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Series 5: March 2015 Transfer, 1920-2025

315 boxes
SOME ONLINE CONTENT
These records represent a broad range of the ACLU's activities in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. In particular, this series documents the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and AIDS Project; National Prison Project; Racial Justice Program; Reproductive Freedom Project; and Women's Rights Project. To a lesser extent, this series includes ACLU publications and administrative records from the offices of the Executive Director and Director of Communications.
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Subseries 1: Administration, 1923-1994

30 boxes
SOME ONLINE CONTENT
Series 1: Organizational Files, Subseries 1: Administration (1923-1994) consists of correspondence, minutes, agenda, transcripts, reports, incorporation papers, articles, and clippings spanning most of the AAIA's existence: from its days as an "Indian interest organization," with non-Indians at the helm, to its days as an "Indian organization," under Native American leadership. This subseries documents the AAIA's administrative activities through the workings of its Board of Directors, committees, and staff; chronicles its evolving goals and the programs designed to realize them; delineates its organizational structure and manner of conducting business; and, last but not least, records the enormous variety of issues it considered over the years.
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Subseries 2: Affiliates and Offices, 1922-1964

4 boxes
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Series 1: Organizational Files, Subseries 2: Affiliates and Offices (1922-1964) consists of correspondence, reports, minutes, by-laws, membership lists and other documents relating to a number of local organizations with ties to the AAIA. Also to be found in this subseries are somewhat meager files concerning the AAIA's Southwest and Washington, D.C. offices. The character and sphere of the Association's affiliates, which were also known as branches or chapters, varied considerably. At one end of the spectrum can be found the short-lived Missouri Association on Indian Affairs, which was little more than a source of funds and where "no one," it was reported, "is really more than mildly interested." Positioned at the other extreme is the long-running New Mexico Association on Indian Affairs -- later known as the Southwestern Association on Indian Affairs -- with its noteworthy history of involvement in and advocacy of Indian concerns, be it the preservation of their lands, the improvement of their health, or the promotion of their arts and crafts.
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Subseries 3: Correspondence, 1929-1995

21 boxes
SOME ONLINE CONTENT
Series 1: Organizational Files, Subseries 3: Correspondence (1929-1995) consists primarily of typescript letters from or to the AAIA's presidents, executive directors, general counsel, and staff members. While this subseries sheds considerable light on the AAIA's activities, it is especially useful in defining the preoccupations and, at a broader level, the personalities of the principal players in the Association: from its businesslike executive director, William Byler, to its colorful president, Alden Stevens. The consolidation of correspondence under the names of particular individuals, while a bar to ready access by subject, represents a distillation of viewpoints over an extended period, viewpoints which would otherwise lie scattered throughout the collection. Passing from one executive director to another, one encounters a diverse parade of topics: the right of tribes to legal counsel of their own choice (Alexander Lesser, 1951); the state of tension between President Oliver La Farge and onetime Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier (La Verne Madigan, 1955); the AAIA's relationship with the American Civil Liberties Union (Byler, 1975); the rationale behind postage-paid envelopes in fund raising appeals (Steven Unger, 1981); the solicitation of video recording equipment for Project Dream, a Native American rock group committed to the prevention of youth suicide (Idrian Resnick, 1987); the appointment of Robert Reich as Secretary of Labor (Gary Kimble, 1993); and the dearth of financial contributions from tribal casinos (Jerry Flute, 1995). Correspondence with the AAIA's general counsel of over 30 years, Arthur Lazarus, Jr. and Richard Schifter, and their predecessor, Felix Cohen, likewise chronicle a wide array of matters affecting the Association and its constituents. Of particular import were their opinions as to the advisability of filing amicus curiae -- "friend of the court" -- briefs in cases involving such issues as land and water rights.
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Series 1: Organizational Files, Subseries 4: Finances (1933-1995) consists of correspondence, financial statements, spreadsheets, and reports. It documents the financial workings of the AAIA, including fund raising efforts, budgetary planning, allocation of funds, and auditing of accounts. This subseries includes official treasurer's reports as well as the annual and semi-annual reports of the Association's auditors Zeller Goldschmidt. Together, they offer a precise measure of the fluctuating fortunes of the AAIA, stretching from the 1930s, when general receipts and disbursements could total $3,244 and $4,415 respectively, to the 1990s, when general revenue and expenses could stand at $1,597,703 and $1,504,704 respectively. The essential role played by Zeller Goldschmidt in furnishing financial guidance to the Association is reflected in letters admonishing the AAIA for not improving its internal bookkeeping. Under the heading of "Budgets" can be found the financial outlines for the annual discussions of the AAIA's program and budget. Additional information on the budgetary process is contained in the files on these discussions in Series 1, Subseries 1 (Administration). Also contained in this subseries is material relating to the AAIA's exemption from various types of taxation and its understandable concern over changing tax laws and their effect on its non-profit status.
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Series 1: Organizational Files, 1922-1995

56 boxes
SOME ONLINE CONTENT
Series 1: Organizational Files (1922-1995) contains four subseries that document the internal workings of the AAIA, including the formulation of its policies and programs; its relationship with its branches; the views of its presidents, executive directors, general counsel, and staff as embodied in their correspondence; and its financial situation.