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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

Scope and Content Note

The papers of Cedric Belfrage span the years 1922-1990, with the bulk of the material from 1945-1985. The collection consists mainly of Belfrage's writings both published and unpublished. The writings include articles, travel notes, translations, short fiction and non-fiction essays, book manuscripts and research files, and related correspondence. However, the collection does not fully reflect Belfrage's career as an author since there is little information on many of his published books. The collection also contains correspondence (mostly incoming), documentation of Belfrage's political activities, and biographical materials.

The collection provides substantial information about the early part of Belfrage's life as a Hollywood film critic (1920's-1930's), but very little about his subsequent activity in Germany as a press control officer for the U.S. army (1944-1945), though he maintains correspondence with Emil Carlebach, Buchenwald survivor and Communist, whom he met in Germany and about whom he wrote an article. His trip to Southeast Missouri in 1948 is very well documented in the form of writing and research for a book he later began (but never published) about two people he met there. They were the organizers of the Sharecroppers Strike of 1939, Owen Whitfield, a black sharecropper, and Thad Snow, a white farmer. Belfrage's next major project, the founding of the National Guardian in the fall of 1948, is well documented. Information on his involvement with this paper, and detailed correspondence with the co-founder and Belfrage's best friend, Jim Aronson, spans the rest of his life.

The collection also provides documentation of his deportation case and time in jail, mostly in the form of articles about him and correspondence. The next period in his life, as editor-in-exile for the National Guardian, during which he travelled extensively as a journalist, is less well covered. The main forms of documentation are articles by him, travel notes, and correspondence. The collection covers more thoroughly the final period of Belfrage's life, from the time he settles in Mexico in 1973 to his death in 1990. This time span is best chronicled by correspondence, and book and translation projects. Belfrage's evolving political position is well documented, especially regarding the rise of fascism and anti-Semitism in the 1930's, World War II in the 1940's, McCarthyism in the 1950's, Cuba in the 1960's, and Latin American countries in general in the 1970's and 1980's. His ambivalent relationship to the Communist Party and the Soviet Union is an on-going theme both in his writings and correspondence. The collection provides a detailed record of Belfrage's relations with friends and family, in the form of correspondence, though it is almost all incoming.


The collection is arranged into six series, three of which are arranged into subseries:

Series I: Biographical Materials, 1922-1990

Series II: Correspondence, 1937-1989

Subseries II:A: Family Correspondence, 1953-1987

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

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

Series III: Political Activities, 1944-1989

Subseries III:A: German Press Control, 1944-1946

Subseries III:B: Deportation, 1944-1989

Subseries III:C: National Guardian, 1948-1987

Series IV: Writings, 1927-1990

Subseries IV:A: Travel Notes, 1956-1977

Subseries IV:B: Articles, 1946-1987

Subseries IV:C: Translations, 1966-1989

Subseries IV:D: Published Writings, 1937-1990

Subseries IV:E: Unpublished Writings, 1941-1980

Subseries IV:F: Published Writings: American Inquisition, 1945-1989

Subseries IV:G: Published Writings: American Inquisition - Research, 1945-1978

Subseries IV:H: American Inquisition - Leo Sheiner and Miami Red Cases, 1946-1961

Subseries IV:I: Memoirs, 1974-1981

Subseries IV:J: Unpublished Writings - Hollywood Book, 1927-1984

Subseries IV:K: Unpublished Writings - Owen Whitfield Book, 1947-1985

Subseries IV:L: ADDENDUM to Published Writings: American Inquisitionand My Master Columbus, 1959-1990

Series V: Addendum, 1923-2003

Series VI: Photographs, 1923-1999