CUNY Digital History Archive

CUNY Digital History Archive

A participatory project to collect and preserve the histories of the City University of New York — A work in progress
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Subpoena issued to the College Teachers Union

This is the subpoena that was issued to the College Teachers Union on January 27, 1941. Commanding the union's presence at a January 31st hearing before the Rapp-Coudert Committee, the document requests extensive union membership records, meeting [...]

New York College Teachers Union Newsletter, January 1941

The cover of this issue of the College Newsletter, a publication of the New York College Teachers Union, includes several articles regarding the then ongoing Rapp-Coudert hearings of the early 1940s. They report on mass meetings with thousands of [...]

College Newsletter, November 25, 1940

Published by the New York College Teachers Union, this issue of the College Newsletter covers several reactions to the ongoing Rapp-Coudert hearings of the early 1940s.The Rapp-Coudert Committee was a New York State initiative [...]

"Our Position"

This flier promotes a student rally in support of suspended City College history instructor Jack Foner. Foner, a CCNY graduate of 1932, was just one victim of the Rapp-Coudert hearings which lasted from 1940 to 1941. The hearings, organized by New [...]

"Eleven CCNY Teachers Suspended in College Red Hunt"

This newspaper clipping from the April 23, 1941 edition of PM features eleven City College teachers suspended by the Board of Higher Education following discoveries, by the Rapp-Coudert Committee, of their communist ties. The majority [...]

"Students Fight Faculty Purge At City College"

This article from the New York Daily Mirror discusses an April 23, 1941 student rally at City College (CCNY). The rally, planned initially as an anti-war peace demonstration, was expanded to include a protest against the recent suspension of 11 [...]

"Breakfast and Forum on Political Tests for Teachers"

This flier promotes a breakfast forum discussing the Board of Higher Education's then recently passed resolution designed to "set up political qualifications for teachers." The resolution was adopted amidst the ongoing Rapp-Coudert Committee [...]

College Newsletter, June 2, 1941

The cover of this issue of the College Newsletter, a publication of the New York College Teachers Union, includes several articles regarding the then ongoing Rapp-Coudert hearings of the early 1940s. Included is one article addressed to [...]

College Newsletter, November 21, 1941

Published by the New York College Teachers Union, the cover of this issue of the College Newsletter features articles about the dismissal of Morris Schappes and Phillip Foner, two City College instructors fired as a result of the Rapp-Coudert [...]

"It's Happening in New York!"

Published in 1941, this pamphlet was created by the Committee for the Defense of Public Education, a joint committee between the Teachers Union and the College Teachers Union, amidst the turmoil of the Rapp-Coudert hearings. Citing a variety of [...]

"They Put You in Jail"

This is a pamphlet from 1941 created in support of recently fired and imprisoned City College English instructor Morris Schappes. Schappes, a self-avowed communist was sentenced to prison for failing to divulge the names of his fellow party members [...]

William Canning during his Testimony

This photograph shows William Canning, an instructor in the City College history department, appearing before the Rapp-Coudert Committee. During his testimony, Canning, an ex-member of the Communist Party, disclosed the names of over fifty fellow [...]

"Rally in City College's Lewisohn Stadium"

This newspaper clipping features a photograph of an April 23, 1941 peace assembly at City College's Lewisohn Stadium. An annual event, the college administration cancelled all classes that day between 11am and 12pm to accommodate the gathering. With [...]

Annette Gottsegen Taking Oath Before Testimony

This photograph shows Annette Sherman Gottsegen, a clerk at City College, taking an oath prior to her testimony against CCNY registrar John Ackley. Ackley would shortly thereafter be fired from his position. Gottsegen had previously been a member [...]

"Suspended City College Registrar at Opening of Trial"

This newspaper clipping shows suspended City College registrar John K. Ackley sitting at his trial before the Board of Higher Education. Ackley had been identified for his Communist ties by the Rapp-Coudert Committee in April 1941. By June, he was [...]

"Coudert Victims Suffer Tragic Fate in Witch-Hunt"

This article and accompanying photo from The Daily Worker, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, features comments from labor leader Bella Dodd highlighting the plight faced by many of City College's instructors whose futures were in [...]

Rally against the Rapp-Coudert Committee: "Defend our Right to Freedom of Thought and Action"

Taken during the Rapp-Coudert Committee hearings sometime between 1940 and 1942, this photograph shows demonstrators protesting against the statewide hunt for "subversive activities" and persons in New York's public schools and colleges. Supporters [...]

"Free Morris Schappes"

This is the logo of the Schappes Defense Committee. The group was formed shortly after City College English instructor Morris Schappes was sentenced to prison for failing to divulge the names of his fellow communists on the faculty at CCNY. At a [...]

Morris Schappes at Desk

This is an undated photograph of City College English instructor Morris Schappes. Schappes, a self-confessed communist, was himself twice a cause célèbre at CCNY. In April 1936, Schappes was fired after speaking on behalf of the faculty organized [...]

"In the Case of Morris U. Schappes"

This page from a mid-1941 pamphlet was created to support recently fired and sentenced City College English instructor Morris Schappes. A self-confessed Communist, Schappes had appeared before the Rapp-Coudert Committee, a N.Y. State organized [...]

"Rapp-Coudert Committee Subpoenas Schappes-Edel"

This cover of an issue of The CCNY Student features an especially critical reaction to the ongoing Rapp-Coudert hearings of 1940-41. Produced by the American Student Union, a national left-wing student organization, the cover's [...]

AFT Meeting: "Free Schools - Free People"

This photograph shows Dr. Bella Dodd, legislative director of the New York Teachers Union and an organizer for the Communist Party, addressing a crowd in protest of the Rapp-Coudert hearings on December 11, 1940, at the Manhattan Center. The [...]

Charles Hendley Protesting the Rapp-Coudert Committee

This photograph shows Charles Hendley, president of the Teachers Union, addressing over 2,000 to protest the Rapp-Coudert Committee at the Manhattan Center on November 10, 1940. The Rapp-Coudert Committee, a New York State initiative, was [...]

"Reinstate Schappes" Rally

This photograph comes from a 1941 student rally in support of City College English instructor Morris Schappes, a self-avowed communist sentenced to prison for failing to divulge the names of his fellow party members on the faculty at CCNY. At a [...]

Nine Police Surveillance Photographs — 1941 May Day Parade

These surveillance photographs were taken by the New York City Police Department on May Day 1941. The images show participants from multiple City College student and faculty organizations including a chapter of the American Student Union. Marchers [...]