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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

Title
David Gordon George papers
Creator
George, David Gordon
Extent
6.9 linear feet, 3400 items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Language
Material in English

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. There are also several files of correspondence relating to George's business ventures in Mexico, particularly his interests and operations in mining in the Chihuahua region.

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

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.

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

Correspondence Series, 1922-1975 and undated

4 boxes

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. Many of these letters are filed in the "unknown/unnamed" correspondence file because only first names or nicknames were included in the letter.

The political correspondence contains letters to and from officials and their staff in the organizations with which George was involved through his life, both as a socialist in the 1930s and as a conservative in the 1960s and 1970s. 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 generic testimonials to George's good character or are updates about possible employment opportunities, though some also discuss specific political matters.

Another significant portion of correspondence, received as part of a later accession, documents George's interests and operations in Mexico mining, particularly tungsten mining in the Chihuahua region. This correspondence largely dates from 1954. Substantial additional correspondence can be found in the Subject Files Series and in the Personal Files Series.

Correspondence has been loosely arranged by correspondent's last name, with scattered "general" folders throughout the series. Many of the larger name files relate to George's Mexican mining exploits. General folders tend to include earlier letters from a wider variety of correspondents. There is also a folder of correspondence from the George family, with many letters to George from his mother and siblings.

Incoming cards, 1936-1974 and undated
Box 1
Abbitt, Watkins M., 1948-1971
Box 2
Arredondo, Raul, 1954
Box 2
Re: Auto-Bond, 1955
Box 2
General, A-B, 1922-1973
Box 2
Bencomo, Emilio, and Associates, 1955
Box 2
Berger, Victor, 1928 July-Dec.
Box 2
Bolling, Richard
Box 2
Buckman, H.H., 1954
Box 2
Christopher, George H., 1955-1958
Box 2
General, C-D, 1925-1973
Box 2
Dabney, Virginius, 1937-1964
Box 2
Delson, Harry; Delson, Levin, and Gordon, 1954
Box 2
Denver Equipment Co., 1954
Box 2
Edelman, John, 1954
Box 2
Evans, David L., 1954-1956
Box 2
General, E-F, 1938-1975
Box 2
Fliesler, Joseph, 1954
Box 2
Fowler and Symington, 1954
Box 2
Garcia Moreno, Alfredo, 1955
Box 2
Garcia-Gutierrez, 1954
Box 2
Gardea T., D., 1955-1956
Box 2
Gary, Vaughan, 1947-1948
Box 13
George family, 1930s-1940s
Box 13
George, Herbert, 1956
Box 13
Goldwater, Barry, 1964
Box 13
Grey, Charles E., 1954
Box 13
General, G-J, 1925-1963
Box 13
Hammerton, Vic, 1945-1951
Box 13
Hippelheuser, R. H., 1954 and undated
Box 13
Hofheimer, H. C., II, 1954-1956
(3.0 folders)
Box 13
Howell, Charles, 1954
Box 13
Humphrey, Hubert, 1949-1962
Box 13
Jackson, Gardner, 1942-1963
Box 13
Kampelman, Max, 1955-1959
Box 13
Kashouty, Henry, 1954
Box 13
Kefauver, Estes, 1954-1961
Box 13
Koslow, Nathan, 1954
Box 13
General, K-M, 1945-1973
Box 13
Marks, C. Hardaway, 1954
Box 13
McDowell, Arthur G. (Council Against Communist Aggression), 1962-1964
Box 13
McWilliams, Charles, 1962-1964
Box 14
Mendes, Toby E., 1953-1954
Box 14
Michael, Lawrence, 1964
Box 14
Murray, Isabel, 1954-1956
Box 14
General, N-R, 1922-1954 and undated
Box 14
Plunkett, Moss, 1942-1956
Box 14
Republican National Committee, 1964-1965
Box 14
Rhodes, George M., 1954-1961
Box 14
Rockefeller, Nelson, 1962
Box 14
General, S-T, 1938-1968
Box 14
Scott, William L., 1966-1967
Box 14
Servin, Manuel Torres, 1954
Box 14
Sinclair, Upton, 1937-1939
Box 14
Staggers, Harley O., 1954-1962
Thomas, Norman, 1928-1939
Box 14
Tuck, William M., 1963
Box 14
General, U, 1954
Box 14
Vargas, Bonifacio, 1956
Box 14
Visconti, Arcangel, 1954
Box 14
Wah Chang Corp., 1954
Box 1954
Wallace, George C., 1963-1969
Box 14
Weymouth, Daniel, 1954
Box 14
General, W-Z, 1945-1946
Box 14
Unknown/unnamed correspondents
Box 14

