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Guide to the Consumer Reports. A.J. Isserman papers, 1917-1974 and undated

Summary

Consumer Reports is a product testing and consumer advocacy nonprofit organization based in Yonkers, N.Y., founded in 1936. Abraham J. Isserman was a labor lawyer, counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union during the 1930s, and one of the original members of the Board of Directors of Consumers Union. The Consumer Reports A.J. Isserman papers includes correspondence, clippings, court briefs and depositions, book manuscript drafts, photographs and other printed materials relating to Isserman's work in civil rights and labor law. Topics include labor union activities and strikes, civil liberties, communist influence, investigations into Un-American activities, deportation, and disbarment of lawyers. Persons and institutions reflected in the collection include the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, the Dies Committee, Judge Harold Medina, and Leinhard Bergel. Acquired as part of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11778
Title
Consumer Reports. A.J. Isserman papers
Date
1917-1974 and undated
Creator
Consumer Reports (Firm)
Extent
1.0 Linear Feet
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

The Consumer Reports A.J. Isserman papers include correspondence, clippings, court briefs and depositions, book manuscript drafts, photographs and other printed materials relating to Isserman's work in civil rights and labor law. Topics include labor union activities and strikes, civil liberties, communist influence, investigations into Un-American activities, deportation, and disbarment of lawyers. Persons and institutions reflected in the collection include the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, the Dies Committee, Judge Harold Medina, and Leinhard Bergel. Acquired as part of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Arrangement

Organized into the following series: Personal and Professional Files; Disbarment and Reinstatement

Using These Materials

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 2 full business days in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access to the Collection

Collection is open for research.

warning Use & Permissions

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.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Consumer Reports. A.J. Isserman papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Book files--Notes, drafts, introduction, 1965-1966
(2 folders)
Box 3
Civil liberties clippings, 1970-1971 and undated
Box 1
Crisis in the Civil Liberties Union, 1940

Pamphlet relating to the debate within the ACLU, beginning around 1939, between its traditional mission of nonpartisan protection of speech rights and a growing sentiment to oppose anti-democratic doctrines such as fascism and Nazism.

Box 1
Edith Beckman deportation case, 1931-1932

Edith Beckman was an organizer with the National Textile Workers Union, arrested in October 1931 and held for deportation until released under bond in November 1932. File contains clippings related to the case, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis intervention, Beckman's hunger strike and eventual release.

Box 3
Harvard lecture (notes), 1971
Box 1
Investigating Committees and Civil Rights (National Federation for Constitutional Liberties), 1941
Box 1
Lawyer Troubles in Political Trials (Fowler Harper and David Haber, Yale Law Review), 1951
Box 1
Leinhard Bergel case, 1935-1965

Leinhard Bergel, professor in the German Department at Rutgers University and an outspoken opponent of Nazism, was dismissed from his position in 1935. Bergel claimed that the department head, Friedrich Hauptman, who was pro-Nazi, fired him on ideological grounds. Rutgers upheld the dismissal. In 1940-1941, Hauptman returned to Germany and joined the Nazi party. He was arrested after the war on suspicion of spying for Germany, but apparently not tried and died in Austria in 1978. Bergel became professor of comparative litarature at CUNY and died in 1987.

Box 1
Leinhard Bergel case, 1935, 1965
(2 folders)
Box 3
Memorandum on the Power of Congressional Investigating Committee, 1939
Box 1
Miscellaneous notes, undated
Box 1
New Jersey Civil Liberties Union, 1934-1937
Box 3
New Jersey injunction/picket rule, 1933-1935
Box 1
Princeton--ACLU collection notes, 1932-1965

Isserman's library search notes; includes Memorandum for American Bar Association re. Interference with attorneys in professional duties (1932)

Box 1
Program for the elderly (housing), 1974
Box 1
Royal Fusiliers--Documentation and photographs, approximately 1917
Box 1
Supporting materials (sit-down strikes, etc.), 1936-1971
Box 1
Un-American activities (Dies Committee), 1937-1940

Dies Committee, named for Texas Representative Martin Dies, precursor to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)

Box 1
Un-American activities (Dies Committee), 1938
Box 3
General, 1949-1961
(2 folders)
Box 1
General, 1950-1961
Box 3
Due Process in a Political Trial (National Non-Partisan Committee to Defend the Rights of the 12 Communist Leaders), approximately 1949
Box 1
Judge Harold Medina, 1949-1961

Harold J. Medina (1888-1990) presided over the Foley Square Trial. Charged Isserman and the legal defense team of contempt of court.

Box 1
Judge Harold Medina, 1950-1965
Box 3
Supreme Court of New Jersey, 1959

Petition that led to Isserman's reinstatement to the Bar, in 1961.

Box 1
Supreme Court of the United States, 1950-1952

Appeals in the Foley Square trial.

Box 1
U.S. Court of Appeals--Appellate brief, approximately 1952
Box 2
 

Historical Note

Consumer Reports is a product testing and consumer advocacy nonprofit organization based in Yonkers, N.Y., founded in 1936. Abraham J. Isserman was a labor lawyer, counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union during the 1930s, and one of the original members of the Board of Directors of Consumers Union.

Abraham J. Isserman was born in 1900 in Belgium. Isserman served with the Royal Fusiliers during World War I. Isserman served as Counsel to ACLU 1930s-1941 and as defense counsel for strikers at Consumers Research who were fired during the 1935 strike. Isserman was a member of the Consumers Union Board of Directors from 1936. Isserman was part of the defense counsel during the Foley Square trial of 1949, in the course of which Isserman was disbarred in 1952, and later reinstated in 1961. Isserman was a partner in the Isserman and Isserman legal firm. Isserman died in 1988 in New York.

Related Material

Related materials may be found in the following Hartman Center collections:

Advertising Council records;

African American history marketing and promotional posters;

J. Walter Thompson Company. Edward G. Wilson papers;

Paula Green papers


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

The Consumer Reports. A.J. Isserman papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 2019.

Processing Information

Processed by Richard Collier, Oct. 2019;

Accessions described in this collection guide: 2019-0130