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Finding Aid for the Dorothy Healey Papers, 1930-1978
1245  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Dorothy Healey Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1930-1978
    Collection number: 1245
    Creator: Healey, Dorothy
    Extent: 4 boxes (2 linear ft.)
    Abstract: Dorothy Healey (b.1914) was a member of the Young Communist League (1928-), and the Communist Party (1932-1973). She was appointed a deputy labor commissioner by Governor Culbert Olson (1940), and served as the Chairman of the Los Angeles Communist Party (1945). In 1952, she was arrested under the Smith Act. She appeared on college campuses in support of the antiwar movement in the 1960s, and in 1969, and openly opposed the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia (1969), effectively removing herself from the Party. Following her formal resignation in 1973, she became active in the New American Movement and the Democratic Socialists of America. The collection consists of photocopies of U.S. government documents obtained by Dorothy Healey under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts, and correspondence with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and government agencies regarding release of her files. Also contains materials released by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Defense, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Biography

    Healey was born Dorothy Rosenblum in 1914 in Denver, Colorado; her mother was a founding member of the Communist Party of the United States; her parents moved to California in 1921, and Dorothy grew up in Oakland; joined Young Communist League in 1928, and was arrested during the May Day unemployment demonstrations there in 1930; left high school in 1931 to work in a cannery in San Jose; joined the Communist Party when she turned 18; became organizer of migrant farm workers, and in 1940 was appointed a deputy labor commissioner by Governor Culbert Olson; in 1945 she became the Chairman of the Los Angeles Communist Party; arrested under the Smith Act and jailed in 1952; appeared on college campuses in support of the antiwar movement in the 1960s; in 1969 she openly opposed the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, effectively removing herself from the Party; following her formal resignation in 1973, she became active in the New American Movement and the Democratic Socialists of America; Marxist commentator on KPFK radio (Santa Monica) for 20 years; wrote (with Maurice Isserman) Dorothy Healey remembers: a life in the American Communist Party (1990).

    Biographical Narrative

    Dorothy Healey was born in Colorado in 1914. Her family moved to California in 1291. At the age of 14, she joined the Young Communist League and was arrested in 1930 during May Day unemployment demonstrations in Oakland. In 1931, she left high school to work in a cannery in San jose. She joined the Communist Party at 18, the earliest she could do so constitutionally. During the years she organized cannery and migratory workers, hundreds of Communists were among those beaten, jailed, killed. For more than 20 years, she served as chairman of the Southern California party, and she was, as Jessica Mitford has written, “a name to conjure within California when the party was at its zenith.” Her life spans the era of House Un-American Activities Committee hearings and the McCarthy witch hunts. Dorothy Healey resigned from the party in 1969 because of its pro-Soviet stand over Czechoslovakia. She remains a dedicated Marxist.

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of photocopies of U.S. government documents obtained by communist leader Dorothy Healey under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts. Includes correspondence with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, with government agencies regarding release of her files, and with others. Also contains materials released by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Defense, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). These include surveillance requests and reports, phone tapping requests, a file designed for prosecution of communist functionaries under the Smith Act, and information about Angela Davis and the Angela Davis defense fund.

    Expanded Scope and Content

    The Dorothy Healey papers were purchased by the library of the California State University, Long Beach. These UCLA papers consist of photocopies of materials obtained by her under the Freedom of Information and Privacy acts. The correspondence with government agencies reveals her difficultires even at this stage, under the law. A brief perusal of the documents gives evidence to the fact of years of surveillance of her activities, when sometimes her statements to that effect may have been dismissed as a sense of persecution. As if in response to accusations such as George Putnam's - “Come, come now, Dorthy--perhaps under Communism--perhaps under the Nazis--but it just doesn't happen in the United States of America” - Ms. Healey has given this material to the Library. There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.
    Dorothy Healey has been interviewed by the UCLA Oral History Program.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Healey, Dorothy
    Communists--United States--Archival resources.

    Related Material

    Tradition's chains have bound us [oral history transcript] / Dorothy Healey, interviewee. UCLA Oral History Department interview, c.1982. Available at Department of Special Collections, UCLA.