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Guide to the David Gordon George Papers, 1919-1976 and undated, bulk 1935-1965

Abstract

Resident of Richmond, Va., socialist and grassroots political activist in his early life; founder of the Southern Electoral Reform League; later sided with conservatives such as Barry Goldwater and George Wallace.

The David Gordon George Papers span the years 1919 to 1976, with the bulk of the collection dated between 1935 and 1965, and are organized into the Correspondence, Personal Files, Printed Materials and Writings, Photographic Materials, and Subject Files Series. The collection consists primarily of correspondence and files related to George's involvement in a variety of political and social movements, documenting his early involvement in grassroots socialist and leftist democratic organizing and electoral reform work, decades of involvement with national and regional labor organizations, and his late-life support of anti-communist and socially conservative politics, including segregationist platforms. His complex views on the political and social status of African Americans in the South, particularly in Virginia, are documented in his writings and correspondence. Among the organizations well-represented in the collection are the Southern Electoral Reform League, the Virginia Electoral Reform League, and the United States Information Service. The papers include correspondence with a wide spectrum of national political leaders, from Socialists (Norman Thomas and Victor Berger) to Democrats (Hubert Humphrey and Estes Kefauer) to Conservatives (George Wallace), as well as staff of diverse labor organizations and a number of Virginia politicians across a broad ideological spectrum. Acquired as part of the George Washington Flowers Collection of Southern Americana.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
George, David Gordon
Title
David Gordon George papers 1919-1976 and undated, bulk 1935-1965
Language of Material
English
Extent
6.9 Linear Feet, 3400 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The David Gordon George Papers span the years 1919 to 1976, with the bulk of the collection dated between 1935 and 1965, and are organized into the Correspondence, Personal Files, Printed Materials and Writings, Photographic Materials, and Subject Files Series. The collection consists primarily of correspondence and files related to George's involvement in a variety of political and social movements, documenting his early involvement in grassroots socialist and leftist democratic organizing and electoral reform work, decades of involvement with national and regional labor organizations, and his late-life support of anti-communist and socially conservative politics. His complex views on the political and social status of African Americans in the South, particularly in Virginia, are documented in his writings and correspondence. Among the organizations well-represented in the collection are the Southern Electoral Reform League, founded by George primarily to campaign against poll taxes, and the United States Information Service. The papers include files of correspondence with a wide spectrum of prominent national political leaders, from Socialists (Norman Thomas and Victor Berger) to Democrats (Hubert Humphrey and Estes Kefauer) to Conservatives (George Wallace), as well as staff of diverse labor organizations and a number of Virginia politicians across a broad ideological spectrum.

George's writings, including many editorials and letters to the editor, and correspondence reveal his complex and shifting allegiances to various reform organizations during particularly eventful decades for the labor movement in the U.S. His work for labor-related causes in different guises put him in at least tacit opposition to positions he had advocated earlier. He also offers often contradictory views on race, supporting local black politicians at one point but joining the segregationist Citizens Council later in his life. In addition, George's experiences during the McCarthy Era demonstrate the lasting professional consequences of the alleged Communist ties in his past.

Acquired as part of the George Washington Flowers Collection of Southern Americana.

Administrative Information

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warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

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

Divided into Incoming and Political subgroupings. Incoming correspondence primarily consists of cards and personal letters from friends and family. While friends and colleagues in various political organizations discuss business matters in letters in this series, topics discussed are generally of a personal nature. A substantial number of letters are from men in the British armed forces, contacts apparently made while George was involved with the British Service Entertainment Committee in Richmond. The political correspondence contains letters to and from officials and their staff in the organizations with which George was involved through his life. Prominent national leaders with whom George corresponded include the socialist U.S. Congressmen Victor Berger and George M. Rhodes as well as Barry Goldwater, Estes Kefauer, and others. Substantial correspondence with Hubert Humphrey is also included. Additional notable national political figures include Norman Thomas, Upton Sinclair, Gardner Jackson, Arthur McDowell, Nelson Rockefeller, and George Wallace. In addition, George corresponded with a number of prominent Virginia politicians. Many of the letters in this section are testimonials to George's good character, though many also discuss specific political matters. Correspondence with staff and leaders of numerous labor and reform organizations complete the political letters subgrouping. Substantial additional correspondence can be found in the Subject Files Series and in the Personal Files Series. Materials are organized as received.

