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Richard Morford Papers

Call Number



1918-1986, inclusive


Morford, Richard, 1903-1986
Kahn, Kathy
Anderson, Linda A. (Role: Donor)


12.5 Linear Feet
in 11 record cartons, 1 oversize flat box, 1 oversize folder, and 1 flat file folder.

Language of Materials

Materials are primarily in English. Some publications are in German and Russian.


Reverend Richard Morford (1903-1986) was a Presbyterian minister and graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Inspired by the peace and Social Gospel movements, he participated in a variety of progressive causes and was the Executive Director of the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship (NCASF) from 1946 until 1981. The Richard Morford Papers document his professional activities as Presbyterian minister and Executive Director of the NCASF as well as his involvement with progressive and activist organizations and his time at Albion College.

Historical/Biographical Note

Missing Title

Richard Morford
Reverend Richard Morford (1903-1986) was born in Onaway, Michigan and graduated from Albion College in Albion, Michigan. In the summer after graduating from Albion College in 1925, Morford traveled in Europe under the sponsorship of the youth division of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Fellowship of Youth for Peace. During this trip he met with other youth groups to discuss ways to achieve a durable peace. In the fall of that year, Morford started as a teacher and principal of the high school in Romeo, Michigan, which he continued until 1928.

Morford moved to New York City where he prepared for the Presbyterian ministry at Union Theological Seminary and was a student minister at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. At the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church he met Aileen Hutson, whom he married in 1932. In June of 1931 he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. In 1932 Morford received a Master's Degree in Philosophy of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. From 1931 until 1936 Morford served as the Minister of Education in the Presbyterian Church of Morristown, New Jersey. In 1936 he and his family moved to Albany, New York, where he worked as the associate secretary of Protestant Family Welfare and as minister of the House of Friendship. The House of Friendship was a non-denominational mission church and community center with a low-income constituency. Additionally, he helped organize and was the executive secretary of the Federation of Churches in Albany and Vicinity. He was also president of the Albany Consumers' Cooperative during the period 1938-1942.

In 1942 the Morford family moved back to New York City. From 1942-1945 he was the Executive Secretary of the United Christian Council for Democracy, a national federation of six unofficial social, education, and action organizations in major Protestant denominations. In January 1946 Morford became executive director the National Council for American Soviet Friendship (NCASF), which was founded in November 1943. While Executive Director of the NCASF, Morford remained active with the Presbytery of New York City, serving as Chair of the Ministerial Fellowship committee during 1967-1971 and as Chair of its Committee on Social Concerns and Committee on Session Records starting in 1972. In the 1960s and early 1970s Morford was a member of the Executive Committee of the Methodist Federation for Social Action. In 1980, he became President of Chi Alpha, the oldest clerical club in the country, founded in 1829.

In the 1960s and early 1970s Morford was on the National Advisory Committee of the Citizens' Committee for Constitutional Liberties. In the mid-1960s Morford was an organizer and member of the Executive Committee of the National Committee to Repeal the McCarran Act. Morford was a founder and board member of the Consumer-Farmer Milk Cooperative of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania starting in 1945 and its successor organization, the Consumer-Farmer Foundation starting in 1971. By the 1980s the organization's work included rehabilitation housing.

The program of the NCASF emphasized cultural interchange and education as a means of strengthening the bonds of understanding between the American and Soviet people. The Council believed their most important project was to promote cultural exchange at the local level. The NCASF set up special committees that sponsored various conferences, exhibits, and cultural activities. The Council also issued numerous pamphlets and bibliographies about life in the Soviet Union, as well as information on American-Soviet relations.

