National Committee Against Repressive Legislation Records, 1948-2003

 
Container Title
Mss 452
Part 1 (Mss 452): Original Collection, 1888-1966
Physical Description: 36.0 c.f. (90 archives boxes) and 1 reel of microfilm (35mm) 
Scope and Content Note

The Original Collection is divided into three main series: Public Papers, Family Papers, and Organizational Records. The first of these is by far the largest component of the collection and contains Amlie's correspondence, congressional files, campaign materials, speeches, writings, and a large number of newspaper clippings concerning his career. Family Papers pertain mainly to Gehrta Amlie's activities and to her family, and the final series consists of records of a number of third party and other political organizations with which Amlie was affiliated.

The Public Papers are arranged in seven separate subseries ranging in size from one folder to seventy-one boxes. Six of these subseries, General Correspondence, Addresses and Writings, Campaign Material, Congressional Subject File, Press Releases, and Clippings, bring together like types of material; the other, Interstate Commerce Commission Nomination, contains various types of records concerning that one event.

The General Correspondence cuts across all phases of Amlie's life. It includes letters to and from family members and friends, correspondence relating to his legal practice, campaign and constituent letters, and letters relating to his role with liberal political organizations and movements.

Among the earliest letters are a few concerning Amlie's role in the 1924 La Follette-Wheeler campaign. However, the great bulk of the correspondence does not commence until Amlie began his congressional campaign in 1931. Much of the correspondence while Amlie was in congress (October 13, 1931-March 3, 1933 and January 3, 1935-January 3, 1939) can be classified as constituent correspondence. While much of this is routine and somewhat repetitive, it is also revealing as to the times. The Depression is a constant theme: job opportunities, soldiers' bonus legislation, relief legislation, the federal works program (WPA), mortgage loans, the federal budget, taxes, and the political situation. Amlie also received considerable amounts of mail in 1937 and 1938 concerning his sponsorship of the Industrial Expansion Act and the reorganization of the Supreme Court.

Much of the rest of the correspondence from the 1930's and early 1940's resulted from Amlie's affiliation with political organizations and movements. Correspondents in this regard include: Oscar Ameringer, publisher of the American Guardian; Alfred M. Bingham, co-editor of Common Sense; Paul H. Douglas of the University of Chicago; Nathan Fine of the American Commonwealth Political Federation (ACPF); George B. Galloway of the National Economic and Social Planning Association; Philip F. and Robert M. La Follette, Jr.; Floyd B. Olson, governor of Minnesota; Selden Rodman, co-editor of Common Sense; Samuel Sigman of the Farmer-Labor and Progressive League of Wisconsin; Norman Thomas; Howard Y. Williams of the Farmer-Labor party, the ACPF and the Union for Democratic Action (UDA); and William E. Zeuch of the Resettlement Administration and founder of Commonwealth College.

Foremost among the organizations whose work is reflected in the General Correspondence is the ACPF. In 1935 Nathan Fine of the Rand School of Social Science went to Washington to serve as director of the newly formed organization. Amlie furnished office space for the Federation and Fine's letters as director, are an integral part of the collection. In fact, the researcher will sometimes find it difficult to distinguish between Amlie and Fine as author of letters in instances where the signature does not appear on the carbon. Correspondence for the ACPF period, 1935-1938, not only covers the national office, but also includes many communications from state groups that tried to form a Commonwealth affiliation, particularly California, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington. Letters from Herbert Hard in Ohio, H.J. Crim in Colorado, and R.W. Hadden in California are particularly numerous. In addition to the ACPF, letters touch on activities of organizations and movements such as: American League Against War and Fascism, 1934-1936; Continental Committee for Economic Abundance, 1934-1935; Farmer-Labor Political Federation of the United States, 1933-1936; Farmer-Labor Progressive League of Wisconsin, 1934-1936; League for Independent Political Action, 1933; Progressive party, 1931-1938; and Townsend Plan, 1935. Other correspondence of the late 1930's concerns the Spanish Civil War (Amlie's brother Hans served with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade) and the controversy over his nomination to the ICC.

