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Subseries 4A: Legal Case Files, 1933-1990

671 boxes
This series consists of legal case files which cover the widest range of civil liberties issues. It contains briefs and other pleadings, correspondence, memoranda, and notes. There are over 5500 folders representing approximately 3000 individual cases, many of which went before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Legal Case Files series is not a comprehensive representation of the cases in which the ACLU has been involved. Some records have yet to be transferred to Princeton and are still being maintained by the ACLU Legal Department. The series is arranged alphabetically by case or individual name. Files may appear listed under either the plaintiff's or the defendant's names. Also some cases are filed under a subject heading such as "Gay Rights Task Force" or "Airport Searches". One should also consult the MCA/UMI Microfilm guides for the case files series which may contain copies of ACLU legal briefs filed for many of the cases listed here.
The Academic Freedom subseries (10.92 linear feet) contains numerous documents relating to the rights of teachers to instruct according to personal conviction and the right of students to learn and inquire fully without fear of hindrance or other reprisals. The subseries is arranged chronologically and alphabetically within each year using consistent headings throughout. Headings include Miscellaneous Academic Freedom issues, Campus Unrest, Cases, Communists, Education, Legislation, Loyalty Oaths, Students, and Teachers. The files contain examples of both collegiate and secondary school violations of educational freedom. The case files are reference files, most representative of the issues considered noteworthy by the Academic Freedom Committee of the ACLU. Materials are primarily composed of correspondence, memoranda, internal reports, and newspaper clippings.
The ACLU censorship files (18.06 linear feet) contain materials which reflect the ACLU's involvement and interest in guaranteeing that freedom of speech and the press are not abridged. The ACLU fought hard against Post Office censorship, pressure groups, and government to protect the rights of artists, nudists, movie makers, homosexuals, and others to express their views, ideas, and images in books, magazines, and movies. These files are the documentation of that struggle.