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Liberal Party of New York State records

Collection Data

Description
The Liberal Party of New York State, the most successful third party in the United States in the twentieth-century, was organized in New York City in l944 by two prominent trade union leaders, David Dubinsky, president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, and Alex Rose, president of the United Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers Union. The records (1936-2002) contain correspondence (mainly) of the executive director, Ben Davidson; records of the publicity director; administrative records; the Trade Union Council of the Party; minutes of the New York County Liberal Party and of the State Committee of the American Labor Party; press releases; printed ephemera and scrapbooks of clippings and memorabilia.
Names
Liberal Party of New York State (Creator)
Berle, Adolf A., Jr., 1895-1971 (Contributor)
Childs, John L. (John Lawrence), 1889-1985 (Contributor)
Coleman, Gerald R (Correspondent)
Cordaro, Angelo (Correspondent)
Davidson, Ben (Contributor)
Diamond, Eli (Correspondent)
Dickinson, Clifford (Correspondent)
Dubinsky, David, 1892-1982 (Contributor)
Farrell, James T. (James Thomas), 1904-1979 (Contributor)
Fooner, Michael (Correspondent)
Greiner, Raymond (Correspondent)
Margolies, Albert (Correspondent)
Montross, Warren (Correspondent)
Peperone, E. Joseph (Correspondent)
Pomarlen, Joseph M (Correspondent)
Rose, Alex, 1898-1976 (Contributor)
Zimmerman, Charles S., 1896-1983 (Correspondent)
American Labor Party (Contributor)
Liberal Party of New York State. Trade Union Council (Contributor)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1936 - 2002
Library locations
Manuscripts and Archives Division
Shelf locator: MssCol 1751
Topics
Campaign funds
Elections -- New York (State)
Labor unions -- New York (State) -- New York
Liberalism -- United States
Political campaigns -- New York (State)
Political parties -- New York (State)
Third parties (United States politics)
New York (N.Y.) -- Politics and government -- 1951-
New York (State) -- Politics and government -- 1951-
United States -- Politics and government -- 1933-1945
United States -- Politics and government -- 1945-1989
Politicians
Liberal digest (New York, N.Y.)
Liberal news (New York, N.Y.)
Genres
Records (Documents)
Photographs
Sound recordings
Scrapbooks
Notes
Biographical/historical: The Liberal Party of New York State, the most successful third party in the United States in the twentieth-century was organized in New York City in l944 by two prominent trade union leaders, David Dubinsky, president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, and Alex Rose, president of the United Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers Union. Both were instrumental in the ALP founding in l936. The ALP, which as an offshoot of Labor's Nonpartisan League, was intended to strengthen electoral support for the Democratic Party in New York by offering to the liberal and independent voter an alternative to the traditional party ticket. The ALP by l940 had amassed a following of 400,000 voters and wielded on occasion the balance of power in municipal and state elections. Within the party, however, an increasingly bitter struggle developed between the moderates led by Rose and Dubinsky and a radical or Communist wing led by Sidney Hillman (president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union) for control of the party's all-powerful state committee. The struggle came to a head during the l944 primary elections when the Hillman faction which had already taken control of the party in its New York City stronghold, won a decisive victory over the moderates and seized control of the state committee. Dubinsky, Rose and their followers promptly resigned from the ALP and formed the Liberal Party of New York State. The ALP destroyed itself in l948 when forsaking Truman it threw its support to the candidate of the Progressive Party (Henry A. Wallace) and ultimately merged with that party. Since it's founding the Liberal Party has sought to offer to the liberal, progressive and independent voter in New York an alternative to the two major political parties. Through the practice of coalition politics, it has provided encouragement and support to reform- and liberal-minded politicians in the other parties. Since its first year, when it gave Roosevelt his margin of victory in New York the Liberal Party has continued to exert a strong influence on national, state and local elections. In l948, the Liberal Party was the main supporter of Truman in New York and in l960 it produced the margin of victory for Kennedy. In gubernatorial elections it was responsible for the election of Averell Harriman in l954 and it gave Hugh Carey strong support in l974. By siphoning off enough votes for its own candidate (Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr.) during the l966 gubernatorial campaign, it defeated the Democratic Party candidate (Frank O'Connor) of whom it disapproved and insured the election of a liberal Republican (Nelson A. Rockefeller). In l96l the Liberal Party defeated the Democratic Party machine in New York in all five boroughs which had opposed the re-election of Mayor Wagner, and in l965 and l969 it gave decisive support to the mayoral campaigns of John V. Lindsay. The Liberal Party supported Rudolph Giuliani's first attempt at becoming Mayor of New York City in 1989. He lost to David Dinkins by a narrow margin. Giuliani ran again in 1993 and 1997 with the support of the Liberal Party. He won both times. In 1998 then Lt. Governor Betsy McCaughy Ross switched to the Democratic Party and ran as Governor against her boss Governor George Pataki. When the Democrats refused to help her campaign, the Liberal Party stepped in. Despite a well-run campaign, the Liberal Party's candidate for Governor failed to win even two percent of the state-wide vote. During the 2002 Governor's race, Andrew Cuomo, endorsed by the Liberal Party, abandoned his campaign months before the election, as a result the Liberal Party failed to receive enough votes (15,761 of the 50,000 needed) to be automatically included on subsequent ballots. It ceased its operations at its state offices soon after. The Liberal Party by the nomination of independent candidates and by the participation in fusion campaigns (a candidate can be the nominee of multiple parties and aggregate the votes received on all the different ballot lines), has influenced the outcome of numerous elections at the local level in boroughs, counties, assembly and judicial districts. On national issues the Liberal Party has advocated measures providing for full employment, affordable housing, consumer and environmental protection and women's rights. It was the first political party to call for the ending of the bombing and of the war in Vietnam and it was also the first to call for the impeachment of President Nixon. Structurally the Liberal Party is composed of a state committee (which is the supreme governing power of the party), county and assembly district committees, a state convention, and judicial district conventions. The state committee which is composed of five members elected biennially from each assembly district selects the state chairman and other officers. This state committee then establishes standing committees and the state executive committee. The state executive committee administers the affairs of the party when the state committee is not in session. The county and assembly district committees are responsible for the management of the party at the local level. State conventions and judicial district conventions; composed of delegates elected from the assembly districts, are held for the purpose of nominating candidates for political offices and for the office of state supreme court justice. Through the years the Liberal Party's officers have included in addition to Messrs. Rose and Dubinsky numerous other distinguished New Yorkers including John L. Childs, George S. Counts, Adolf A. Berle, Jr., Dr. Timothy W. Costello, Dr. Donald Szantho Harrington (Chairman), and Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr (co-founder). Ben Davidson, James S. Notaro, Carl F. Grillo and most recently, Martin Oesterreich have served as its executive directors.
Content: The records (l936-2002) are arranged into sixteen series that contain correspondence (mainly) of the executive director, Ben Davidson; records of the publicity director; administrative records; the Trade Union Council of the Party; minutes of the New York County Liberal Party and of the State Committee of the American Labor Party; press releases; printed ephemera and scrapbooks of clippings and memorabilia.
Physical Description
Extent: 197.5 linear feet (180 boxes, 28 volumes)
Type of Resource
Text
Identifiers
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b11660955
MSS Unit ID: 1751
Archives collections id: archives_collections_1751
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): bc942540-519c-0138-f876-7546cd223e7d
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