Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
March 1: Bass Library reopened; Sterling and Bass resume evening and weekend hours. Yale Library COVID-19 updates.

HIST 116J: A History of American Citizenship: Manuscripts and Archives (SML)

This guide is intended for students in Dr. Brendan Shanahan's course and provides an introduction to key resources in the Yale Library for your research papers this semester.

Primary Source Assignment

Here you will find links to the online finding aids for the two collections from Manuscripts and Archives that are part of the Primary Source Assignment for the week of February 15th. More information on using materials from Manuscripts and Archives as well as the other special collections repositories on campus can be found in our Guide to Using Special Collections.

Finding aid for archival materials for option #5

Finding aid for archival materials for option #6

Other Yale archival collections that may be fodder for your research project (not a comprehensive list!)

The following are some suggestions for other archival collections held in Yale special collections repositories that may be useful as you start work on your own research project for HIST 116J. This list is not intended to be comprehensive, and is simply a starting point - you can do additional searching for Yale-held archival collections using the Archives at Yale database.

Harry Weinberger Papers (MS 553) / Manuscripts and Archives: Harry Weinberger was born in New York City in 1888. He attended New York University and was admitted to the bar in 1908. A staunch believer in civil liberties, Weinberger defended many aliens, immigrants, anarchists, and other radicals, including Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, whom he believed had been deprived of their rights. The papers consist of correspondence, legal papers, notes, and other materials documenting Weinberger's career as a lawyer who specialized in civil liberties cases and, later in his career, copyright law. The one hundred and sixteen (116) case files include legal briefs, writs, and memoranda prepared by Weinberger and his staff, and similar material prepared by opposing attorneys. Correspondence files include letters with clients and individuals interested in a specific case. 

Elizabeth Page Harris Papers (MS 771) / Manuscripts and Archives: Elizabeth Merwin Page Harris, author, graduated from Vassar College (1912) and received an M.A. from Columbia University (1914). She was a teacher (1914-1916), Y.M.C.A. worker during World War I, and an International Grenfell Association volunteer (1921-1925) and secretary (1927-1931). Elizabeth Page wrote four books, including the 1939 best seller, The Tree of Liberty. The papers contain correspondence, family papers, writings, printed works, photoprints, and other materials documenting the life and career of Elizabeth Page Harris. The Harris Papers have extensive material on such subjects as family life, single women, publishers and publishing, voluntarism, the International Grenfell Association, American Friends Service Committee, the Society of Friends, Japanese relocation, and pacifism.

Thomas Irwin Emerson Papers (MS 1622) / Manuscripts and Archives: Thomas Irwin Emerson was born on July 12, 1907, in Passaic, New Jersey. He graduated from Yale College in 1928 and from the Yale Law School in 1931. Throughout his life, Emerson was a passionate civil libertarian. His organizational activity demonstrated the importance he assigned to the protection of civil liberties. He was active in both the American Civil Liberties Union and the New Haven Civil Liberties Council, later called the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union. He served as an advisor to the Civil Liberties Educational Foundation and as a member of the national council for the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee. He fought against repressive government legislation in the National Committee to Abolish the House Committee on Un-American Activities and the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation and opposed the Federal Loyalty Program. He taught at the Yale Law School from 1946-1976. The papers consist of correspondence, writings, course material, legal documents, and printed material that document Thomas Emerson's career as a lawyer and law professor. The papers emphasize Emerson's teaching, writing, and organizational activities during his career.

Frank J. Donner Papers (MS 1706) / Manuscripts and Archives: Frank J. Donner was a lawyer, journalist, historian and civil libertarian who remained active in the American left for the better part of five decades. From the first investigations of Communists by the House Committee on Un-American Activities to the Reagan-Bush years, Donner was a leading expert on the use of political surveillance in the United States. Donner's belief in the ideals of democracy and civil liberties led to a lifelong commitment to the social movements of the left. Over the years, Donner came to work with members of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), numerous unions, the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), the Socialist Workers Party, Students for a Democratic Society, Weathermen Underground, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the Black Panther Party, and the Nuclear Freeze and Sanctuary movements. During these many years of activism, Donner collected his own set of files to rival those of J. Edgar Hoover, documenting and cataloguing the abuses of American political power. The papers consist of clippings, court documents, correspondence, publications, interview transcripts, writings, and other materials documenting the research, writing, and activism of Frank Donner. The collection includes a small amount of Donner's correspondence, multiple files documenting the activities of individuals who served as political informers, and subject files covering a range of political and social protest groups from the 1950s to the 1990s. The papers also hold a series of Donner's writings, including manuscripts from two unpublished books on the use of informers in the 1950s and of government malfeasance during the 1980s, as well as several unpublished articles.

Materials Relating to Choctaw Tribal Rolls Legislation (WA MSS S-2663) / Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library: Original and photostatic copies of typescript letters, notes, statements, and other documents dating from 1912-1926 (box 1), and United States government documents and other printed material dating from 1898 to 1916 (boxes 2 and 3) relating to the issue of reopening the Choctaw tribal rolls to allow Mississippi Choctaws to receive per capita distribution of proceeds from the sale of community Choctaw property.

Detainment Letters Concerning Lawrence Labadie (WA MSS S-3742 D4802) / Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library: Lawrence Labadie of Bordeaux, France, was granted United States citizenship in 1851 in California. His family purchased the cargo vessel Remembrance, which Labadie sailed from California to Valparaíso, Chile, circa 1853. 11 manuscript copies of letters, unsigned, pertaining to the detention of Lawrence Labadie at Valparaíso, Chile, after charges made by an unsatisfied passenger of the cargo vessel Remembrance and ensuing trial, circa 1851-1854. Includes copy of letter from Labadie to Commander Theodorus Bailey of the United States ship Saint Mary's, circa 1854 June 16; copies of 3 letters from Reuben Wood, United States Consul at Valparaíso, to the intendant of Valparaíso, circa 1854 June 24-July 7; and copies of 2 letters from Bailey to Wood, circa 1854 June 17-18. Also present is a copy of Labadie's certificate of citizenship granted by the United States, circa 1851 November 10.

United States War Relocation Authority. Poston, Arizona, Relocation Center Collection (MS 803) / Manuscripts and Archives: Scrapbooks, record books, and memorabilia chiefly relating to the educational and library activities at the Relocation Center. Nine scrapbooks made and bound by the students cover topics of academic study as well as their memoirs describing their feelings on being relocated. A printed yearbook is also included.

John Collier Papers (MS 146) / Manuscripts and Archives: John Collier was born on May 4, 1884 in Atlanta, Georgia. He served as editor of the Journal of American Indian Life from 1915-1919 and as executive secretary of the American Indian Defense Association from 1923-1933. Collier also served as United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs from 1933-1945, established the Institute of Ethnic Affairs and served as its president in 1945, and taught sociology and anthropology at City College in New York City (1947) and Knox College in Illinois (1955-1956). The papers consist of correspondence, subject files, writings, memoranda and reports, research materials, and miscellanea, documenting the personal life and professional career of John Collier. His service with the American Indian Defense Association (A.I.D.A.), as United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and as a teacher and author is detailed. Correspondence files include materials with leading political, literary, and social figures. Drafts of books, articles, essays, reviews, and poetry are supplemented with extensive subject files and research materials. Files relating to the Institute of Ethnic Affairs include substantive correspondence and memoranda. The papers of anthropologist Laura Thompson, Collier's second wife, are also arranged in the papers, and date from 1945-1956.