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Guide to the Democratic Digest records, 1953-1961 and undated

Abstract

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.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Democratic Digest.
Title
Democratic Digest records 1953-1961 and undated
Language of Material
English
Extent
23.0 Linear Feet, Approx. 9300 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

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.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

However, collection may contain materials to which the Acknowledgment of Legal Responsibilities and Privacy Rights form applies. Patrons must sign this form before using this collection.

Also, all or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. Consequently, there may be a 24-hour delay in obtaining these materials.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Files for issues 1959 Jan.-Aug.
Box 1
Files for issues 1959 Sept.-1960 May

There is no folder for February 1960.

Box 2
Files for issues 1960 June-Nov.
Box 3
Files for issues 1961 Jan.-Feb.
Box 4
Alphabetical correspondence files, A-C
Box 4
Alphabetical correspondence files, C-K
Box 5
Alphabetical correspondence files, L-R
Box 6
Alphabetical correspondence files, S-Z
Box 7
Cartoons and layout art, 1954 Dec.-1955 Dec.
(Box dimensions: 11x17 in.)
Box 8
Cartoons and layout art, 1956 Jan.-May
(Box dimensions: 11x17 in.)
Box 9
Cartoons and layout art, 1956 June-1960
(Box dimensions: 11x17 in.)
Box 10
Cartoons and layout art, 1956 June-1960
(Box dimensions: 11x17 in.)
Box 10-A
Files for issues 1955 Jan.-Mar.
Box 11
Files for issues 1955 Apr.-June
Box 12
Files for issues 1955 July-Sept.
Box 13
Files for issues 1955 Oct.-1956 Jan.
Box 14
Files for issues 1956 Feb.-May
Box 15
Files for issues 1956 June-Aug.
Box 16
Files for issues 1956 Sept.-1957 Apr.

No December or January folders.

Box 17
Files for issues 1957 May-Nov.
Box 18
Files for issues 1957 Dec.-1958 Jun.
Box 19
Files for issues 1958 July-Dec.
Box 20
1960 Election
Box 21
1960 Election
Box 22
Artwork, layouts
(Box dimensions: 10x12 in.)
Box 23
Larger artwork and layouts
(Box dimensions: 16x20 in.)
Box 24
Larger artwork and layouts
(Box dimensions: 16x20 in.)
Box 25
Larger artwork and layouts
(Box dimensions: 16x20 in.)
Box 26
Larger artwork and layouts
(Box dimensions: 16x20 in.)
Box 27
Larger artwork and layouts
(Box dimensions: 16x20 in.)
Box 28

Historical Note

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.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • Democratic Digest (serial publication; library has volumes 1-8, 1953-1961) (Perkins Library, Duke University)
  • Samuel C. Brightman papers, 1932-1992 (Democratic Digest managing editor) (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University, N.Y.)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Democratic Digest Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Democratic Digest records were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in May 1961.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library staff, 1961

Encoded by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, Carrie Mills, November 2013

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 61-369

This collection is minimally processed: materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition. Some materials are brittle and fragile and require careful handling.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.