American Association of Scientific Workers Records

Collection ID: 
Acc. 942
Date: 
1939-1964
Footage: 
0.5 linear feet (1 box)
Collecting Area: 

Collection Summary

Title
American Association of Scientific Workers Records

Dates
1939-1964      

Collection ID
Acc. 942

Creator
American Association of Scientific Workers

Quantity
0.5 linear feet (1 box)

Repository
Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries

Language
Materials in English.      

Detailed Collection Information

Historical Note

The earliest known chapter of the American Association of Scientific Workers (AAScW) was begun in Philadelphia in late 1937 by research chemist K.A.C. Elliot and seven other young scientists. By the end of 1938 the Philadelphia chapter had merged with a similar group in the Boston-Cambridge area to form the national association, based loosely on Britain’s Association of Scientific Workers. By 1939 there were significant chapters is New York and Chicago as well.

The goal of the organization’s founders was to establish a progressive national association that would involve scientists directly in political and social issues for the first time. The AAScW sought to promote science for the benefit of society, to stress science education for the public, and to take a moral stand against the misapplication of science by industry and government.

The organization’s beginnings were derailed by a split between a faction within the association that pushed for a peace resolution as a national platform in early 1940, while other concerned members were trying to expose the Nazi perversion of science to the country and world. The ensuing split destroyed consensus and weakened the association’s ability to function politically. Though the association never became the agent of progressive political representation it hoped to be, it held on during the Cold War years into the 1960s. Its membership signed resolutions against the suppression of free thought during the “red scare,” and petitioned the United Nations over concerns about atomic weapons and biological and chemical warfare. Over the years, many prominent American scientists were members of the AAScW, among them Robert S. Mulliken, Robert J. Oppenheimer, and Linus Pauling to name only a few.

Description of Collection

This collection reflects Alfred G. Lisi’s role as treasurer for both the Philadelphia chapter and the national administration of the AAScW. Among the financial papers is the national treasurer’s ledger book, covering the national organization finances from October of 1939 to May of 1964. As treasurers are responsible for membership dues, included here are various sets of local member listings and well as some receipt records for dues collected from 1957 to 1959. As an administrative member of the association, Mr. Lisi’s correspondence runs the gamut from straightforward business communications to exchanges of news and opinion about the issues key to the organization. In addition to letters and financial materials, there are newsletters and other printed materials from both the national and Philadelphia chapter as well as from other related organizations. There are also materials relating to meetings (announcements, resolutions, site-booking information, and in some cases, minutes) and to benefit fundraising events.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 7 series as follows:

Series 1. Financial, 1939-1964
Series 2. Membership Materials, 1957-1959
Series 3. Correspondence, 1944-1963
Series 4. Meetings, 1947-1953
Series 5. Printed Materials, 1940s-1950s
Series 6. Benefit Programs, 1950-1955
Series 7. Miscellaneous, 1947, undated

Series 1: Financial, is comprised of the national treasurer’s ledger spanning the years 1939 to 1964, a collection of bills and tax forms, and miscellaneous materials.

Series 2: Membership Materials, is comprised of three separate sets of alphabetical local member listings on 3x5 cards, a fourth set for “at-large” members, and typed membership lists. Also included are receipts for collected national dues, one per member, for the years 1957-1959.

Series 3: Correspondence, is comprised of letters to and from Mr. Lisi concerning the association’s business activities and many other topics that might involve an administrative member of the organization, such as opinion and news sharing, arrangements for guest speakers, policy statements, and organizational elections. Items range from 1944 to 1963.

Series 4: Meetings, is comprised of one folder of materials containing to meeting announcements, room reservations, resolutions, and minutes from 1947 to 1953.

Series 5: Printed Material, is subdivided into three sub-series, Newsletters, Journals, and Miscellaneous. Newsletters contains examples, covering the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, from the national and local organization, as well as the Boston-Cambridge chapter, and the Federation of American Scientists. The Journals sub-series contains the journal of the British Association of Scientific Workers from 1947. Miscellaneous contains articles, brochures, policy statements, booklets, and flyers dating from 1947 to 1964.

Series 6: Benefit Programs, is comprised of material relating to the arrangement of fundraising benefit events. Included are tax information, correspondence, and unused tickets dating from 1950 to 1955.

Series 7: Miscellaneous, is comprised of two folders containing miscellaneous materials. The first contains manuscripts of newsletter articles and notes to the speech of Dr. Jean Brachet from 1947, concerning the Nazi takeover of the University of Brussels. The second contains a “statement of convictions” in opposition to several bills before Congress and a listing of local scientists supporting the measure. 

