Socialist Labor Party Seattle Section records, 1930-1962  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Socialist Labor Party (Wash.). Seattle Section
Title
Socialist Labor Party Seattle Section records
Dates
1930-1962 (inclusive)
Quantity
2.73 cubic feet (7 boxes)
Collection Number
3180 (Accession No. 3180-001)
Summary
Records of a Seattle political labor organization
Repository
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
98195-2900
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
speccoll@uw.edu
Access Restrictions

Open to all users.

Additional Reference Guides

View inventory/container list

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Seattle Section of the Socialist Labor Party (SLP) was founded in the early 1890's as a branch of the Socialist Labor Party of America. The SLP was founded as a Marxist political party in 1876, the first nationwide socialist party in the United States. The party promoted the doctrines of Daniel DeLeon, theorist of the SLP, which advocated a classless, stateless, industrial democracy in which private property would be abolished and all natural resources and means of production would be operated by the workers through Socialist Industrial Unions. The SLP planned to achieve its goals through national and local elections and by capturing the trade union movement. However, the party's narrow sectarian ideology, its insistence on doctrinal unity and party discipline, together with its rejection of social reform alienated it from the trade union movement. After modest success in the 1890s, the party declined and never numbered more than a few thousand. It survived however, and continued to run candidates for national and state office.

The Socialist Labor Party was the first socialist organization of any importance in the Pacific Northwest but it never established ties with the labor movement and never developed beyond a small cadre. During the period documented by these papers, 1930-1962, the Section frequently consisted of fewer than six active members and at times, particularly in the early 1950s, nearly ceased to exist. Section Seattle experienced frequent internal dissent, occasionally expelled members and was, in 1944, itself censured, expelled from the Party and reorganized. The business of the Section was carried on by an organizer who was democratically chosen and who reported to the secretary of the State Executive Committee. The State Executive Committee answered to the National Executive Committee which was headed by the National Secretary, an office held by Arnold Peterson throughout this period. The official organ of the Party was the Weekly People, which the Section sold through subscriptions and newstands. Its other activities included the sale of SLP pamphlets, distribution of leaflets, lectures, classes and social activities. The SLP in Washington held an annual convention and also conventions to nominate candidates for state elections.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Correspondence, minutes, financial records, conventions and ephemera of the Seattle branch of a Marxist, socialist political party; 1930-1962 (bulk 1943-1962).

Includes records of the Washington State Executive Committee (SEC)(1944-1962) and the Spokane Section (1943-1944). The records of the SEC Secretary consist primarily of SEC Minutes and the 1949 correspondence of Theodore Bossie, who was then SEC Secretary but also a longtime member and former organizer of Section Seattle. Bossie apparently kept his SEC files at the Seattle Section, and his correspondence coincides with a gap in the Seattle correspondence.

Major correspondents and approximate dates of service:

Section Seattle:

  • George Bennett - section organizer, 1940-November 1943
  • Oscar Lindberg - section organizer, November 1943-January 1945
  • Ray Solie - section organizer, January 1945-July 1945
  • Erven O. Hebert - section organizer, July 1945-1949
  • Alexander Merson - section organizer, October 1950-Augist 1951
  • Ray Berner - section organizer, January-July 1957
  • Jack Ceder - section organizer, July 1957-July 1959
  • Donald Orcutt - section organizer, August 1959-1960
  • Charles W. Turner - financial secretary, 1957-1960

State Secretary:

  • Frank Daniels, 1943-1944
  • Al Meenk, 1944
  • Theodore Bossie, 1944-1949
  • Ernest O. Sturm, 1951-1957
  • Henry Killman, 1957-1960

National Socialist Labor Party:

  • Arnold Peterson - National Secretary
  • Herb Steiner - Regional representative circa 1944

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

 

Administrative recordsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Organizational features
1943, 1945
1/2-2/7
General correspondence
1933, 1942-1962
Intra-organizational correspondence
Box/Folder
2/8-3/20
National Executive Committee (Arnold Petersen, National Secretary)
1938-1962
3/21-25
Weekly People
1943-1961
Minutes
box-folder-box-folder
3/26-4/7/4/7
Section Seattle (bound volumes)
1930-1952
Box/Folder
4/8
Washington State Convention
1943-1962
4/9
National Convention
1948, 1950, 1951, 1960
Financial records
Box/Folder
4/10-5/5
Audit records (bound volumes)
1940-1964
5/6
Annual reports
1942-1961
5/7
Membership dues
1941-1949
5/8
Membership contributions
1937-1943
5/9
Miscellany
undated
Reports
Box/Folder
5/10
Local organizer report
1943
5/11-15
Section activity report
1943-1961
5/16
Grievance committee
1949
5/17-19
Miscellany
1943-1961
Box/Folder
5/20
Speeches and writings
undated
5/21-6/2
Newsletters
1943-1962
Elections
Box/Folder
6/3
Vote tally
1943-1960
6/4
National Party Constitution
1942-1960
6/5
National Executive Committee
1942-1962
Box/Folder
6/6-7
Clippings
undated
6/8-11
Ephemera
undated

Primary conventionsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
6/12
Minutes
1942-1948
6/13-15
Certificates of nomination and related papers
1944-1948

State Executive CommitteeReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
6/16-19
General correspondence
1944-1949
6/20-24
Intra-organizational correspondence - National Executive Committee
1949
6/25-7/4
Minutes
1943-1962
Reports
Box/Folder
7/5
Section activity reports
1949
7/6
Biennial convention
1958-1960

Spokane Section minutes, 1943-1944Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 7/7

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Political conventions--Washington (State)
  • Political parties--Washington (State)
  • Political parties--Washington (State)--Seattle--Archives
  • Socialism--Periodicals
  • Socialist parties--Washington (State)
  • Socialist parties--Washington (State)--Seattle--Archives
  • Personal Names :
  • Bossie, Theodore--Correspondence
  • Petersen, Arnold, 1885-1976--Correspondence
  • Socialist Labor Party (Wash.). Seattle Section--Archives
  • Steiner, Herbert--Correspondence
  • Corporate Names :
  • Socialist Labor Party (Wash.). Spokane Section
  • Socialist Labor Party (Wash.). State Executive Committee (creator)
  • Geographical Names :
  • Spokane (Wash.)--Politics and government
  • Washington (State)--Politics and government--1889-1950
  • Washington (State)--Politics and government--1951-
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Correspondence
  • Ephemera
  • Financial records
  • Minutes
  • Proceedings
  • Titles within the Collection :
  • Weekly People
  • Other Creators :
    • Corporate Names :
    • Labor Archives of Washington (University of Washington) (creator)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)