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New York Bureau of Legal Advice Collected Records

 Collection
Identifier: SCPC-CDG-A-New York Bureau of Legal Advice

Scope and Contents

The NYBLA collection includes correspondence with C.O.s and their families, office/administrative records, and newspaper clippings.

Dates

  • 1917-1920

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

None.

Copyright and Rights Information

None.

Historical

The New York Bureau of Legal First Aid was founded on May 11, 1917 with a $100 grant from the Woman's Peace Party. It was initially sponsored by the People's Council, the Socialist Party, the Civil Liberties Bureau and the Workmen's Council. In May 1918, the group changed its name to the New York Bureau of Legal Advice. The Bureau was the first organization to provide free legal service to men who resisted the new draft laws related to the entry of the United States into the first world war. Its primary efforts went into monitoring the government's attitude toward conscientious objectors to war, and campaigning for their humane treatment and eventual amnesty from prison terms. It also opposed the deportation of labor union radicals (especially members of the International (Industrial) Workers of the World), and the harassment of others opposed to the war. In September 1918, the Bureau was raided by the FBI which temporarily disrupted its work.

Frances Witherspoon, a feminist and socialist peace activist, served as the Bureau's Executive Secretary. Charles Recht, a Czech-born attorney, was its General Counsel. Members of the Executive Committee included Tracy D. Mygatt, Roger Baldwin, Martha Gruening and Fola La Follette (daughter of Senator La Follette). The Bureau closed in the fall of 1919, shortly before the Armistice.

Extent

0.63 Linear Feet (7.5 linear in.)

Overview

The New York Bureau of Legal First Aid was founded on May 11, 1917. In May 1918, the group changed its name to the New York Bureau of Legal Advice. The Bureau was the first organization to provide free legal service to men who resisted the new draft laws related to the entry of the United States into the First World War. In September 1918, the Bureau was raided by the FBI which temporarily disrupted its work. The Bureau closed in the fall of 1919, shortly before the Armistice.

Other Finding Aids

For the catalog record for this collection, and to find materials on similar topics, search the library's online catalog

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Unknown.

Existence and Location of Copies

Many of the letters and documents, as well as transcriptions, from the NYBLA Collected Records have been published in the SCPC website about WWI conscientious objection / objectors (http://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/)

Related Materials

Tracy Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon Papers (DG 089)

The Peace Collection holds the microfilmed collection of NYBLA holdings from the Tamiment Library at New York University. See tripod record for further information.

Separated Materials

Photos were removed to the Photograph Collection.

Legal Status

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

Processed by Peace Collection staff; Anne Yoder, July 1999; this version of finding aid by Wendy E. Chmielewski, July 2012.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Swarthmore College Peace Collection Library

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