Correspondence for the 1940's is not as heavy as that of the previous decade. Important topics are Amlie's involvement with the UDA, 1942-1947, and with the CIO-Political Action Committee (CIO-PAC), 1944. Between 1942 and 1946 Amlie spent a great deal of time on the East Coast away from his family. Consequently there is a good deal of correspondence between Amlie and his wife Gehrta. In addition to family matters there is frequent discussion of state and national political issues and persistent mention of the family financial problems and of Amlie's inability to find a job in government. Additional correspondents for this period include Samuel Sigman, with whom he frequently discussed Wisconsin politics, James Loeb, Jr. of the UDA, Howard Y. Williams, William Zeuch, and James H. and Charles McGill. The latter two shared much of Amlie's political philosophy and also owned and managed the McGill Manufacturing Company of Valparaiso, Indiana. Correspondence with them concerns liberal political causes as well as legal work Amlie did for the company.

By 1946 Amlie had opened a law office in Madison. Letters from that date on become progressively more sparse. Included is occasional correspondence with state political figures including Andrew J. Biemiller, Danial Hoan, and Howard J. McMurray; exchanges with old friends including Paul Douglas, the McGills, Jerry Voorhis, Aubrey Williams, Howard Y. Williams, and William Zeuch; and letters relating to his legal practice. Pockets of heavier correspondence surround Amlie's campaign for the state Supreme Court in 1949 and for Congress in 1958. In addition many letters from 1950-1954 concern Amlie's attempts to promote his book, Let's Look at the Record.

In his drive to put across a third party and to advance his liberal views, Amlie did a great deal of writing and public speaking. The New Republic, June 20, 1934, referred to him as “the spokesman for the intellectual radicals as well as for all left-wing elements....” The Addresses and Writings subseries includes final versions, drafts and notes of Amlie's speeches, magazine articles, pamphlets, and book. His major works are arranged by title. These include the Forgotten Man's Handbook, a pamphlet published in 1935 shortly after the formation of the ACPF; Les Etats-Unis Sur Le Chemin De L'Abundance, a French translation of Amlie's August 26, 1935, speech before the House on the economy; “A Congress to Win the War;” “Jobs For All;” and Let's Look at the Record. Amlie considered “A Congress to Win the War,” published as a supplement to the New Republic, May 18, 1942, as his principal contribution to the liberal cause in the 1940's. Written under the sponsorship of the UDA, the 300,000 copies distributed served as a campaign document for the supporters of the Roosevelt administration. On November 27, 1943, The Nation published Amlie's “Jobs For All” as a supplement. The following year he signed a contract to expand this into a book entitled “Revolution by Consent.” Several revisions of this book appear in the collection, but it was never published. In 1950 Amlie subsidized the publication of Let's Look at the Record, a summary of the records of the two major parties since 1929, especially as reflected by the votes of members of Congress.

Other materials in the Addresses and Writings subseries are in chronological order and date from 1923, 1928, and 1931-1958. The 1923 entry concerns farming conditions and agricultural cooperatives and stems from Amlie's position with the Wisconsin Department of Markets. The balance primarily concerns politics and the economy. Most papers date from the 1930's and many of these are campaign and congressional speeches. Also included are radio addresses and articles published in Common Sense and other journals.

Second in terms of volume to the General Correspondence is the Congressional Subject File. Organized alphabetically by file heading, this subseries dates from 1928-1938 and includes printed reference material and occasional letters from constitu ents and interest groups. Extensive files are found on Prohibition (Amlie was a wet), Roosevelt's government reorganization bill of 1938, and various issues related to the economy. Also included here is a file of Amlie's congressional newsletters. See the container list (p. 9) for a complete listing of the file headings.

Clippings consist of a chronological run dated 1924, 1931-1958 and four scrapbooks dated 1931-1938. In addition to newspaper and magazine clippings some campaign memorabilia is also included. The chronological group has been microfilmed and the originals destroyed; the scrapbooks were not filmed due to the format of the volumes. The scrapbooks seem to concentrate on Amlie's election campaigns, while the chronological run documents all phases of his career with special emphasis on the ICC nomination.

The remaining subseries within the Public Papers are largely self-explanatory. These are Campaign Material, 1931-1958, consisting of leaflets, broadsides, advertisements, platforms and similar types of material from Amlie's election compaigns, Interstate Commerce Commission Nomination, 1939, including a transscript and other papers from the subcommittee holding hearings on the nomination; and Press Releases, 1931-1945, nearly all of which originated from Amlie's terms in Congress or his campaigns.

