially Harbound Personal Copy]
1938
Box: 1 Folder : 14A The Negro and the Imperialist War, 1914-1918 [pamphlet by JWF]
1929
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Negro Marxists Statement (Draft) on William Z. Foster's 75th Birthday
1956
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Parti Communiste Francais: Letter Introducing For to the Parti Communiste Espagnol
Apr 28, 1937
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Registration Card: 5th Congress Profintern (Red International of Labor Unions (Moscow)
1930
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Registration Cards: 6th Congress, Communist International (Moscow)
1928
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Robeson, Paul: "Dear Jim and Reba [Thank you note]...feeling better....
Nov 14, 1955
Box: 1 Folder : 20 Smith, Ferdinand: Letter from
Jan 3, 1957

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Photographs

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Angelo Herndon Being Carried on Shoulders of JWF, Others, Upon Return from Georgia Trial
1930s
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Denver, Colorado: Union Station (Riding in Car during Vice-Presidential Campaign)
Oct 16, 1936
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Family, Biographical (7 images)
1921-1950s
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Framed Group Portrait: Includes, in addition to JWF, Israel Amter, Bill Lawrence [In Restaurant: Spanish Civil War-related Lunch Event]
Nov, 1938
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Framed Portrait: JWF In His Office
Undated
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Framed Group Portrait: Mexico
1938
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Photographs (In Germany)
1928-1930
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Group Portrait [In USSR, including several Black individuals]
circa 1930
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Head Shots (3)
Undated
Box: 2 Folder : 10 JWF in Mexico [Writing, with two white persons in background
circa 1938-circa 1940
Box: 2 Folder : 11 National Day of Bulgaria Reception
Sep 10, 1956
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Postal Workers [Integrated] Baseball Team: Chicago Champions
1927
Box: 2 Folder : 13 Spain Group Portrait [2" x 2"]: One image listing [Harry Haywood, [Robert] Minor, [Harry McKelvey White], Bates, JWF.
1937

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