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Northwest Ohio Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union - MS 169
The Northwest Ohio Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (NWO-ACLU) collection contains approximately fifteen linear feet of materials largely dating from 1953 to the present. Included are minutes, correspondence, position statements, financial records, printed materials and case files. These records are indicative of the function, policies, procedures and activities of this organization, mainly on the local level, but also on the state and national level as well. The collection was obtained largely through the efforts of Dr. Sharon Rogers, President of the Northwest Ohio ACLU Chapter in 1981, and Chapter members continue to deposit materials to be added to the collection. NWO-ACLU member, Naomi Twining, has been instrumental in obtaining records documenting the beginnings of this organization and preparing historical information about its various activities.
Literary and property rights have been dedicated to the public with the exception of those materials deemed of a confidential nature. Access to confidential records will fall under the stipulations of the Instrument of Gift Agreement and the CAC's policy on the use of confidential records. The register was prepared by Sandra Davies, graduate assistant in History, in March 1982, with later revisions Ann Bowers, Assistant Director.
The Northwest Ohio Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union was unofficially established in 1952, and formally organized in 1953, by a group of Toledoans including, Reverend Arthur Olsen, J. Wesley Littlefield, Ernest Gray, and James Smith. Each was concerned by the threat to freedom posed by Senator Joseph McCarthy and each enlisted friends with similar sympathies who became the nucleus of the organization in the 1950s. Two of these members, Alvina Littlefield and George Paps remained active in the organization through the early 1980s.
Initially, local ACLU members concentrated their efforts on the Presidential campaign of 1952 believing that Adlai Stevenson best represented the organization's ideals and objectives. Soon after the election they received their first case which concerned an employee of the University of Toledo who supposedly had been fired for his radical political beliefs. During the 1970s, the Chapter initiated a jail improvement committee which monitored the conditions of local prisons and attempted to solve problems through negotiations. One of these original jail committee members, Vince Nathan, went on to head a similar effort in Texas which received coverage in Newsweek in 1982. The Chapter also began a telephone program in which people could call in for information or register complaints regarding civil liberties and receive assistance or referrals to other community agencies.
According to its constitution, the Northwest Ohio American Civil Liberties Union's stated purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights; to uphold the exercise of the rights of free speech and press, freedom of religion, and all other constitutional rights, liberties, privileges and immunities; and to take legal and other actions in the furtherance of these ends. Such objectives are not associated with political affiliations.
Decisions concerning the policies of the Northwest Ohio Chapter are administered by the Board of Directors which consists of the officers, twenty-five elected directors, and any member of the national committee of the American Civil Liberties Union living in the area who has ex officio membership, minus voting privileges. The organization carries out its functions through the executive committee and the standing committees; legal, membership, finance, operations and annual meeting.
The Northwest Ohio-ACLU collection contains records the majority of which date from its founding in 1953 to the present. The collection includes minutes, correspondence, reports, newsletters, case files and financial records which are arranged chronologically and separated by national, state, and local categories. All of the Northwest Ohio-ACLU records are filed first, followed by the Ohio Civil Liberties Union records and then the American Civil Liberties Union records. The bulk of material consists of Board of Directors minutes, committee proceedings, and correspondence. Minutes of the ACLU Board of Directors meetings (1954-1957) reflect the organization's concern over issues such as McCarthyism, censorship and civil rights. Minutes of the OCLU (1954-present) and the Northwest Ohio-ACLU (1954-present) Board of Directors meetings reflect similar controversies in Ohio and locally. Fortunately, the Northwest Ohio-ACLU Board of Directors minutes are fairly complete, thus providing the researcher an opportunity to observe the local organization's activities over time.
ACLU correspondence contains useful information on the origins of the chapter in the 1950s. In addition, it helps to establish an early correlation between the local and national agencies. ACLU-OCLU position statements, available for the years 1953 to the present (although scattered), especially are valuable as they contain drafts of national and state positions on legislation and controversial issues. Subject files include several which document the beginnings and varied activities of the Northwest Ohio-ACLU. These files document this chapter's involvement with such programs as the Court Observer Program and the Jail Improvement League for the Toledo and Northwest Ohio area.
