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Cold War Research Guide: Cold War Collections

Tamiment's Cold War Archival Collections

Cold War Collections

  • Alger Hiss Collections 
    The Tamiment Library’s Alger Hiss (1904-1996) collections include Hiss family papers, his legal defense files, as well as collections from long-time Hiss associates. The Debevoise & Plimpton Records on Alger Hiss (dated 1938-1980) contain files from the legal firm's representation of Alger Hiss in his 1949 perjury trials and his 1979 coram nobis petition to overturn his conviction. A select group of materials from the Debevoise & Plimpton Records are being digitized and will be available online in 2018. In addition to the original archival materials that are housed at NYU, both the Alger Hiss Defense Collection for the Harvard Law School Library and the Hiss Papers are available through Microfilm. Future projects will microfilm the Alger Hiss correspondence in the records of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Alger Hiss files in the United Nations Archives.

    Click to view extended list of Alger Hiss Collections.

  • Phillip Agee Papers (TAM.517)
    Philip Burnett Franklin Agee (1935–2008) joined the CIA in 1957, and over the following decade had postings in Washington, D.C., Ecuador, Uruguay, and Mexico. After resigning from the Agency in 1968, he became a leading opponent of CIA practices. He was best known as the author of Inside the Company: CIA Diary (1975), which identified about 250 CIA officers, front companies and foreign agents then or previously working for the United States.

  • Jay and Si-Lan Chen Leyda Papers (TAM.083)
    Jay Leyda (1910-1988) studied directing with Sergei Eisenstein at the Moscow State Film School, became a correspondent for Theatre Arts Monthly and New Theatre, and was an art critic for the Moscow News. In 1936, Leyda was the assistant to Iris Barry, curator of the Film Library of the Museum of Modern Art, but resigned amidst allegations that he was a subversive agent. Leyda went to Hollywood in 1942 where he was a technical advisor on films on Russian subjects. His wife, Si Lan Chen Leyda (b. 1909), was a modern dancer who attended the Bolshoi Ballet School and Vera Maya's school in Moscow where she met and married Leyda.

  • Church League of America Collection of the Research Files of Counterattack, the Wackenhut Corporation, and Karl Baarslag (TAM.148)
    The Church League of America (1937-1984), a right wing anti-communist research and advocacy group, collected these research files from other creators with a similar political outlook and professional activities: American Business Consultants Inc., the Wackenhut Corporation, and Karl Baarslag. All of these creators had connections to the intelligence agencies of the United States government, kept detailed research files on individuals and organizations, and were part of a right-wing research and information network that monitored Communists and other perceived threats to their interpretation of the American way of life.

  • Communist Party of the United States (TAM.132)
    The Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) is a Marxist-Leninist political organization that was founded in Chicago in 1919 and played a pivotal role in many political and social movements of the 20th century. The Party’s work left an indelible mark in the arena of progressive politics, particularly from the 1920s to the 1940s. Though the CPUSA’s strength and size declined sharply following the advent of the Cold War and McCarthyism, it remained committed to economic and social justice. Though materials from as early as 1892 can be found in the collection, the bulk of the records were created between 1950 and 1990. A more comprehensive record of the CPUSA’s early 20th century activity can be found in the Files of the Communist Party of the USA in the Comintern Archives, 1919-1943 (Microfilm R-7548).

    Paul Robeson performing at Cortlandt Manor (Peekskill Riots) in 1949, guarded by local union members and veterans.

    Robeson, Paul - Peekskill 1949; Robeson, Paul - Peekskill Riots; The Daily Worker and Daily World Photographs Collection;
    PHOTOS.223; Box 260; Folder 14737; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

  • The Daily Worker and Daily World Photographs Collection (PHOTOS.223) 
    The official organ of the Communist Party, USA, the Daily Worker's editorial positions reflected the policies of the Communist Party. At the same time the paper also attempted to speak to the broad left-wing community in the United States, covering a wide range of events in the United States and around the world. Images of many important people, groups and events associated with the CPUSA and the American Left are present in the collection, as well as images of a wide variety of people, subjects and events not explicitly linked with the CPUSA or Left politics.

  • National Council on American-Soviet Friendship Records (TAM.134)
    The National Council of American-Soviet Friendship succeeded the National Council on Soviet Relations, founded in 1941. The NCSR grew out of the more overtly radical American-Soviet friendship movement of the 1930's, whose organizational center was the Friends of the Soviet Union founded in 1929. The Council, composed largely of professionals who were sympathetic to Socialism, believed that the USSR and the United States should join together in their common fight against fascism. In 1946, the House Un-American Activities Committee began a formal investigation of NCASF, and in 1947, it was indicted for failure to register with the Subversive Activities Control Board.

