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Socialist Assemblymen Papers

Call Number





Socialist Party (U.S.)


1 Linear Feet in 2 manuscript boxes.

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


In 1920, five Socialist Party Assemblymen were expelled from the New York State Assembly on the grounds that membership in the Socialist Party constituted disloyalty to the United States. This collection consists of several documents and numerous supporting letters, all related to the unsuccessful campaign to reverse the expulsion.

Historical Note

During the infamous Red Scare of 1920, five Socialist Party Assemblymen were expelled from the New York State Assembly on the grounds that membership in the Socialist Party constituted disloyalty to the United States. These assemblymen (August Claessens, Samuel A. De Witt, Samuel Orr, Charles Solomon, and Louis Waldman), in conjunction with the Socialist Party, attempted to overturn the Assembly action and be seated as duly elected representatives of their respective assembly districts. To assist the assemblymen in their fight, the Socialist Party organized a special committee for the purpose of raising funds and holding meetings on the case. The New York State Bar Association also appointed a special committee composed of Charles Evans Hughes, Ogden Mills, and Joseph Proskauer to plead for the seating of the assemblymen. These efforts were unsuccessful, however, as the State Assembly refused to reverse its earlier decision.


Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Contents

The Socialist Assemblymen Papers, 1920, consist of four items relating to the expulsion of the assemblymen and numerous contribution letters sent to the Socialist Party committee which administered the assemblymen's defense fund. The four items pertaining to the expulsion of the assemblymen (VIII:1 VIII:4) include a resolution by the New York State Assembly, a statement on the Assembly's action by the New York State Executive Committee of the Socialist Party, a resolution against the Assembly's action by the New York City Board of Aldermen, and a legal brief prepared by the special committee of the New York State Bar Association.

The contribution letters follow these four items in the filming order. These letters are arranged in alphabetical order according to the author of the letter or the organization for which the letter was written. In some instances, each letter of the alphabet has been assigned a frame number. For the most part, however, the letters have been clustered in alphabetical groups, with anonymous letters placed at the end of the collection. These groups of letters have also been assigned frame numbers. Citations for each of the first four items and the contribution letters can be found in the complete reel list for this 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".

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 1920, are expected to enter the public domain in 2041.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Socialist Assemblymen Papers; TAM 056.008; 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, 1962. The accession number associated with this collection is 1962.014.

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, Reel 12.

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

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 16:24:34 -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

April 2019: Updated by Amy C. Vo for compliance with DACS and ACM Required Elements for Archival Description

Edition of this Guide

This version was derived from Socialist Assemblymen Guide


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
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New York, NY 10012