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Abraham Minkus Papers: Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles, 1945-1983
MSS 040  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Abraham Minkus Papers: Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date (inclusive): 1945-1983
    Collection number: MSS 040
    Creator: Minkus, Albert
    Extent: 4 boxes

    1 1/2 linear feet
    Repository: Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
    Los Angeles, CA 90044
    Abstract: Part of the larger Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles Collections, the Abraham Minkus Papers contain the materials created or collected by Minkus, a blacklisted Los Angeles teacher. The collection contains materials relating to Minkus' dismissal and subsequent lawsuits, as well as information on the cases of other blacklisted L.A. teachers.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Provenance

    The materials in this collection were donated to the Library by Abraham Minkus.

    Access

    The collection is available for research only at the Library's facility in Los Angeles. The Library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Researchers are encouraged to call or email the Library indicating the nature of their research query prior to making a visit.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. Researchers may make single copies of any portion of the collection, but publication from the collection will be allowed only with the express written permission of the Library's director. It is not necessary to obtain written permission to quote from a collection. When the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research gives permission for publication, it is 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], Abraham Minkus Papers: Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles, California.

    Biography

    Historical Context: Blacklisting and the McCarthy Era

    The individual collections within the Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles Collection share a common historical framework, the Anti-Communist fervor of the Cold War Period and what is commonly referred to as the McCarthy Era. After the end of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in the ideological battle known as the Cold War. The identification of communists and other radicals through the use of federal and state legislative investigative committees and the punishment of those identified through firing and blacklisting comprised a successful U.S. tactic. The investigations spread from federal and other government employees to the entertainment industry, the professions, labor unions, and the private sector. The major players in these campaigns included, on the Federal level, Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). In California major players included California State Assemblyman (later State Senator) Nelson S. Dilworth, and State Senators Jack B. Tenney and Hugh M. Burns. All three served on the Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities in California (1945) and first Tenney and later Burns chaired the [California] Senate Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities. Of special note are the Levering (1952) and Dilworth (1953) Acts. The Levering Act made refusal to fully cooperate with any state committee grounds for firing a teacher and the Dilworth Act gave local school boards investigating authority and also required that all teachers sign an oath denying any Communist affiliation.

    Biography

    Abraham Minkus was a major figure in the Los Angeles Federation of Teachers. A tenured teacher, Minkus was suspended and then dismissed from his job as an elementary school teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District after invoking the Fifth and First Amendments during a House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) Hearing held in March 1953. He unsuccessfully fought the dismissal all the way to the California Supreme Court. In 1977, he was a party to several suits seeking reinstatement and back pay for himself and other blacklisted teachers.
    Minkus was born in 1914 in Chicago of immigrant parents. He graduated from high school in Chicago and moved to Los Angeles in 1932, graduating from UCLA with a Bachelor's in Education in 1934. He served as vice-president of the Los Angeles Federation of Teachers for ten years. Active on a number of educational and progressive issues he was not only dismissed from teaching, but received bomb threats and hate-letters threatening his children. Unable to teach, he worked as a salesman under an assumed name.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains correspondence, clippings, legal documents, and miscellaneous notes and documents relating to Minkus' dismissal and subsequent lawsuits. Also, included in the collection are documents relating to the dismissal and court cases of a number of other Los Angles teachers and one Hawaiian teacher. Other Los Angeles teachers mentioned include: David Arkin, Alice Ball, Minna Cooper, Frances Eisenberg, Serril Gerber, Leon Goldin, Claire Kaye, Solly Rubenstein, June Sirell, Harry Shepro, and Jean Wilkinson. Except for a few biographical sketches and four Gerber family wills, the collection deals only with the blacklisting aspect of the lives of those mentioned.

    Arrangement

    The collection is divided into three series: Abraham Minkus, Other Los Angeles Teachers, and Other Documents.

    Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

    Title: Frances Robman Eisenberg: Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date: 1928-1995
    Physical Description: 4 boxes and 1 oversize box
    Title: Florence Sloat Papers: Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date: 1959-1991
    Physical Description: 1 box
    Title: Thomas Fagan Collection (Interviews): Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date: 1989-1990
    Physical Description: 3 folders, 5 audio cassettes
    Title: Greg Goldin Collection (Interviews): Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date: 1977
    Physical Description: 1 box, 15 audio cassettes
    Title: Ellen Chase Verdries Collection (Interviews/Paper): Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date: 1992-1996
    Physical Description: 1 (half) box
    Title: Jean Benson Wilkinson Papers: Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date: 1953-1955
    Physical Description: 1 folder
    Title: Los Angeles Teachers Union Collection,
    Date: 1933-1982
    Physical Description: 2 boxes
    Title: Dorothy Doyle Collection (Interviews): Blacklisted Teachers In Los Angeles,
    Date: 1986
    Physical Description: 1 audio tape
    Title: Clipping Collection: Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date: 1967-1982
    Physical Description: 1 folder