  • National Guardian Photographs (PHOTOS.213)
    The National Guardian (later known as The Guardian) was a radical leftist weekly newspaper published in New York City between 1948 and 1992. The National Guardian reported on labor, activism, reform, and social movements without particular party affiliations, advocating for a unified leftist party in the United States. Known for its independent and investigative journalism, the paper produced significant pieces on civil rights and the Cold War, and was one of the few publications to print news sympathetic to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg during their trial and execution.

  • National Lawyers Guild (TAM.191)
    The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) was founded in 1937 as an association of progressive lawyers and jurists who believed that lawyers had a major role to play in reconstructing legal values by emphasizing human rights over property rights. This collection includes early administrative records of the Guild, primarily those of its National Office and New York City Chapter, as well as materials describing legal and political activities of many of the Guild's chapters and committees. The bulk of the collection, however, is focused on the court case which revealed that the Guild had been the target of a forty-year covert Federal Bureau of Investigation campaign of surveillance, infiltration and intimidation (National Lawyers Guild v. Attorney General, 1977-1989).

  • Victor Navasky Papers (TAM.594)
    Victor Navasky (b. 1932) was editor of The Nation from 1978-1995, publisher and editorial director from 1995-2005, and later publisher emeritus. The collection provides a broad view of Victor Navasky’s life, his interests, and his work. His books, articles, essays, plays, and speeches are represented, particularly his extensive research on the Hollywood Blacklist and the early Cold War. There is a small audio-visual series containing, for example, audio recordings of a number of interviews Navasky conducted for his book, Naming Names, and an event honoring I.F. Stone on his 80th birthday.

  • Tamiment Serials Collections (Multiple Collections)                                                                                           
    Uncataloged Tamiment serials were archivally processed and opened for research by February 2019, with all finding aids and catalog records published and discoverable as collections were completed. In addition, 253 publications, measuring over 250 linear feet, were identified as matches for bibliographically cataloged titles throughout NYU’s sub-libraries, and moved to these sub-libraries to fill gaps in existing holdings. The project resulted in 9,397 previously uncataloged and under-described unique serial titles being arranged into 24 assembled subject-based collections.

  • Civil Rights Serials (TAM.771)
  • Africa Serials (TAM.782)
  • Asia Serials (TAM.779)
  • Communist and Socialist Serials (TAM.747)
  • Foreign Politics Serials (TAM.765)
  • Latin America Serials (TAM.770)
  • Religion Serials (TAM.777)
  • United States Politics and Government Serials (TAM.759)
  • War and Peace Movement Serials (TAM.757)
  • Investigation Files of the Rapp-Coudert Committee (TAM.533) 
    (Note: Tamiment Researchers must use: Microfilm - Film R-7860)
    The Rapp-Coudert Committee (New York State Joint Legislative Committee on the State Education System) was charged with investigating individuals and organizations with suspected radical ties in New York City public schools and colleges from 1940-1942. This collection consists of the Committee's investigation files including correspondence, interview notes, lists and hearing transcripts; minutes; and copies of Communist, anti-war and civil liberties publications collected by the Committee in the course of investigations. (Note that Tamiment Library holds only a microfilm version of this collection - Film R-7860. The original documents are held by the New York State Archives.)

  • Howard Zinn Papers (TAM.542)
    Howard Zinn (1922-2010) was a historian, activist, playwright, teacher, public speaker and author of articles,essays and books including his best-selling A People’s History of the United States. Reaching the wider public through his work, Zinn celebrated the lives of ordinary individuals engaged in the struggle for peace and justice, highlighting their often overlooked victories, and encouraging his audiences to engage as well. This collection provides a broad view of Howard Zinn’s many activities and interests, including his articles, interviews, and lectures on US foreign policy during the Cold War.


Hours & Location

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630

Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

To search other Cold War Collections in the Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, visit the search portal for Tamiment collections.‚Äč

For further information and tips on how to perform searches, please consult the Tamiment Research Guide.

Special Collections Research Account

All researchers wishing to use archival collections and researchers unaffiliated with NYU wishing to use the Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives must register to use the collections, which entails registering a Special Collections Research Account (SCRA) and showing a valid photo ID when they arrive at Tamiment. 

For more information consult the SCRA FAQ.