- Collection Overview
- Collection Description & Creator Information
- Access & Use
- Collection History
- Find Related Materials
- American civil liberties union
- Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
- American Civil Liberties Union Records: Subgroup 2, Organizational Matters Series
- Public Policy Papers
- Permanent URL:
- 582 boxes and 8 items
- Storage Note:
Mudd Library collections are unavailable until further notice due to a renovation. See our webpage for the most current information.
The American Civil Liberties Union Records document the activities of the Union in protecting individual rights from 1920 through 1995. The files contain materials on freedom of speech, expression, and association; due process of law; equality before the law; legal case files; and organizational records. Within these categories files reflect subject areas such as academic freedom, censorship, racial discrimination, aliens' rights, privacy concerns, labor concerns, amnesty, and government loyalty and security. The files reflect work on litigation, advocacy and public policy, and subject files on various areas of interest connected with civil liberties. Materials include correspondence, court documents, memoranda, printed matter, minutes, reports, briefs, and legal files. Also included are materials from ACLU affiliate organizations, and the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee.
Collection Description & Creator Information
These Records document the activities of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in protecting individual rights between 1947 and 1995. The collection contains correspondence, clippings, court documents, memoranda, printed matter, minutes, reports, briefs, legal files, exhibit materials, and audio-visual materials. Also included are materials from ACLU affiliate organizations, the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee and national office legal department records (1945-1960).
Due to the exceptionally large volume within the ACLU Records, succinct series and subseries descriptions have been written, providing a basic outline of the records available. The researcher should always consult the folder list to ascertain if the records contain a topic of interest since not all subjects are mentioned in these brief descriptions.
The researcher should also be aware that many topics may be covered in more than one series or subseries. For instance, materials concerning freedom of the press are located in both the Mass Communications and Censorship subseries. Often the series descriptions note similar materials found in other parts of this collection. Due to limitations in processing time, not every file is in exact chronological or alphabetical order.
- Collection Creator Biography:
The ACLU is the preeminent civil liberties organization in the United States. The ACLU describes itself as "our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country." Since its inception in 1920, the ACLU has played a part in nearly every significant American social or political issue in the 20th century. This includes important work in the areas of civil rights, children and women's rights, freedom of speech (and all First Amendment questions), and due process, among many others.
For a more detailed history of the ACLU, please see the history in the finding aid for the processed portion of the records.
- Archival Appraisal Information:
During the processing of this collection, many items were discarded, including newspaper clippings from the New York Times and other major newspapers, government publications, well- known serial publications, and publications and large distribution memoranda from well-known and well-documented organizations such as the American Jewish Committee or Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
These papers were processed with the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the John Foster and Janet Avery Dulles Fund.
- Processing Information:
This collection was processed by Paula Jabloner in 1994-1996 with the assistance of Assistant Archivist for Technical Services Daniel Linke, Special Collections Assistants Amy Escott, Claire Johnston, Alison McCuaig, and Tom Rosko, and students Laurie Alexander, Christina Aragon, Laura Burt, Jue Chen, Clement Doyle, Joe Faber, Said Farah, Boyd Goodson, Naomi Harlin, Janet Hine, Matthew Honahan, Katherine Johnson, Damian Long, Theresa Marchitto, Laura Myones, Olivia Kew, Grace Koo, Dan Sack, Bijan Salehizadeh, Tina Wang, Kyle Weston, and Elizabeth Williamson.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
Subgroup 2 is open for research use.
- Conditions for Reproduction and Use:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from the Mudd Library to move forward with their use.
- Other Finding Aids:
This finding aid describes a portion of the American Civil Liberties Union Records held at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. For an overview of the entire collection, instructions on searching the collection and requesting materials, and other information, please see the Guide to the American Civil Liberties Union Records.
- Credit this material:
American Civil Liberties Union Records: Subgroup 2, Organizational Matters Series; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Permanent URL:
- Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library65 Olden StreetPrinceton, NJ 08540, USA(609) 258-6345
- Alternative Form Available:
Public records of the ACLU from 1917 to 1989, have been microfilmed by the Microfilming Corporation of America (MCA) and University Microfilms International (UMI). These records include minutes of the board of directors, mailings to the board of directors, biennial conference papers, policy guides, the national legal docket, organization manuals, constitution and bylaws, legal briefs, and publications. The American Civil Liberties Union Records and Publications 1917-1975: A Guide to the Microfilm Edition and succeeding guides to these materials are available in the reference room, and the microfilm itself is located in the microforms reading room.
