The Daily Worker and the Daily World Negatives Collection
Language of Materials
The Daily Worker was established as the Communist Party USA's daily newspaper in 1924. As the official organ of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), the Daily Worker's editorial positions reflected the policies of the party while also attempting to speak to the broad left-wing community in the United States that included labor, civil rights, and peace activists. The newspaper has had a succession of names and has been published in varying frequencies between daily to weekly over the course of its existence. In 2010 it ceased print publication and became an online weekly publication titled the People's World. The Daily Worker and the Daily World Negatives Collection contains printed photographic images produced through a variety of processes, created and collected by the photography editors of the Daily Worker and its successor newspapers as a means of maintaining an organized collection of images for use in publication. The collection dates from 1930 to 2006, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930 to 1948 and from 1968 to 1990. The images depict people, groups, and events associated with the CPUSA. The collection contains approximately 670,000 photographic negatives in various formats; contact sheets and log sheets related to 35 millimeter negatives; and several hundred slides. NOTE: Access to Series I and Series II is closed through 2025 pending digitization.
The Daily Worker was established as the Communist Party USA's daily newspaper in 1924. The newspaper was initially established as the weekly The Worker in 1921 when the Communist Labor Party (CLP) merged with the Workers Party in 1921 and the CLP's newspaper, The Toiler, became the The Worker. The newspaper was published in Chicago, Illinois until 1927, when the headquarters of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) moved to New York, New York. As the official organ of the CPUSA, editorial positions of the Daily Worker reflected the policies of the party while also attempting to speak to the broad left-wing community in the United States (US) that included labor, civil rights, and peace activists. The newspaper published stories covering a wide range of events, organizations, and individuals in the US and around the world.
As a daily newspaper, it covered the major stories of the twentieth century with an emphasis on radical social movements, social and economic conditions in working class and minority communities, poverty, labor struggles, racial discrimination, right wing extremism with an emphasis on fascist and Nazi movements, the Soviet Union, and the world-wide Communist movement. The newspaper published the work of many graphic artists and cartoonists, including Fred Ellis, Hugo Gellert, Robert Minor, and Ollie Harrington, and documented the relationship between politics and folk music and folk dance, covering individuals such as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Leadbelly, Sophie Maslow and Martha Graham. The newspaper reported on the civil rights movement, including sit-ins, voter registration campaigns, and the Freedom Rides and as well as the work of individuals and organizations, including Martin Luther King, Jr, Ralph Abernathy, Rosa Parks, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the Black Panthers, the Soledad Brothers, and Angela Davis.
The newspaper has had a succession of names and has been published in varying frequencies between daily to weekly over the course of its existence. In 2010 it ceased print publication and became an online weekly publication titled the People's World.
The collection is arranged into six series:
Series I: 4 x 5, 120 and 127 Negatives, Series II: 35 Millimeter Negatives, Series III: 8 x 10 Negatives, Series IV: Slides, Series V: Log Sheets, Series VI: Contact Sheets
Series IV negatives are arranged alphabetically by shoot caption and Series V materials are arranged in chronological order. Dated negatives in Series I through III and in Series VI are arranged chronologically, followed by undated negatives arranged alphabetically by caption. In addition, all the negatives series in the collection may also be viewed in one combined list arranged in alphabetical order by caption, by clicking on the following link: http://library.nyu.edu/tamiment/dw_negs_sorted_by_shoot_title.pdf
Captions are assigned to a shoot, which is a group of images shot by a photographer or team of photographers of one event, usually on the same day. Each shoot has a unique identifying number. The 4x5, 120, 127, and 8x10 format negatives have been assigned individual frame numbers within each shoot as well (making it possible for researchers to determine in advance the total number of images available in a given shoot). 35 millimeter negative shoots (and any corresponding log or contact sheets for them) do not have assigned individual frame numbers, but the total number of frames within each 35 millimeter shoot ranges from one single frame to several rolls comprising as many as 100 individual images, with an average of 36 frames images per shoot.
While the shoot numbers for the 35 millimeter negatives, contact sheets, and log sheets correspond to one another, none of these groups of materials completely match one another. That is, not all 35 millimeter negatives have corresponding contact sheets or log sheets and vice versa.
Scope and Contents
The Daily Worker and the Daily World Negatives Collection contains printed photographic images produced through a variety of processes, created and collected by the photography editors of the Daily Worker and its successor newspapers as a means of maintaining an organized collection of images for use in publication. The collection dates from 1930 to 2006, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930 to 1948 and from 1968 to 1990. The images depict people, groups, and events associated with the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). The collection contains approximately 670,000 photographic negatives in 4" x 5", 8" x 10", and 120, 127, and 35 millimeter formats; contact sheets and log sheets related to the 35 millimeter negatives; and several hundred slides. The negatives were mostly shot by Daily Worker and Daily World staff photographers, with additional negatives sent to the paper by readers and other individuals. Slides were also largely shot by staff photographers, but the collection does contain a few commercially-produced thematic slide sets, mostly from the Soviet Union and Soviet bloc countries. The majority of the negatives are of New York City people and events, despite the international coverage of the newspaper.
