University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Fight for Freedom Committee Records 1941-1947

© 2006 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Fight for Freedom Committee. Records




6 linear ft. (12 boxes)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


The Fight for Freedom Committee Records include correspondence with local supporters and with national headquarters, as well as material dealing with the various activities of the committee, such as motorcades, rallies, speakers, the distribution of literature, press releases, radio scripts, lists of supporters and contributors, correspondence and literature of cooperating organizations, and numerous clippings.

Information on Use


No restrictions.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Fight for Freedom Committee. Records, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

The national Fight for Freedom Committee, formed in New York City in April, 1941, favored the immediate entry of the United States into World War II to aid in the defeat of Hitler. The Committee's honorary chairmen were Henry W. Hobson, Protestant Episcopal Bishop for Southern Ohio, and Senator Carter Glass of Virginia. Included among its members and supporters were Marshall Field, Herbert Agar, Mrs. Calvin Coolidge, James B. Conant, Admiral William H. Stanley, Ethel Barrymore, William Clark, and other prominent persons from all political parties and all walks of life.

The Chicago headquarters of Fight for Freedom were opened on July 1, 1941, under the directorship of Courtenay Barber. Denison B, Hull accepted the chairmanship of the Chicago group in October. Among the Chicago sponsors were Mortimer J. Adler, Anita McCormick Blaine, Dorothy Bushnell Cole, William F. Edgerton, Edward R. Lewis, Bernadotte Schmitt, and Clifton Utley.

The principal activity of the Chicago organization was the distribution of interventionist literature in an obvious attempt to counter the influence of Col. Robert McCormick and the Chicago Tribune. Fight for Freedom was one of the major backers in a campaign to supplant the Chicago Tribune by a new morning newspaper. To accomplish this end, Fight for Freedom held rallies, distributed posters, buttons, car stickers, and other material. It publicized slogans such as "Billions for defense, not 2c for Tribune," and was successful in helping to convince Marshall Field and his associates that Chicago could and would support a new morning daily. The Chicago Sun was established in November 1941, with a vigorous pro-war stand. Fight for Freedom also organized motorcades, provided speakers to local organizations, held major rallies and street corner meetings in order to organize a pro-war attitude in Chicago and environs. The December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor ended the activities of the committee on both the national and local level.

Scope Note

The Fight for Freedom Committee records include correspondence with local supporters and with national headquarters, as well as material dealing with the various activities of the committee, such as motorcades, rallies, speakers, the distribution of literature, press releases, radio scripts, lists of supporters and contributors, correspondence and literature of cooperating organizations, and numerous clippings.

Also included in the collection is the correspondence of Courtenay Barber, Jr., after December 7, 1941. This material is mainly concerned with Friends of Democracy, Inc., an organization devoted to investigating anti-democratic and pro-fascist groups and individuals in the United States. These personal papers include extensive correspondence with L. M. Birkhead, director of Friends of Democracy, of which Barber was the unofficial representative in Chicago, and with Arthur Derounian, who as an undercover agent for Friends of Democracy infiltrated several of these anti-democratic groups and published the books Undercover and The Plotters under the pseudonym of John Roy Carlson. Barber was personally involved in many of Derounian's investigations in the mid-west, such as the placing infiltrators in anti-democratic committee offices in order to have ready access to the files. Among others with whom Barber corresponded there is extensive correspondence with Herbert Agar, president of Freedom House, and later an officer in the navy during the war.

The collection is comprised of seven series: Series I: Correspondence; Series II: Chicago Committee; Series III: National Headquarters; Series IV: Cooperating Organizations; Series V: Clippings; Series VI: Miscellaneous; and Series VII: Courtenay Barber, Jr., Personal Papers.

Related Resources

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Subject Headings


Series I: Correspondence

Box I   Folder 1

Barber, Courtenay, Jr.

Box I   Folder 2

Blaine, Anita McCormick

Box I   Folder 3

Clayton, Helena

Box I   Folder 4

Executive Committee

Box I   Folder 5

Hirsh, Katherine (Mrs. Herbert)

Box I   Folder 6

Hull, Denison B.

Box I   Folder 7

Labor leaders, unions

Box I   Folder 8

McMahon, Francis E.

Box I   Folder 9

Objectors (Anti-FFF)

Box I   Folder 10

Regional Chapters-Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania

Box I   Folder 11

Regional Chapters-Tennessee, Wisconsin

Box I   Folder 12

Religious groups

Box I   Folder 13

Ridgway, Hamlet C.

Box I   Folder 14

Sites, Henry W.

Box I   Folder 15

Telegrams (copies)

Box I   Folder 16

U.S. Congress (Form letters, lists)

Box I   Folder 17

U.S. Government-miscellaneous

Box I   Folder 18


Box I   Folder 19


Box I   Folder 20


Box I   Folder 21


Box I   Folder 22


Box 2   Folder 1


Box 2   Folder 2


Box 2   Folder 3


Box 2   Folder 4


Box 2   Folder 5


Box 2   Folder 6


Box 2   Folder 7


Box 2   Folder 8


Box 2   Folder 9


Box 2   Folder 10


Box 2   Folder 11


Box 2   Folder 12


Box 2   Folder 13


Box 3   Folder 1


Box 3   Folder 2


Box 3   Folder 3


Box 3   Folder 4


Box 3   Folder 5


Box 3   Folder 6


Box 3   Folder 7


Box 3   Folder 8


Box 3   Folder 9


Box 3   Folder 10


Box 3   Folder 11


Box 3   Folder 12


Box 3   Folder 13


Series II: Chicago Committee

Box 4    Folder 1

Chicago Committee; Organization, principles, purpose.

Box 4    Folder 2

Chicago Committee, Executive Committee; Minutes, statements.

Box 4    Folder 3

America First; Correspondence, press release.

Box 4    Folder 4

American Legion, Veterans' groups; Survey, clippings.

Box 4    Folder 5

Chicago Tribune, Boycott campaign; Correspondence, petitions, form letter, press releases

Box 4    Folder 6

Civilian defense; Correspondence

Box 4    Folder 7

Continental Congress (October 9-10, 1941, Washington, D.C.); Press releases, programs

Box 4    Folder 8

Motorcades; Lists of interested members, itineraries, press releases, reports

Box 4    Folder 9

Neighborhood distribution; Maps

Box 4    Folder 10

Rally, Open Air (July 26, 1941); Correspondence, press releases

Box 4    Folder 11

Rally, Loyalty Defense Rally (Sept. 10, 1941) and Civilian Defense drives; Correspondence, press releases, broadsides, programs

Box 4    Folder 12

Rally, Orchestra Hall (July 29, 1941); Transcripts of speeches, press releases, lists of members, programs, broadsides, arrangements

Box 4    Folder 13

Rally, Orchestra Hall (July 29, 1941); Correspondence

Box 4    Folder 14

Rally, Orchestra Hall (Oct. 3, 1941); Resolutions, programs, transcripts of speeches, press releases, broadsides, advertisements

Box 4    Folder 15

Rally, Orchestra Hall (Oct. 3, 1941); Correspondence

Box 4    Folder 16

Rally, Herbert Agar talks (October 20-27, November 6, 1941); Correspondence, schedules, itineraries, lists of names

Box 4    Folder 17

Rally, International Amphitheatre (Nov. 19, 1941); Correspondence, press releases, program, arrangements

Box 4    Folder 18

Rally, Opera House (Jan. 14, 1942-Cancelled); Correspondence, arrangements, broadsides, clippings, advertisements

Box 5   Folder 1

Rally, Miscellaneous; Lists of members, volunteers, arrangements

Box 5   Folder 2

Rally, Miscellaneous; Correspondence; broadsides, arrangements

Box 5   Folder 3

Rally and Motorcades; Photographs

Box 5   Folder 4

St. Charles, Illinois, Festival (August 29-Sept. 1, 1941); Correspondence, broadsides, arrangements, lists of members and volunteers

