- Collection Overview
- Collection Description & Creator Information
- Access & Use
- Collection History
- Find Related Materials
- American civil liberties union
- American Civil Liberties Union Records: Subgroup 3
- Public Policy Papers
- Permanent URL:
- 1864-2006 (mostly 1970-1995)
- 12 items
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is the pre-eminent civil liberties organization in the United States, utilizing litigation, lobbying, and public education to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. These records document the administration and work of the ACLU's national office, regional offices, and legal projects, with particular emphasis on the areas of civil rights, children and women's rights, freedom of speech (and all First Amendment questions), and due process, among many others. The records include case files, correspondence, meeting minutes, research files, and files of staff members. Subgroup 3, Subseries 5B (Southern Regional Office) has been digitized and is available for members of the Princeton community to view here. To view the database from outside Princeton University, please see the Guide to the American Civil Liberties Union Records.
Collection Description & Creator Information
- Scope and Contents
These records document the administration and work of the ACLU's national office, regional offices, and legal projects, with particular emphasis on the areas of civil rights, children and women's rights, freedom of speech (and all First Amendment questions), and due process, among many others. The records include case files, correspondence, meeting minutes, research files, and files of staff members. A large portion of the records are related to the numerous cases that the ACLU was involved in on a wide range of civil liberties issues. Records are included from the national office, ACLU projects, notably the Arts Censorship Project, Capital Punishment Project, Children's Rights Project, Reproductive Freedom Project, and Women's Rights Project, and the Mountain States Regional Office, Southern Regional Office, and Washington Regional Office.
- Collection Creator Biography:
American civil liberties union
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 ACLU Records.
Materials are transferred from the ACLU annually.
Development records, personnel records, confidential legal records, and mold-damaged records were separated from this subgroup during processing.
These papers were processed with the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
- Processing Information
This collection was processed by Adriane Hanson in 2010-2012 with the assistance of Special Collections Assistant David Gillespie and student assistants Alec Egan, Brandon Joseph, Abbie Kimbell, Jamie LaMontagne, and Emma Watt. Finding aid written by Adriane Hanson in April 2011.
Access & Use
- Conditions Governing Access
The ACLU Records have been reviewed for legal restrictions, and the collection contains both open and restricted materials. Please see the restriction notes in the file inventory for more specific information.
- Conditions Governing 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.
- 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:
American Civil Liberties Union Records: Subgroup 3; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Permanent URL:
- Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library65 Olden StreetPrinceton, NJ 08540, USA
- Existence and Location of Copies
FOR DIGITIZED CONTENT: Please see the Guide to the American Civil Liberties Union Records.
- 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.
- Subject Terms:
- Abortion -- Law and legislation -- United States -- 20th century.
African Americans -- Civil rights -- History -- 20th century.
Capital Punishment -- United States.
Censorship -- United States -- 20th century.
Children's rights -- United States.
Civil rights -- United States -- 20th century.
Discrimination -- United States -- 20th century.
Indigenous peoples of North America -- Civil rights -- 20th century.
Law -- United States -- Cases -- 20th century.
Suffrage -- United States.
Women's rights -- United States -- 20th century.
- Genre Terms:
- American civil liberties union
American Civil Liberties Union. Washington Office