Cards, 1936-1974 and undated
(5 folders)
Box 1
Letters, 1922-1975 and undated
(1-3 of 5 folders)
Box 1
Letters, 1922-1975 and undated
(4-5 of 5 folders)
Box 2
Berger, Victor, 1928 July-Dec.
Box 2
From Virginia legislators, 1925-1971
(2 folders)
Box 2
McDowell, Art, 1962-1964 and undated
Box 2
McWilliams, Charles, 1962-1964
Box 2
National political leaders, 1939-1965
(2 folders)
Box 2
Republicans, 1964 June-Sept.
Box 2
Rhodes, George M., 1961 Jan.-Feb.
Box 2
Rockefeller, Nelson, 1962 Jan.-Nov.
Box 2
Sinclair, Upton, 1937-1939
Box 2
Thomas, Norman, 1928-1939
Box 2
Tuck, William, M., 1963 Sept.-Oct.
Box 2
Wallace, George C., 1963-1968
Box 3

Contains files, clippings, and correspondence relevant to George's involvement with a number of interrelated causes and concerns, chiefly with Virginia politics. Included are materials concerning his races for seats in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1939 and 1941. George's work for political reform, particularly as founder of the Southern Electoral Reform League, is addressed primarily in the Electoral Reform subseries, though information on this topic can also be found in the subseries African American Virginians, and Elections. His interest in the labor movement in the United States and abroad is covered in the Labor subseries, with additional materials located in the Socialist Activites and War Production Board subseries. Researchers interested in the socialist movement in the South should consult materials in the Electoral Reform subseries as well as the Socialist Activites subseries. Papers in the African American Virginians subseries reveal George's complex views on race relations when coupled with materials in the Citizens Council subseries. Additional materials on this subject can be found in correspondence housed in the Personal Files series. George's work and interest in foreign relations can be found in the Foreign Affairs and British Service Entertainment Committee subseries. Substantial files and correspondence related to George's several-year foray into mineral prospecting can be found in the Mexico Mining Venture subseries. Organized alphabetically.

