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Guide to the Cedric Belfrage Papers TAM.143

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 Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Amy Meselson in 1993. Edited by Maggie Schreiner in February 2014 for compliance with DACS and Tamiment Required Elements for Archival Description and to reflect the incorporation of nonprint materials. Box 31 added in May 2014.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 19, 2018
Finding aid is written in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Updated by Megan O'Shea to incorporate artwork being sent to offsite art storage in September 2017  , August 2017

Container List

Series II: Correspondence, 1937-1989

Scope and Content Note

Family Correspondence is mostly from his daughters Sally and Anne, and Anne's mother Anne-Marie. Most of the topics covered by these letters are personal, relating to family matters, arranging visits, and the goings-on of everyday life. Sally's career as a writer and Anne's as a linguist are also well documented, and they often write about Belfrage's writing projects, helping to find publishers or offering criticism. Sally's participation in the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and her 1964 summer in Mississippi as a civil rights activist about which she wrote her first book, Freedom Summer, is covered in detail. There is also a short but interesting correspondence between Anne (who grew up in Paris) and Belfrage about the worker and student uprising in Paris in May 1968, especially regarding the role of the Communist Party. Most of the correspondence from Belfrage's son, Nick, is about his love life and his career as a wine taster. There is also correspondence from Belfrage's sister-in-law, Joyce Belfrage, regarding the poor health of his brother, Bruce.

General correspondence is mostly with political colleagues discussing their and Cedric's writing projects, current events, and developments in leftist and socialist movements. The primary correspondent in this section in Jim Aronson (1955 - 1990). While this correspondence is mostly incoming, there is a substantial amount from Belfrage to Aronson. They discuss mostly personal issues such as health, family, and their respective publishing projects. They also write about the problems of the National Guardian (see Wilfred Burchett correspondence and the  National Guardian section for more) and current events. In 1979, while Aronson is teaching journalism in Peking, they have a major disagreement about China's presence in Vietnam that threatens their friendship.

Another primary correspondent is Claude Williams (1938-1980), a southern Marxist Christian preacher and the founder of The People's Institute of Applied Religion, about whom Belfrage wrote a biography (appearing variously as Let My People Go, 1937;  South of God, 1938,   A Faith to Free The People, 1944) . This correspondence is mostly about Claude's work and his collaborative unfinished book project with Belfrage, The People's Book, aka, The Scarlet Thread, a revolutionary reading of the Bible. Belfrage also corresponds with Paul Robeson (1956-1965) regarding the National Paul Robeson Committee (this correspondence is mostly with the secretary of this committee, Frank Loesser). Related to the Robeson correspondence is the correspondence of sisters Hannah and Peggy Middleton (London County Council Member for Greenwich, and Labour candidate for Parliament). This consists of letters from Peggy to Hannah about Robeson. Included are notes by Belfrage on this correspondence. W.E.B. DuBois and his wife Shirley Graham (1955-1964) correspond with Belfrage about DuBois's world tour, and a tribute to DuBois that Belfrage helps organize.

The correspondence with organizations is mostly with journals, magazines and newspapers regarding the publication of Belfrage's articles and letters to the editor. Among the journals is Third World, of which Belfrage was an editor. There is also a short but interesting correspondence with the South Paddington Labour Party (1956-1957) in which Belfrage debates whether or not to join and elaborates on his reasons for not wanting to sign an oath of "political purity."

The second section of general correspondence is arranged alphabetically by country or region of origin. It is mostly with friends and political colleagues about personal issues such as health, family and career, but there is also discussion of politics and current events.

Africa: The main figures in the African section are Conor Cruise O'Brien, the Irish Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana about 'black native power,' and Alfred Kgokong of the African National Congress regarding Belfrage's support of that organization.

Asia: The key writer from the Asian section is Anna Louise Strong who was the National Guardian correspondent in Peking during the 1960's.

Australia/New Zealand: This section contains only a few letters. Among them are a letter on Belfrage's behalf by John Baker to the Australian Broadcasting Commission regarding publicity for The American Inquisition, a letter from Disarmament Research Group in Australia asking for a Cuban contact, and two letters from Noel Wilson of New Zealand regarding Jamaican trade unionist Ferdinand Smith.

Canada: The major figures from the Canadian correspondence are Sol Pomerance, Beryl Wheelon (regarding Castro and Cuba) and Betty Madiros of the Socialist Fellowship Seminar where Belfrage spoke on Latin American politics. This correspondence also pertains to surgery that Belfrage had in Canada in 1975 and 1979.

Caribbean and Central America: This section features Rosa Hilda Zell, the Cuban poet, and Steve Nelson of the Libreria El Porvenir in Costa Rica who write often of their respective projects. Europe: Comprised mainly of letters from France and Germany. The main correspondents are Wilfred Burchett who writes from Paris in the late 1960's, Victor Grossman of the Deutsche Akademie Der Kunste Zu Berlin in Berlin regarding a donation to the Paul Robeson archive (1966), and Franz Loesser regarding his book on the Rosenbergs (1975-76).

Ireland/United Kingdom: Contains correspondence between Belfrage and K. Zilliacus about the Soviet-Yugoslav conflict (1950), the Cold War and the National Peace Party (1950's), Cuba (1962), and the British Labor Party (1965). Also in this section Belfrage corresponds with Joan Robinson (a Cambridge professor) (5/76) about China's position on Angola, Clive Jenkins of the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staff, and Heinrich Fraenkel of The New Statesman.

