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Guide to the Paul L. Ross Papers
1933-1978
 MS 3138

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Andy Latoni and Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 27, 2019
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1-4 "City in Chains" Volumes 1 and 2 (4 folders)

Scope and Contents

Typed manuscript of Ross's history of New York City government from the colonial era to the election of Fiorello LaGuardia. According to documents in the collection, this was written, though never published, by Ross at the suggestion of LaGuardia.

circa 1935
Box: 1 Folder : 5-6 The Mayor's Commission on Conditions in Harlem. "The Negro in Harlem: A Report on Social and Economic Conditions Responsible for the Outbreak of March 19, 1935" (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

A copy of the draft(?) report, with annotations (by Ross?). The copy is stamped "Arthur Garfield Hays" with notations on the cover that the report is to be returned to him. The first folder holds the entire report, the second folder holds portions of it.

1936
Box: 1 Folder : 7 "Fiorello H. LaGuardia -- A Personal Estimate"

Scope and Contents

Ross's draft of his personal reminiscences of LaGuardia.

1962
Box: 1 Folder : 8-9 Office of Price Administration (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

Holds, among others, documents related to Ross's hiring at OPA, some correspondence related to his work as Regional Enforcement Executive, and many documents concerning Regional Administrator Daniel P. Woolley's charges against Ross of maladministration and Ross's successful refutation of them.

1942-1946
Box: 1 Folder : 10-12 Office of Price Administration. Clippings and letters (3 folders)

Scope and Contents

Holds various OPA-related documents and news clippings, especially related to the Woolley dispute, with notes of support for Ross. The first folder holds Woolley's 1960 obituary and the exchange between Ross and the New York Times concerning the obit's reference to Ross and the Times's correction of it. The first folder also holds a reprint of Ross's article for the Lawyers Guild Review "Inflation Control: The Enforcement Job."

1944-1945, 1960
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Congratulatory Letters

Scope and Contents

Congratulations on Ross's appointment as Administrative Secretary to incoming mayor Paul O'Dwyer.

1945-1946
Box: 1 Folder : 14-15 Rent Commission: Reports to the Mayor (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

Memos and drafts of memos from Ross to Mayor William O'Dwyer, a history of the Temporary Rent Commission, statistics, and operating orders of the commission. Also copies of O'Dwyer's statement (read by Maurice Finkelstein) at the hearing on rent control legislation at the U.S. Senate's Subcommittee on Housing and Rent; another copy with attachments is also in the following folder.

1947-1948
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Rent Commission: Report to Senate

Scope and Contents

Report from Mayor William O'Dwyer to Sub-committee on Housing and Rent of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking and Currency.

1948
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Rent Commission: Draft memoranda of staff directives for editing

Scope and Contents

Includes meeting minutes, summary of agency workload, statistical reports, reports, and memos from Chairman Ross to commission staff.

1947-1948
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Rent Commission: Meeting Agendas
1947-1948
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Rent Commission: Policies and Practices

Scope and Contents

Holds two documents: the Temporary City Housing Rent Commission's "Manual: Policies, Procedures, Information" and the commission's "Personnel Policies and Practices."

1947
Box: 1 Folder : 20-21 Rent Commission: Radio material (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

Transcripts and drafts of talks, with some background material, that Ross gave concerning rent control issues, broadcast over New York City radio (WNYC).

1947-1948
Box: 2 Folder : 22 Letter from Eleanor Roosevelt

Scope and Contents

One typed autographed letter from ER, with envelope, dated January 17, 1947, putting in "a word" to Ross on behalf of her superintendent's daughter who is applying for an apartment in the Elliott Houses.

1947
Box: 1 Folder : 23-24 Rent Commission: State Investigation (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

Contains the "Report to the Temporary State Commission to Study Rents on the Management and Policies of the Temporary City Housing Rent Commission of New York City" submitted by Survey Institute Inc (1949) and transcripts of Ross's testimony before the state commission (1948-49), with some clippings.

1948-1949
Box: 2 Folder : 1-3 Rent Commission: Clippings (3 folders)
1947-1948
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Committee for the Nation's Health

Scope and Contents

Includes, among other documents, a copy of the organization's advertisement run in newspapers in support of President Truman's proposed national health program; Ross is among the listed signers.

1946
Box: 2 Folder : 5-7 Health Department Study (3 folders)

Scope and Contents

Contains a confidential, possibly draft, 297-page study by Ross entitled "Proposed Report on the Study of the Department Health"(1946-47), which was ordered by Mayor O'Dwyer; a shorter, perhaps final, version of the above in the form of a 71-page memo from Ross to O'Dwyer with the subject line "Community Health--A Study of the Department of Health" (an appendix to this report is a copy of O'Dwyer's request initiating the study); and Commissioner of Health Dr. Israel Weinstein's rebuttal. The file also included a 1952 Inter-University Case Program publication "The New York City Health Centers" by Herbert Kaufman.

