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Guide to the Friends of Democracy Records, 1937-1950 and undated

Summary

Collection of research files and materials kept by the Friends of Democracy while they monitored various fascist and communist propaganda organizations and figures during World War II and immediately following the war.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11263
Title
Friends of Democracy records
Date
1937-1950 and undated
Extent
2 Linear Feet, 2 boxes
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

Collection includes meeting notes, radio transcripts, speech transcripts, and reports created by Friends of Democracy as it monitored various fascist- and communist-sympathizers, as well as materials, literature, newsletters, and correspondence collected by Friends of Democracy documenting the various activities, writings, and beliefs of those groups. Files are arranged alphabetically by name of the monitored group or person. Groups represented include American Nazi groups, anti-semitic propagandists, pro-Soviet or pro-Communist organizations, anti-Roosevelt organizations, isolationist groups or leaders, and other figures that the Friends of Democracy deemed threatening to American democracy or world peace. Figures monitored include Charles Lindbergh, Hamilton Fish, Elizabeth Dillings, Upton Close, William J. Grace, Gerald Winrod, and others.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

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warning Access to the Collection

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 & 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], Friends of Democracy Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Internal literature

Materials, largely drafts and notes, relating to Friends of Democracy's own publications and projects.

A Confidential Statement Concerning Pro-Nazi and Anti-Semitic Organizations, 1930s

Drafts, proofs, and typescripts of pamphlet issued by L.M. Birkhead and FOD

Box 1
Congressional Project, 1942-1943

Miscellaneous notes and drafts from an untitled FOD project opposing various Congressional candidates (incl. Hamilton Fish)

Box 1

2. Name or Organizational Files, 1938-1950 and undated

Files created and kept by members of the Friends of Democracy as they monitored and documented activities of various people and organizations throughout the United States. Formats included in these files include FOD's own internal notes about various meetings they attended or people they met; literature, mass mailings, subscription letters, and circulars created by the organizations FOD monitored; press releases written by FOD denouncing a particular group or public figure; clippings and literature mentioning a group or figure; and other miscellaneous materials documenting a group or person's writings, radio broadcasts, appearances, or beliefs.

America First Committee, 1941-1942

FOD notes, copies of correspondence

Box 1
Anglo-Saxon Federation of America, 1946-1947

Convention program, mass mailings

Box 1
The Bill Smiths: The Average Citizens Group (Hattiesburg, MI), 1946

Newsletter

Box 2
Bricker, John (Chicago), 1944-1945

FOD notes about his speeches, meetings

Box 1
Brocks, Wayland, undated

FOD notes

Box 1
Busbey, Fred E., 1945-1946

FOD notes re: speeches, meetings

Box 1
Catholic Mothers and Daughters of America, Inc., 1946

FOD notes

Box 1
Christian Business Men's Committee of Chicago, 1945

FOD notes

Box 1
Citizens USA Committee, 1943-1945

FOD notes re: committee meetings, transcriptions of circulars

Box 1
Close, Upton (Los Angeles), 1941-1948

Mass mailings, radio broadcast transcripts, clippings, FOD notes

Box 1
Committee for American Independence, 1945-1946

FOD notes re: meetings

Box 1
Committee for Constitutional Government, 1945-1950

Circulars, reports, literature

Box 1
Constitutional Americans (Chicago), 1943-1946

FOD notes, mass mailing

Box 1
Constitutional Educational League, 1941-1948

FOD notes re: Joe Kamp and the CEL

Box 1
Constitutional Money League of America/National Constitutional Party (Minden, Nebraska), 1943-1948

Newsletters, flyers, and pamphlets

Box 1
Council Against Intolerance in America (New York City), 1943-1949

Stamps, press releases, flyers

Box 1
Council for Democracy, 1944-1945

Mass mailings

Box 1
Day, Stephen, 1944-1946

FOD notes, radio broadcast transcripts

Box 1
Democratic Tract Society (Oklahoma), 1948

Anti-Dewey leaflet

Box 2
Fish, Hamilton (New York), 1945-1947

FOD anti-Fish campaign materials, promotional literature, mass mailings

Box 1
Fleck, John J. (Philadelphia), 1940-1946

FOD notes, writings by Fleck

Box 1
Foundation of Catholics for Human Brotherhood, 1940-1941

Mass mailings, literature

Box 1
German American Bund, 1937-1940

Printed materials, flyers

Box 1
Grace, William J., 1946

Materials re: Grace's connections with Citizens Keep America Out of War and the Citizens USA Committee. FOD notes, radio broadcast transcripts.

Box 1
Holt, Rush D. (West Virginia), 1940-1941

FOD notes, speech transcripts

Box 1
Independent Citizens' Committee of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions, 1945-1946

Newsletters, postcards, flyers

Box 1
Keep America Out of War Congress (New York City), 1940

Flyers, postcards, button

Box 1
Kent, Tyler, 1941-1946

Printed materials, mass mailings

Box 1
Kister, Frederick, undated

Broadside for Christian Veterans of America: Workers of the World Unite, Destroy Communism

Box 2
Kullgren, William, 1942

Newsletter by Kullgren.

Box 2
Lincoln, James Finney (Cleveland), 1943-1945 and undated

Includes handbooks and other materials documenting the wage, labor, and salary bonus policies of the Lincoln Electric Company

Box 1
Lindbergh, Charles A., 1941

FOD notes and press releases denouncing Lindbergh; publications by Lindbergh, flyers

Box 1
Lovell, J.A., 1944-1947

Materials relating to Kingdom's Digest publication. Postcards, mass mailings, circulars

Box 1
Lutheran Research Society (Detroit), 1946-1949

Mass mailings, newsletters

Box 1
McCormick, Robert R. (Chicago), 1943-1944

Anti-Chicago Tribune resolutions, other writings

Box 1
Mertig, Kurt (New York City), 1945-1947

FOD notes re: Mertig and Citizen's Protective League

Box 1
National Blue Star Mothers of America, 1946

Letter to Truman objecting to the recognition of Israel

Box 2
National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, 1945-1947

Circulars, flyers

Box 1
National Council of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions, 1949

Materials re: Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace, invitations, correspondence

Box 1
National Physicians Committee (Chicago), 1944-1946

FOD notes

Box 1
Patriotic Research Bureau (Chicago), 1941-1948 and undated

FOD notes on PRB and Elizabeth Dillings, newsletters, circulars

Box 1
Peace Now Movement, 1942-1943

Circulars

Box 1
Permanent Fair Employment Practice Committee, 1944-1946

Mass mailings, pamphlets re: FEPC

Box 1
Serbian National Defense Council of America, 1944

FOD notes

Box 1
Smith, Gerald L.K. (St. Louis, MO; Detroit, MI; and Los Angeles, CA), 1944-1949
(9 folders)

FOD notes and drafts denouncing Smith, as well as collected mass mailings, flyers, broadsides, and newsletters written by Gerald L.K. Smith on behalf of several organizations, including the Christian Nationalist Crusade, the America First Party Crusade, the Democratic Tract Society, and the Nationalist News Service. Includes assorted issues from Smith's newsletter The Cross and the Flag.

Box 2
Southard, Earl (Chicago), 1945-1947

Mass mailings, solicitations, literature re: Citizens Press

Box 1
Southern Conference for Human Welfare, 1945-1946

Pamphlets, mass mailings

Box 1
Springer, Harvey (Englewood, Colorado), 1947-1950
(2 folders)

Newsletters, solitications

Box 1
Box 2
Steele, Walter S., 1940-1947

Materials re: Steele, National Republic, and National Republican organizations. Includes FOD notes and press releases, circulars, and publications by Steele

Box 1
Tool Owners Union, 1946

FOD notes

Box 1
We, the Mothers, Mobilize for America, Inc., 1942-1946

FOD notes, flyers, pamphlets

Box 1
Winrod, Gerald (Wichita, Kansas), 1946-1949
(2 folders)

Newsletters, mass mailings re: Defenders of the Christian Faith

Box 1
Box 2
 

Historical Note

The Friends of Democracy organization was founded by Unitarian minister Leon Milton Birkhead in 1937. The group described itself as "a non-partisan, non-sectarian, non-profit, anti-totalitarian propaganda agency." In 1939 their offices were moved to New York City, an early branch of the group. John Dewey, Thomas Mann, Van Wyck Brooks, and Will Durant were all prominent members.

A biography of L.M. Birkhead can be found here, courtesy of the Unitarian Universalist History & Heritage Society: http://uudb.org/articles/leonmiltonbirkhead.html


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

The Friends of Democracy Records were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a transfer from Perkins Library in 2012.

Processing Information

Processed by Meghan Lyon, July 2016

Accessions described in this collection guide: 2016-0136, 2012-0141