Series: Public Papers, 1911-1966
Subseries: General Correspondence
Box   1
Folder   1-6
1911-November 1931
Box   2
Folder   1-5
December 1931-January 24, 1932
Box   3
Folder   1-5
January 25-February 18, 1932
Box   4
Folder   1-5
February 19-March 18, 1932
Box   5
Folder   1-5
March 19-April 18, 1932
Box   6
Folder   1-5
April 19-May 24, 1932
Box   7
Folder   1-5
May 25-June 1932
Box   8
Folder   1-5
July-November 1932
Box   9
Folder   1-5
December 1932-January 1933
Box   10
Folder   1-5
February-September 1933
Box   11
Folder   1-5
October 1933-February 1934
Box   12
Folder   1-5
March-July 1934
Box   13
Folder   1-5
August-November 1934
Box   14
Folder   1-6
December 1934-January 25, 1935
Box   15
Folder   1-5
January 26-February 1935
Box   16
Folder   1-5
March 1-27, 1935
Box   17
Folder   1-6
March 28-April 25, 1935
Box   18
Folder   1-5
April 26-May 20, 1935
Box   19
Folder   1-5
May 21-June 15, 1935
Box   20
Folder   1-5
June 16-July 10, 1935
Box   21
Folder   1-5
July 11-August 4, 1935
Box   22
Folder   1-7
August 5-31, 1935
Box   23
Folder   1-6
September 1935
Box   24
Folder   1-4
October 1935
Box   25
Folder   1-5
November 1-28, 1935
Box   26
Folder   1-6
November 29-December 25, 1935
Box   27
Folder   1-5
December 26, 1935-January 12, 1936
Box   28
Folder   1-5
January 13-31, 1936
Box   29
Folder   1-6
February 1-18, 1936
Box   30
Folder   1-6
February 19-March 3, 1936
Box   31
Folder   1-6
March 4-20, 1936
Box   32
Folder   1-5
March 21-April 4, 1936
Box   33
Folder   1-5
April 5-24, 1936
Box   34
Folder   1-5
April 25-May 10, 1936
Box   35
Folder   1-5
May 11-31, 1936
Box   36
Folder   1-5
June 1936
Box   37
Folder   1-5
July-August 1936
Box   38
Folder   1-6
September 1936
Box   39
Folder   1-6
October-December 10, 1936
Box   40
Folder   1-5
December 11-31, 1936
Box   41
Folder   1-6
January-February 10, 1937
Box   42
Folder   1-6
February 11-March 10, 1937
Box   43
Folder   1-6
March 11-April 5, 1937
Box   44
Folder   1-6
April 6-May 6, 1937
Box   45
Folder   1-7
May 7-June 20, 1937
Box   46
Folder   1-5
June 21-August 6, 1937
Box   47
Folder   1-6
August 7-September 1937
Box   48
Folder   1-6
October-November 20, 1937
Box   49
Folder   1-5
November 21-December 1937
Box   50
Folder   1-6
January-February 1938
Box   51
Folder   1-5
February 5-23, 1938
Box   52
Folder   1-6
February 24-March 12, 1938
Box   53
Folder   1-6
March 13-31, 1938
Box   54
Folder   1-6
March (undated)-April 25, 1938
Box   55
Folder   1-6
April 26-May 25, 1938
Box   56
Folder   1-6
May 26-July 10, 1938
Box   57
Folder   1-6
July 11-August 21, 1938
Box   58
Folder   1-7
August 22-October 15, 1938
Box   59
Folder   1-7
October 16, 1938-January 1939
Box   60
Folder   1-6
February-June 1939
Box   61
Folder   1-9
July 1939-October 1940
Box   62
Folder   1-7
November 1940-May 1942
Box   63
Folder   1-6
June-December 1942
Box   64
Folder   1-7
January 1943-December 1944
Box   65
Folder   1-6
1945-1946
Box   66
Folder   1-7
1947-1949
Box   67
Folder   1-6
1950-May 1951
Box   68
Folder   1-6
June 1951-June 1953
Box   69
Folder   1-6
July 1953-1956
Box   70
Folder   1-8
1957-1966, undated
Box   71
Folder   1-4
Undated
Subseries: Addresses and Writings
Major Works
“A Congress to Win the War” (New Republic Supplement)
Box   72
Folder   1
Notes and Drafts
Box   72
Folder   2
Published Version, May 1942
Box   72
Folder   3
Les Etats-Unis Sur Le Chemin De L'Abundance
Box   72
Folder   4
Forgotten Man's Handbook, 1935-1937
Box   72
Folder   5
“Jobs For All” (Nation Supplement), November 1943
“Revolution By Consent”
Box   72
Folder   6-7
Drafts, 1944, 1946
Box   73
Folder   1
Miscellaneous Notes, circa 1948
