Contents and Arrangement

Subseries 1D: Departments, 1948-2000

104 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Departments subseries includes records of the Legal Department, Membership Department, and Public Education Office. The Legal Department records make up the majority of the subseries and are largely composed of subject files, which include published materials, court documents, and conference materials collected by ACLU staff, as well as ACLU correspondence, memos, and notes. Well-documented subjects include affirmative action, discrimination, drug testing, fair housing, free speech, insurance cases, school desegregation, and voter registration. The records also include case files on active and potential cases and document the administration of the department, such as attorney fees, fundraising, General Counsel meetings, and their interactions with ACLU affiliates.

The Membership Department records are composed of copies of mailings sent to ACLU members from 1986 to 1991, including new membership packages and appeal letters for both financial assistance and advocacy assistance for particular issues or projects. The Public Education Office records contain files on various ACLU activities, cases, and policies. Also included are the files of two of the Directors of Public Education: Colleen O'Connor (1987-1990), which are largely concerned with requests for ACLU publications, and Loren Siegel (1990-2001), which are focused on criminal justice policies.

This subseries is a continuation of ACLU Records: Subgroup 2, Subseries 1E.8: Departments: Legal, 1937-1980, ACLU Records: Subgroup 2, Subseries 1E.9: Membership, 1951-1971, and ACLU Records: Subgroup 2, Subseries 1E.10: Public Information and Education Office, 1966-1988. In Subgroup 3, see also Subseries 1E: Officers' Files for files of several Legal Directors and Staff Counsels and Subseries 1C: Chronological Files for meeting minutes of the Public Education Committee.


Divided into three sections: Legal Department, Membership Department, and Public Education Office.

Collection History


Personnel records and development records were separated from this series during processing.


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 Adriane Hanson in 2010-2012 with the assistance of Special Collections Assistant David Gillespie and student assistants Alec Egan, Brandon Joseph, Jamie LaMontagne, and Emma Watt. Finding aid written by Adriane Hanson in February 2012.

Access & 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 1D: Departments; American Civil Liberties Union Records: Subgroup 3, Organizational Matters Series, MC001-03-01, 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): Boxes 2144-2237; 5712-5714; 5716-5720

Find More

Existence and Location of Copies

American Civil Liberties Union Records: Subgroup 1, The Roger Baldwin Years is available on microfilm.

Public records of the ACLU from 1917 to 1989, from American Civil Liberties Union Records: Subgroup 2, 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.

Related Materials

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

The Mudd Manuscript Library holds the papers of several ACLU officers:

Roger Nash Baldwin Papers

Peggy Lamson Collection on Roger Baldwin

Osmond K. Fraenkel Diaries

Jeffrey E. Fuller Papers

Arthur Garfield Hays Papers

Laura W. Murphy Papers

Carol Pitchersky Papers

Nadine Strossen Papers

The Mudd Library also holds the records of several organizations involved in civil rights, including:

American United for the Separation of Church and State Records

Fund for the Republic Records

Law Students Civil Rights Research Council Records

World Press Freedom Committee Records

The Manuscripts Division at Princeton University holds the P.E.N. American Center 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.

American civil liberties union
Glasser, Ira