Mexico: Clive B. Smith and Charles Small are the main correspondents in the Mexico section. Small writes about the Chilean political situation, and on behalf of refugees. In 1973 he has an argument with Belfrage over his review of The American Inquisition. There is a short series of letters in 1963 from Carlos Fuentes about Cedric renting his apartment in Mexico.

South America: This section is mostly in Spanish. It contains several letters from the Peoples' Progressive Party in British Guyana about articles by Belfrage for them, from Harry Drayton of the University of Guyana about the political situation in that country, and from Maurice Bazin in Brazil about Brazil and Portugal.

United States: This is the largest section. Some of the prominent figures from whom Belfrage receives letters are Theodore Dreiser and Erich Fromm in the 1940's, Anna Louise Strong in the 1950's, Rockwell Kent in the 1960's, Alger Hiss in the 1970's, Virginia Durr and Serge Chermayeff in the 1980's, and Pete Seeger (undated). Some of the most frequent U.S. correspondents are Lorna D. Smith regarding the Civil Rights movement in the south and Stokeley Carmichael, Maxwell Geismar regarding his writings, politics and U.S. leftist periodicals, and Decca Treuhaft. Some of the major topics covered are events in Cuba in the early 1960's, Theodore Dreiser's death (1963-64), the endorsement of McGovern's presidential campaign (1972), Third World leftist politics (c.1979-1981), and Belfrage's participation in the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Union "Are You or Have You Ever Been?" symposium (1980). In an outgoing letter (Sep 1974) to Carl Braden Belfrage discusses Marxism, revolution and party organization.

Subseries II:A: Family Correspondence, 1953-1987

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Anne Belfrage/Zribi & Anne-Marie Hertz.
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Anne Belfrage/Zribi & Anne-Marie Hertz.
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Anne Belfrage/Zribi & Anne-Marie Hertz.
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Sally Belfrage/Pomerance.
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Sally Belfrage/Pomerance.
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Sally Belfrage/Pomerance.
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Nick Belfrage.
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Mother's Death.
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Miscellaneous Family.
undated , 1953-1986

Subseries II:B: General Correspondence - Individuals, 1938-1988

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 5 C.B. to Jim Aronson.
Box: 2 Folder : 6 C.B. to Jim Aronson.
Box: 2 Folder : 7 C.B. to Jim Aronson.
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Jim Aronson to C.B.
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Jim Aronson to C.B.
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Jim Aronson to C.B.
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Jim Aronson to C.B.
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Jim Aronson to and From Others.
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Jim Aronson Writings.
1945 , 1970-1983
Box: 3 Folder : 4a Anne Braden re: Southern Conference Educational Fund.
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Wilfred Burchett.
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Emil Carlebach.
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Noam Chomsky.
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Martin Duberman.
Box: 3 Folder : 9 W.E.B. Dubois and Shirley Graham.
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Richard Hart.
Box: 3 Folder : 10A Hiss, Alger
Box: 3 Folder : 11 Annie and Malcolm Macewen.
Box: 3 Folder : 12 Magazines, Journals & Newspapers.
Box: 3 Folder : 13 Magazines, Journals & Newspapers.
Box: 4 Folder : 1 Peggy and Hannah Middleton.
Box: 4 Folder : 2 Monthly Review Press.
Box: 4 Folder : 3 The Nation.
Box: 4 Folder : 3A O'Casey, Sean
Box: 4 Folder : 4 Judy Polumbaum From China.
Box: 4 Folder : 5 Paul Robeson.
Box: 4 Folder : 6 Bill Reuben's Archive / Information On Rosenberg Case.
Box: 4 Folder : 7 South American Refugees.
Box: 4 Folder : 8 South Paddington Labour Party Correspondence.
Box: 4 Folder : 9 Third World / Tercer Mundo.
Box: 4 Folder : 10 Claude and Joyce Williams.
Box: 4 Folder : 11 Claude and Joyce Williams.
Box: 4 Folder : 12 Claude and Joyce Williams.
Box: 5 Folder : 1 Claude and Joyce Williams.
Box: 5 Folder : 2 Claude Williams Research File.
Box: 5 Folder : 3 Asa Zatz.

Subseries II:C: General Correspondence - Countries, 1937-1989

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 4 Africa.
Box: 5 Folder : 5 Asia.
Box: 5 Folder : 6 Australia/New Zealand.
Box: 5 Folder : 7 Caribbean and Central America.
Box: 5 Folder : 8 Caribbean and Central America.
Box: 5 Folder : 9 Canada.
Box: 5 Folder : 10 Europe.
Box: 5 Folder : 11 Ireland/United Kingdom.
Box: 6 Folder : 1 Ireland/United Kingdom.
Box: 6 Folder : 2 Mexico.
Box: 6 Folder : 3 Mexico.
Box: 6 Folder : 4 Mexico.
Box: 6 Folder : 5 South America.
Box: 6 Folder : 6 United States.
Box: 6 Folder : 7 United States.
Box: 6 Folder : 8 United States.
Box: 7 Folder : 1 United States.
Box: 7 Folder : 2 United States.
Box: 7 Folder : 3 United States.
Box: 7 Folder : 4 United States.

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