Black Richmond and Virginia leaders, 1933-1949
Box 3
Civil Rights Committee of Richmond, 1949-1951
Box 3
Negro voting, 1943-1948
Box 3
Virginia politics--old info, 1940-1947
Box 3
Voters' League, 1950-1961
Box 3
Correspondence, 1944 Sept.-1945 Feb.
Box 3
Hospitality lists-etc., 1944-1970
Box 3
Loose materials, 1944 Oct. 11-17
Box 3
Minutes and general, 1944 May-Nov.
Box 3
Photographs, [1944] Aug. 20-Sept. 10, undated
(3 folders)
Box 3
Programs, [1944] Sept. 9-1945 Jan. 13
(7 folders)
Box 3
Reams, Ellen Walsh, songwriter, 1943-1944
Box 3
Suggestions to hosts and hostesses, [1944] Oct. 11
Box 3
Treasury correspondence, 1944 Apr.-1945 Apr.
Box 3
Correspondence and files, 1964 Sept. 15-1965 Jan. 3
Box 3
Campaign materials, 1941-1952
(4 folders)
Box 3
Election statistics, 1928-1949
(6 folders)
Box 3
Fourth District campaigns, 1945-1948
Box 3
1939 George campaign, 1939-1941
Box 3
1941 George campaign, 1941 Apr.-July
Box 4
Hart, James P., Jr., 1947
Box 4
Itineraries, 1945 July
Box 4
Miller, Francis P., 1948 July-Dec.
Box 4
Plunkett, Moss A. campaign, 1945
(3 folders)
Box 4
Plunkett, Moss A. campaign correspondence, 1945 July 12-29
Box 4
Plunkett, W.C., 1945 July
Box 4
Political analyses, 1946-1953
Box 4
Political correspondence, 1952-1953
Box 4
Press releases, 1945 June-July
Box 4
Roosevelt Club, 1935 Aug.-Sept.
Box 4
Speeches, 1945 July-Aug.
Box 4
Welsted, I.C., 1945 July
Box 4
White, Randolph, 1945 July
Box 4
Williams, Martha, 1945
Box 4
Millis, Mary Raoul, 1935-1958
Box 4
Poll Tax, 1937-1942
Box 4
Southern Electoral Reform League (SERL), 1940-1949
(2 folders)
Box 5
SERL-Virginia Electoral Reform League (VERL)-Virginia Commonwealth League (VCL), etc., 1940-1949
Box 5
Virginia Electoral Reform League, 1943-1944
Box 5
VERL, VCL, etc., 1944-1950
(2 folders)
Box 5
Cunard White Star, 1946-1948
Box 5
English-Speaking Union, 1947-1948
Box 5
Foreign office, etc., 1946 Aug.-Nov.
Box 5
Parcels--overseas, undated
Box 5
South Africa, 1963-1965
Box 5
South Africa lists-materials, 1963-1965
Box 5
South Africa Summary and Scope, 1937-1964
Box 5
United States Information Service (USIS)--Embassy, 1946-1947
Box 5
USIS Papers and Letters, 1962-1970
Box 5
Congress of Industrial Organizations Political Action Committee (CIO-PAC), 1962-1970
Box 5
Detroit strikes, 1937
Box 5
Edelman, John W., 1949-1963
Box 5
Gabor, Robert, 1961-1962
Box 5
Gilbert, David M., 1949 May-June
Box 5
Henderson--earmarked fund, 1960-1961
Box 5
Henderson--Freedom Fighters Relief Committee (FFC) Materials, 1961-1962
Box 5
Henderson--FFC Reports, 1959-1962
Box 6
International Union of Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers, AFL-CIO, (IUE), 1963
Box 6
Labor articles and papers, 1942-1961
Box 6
Levy, Capt. Nathan, 1958 May-Aug.
Box 6
Lewis, Marx, 1962-1964
Box 6
McCallister, Frank, 1941-1963
(2 folders)
Box 6
McDowell, Arthur G., 1949 July 22-28
Box 6
McGill, James H., 1942-1948
Box 6
Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA), 1950-1961
Box 6
Webber, Charles C., 1949 Mar.-May
Box 6
Agreements and contracts, 1954-1955
Box 6
Assays etc., 1955 July-Oct.
Box 6
Barraza, Samuel, 1957-1961
Box 6
Bernfeld, Cyril and Hollander, 1957-1958
Box 6
Correspondence and papers, 1956-1962
(2 folders)
Box 6
Contracts etc.--San Jose, 1955
Box 6
El Dorado, 1957 Aug.-Sept.
Box 6
Evans, David L., 1957-1962
(3 folders)
Box 6
Expense accounts and estimates, 1955-1956
Box 6
Gardea T., 1957-1958
Box 7
Guerra Hardware Co., 1954-1956
Box 7
Hofheimer, H.C., II, 1957-1962
Box 7
Investment agreements, 1954-1955
Box 7
Kashouty, Henry D., 1955-1956
Box 7
Loeb, Carl M., Jr., 1955-1957
Box 7
Maps and sketches, 1955, undated
Box 7
Memoranda, 1954-1957
(2 folders)
Box 7
Mining and tax laws, 1956 Jan. 4
Box 7
Miscellaneous--Breit-Fergusun-Amicus Most-Etc., 1957 Mar.-Oct.
Box 7
Outlying properties, 1955-1956
Box 7
Prieto, Raphael, 1958-1959
Box 7
Tinoco, Ing. Luis, 1956-1957
Box 7
Trustees report etc., 1954 July-Aug.
Box 7
Von Schoech, Ann Shepard, etc., 1966-1973
Box 7
Visa endorsements etc., 1937-1957
Box 7
Americans for Democratic Action, 1945-1947
Box 7
Clippings, 1933-1945
(2 folders)
Box 7
Correspondence and party materials, 1925-1934
(2 folders)
Box 7
Germany etc., 1927-1939
Box 7
New Leader, 1946-1949
Box 7
Pelman Institute, 1926 Dec.
Box 8
Photographs, 1935
Box 8
Socialist organization papers, 1933-1965
Box 8
Cary, Hunson, 1942 Aug.-Oct.
Box 8
Endorsements, misc. letters, etc., 1937-1952
Box 8
Memo--post-war trade, 1943 Apr. 28
Box 8
War Production Board, 1934-1954
Box 8

Comprises papers and correspondence from George's early school years through his final years of life. Debate materials and schoolwork as well as materials related to George's high school reunions are housed in this series. The bulk of the materials relate to George's employment history, particularly his struggles to secure a job with the U.S. government in his later life after being labeled a Communist by the FBI. Copies of George's applications to the U.S. Information Agency and subsequent complaints of bias during required background checks are housed in this series. Additional correspondence on this subject can be found in the political correspondence section. Legal complaints relating to a reference to him as a "socialist" in the newspaper and for wrongful termination are included as well. Finally, correspondence in this series includes a number of letters of complaints about service received at various institutions late in his life. Organized alphabetically by folder title.

Background--political, 1962 Sept.-Oct.
Box 8
Clippings,
Box 8
Correspondence,
Box 8
Draft records,
Box 8
Early school years,
Box 8
Employment file resource, 1962, undated
Box 8
Personal,
Box 8
Personal, legal, and financial papers,
Box 8
Personal references,
Box 8
School reunions,
Box 8
Special personal,
Box 8
Visas to U.S.,
Box 8

Consists of photographs of George and members of his family, as well as some photographs of George with some of his political contacts. Notable examples include photos of Eleanor Roosevelt and Hubert Humphrey, as well as an autographed photo of country and labor singer "Texas" Bill Strength. A number of vacation slides are housed in this collection as well. Organized as received.

Contains articles and drafts of articles written by George for newspapers and magazines as well as some scripts written for radio. Limited correspondence relating to George's attempts to get his work published in magazines is also included in this series. The majority of the articles in this series were written for Virginia newspapers, mainly the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Larger copies of and clippings from newspapers have been moved to Oversize Materials.

Articles and letters to editors, 1962-1972, undated
(2 folders)
Box 9
Barbaric Thugs--and British Workers,
Box 9
The Ebb and Flow of American Radicalism, undated
Box 9
Harper's article,
Box 9
Lecture correspondence,
Box 9
Letters to editors and response,
Box 9
Magazine articles, 1949-1961 and undated
Box 9
Notes etc., 1964-1970 and undated
Box 9
Notes for speeches, undated
Box 9
Radio scripts and correspondence,
Box 9
Richmond newspaper articles,
(2 folders)
Box 9
Where Will Hitler Stop?, undated
Box 9

Contains membership and financial information in books for the Southern Electoral Reform League and Virginial Commonwealth League as well as a book of clippings and a scrapbook. The scrapbook chronicles the leisure aspects of George's travels to and within Britain. Menus and othe ephemera from the R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary ocean liners as well as numerous photographs of on-board friends are included, as are numerous photographs of George and his hosts in Brighton, Woking, Bournemouth, and London as well as Scotland. In addition, some photographs document the English countryside and a few show damage incurred in cities during World War II. The scrapbook includes numerous clippings, product packaging, and travel and attraction tickets as well. Political ephemera, mostly pins, includes delegate pins to a several national labor meetings and buttons for political candidates, among them George Wallace.

Clippings book, 1919-1927
Box 9
Receipt book for Virginia Commonwealth League, 1946 May-1950 May
Box 10
Financial ledger for Southern Electoral Reform League,
Box 10
Political Ephemera, 1947-1960 and undated
(3 small boxes)
Box 10
Scrapbook, 1946-1947
Box 11

Comprises large items from other series. Numerous newspapers and large clippings related to elections and contemporary events, notably German aggression during the leadup to World War II are included. In addition, the bulk of the original copies of George's newspaper articles from the Printed Material and Writings series are housed in Oversize Materials. German language lesson worksheets completed by George via correspondence with the Pelman Institute are included as well.

British Service Entertainment Committee, 1946
Box 12
Election statistics, 1933
Box 12
George campaign, 1941
Box 12
Plunkett, Moss A. campaign, 1945
Box 12
Clippings
Box 12
Germany etc, 1927-1939 and undated
(2 folders)
Box 12
Clippings, 1946
Box 12
School reunion, 1967
Box 12
Newspapers and clippings, 1934-1937
(2 folders)
Box 12

Historical Note

DateEvent(s)
1910 Apr. 5David Gordon George born to David Graves George and Maria Murphy George in Danville, Virginia
1926-1928Worked for Socialist Party in Virginia and New York
1927Graduated from Chester High School, Chester, Virginia
1929-1930Attended Rand School of Social Science, New York, New York
1934Formally broke from Socialist Party
1936-1940Worker on family farm in Beaverdam, Virginia, and freelance writer for newspapers in Richmond, Virginia
1939Founded Southern Electoral Reform League
1939Ran for Virginia House of Delegates seat as an independent
1941Ran for primary for Virginia House of Delegates seat as a Democrat
1942-1945Virginia Labor Relations Representative for War Production Board
1944-1945Chairman, Richmond British Service Entertainment Committee
1945Managed Moss A. Plunkett's gubernatorial campaign in Virginia
1946-1948Lectured in Great Britain, initially with U.S. Information Agency
1950Upper South Political Action Director for Textile Workers Union of America
1951-1953Worked for Wage Stabilization Board in Richmond, Virginia
1954-1958Involved in mineral exploration venture in Chihuahua, Mexico
1956 June 16Married Ana Maria Delgado in Las Cruces, New Mexico
1957Twin daughters Ana Elizabeth and Maria Linda George born
1959-1961Worked as a labor representative as part of a United Textile Workers Union strike in Henderson, NC
1962Application for employment with U.S. Foreign Service rejected to due concerns of Communist sympathies
1965-1969Worked for United Planning Organization in Washington, DC
1970-1972Worked as a teacher and administrator at Bermuda Academy, Hopewell, Virginia
1976Died in Richmond, Virginia

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], David Gordon George Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The David Gordon George Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in May 2003.

Processing Information

Processed by Christian Ferney and Fuad Naeem, October 2007

Encoded by Elizabeth Arnold, Christian Ferney, and Fuad Naeem, October 2007

Accession 2003-0085 is described in this finding aid.

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

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.