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Sam Wallach Papers

Call Number



1921-2001, inclusive
; 1935-1999, bulk


Wallach, Sam
Wallach Scott, Joan (Role: Donor)


3.75 Linear Feet in 3 record cartons and 2 manuscript boxes

Language of Materials

Materials are in English


The Sam Wallach Papers include materials from Sam Wallach (1909-2001) and Rose Russell (1899-1965) New York teachers who were active in the Teachers' Union in the 1940s and 1950s. Wallach was fired by the New York City Board of Education in 1951 for refusal to cooperate with various bodies investigating Communism.

Historical/Biographical Note

Born in Dolina, Poland, on July 1, 1909, Sam Wallach came to the United States with his parents when he was about 10 months old. He grew up in Brooklyn, the oldest of four children. After attending Brooklyn Technical High School, he studied at City College of the City of New York, graduating in 1929. He was a playground director in Brooklyn and then a high school teacher of economics and history. He joined the Teachers' Union and became one if its leaders, serving as President from 1945 until 1948.

In 1948, Wallach was called by the Hartley Congressional Labor Committee in its investigation of the Teachers Union. He repeatedly asserted that the Committee had no right to investigate personal or political beliefs. His statement, published in The New York Times, was defended by sixty notable thinkers and educators, including Albert Einstein.

In 1949 The New York State Legislature passed the Feinberg Law, which demanded that the Board of Education seek out subversives and Communists and bar them from teaching. From 1951 to 1956, dozens of city school teachers were dismissed and blacklisted; Sam Wallach was one of the first.

He worked in a variety of jobs after his dismissal, including creating educational filmstrips for National Teaching Aids, and then took a position at Maimonides Developmental Center advocating for mentally retarded children. He helped formulate strategy for "mainstreaming" students and for establishing residential group homes for the retarded.

In December, 1976, as he was about to retire from Maimonides, he and nine of the other teachers who had been dismissed in the 1950s, were reinstated and awarded pension benefits by the New York City Board of Education.

Sam Wallach was married for 56 years to Lottie Tanenbaum. They had two daughters, Joan Wallach Scott and Ruth Wallach Frankel. Wallach died on February 14, 2001, at the age of 91.


Folders are arranged alphabetically. The collection is composed of the following four series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Personal Papers
  2. Series II: Rose Russell Material
  3. Series III: Subject Files
  4. Series IV: Photographs
  5. Series V: Audiovisual Materials

Scope and Content Note

The Sam Wallach Papers include materials from Sam Wallach (1909-2001) and Rose Russell (1899-1965). The collection includes Wallach's correspondence; clippings; materials relating to Wallach's suspension, dismissal and subsequent reinstatement; his FBI surveillance file and items from his second career working with the mentally retarded. The bulk of Rose Russell's material is correspondence relating to the Teachers' Union and photographs of union events. The collection also includes audio materials (vinyl records and reel to reel tapes).

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by Joan Wallach Scott, the daughter of Sam Wallach, were transferred to New York University in 2001. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from the Tamiment Library.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Sam Wallach Papers; TAM 241; 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

Series V: Audiovisual materials stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact at least two business days prior to research visit.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were donated by Joan Wallach Scott in 2001. The accession numbers associated with this collection are 2001.201, 2001.202, and NPA.2008.006.

Custodial History

Gift of Joan Wallach Scott, 2001. The Rose Russell material was entrusted to the Wallach family by Harris Russell, Rose Russell's husband, after her death in 1965.

Audiovisual Access Policies and Procedures

Access to audiovisual materials in this collection is available through digitized access copies. Researchers may view an item's original container, but the media themselves are not available for playback because of preservation concerns. Materials that have already been digitized are noted in the collection's finding aid and can be requested in our reading room. Materials not yet digitized will need to have access copies made before they can be used. To request an access copy, or if you are unsure if an item has been digitized, please contact with the collection name, collection number, and a description of the item(s) requested. A staff member will respond to you with further information.

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

Frederic Ewen Audiotape and Videotape Collection. Contains the transcript of an interview with Sam Wallach on May 2, 1990 (OH 52)

Collection processed by

Jan Hilley

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 16:58:19 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: English

Processing Information

Photographs were separated from this collection during initial processing and were established as a separate collection, the Sam Wallach Photographs (PHOTOS 251). In 2013, the photograph collection was reincorporated into the Sam Wallach Papers. Audiovisual materials were also separated from this collection during initial processing and were reincorporated into the Sam Wallach Papers as Series V in 2014.


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