Contents and Arrangement

Subseries 1E.3: Departments: Associate Director Alan Reitman, 1948-1989

56 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Alan Reitman began working for the ACLU in 1948 as publicity director, then later served as assistant director, 1951-1957, and associate director, 1957-1990. The first five boxes (2.1 linear feet) contain correspondence, memoranda, reports, and statements covering the years 1948-1986 and document Reitman's role in ACLU operations. The subseries is arranged chronologically by year and alphabetically by subject within each year.

The remainder of the records (21.42 linear feet) document his work as associate director for the period 1977-1990 and are organized into three sections: correspondence, committee, and subject files. The correspondence files, arranged chronologically, contain Reitman's correspondence with Executive Director Ira Glasser, Board President Norman Dorsen, directors of ACLU affiliates, members of subject matter committees, staff of the national office, and the general public. The files also include ACLU policy statements, committee meeting agenda, results of elections for the national board, affiliate correspondence, election results, and biennial conference papers. Reitman's correspondence also covers board and staff members' service on subject matter committees and the Nominating Committee.

The committee files, arranged alphabetically, contain Reitman's correspondence with members and chairs of organizational, special, and subject matter committees; memoranda; policy statements; position papers; and documents from outside organizations. The files are extensive for several committees, including the Constitution; Grand Jury; Nominating; and Executive Committees; the Special Committee on Receiving and Withholding Medical Treatment; and the ACLU Special Organizational Review Committee (SORC), which reviewed all of the Union's operations.

The subject files, arranged alphabetically, are comprised of correspondence, memoranda, legal briefs, background information, and printed material from outside organizations. There is substantive material on the decennial census, including correspondence with the director of the Bureau of the Census in 1979 on the issue of census questions pertaining to race. There are extensive files on the issues of corporal punishment in the schools, the Fairness Doctrine, access to dial-in services, National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), and the Justice Department's suit to put the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in trusteeship. Reitman's subject files on "mental illness" contain correspondence with committee members Arthur Kobler and Dr. Irwin Feinberg. These files document the ACLU's policy on involuntary commitment of the mentally ill in the 1970s. The Science and Civil Liberties files contain a 1977 proposal written by Dorothy Naiman for an "ACLU Foundation Project on Science and Civil Liberties." In the 1980s, staff and committee members wrote policy statements on civil liberties and scientific research that were based on Naiman's work.

Files documenting Alan Reitman's contribution to the ACLU prior to 1977 are scattered throughout the subject files series as well. Much of Reitman's correspondence dealt with particular issues of concern to the ACLU and was filed under the relevant subjects.


No arrangement action taken or arrangement information not recorded at the time of processing.

Collection History


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

Conditions Governing Access

Subgroup 2 is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Subseries 1E.3: Departments: Associate Director Alan Reitman; American Civil Liberties Union Records: Subgroup 2, Organizational Matters Series, MC001-02-01, Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 252-307

Find More

Existence and Location of Copies

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.

Related Materials

American Civil Liberties Union, Washington, D.C. Office Records

American United for the Separation of Church and State Records

Roger N. Baldwin Papers

Osmond K. Fraenkel Diaries

Fund for the Republic Records

Arthur Garfield Hays Papers

Peggy Lamson Collection on Roger N. Baldwin

Law Students Civil Rights Research Council Records

PEN American Center Records (at Firestone Library)

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.


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.

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 (1884-1981)
Dorsen, Norman
Dulles, John Foster (1888-1959)
Ennis, Bruce J., 1941-
Epperson, Susan
Escobedo, Danny
Everson, Arch R.
Gault, Gerald Francis, 1949 or 50-
Gideon, Clarence Earl
Griswold, Estelle
Hays, Arthur Garfield, 1881-1954
Holtzman, Elizabeth.
Jacobellis, Nico
Levy, Herbert Monte, 1923-
Malin, Patrick Murphy, 1903-1964
Miranda, Ernesto
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)
Reitman, Alan
Schempp, Edward L.
Schwarzschild, Henry
Scopes, John Thomas, 1900-1970
Seeger, Daniel A.
Tinker, John Frederick
Wulf, Melvin A.