Images from the 1930s and 1940s focus heavily on the activities of organized labor and the relationship of the CPUSA to local and national labor unions, particularly those affiliated with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Images include strikes, union meetings and elections, union social events, and parades. Images from 1968 to 1990 focus on CPUSA activities, leaders, members, and affiliated organizations. These include portraits of Gus Hall, Henry Winston, Angela Davis, and Jarvis Tyner, and images of Mark Rudd, Abbie Hoffman, Stokely Carmichael, John Kerry, H. Rap Brown, Paul O'Dwyer, Adam Clayton Powell, Bella Abzug, John Lindsay, Nelson Rockefeller, Percy Sutton, Jacob Javits, Charles Rangel, Vito Marcantonio, Rhody McCoy, and C. Herbert Oliver.. There are also negatives of conventions, demonstrations, and meetings of the CPUSA, Young Workers Liberation League, Young Communist League, and W. E. B. Du Bois Clubs. The civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements are documented through images of the Black Panther's Breakfast Program in Harlem, New York City police raiding Louis Farrakhan's Muslim Mosque, Moratorium Day demonstrations, and other anti-war demonstrations. The arts and sports are also documented in the collection, including St. Patrick's Day parades, the New York City Marathon, Apollo mission astronauts at City Hall, Aretha Franklin in concert at the Apollo Theater, jazz musicians at the Village Vanguard, and a 1968 W. E. B. Du Bois centennial meeting at Carnegie Hall whose participants included Martin Luther King, Jr. and James Baldwin. Also included are images of celebrity supporters of liberal or left-wing political causes, mainly actors such as Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall, Dustin Hoffman, Ed Asner, Ossie Davis, and Ruby Dee. Images of city life include ice cream trucks, New Jersey's Palisades Park amusement park, public school openings, and the Brooklyn-Long Island Cat Show. Images related to professional sports and athletes include sports teams affiliated with labor unions, the Hermann Matern Sports School in the German Democratic Republic, exhibition games between United States (US) and Soviet Union teams, Jim Bouton, Joe Frazier, and Muhammad Ali. Images of people and events outside of the US in the collection focus on Cuba, Chile, and the Soviet Union. From Cuba, there are images of Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, the percussion ensemble Los Papines, and events including the 1970 Organization of Latin American Journalists conference and the 1978 World Festival of Youth and Students in Havana, Cuba. From Chile, there are images of rural cooperative farms, and a 1971 May Day parade in Santiago whose participants include Salvador Allende. There are numerous images of people and events in the Soviet Union, many taken on CPUSA delegations. A large percentage of these depict CPUSA leaders including Gus Hall and Henry Winston, images of rural life in Tajikistan and the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic, and international conferences, including the 1985 World Festival of Youth and Students, a 1988 United States-Soviet Union Friendship Summit in Moscow, and the 1963 World Congress of Women in Moscow.
Conditions Governing Access
Access to Series I and Series II is restricted until June 2025 pending digitization. Once digitization is complete, digitized access copies will be available online and access to the physical materials will be restricted.
Materials in Series III through Series VI are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection, created by the Communist Party, USA was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.
Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.
Location of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The bulk of the Daily Worker and Daily World Negatives Collection was transferred to the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives as part of the donation of the Communist Party of the USA archives and the Library of the Reference Center for Marxist Studies in the summer of 2006. Additions to the collection include several linear feet of material received from Daily World staff photographer and artist Bill Andrews in January 2010. The accession number associated with the Bill Andrews materials is 2011.120.
Original cartoons and artwork were separated to the Daily Worker/Daily World Cartoons Collection (GRAPHICS 024). Printed ephemera was separated to the Communist Party of the United States of America Printed Ephemera Collection (PE 031).
Detailed processing for this collection was made possible by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
About this Guide
Processing Information note
Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. Original caption information, when available, was transcribed onto negative sleeves. Where captions were illegible, the archivist's interpretation is enclosed in square brackets. The language of the original captions, which includes editorializing comments (e.g., "District 9 – Hoodlums," "Demonstrations Against Czech "invasion" by Socialist forces," "Right-wingers protest "anti-Semitism" in Soviet Union," "National Caucus of Labor Committee goons attack Center for Marxist Education," "Demonstration against Israeli aggression by students") was retained. Some anachronistic terms - particularly those referring to race, ethnicity, or sex, such as "Negro," "Black," "Girl" or "Boy" (where the image is clearly of a young woman or young man, rather than a child) - have been revised, except for a few selected instances in which these have been allowed to stand, for the value they offer as a window into the political and cultural flavor of a particular time.
Shoot numbers for 35 millimeter negatives were originally assigned by Daily Worker staff, and these numbers have been retained. However, no Daily Worker shoot numbers were assigned to other negative formats, so shoot numbers were created for these materials by the archivist.