Contents and Arrangement

Series 1: Correspondence, 1922-1942

21 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Series 1, Correspondence, 1922-1942 [bulk 1939-1942], contains incoming and outgoing letters, telegrams, and additional supporting materials related to the key individuals working for and with Fight for Freedom (FFF). All the correspondence has been arranged in alphabetical order by author's last name, by the recipient's, or, in some cases, by the organization, group, or newspaper with which an individual was associated. While some of the letters are handwritten with original signatures, typed carbon copies comprise the majority of the correspondence.

At the beginning of each letter of the alphabet, there is a general grouping of correspondence. Often there are only a few letters from a given individual, and the contents of the letters tend to be very general in nature. Within these general groupings of correspondence, when there is more than one letter related to a particular person, all the letters concerning that individual have been organized in chronological order. Several types of letters are typical of the material contained in this part of the series. People generally wrote to express their support for FFF's position or to recommend certain policy approaches. Others wanted clarification of an issue or a particular stance. Some of the letters center on the signing of petitions or involve requests for flyers, cards, membership information, or publicity materials. Still others inquire about working for FFF on various levels. Some individuals suggested manuscripts, books, or pamphlets that might be useful, and members of FFF often wrote people asking to use such materials in their campaign or publicity efforts. Some letters include attachments such as copies of speeches or articles. A few press releases related to a specific individual or topic can also be found in this part of the series. Finally, many of the letters acknowledge individual financial contributions or deal with fees related to services, especially advertising.

Following each general grouping of correspondence are folders related to more prominent individuals and those that had more significant correspondence or contact with FFF. Letters in these folders are sometimes accompanied by supporting material such as writings and articles, speeches, press releases, and editorials. The material found in a specific individual's folder is arranged chronologically with undated material placed at the end.

There are several folders related to Alida, Herbert, and William Agar. Alida Agar was instrumental in organizing FFF's work in Connecticut, and much of her correspondence is related to her leadership activities on the local level. Herbert Agar, editor of the Courier-Journal/Louisville Times, an influential Southern newspaper, wrote many key editorials and was in great demand as a speaker, and these activities are documented in his folder. His position at the Courier-Journal/Louisville Times drew others at the paper to FFF, including Barry Bingham, Mark Etheridge, and James Pope. The correspondence files of William Agar deal primarily with enlisting the support of prominent Catholics throughout the country. Agar worked closely with liberal Catholics as well as Protestant groups in garnering the support of religious leaders and laymen.

Material in the Max Ascoli file primarily relates to Ascoli's position as president of the Mazzini Society. Representative Samuel Dickstein (D-New York) gave a speech in which he accused Ascoli and his society of being anti-American and pro-Fascist, and FFF's involvement in this episode is revealed through the correspondence. Letters and supporting documents on military preparedness and the use of convoys can be found in Grenville Clark's file. There are correspondence files documenting contacts with several college presidents, including James B. Conant of Harvard University and Ernest M. Hopkins of Dartmouth College. One folder contains material related to several telegrams addressed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Also within this folder are exchanges with Stephen Early, Roosevelt's press secretary from 1937-1945. Another folder contains letters, telegrams, and supporting material about Alexander Woollcott's "A Voice from the Cracker Barrel" radio speech on May 25, 1941. Following the events at Pearl Harbor, FFF shut down its activities and joined its operations with those of Freedom House, and this transition is documented in the file entitled Post-Pearl Harbor Correspondence. Most of the letters FFF received and responded to after December 8, 1941 are contained in this folder.

Several files contain correspondence between Abe Rosenfield, FFF's Labor Division Chairman, and many important labor leaders and organizations such as the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, the American Federation of Labor, the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, Frank Grillo of the United Rubber Workers of America, the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, the United Automobile Workers of America, and Daniel Tobin of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Correspondence with Hollywood supporters including Jock Lawrence of the Association of Motion Picture Producers, Inc., Walter F. Wanger, Warner Brothers Pictures, Inc., and Darryl Zanuck of Twentieth Century Fox Films can also be found in this series.

The extensive correspondence files of Ulric Bell and Henry W. Hobson reveal their vast network of contacts, provide an outline of their work, and are useful in delineating the evolution of the organization's policy. Many board members and staff within FFF are well represented in the correspondence files. These include Rose M. Chayes, Rhoda Cameron Clark, Lewis W. Douglas, John Farrar, Helen Hill Miller, Henry P. Van Dusen, and William W. Wymack. Other prominent individuals in this series include Hamilton Fish Armstrong, Allen W. Dulles, Clark Eichelberger, Herbert Bayard Swope, and Dorothy Thompson.

While the great majority of records relating to FFF's work on the state and local level are contained in Series 3, the correspondence series also contains some relevant files. Both series should be consulted, and names appearing in Series 3 should be cross-checked for related files in Series 1. For example, those leaders active at the state or local level that also have files in the correspondence series include Bartley C. Crum of Colorado, John E. Ellingston of California, George Watts Hill of North Carolina, Augustus Lindbergh of Alabama, Maury Maverick of Texas, and Conyers Read of Pennsylvania.

Similarly, while correspondence with state, local, and regional newspapers can be found mostly in Series 3, some letters do appear in the correspondence series. Unfortunately, there was little consistency in how letters with newspapermen and editors were filed. Some letters were filed under the editor's last name, while others were filed under the newspaper name. A sampling of the correspondence files related to specific newspapers, newspapermen, magazines, and related issues include American Mercury, the American Press Association, the Associated Press, Baltimore Sun, City News Association, Daily Mirror (New York), Daily News (New York), Des Moines Register and Tribune, Great Falls News (Montana), Edgar Ansel Mowrer ( Chicago Daily News), Paul Scott Mowrer ( Chicago Daily News), The New Republic, New York Herald Tribune, New York Post, New York Sun, New York Times, the North American Newspaper Alliance, PM (New York), and Washington Post.

Not all who corresponded with FFF supported the organization's efforts. Letters in the "Cranks" folders were written by individuals who disagreed with the policy, approach, or tactics of FFF. These letters, written in 1941, with the bulk from April to October, are arranged in chronological order. Some writers wrote lengthy and dense letters, while others chose to be brief or to write post cards. Some returned flyers, petitions, or publicity materials with negative messages. Many people signed their names, but others did not. The tone of the letters ranges from polite disagreement to fervent opposition.


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

Collection History


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kristen D. Turner in 2004-2005. Finding aid written by Kristen D. Turner in 2004/2005.

Note that there is no Box 72 or 73 in this collection. Rehousing in 2021 caused a number gap.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

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, any copyright vested in the donor has passed to The Trustees of Princeton University and researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of donor-created materials within the collection. For materials in the collection not created by the donor, or where the material is not an original, the copyright is likely not held by the University. In these instances, 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. 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 a question about who owns the copyright for an item, you may request clarification by contacting 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:

Series 1: Correspondence; Fight for Freedom, Inc. Records, MC025, 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 1-21