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Samuel Adams Darcy Papers

Call Number



1924-1985, inclusive
; 1930-1945, bulk


Darcy, Samuel, 1905-


9 Linear Feet in 6 record cartons, 4 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize flat box, and 4 oversize folders.

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


Sam Adams Darcy (1905-2005), born Samuel Dardeck in the Ukraine of Jewish background, was an organizer, orator, writer, a leading official of the CPUSA and an official in the Communist International. Darcy helped organize the first mass demonstration of unemployed in New York City, was chairperson of the Communist Party California during the 1934 San Francisco General Strike, and made an unsuccessful run for governor of California in 1934. In 1941, Darcy was imprisoned briefly for allegedly falsifying information on his voter registration form. He left the CPUSA in 1945. The papers contain correspondence, writings (unpublished and published), CPUSA internal documents, clippings, ephemera, photographs, and an oral history transcript. Best documented are Darcy's educational, electoral and labor activity, and intra-Party relationships and struggles.

Historical/Biographical Note

Sam Adams Darcy (1905-2005), born Samuel Dardeck in the Ukraine of Jewish background was a leading official of the CPUSA for some twenty years (1925-44), and also held a number of important positions in the Communist International. Darcy was an effective organizer, talented public speaker and a prolific and vivid writer with a flair for dramatization. From 1925-27 he was head of the Party's youth organization, the Young Workers League. Along with William Z. Foster, his friend and ally in intra-party struggle against CP head Earl Browder, he organized in New York City in March 1930 the first mass unemployed demonstration.

From 1931-36 Darcy headed the second largest Party district, California, where he personally participated in the organizing of agricultural workers and the related successful struggle against California's criminal syndicalism law. As head of the California Party organization, he also played a leading role in the longshore and San Francisco general strike of 1934. That year Darcy was the Party's gubernatorial candidate, after unsuccessfully arguing within the party's central committee for a united front with Upton Sinclair's EPIC (End Poverty in California) movement.

Darcy's visibility in California was a factor in his becoming one of several Party leaders who faced legal action after the Russo-German treaty of 1939 placed the CPUSA in sharp opposition to American foreign policy. In September 1940 Darcy was indicted on charges of perjury for allegedly having incorrectly stated his name and birthplace in registering to vote in California in 1934, and spent six weeks in jail, until September 1941.

From 1939-44 Darcy led the Party's fourth largest district, Eastern Pennsylvania, and was heavily involved in electoral work, notably the Party's campaign to defeat the 1943 Democratic nominee for mayor of Philadelphia, William C. Bullitt. Darcy's continuing interest in educational work was reflected in his role as leader of the New York Workers School in 1930, CP National Education Director (1938), and in numerous lectures given at Party run workers schools in New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Darcy also maintained friendships and correspondence with a number of important non-communist progressives, including author Lincoln Steffens, songwriter Yip Harburg and Otto Nathan, executor of the estate of Albert Einstein.

In 1927-28 and again in 1935-38 Darcy worked in Moscow for the Communist International, serving during his second trip as head of its Anglo-American secretariat, after attending the 7th congress of the CI as a delegate from the US. On both occasions Darcy met with Stalin.

In early 1944 Darcy and Foster stood alone among the Party leadership in opposition to Browder's estimation of the prospects for post-war American-Soviet harmony. While Foster retreated in the face of overwhelming opposition, Darcy resigned his party offices in protest and shortly thereafter was expelled from the CPUSA by the vote of a commission which his friend Foster was required to chair. Although politically vindicated a year later when Browder was removed from the Party leadership, Darcy did not rejoin the party. Among the factors for this were his belief that the repudiation of Browder's policies was incomplete, and a request by the new leader, Eugene Dennis, to examine a manuscript Darcy had been working on since his expulsion. Darcy for a time maintained some contacts with other "left-wing" expellees, such as William Dunne and Charles Keith. He later became a successful furniture merchant and became active in the Democratic party.


