Cook County Socialist Party records
MSCCSP66

 An inventory of its records at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Summary Information

Repository
Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections and University Archives
Creator
Socialist Party (Cook County, Ill.).
Title
Cook County Socialist Party records
ID
MSCCSP66
Date [inclusive]
1913-1935
Extent
1.0 linear foot
Language
English
Abstract:
The collection contains delegate and executive committee minutes, 1914-1919 as well as a broadside of the Socialist Party municipal platform of 1935.

Preferred Citation

Cook County Socialist Party records, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago

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Administrative History of Cook County Socialist Party

The Cook County Socialist Party was founded in 1896 as a response to the Pullman strike in Chicago. It held its first convention two years later. In 1901 it joined with other socialists parties in the state to form the Socialist Party of Illinois. The state party affiliated with the national party and its leader Eugene Debs and grew in membership throughout the first two decades of the twentieth century but declined after World War One.

The Cook County Socialist Party (CCSP) was comprised of members who belonged to one of the party branches located within the county. The majority of the branches were from Chicago identified by wards, and included others located in suburbs within Cook County including Berwyn, Cicero, Thornton, Northfield, Maywood, and Oak Park. There were also branches that were designated by their ethnicity and were referred to as the "foreign speaking organizations." These included German, Hungarian, Italian, Jewish, Lettish, Polish, Lithuanian, Finnish, Russian, Scandinavian, Slavic, and Bohemian branches.

The governance for the CCSP was divided into two bodies - the delegate committee and the executive committee. Delegates from the branches made recommendations to the Delegate Committee to take certain positions on pending legislation, support striking workers, and other political actions. The delegates voted on the recommendations, which, if passed, resulted in resolutions issued by the party. Included in the resolutions were pronouncements recognizing the Soviet government of Russia after the revolutions. [box 1 folder 7] The party also distributed information on voter registration, caucuses, and candidate requirements. The executive committee oversaw the work of the party. It divided itself into subcommittees that reported to the whole committee once a month. These included organization, propaganda, entertainment, finance, and press. Special subcommittees were occasionally organized, such as a May Day committee with a mission to organize a celebration.

There is some information within the files on the members of the CCSP. In 1914 the executive committee cited that there were over four thousand members of the CCSP. Names of new applicants and their occupation are listed on documents that are attached to the delegate committee minutes from 1915 to 1919. Women were active members of the CCSP serving with men in the various branches and as delegates. There were also instances when the women members would form all women committees to participate in certain events, such as the Suffrage Parade on May 2, 1914. [box 1 folder 3] There appears to have been controversy over issues of racial diversity within the organization. In the delegate minutes for November 11, 1917, there is one brief mention of the possibility of a "colored organizer." [Box 1 folder 6] There were notable figures among the membership including Ellen Gates Starr and Karl Sandberg.

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Scope and Contents

The papers date from 1913 to 1919. They are primarily divided into delegate committee minutes, which included applications for party membership, and executive committee minutes. These minutes primarily discussed the work of the branches and the executive committee subcommittees that were centered on promoting the socialist party, including its agenda and its candidates, and supporting the rights and agitations of laboring men and women. The greatest controversy contained in the executive committee minutes occurred during the Great War. Because the CCSP was opposed to the United States involvement in the war, it debated the status of members who joined any of the "fighting forces." [box 2 folder 13] The minutes for both committees end abruptly in 1919 without explanation, though there is a single broadside from 1935 to indicate that the CCSP continued to operate.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections and University Archives 2004-05-17

801 S. Morgan Street
Chicago, Illinois, 60607
312.996.2742

Restrictions on Access

None

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Socialist Party (Cook County, Ill.). -- Archives

Subject(s)

  • Chicago Political and Civic Life.

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Collection Inventory

Series I: Organizational Records, 1913-1935   

Box Folder

Broadside - Chicago Municipal Platform Socialist Party, 1935 

1 1

Delegate Committee Minutes - Announcements - Correspondence - Financial Reports - Grievance Committee Reports, 11 May 1913 - 11 January 1914 

1 2

Delegate Committee Minutes - Announcements - Correspondence, 8 February - 13 December 1914 

1 3

Delegate Committee Minutes - Announcements - Correspondence - Applications for Membership, 10 January 1915 - 9 January 1916 

1 4

Delegate Committee Minutes - Announcements - Correspondence - Applications for Membership, 9 January 1916 - 14 January 1917 

1 5

Delegate Committee Minutes - Announcements - Correspondence - Applications for Membership, 14 January 1917 - 13 January 1918 

1 6

Delegate Committee Minutes - Announcements - Correspondence - Applications for Membership, 13 January 1918 - 12 January 1919 

1 7

Delegate Committee Minutes - Announcements - Correspondence - Applications for Membership, 12 January - 13 April 1919 

1 8

Executive Committee Minutes, 11 April -26 December 1913 

2 9

Executive Committee Minutes, 5 January - 23 December 1914 

2 10

Executive Committee Minutes, 2 January - 16 December 1915 

2 11

Executive Committee Minutes, 13 January - 15 December 1916 

2 12

Executive Committee Minutes, 12 January 1917 - 11 January 1918 

2 13

Executive Committee Minutes - Political Broadside for Carl D. Thompson - Newspaper Clippings, 18 January - 27 December 1918 

2 14

Executive Committee Minutes, 10 January - 7 March 1919 

2 15

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