Box 5   Folder 5

"Repeal of Neutrality Act" Campaign; Petitions, press leases, form letters, correspondence

Box 5   Folder 6

Speakers, prospective speakers; Correspondence, lists, broadsides, transcripts of speeches,

Box 5   Folder 7

University of Chicago; Correspondence, statement by faculty members, press releases, clippings

Box 5   Folder 8

Youth Division; Correspondence, brochure, informational material.

Box 5   Folder 9

Literature; Broadsides, advertisements, reprints, copies of speeches. FFF Bulletin, posters, petitions, stickers, applications, etc

Box 5   Folder 10

Literature; requests for; and requests for banners, pins, etc

Box 5   Folder 11

Magazines; Correspondence

Box 5   Folder 12

Movies; Correspondence, advertisements

Box 5   Folder 13

Newspapers (Chicago); Correspondence

Box 5   Folder 14

Newspapers (Midwest); Correspondence

Box 6    Folder 1

Press releases; July-September, 1941 (Original manuscripts, typed)

Box 6    Folder 2

Press releases; September-December, 1941 (Original' manuscripts, typed)

Box 6    Folder 3

Press releases; June-September, 1941

Box 6    Folder 4

Press releases; October-December, 1941

Box 6    Folder 5

Radio; Correspondence

Box 6    Folder 6

Radio; Copies of broadcasts and speeches

Box 6    Folder 7

Radio; Article "Hearing is Believing," by Dixon Wecter (carbon)

Box 6    Folder 8

Speeches; Miscellaneous manuscripts sent by members, poems, speeches, songs, correspondence

Box 6    Folder 9

Applications for employment

Box 6    Folder 10

Contributions to Chicago office; June-September, 1941

Box 6    Folder 11

Contributions to Chicago office; October, 1941-January, 1942

Box 6    Folder 12

Financial reports, budgets, receipts for rallies, etc

Box 6    Folder 13

Fund-raising; Correspondence

Box 6    Folder 14

Lists of members and prospective members

Box 6    Folder 15

Lists of members and prospective members

Box 7   Folder 1

Lists of members and prospective members

Box 7   Folder 2

Lists of members and prospective members

Box 7   Folder 3

Lists of members and prospective members

Box 7   Folder 4

Lists of members and prospective members

Box 7   Folder 5

Mailings, samples of

Box 7   Folder 6

Office maintenance; telephone, furniture, internal revenue service, etc

Box 7   Folder 7

Printing; orders, correspondence

Box 7   Folder 8

Sponsors; Chicago Committee, lists

Series III: National Headquarters

Box 7   Folder 9

Bell, Ulric (Chr., Executive Committee)

Box 7   Folder 10

Cusik, F. H. Peter (Executive Secretary)

Box 7   Folder 11

Danner, Walter (Business Manager)

Box 7   Folder 12

Field, Marshall (Board of Directors)

Box 7   Folder 13

Graham, A. Liddon (Director of Organization)

Box 7   Folder 14

Graham, A. Liddon

Box 7   Folder 15

Havell, George F. (Speakers Division)

Box 7   Folder 16

Hobson, Henry W. (Chairman)

Box 7   Folder 17

Miller, Merle (Press Bureau)

Box 7   Folder 18

Rosenfield, Abe (Labor Division)

Box 7   Folder 19


Box 8   Folder 1

Press releases, memos to chapter heads, memos to editors

Box 8   Folder 2

Speeches, file copies of "Fight for Freedom" song, postcards, stickers, buttons, advertisements

Box 8   Folder 3

Miscellaneous copies of The Freedom Press, clippings and mats of newspaper advertisements

Box 8   Folder 4

Speeches, memos to chapter heads and editors, FFF songs, statements, advertisements

Series IV: Cooperating Organizations

Box 8   Folder 5

Appreciate America, Inc.; Literature

Box 8   Folder 6

Committee for American-Irish Defense; Speeches, press releases, organizational memos, clippings, petitions

Box 8   Folder 7

Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies; Correspondence, memos

Box 8   Folder 8

CDAAA; Lists of local committees, chairmen, sponsors, etc.

