Guide to the Simon W. Gerson Papers TAM 330
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library 70 Washington Square South New York, NY, 10012 (212) 998-2630 gail.malmgreen at nyu.edu
Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
Collection processed by Peter Meyer Filardo and Jennifer Jana
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2009-12-17T11:41-0500 Description is in English.
Descriptive Summary Title: Simon W. Gerson Papers Dates: 1925-2001 Abstract: Simon W. (Si) Gerson, 1909-2004, was the longtime New York State, and later national legislative/political action director for the Communist Party, and was an advocate of proportional representation and ballot access for minor political parties, including in the 1980s-90s as a leader of the Coalition for Free and Open Elections (COFOE). He served as Confidential Examiner to Manhattan Borough President Stanley M. Isaacs, 1938-40, managed Communist election campaigns (later writing a biography Pete: The Story of Peter V. Cacchione, New York's First Communist Councilman), and organized activities in support of the Communist Party leaders indicted under the Smith Act, as was Gerson. In the 1950s he was executive editor of the Party's newspaper, the Daily Worker, and of its later successor, the Daily World. Along with his wife, Sophie Melvin Gerson, an organizer of the Gastonia Textile Strike of 1929, he was a longtime resident of and community activist in the Bensonhurst neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. The papers contain clippings, correspondence with leading communists and political figures, published and unpublished writings including manuscripts, memorandums, newspaper columns, reviews and reports, a scrapbook and speeches, including materials relating to Cacchione's career and death, and to Gerson's several campaigns for public office, research notes and typescript drafts for several chapters of a never-completed book, "Do We Really Have Free Elections (ca. 1990)," a related manuscript by Adam Lapin, "Tweedledum and Tweedledee: The American Two Party System," Communist Party internal documents, including reports by leading figures, many relating to the communist political crises of 1956-58 and 1989-91, and minutes of and correspondence relating to COFOE and the publication Ballot Access News. Quantity: 11.5 Linear feet (26 boxes) Call Phrase: TAM 330 Return to top Historical/Biographical Note
Simon W. Gerson Selected Bibliography: Monographs and articles in periodicals (excluding book reviews and newspaper articles). Arranged chronologically.
------, "A People's' Constitution for New York." New York State Communist Party, n.d.
The New Left Social Fascism. Communist, 9 (July, 1930): 622-631.
It Is Happening Here. New York: New York State Committee, Communist Party, 1941.
Public Speaking: A Speakers Guide Book, by Peter V. Cacchione; foreword by Simon W. Gerson. New York : Workers Library Publishers, 1942.
Thomas E. Dewey: His Record. Communist22 (May, 1943): 461-468.
Pete Cacchione--His Record. New York: Workers Library, 1943.
The Stork Club Goes for Dewey. New Masses60, no. 11 (Sep 11, 1946): 17-20.
How You Can Beat Dewey. New Masses61, no. 6 (November 5, 1946): 4-5.
Electoral Coalition Problems. Political Affairs, 26 (October, 1947): 894-901.
La Guardia: Guerrilla Warrior. New Masses(October 7, 1947): 9-12.
The Killing of William Milton, by Art Shields, Introduction by Simon W. Gerson. New York: Daily Worker, 1948.
Either the Constitution or the Mundt Bill: America Can't Have Both. New York: New Century, 1950.
The Jury System and Democratic Rights. Political Affairs, 31: 35-44 (July, 1952).
The Outlook for the N.Y. City Elections. New York State Communist Party (1954).
The Rights You Save May Be Your Own. New York: New York State Communist Party, 1954.
A Communist at Cornell. Masses & Mainstream, 8 (July, 1955): 28-35.
Pete: The Story of Peter V. Cacchione, New York's First Communist Councilman. New York: International Publishers, 1976.
On Building a Mass Anti-monopoly Party. Political Affairs(October 1977): 22-26.
After Fifty Years: Revisiting the U.S.S.R. New York : NWR Publications, 1978.
The 1978 Midterm Elections. Political Affairs57, no.1 (January, 1978): 18-21.
Vito Marcantonio: From Republican to Radical. Political Affairs(November, 1979)
Independence and Coalition; The Communist View. Political Affairs(December, 1979): 7-12.
>From Truman Doctrine to Reagan Doctrine. Political Affairs(August, 1987): 15-21.
How to Win Political Democracy. Political Affairs(November, 1985): 14-17.
âDoes the U.S. Have Free Elections?â Political Affairs(December, 1990): 10-14.
Again, on Political Independence. Si Gerson and Jarvis Tyner. Political Affairs(January, 1993): 41.
Return to top Scope and Content Note The papers contain clippings, correspondence with leading communists and political figures, published and unpublished writings including manuscripts, memorandums, newspaper columns, reviews and reports, a scrapbook and speeches, including materials relating to Cacchione's career and death, and to Gerson's several campaigns for public office, research notes and typescript drafts for several chapters of a never-completed book, "Do We Really Have Free Elections (ca. 1990)," a related manuscript by Adam Lapin, "Tweedledum and Tweedledee: The American Two Party System," Communist Party internal documents, including reports by leading figures, many relating to the communist political crises of 1956-58 and 1989-91, and minutes of and correspondence relating to COFOE and the publication Ballot Access News.
Notable individuals represented include: Ann Rosenhaft and Richard Winger (COFOE), Irving Adler, Helen Alfred (Peace Publications), Zaccariah Chafee, Mike Davidow, William O. Douglas, Harry Eisman, Fred Fine, William Z. Foster, Gil Green, Dorothy Healey, Murray Kempton, James Jackson, Al Lannon, Robert Minor, George Morris, Otto Nathan, Joseph North, John Pittman, Al Richmond, Lester Rodney, Morton Sobell, Norman Thomas, Robert Thompson, Carl Winter, and Alden Whitman (New York Times).
Return to top Arrangement The collection is organized into three series: I, Paperss; II, Addendum; Scrapbook; III, Addendum. Each is arranged alphabetically, and the contents of each folder are arranged chronologically, except for box 27, which is unprocessed.
Return to top Related Material at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives Stanley M. Isaacs Papers, New York Public Library
Peter V. Cacchione Papers (Tamiment 73)
Return to top Separated Material Three manuscripts by Mike Gold have been separated to the Michael Gold Peter V. Cacchione Manuscripts (Tamiment 339). Approximately 30 audiocassettes (1980s) that include "Gus Hall Updates" and several interviews with Simon Gerson have been separated to the Library's Oral History collection (Oral Histories 54). A scrapbook of photographs taken at the funeral of Peter V. Cacchione, several additional photographs of Cacchione, a postcard featuring the images of seven "Class war prisoners in New York State," and approximately 70 other images, principally photographs of Gerson, including one featuring Gerson and Vito Marcantonio, have been separated to the Tamiment Library's NonPrint Collection (Photographs 214).