Skip to main content

Guide to the American Civil Liberties Union Records

Guide to the ACLU Records and related collections located at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University

Organization of the Collection

The ACLU national office holdings located at the Mudd Library are made up of FOUR parts (known as subgroups). There are also distinct sections (known as series) within Subgroups 2 and 3 that have their own separate, searchable finding aids. The series are further broken down into sections called subseries. For example, in the image below you'll see that we have navigated to the Access to Justice Project subseries, which is part of the Project Files series. This Project Files series is part of Subgroup 3.

Finding Aids

SUBGROUP 1: The Roger Baldwin Years, 1917-1950

These records document the activities of the ACLU from 1917 through 1950. The files contain materials on conscientious objection, freedom of speech, academic freedom, censorship, and labor concerns. The files reflect work on litigation, advocacy, and public policy. Materials include correspondence and newspaper clippings.

NOTE: All materials in Subgroup 1 are open for research use. Reels 1-20 have been digitized and are available online through the above link to the finding aid. The microfilm reels in this collection are also available at various institutions, and may be accessible directly at your institution or through inter-library loan. Search WorldCat for "American Civil Liberties Union : The Roger Baldwin years, 1917-1950" to see where the microfilm collection and accompanying printed guide are available near you.

Subgroup 1 has been digitized in its entirety; members of the Princeton University community can view it here: http://library.princeton.edu/resource/28061

Members outside of the Princeton Community can view Subgroup 1 at the following locations.
Baylor University
Boston College
Boston University
Brigham Young University
Bryn Mawr College
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Case Western Reserve University
Claremont College
Cornell University
Davidson College
Denison University 
Duke University
East Central University
Emory University
Georgetown University
Harvard University
Indiana University
Johns Hopkins University
Kansas City Public
Kenyon College
Library of Congress
Loyola Marymount University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
McGill University
Newark Public Library
New York Public Library
New York University
Northwestern University
Ohio State University
Princeton University
Purdue University
Seton Hall University
Stanford University
Texas A & M University Texarkana
Texas State University
Tufts University
University of Alberta
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Chicago
University of Colorado
University of Colo, Colorado Springs
University of Dayton
University of Denver
University of Detroit
University of Georgia
University of Minnesota
University of Nebraska
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina, Asheville
University of North Carolina, Wilmington
University of Notre Dame
University of Ottawa
University of Pennsylvania
University of Rhode Island
University of Richmond
University of Southern California
University of Toronto
University of Virginia
University of Washington
University of Wyoming
Vanderbilt University
Virginia Commonwealth University
Xavier University
Yale University

You can read more about the American Civil Liberties Union's early history in documents on the Mudd Library blog.

 

SUBGROUP 2: ACLU Records, 1917-1999 (mostly 1947-1995)

These records document the activities of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in protecting individual rights between 1947 and 1995. The collection contains correspondence, clippings, court documents, memoranda, printed matter, minutes, reports, briefs, legal files, exhibit materials, and audio-visual materials. Also included are materials from ACLU affiliate organizations, the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee and national office legal department records (1945-1960).

NOTE: All materials in Subgroup 2 are open for research use. The series within Subgroup 2 are listed below:

 

SUBGROUP 3: ACLU Records, 1864-2006 (mostly 1970-1995)

These records document the administration and work of the ACLU's national office, regional offices, and legal projects, with particular emphasis on the areas of civil rights, children and women's rights, freedom of speech (and all First Amendment questions), and due process, among many others. The records include case files, correspondence, meeting minutes, research files, and files of staff members. A large portion of the records are related to the numerous cases that the ACLU was involved in on a wide range of civil liberties issues. Records are included from the national office, ACLU projects (notably the Arts Censorship Project, Capital Punishment Project, Children's Rights Project, Reproductive Freedom Project, and Women's Rights Project), and the Mountain States Regional Office, Southern Regional Office, and Washington Regional Office.

NOTE: Some material in Subgroup 3 must be reviewed for legal restrictions prior to research use. Please submit requests for material from Subgroup 3 via your Research Account at least 10 business days before visiting the library to allow time for this review. An archivist will respond within 10 business days to let you know whether the material is available for research use. Individuals may make up to 15 requests per month.

The series within Subgroup 3 are listed below:

 

SUBGROUP 4: ACLU Records, 1920-2007 (mostly 1970-2000)

These records document the work of the ACLU's national office in the areas of civil rights, children and women’s rights, freedom of speech (and all First Amendment questions), due process, the right to privacy, and church-state separation issues, among others, predominantly from 1970 to 2000. A large portion of the records pertain to the numerous cases that the ACLU was involved in related to a wide range of civil rights issues. The records also document the work of various ACLU projects, particularly the Children's Rights Project.

NOTE: Some material in Subgroup 4 must be reviewed for legal restrictions prior to research use. Please submit requests for material from Subgroup 4 via your Research Account at least 10 business days before visiting the library to allow time for this review. An archivist will respond within 10 business days to let you know whether the material is available for research use. Individuals may make up to 15 requests per month.