New York Bureau of Legal Advice Collected Records
Scope and Contents
The NYBLA collection includes correspondence with C.O.s and their families, office/administrative records, and newspaper clippings.
- New York Bureau of Legal Advice (Organization)
Language of Materials
Materials are in English.
Limitations on Accessing the Collection
Copyright and Rights Information
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.
0.63 Linear Feet (7.5 linear in.)
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
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/)
Photos were removed to the Photograph Collection.
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Processed by Peace Collection staff; Anne Yoder, July 1999; this version of finding aid by Wendy E. Chmielewski, July 2012.
- Conscientious objectors -- New York (State) -- History -- Sources
- Draft resisters -- New York (State) -- History -- Sources
- Legal aid -- New York (State) -- History -- Sources
- New York Bureau of Legal Advice
- New York Bureau of Legal First Aid
- World War, 1914-1918 -- Conscientious objectors -- United States -- Sources
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
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 or requesting reproductions from Swarthmore College Peace Collection Library
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore 19081-1399 USA US