Financial records available for both the Northwest Ohio-ACLU and the OCLU from the 1970s to the present, illustrate the financial relationship and problems faced by these two organizations. Most of the financial reports are separately filed, however, some of the more current reports are located with the Board of Directors minutes. The printed material within this collection includes information of historical interest on national, state and local levels. Issues of ACLU Civil Liberties (1954, 1955, 1979 to the present) contain statements for the public and media clarifying national positions on current issues. Similarly, ACLU Feature Press Service (1954-1957) consists of weekly news bulletins published by the New York office. Unfortunately, newsletters of the OCLU (1954-present) are very scattered. The Northwest Ohio-ACLU publications (1968-1969, 1980 to the present) contain local committee reports and summaries of business conducted at meetings.
This collection also includes case files (1954 to the present) and membership records (1950s, 1972 to the present) which are closed to public access as specified in the Instrument of Gift Agreement. The access of these records falls under the procedures detailed in the CAC's confidentiality policy and the Instrument of Gift.
This collection provides insight into the structure and activities of the local ACLU as well as the state and national offices; and also illustrates how a community, state and nation respond to civil rights issues.
CONSTITUTIONS/ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION
1967-present (NWO-ACLU); 1953 to the present (OCLU); 1954, 1956, 1974-1975 (ACLU)
Arranged by level of organization and within, chronologically
Contains rules governing proceedings, election of officers, agency policy.
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU BOARD OF DIRECTORS MINUTES
1954 to the present
Includes minutes of board meetings, agendas, committee reports, attendance, financial reports and some correspondence.
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU GENERAL MEETING MINUTES
(1953?), 1956, 1966, 1968 to the present
Includes minutes of the general meetings, committee reports, financial reports, information on annual dinner meetings.
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU INFORMATION/POLICIES MANUAL
Includes an information manual on organization and procedures of the local chapter and a policies manual providing all position statement and policies of the ACLU.
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU COMMITTEE PROCEEDINGS
1954 to the present
Executive Committee separately filed, all others filed together in chronological order
Contains rosters, correspondence, minutes for such committees as executive, nominating and operations.
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU MEMBERSHIP (CONFIDENTIAL)
1953-1956, 1972 to the present
Contains rosters, correspondence, interest and involvement questionnaires, solicitation letters, obituaries.
OCLU BOARD OF DIRECTORS MINUTES
1954 to the present
Contains minutes of state board meetings, memos, agendas, and reports.
OCLU COMMITTEE PROCEEDINGS
1954-1957, 1974-1978, 1984
Includes state minutes, reports, committee assignments for such committees as executive, finance, general, legal and audit-review.
OCLU MEMBERSHIP (CONFIDENTIAL)
1954-1956, 1973-1075, 1980-1981
Includes number of new and renewing members in the Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Oberlin, Toledo, Youngstown and Yellow Springs chapters. 1981 material includes statistical report.
ALCU BOARD OF DIRECTORS MINUTES
Contains minutes of national meetings.
ACLU COMMITTEE PROCEEDINGS
Contains minutes, reports, memos to the national board, attendance rosters, membership lists for such committees as due process, radio-tv panel, labor, free speech.
ACLU MEMBERSHIP (CONFIDENTIAL)
Includes name and address of committee members and officers.
NORTHEST OHIO ACLU CORRESPONDENCE
1953-1957, 1960-1969, 1972-1977, 1979 to the present
Includes letters pertaining to the origins of the local chapter, incoming and outgoing mail on national, state and local levels.
1955, 1957, 1975 to the present
Includes interagency memos from the state headquarters, directions to local chapters, some incoming letters and working papers.
OCLU POSITION STATEMENTS
Includes drafts of OCLU positions on legislation, controversial political and social issues
1954-1957, 1975 to the present
Includes interagency correspondence from the New York office pertaining to committee business, messages from the board chairman, reports and recommendations.
ACLU POSITION STATEMENTS
1953-1957, 1974 to the present
Includes drafts of and correspondence on ACLU positions taken on various political and social issues.
BEGINNINGS OF CHAPTER/BULLEY CASE
Includes memoirs by Dorothy Knoke and copies of correspondence and clippings from the Bulley case.
CHURCH AND STATE CASES
Includes correspondence, newspaper clippings and articles.
NAOMI TWINING FILE
Includes correspondence between Naomi Twining and others on such issues as church/state and finances.