Patron Information

Research Access

Collection is open for research.

Collections Stored Off-Site

This collection may be housed off-site at the Library Depository, and require up to two business days to retrieve. Please review the finding aid and be prepared to identify specific materials to be retrieved. Contact the Special Collections Research Center in advance of your visit, so that materials may be relocated to the reading room for research.

Publication and Copyright Information

The American Association of Scientific Workers Records are the physical property of the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries. Intellectual property rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for determining the identity of rights holders and obtaining their permission for publication and for other purposes where stated.

Preferred Citation

[Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], American Association of Scientific Workers Records, Acc. 942, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

Gift of Flora F. Lisi, 2001.

Processing Information

Finding aid revised according to contemporary archival standards in June 2015.       

Index Terms

The following headings have been used to index the description of this collection in Temple University’s electronic catalog:

Corporate Names:
American Association of Scientific Workers

Personal Names:
Lisi, Alfred G.

Subjects:
Scientists in government
Scientists -- United States -- political aspects

Material Types:
Correspondence
Financial records
Manuscripts
Membership lists
Minutes
Newsletters
Publications

Inventory

Series 1: Financial, 1939-1964

This series is comprised of the national treasurer’s ledger spanning the years 1939 to 1964, a collection of bills and tax forms, and miscellaneous materials.

1          1          National Treasurer’s Records          11/39-05/64 1939-1964

1          2          Bills          1948-1961

1          3          Miscellaneous

Series 2: Membership Materials, 1957-1959

Series 2 is comprised of three separate sets of alphabetical local member listings on 3x5 cards, a fourth set for “at-large” members, and typed membership lists. Also included are receipts for collected national dues, one per member, for the years 1957 to 1959.

1          4          Member Records, Philadelphia Branch, 1 of 3

1          5          Member Records, Philadelphia Branch, 2 of 3

1          6          Member Records, Philadelphia Branch, 3 of 3

1          7          Member-at-large Records

1          8          Membership Lists, Philadelphia Branch          1951-1952

1          9          Dues, National          1957-1959

Series 3: Correspondence, 1944-1963

Series 3 is comprised of letters to and from Mr. Lisi concerning the association’s business activities and many other topics that might involve an administrative member of the organization, such as opinion and news sharing, arrangements for guest speakers, policy statements, and organizational elections. Items range from 1944 to 1963.

1          10          Correspondence          1944-1949

1          11          Correspondence          1950

1          12          Correspondence          1951

1          13          Correspondence          1952

1          14          Correspondence          1953-1955

1          15          Correspondence          1956-1957

1          16          Correspondence          1958-1959, 1963 1958-1963

Series 4: Meetings, 1947-1953

Series 4 is comprised of one folder of materials containing to meeting announcements, room reservations, resolutions, and minutes from 1947 to 1953.

1          17          Meetings          1947-1953

Series 5: Printed Materials, 1947-1964

Series 5 is subdivided into three sub-series, Newsletters, Journals, and Miscellaneous. Newsletters contains examples, covering the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, from the national and local organization, as well as the Boston-Cambridge chapter, and the Federation of American Scientists. The Journals sub-series contains the journal of the British Association of Scientific Workers from 1947. Miscellaneous contains articles, brochures, policy statements, booklets, and flyers dating from 1947 to 1964.

Newsletters

1          18          National AAScW Newsletter          1948-1950

1          19          Philadelphia Chapter AAScW News Bulletin          1946-1951

1          20          Boston-Cambridge Branch          September 1950

1          21          Federation of American Scientists          May 1949

1          22          “The Philadelphia Scientist”          August 1947

Journals

1          23          “The Scientific Worker” (British AScW)

Miscellaneous

1          24          Miscellaneous 1949-1964

Series 6: Benefit Programs, 1950-1955

Series 6 is comprised of material relating to the arrangement of fundraising benefit events. Included are tax information, correspondence, and unused tickets dating from 1950 to 1955.

1          25          Benefit Programs          1950-1955

Series 7: Miscellaneous, 1947, undated

Series 7 is comprised of two folders containing miscellaneous materials. The first contains manuscripts of newsletter articles and notes to the speech of Dr. Jean Brachet from 1947, concerning the Nazi takeover of the University of Brussels. The second contains a “statement of convictions” in opposition to several bills before Congress and a listing of local scientists supporting the measure. 

1          26          Manuscripts

1          27          Miscellaneous