In November 1945, a few months before Morford started as Executive Director, the Council was served a subpoena to submit its membership and financial records to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Morford appeared before the committee but refused to turn over the records. NCASF contended it was not engaged in un-American or subversive propaganda activities and was not, therefore, subject Committee's authority or demand for its private records. After legal proceedings which included an unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court, Morford served three months for contempt of Congress in August through November 1950. In 1947, the NCASF was indicted for failure to register with the Subversive Activities Control Board. In 1951, the Supreme Court ruled that the Attorney General acted arbitrarily and illegally by placing the Council on the List of Subversive Organizations. In April, 1953, the Subversive Activities Control Board found the Council to be a Communist front organization. Morford carried the issue to the Circuit Court where in May 1963, a unanimous finding overturning the SACB finding was handed down.

In March 1974, he was awarded the Medal of Friendship of the Peoples by the USSR Supreme Soviet. He retired from the NCASF and was elected Executive Director emeritus in 1981. After retiring he served actively on the Council's Executive Committee. Morford was awarded the Peacemaking Ministry Award by the Presbytery of New York in January 1981, which recognized his work for international reconciliation. Richard Morford passed away in September 1986.

Kathy Kahn
Kathy Kahn (also known as Skye Kathleen Moody) was a writer whose nonfiction works included Hillbilly Women (1973) and Fruits of Our Labor: Soviet and American Workers Talking About Making a Living (1982). Kahn worked with the Society for Soviet and U.S. Friendship and Richard Morford to carry out the research for Fruits of Our Labor. In the several years leading up to Morford's death in 1986, Kahn worked with him with the intention of writing a biography. In the course of preparing to write his biography, Kahn produced several interviews with Morford and had custody of an autobiographical manuscript that he produced and many of his files. These materials were then transferred to Linda Anderson, Morford's daughter. Kahn never produced a published biography of Richard Morford.


Organized into two series: Series I: Personal and Ministry Materials; Series II: National Council of American Soviet Friendship. Folders arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

The Richard Morford Papers document the professional and activist activities of Reverend Richard Morford from the late 1910s through the mid-1980s. These activities are documented through correspondence, publications, worship materials including sermons, administrative files, clippings, conference materials, press releases, official reports, and photographs. The activities most reflected in this collection include his time as a student at Albion College, his work as a minister in Morristown, NJ and Albany, NY, his involvement in peace movements and the Christian left, his involvement with the Presbytery of New York City, and his role as Executive Director of the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship from 1946 until 1981. This collection also includes notes written by Morford in the course of preparing for his biography to be written by Kathy Kahn in the 1980s. Some notes were written by Kahn or are a dialogue between the two; these notes can be found interspersed with earlier material as well as on their own.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Because of the assembled nature of this collection, copyright status varies across the collection. Copyright is assumed to be held by the original creator of individual items in the collection; these items are expected to pass into the public domain 120 years after their creation. Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by Richard Morford were transferred to New York University in 2006 by Linda M. Anderson. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive. Please contact

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Richard Morford Papers; TAM 361; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Linda M. Anderson in 2006. The accession number associated with this gift is 2006.024.

Separated Materials

Approximately 2 linear feet of books and booklets relating to the Soviet Union were separated to the library.

Related Archival Materials

Richard Morford's autobiographical manuscript and interviews conducted by Kathy Kahn can be found in the Abbott Simon Papers (TAM 346).

For more information about the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, see the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship Records (TAM 134).

Collection processed by

Bonnie Gordon

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2024-02-06 14:03:15 -0500.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Finding aid written in English.

Processing Information

Upon receipt, most materials were in labeled folders. The National Council for American-Soviet Friendship materials were in separate boxes upon receipt. Original folder titles were inscribed by Richard Morford as well as by his biographer, Kathy Kahn. Kahn had custody of a portion of Morford's files during the 1980s and some order was imposed by her in the course of preparing to write Morford's biography. Folders were grouped by phase of Morford's life (and loosely correlate with the organization of the autobiographical manuscript) and arranged in rough chronological order. Many folders contain notes written by Morford or Kahn, and explain the contents of the folder or what was happening in his life at that point. These folder groupings and titles were kept when possible and were arranged by the archivist into chronological order.


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