1917: Joins Young Peoples Socialist League (YPSL)1921: Joins Workers Party (later Communist Party), December, 19211925-27: Head, Young Workers League (later Young Communist League); on CPUSA Politburo as YWL representative1926: Marries Emma Blechschmidt1927-28: On exec. committee, Young Communist International; Moscow, chair International Childrens Committee (YCI); travels to China and Philippines1929-30: New York City; briefly editor of the Daily Worker, head NY Workers school1930: Head; International Labor Defense1931-36: Head; California district, CPUSA (also included Nevada and Arizona)1935-38: Moscow; 7th congress Communist International, head, Anglo-American Secretariat1938: CPUSA National Edcuation Director; Central Committee representative for Minnesota-Wisconsin-Dakotas district1938-39: Demoted form full Central Committee member to alternate1929-44: Eastern Pennsylvania district head1944: Expelled from CPUSA1945: Declines to rejoin CPUSA


''Agricultural strikes,'' Party Organizer, Aug-Sep (1933), 82-83.''The big stick in Latin America - its size and cost,'' Workers Monthly, March (1926), 215-218.The Battle for Production (New York, Workers Library Publishers, 1942), 47 pp.The Challenge of Youth; Why Every Young Worker Should Join the Young Workers Communist League (Chicago, Ill., Young Workers Communist League of America, 1926), 52 p.''The elections in Philadelphia,'' The Communist, December (1943), 1121-1132.An Eye_Witness at the Wreckers' Trial (New York : Workers Library Publishers, 1937), 63 p.''The Great West Coast Maritime Strike,'' The Communist, 13:7 (1934), 664-686.Introduction to Politics. Part 1, A Critique of American Capitalism, assisted by Ernest Pendrell. (Philadelphia, Pa. : Philadelphia Workers School and School of Social Science, 1940), 174, [1] leaves.''Join the army-,'' Workers Monthly, May (1926), 315-318.''Native daughter-Communist Party founder and leader,'' Communist, Oct (1942), 849-856. Anita Whitney.''The San Francisco Bay Area General Strike,'' The Communist, 13:10 (1934), 985-1004.Late Afternoon for the Nation_State; A Study of the Origins, Growth, Present Position and Possible Future of the Nation_State as a Form of Social Organization (New York, Cromwell Books, 1972), 408 p.''What's Happening in the U.S.S.R? (New York, Workers Library Publishers, 1937), 15 pp.


Organized into nine series: I. Communist Party material; II. Expulsion from CPUSA; III. Correspondence; IV. Political Activities; V. Trials; VI. Biographical Manuscripts; VII. Additional Correspondence; VIII. Photographs and Graphics; IX. Unprocessed Materials.

Folders in series I-VIII are arranged alphabetically by subject/author heading within each series.

Scope and Content Note

The Papers contain correspondence, writings (unpublished and published), CPUSA internal documents, clippings, ephemera, photographs, and an oral history transcript. Best documented are Darcy's educational, electoral and labor activity, and intra-Party relationships and struggles. The principal correspondents, in addition to William F. Dunne and William Z. Foster are: Israel Amter, Roger Baldwin, Max Bedacht, Cedric Belfrage, Earl Browder, Eugene Dennis, Leo Gallagher, Yip Harburg, Roy Hudson, Robert Minor, Tom Mooney, Otto Nathan, Scott Nearing, Mike Quinn, Nat Ross, William Schneiderman, Jack Stachel, Lincoln Steffens, Peter Steffens, and Ella Winter (widow of Lincoln Steffens).

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection created by Samuel Adams Darcy was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Samuel Adams Darcy Papers; TAM 124; 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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Samuel Adams Darcy in 1985; additional materails were donated were donated during the 1990s and by his daughter in 2007. The accession numbers associated with the gifts are 1950.257, 1985.001, 1985.008, 1985.011, NPA.2007.029, and 1009.056.

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

The William Francis Dunne Papers, TAM 145

The Cedric Belfrage Papers, TAM 143

Oral History of the American Left, OH 002

Collection processed by

Peter Filardo. An EAD finding aid was created in 2009 from the original guide to the Sam Darcy Papers written by Peter Filardo; it was edited by David Olson in 2013 for compliance with DACS and Tamiment Required Elements for Archival Description and to reflect the incorporation of nonprint materials and addition of unprocessed materials.

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 16:51:37 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Finding aid is in English

Processing Information

Collection processed by Peter Filardo in 1986. Additional materials received from Sam Darcy in the early 1990s remain unprocessed, as do photographs received in 2007. Photographs donated in 1985 were separated during initial processing and were established as a separate collection, the Samuel Adams Darcy Photographs (PHOTOS 035). In 2013, the photograph collection was reincorporated into the Samuel Adams Darcy Papers. Materials received during the 1990s were rehoused at this time for preservation reasons.

In 2014, a box of unprocessed photographic and graphic materials found in the repository from the 2007 donation was added to the collection as Box 8. Materials in this box have not received preservation rehousing.

Revisions to this Guide

March 2020: Revised by Marissa Grossman to reflect the rehousing of materials.


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