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Louis Waldman papers

Collection Data

Louis Waldman (1892-1982), a prominent labor lawyer of New York City, was born in the Ukraine. Following his emigration to America in 1909 he became a garment cutter, attended evening school and earned a civil engineering degree from Cooper Union and a law degree from New York Law School. Elected as a Socialist to the New York State Assembly, he was illegally expelled (1920) by a Republican majority. While in the Assembly he sponsored a social insurance bill which foreshadowed the social welfare legislation of the 1930s. He served as state chairman (1930-1936) of the Socialist Party and was three times (1928, 1930, 1932) its candidate for governor. In 1936 he broke with the Party over the issue of communist infiltration and became state chairman of its right-wing offshoot, the Social Democratic Federation, and founder of the American Labor Party. During this period Waldman became known as an indomitable fighter for social welfare legislation and civic reform. As a lawyer in private practice he acquired great distinction as counsel for many powerful trade unions including the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, the United Hatters, Cap and Millinery International, and the International Longshoremen's Association. He was also known as an able defense attorney in criminal cases. In what was characterized as the "American Dreyfus case" he secured the acquittal of Cpl. Robert Osman. Waldman's autobiography, Labor Lawyer, was published in 1944. Papers reflect Waldman's career as labor lawyer, politician, civic reformer, lecturer and author. Approximately one-third of the collection consists of correspondence and collateral papers relating to Waldman's civic, political, and professional interests including municipal reform, city charter revision, labor relations, and city and state politics. Included is his correspondnce as state chairman of the Socialist Party and as chairman of the Social Democratic Federation, and papers reflecting the gubernatorial campaigns of 1928, 1930, and 1932. Included are addresses and speeches made before bar associations, union conventions, and legislative committees, and papers reflecting his membership in bar associations including his chairmanship of the committee on American citizenship of the American Bar Association. Records of legal cases include correspondence and court papers, papers relating to U.S. v. Osman and other cases involving civil liberties and immigration matters including the case of Walter G. Krivitsky, a former official of Soviet military intelligence who was allegedly assassinated by Stalin's secret police. Also, scrapbooks of press clippings providing extensive documentation of his career.
Waldman, Louis, b. 1892 (Creator)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1917 - 1971
Library locations
Manuscripts and Archives Division
Shelf locator: MssCol 3202
Acquisition: 1970 Waldman, Louis Waldman & Waldman, 501 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Gift
Physical Description
Extent: 34 linear feet (34 boxes); 7 microfilm reels
Type of Resource
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b11343718
MSS Unit ID: 3202
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): e9c84100-c628-012f-7e47-58d385a7bc34
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