Box 8   Folder 9

CDAAA; Miscellaneous office data, samples of mailings, operating expenses, petitions

Box 8   Folder 10

CDAAA; Memoranda, speeches, literature, advertisements, press releases, statements

Box 8   Folder 11

CDAAA; Miscellaneous newsletters.

Box 8   Folder 12

Czechoslovak National Council of America; Miscellaneous newsletters

Box 9   Folder 1

Friends of Democracy; Literature

Box 9   Folder 2

Labor unions; Miscellaneous newsletters, statements, literature

Box 9   Folder 3

Little Businessmen's League; Literature

Box 9   Folder 4

Miscellaneous literature

Box 9   Folder 5

Miscellaneous literature

Box 9   Folder 6

Miscellaneous literature

Series V: Clippings

Box 9   Folder 7

April-July 15, 1941

Box 9   Folder 8

July 16-July 31, 1941

Box 9   Folder 9

August 1-18, 1941

Box 9   Folder 10

August 19-31, 1941

Box 9   Folder 11

September 1-15, 1941

Box 9   Folder 12

September 16-30, 1941

Box 10    Folder 1

October 1-15, 1941

Box 10    Folder 2

October 16-30, 1941

Box 10    Folder 3

November 1-15, 1941

Box 10    Folder 4

November 16-30, 1941

Box 10    Folder 5

December, 1941-January, 1942

Box 10    Folder 6

Clippings concerning Paul Douglas, October-November, 1941

Box 10    Folder 7

Clippings concerning state and national politics, August, 1941-January, 1942

Series VI: Miscellaneous

Box 11   Folder 1

Miscellaneous copies of Labor News Service, published by FFF

Box 11   Folder 2

Miscellaneous copies of Labor News Service, published by FFF

Box 11   Folder 3

Miscellaneous copies of Labor News Service, published by FFF

Box 11   Folder 4

Scrapbook of literature, buttons, decals, pamphlets, advertisements, petitions, press releases

Series VII: Courtenay Barber, Jr., Personal Papers

Box 12    Folder 1

Agar, Herbert; 1942-1944 correspondence

Box 12    Folder 2

Agar, Herbert; 1942-43 correspondence about speeches, pamphlets

Box 12    Folder 3

Agar, William; 1942-44 correspondence

Box 12    Folder 4

Balderston, John L.; 1942-43 correspondence

Box 12    Folder 5

Bell, Laird; biographical sketch, speech

Box 12    Folder 6

Birkhead, L.M.; 1944 correspondence

Box 12    Folder 7

Birkhead, L.M.; 1944 correspondence

Box 12    Folder 8

Birkhead, L.M.; 1945 correspondence

Box 12    Folder 9

Birkhead, L.M.; 1945 correspondence

Box 12    Folder 10

Davies, Ernest; 1943 correspondence

Box 12    Folder 11

Derouian, Arthur; 1943-44 correspondence

Box 12    Folder 12

Derounian, Arthur; 1945 correspondence

Box 12    Folder 13

Derounian, Arthur; 1946-47 correspondence

Box 12    Folder 14

Eichelberger, Clark M.; 1943 correspondence

Box 12    Folder 15

Hull, Denison B.; 1942 correspondence

Box 12    Folder 16

Newsletter, The Propaganda Battlefront (issued by the Friends of Democracy, Inc.); Miscellaneous issues, 1943-44

Box 12    Folder 17

Newsletter, The Propaganda Battlefront; 1945, complete

Box 12    Folder 18

Newsletter, The Propaganda Battlefront; 1946, complete Miscellaneous issues, 1947