Guide to the Democratic Digest records, 1953-1961 and undated
Official magazine of the Democratic National Committee, published monthly in Washington D.C. Its editors were Clayton Fritchey, Sam Brightman, and Philip M. Stern, with political cover art by Leo Hershfield. Collection contains editorial files of the Democratic Digest, dating from 1953-1961, with the contents of the files falling into three large categories: correspondence, editorial, and art files. The correspondence includes many letters from readers, critics, and Democratic Senators and Governors, chiefly in response to political issues of the day such as McCarthyism, corruption, civil rights, economics, labor, nuclear weapons, farm subsidies, party politics, and elections. Editorial files contain edited copy for articles and columns; TV and radio scripts, including speeches by Democratic candidates; and many clippings reprinted in the Digest. About a third of the collection consists of hundreds of pieces of original layout art, including political cartoons by Leo Hershfield and others, and a few photographs of political leaders such as Truman, Stevenson, and Johnson. Finally, a smaller group of printed materials published for the Democratic 1960 national campaign includes political leaflets, pamphlets, party platforms and position papers, a newsprint publication examining of the records of Nixon and Kennedy, and a few other items.
- Collection Number
- Democratic Digest records
- 1953-1961 and undated
- Democratic Digest
- 23 Linear Feet, Approx. 9300 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
Collection contains editorial files of the Democratic Digest, dating from 1953-1961, with the contents of the files falling into three large categories: correspondence, editorial, and art files. The correspondence files, arranged in alphabetical order, include telegrams and memoranda between the Democratic Digest staff, the Democratic National Committee and other organizations, and many letters from readers, critics, and Democratic Senators and Governors, chiefly responding to political issues of the day, such as McCarthyism, scandals and corruption, civil rights, the American economy, labor, farm subsidies, nuclear weapons, war, and elections, and offering criticism on the content of the publication. There is also some personal correspondence.
Voluminous editorial files contain nearly complete content for issues, and are filed in publication order by month and year, 1955-1961. The files enclose copy for articles and columns, with many corrections and layout notes; condensed versions of TV and radio addresses, including speeches by Democratic candidates; and many clippings from original articles reprinted in the Digest, attached to the magazine's own copy. Some of this material is brittle and fragile.
About a third of the collection consists of hundreds of pieces of original layout art, printers proofs of covers, and political cartoons, and a handful of photographs of Democratic leaders of the time such as Truman, Stevenson, and Johnson (Box 25). For an unknown reason, there is also a portrait of Durham native and Duke alumnus and benefactor William Washington Flowers. A few complete copies of the Digest are sometimes included in the artwork files next to associated cover art. There are many examples of production artists' layout materials that include original art and sketches, and paste-ups on boards with directions for layout. The original art for the cover cartoons by noted illustrator Leo Hershfield is rendered in vivid watercolors. The artwork and layouts are loosely arranged in chronological order.
Finally, a smaller group of printed materials deriving from the Democratic 1960 national campaign includes political leaflets, pamphlets, party platforms and position papers, a newsprint publication examining of the records of Nixon and Kennedy, and a few other items.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
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How to Cite
[Identification of item], Democratic Digest Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The Democratic Digest was the small-format magazine of the Democratic National Committee, with its offices based in Washington, D.C. The monthly issues chiefly consisted of editorial columns, election news, political cartoons and satire, and many reprinted articles and opinion pieces from pro-Democratic U.S. newspapers. Its predecessor, also titled the Democratic Digest, was published by the Women's Division of the Democratic National Committee from 1933-1953. The Democratic Digest was continued in 1961 as The Democrat.
The chief editor during the time represented by this collection was Clayton Fritchey (1904-2001), a journalist who was also assistant to the Secretary of Defense and assistant to President Trumann; he also had close relations with Adlai Stevenson in various capacities. The managing editor was Samuel C. Brightman (1911-1992), noted Washington correspondent and Democratic Party public relations manager. Serving as senior editor was Philip Stern (1926-1992), also director of research for the Democratic National Committee (1953-1956); and deputy assistant to the Secretary of State for Public Affairs (1961-1962). The Democratic Digest's cover artist was Leo Hershfield, noted illustrator and courtroom artist; many pieces of his original artwork are in the Art and Layout Series.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Brightman, Samuel C. (Samuel Charles), 1911-
- Democratic Digest
- Democratic National Committee (U.S.)
- Democratic Party (U.S.)
- Democratic Digest
- Fritchey, Clayton
- Hershfield, Leo
- Stern, Philip M.
- Elections -- United States -- History
- Journalism -- Political aspects
- Legislators -- United States -- Correspondence
- Political campaigns -- United States -- History
- Political parties -- United States -- History
- Presidential candidates -- United States
- Presidents -- United States -- Election
- Press and politics -- United States
The Democratic Digest records were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in May 1961.
Processed by Rubenstein Library staff, 1961
Encoded by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, Carrie Mills, November 2013
Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 61-369
Materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition. Some materials are brittle and fragile and require careful handling.