1947, 1952
Box: 2 Folder : 8 "Play Schools? Nurseries? Day Care Centers? or Educational Slums"

Scope and Contents

Copy of a draft report by Albert Q. Maisel, with cover transmittal by Maisel to Ross in his capacity of Secretary to Mayor, requesting comments of Ross.

1947
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Resignation letter to Mayor William O'Dwyer

Scope and Contents

In addition to the resignation letter also includes a related press release and correspondence with Ross's supporters.

1948
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Newspaper clippings

Scope and Contents

Holds a variety of newspaper clippings primarily from Ross's time in the O'Dwyer administration (1946-48). Some relate to the Rent Commission, but most of those are found in earlier folders. These clippings mostly concern other matters in connection with O'Dwyer and Ross's role. A few clippings are on related topics from 1949-50, after Ross left the administration.

1946-1950
Box: 2 Folder : 11-12 "The Reminiscences of Paul Ross" (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

Holds a copy of Columbia University's Oral History Research Office's 1957 transcript of its four interviews with Ross, 1949-1950. There is what appears to be the final transcript and a partial draft transcript, annotated with edits. A donor-supplied overview from 2019 is also in the folder. Subjects include Ross's work with the OPA; political involvement with LaGuardia, O'Dwyer, and the American Labor Party; local issues, such as Peekskill Riots of 1949, transit matters, labor issues, governance; and civil rights, particularly in connection with African-Americans and Communist/political affiliations.

1949-1950, 1957
Box: 2 Folder : 13 "A Guild Member in Public Office"

Scope and Contents

The published and typescript versions of Ross's article for the National Lawyers' "The Guild Practitioner" journal in which he reflects on his work in the 1930s and 1940s with LaGuardia and O'Dwyer, concluding with Ross's defeat in the 1950 mayoral election.

1975
Box: 2 Folder : 14 American Labor Party: Campaign

Scope and Contents

Holds many documents related to Ross's 1949 campaign for Comptroller and 1950 campaign for mayor on the American Labor ticket. Includes a petition from Ross to Governor Thomas E. Dewey to appoint a Moreland Act Commissioner to investigate the government of New York City. There are two press releases with the remarks of W.E.B. DuBois, American Labor candidate for U.S. Senator from New York in 1950. One 1953 press release concerning Vito Marcantonio's resignation as member and state party chairman.

1949-1950, 1953
Box: 2 Folder : 15 American Labor Party: "A New York City Transit Authority: Cure-all or Booby-trap? A Memorandum to the New York State Legislature"

Scope and Contents

One original and two photocopies of this booklet, published in 1953 by the Municipal Affairs Committee of the American Labor Party (chaired by Ross).

1953
Box: 2 Folder : 16-21 Stuyvesant Town Case / Integration in Housing (6 folders)

Scope and Contents

These files include documents concerning Ross's activities with the City-Wide Committee to End Discrimination in Stuyvesant Town and the Town & Village Tenants Committee to End Discrimination in Stuyvesant Town. Includes legal filings, some correspondence, clippings, and circulars. The file also includes materials related to Ross's time on the Rent Commission in the late 1940s, especially in connection with tenant evictions

1945-1952
Box: 2 Folder : 22 Housing Reports

Scope and Contents

Folder holds three reports: New York City Mayor's Committee for Better Housing's "Report of Subcommittee on Special Problems, such as Housing for the Aged and Large Families and Discrimination and Integration" (1955), 2 copies; Lawyers Guild Review's Special Issue on "Integration in Housing", with an article by Ross (1958), 1 full copy and 1 copy of the Ross article; and the citizen group Commission on Race and Housing's report "Where Shall We Live? Conclusions from a Three-Year Study of Racial Discrimination in Housing" (1958).

1955, 1958
Box: 2 Folder : 23 Letters from Shirley and W.E.B. Du Bois

Scope and Contents

Two letters from the time in which Ross lived, essentially as a tenant, in the Du Boises' home at 31 Grace Court in Brooklyn. Shirley's letter is about disagreements over heat in the house and W.E.B.'s letter explains the need for a rent increase.

1954-1955
Box: 3 Folder : 1-2 American Labor Party: Materials (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

Despite the original folder label, there is no material explicitly related to the ALP. Much of the material concerns Ross's work on matters of constitutional liberties at his newly-founded law firm. This includes letters from various people acknowledging receipt of the Lawyers Guild Review 1958 report on integration of housing; among these are acknowledgements from Eleanor Roosevelt and Jackie Robinson (on Chock Full O'Nuts letterhead). Other items, among others, are Ross's remarks at a tribute to Puerto Rican culture sponsored by the Manhattan Tenant Council; his letter to City Council President Abe Stark objecting to the failure to underwrite free performances of the New York Shakespeare Festival Theatre (and Joseph Papp's thanks); Ross's manuscript of his book review of "The Bix Fix"; a memo outlining a proposed study on the civil liberties situation of post-1945; and plans for developing an alternative book publishing operation for blacklisted authors.

