Guide to the Kivie Kaplan Papers, 1968-1971
Kivie Kaplan was born on April 1, 1904 in Boston, Massachusetts, the youngest of three sons of Benjamin and Celia (Solomont) Kaplan. He joined the NAACP in 1932 and was elected to the National Board in 1954. He was elected president in 1966 and served until his death in 1975.
This collection contains correspondence and associated materials of Kivie Kaplan, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1966 to 1975. The bulk of the materials are sixteen of Kaplan's letters sent to Harold Gilden, a noted Chicago labor attorney. The letters span the years 1968 to 1971 and provide information about the activities of Kivie Kaplan, while at the NAACP headquarters and speaking to gatherings around the country. Among the people referenced in the letters are Martin Luther King, Jr., the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and prominent civil rights activists in Mississippi and Chicago. The letters also discuss Kaplan's philanthropic activities. The collection also includes eight separately printed items related to the NAACP and the civil rights movement and two NAACP 'Life Member' plaques.
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
- Kaplan, Kivie, 1904-1975.
- Kivie Kaplan Papers, 1968-1971
- Language of Material
- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
This collection contains correspondence and associated materials of Kivie Kaplan, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1966 to 1975.
The bulk of the materials are sixteen of Kaplan's letters sent to Harold Gilden, a noted Chicago labor attorney who served on the National War Labor Board in 1943 and was named by Presidents Kennedy and Eisenhower to an Emergency Board to investigate labor disputes in 1960 and 1961, and his wife, Elise Gilden. The letters document the growing friendship between the Gildens and the Kaplans preceding their first meetings in person and eventually leading to the Gildens becoming lifetime members in the NAACP. The letters span the years 1968 to 1971 and provide information about the activities of Kivie Kaplan, in his leadership position at the NAACP and speaking to gatherings around the country.
Among the people referenced in the letters are Martin Luther King, Jr. (with an attached photograph of King and Kaplan taken in 1958), the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Charles Evers and Rabbi Abraham Ruderman, two prominent Civil Rights activists from Greenville, Mississippi. Dr. Aaron Henry, a community leader in Clarksdale, Mississippi and Rabbi Arnold Wolf of Chicago. The letters also document Kaplan's efforts at working to lower the voting age to 18 (through the NAACP's Youth Mobilization Program) and attendance at various marches and demonstrations, including the 1969 Peace March in Washington, DC. The letters also discuss Kaplan's philanthropic activities including work on behalf of the American Friends for Religious Freedom in Israel. The letters are arranged in chronological order.
The remainder of the collection includes eight separately printed items (plus enclosures/newspaper clippings, etc.) related to the NAACP, the civil rights movement, and African-American/Jewish relations, and two NAACP 'Life Member' plaques of Howard and Elise Gilden.
For a detailed description of each item in the collection, see the Dealer Description included with the collection.
Collection is open for research.
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Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
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Kivie Kaplan was born on April 1, 1904 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was the youngest of three sons of Benjamin and Celia (Solomont) Kaplan. He attended English High School and Bryant and Stratton School in Boston. In 1924, Kivie Kaplan and his brothers, Joseph and Archie, took over their father's leather businesses. Kaplan successfully helped run the tanneries until 1962 when he retired to devote all of his time to philanthropic work.
He had joined the NAACP in 1932 and was elected to the National Board in 1954. He was also the National Chairman of the NAACP Life Membership Committee and saw life memberships increase from a few hundred to several hundred thousand during his tenure. In 1966, he was elected as President of the N.A.A.C.P. a post he held until his death. As President of the N.A.A.C.P., Kaplan spoke throughout the United States on its behalf and sought financial contributions wherever he could. Kaplan was also a trustee of two black colleges: Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and Tougaloo College in Mississippi.
Kivie Kaplan was also involved in Jewish affairs and was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (U.A.H.C.). He was a member of the U.A.H.C.'s Executive Committee as well as its Social Action Commission. He contributed money to the Jewish Memorial Hospital in Boston and Brandeis University.
Kaplan received numerous awards and honorary degrees. Among these were the Amistad Award of the American Missionary Association, and honorary degrees from Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio, Hebrew Union College, and Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.
In 1925, Kivie Kaplan married Emily Rogers. They had three children, Sylvia (Grossman), Jean (Green), and Edward. Kivie Kaplan died on May 5, 1975.
Source: American Jewish Archives Website
- Jackson, Jesse, 1941-
- Wilkins, Roy, 1901-1981.
- King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968.
- Young, Whitney M.
- Evers, Charles, 1922-
- Wolf, Arnold Jacob.
- Gilden, Harold.
- Henry, Aaron, 1922-1997.
- Ruderman, Abraham.
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
- Civil rights movements--United States--History--20th century.
- Civil rights--United States--History--20th century.
- Civil rights workers--Mississippi.
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People--History--20th century.
- Jews--Relations with blacks.
- United States--History--1961-1969.
- Greenville (Miss.)
- Clarksdale (Miss.)
[Identification of item], Kivie Kaplan Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The Kivie Kaplan Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in November 2011.
Processed by Bob Malme, June 2012
Encoded by Bob Malme, June 2012
Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2011-1026
Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.
This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.