Contents and Arrangement

Subseries 5A: ACLU Printed Material, 1917-1994

71 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This subseries consists of publications produced by the ACLU and is broken down into the following sections:

Annual Reports are inclusive for 1921-1994. Arranged chronologically, the annual reports are most comprehensive for the 1920s through the 1960s, with some reports over one hundred pages in length. From the 1970s to the present, the reports are brief recapitulations of the previous year's work.

Organizational manuals are internal guides established to assist new employees at the national and affiliate offices in their orientation to the ACLU. The manuals are arranged chronologically and were written in 1968, 1975, and 1976.

Pamphlets, 1917-1993, including publications from the National Civil Liberties Bureau. The pamphlets cover a wide variety of civil liberties issues pertinent to the time period in which they were written, including conscientious objection, labor disputes, alien rights, free speech, censorship, loyalty and security, church/state matters, and academic freedom. They are arranged by decade and then alphabetically.

Policy Guides are arranged chronologically. Guides dated from 1938 to 1966 deal with specific civil liberties issues. With the expansion of the ACLU and its growing number of state affiliates, in 1966 the ACLU wrote a comprehensive guide to all their policies to ensure that policy decisions throughout the organization remained uniform. Policy Guides were either reissued or updated every few years and this subseries includes guides and updates through 1992.

Press Releases, 1926-1990, are arranged chronologically and contain official news releases produced by the ACLU.

Rights of... books are a series of publications begun in 1968 dealing with the rights of specific groups in society. The books are basic legal guides for the lay person. Included are books on the rights of authors, crime victims, prisoners, teachers, students, hospital patients, young people, parents, and older persons. They are arranged alphabetically by title.

Serials are arranged alphabetically and then chronologically. The serials are broken down into two parts: one for the earlier publications (1920s to 1950s) and one for later publications (1950s- 1990s). The earlier serials include Weekly Press Bulletins and the Law and Freedom Bulletins. The later serials include publications by ACLU Foundation projects such as the National Prison Project Journal produced by the National Prison Project, Reproductive Rights Update produced by the Reproductive Freedom Project, and First Principles produced by the Center for National Security Studies. Also included is The Civil Liberties Review, a scholarly civil liberties journal produced in the mid-1970s.

The Textbooks section consists of a few texts produced in the mid-1970s and contains books from the "To Protect These Rights" series.

See also the Oversized Materials listings.

Printed Material, except for the Rights of... books, can also be found in the UMI and MCA microfilm collections. These records also include Civil Liberties, 1931-1992, the ACLU's monthly/quarterly publication for its membership. The records are complete for 1966-1992. Affiliate publications are also found.


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 5A: ACLU Printed Material; American Civil Liberties Union Records: Subgroup 2, Printed Materials Series, MC001-02-05, 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 1879-1949

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
National Civil Liberties Bureau (U.S.)
Marshall Civil Liberties Trust Fund
New York Times company
Baldwin, Roger N. (Roger Nash), 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.