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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Tenure Quota Rally

Carrying a sign that reads "Tenure Means Academic Freedom," Irwin Polishook, Vice President of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), is joined by Carol Brandon, a union leader from the Borough of Manhattan Community College, at a rally against [...]

"The Crisis in City College"

On this cover of the December 1933 edition of the National Student League's Student Review, CCNY President Robinson is depicted in full academic regalia as a cat, following in step behind a German military officer. Robinson's tail, [...]

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 [...]

Students Playing Ping Pong in CCNY Alcoves

The City College alcoves, located in the lunchroom, provided the setting for much political debate between students during the 1930s and served as the base for various student groups. They also used the space for leisure activities such as playing [...]

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 [...]

"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 [...]

"Section of 1937 May Day Parade of 250,000"

This clipping from the April 1938 edition of the Daily Worker shows marchers from a local chapter of the Teachers Union, affiliated with the A.F.L., taking part in the May Day parade of 1937. The paraders marched down 8th, 9th, and 10th Avenues [...]

Cartoon of President Robinson Stomping on Protest Signs

This illustration depicts City College President Frederick B. Robinson stomping on anti-war protest signs from an April 22, 1937 CCNY student rally. During his time at City College, Robinson drew extraordinary criticism from left-leaning student [...]

Rally on CCNY Quad, November, 20, 1934

This photograph was taken at the November 20, 1934 rally at CCNY. The demonstration was held to demand the reinstatement of twenty-one expelled students as well as the removal of college president, Frederick B. Robinson. The twenty-one were expelled [...]

Twin Effigy of President Robinson and Italian Premier Mussolini at Protest

This photograph from a November 20, 1934 rally at City College (CCNY), features a student-made, two-headed effigy of CCNY President Frederick B. Robinson and Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini. After being paraded around campus throughout the [...]

"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 [...]

The Frederick Douglass Society, CCNY 1941

This 1941 photograph shows the members of the Frederick Douglass Society at City College (CCNY). The group, originally established in 1921 by ten black students, was one of the most active clubs on campus and, for several years, campaigned for the [...]

Suspended Faculty Reading Flier at Peace Rally

This photograph shows nine of the eleven City College faculty and staff members that were suspended on April 22, 1941 as a result of the Rapp-Coudert hearings. The New York State sanctioned hearings sought to weed out "subversive influences" and [...]

Winter Soldiers, Selection #7: James Egleson

James Egleson, an American WPA artist, created this illustration for inclusion in the 1941 book, Winter Soldiers: The Story of a Conspiracy Against Schools. The book, published by the Committee for Defense of Public Education, tells the story of the [...]

Winter Soldiers, Selection #6: Harry Gottlieb

Harry Gottlieb, a social realist graphic artist, employed by the WPA, became a leader and active member of the Artists Union and the Artists Congress. A life-long member of the Communist Party, Gottleib created this illustration for inclusion [...]

Winter Soldiers, Selection #4: Marston Hamlin

Marston Hamlin created this illustration for inclusion in the 1941 book, Winter Soldiers: The Story of a Conspiracy Against Schools. The book, published by the Committee for Defense of Public Education, tells the story of the Rapp-Coudert [...]

Winter Soldiers, Selection #3: Sylvia Wald

Sylvia Wald, a politically and socially conscious artist, created this illustration for inclusion in the 1941 book, Winter Soldiers: The Story of a Conspiracy Against Schools. The book, published by the Committee for Defense of Public [...]