Skip to main content

Erwin B. Ellman Papers

Identifier: UP000506

Scope and Content

Mr. Ellmanns' collection, covering the years 1969 through mid-1971, consists of national ACLU activities (5 boxes), including minutes of the Executive Committee, reports from the subject matter committees, and financial reports, news releases, legislative concerns, and legal briefs and cases. The material from the Michigan office (2 boxes) includes activities from the Michigan offices which is similar in content to the national files. The collection contains one box of correspondence, arranged chronologically, and which includes original as well as multilith letters from the Michigan and national office.

Description of Series Series I: Correspondence Arranged chronologically, includes correspondence to Erwin Ellmann and to other Michigan ACLU officials as well as correspondence to and from the central office in New York (many mimeograph letters included).

Series II: National Office National ACLU material dealing with national issues with some affiliate issues (except Michigan). Selected subjects include: Police infiltration of political organizations ROTC on campauses Government subpoening of newsmen and stations Women's rights Residency requirements in elections Viet Nam Abolition of draft law Amnesty for draft resisters Collection also includes material on membership and the organization of the ACLU, along with the finances of the organization.

Series III: Michigan Office Michigan ACLU material deals with national issues as above as well as state and local issues. Selected subjects include: Cobo Hall leaflet distribution John Sinclair case Haircuts in public schools Civil rights of public school students Search and seizure Sex education in public schools


  • 1969 - 1977


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.


Erwin B. Ellmann, an attorney and General Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in Michigan, has been as Executive Board member of the Metroplitan Detroit branch of the ACLU since 1952, has been the author of m any ACLU legal briefs, and has reviewed all pleadings submitted in the name of the Michigan state ACLU. He has also been the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Michigan, and he is a former chairman and present member of the Civil Rights Committe of the Detroit Bar Association. Since its official founding in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union has been actively and continuoisly engaged in the defense of civil rights and of individuals and groups. The organization, with a membership of approximately 130,000, operates on a federation principle consisting of 47 affiliate organizations on the state level with the national headquarters in New York City. The national organization is run by a Board of Directors consisting of members of the affiliates which meets five times a year. The national organization is actively run by an Executive Committee of the Board which carrys out daily activities. Permanent committees of the national ACLU are the subject-matter committees which specialize in specific issues: academic freedom, church-state, communications-media, due-process, equality, free speech- association, labor-business, military-bill of rights, and privacy, plus temporary committees organized for special problems. The ACLU Foundation is the tax-free arm of the ACLU. The Michigan ACLU, an affiliate of the national ACLU, has branches through out the state of Michigan. The Michigan ACLU is structured similarly to the national organization with a state Board of Directors consisting of representative from the branches, and an Executive Board in each of the branch offices throughout Michigan. Committees similar to the national committees exist in the Michigan affiliate.


4 Linear Feet (8 MB)


Mr. Ellmann, an attorney and general counsel for the Michigan Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, has long been active in the work of the ACLU. Correspondence, minutes, and reports cover such topics as women's rights, Viet Nam, abolition of the draft law, and amnesty for draft resisters.


Arranged in 3 series – Series 1 (Box 1), Series 2 (Boxes 2-6) and Series 3 (Boxes 7-8). Folders are arranged chronologically.


The papers of Erwin B. Ellmann were placed in the Archives of Labor History and Urban Affairs in November of 1971 by Mrs. Erwin B. Ellmann and were opened for research in November of 1972.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in November, 1972.
Guide to the Erwin B. Ellman Papers
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA