Scope and arrangement
The International Labor Defense Record Group, 1926-1946, is divided into three series and several subseries. The series are: NATIONAL OFFICE - RECORDS OF HEADQUARTERS, 1929-1949; CASES, 1926-1946 and PHOTOGRAPHS. The collection offers students of black history, constitutional law, labor studies, and American radicalism an excellent opportunity to examine in detail many of the most significant campaigns undertaken by this important but controversial legal defense organization.
The International Labor Defense records are arranged in three series:
Included are minutes of both the National Conference and the National Resident Board, correspondence to and from the national office, and reports and resolutions from national conventions.
The CASES series is the largest and most substantive series and includes case files from all of the organization's major cases: the Scottsboro Case, 1931-1946; the Tom Mooney Case, 1931-1939; the Case of the Gallup, New Mexico Coal Mine Workers, 1933-1938; the Case of Angelo Herndon, 1932-1937; the Sacco-Vanzetti Case, 1926-1930. A sixth subseries combines a number of cases and minor interests. The case files generally contain correspondence between ILD headquarters and the principals in each case; clippings relevant to the cases from newspapers and magazines; sample copies of leaflets and pamphlets; photographs; manuscripts of books and articles; legal documents and reports; announcements of rallies and tour schedules as well as texts of speeches delivered; and other records documenting the cases and the ILD's involvement in them.
The Scottsboro Case, 1931-1946, is the largest subseries and includes legal correspondence and correspondence with the defendants and their families, information on the Scottsboro Defense Committee, and the publicity tours taken by the families and others on the defendant's behalf. The extensive press coverage of the case is documented in hundreds of articles and editorials, many of which are found in the collection. Coverage by the black press is represented via national and local newspapers in the northeast, the south, the midwest and the west. There are also clippings from the Communist Party organ, the Daily Worker, as well as newspapers in New York City and the South. Photographs of demonstrations and rallies on behalf of the men known as the "Scottsboro Boys", their families and the alleged rape victims are included.
The two subseries Tom Mooney Case, 1931-1939, and the Case of the Gallup, New Mexico Coal Mine Worker, 1933-1938, consists of correspondence, clippings, information on the trials, defense committees, publicity efforts of the ILD, and related cases. The files for the Case of Angelo Herndon, 1932-1937, contains newspaper articles and press releases, manuscripts regarding the case, letters, articles, pamphlets and manuscripts prepared by Herndon, as well as reviews of his book Let Me Live, and photographs. ILD's first major case, the Sacco-Vanzetti Case, 1926-1930, is represented primarily by Clippings and other printed matter, minutes and reports of the Sacco-Vanzetti Emergency Committee and photographs.
The last subseries in the CASE series, General Subject, Case and Special Interest Files, encompasses a variety of issues including the 1950 campaign of Vito Marcantonio, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Guard, Father Charles Coughlin, and Lucy Parsons.
Composed of positive prints, negatives, and mattes of pictures which were used to illustrate one of the ILD's publications, the Labor Defender. They are arranged by general subjects except where specifically identifed.
Subjects include the Bonus Marchers, 1932-1934, the Civilian Conservation Corps, Farm Relief, Puerto Rico, Picketing, and the War Front in Spain, 1936-1937.