Contents and Arrangement

Series 2: Subject Files, 1923-1942

17 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Series 2, Subject Files, 1923-1942 [bulk 1940-1942], contains materials related to issues and topics relevant to the isolationist/interventionist debate, as well as files that document the specific activities of Fight for Freedom. Records in this series are arranged in alphabetical order, and within each folder items are arranged chronologically, with undated material following dated material. Typical record types include correspondence, inter-office memoranda, press releases, speeches, printed material, and supporting articles or writings. Notations and draft materials are occasionally found in this series. A folder of biographical information on many of the key players within FFF, as well as speakers and others affiliated with the organization, provides essential background material.

In its role as an advocacy organization, and one devoted to monitoring the activities of isolationists, FFF collected documentation on the America First Committee and many of its leading supporters and proponents, including Charles A. Lindbergh, Senators Gerald Nye and Burton Wheeler, and Robert E. Wood. One issue of concern for FFF was the abuse of the Congressional franking privilege by members of Congress such as Nye and Wheeler, and there is material related to this subject in this series. The response of FFF to Charles A. Lindbergh's anti-Semitic speech in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1941 is documented in the subject file on William W. Waymack. Waymack, editor of the Des Moines Register and Tribune, was FFF's point person on this issue, and the radio address that he presented as a counter to Lindbergh's remarks is contained in this folder.

FFF kept its eye on other organizations, individuals, and issues within the isolationist, appeasement, and anti-war movements. Relevant files include American Student Union, fascism and pro-fascists, Hamilton Fish, Germany, Adolf Hitler, Nazism, Nazi Sympathizers, Robert M. Hutchins, isolationism and isolationists, Keep America Out of War Congress, and Robert Reynolds. Additionally, there are files related to China, communism, Japan, Joseph P. Kennedy, Japan, and the Soviet Union.

FFF also collected materials related to other topics prevalent in the public discourse on America's participation in the war. Within this series are folders related to army morale, the Committee for National Morale, the use of convoys, the question of a declaration of war, destroyers, the Lend-Lease Bill (H.R. 1776), neutrality legislation and the need for repeal, and Selective Service. A prominent support of FFF was Wendell L. Willkie, who urged America to prepare for war. His activities related to FFF are documented in two folders.

The plight of European nations, particularly Britain and France, was also a concern for FFF. The debate over how best to support and feed Britain and the occupied territories is outlined in several folders related to the Hoover Food Plan. The subject files document a petition sent to President Roosevelt regarding food aid to Britain, as well as other issues arising from the European situation, including files on Belgium, Britain, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and a radio round-up program related to Iceland. The role of Ireland and Irish Americans is also examined.

There are several files containing information on the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies (CDAAA), an organization closely allied with FFF. The two groups shared many of the same concerns, and their activities often overlapped, especially in the New York City area. Within the subject files related to CDAAA is correspondence from key individuals such as George Field, Secretary for the New York City Chapter; Frank Kingdon, Chairman of the New York City Chapter; and Clark Eichelberger, National Chairman. The activities of CDAAA are documented through additional letters, telegrams, memoranda, mass mailings, press releases, and speeches. Flyers, pamphlets, membership materials, statements of policy, and reprints of lectures and radio presentations associated with CDAAA can be found here as well.

The subject files also document the wide range of activities that FFF undertook. Specific events such as the "Continental Congress for Freedom" (CCF) and the "Fun to be Free" program merit particular attention. Within the CCF files are state delegation lists, correspondence, telegrams, announcements, press releases, and speeches related to the event. Information on the Thursday evening banquet and the White House reception hosted by Eleanor Roosevelt for women delegates is also included. Materials related to the "Fun to be Free" program document the production and planning of both the Madison Square Garden show and the traveling show. FFF also held numerous street meetings, rallies, and corner protests, some of which were met with counter-demonstrations and, at times, degenerated into shouting matches with opponents, particularly those from America First. The rallies often drew prominent politicians such as New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and Wendell Willkie. Information on this aspect of FFF can be found in the folder entitled Street Meetings, Rallies, and Corner Protests. Finally, there are materials concerning the "V for Victory" campaign.

The divisional breakdown of work within FFF is documented through files related to the First-to-Fight Division, labor, Lawyer's Division, Press Bureau, Speaker's Division, Stage, Screen, Radio, and Arts Division, Volunteer Division, and Women's Division. FFF used radio as one of its primary tools in spreading its message across the land, and substantial documentation is available on the numerous radio broadcasts FFF presented. Additional radio-related material includes files on specific series such as the "Speaking for Freedom" series, heard over WMCA radio, the "Voices of Freedom" series, and "The Patriarch," a show sponsored by Women in Democracy.


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 2: Subject Files; 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 21-37