Subject Files Series, 1925-1973 and undated

6 boxes

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
Expense accounts, 1954
Box 1
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
Reports and statements re: tungsten mining venture, 1954
Box 14
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

Personal Papers Series, 1925-1973 and undated

1 box

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
Book of phone numbers, business cards, etc.
Box 15
Clippings, 1942-1974
Box 8
Clippings, 1960s
(3.0 folders)
Box 15
Correspondence, 1968-1975
Box 8
Draft records, 1940-1946
Box 8
Early school years, 1925-1948
Box 8
Employment file resource, 1962, undated
Box 8
Maps and blueprints
Box 1
Mutual funds
Box 1
Personal, 1943-1953
Box 8
Personal, legal, and financial papers, 1925-1973
Box 8
Personal references, 1934-1963
Box 8
School reunions, 1963-1967
Box 8
Special personal, 1943-1946
Box 8
Visas to U.S., 1957-1963
Box 8

Photographic Materials, 1926-1953 and undated

2 Folders

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.

Photographs
Box 8

Printed Materials and Writings Series, 1937-1974 and undated

1 box

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,, 1947
Box 9
The Ebb and Flow of American Radicalism, undated
Box 9
Harper's article,, 1947-1952
Box 9
Lecture correspondence,, 1946-1947
Box 9
Letters to editors and response,, 1947-1974
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,, 1948-1950
Box 9
Richmond newspaper articles,, 1937
(2 folders)
Box 9
Where Will Hitler Stop?, undated
Box 9

Scrapbooks, Ledgers, and Political Ephemera Series, 1919-1960 and undated

3 boxes

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,, 1940 Mar. 16-1942 Apr. 30
Box 10
Political Ephemera, 1947-1960 and undated
(3 small boxes)
Box 10
Scrapbook, 1946-1947
Box 11

Oversize Materials, 1927-1967

1 box

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
Elections,
Election statistics, 1933
Box 12
George campaign, 1941
Box 12
Plunkett, Moss A. campaign, 1945
Box 12
Socialist Activities
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

Date Event(s)
1910 Apr. 5 David Gordon George born to David Graves George and Maria Murphy George in Danville, Virginia
1926-1928 Worked for Socialist Party in Virginia and New York
1927 Graduated from Chester High School, Chester, Virginia
1929-1930 Attended Rand School of Social Science, New York, New York
1934 Formally broke from Socialist Party
1936-1940 Worker on family farm in Beaverdam, Virginia, and freelance writer for newspapers in Richmond, Virginia
1939 Founded Southern Electoral Reform League
1939 Ran for Virginia House of Delegates seat as an independent
1941 Ran for primary for Virginia House of Delegates seat as a Democrat
1942-1945 Virginia Labor Relations Representative for War Production Board
1944-1945 Chairman, Richmond British Service Entertainment Committee
1945 Managed Moss A. Plunkett's gubernatorial campaign in Virginia
1946-1948 Lectured in Great Britain, initially with U.S. Information Agency
1950 Upper South Political Action Director for Textile Workers Union of America
1951-1953 Worked for Wage Stabilization Board in Richmond, Virginia
1954-1958 Involved in mineral exploration venture in Chihuahua, Mexico
1956 June 16 Married Ana Maria Delgado in Las Cruces, New Mexico
1957 Twin daughters Ana Elizabeth and Maria Linda George born
1959-1961 Worked as a labor representative as part of a United Textile Workers Union strike in Henderson, NC
1962 Application for employment with U.S. Foreign Service rejected to due concerns of Communist sympathies
1965-1969 Worked for United Planning Organization in Washington, DC
1970-1972 Worked as a teacher and administrator at Bermuda Academy, Hopewell, Virginia
1976 Died 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, with an addition purchased in 2014.

Processing Information

Processed by Christian Ferney and Fuad Naeem, October 2007

Encoded by Elizabeth Arnold, Christian Ferney, and Fuad Naeem, October 2007. Correspondence Series updated by Meghan Lyon in October 2014.

Accessions 2003-0085 and 2014-0070 are described in this finding aid.