Let's Look at the Record
Box   73
Folder   2
Notes and Drafts
Box   73
Folder   3
Published Version, 1950
Chronological File
Box   73
Folder   4-6
1923, 1928, 1931-1933
Box   74
Folder   1-6
1934-1940
Box   75
Folder   1-3
1941-1958
Box   75
Folder   4-6
Undated
Box   76
Folder   1
Undated
Subseries: Campaign Material
Box   76
Folder   2-9
1931-1958
Box   86
Folder   1
1932-1938
Subseries: Congressional Subject File
Box   76
Folder   10
Agricultural Relief, 1931-1933
Box   76
Folder   11
Appropriations, 1932
Box   76
Folder   12
Army, 1932
Box   77
Folder   1
Banking and Banking Legislation, 1932-1938
Box   77
Folder   2
Bills Introduced, 1932-1938
Box   77
Folder   3
Bonus Legislation, 1932
Box   77
Folder   4
Budget Balancing, 1932
Box   77
Folder   5
Business Statistics, 1931-1932
Box   77
Folder   6
Chamber of Commerce (National), 1932-1933
Box   77
Folder   7
Chain Store Legislation, 1936
Box   77
Folder   8
Civil Service, 1932
Box   77
Folder   9
Coinage, Weights, and Measures, Committee on, undated
Box   77
Folder   10
Conservation, Parks, and Forests, 1932
Box   77
Folder   11
Consumer Research, 1931-1932
Box   78
Folder   1
Cooper, Henry Allen (Bills Introduced by), 1930
Box   78
Folder   2
Copyright, 1932, 1936
Box   78
Folder   3
Crank Mail, 1932
Box   78
Folder   4
Drainage, 1932
Box   78
Folder   5-7
Economic Situation, 1931-1933
Box   78
Folder   8
Editorial Research Reports, 1932
Box   78
Folder   9
Education, 1932
Box   78
Folder   10
Federal Communications Commission, 1937
Box   78
Folder   11
Federal Construction, 1932
Box   78
Folder   12
Federal Farm Board, 1932
Box   78
Folder   13
Federal Housing Administration, 1937
Box   78
Folder   14
Federal Power Commission, 1938
Box   79
Folder   1
Federal Salaries, 1932
Box   79
Folder   2
Flood Control, 1932
Box   79
Folder   3
Foreign Affairs, 1932
Box   79
Folder   4
Highway Aid, 1932
Box   79
Folder   5
Hoover's Speech, 1928
Box   79
Folder   6
Immigration and Naturalization, 1931
Box   79
Folder   7
Interior, Department of, 1937
Box   79
Folder   8
Joint Stock Land Banks, 1932
Box   79
Folder   9
Justice, Department of, 1937
Box   79
Folder   10
Labor, 1930-1932
Box   79
Folder   11
Labor, Department of, 1937-1938
Box   79
Folder   12
La Follette, Philip, 1931-1932
Box   79
Folder   13
League of Nations, 1932
Box   79
Folder   14
Ludlow War Referendum Bill, 1937
Box   79
Folder   15
Legislation (Miscellaneous), 1932
Box   80
Folder   1
Mississippi Valley Association, 1932
Box   80
Folder   2
Muscle Shoals Power Plant (Hill Bill), 1931-1932
Box   80
Folder   3
National Labor Relations Board, 1937-1938
Box   80
Folder   4
National Parks, 1932
Box   80
Folder   5
Navy Legislation, 1937
Box   80
Folder   6
Negroes, 1932
Box   80
Folder   7
Neutrality and Neutrality Legislation, 1936
Box   80
Folder   8-9
Newsletters, 1932-1938
Box   80
Folder   10
Oleomargarine, 1931
Box   80
Folder   11
Pensions (Old Age), 1932
Box   80
Folder   12
Pensions (Railroad Employees), 1931-1932
Box   80
Folder   13
Peoples' Lobby, 1932-1933
Box   80
Folder   14
Pepper-Coffee Bill, 1938
Box   80
Folder   15
Pettingill Bill, 1937
Box   81
Folder   1
Philippines, 1932
Box   81
Folder   2
Politics, 1931-1933
Box   81
Folder   3
Post Office Legislation, 1932-1938
Box   81
Folder   4
Power Trusts, 1932-1933
Box   81
Folder   5
Price Maintenance, 1937
Box   81
Folder   6-8
Prohibition, 1930-1933
Box   81
Folder   9
Processing Tax, 1937-1938
Box   81
Folder   10
Public Works Administration, 1936, 1938
Box   81
Folder   11
Public Works Program, 1932
Box   82
Folder   1
Radio Legislation, 1937
Box   82
Folder   2
Railroad Legislation, 1937-1938
Box   82
