© 2002 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Socialist Labor Party records, 1877-1907.
Socialist Labor Party.
39 microfilm reels.
Forms of Material:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Consist of the official records of the Socialist Labor Party from its organization in 1877 until 1907. Despite the fragmentation
or paucity of some types of records, the collection as a whole documents many facets of the Party's development, organization,
thought, and tactics, as well as its contribution to the labor and socialist movements in a turbulent era of industrial change
and of social and economic stress in the United States.
Collection material in English
Records of the National Executive Committee include one volume of minutes (1889-1891) in German; five volumes of outgoing
correspondence (1883-1892), primarly in German and English, with some letters in French, largely concerning routine Party
business and including an inventory of letters received (1891-1894), which in turn includes a list of Sections organized and
dissolved between 1891 and 1893, with notations on their nationality; incoming correspondence chiefly addressed to national
secretary Henry Kuhn (1878-1906, bulk 1895-1899), much of which pertains to the mechanics of Party operations and includes
discussion of Party philosophy and strategy, internal Party controversies, campaigns and elections -- the campaign of 1896
is particularly well documented -- Board of Appeals cases, strikes, publications, and editorial policies of the party press,
organization and operation of the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, other labor organizations, agitation tours, national
conventions, international affiliations, and Party finances; official ballots of the SLP Sections and the members
at large on assorted questions of party policy and selection of party officials (1880, 1889-1904); official accounting records
of the Committee (1881-1899); an agitators' date book (1896) containing itineraries of SLP agitators and candidates during
the 1896 presidential campaign; and a list of Sections nad officers, ca. 1896.
Records of the party press (1885-1904) pertain to the official newspapers owned by the Party as well as to other socialist-oriented
newspapers which at times endorsed and advocated the principles of ths SLP. The nature of the files varies between publications,
but includes some correspondence, lists of subscribers, accounts, and minutes. The Party-owned enterprises represented include
the New York Labor News Company and the Workamen's Printing Company, which handled publication and distribution of Party pamphlets;
Der Sozialist and its successor, Vorwarts, a German weekly edited by Hugo Vogt; The People, official Party weekly in English, begun in 1891 with Daniel De Leon as editor; the Daily People Committee, organized in 1895 to raise money for a daily newspaper in English which was issued and edited by De Leon from
1900 to 1914; and the Abendblatt, a daily published in Yiddish. Also included in this series are files relating to two papers outside Party ownership, the
Arbeiter Zeitung and the New Yorker Zeitung.
Records of the National Board of Appeals (1878-1900) (known as the National Board of Supervision between 1877 and 1896) concerns
disciplinary action aken against Sections and members and includes official minutes (1879, 1899-1900); a letter book (1878-1880)
in German and English; correspondence (1888-1899, 1893, 1895-1900), containing letters in German and Enlgish between the Board
and Party officials and members, affidavits and testimony, and reports of the Board to the national conventions.
Records of the National Conventions (1877-1904) include printed plarforms, constitutions and proceedings for most years for
which there are files, as well as some correspondence, reports and resolutions for some years. The Conventions were called
by a vote of the Party membership and met irregularly. Portions of the files are in German.
Records concerning Party activities (1880-1905) include two notebooks kept by Party leaders W.L. Rosenberg and Daniel De Leon,
and an assortment of newspaper clippings, mainly from socialist publications. Clippings pertain to the labor and socialist
movements, and particularly to the activities of the SLP, including its debates, conventions, party philosophy, agitation
and speaking tours and political campaigns.
The records of State Committees and Local Sections (1878-1906) complete the collection. Massachusetts, New York, Texas, Washington,
and British Columbia are represented through records of Local Sections of American, German, Flemish, Italian and Scandinavian
membership. There are also incomplete files of minutes and correspondence of the New York State Committee within the period
1884-1902. Fragmentary as it is, this series does illustrate the varied international composition of the Party membership
and the organization and operation of the Party on the state and local levels.
Socialist Labor Party.
De Leon, Daniel,1852-1914.
Ham, F. Gerald.1930- ,
Rosenberg, W. L.
New York Labor News Company.
Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance.
Workmen's Printing Company.
Labor--United States--Political activity.
Political parties--United States--Discipline.
Press, Political party--United States.
Press, Socialist--Unied States.
Socialist parties--United States.
Socialists--New York (N.Y.)
Socialists--New York (State)--Buffalo.
Socialists--New York (State)--Mount Vernon.
Socialists--New York (State)--Newtown.
Trade-unions--United States--Political activity.