Jefferson School of Social Science Records and Indexes
Language of Materials
The Jefferson School of Social Science (1943-1956) was a Marxist adult education institute in New York City associated with the Communist Party, USA. Among the faculty were a number of leftist academics dismissed from the City University of New York, including the school's director, Howard Selsam. It had as many as 5000 students enrolled per term, but the Subversive Activities Control Board forced its closing in 1956. The school published course-related pamphlets and its Librarian, Henry Black, accumulated a 30,000 volume library. The collection consists of Jefferson School materials, course outlines and related readings, bibliographies, pamphlets published by the school, unpublished typescripts, and material from the Workers School and from the Communist Party. It also includes the original indexes to the Jefferson School Library's periodical and pamphlet holdings.
The Jefferson School of Social Science (1943-1956) was a Marxist adult education institute in New York City. Like its predecessor, the Workers School (1923-1943), it was associated with the Communist Party, USA. The school occupied a nine story building at 575 Sixth Avenue, offered hundreds of courses to as many as 5000 students each term, and published course-related pamphlets. Librarian Henry Black accumulated a 30,000 volume library, and compiled course-related bibliographies. Among the faculty were a number of leftist academics dismissed from the City University of New York, including the school's director, Howard Selsam. The courses ranged from the year-long Institute of Marxist Studies to cultural and self-improvement offerings. The Subversive Activities Control Board's designation of the school as a Communist-controlled organization, led to the closing of the school in the fall of 1956.
Organized into two series, each arranged alphabetically: I. Records; II. Indexes to Jefferson School Library Periodicals and Pamphlets.
Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject/author heading within each series.
Scope and Content Note
Series I principally consists of Jefferson School materials, but also contains some material from the Workers School and from the Communist Party, and includes course outlines and related readings, bibliographies, pamphlets published by the school, unpublished typescripts, correspondence and unpublished writings of Henry Black, speeches by William Z. Foster, including several given along with William F. Dunne in 1931 at the Workers School's National Training School (for Communist Party cadre), student scrapbooks (steel strike, 1949), pamphlets and briefs concerning the Subversive Activities Control Board's decision to list the school as a Communist-front organization, and a file of Communist Party Farm Commission minutes and other documents from 1946. The authored pamphlets include works by Herbert Aptheker, Howard Selsam and Doxey A. Wilkerson. Unpublished writings include Henry Black's book-length Fundamentals of Subject Cataloging, A Guide to Marxist Studies (a bibliographical introduction) by the editorial board of Science & Society, and The Seattle General Strike of 1919, an apparently contemporaneous participants' account. There is also an incomplete set of the Library Service to Labor Newsletter (ALA), 1949-1954.
Series II contains the following seven indexes (on 3x5 card files) to the Jefferson School Library's periodical and pamphlet holdings (with the bulk of the entries covering the years 1944-1955): Earl Browder Articles, 1922-1944; Pamphlets; Periodicals; Poems; Portraits (Photographs); Reviews (Drama, Motion Pictures); Short Stories.
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Tamiment Library has no information about copyright ownership for this collection and is not authorized to grant permission to publish or reproduce materials from it. Materials in this collection, which were created in 1931 to 1958, are expected to enter the public domain in 2079.
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
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.
Location of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Transfer from the Rand School Archives, 1963. Probably donated thereto by Henry Black, the Jefferson School librarian. The accession number associated with this collection is 1963.010
Collection was part of the Rand School Archives, and may have been donated by Henry Black, the Jefferson School's librarian. In 1963 the collection was transferred to the Tamiment Library by members of the People's Education Camp Society, Inc. The accession number associated with this collection is 1963.010