DR. SPOCK FILE
Includes correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings and program of Dr. Spock's talk before members.
1969, 1973-1974, n.d.
Includes pamphlets, training literature, lists of meetings, questionnaires, court rules pertaining to a Toledo program on monitoring trial proceedings to insure fairness.
LUCAS COUNTY JAIL
Includes material from the NWO-ACLU jail committee such as correspondence, pamphlets, fact sheets, Jail Improvement League roster.
1955, 1974-1975, 1991-1994
Incudes ACLU position statements on ERA, rape laws, national women's rights project.
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY PLANNING ASSOCIATION
Includes board and nominating committee minutes and correspondence.
Includes flyer, correspondence on white power movement.
Includes news clippings, pamphlets, correspondence.
Includes news clippings, correspondence, articles.
CATHOLIC LECTURE/TEACHING ISSUES-UNIVERSITY OF TOLEDO
Includes news clippings, notes and correspondence.
FRANK WILKINSON VISIT/NATIONAL COMMITTEE AGAINST REPRESSIVE LEGISLATION
Includes news clippings, articles, correspondence, advertising materials.
CLOSED CASE FILES
1954-1958, 1962, 1974 to the present
Arranged by type of case (correspondence/telephone) and within, chronologically
Includes northwest Ohio calls, letters, description of complaints and follow-up reports and referrals.
GENERAL SUBJECT FILES
Arranged by title of subject and within, chronologically
Includes files on such topics as abortion, death penalty, peace, free speech, and civil liberties. Files include articles and correspondence pertaining to the subject.
OCLU LEGAL DOCKET
1971-1972, 1976, 1990-
Includes a report on Ohio civil liberties cases which lists attorneys, court/agency and judicial status of the cases. Also includes status of 1971-1972 Supreme Court decision on ACLU cases.
Includes questionnaires to be submitted to political candidates and Ohio school districts.
ACLU POLICY GUIDE
1981, 1987, 1991, 1997-2001
Includes a compilation of all ACLU policies, with index, as of April 1981 and revisions of policies as of 1987, and annual work plans.
ACLU BIENNIAL CONFERENCE
Includes reports, articles and miscellaneous papers from this conference.
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU FINANCES
1970-1977, 1979 to the present
Includes financial records, correspondence, yearly and monthly expenses, treasurer's reports, lists of contributors and paid members, policy on attorney's fees.
1956-1957, 1972-1981 (more current financial reports located with the Board of Directors minutes)
Includes foundation expenses, proposed budgets, fundraising projects, state affiliate incomes, case costs, financial statements.
Includes New York finance committee reports, income and expenditure, correspondence, budgets, affiliate membership income, fiscal year summaries.
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU PUBLICITY
1955-1976, 1980 to the present
Includes news releases, public relations guide, some correspondence, Toledo Blade clippings.
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU NEWSLETTERS--THE LEGACY
1968-1969, 1980 to the present
Includes local committee reports, minutes, meeting attendance.
NORTHWEST OHIO ACLU PROGRAMS
1970, 1972 to the present
Includes agendas of annual dinner meetings and special programs. Also includes a list of all awardees from 1963 to 1988.
1954-1956, 1975, 1980 to the present
Arranged by title and within, chronologically
Includes publications from the OCLU office in Columbus; Civil Liberties News and Ohio Civil Liberties.
1974 to the present
Contains biographical rosters of OCLU award recipients and dinner meeting agendas.
OCLU PAMPHLETS/NEWS ARTICLES
1977, 1978, 1985 to the present
Includes pamphlets on rights of citizens and articles on various civil liberties issues.
1954-1957, 1959, 1973 to the present
Newspaper items on ACLU activities and cases.
ACLU CIVIL LIBERTIES
1954, 1955, 1969, 1973 to the present
Contains public statements on ACLU positions, news of ACLU cases.
ACLU FEATURE PRESS SERVICE
Contains weekly news bulletins published by the national office.
1988, 1989, 1991
Consist of special award dinners.
1929, 1949-1956, 1960s-1980s
Includes ACLU information concerning the organization and positions on various issues.
1948-1961, 1974-1982, n.d.
Includes magazine articles, reprints, publications by and about other organizations which pertain to ACLU issues and topics.
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