Scope and arrangement
The Frank R. Crosswaith Papers date from 1917 to 1974. The papers document aspects of his involvement as a labor leader and socialist and consist primarily of Crosswaith's speeches; scrapbooks containing documentation regarding his activities, particularly the Socialist Party and the Negro Labor Committee; and news clippings. Biographical information and material documenting tributes held in his honor are included. The collection is relatively small and contains very little of substance in the Labor and Politics series regarding trade union involvement with the exception of Crosswaith's writings and speeches. Much of the collection consists of printed material and speeches. Day-to-day office files for organizations with which he held significant positions are not included in this collection.
The Papers have been divided into three series. They are: Personal Papers, Labor and Politics, and Writings.
The Frank R. Crosswaith papers are arranged in three series:
The PERSONAL PAPERS series, 1917-1962 (.2 lin. ft.)consists of several biographical sketches, organizational membership cards, certificates, and information about several dinners honoring him between 1937 and 1962.
LABOR AND POLITICS, 1922-1974 (1 lin. ft.)The material about labor unions includes two scrapbooks which relate to his involvement with the Harlem Labor Committee and its Harlem Labor Center. This material includes by-laws, anniversary journals and related correspondence, press releases, and minutes of meetings. There is also a program for the First Negro Labor Conference which established the Negro Labor Committee, as well as articles written by Crosswaith and printed matter about the unionization of specific trades. The scrapbooks have been disbound but the original order has been maintained.
Organizations with which Crosswaith was involved as a labor organizer which are represented in the collection include the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (one folder contains minutes of executive meetings and Crosswaith's 1928 letters of resignation addressed to members of the Brotherhood explaining the reasons for his departure). The International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union is documented by three folders which appear in three different sections of the Labor and Politics series, including in the two scrapbooks. This material consists primarily of news clippings and other printed matter, in addition to articles he wrote. Material in the scrapbooks include speeches and articles Crosswaith wrote, news clippings and other printed matter as well as typed versions of his editorials.
Subject files include barbers, laundry workers and other unions.
Crosswaith's political campaigns as a Socialist candidate are represented by news clippings, flyers and correspondence. There is additional correspondence about Eugene V. Debs, the socialist candidate for whom Crosswaith campaigned in 1923. Crosswaith's tenure with the New York City Housing Authority is represented by only two bulletins from 1957. Because he was appointed by mayors, the NYCHA material has been placed in this series.
There are a large number of news clippings about labor, including the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and A. Philip Randolph, and the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Many of these articles discuss Crosswaith. Additional clippings focus on several of his New York City political campaigns. Oversize news clippings had been photocopied prior to the Schomburg Center's acquisition of the collection. Some of these photocopies contain articles about several related subjects which appear on the front and reverse sides.
WRITINGS SERIES, 1921-1953 (. 6 lin. ft.)The writings primarily focus on two major topics: socialism and organized labor as they relate to blacks. All of Crosswaith's writings were in scrapbooks labelled “speeches”, with an index to the contents. The original order as they appeared in the scrapbooks may be studied by examining this index. As there did not appear to be any logic to the order of this material, the following arrangment has been imposed: Speeches (chronological), Articles and Essays (chronological; undated material is arranged alphabetically), Press Releases (chronological), Editorials (chronological), Poems, and News Clippings (chronological). Among the subjects he wrote about are: segregation, housing, trade unionism and socialism. As an orator for socialist and labor issues, the collection is rich in Crosswaith's speeches which he delivered nationwide primarily in the 1930's. The series also contains printed announcements, organized chronologically.