The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded in 1920 by a group of Americans concerned with protecting individual freedom. Originally known as the American Civil Liberties Bureau, the ACLU grew out of the efforts of Roger Baldwin, Norman Thomas, Crystal Eastman and others to defend the rights of conscientious objectors during World War I. The group's opposition to Attorney General Mitchell Palmer's round-up of suspected "dissidents" of the period (the Palmer Raids) marked the beginning of the ACLU and its long history of involvement in Bill of Rights issues. Protecting the constitutional rights of the poor, minorities, immigrants, homosexuals and other disadvantaged peoples became a top priority for the organization. Famous cases having ACLU support include the Scopes "Monkey" Trial (1925), the Ulysses censorship case (1933), Brown v. the Board of Education (1954), many civil rights cases in the 1960s, and the decriminalization of abortion in Roe v. Wade (1973).
Today the ACLU's principal mandate is to continue to assure the protection of individual rights for all Americans as stipulated in the Bill of Rights. This is primarily achieved through the legal, legislative, and educational efforts of ACLU staff members across the nation. The organization has affiliates in all 50 states and over 300 chapters in many smaller localities throughout the U.S. The national headquarters of the ACLU is located in New York City. Although affiliates collaborate with the national office in pursuit of common goals, local chapters have autonomy in terms of what cases and issues they choose to follow.
The ACLU Logan Chapter has been carrying out the national mandate on the local level for many years. From its inception, the organization steered itself toward issues of obvious local concern such as the separation of church and state. In 1977 the Logan Chapter participated in a suit against the Logan School District for granting school credit for attending religious classes. (See Mss Coll #56, The Papers of the American Civil Liberties Union Versus the Logan School District.) While this case has been the most visible one involving the Logan Chapter, it was just one of many first amendment cases addressed by chapter members over the years. Other less-celebrated local cases include the Norma Keene case and the E.J. Nixon case, both of which involved civil rights issues.
Much of the Logan chapter's activity has been in a less-formal, "watchdog" capacity. Minutes of monthly chapter and board meetings reflect frequent letters-to-the-editor and more formal letter-writing campaigns. Simple written complaints, as opposed to lengthy litigation, appear to have settled many of the local civil liberties issues raised by ACLU members.
Schapsmeier, Edward L. and Frederick Schapsmeier. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Institutions: Political Parties and Civic Action Groups. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 1981.
"ACLU Briefing Paper #1," American Civil Liberties Union Freedom Network, 1997, http://www.aclu.org/library/pbp1.html (February 15, 2000).
The records of the Logan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) contain a variety of materials reflecting local chapter activity. A sizeable portion of the collection is comprised of monthly meeting minutes and agendas from 1983 until the beginning of 1994. The set of minutes is fairly complete for some years (1984, 1992) and incomplete for other years (1991). Following the meeting records are local case materials including correspondence, handwritten notes, memorandums, newspaper clippings, and official court documents. There are also newsletters, social event fliers, letters-to-the-editor, and other resource items (a statistical sheet, member directory, etc.) relating specifically to the internal affairs of the Logan chapter.
Also in the collection are news articles and background materials involving the ACLU. Included are newspaper clippings on specific local and Utah chapter cases, as well as issues of general concern to the state and the national agencies. The background files contain newsletters and organizing documents of the Utah chapter as well as newsletters and official documents of the national organization. There are also miscellaneous items such as proposed legislation, a lobbying tract from the Christian Coalition, and an ACLU pamphlet "With Liberty and Justice for Women."
It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Utah State University Libraries, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.
Permission to publish material from the American Civil Liberties Union, Logan Chapter records must be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.
American Civil Liberties Union, Logan Chapter records, 1977-1994. (COLL MSS 261) Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives Department.
|1||1||Agendas & Minutes||1983 June - 1985 November|
|1||2||Agendas & Minutes||1986 January - 1987 December|
|1||3||Agendas & Minutes||1988 January - 1989 July|
|1||4||Agendas & Minutes||1989 August - 1991 December|
|1||5||Agendas & Minutes||1992 February - 1992 December|
|1||6||Agendas & Minutes||1993 January - 1994 January|
|1||7||1977 Logan School District Case Newspaper Clippings||1977|
|1||8||Norma Keene Case||1985 - 1987|
|1||9||E.J. Nixon Case||1987|
|2||10||Local Cases||1985 - 1993|
|2||11||Newsletters and Social Announcements||1982 - 1993?|
|2||12||Correspondence, Logan and Utah Chapters||1992|
|2||13||Logan Chapter Letters to the Editor|
|2||14||Logan Chapter Resource Items|
|2||15||Logan Chapter Newspaper Clippings||1977- 1993?|
|2||16||Utah Chapter Newspaper Clippings||1983 - 1993|
|2||17||ACLU Background Material - News Items of Interest|
|2||18||ACLU Background Material - Utah|
|2||19||ACLU Background Material - U.S|