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Gil Green Papers

Call Number



1925-1993, inclusive


Green, Gil, 1906-
Green, Gil, 1906- (Role: Donor)
Green, Ralph (Role: Donor)


14 Linear Feet in 11 record cartons and 7 manuscript boxes.

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


Gil Green (1906-1997) was a leading figure in the Communist Party USA and held a number of offices in the Young Workers League and the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) between 1927 and 1968. From 1941-1945 and again from 1966-1968, Green was head of the CPUSA in New York State and also briefly headed the Party in Illinois. Convicted under the Smith Act in 1949, Green was imprisoned from 1956 until 1961. He left the party in 1991 and helped to found the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. The Gil Green Papers date from 1925 to 1993 and include Green's correspondence, writings, and documentation of his political activities. The collection also contains a large amount of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) files obtained by Green through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. These files relate primarily to the FBI's investigations of Green's work with the CPUSA and his prosecution under the Smith Act.

Biographical Note

Gil Green (1906-1997) was a leading figure in the Communist Party USA and held a number of offices in the Young Workers League and the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) between 1927 and 1969. Green was born Gilbert Greenberg in Chicago, Illinois in 1906 to Russian-Jewish immigrants. He joined the Young Workers League (later the Young Communist League) in 1924 and in 1932 became national secretary of the Young Communist League (YCL), a position he held throughout the decade. In 1935 he attended the Comintern's Seventh Congress, where he was an advocate for the emerging Popular Front policy. Green served as the district organizer of the CPUSA in New York State between 1941 and 1945, was sent to Chicago in 1945 to become the Illinois State Secretary of the CPUSA, and returned to New York in 1947 to join the party's national board. In 1949, he was convicted under the Smith Act and became a figurative until he surrendered himself in 1956. He served a prison sentence until 1961. In 1966, Green once again became the head of the New York Party, but resigned in 1968 to protest the CPUSA's endorsement of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. He remained a member of the CPUSA until 1991, when he left the party and helped to found the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, a democratic socialist organization. He died in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1997.


This collection has been arranged into four series: Series I. Correspondence, General; Series II. Correspondence, Prison; Series III. Political Activities, Associates, and Writings; Series IV. FBI and Prison Files. Folders are arranged alphabetically by topic or creator, with the exception of correspondence in Series II, which is arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

The Gil Green Papers date from 1925 to 1993 and contain the correspondence, writings, and FBI files of Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) leader and organizer Gil Green. His papers consist primarily of correspondence and FBI files released through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Green corresponded with many like-minded communists, ex-communists, other U.S. leftists, historians, and researchers, and much of the correspondence in this collection relates to communist history and radical thought and activity. Several letters relate to Green's support of the Puerto Rican independence movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. There is a small amount of personal correspondence between Green and his family, including photocopies of Green's correspondence during his five years in prison, 1956-1961. Green's prison correspondence largely consists of letters to his first wife (Lil Green, 1910-1964) and children, but also contains some letters with political associates and attorneys. The collection includes an assortment of unpublished typescripts, notes, and other materials related to Green's political career. Green's writing consist of speeches at Communist Party engagements, political essays and editorials, unpublished typescripts of books by Green and others, and several documents related to the publicity and reception of Green's books. A number of the FBI files in this collection were used by Green in preparation for his memoir, Cold War Fugitive, and were grouped by Green to facilitate his research. Green's FBI files make up the bulk of his collection and document government surveillance of his political activities from the late 1930s through the 1970s. The majority of these files focus on Green's affiliation with the CPUSA, the FBI's hunt for Green between 1949 and 1956, and his prison sentence. FBI files are accompanied by correspondence between Green, his attorney Edward Greer, and federal agencies regarding FOIA requests.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by Gil Green, the creator of this collection, were relinquished and transferred to the public domain in date by Ralph Green. These materials are governed by a Creative Commons CC0 license, which permits publication and reproduction of materials accompanied by full attribution. See,

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Gil Green Papers; TAM 095; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Location of Materials

Materials stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact prior to research visit.

Existence and Location of Originals

Original copies of correspondence in Series II: Correspondence, Prison are held at the Chicago History Museum in the Gil Green Papers, MSS Lot Green.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Gil Green, circa 1980 and 1993. The accession number associated with these gifts is 1980.010. In 1981, the Chicago Historical Society sent Tamiment Library two boxes of photocopies of Gil Green's prison correspondence. There is no accession number associated with this gift. Green sent an additional seven boxes of FBI files to the Tamiment Library in 1982. Additional FBI files were presumably sent to Tamiment sometime around 1993. There is no accession number associated with these materials. A letter from Gil Green to Robby Cohen was found in repository in April of 2014 and added to this collection. The accession number associated with this document is 2014.049.

Custodial History

Gil Green donated portions of his personal papers to both the Tamiment Library and the Chicago Historical Society, circa 1980. In 1981 the Chicago Historical Society created photocopies of Green's prison correspondence, which were sent to the Tamiment Library to be included in this collection.

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

A portion of Gil Green's papers are also held at the Chicago History Museum Research Center in Chicago, Illinois. This collection is titled: Gil Green papers [manuscript], ca. 1947-1986. Call number: MSS Lot Green.

The Counterattack Research Files (TAM 148) Series 50, file 33 (0.5 lf), is a compilation of documentation on the Illinois Communist Party, 1946-1950, and on Green's leadership thereof, including reportage and analysis by informants and government agents.

Sender Garlin Letters to Gil Green (TAM 536)

Collection processed by

Peter Filardo

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 16:41:46 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Description is in English.

Processing Information

This collection was originally arranged into 5 series. In 2016, materials in Series I through Series III were consolidated and series numbers were updated to reflect this change.

Previously unprocessed materials in Series IV: FBI and Prison Files were processed in 2016. With the exception of a small portion of documents arranged by Green for personal research, these files had not been arranged. Before sending these materials to Tamiment, Green removed thousands of pages labeled "FOIPA Deleted Information Sheets," to reduce bulk, but retained the rest of the files largely as he had received them from the FBI. Titles for these files have been supplied by the archivist based on the FBI's general topic of inquiry; however, topics vary widely within certain files.

Revisions to this Guide

May 2021: Edited by Megan O’Shea to revise laudatory language in the Abstract and Historical Note

Edition of this Guide

Gil Green Guide.doc


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
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