Finding Aid to the Archie Brown Collection, 1933-1978

Finding aid prepared by Labor Archives and Research Center staff.
Labor Archives and Research Center
J. Paul Leonard Library, Room 460
San Francisco State University
1630 Holloway Ave
San Francisco, CA 94132-1722
(415) 405-5571
1991, Revised 2012

Title: Archie Brown collection
Date (bulk): 1970-1978
Date (inclusive): 1933-1978
Creator: Brown, Archie, 1911-1990
Collection number:
Accession numbers: 1991/079; 1992/005; 1995/011; 1995/067; 1997/066; 1998/057
Repository: Labor Archives and Research Center
J. Paul Leonard Library, Room 460
San Francisco State University
1630 Holloway Ave
San Francisco, CA 94132-1722
(415) 405-5571
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English.
Extent: 2.25 cubic ft. (5 boxes)
Location: Materials are available onsite.


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives & Research Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Labor Archives & Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Archie Brown Collection,, Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University.

Material Cataloged Separately

The following materials have been removed from the files and are located in the Ephemera Collection of the Labor Archives.
A Conversation--Labor Looks at Labor. Some members of the United Auto Workers undertake a self-examination. 1963.
Union Printers College. San Francisco Typographical Union, No. 21. 1963
Voices for Liberty. Stop McCarranism! Collection of speeches. Ca. 1964.
How to Speak at Union Meetings. UAW Education Department. 1977?
Effective Discussion Methods. UAW Education Department. 1976?
Come Out Swinging! A 2-Fisted Rank & File Program. Labor Education Fund. 1974.
Proposition "L": 30 Hours Work, 40 Hours Pay. Workers Action Movement. 1973.
Some Facts on the New Grape Boycott. UFW Research Department. 1973.
Agenda from the First Constitutional Convention, United Farm Workers. 1973. (English and Spanish)
Boycott Lettuce and Grapes. Political Education Project and UFW. 1973?
Joe Worker and the Story of Labor. (Comic book). National Labor Service. 1945.
On the Boss's Time. Shop Poems and Other Poems By George Bratt. 1958.
Security, Civil Liberties and Unions. AFL-CIO. 1956.
Of the People, for the People. Pictorial highlights of fifty years of the Communist Party, USA, 1919-1969. 1970.
"All Strikebreakers Must Go!" San Francisco Typographical Union No. 21. 1964.
Port of San Francisco Ocean Shipping Handbook. Board of State Harbor Commissioners. undated

Separated Material

Numerous Communist Party books and pamphlets were removed and sent to the Niebyl-Proctor Library.

Processing Information

Processed by The Labor Archives and Research Center staff.


The collection consists of accessions from Archie Brown's wife, Mrs. Esther "Hon" Brown. Materials include broadsides from leftist causes, pamphlets, and correspondence. The collection was received in the spring of 1995 and processed during the summers of 1995 and 1996; accession numbers 1991/079; 1992/005; 1995/011; 1995/067; 1997/066; and 1998/057

Biographical Notes

Archie Brown was born in Sioux City, Iowa in 1911. In his early teens he rode the rails to the Bay Area. At age 14, he lost his job as a newsboy for organizing a newsboys' strike. During the 1930s, he belonged to the Young Communist League, helped organize California agricultural workers, and became a longshoreman, part of San Francisco's thriving waterfront union movement.
In 1938, his convictions led him into the Abraham Lincoln Brigade to fight the Fascists in the Spanish Civil War. He also served in the U.S. Army in World War II, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
After his return from the war, Archie held a number of state and national Communist Party positions. He continued to work as a longshoreman, and served on the Executive Committee of International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, Local 10. He was arrested for violating the Landrum-Griffin Act, which stated that trade-union office holders could not be Communist Party members. He fought the guilty verdict up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down the ban in 1965.
Archie remained an active longshoreman until 1977. After his retirement, he worked to promote numerous leftist causes. He died of cancer in November 1990. A partial record of his activities can be found in the Collection.


Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Contents

The Archie Brown collection includes items from the 1930s and 1960s, but the majority of materials date from the 1970s, and document Brown's active role in the ILWU, the Communist Party, and a host of progressive organizations. The many pamphlets and broadsides testify to his commitment to social justice and also give an idea about the issues of importance to San Francisco leftists in the 1970s. Other activities of which there is less documentation include economic issues, such as the Coalition to Fight the High Cost of Living. He also supported struggles of other unions and their strikes.
Of special interest in the collection are letters Brown received after the movie "Operation Abolition" was shown nationwide, a documentary about the fight to abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee; and materials related to U.S. labor union activities to support Chilean workers and the fight to free Angela Davis. The collection also includes two courtroom transcripts, of the Grand Jury hearing of October 1935, and murder trial, December 1935, defendants: Shipscalers F. Jimenez, J. Cavales, A. Brown and N. Villi; photocopies of letters Archie wrote to his wife to his wife Esther (Hon) Brown while he was a member of the Spanish Civil War Abraham Lincoln Brigade (originals are held by Brandeis University in the Archie Brown Collection); print materials pertaining to the San Francisco waterfront, including the Waterfront Worker, May 1934¬March 1936; materials on Archie Brown's political campaigns for SF supervisor, California governor (write-in candidate) and congressman; and photographs of Archie Brown during 1961 trial challenging the Communist Control Act (successor act to Taft-Hartley Section 9) and at HUAC hearings in California, 1960.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
Labor unions--Longshoremen--United States.
Political activists--California--San Francisco.
Waterfront Worker.

Box 1, Folder 1

Biography of Archie Brown 1990

Box 1, Folder 2

Biography undated

Box 1, Folder 3

Black Panthers 1971, undated

Box 1, Folder 4

Candidacies (of Archie Brown) 1959, undated

Box 1, Folder 5

Chile 1974-1976

Box 1, Folder 6

Correspondence, Incoming 1959-1977, undated

Box 1, Folder 7

Correspondence, Operation Abolition 1960

Box 1, Folder 8

Correspondence, Operation Abolition 1960-1961

Box 1, Folder 9

Correspondence, Operation Abolition 1960-1962

Box 1, Folder 10

Correspondence, Operation Abolition 1960-1961

Box 1, Folder 11

Correspondence, Outgoing 1961-1974

Box 1, Folder 12

Correspondence, Spanish Civil War (photocopy) 1938

Box 2, Folder 1

Court Transcript, State of CA vs. Brown 1935

Box 2, Folder 2

Court Transcript. Jimenez, Canales, Brown and Villi 1935

Box 2, Folder 3

FBI Records, Social Security Benefits 1977

Box 2, Folder 4

Government Documents 1967-1976

Box 2, Folder 5

Holmes Eureka Lumber Strike Commemoration undated

Box 2, Folder 6

I.L.A. "Strike Bulletins" 1934, 1936

Box 2, Folder 7

I.L.A. "Women's Voice" 1936

Box 2, Folder 8

I.L.A. Report 1936

Box 2, Folder 9

I.L.W.U. 1971-1975

Box 2, Folder 10

Labor Issues, Various 1963-1978

Box 2, Folder 11

Local Negotiations 1971-1972

Box 3, Folder 1

Newspaper Clippings 1934-1951, undated

Box 3, Folder 2

Pamphlets undated

Box 3, Folder 3

Photographs 1941, 1960

Box 3, Folder 4

Political Leaflets, Various 1964-1978

Box 3, Folder 5

Socialist Labor Party and Workers International Industrial Union undated

Box 3, Folder 6

Spanish Civil War, Abraham Lincoln Brigade 1962-1978

Box 3, Folder 7

Strike Bulletins and Flyers 1934

Box 3, Folder 8

Testimonial, Speech undated

Box 3, Folder 9

Viet Nam War 1965-1971, undated

Box 3, Folder 10

Waterfront Worker (photocopy) 1933,1934

Box 3, Folder 11

Waterfront Worker (photocopy) 1933,1934

Box 3, Folder 12

Waterfront Worker 1934

Box 4, Folder 1

Waterfront Worker (photocopy) 1934

Box 4, Folder 2

Waterfront Worker 1935

Box 4, Folder 3

Waterfront Worker (photocopy) 1935

Box 4, Folder 4

Waterfront Worker (photocopy) 1935

Box 4, Folder 5

Waterfront Worker 1935-1936

Box 4, Folder 6

Waterfront Worker (photocopy) 1935-1936

Box 4, Folder 7

Waterfront Worker (photocopy) 1935-1936