David Gordon George papers, 1919-1976 and undated, bulk 1935-1965 6.9 Linear Feet — 3400 items
The David Gordon George Papers span the years 1919 to 1976, with the bulk of the collection dated between 1935 and 1965, and are organized into the Correspondence, Personal Files, Printed Materials and Writings, Photographic Materials, and Subject Files Series. The collection consists primarily of correspondence and files related to George's involvement in a variety of political and social movements, documenting his early involvement in grassroots socialist and leftist democratic organizing and electoral reform work, decades of involvement with national and regional labor organizations, and his late-life support of anti-communist and socially conservative politics. His complex views on the political and social status of African Americans in the South, particularly in Virginia, are documented in his writings and correspondence. Among the organizations well-represented in the collection are the Southern Electoral Reform League, founded by George primarily to campaign against poll taxes, and the United States Information Service. The papers include files of correspondence with a wide spectrum of prominent national political leaders, from Socialists (Norman Thomas and Victor Berger) to Democrats (Hubert Humphrey and Estes Kefauer) to Conservatives (George Wallace), as well as staff of diverse labor organizations and a number of Virginia politicians across a broad ideological spectrum. There are also several files of correspondence relating to George's business ventures in Mexico, particularly his interests and operations in mining in the Chihuahua region.
George's writings, including many editorials and letters to the editor, and correspondence reveal his complex and shifting allegiances to various reform organizations during particularly eventful decades for the labor movement in the U.S. His work for labor-related causes in different guises put him in at least tacit opposition to positions he had advocated earlier. He also offers often contradictory views on race, supporting local black politicians at one point but joining the segregationist Citizens Council later in his life. In addition, George's experiences during the McCarthy Era demonstrate the lasting professional consequences of the alleged Communist ties in his past.
Acquired as part of the George Washington Flowers Collection of Southern Americana.