1951-1958
Box: 3 Folder : 3 American Labor Party: Politics

Scope and Contents

This file ranges from two speeches of Ross's for the American Labor Party in 1952 and 1954 to undated writings that appear to date from the mid 1960s. Much of the material appears to be Ross's statements and writings (including book reviews); subject matter includes corporate opposition to Commodity Credit Corporation subsidies, Stuyvesant Town, outlines for book(s) about New York, review of the book "The Big Fix" (submitted but declined by Carey McWilliams at The Nation); the reform movement in the Democratic Party, loyalty oaths, racial integration, and Great Society programs.

1952-1960s
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Senate Internal Security Committee, Bella Dodd "names names"

Scope and Contents

Documents related to Dodd's testimony before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws during their hearings on "Scope of Soviet Activity in the United States" at which she identified Ross as a Communist who infiltrated Mayor O'Dwyer's administration. Includes transcript of Dodd's testimony, subpoena of Ross to appear before the subcommittee, a statement of his position on the matter, and related documents.

1956-1957
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Miscellaneous

Scope and Contents

Folder contains items related to the Red Scare/anti-Communism: the Harvard Law Review of October 1947 with article "Report on a Report of the House Committee on Un-American Activities [HUAC]" by Walter Gellhorn, with a transmittal note from Frank E. Karelson, Jr.; a flyer for a rally sponsored by the American Labor Party opposing McCarthyism, at which Ross spoke (identified as Chairman, Tenants Council of NYC), circa mid-1950s; three reproductions of photographs: Ross with Pete Seeger at the 1955 HUAC hearing, Paul Robeson speaking at microphones, and Ross with Robeson and others.

1947-1950s
Box: 5 LIFE Magazine (flat box)

Scope and Contents

Issue of April 4, 1949, with a gallery of photos of Ross and others on page 42 under the headline "Dupes and fellow travelers dress up Communist fronts."

1949
Box: 3 Folder : 6-15 Repression and Punishment of Defense Counsel (10 folders)

Scope and Contents

See Scope Note above for content description.

1933-1978
Box: 3 Folder : 16-20 Fight to Repeal McCarran Act / Preventive Detention (5 folders)

Scope and Contents

See Scope Note above for content description.

1965-1970
Box: 5 "Concentration Camp Lecture Notes" (flat box)

Scope and Contents

Scrapbook of materials concerning preventive detention bills.

1967-1969
Box: 4 Folder : 1 New York State Constitutional Convention

Scope and Contents

Text of the proposed new state constitution, highlights of the text, resolution of the convention approving wording of the abstract, print matter about the proposed constitution, statements of opposition to it from the New York Civil Liberties Union, and related documents.

1967
Box: 4 Folder : 2 Ban Loyalty Oaths

Scope and Contents

Two copies, plus publicity material, of Ross's pamphlet "Ban Loyalty Oaths and Political Inquisitions in the New York State Constitution," published by the Citizens Committee for Constitutional Liberties. Also a copy of Ross's published letter to the NY Times on the subject.

1967
Box: 4 Folder : 3-4 Call for New Federal Constitutional Convention (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

Holds drafts of Ross's "A Call for a People's Constitutional Convention," which lays out an argument to write a new constitution to create new political structures and liberties in the context of 1960s protests and unrest.

1968
Box: 4 Folder : 5-6 State of New Jersey v. Gail Madden (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

Draft filing and arguments, and correspondence between Ross, Gail (Madden) Glenn, her public defender, and others related to Ross's involvement as an attorney in her appeal of her 1974 murder conviction (at retrial of a 1968 conviction).

1970, 1974-1975
Box: 4 Folder : 7 Nova University

Scope and Contents

Concerns Ross's proposal for a seminar on trial practice.

1974-1976
Box: 4 Folder : 8 Florida Alliance Against Repression

Scope and Contents

Printed materials from the organization.

1976
Box: 4 Folder : 9 Miscellaneous Writings

Scope and Contents

Includes Ross's published article "Lawyers and Judges in Hebrew Jurisprudence" (1933); prospectus for a book with the tentative title of "City Hall, New York" (circa 1955); Published article in The Nation "New York: Captive Giant" (1955); book review of Ann Fagan Ginger's "The Relevant Lawyers" (1973); and published articles in "Liberty" on conspiracy law repression (1970) and on a draft bill to bar unconstitutional data collection (1972).

1933-1972
Box: 4 Folder : 10 Miscellaneous Correspondence and Other Documents

Scope and Contents

Holds four documents: acknowledgement from Councilman J. Raymond Jones of Ross's congratulatory letter (1964); letter and clipping from Mark Ptashne of Harvard regarding his trip to Laos and Vietnam (1970); warm and friendly letter from Toshi Seeger referring to, among other things, Pete Seeger's current concert tour in Spain and on to Cuba (January 21, 1971); and Ross's NY Times obituary (1978).

1964-1978