Folder   3
Ramspeck Civil Service Law, 1937
Box   82
Folder   4
Recovery Program, 1937-1938
Reorganization Bill
Box   82
Folder   5-6
March-April 1938
Box   83
Folder   1
May-June 1938
Box   83
Folder   2
Sugar Legislation, 1937
Box   83
Folder   3
Voting Record, 1931-1938
Box   83
Folder   4
Walsh-Healy Act, 1938
Box   83
Folder   5
Works Progress Administration, 1938
Box   83
Folder   6
Subseries: Interstate Commerce Commission Nomination, 1939
Box   83
Folder   7-8
Subseries: Press Releases, 1931-1945
Micro 767
Subseries: Clippings
Reel   1
1924, 1931-1958
Mss 452
Scrapbooks
Box   86
Folder   2
1931
Box   86
Folder   3
1931-February 1933
Box   87
Folder   1
1931, 1934, 1936
Box   87
Folder   2
August-September 1938
Series: Family Papers
Scope and Content Note: This series includes genealogical material on both the Amlie and Ryum sides of Thomas Amlie's family; correspondence; and some papers of Gehrta Amlie. Correspondence between Amlie and his immediate family is included in the Public Papers. Included here are letters from Germany (in German) apparently written to a close relative of Gehrta Amlie in this country. The papers of Gehrta Amlie include some of her early poetry and verse, 1928-1932. Most, however, consist of letters, financial information, and other papers relating to her operation of the Playhouse Nursery School in Madison.
Box   84
Folder   1
Amlie and Ryum Genealogies, 1944, 1958
Box   84
Folder   2
Correspondence, 1888-1920
Box   84
Folder   3
Papers of Gehrta Amlie, 1928-1932, 1947-1952
Series: Organizational Records
Scope and Content Note: In the course of his involvement with third party and other political movements, Amlie accumulated minutes, newsletters, financial reports, and other types of records from the organizations listed below. Most thoroughly documented is the ACPF, which he helped found and for which he provided office space. Among the ACPF records is a card file listing members and others who showed interest in the organization. The cards are organized by state, and alphabetically thereunder, and often contain references to correspondence between the individual and the ACPF. Also well documented is the UDA, which Amlie served at various times as staff member and member of the board of directors. The other organizations are represented by similar but somewhat smaller amounts of material. Amlie's correspondence relating to these organizations is in the General Correspondence segment of the Public Papers.
American Commonwealth Political Federation
Box   84
Folder   4
“Bulletins,” 1936
Card File
Box   88
Alabama-Louisiana
Box   89
Maine-New York
Box   90
North Carolina-Wyoming
Box   84
Folder   5
Financial, 1935-1937
Box   84
Folder   6
General, 1935-1937, 1944
Box   84
Folder   7
Minutes, 1935
Box   84
Folder   8
News Releases, 1935-1936
Box   84
Folder   9
Roll Call (Enrollment) Lists, 1936
CIO-Political Action Committee
Box   84
Folder   10
Congressmen's Records, 1944
Box   85
Folder   1
General, 1943-1946
Box   85
Folder   2
Farmer-Labor Political Federation of the U.S., 1933-1940
Box   85
Folder   3
Farmer-Labor Progressive Federation of Wisconsin, 1934-1939
Box   85
Folder   4
Farmer-Labor Progressive League, 1934
Box   85
Folder   5
National Citizens' Political Action Committee (NC-PAC), 1944-1945
Box   85
Folder   6
Progressive Party, 1934
Union For Democratic Action
Box   85
Folder   7
Bulletins and Press Releases, 1942-1946
Box   85
Folder   8
Congressional Newsletters, 1943-1946
Box   85
Folder   9
Data on Congressional Elections, 1942
Box   85
Folder   10
Executive Board and Committee Meetings, 1942-1946
Box   85
Folder   11
General, 1942-1947