Scope and arrangement
Approximately one-third of the collection consists of correspondence followed by Socialist Party papers, addresses, speeches and press releases, bar associations, legal cases, writings, personal miscellany and ephemera, and scrapbooks of clippings. There is also one carton of papers (mainly legal and bar association papers) which have been damaged by mildew.
The Louis Waldman papers are arranged in eight series:
The correspondence (incoming and outgoing) consists of a name/subject file, a chronological file, and a file of family and personal correspondence. The name/subject file consists of correspondence and collateral/papers (including minutes, reports, memoranda, press releases, and printed ephemera) relating especially to Waldman's civic, political and professional interests including municipal reform, city charter revision, labor relations and city and state politics. There is also a file of correspondence relating to his book Labor Lawyer. The chronological file consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence relating especially to invitations and speaking engagements, club memberships, personal recommendations, and also to political matters including his resignation from the American Labor Party, the 1940 presidential campaign, local politics, and the issues of fascism and communism. The family and personal correspondence consists of correspondence with his son Seymour while the latter was on active duty in the U. S. Navy; and copies of correspondence to his son Paul while the latter was attending college. There is also correspondence (1948-1952) of Waldman during his trips abroad and while he was ill (1953-1954).
The Socialist Party / Social Democratic Federation papers include correspondence of LW as state chairman of the Socialist Party, copies of his speeches and writings, campaign flyers and other printed ephemera relating especially to the gubernatorial campaigns of 1928, 1930 and 1932 during which he was a candidate for governor; and correspondence, minutes and press releases while he was state chairman of the SDF.
The addresses and speeches are arranged chronologically and consist mainly of copies of the texts of addresses, speeches and radio broadcasts. Included are speeches during political campaigns, as member of the Charter Committee of the City Affairs Committee, as state chairman of the Social Democratic Federation, and speeches made before bar associations and union conventions.
Some of the texts are duplicated in content (if not in form) in the Socialist Party and press release files. There is some collateral correspondence and papers present in the later period. There is also present copies of statements made by LW before legislative committees including a copy of his statement (1948) before the sub-committee on legislation of the House Committee on Un-American Activities together with collateral correspondence with Richard M. Nixon and others relating in part to the Mundt-Nixon Bill (H. R. 5852). The press releases (1936-1969) which are arranged in chronological order include typescript and mimeograph copies of releases issued by LW personally and by organization with which he was associated.
The bar association papers reflect LW's membership in the American Bar Foundation, the American College of Trial Lawyers, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the Brooklyn Bar Association, the New York County Lawyers' Association, and the New York State Bar Association. The American Bar Association papers (1947-1969) include correspondence of LW as chairman of its committee on American citizenship, papers relative to annual meetings, and the 3rd National Conference on Citizenship (1948). Included also is correspondence relative to the case of Girouard vs. U. S. which nullified the law that an applicant for citizenship must be willing to bear arms. The Association of the Bar... papers (1940-1970) include correspondence, minutes, reports and other papers of LW as member of various committees including bill of rights, grievances, international law, judiciary, and military training.
The legal cases are arranged by case title followed by miscellaneous papers in chronological order. The papers include correspondence with clients, attorneys, government and union officials and others, and court papers including printed briefs, transcripts of pre-trial examinations, trial books, court orders and opinions, affidavits, summonses and notices. Included are records of Canal Zone vs. Rounsevell and U. S. vs. Osman involving respectively criminal libel and espionage in which LW served as defense counsel, and records of Davis vs. Curtis Publishing Co. and Benjamin Stolberg reflecting an action for libel against Stolberg for his article on "Communist Wreckers in American Labor" published in the Saturday Evening Post. Included in the correspondence relating to this case is a letter (May 18, 1943) by John Dewey to LW. Among other cases which achieved a large publicity are two immigration cases, that of U. S. ex rel. Kleczkowski vs. Watkins concerning the attempt of Dr. Karl Kleczkowski and his wife, who were espionage agents in Turkey during W. W. II, to avoid deportation, and the case of Walter G. Krivitsky, a former official of Soviet military intelligence who sought to remain in the U. S. and who was found dead in a hotel room allegedly the victim of Stalin's secret police.
The writings include a final typescript draft of LW's autobiography together with rough drafts and notes and unsorted scripts of monographs, articles and reviews including some in printed form.
The personal miscellany includes biographical notes, a photograph of LW and other miscellany including insurance papers. There is also a "Microflex" (plastic disc) recording dated 2/10/50 of a radio debate regarding publicity during court trials over station WEVD in which LW participated.
The scrapbooks of press clippings are arranged into 'general' and subject categories in chronological order (with some overlap). They provide extensive documentation of Waldman's career as lawyer, defense attorney, politician, socialist and civic reformer.