The bound volumes of ACLU records covering 1917 through 1946 (volumes 1-2762) have been microfilmed and researchers must use the microfilm in order to prevent further deterioration of the these fragile volumes. Researchers should consult the finding aid to the earlier ACLU records (1917-1946) for their description and arrangement.
- Publication Note:
Historical sketch based on In Defense of American Liberties: A History of the ACLU by Samuel Walker. See also Samuel Walker's The American Civil Liberties Union: An Annotated Bibliography.
- Subject Terms:
- Abortion -- Law and legislation -- United States -- 20th century.
African Americans -- Civil rights -- History 20th century.
African Americans -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- 20th century.
Aliens -- United States -- Civil rights -- 20th century.
Amnesty -- United States -- 20th century.
Anti-Communist movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Apportionment (Election law) -- United States -- 20th century.
Assembly, Right of -- United States -- 20th century.
Censorship -- United States -- 20th century.
Church and state --United States -- 20th century.
Citizen suits (Civil procedure) -- United States -- 20th century.
Civil rights -- United States -- 20th century.
Civil rights movements -- United States -- 20th century.
Civil rights workers -- United States -- 20th Century -- Correspondence.
Communism -- United States -- 20th century.
Conscientious objectors -- United States -- 20th century.
Constitutional law -- United States -- 20th century.
Discrimination -- United States -- 20th century.
Discrimination in employment - Law and legislation - United States - 20th century.
Draft resisters -- United States -- 20th century.
Due process of law -- United States -- 20th century.
Equality before the law -- United States -- 20th century.
Freedom of association -- United States -- 20th century.
Freedom of information -- United States -- 20th century.
Freedom of movement -- United States --20th century.
Freedom of religion -- United States -- 20th century.
Gay rights -- United States -- 20th century.
Homosexuality -- Government policy -- History -- United States -- 20th century.
Indians of North America -- Civil rights -- 20th century.
Insanity -- Jurisprudence -- United States -- 20th century.
Internal security -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Jews -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States -- 20th century.
Labor laws and legislation -- United States -- 20th century.
Law -- United States -- Cases -- 20th century.
Legal aid -- United States -- 20th century.
Legal services -- United States -- 20th century.
Loyalty oaths -- United States -- 20th century.
Mental health laws -- United States -- 20th century.
Minorities -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States -- 20th century.
Police power -- United States -- 20th century.
Political questions and judicial power -- United States -- 20th century.
Political refugees -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States -- 20th century.
Political rights -- United States -- 20th century.
Political rights, Loss of -- United States -- 20th century.
Privacy, Right of - United States - 20th century.
Race discrimination -- Law and legislation -- United States -- 20th century.
Records -- Access control -- United States -- 20th century.
Sacco-Vanzetti Trial, Dedham, Mass., 1921.
Sex discrimination -- United States -- 20th century.
Strikes and lockouts -- United States -- Cases - 20th century.
Subversive activities -- United States -- 20th century.
Teaching, Freedom of -- United States -- 20th century.
Television in politics -- United States -- 20th century.
Trials -- United States -- 20th century.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- United States.
Women's rights -- United States -- 20th century.
- Genre Terms:
- Audiovisual materials.
- American Union Against Militarism
United States. | Constitution. 1st-10th Amendments
Marshall Civil Liberties Trust Fund
National Civil Liberties Bureau (U.S.)
New York Times company
Baldwin, Roger N. (Roger Nash), 1884-1981
Dulles, John Foster, 1888-1959.
Ennis, Bruce J., 1941-
Everson, Arch R.
Gault, Gerald Francis, 1949 or 50-
Gideon, Clarence Earl
Hays, Arthur Garfield, 1881-1954
Levy, Herbert Monte, 1923-
Malin, Patrick Murphy, 1903-1964
Neier, Aryeh, 1937-
Neuborne, Burt, 1941-
Nixon, Richard M. Richard Milhous 1913-1994
Pemberton, John de J., Jr., 1919-2009
Perry, Richard L.
Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972.
Powell, John A. (John Anthony)
Schempp, Edward L.
Scopes, John Thomas, 1900-1970
Seeger, Daniel A.
Tinker, John Frederick
Wulf, Melvin A.
- United States -- Armed forces -- Gays.