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Cold War Political Culture   Tags: digital collections, manuscripts, photographs, rare books, scrc, special collections, thea, theater, university archives  

This guide identifies archival collections, digital collections, and rare books that are related to United States History Cold War Political Culture.
Last Updated: Oct 16, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Archival Collections Print Page

Philosophy-related collections

Moscow Trial records, 1937

MSS 153; 2 Boxes

The Dewey Commission (officially the "Commission of Inquiry into the Charges Made against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trials") was initiated in March 1937 by the "American Committee for the Defense of Leon Trotsky." It was named after its Chairman, John Dewey. Trotsky was defended by the lawyer Albert Goldman.

The commission cleared Trotsky of all charges made during the Moscow Trials and, moreover, exposed the scale of the frame-up of all other defendants during these trials.The Dewey Commission was widely criticized by Stalinists and fellow travelers for purported bias. Such criticisms were also made by Carleton Beals, the only member of the Commission hostile to Trotsky, who resigned in protest during the course of the hearings.

This collection consists of shorthand transcripts of reports by Albert Glotzer of the preliminaries of the Moscow Trials  held in Coyoacan, Mexico and the Dewey Commission hearings between July and August of 1937.

Albert Glotzer collection of Dewey Commission photographs, 1937

Photograph Collection 51; 1 Box

The photographs in this collection document the people involved in the Dewey Commission proceedings in April 1937 at Londres, Coayoacan, Mexico. This commission of inquiry heard testimony concerning allegations that Leon Trotsky had plotted to subvert the government of the Soviet Union.

Edwin H. Wilson papers of the American Humanist Assocation, 1913-1989

MSS 255

Edwin Wilson was a Unitarian minister who founded the International Humanist and Ethical Union in 1952.  Interested in religious freedom as well as issues of peace and justice, Wilson corresponded with activists on a range of issues over the course of decades.  Especially interesting for Cold War research are his "Topic Files" (boxes 150-162), including folders on Disarmament and Conscientious Objectors.

George S. Counts papers, 1907-1974

MSS 134; 13 boxes, 70 volumes

George S. Counts taught education and other subjects in a long academic career that ended with a twelve-year stint (1962-1974) at SIU Carbondale.  A prolific author, Counts wrote a number of books about the Soviet Union, which he visited three times, including a 1929 auto tour that he chronicled in A Ford Crosses Soviet Russia.


Political-related Collections

Philip Florio Collection of Korean War Armistice documents, 1953-1970

Collection PP 45; 1 box

The Philip Florio Collection of Korean War Armistice documents consists of materials collected by Florio while serving as Assistant Secretary in the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (MAC) in Korea from 1968-1970.  The bulk of the collection is made up of minutes of the meetings of the MAC senior members, meetings of the MAC secretaries, transcripts of messages sent between the UN and North Korean sides of the MAC, and various documents related to the operations of the MAC.  Also included are transcripts and translations of North Korean radio propaganda broadcasts, minutes of meetings of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission assigned to the MAC, copies of the Korean War Armistice Agreement and related documents, and collected North Korean publications and periodicals.  Topics of interest include the capture and release of the crew of the U.S.S. Pueblo, a U.S. intelligence gathering vessel captured by North Korea in December 1968, which appears in some of the MAC's meeting minutes and in copies of the release agreement and related U. S. statements; the downing of a U. S. reconnaissance plane; and the downing of a U. S. helicopter that had crossed into North Korean airspace.

Senator Paul Simon Papers, 1928-2003

Collection PP 04

Paul Simon played a direct role in the Cold War from the time he served in Army intelligence on the border between East and West Germany through his service in the U. S. Senate right up to the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union.  As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on immigration and refugee affairs, he took a special interest in the plight of people attempting to leave the Soviet Union, including Soviet Jews, refusniks, and spouses separated by the Iron Curtain.  Letters home document Simon’s experience as a U. S. soldier in Germany from 1951-1953.  Documentation of his Senate activities can be found in the files of his legislative director and legislative assistants, in personal correspondence, and in constituent service files.   In addition, Simon frequently wrote about Cold War issues in his weekly newspaper column.

Carbondale Peace Center Records, 1949-1977

Collection PP 02; 7 boxes

This collection includes the organizational records of the Peace Center itself (1973-76) along with a collection of journals, pamphlets, articles, newsletters, and other printed material that covers the Cold War era with emphasis on the Vietnam War.

Honor Our Men's Efforts (H.O.M.E.) records, 1967-1977

Collection PP 23; 4 boxes

Records of an organization of Carbondale women dedicated to supporting active military personnel during the Vietnam War era.  The collection includes incoming correspondence from soldiers as well as newsletters sent to them, aimed at maintaining morale and sharing news from home.


Theater-related collections

Lawson, John Howard 

Papers, 1905-1969

MSS 16; 111 boxes, 7 packages, 50 cu. ft.

A playwright of the 1920s-30s, a screenwriter during the 1930s-40s, a social reformer and an analyst of writing techniques for stage and screen, John Howard Lawson made a significant contribution to 20th century American drama.  A member of the celebrated "Hollywood Ten," Lawson spent a year in prison (1950-51) for refusing to cooperate with a House Un-American Activities Committee investigation into Communist Party influence on the motion picture industry. Lawson's papers consist of correspondence, manuscripts, scrapbooks, photographs, and tapes that document his plays, the Screen Writers Guild and his presidency, the New Playwrights Theatre, blacklisting and prosecution, his writings on theatre history and screenwriting, and his autobiography.

Herbert Marshall Collection of Paul Robeson, 1934-1974

MSS 137; 3 boxes, 1 oversize folder

The Herbert Marshall Collection of Paul Robeson consists largely of play scripts and screenplays including "Show Boat," "Stevedore," "John Henry," and "Porgy and Bess," in which Robeson played leading roles. The scripts have been arranged alphabetically by author and fill two and one-half manuscript boxes. There are also two musical scores in the collection, one of which is for "Show Boat." Also included is one folder of correspondence, two manuscripts concerning Robeson, a playbill from Plant in the Sun, and a publicity poster from The Proud Valley. Photographs and news clippings complete the boxed material.  A related small collection concerns rioting at an October 1949 concert Robeson gave in Peekskill, New York (Vertical File Manuscript 1730).

Piscator, Erwin 

Papers, 1927-1971

MSS 31; 195 boxes; 11 packages

German-born theatrical director Erwin Piscator was known for his innovative staging techniques and was the originator of the epic theater style. From the 1930s-60s he was a leader in proletarian theater, producing plays with topics on sociopolitical issues in France, Germany, and the United States. In 1940, Piscator established the Dramatic Workshop at the New School for Social Research in New York City, where actors such as Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, and Harry Belefonte trained. The Erwin Piscator Papers include correspondence, manuscripts, play and production material, financial records, publicity records, photographs, and printed ephemera documenting his career in the theatre arts. The extensive correspondents series includes Bertolt Brecht, Charles Freeman, Rosamund Gilder, Mordecai Gorelik, Frank Jung, Arthur Miller, Alfred Neumann, Laurence Olivier, Hans Richter, Jean-Paul Sartre, Upton Sinclair, Robert Penn Warren, Thornton Wilder, and Carl Zuckmayer among many others. 

More than 200 plays and productions represented in the collection include "All My Sons," "All the Kings Men," "American Tragedy," "Death of a Salesman," "The Giant of Flanders," "King Lear," "Lady Chatterly's Lover," "Lysistrata," "Metamorphosis," "Our Town," "The Petrified Forest," The Good Soldier Schwejk," "The Stranger," "Sunrise in my Pocket," "Twelfth Night," and "War and Peace."

Robinson, Lennox 

Collection, 1909-1954

MSS 91; 18 boxes

Theater director, playwright, and author, Lennox Robinson's career is documented through correspondence, play manuscripts, short stories, non-fiction writing, and scrapbooks of Abbey Theatre newspaper clippings and playbills. Nearly every aspect of this collection reflects Robinson's involvement with Irish theater. Correspondence spans 1909-1954 and includes letters from William Butler Yeats, Lady Gregory, George Russell, George Bernard Shaw, Sean O'Casey, Sean O'Faolain, and James Stephens.

Among the manuscripts are drafts of Robinson's plays including "Harvest," "The Big House," "White-Headed Boy," and "The Lost Leader." Non-fiction writings consist of Robinson's "At the Play" and "I Sometimes Think" manuscripts, essays on Irish artists, as well drafts of his partially autobiographical novel The Boy from Ballineed. These non-fiction manuscripts reveal Robinson's opinions about theater and the interplay between director, writer, and actor.


Literature-related collections

Caresse Crosby Papers, 1912-1970

MSS 140

As a patron and publisher with ties to avant-garde artistic and literary figures like Salvador Dali and Henry Miller, Caresse Crosby's papers are a rich source of material on American and European culture from the 1920s through the 1950s.  Less well-known is her commitment to the peace and justice movement both during and after World War II.  Crosby founded Women Against War and Citizens of the World, which embraced the concept of a "world community" centered at Delphi, Greece.


University Archives

University News Service “Inactive” Vertical File – Soviet and Eastern European Studies

This folder contains mostly news releases relating to the activities of SIU’s Center of Soviet and Eastern European Studies in the 1970s to early 1980s.  These activities are mostly events where guest speakers from the Soviet Union visit SIU from a variety of backgrounds.  Some examples include an exiled Soviet scientist on October 25, 1976, a symposium on East-West trade on October 14, 1977, Soviet poets Robert Rozhdestvensky and Rimma Kazakova in November 1972, and Kamil Winter discussing the role of television in the Czech resistance on January 14, 1970.  These are just a few examples of the folder contents.

University News Service Vertical File – Campus Unrest

There are several folders of clippings and records relating to SIU campus unrest in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which ultimately culminated in the burning of Old Main.  Most of the unrest stemmed from US involvement in Vietnam, a theater in the broader Cold War.

Daily Egyptian

The campus newspaper documents academic and social life at SIU.  The events described in the University News Service Vertical Files and related stories significant in Cold War history will likely be reported on in the DE.

Buckminster Fuller World Game Videos

Buckminster Fuller developed the World Game (or World Peace Game) in 1961 to help create solutions to overpopulation and the uneven distribution of global resources.  The purpose was to challenge the dominant nation-state perspective with a more wholistic "total world" view (from Wikipedia).  These ten videos cover the following topics: The Structure of Nature, Synergy, More with Less, Man’s Function in the Universe, Myth to Technology, Design Achievement, Playing World Game (a hundred million horses going nowhere), Playing World Game (how to get energy without using things up), Playing World Game (getting power to the people), and World Game can Work.

These ten videos are available online at the Special Collection Research Center’s ContentDM page.  Type "Fuller" into Search Box!

Center for Soviet and East European Studies in the Performing Arts (3/RG 20/11)

This 4.5 cubic foot collection is unprocessed.  It contains files on numerous subjects documenting the Center’s activities led by director Herbert Marshall.  Marshall studied filmmaking in Moscow under Sergei Eisenstein before becoming the Center’s director.  The folder topics relate to Soviet art, projects to translate Russian art/literature into English (particularly Sergei Eisenstein), and the Center’s administrative operations.  Also included are slides of Soviet paintings.  Portions of this collection are restricted.

Center for Vietnamese Studies

SIU Carbondale's involvement in Vietnam began in 1961 with Agency for International Development (AID) contracts to provide elementary and vocational education.  Later, with another AID grant, SIU established a Vietnamese Studies Center on campus to study reconstruction for postwar Vietnam.  As opposition to the Vietnam War intensified at SIU, the center became a focal point.  Relevant materials illuminating this chapter in SIU history are housed in several record groups, including the papers of the Chancellor and President's offices. 

Katherine Dunham papers, 1919-1968

Katherine Dunham was an anthropologist and dancer-choreographer who infused her productions with Afro-Caribbean influences. Based in New York City during the 1940s-50s, Dunham's correspondence includes many contacts with organizations dedicated to promoting civil rights and social justice.  During the Cold War era she staged productions abroad that drew attention to the history of slavery and segregation in the United States; in 1951, the State Department forced the closure of her controversial "Southland" after its premiere in Santiago, Chile.



Southern Illinois History collections

C. Thomas Busch papers, 1968-72

MSS 189; 3 boxes

A collection of material covering anti-Vietnam War protests and unrest at SIU Carbondale in 1970, including news clippings and photographs, as well as printed material from the American Civil Liberties Union.  The collection also includes documents related to campus planning by the Illinois Board of Higher Education during this period.



Search Morris Library's Archival Collections


What are primary resources

Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred, or well after events occurred.  Primary sources may include:

  • letters
  • manuscripts
  • diaries
  • journals
  • oral histories
  • newspapers
  • speeches
  • interviews
  • memoirs
  • government documents
  • photographs
  • audio recordings
  • video recordings

 These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past.  When they are used along with previous interpretations by historians, they provide the resources necessary for historical research. 

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