Skip to main content Skip to main navigation

Socialist Party (U.S.) New York (N.Y.) Letter Books

Call Number



1907-1914, inclusive
; 1911-1914, bulk


Socialist Party of New York


3.25 Linear Feet in 6 manuscript boxes and 1 half manuscript box.

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


The New York City local was the largest such unit of the Socialist Party (U.S.). The collection consists of 151 subject files that include correspondence, reports on electoral activities, membership records, branch records, committee papers, financial papers, minutes, form letters, miscellaneous printed matter, resolutions, and convention reports.

Historical Note

The New York City local was the largest and most significant such unit of the Socialist Party (U.S.), and its membership included many individuals also involved in the leadership of the national organization.


Folders are arranged chronologically by year, and alphabetically within each year.

Scope and Contents

The Socialist Party (U.S.) New York (N.Y.) Letter Books, 1907-1914 (titled, on the microfilm as the "Socialist Party (U.S.) Local New York Letter Books"), are organized into 151 subject files, many of which contain no more than 30 items. The bulk of the collection pertains to the activities of the New York City local of the Socialist Party for the years, 1911 1914. There are, however, some items at the beginning of the collection that pertain to the period, 1907 1910. The types of materials in this collection include correspondence, reports on electoral activities, membership records, branch records, committee papers, financial papers, minutes, form letters, miscellaneous printed matter, resolutions, and convention reports. Each subject file has been given a frame number and has been cited in the complete reel list that follows this description of the arrangement of the collection. The researcher should also note that an error was made in the targeting for this collection. On each frame, the word "Series" appears adjacent to the frame number. This term should actually be interpreted as "Collection".

The subject files are first arranged chronologically by year and then alphabetically within the year. Those files with a single letter ("A") or letter group designation ("H K") relate to the general correspondence of the New York City local. These correspondence files which were organized alphabetically according to the last name of the recipient of the letter or the author of the letter, precede specific subject files with the same alphabetical designation. Thus, the "B" correspondence file for 1911 precedes the "Branches" subject file in the arrangement of the collection. Following the alphabetical arrangement, the items within the subject files are arranged in chronological order. In some instances, the items within a file do not correspond exactly to the year in which they were originally placed in the collection. For example, the Grievance Committee records for 1914 (V:115) include items for both 1913 and 1915. Fortunately, this circumstance occurs only in several files for 1913 and 1914.

Most of the subject files in this collection contain information about such routine party operations as scheduling lectures and rallies, planning meetings and special events, processing applications for membership, handling literature requests, and recording membership dues. In addition to these matters, the collection contains considerable information about a variety of events and issues which concerned socialists during the pre World War I period. Some of these events discussed in the subject files include the socialist Party's support for the Mexican Revolution, the expulsion of William Haywood from the Socialist Party's National Executive Committee, the Paterson silk workers strike, the New York City garment workers strike, Margaret Sanger's work as an organizer for the Women's Agitation Committee, the Socialist Party's support for municipal ownership of vital public services industries, the Socialist Party's opposition to the Dillingham immigration restriction bill, the ouster of Gustavus Myers from the New York City local, the 1912 Presidential campaign, the resignations of W. E. B. DuBois and Walter Lippmann from the Socialist Party, the socialist response to the outbreak of war in Europe, the 1911 Triangle Shirt Waist Company fire, and the 1914 New York City Unemployment Conference. Among the prominent socialists who participated in these events and who have significant correspondence in this collection are Fred Arland, Victor Berger, W. J. Ghent, Julius Gerber, J. Mahlon Barnes, Eugene V. Debs, Charles Edward Russell, Harry W. Laidler, Margaret Sanger, W. E. B. DuBois, Walter Uppmann, John M. Work, Fred D. Warren, Florence Kelley, Jessie Ashley, James H. Maurer, and Gustavus Myers.

One of the most interesting files in the collection relates to the Lawrence, Massachusetts, textile workers strike of 1912 (V:44). The types of materials contained in this file include correspondence, status reports on the strike, donation and financial reports, resolutions, and mimeographed letters. Much of this material pertains to the Socialist Party's fund raising activities on behalf of the Lawrence strikers, particularly Joseph Ettor and Arturo Giovannitti who were charged with first-degree murder during the strike. Other items of importance in this file include several letters from Joseph Ettor to Julius Gerber and a letter from Dudley Hohnan, secretary to Governor Eugene N. Foss, to Julius Gerber in which Hohnan defends the police actions during the strike.

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 1907-1914, are expected to enter the public domain in 2035.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Socialist Party (U.S.) New York (N.Y.) Letter Books; TAM 056.005; box number; folder number or item identifier; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Location of Materials

Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please request materials at least two business days prior to your research visit to coordinate access.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Rand School Archives, 1963. The accession number associated with this collection is 1963.019.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Due to the fragile nature of the original materials, researchers must use the microfilmed version; microfilm call number is Film R-7124, Reels 6-8.

Related Material at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Socialist Party of New York State Records (TAM 056.004)

Socialist collections in the Tamiment Library, 1872-1956 : a guide to the microfilm edition (Sanford, N.C. : Microfilming Corp. of America, c1979), 181 p.

Collection processed by

Tamiment Staff

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-11-10 16:20:23 -0500.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Finding aid written in English

Processing Information

Decisions regarding arrangement, description, and physical interventions for this collection prior to 2019 are unknown. In 2019, materials were rehoused in new acid-free folders and boxes in preparation for offsite storage.

Revisions to this Guide

March 2019: Updated by Amy C. Vo to reflect container list changes due to rehousing

Edition of this Guide

This version was derived from SP NY Ltr Bks Guide.doc

Note Statement

Finding Aid


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012