Skip to main content

Daniel J. Leab Papers

Identifier: LP000590
The papers Mr. Leab has placed with the Archives were gathered in the course of researching his books. The guide to the Daniel J. Leab papers is arranged in two sections, the first contains Leab's research material on the American Newspaper Guild and the second is his material on blacks in motion pictures.
Part 1: Important subjects covered in this part: AFL support of the American Newspaper Guild (ANG) ANG affiliation with the AFL: communist influences concept of ANG as a trade union constitutions and by-laws contract negotiations conventions factionalism financial problems financial system Guild locals "martyrs" relations with National Recovery Administration relations with Newspaper Industrial Board split between "New York and national" blocks strike assessments strikes

American Newspaper Publishers Association CIO assistance to the ANG Effect of the Depression on newspaper industry Employment conditions of editorial employees National Labor Relations Board National Recovery Administration's code for the newspaper industry Publishers' opposition to ANG Unionization of white collar workers Wages and salaries of newspapermen

Important correspondents in this section: Ashcraft, Garland; Jennings, Dean; Beals, Clyde; Johnson, General Hugh; Biddle, Francis; Kaufman, Milton; Blankenhorn, Heber; Kenen, I.L.; Bordner, Robert; Parker, "Mac"; Broun, Heywood; Pasche, Victor; Buck, Robert M.; Pew, Marlen; Burgess, Louis; Rogers, Lindsay; Crozier, Emmet; Stevens, Don; Davy, William; Watson, Morris; Early, Stephen; Eddy, Jonathan; Ernst, Morris; Fleeson, Doris; Hull, Morgan

Series Description: Series I. American Newspaper Guild Organizational and Operational Records, 1933-1939: This series consists of constitutions, by-laws, convention reports, correspondence, minutes, audits and other material relating to the internal organization and early history of the Guild.

Series II. American Newspaper Guild and Governmental Relations, 1933-1937: This series is closely realated to Series I, but its emphasis is the ANG's involvement in the formulation, under the National Recovery Administration, of a code for the newspaper industry. Included are cases that were referred to the Code Authority, the Newspaper Industrial Board, and the National Labor Relations Board.

Series III. American Newspaper Guild and Communist Influence, 1939-1955: This series consists mainly of the letters of Guild members commenting on the extent of communist influence in the early years of the Guild. Some published material on the subject is also included.

Series IV. Ancillary Material, 1933-1962: This series is composed of material assembled by Mr. Leab during his background research into the early history of the Guild. It includes studies of the newspaper industry, American Newspaper Publishers Association material, American Press Society information, and short typescript histories of the ANG.

Series V: Mr. Leab's Research Correspondence, 1964-1965: This series contains Mr. Leab's correspondence with individuals and institutions during his search for information about the early ANG.
Part 2: Important subjects covered in this part: Black audiences Black performers Censorship of films Film industry History of motion pictures Negro films and film makers Negro image in movies Stereotypes in movies Important films and film studios: "Birth of a Nation" "Carmen Jones " Christie Studios "The Cool World" "Cotton Comes to Harlem" "Emperor Jones" "Green Pastures" "Hallelujah" "Hearts in Dixie" "Home of the Brave" "Intruder in the Dust" Lincoln Motion Picture Company "Lost Boundaries" Micheaux Film Corporation Our Gang movies "Pinky" "Shaft"

Important actors and film makers: Anderson, Eddie "Rochester"; Parks, Gordon; Beavers, Louise; Poitier, Sidney; Belafonte, Harry; Robeson, Paul; Cambridge, Godfrey; Roundtree, Richard; Dandridge, Dorothy; St. Jacques, Raymond; Fetchit, Stepin (Lincoln Perry); Williams, Bert; Gilpin, Charles; Griffith, D. W.; Hernandez, Juano; Horne, Lena; Ingram, Rex; Johnson, Noble; Micheaux, Oscar; Moreland, Montan; Muse, Clarence

Series Description: Series I. Movie Reviews and Descriptions, 1894-1974: Oversize Box A Reviews, trade descriptions, and photo essays on films with black actors, made by blacks, or dealing with racial themes.

Series II. Biographies Biographical sketches of black actors, actresses, film-makers, and also white actors who had key roles in films that had racial themes.

Series III. Historical Analyses Parts of books, theses, and articles that analyses the black's role in the film industry from movie goer to actor to film maker. Articles on movie stereotypes and movie censorship are included.


  • 1900 - 1975


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


6.5 Linear Feet (13 MB)


Daniel Leab was a historian and university professor as well as the managing editor of "Labor History." His papers contain research material for books on the American Newspaper Guild and African-Americans in motion pictures.


Daniel Josef Leab was born on August 29, 1936 in Berlin, Germany. He received his B.A. from Columbia University in 1957, attended Harvard Law School in 1957 and 1958, and returned to Columbia to complete his M.A. in 1961 and Ph.D. in 1969. He has held university teaching positions since 1966, first at Columbia, and then at Seton Hall University where he currently is an associate professor of history. Since 1974, Mr. Leab has been the managing editor of Labor History.

Mr. Leab's doctoral dissertation, which was published in 1970 as A Union of Individuals: The Formation of the American Newspaper Guild, 1933-1936, was about the origins of the American Newspaper Guild. In 1975, he published From Sambo to Superspade: The Black Experience in Motion Pictures.


Part 1: Arranged in 5 series - Series 1 (Boxes 1-6), Series 2 (Boxes 7-8), Series 3 (Box 8), Series 4 (Box 8), and Series 5 (Box 9). Folders are arranged alphabetically or chronologically depending upon the series.

The material received from Mr. Leab on the American Newspaper Guild was arranged by him according to the chapters found in his dissertation. He had indicated whether the material was used or not used. Since many subjects in the book continued through several chapters, a subject, rather than chapter, arrange¬ment was chosen for the collection. However, Mr. Leab's chapter designations were retained in the folder titles. The numbers in parentheses after the folder titles are the chapter numbers. A number without a suffix means the material was used in that chapter; the number followed by "un" means the material was not used; the number followed by "unspec" means that the material was collected for use in that particular chapter but it was not specified by Mr. Leab if it had been used or not. Some documents had no chapter designations and therefore they have no number in parentheses in the folder title.
Part 2 II: Arranged in 3 series - Series 1 (Boxes 10-12, 1 OS), Series 2 (Box 12), and Series 3 (Box 13). Folders are arranged alphabetically or by subject depending upon the series.


The papers of Daniel J. Leab were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in 1974 and 1975 by Mr. Leab.


Section I: Guild local newsletters and newspapers from the 1930's were placed in the Archives Library.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in May 1980.
Guide to the Daniel J. Leab Papers
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA