MS 169 - Northwest Ohio Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union
|Title||MS 169 - Northwest Ohio Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union|
The Northwest Ohio Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (NWO – ACLU) collection contains approximately fifteen linear feet of materials largely dating from 1953 to the present. Included are minutes, correspondence, position statements, financial records, printed materials and case files. These records are indicative of the function, policies, procedures and activities of this organization, mainly on the local level, but also on the state and national level as well. The collection was obtained largely through the efforts of Dr. Sharon Rogers, President of the Northwest Ohio ACLU Chapter in 1981, and Chapter members continue to deposit materials to be added to the collection. NWO – ACLU member, Naomi Twining, has been instrumental in obtaining records documenting the beginnings of this organization and preparing historical information about its various activities.
Literary and property rights have been dedicated to the public with the exception of those materials deemed of a confidential nature. Access to confidential records will fall under the stipulations of the Instrument of Gift Agreement and the CAC's policy on the use of confidential records. The register was prepared by Sandra Davies, graduate assistant in History, in March 1982, with later revisions by Ann Bowers, Assistant Director and an additional revision in September 2008 by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts. The collection was most recently updated and revised by undergraduate archival assistant Rebecca Denes in December 2012.
The Northwest Ohio Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union was unofficially established in 1952, and formally organized in 1953, by a group of Toledoans including, Reverend Arthur Olsen, J. Wesley Littlefield, Ernest Gray, and James Smith. Each was concerned by the threat to freedom posed by Senator Joseph McCarthy and each enlisted friends with similar sympathies who became the nucleus of the organization in the 1950s. Two of these members, Alvina Littlefield and George Paps remained active in the organization through the early 1980s.
Initially, local ACLU members concentrated their efforts on the Presidential campaign of 1952 believing that Adlai Stevenson best represented the organization's ideals and objectives. Soon after the election they received their first case which concerned an employee of the University of Toledo who supposedly had been fired for his radical political beliefs. During the 1970s, the Chapter initiated a jail improvement committee which monitored the conditions of local prisons and attempted to solve problems through negotiations. One of these original jail committee members, Vince Nathan, went on to head a similar effort in Texas which received coverage in Newsweek in 1982. The Chapter also began a telephone program in which people could call in for information or register complaints regarding civil liberties and receive assistance or referrals to other community agencies.
According to its constitution, the Northwest Ohio American Civil Liberties Union's stated purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights; to uphold the exercise of the rights of free speech and press, freedom of religion, and all other constitutional rights, liberties, privileges and immunities; and to take legal and other actions in the furtherance of these ends. Such objectives are not associated with political affiliations.
Decisions concerning the policies of the Northwest Ohio Chapter are administered by the Board of Directors which consists of the officers, twenty-five elected directors, and any member of the national committee of the American Civil Liberties Union living in the area who has ex officio membership, minus voting privileges. The organization carries out its functions through the executive committee and the standing committees; legal, membership, finance, operations and annual meeting.
|Scope and Content|
The Northwest Ohio ACLU collection contains a variety of record types, the majority of which date from its founding in 1953 through the 2000s. The collection includes minutes, correspondence, reports, newsletters, press clippings, audio/visual material, subject and case files, and financial records which are arranged chronologically and separated by state and regional categories. The Northwest Ohio ACLU records are filed first, followed by the records of other regional chapters and then the Ohio Civil Liberties Union records. The bulk of material consists of Board of Directors minutes, committee proceedings, and correspondence. Minutes of the OCLU (1954 – 1998) and the Northwest Ohio ACLU (1954 – 2010) Board of Directors meetings reflect concern over issues such as McCarthyism, censorship and civil rights in Ohio and locally. Though there are some gaps in general minutes, the Northwest Ohio ACLU Board of Directors minutes are fairly complete, thus providing the researcher an opportunity to observe the local organization's activities over time.
OCLU position statements, available for the years 1953 through the 1990s (although scattered), are especially valuable as they contain drafts of national and state positions on legislation and controversial issues. Subject files include several which document the beginnings and varied activities of the Northwest Ohio ACLU. These files document this chapter's involvement with such programs as the Court Observer Program and the Jail Improvement League for the Toledo and Northwest Ohio area.
Financial records available for both the Northwest Ohio ACLU and the OCLU from the 1970s through the 1990s, and illustrate the financial relationship and problems faced by these two chapters of a national organization. Most of the financial reports are separately filed, however, some of the more current reports are located with the Board of Directors minutes. The printed material within this collection includes information of historical interest on state and local levels. Unfortunately, newsletters of the OCLU (1954 – 1999) are very scattered. The Northwest Ohio ACLU publications (1968 – 1969, 1980 – 1994) contain local committee reports and summaries of business conducted at meetings.
This collection also includes case files (1954 to the present) and membership records (1950s, 1972 to the present) which are closed to public access as specified in the Instrument of Gift Agreement. The access of these records falls under the procedures detailed in the CAC's confidentiality policy and the Instrument of Gift.
This collection provides insight into the structure and activities of the local ACLU as well as other regional and the state offices; and also illustrates how a community, state and nation respond to civil rights issues.
CONSTITUTIONS/ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU BOARD OF DIRECTORS MINUTES
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU GENERAL MEETING MINUTES
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU INFORMATION/POLICIES MANUAL
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU COMMITTEE PROCEEDINGS
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU MEMBERSHIP (CONFIDENTIAL)
OCLU BOARD OF DIRECTORS MINUTES
OCLU COMMITTEE PROCEEDINGS
OCLU MEMBERSHIP (CONFIDENTIAL)
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU CORRESPONDENCE
OCLU POSITION STATEMENTS
CHAPTER ORIGINS/BULLEY CASE
CHURCH AND STATE CASES
DR. SPOCK FILE
LUCAS COUNTY JAIL
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY PLANNING ASSOCIATION
CATHOLIC LECTURE/TEACHING ISSUES – UNIVERSITY OF TOLEDO
FRANK WILKINSON VISIT/NATIONAL COMMITTEE AGAINST
CLOSED CASE FILES (CONFIDENTIAL)
GENERAL SUBJECT FILES
OCLU LEGAL DOCKET
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU FINANCES
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU PUBLICITY
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU NEWSLETTERS – “THE LEGACY”
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU PROGRAMS
OCLU PAMPHLETS/NEWS ARTICLES
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU PHOTOGRAPHS
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU NEGATIVES
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU AUDIO CASSETTE
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU VIDEO CASSETTE
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU ARTWORK
Box 15: CONFIDENTIAL MATERIALFolders
Box 16:CONFIDENTIAL MATERIALFolders
Box 17: CONFIDENTIAL MATERIALFolders
Box 18: CONFIDENTIAL MATERIAL (Legal Committee Files)Folders
Box 19: CONFIDENTIAL MATERIALFolders