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Finding Aid to the California Surveillance Collection larc.ms.0124
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Series 1:  California Surveillance Files, 1934-1940

Extent: 3.0 boxes

Scope and Contents

This series consists primarily of undercover agent reports and other documents, documenting the activities of labor organizations and organizations on the left, 1934-1940, including the Communist Party of San Francisco, and labor leader Harry Bridges. The materials were possibly gathered or created by Harper Knowles during his tenure as director of the Subversive Activities Committee of the American Legion in San Francisco, and Stanley M. Doyle, an associate of Harper Knowles.
Correspondents include William Hynes of the Los Angeles Police Department, head of that department's anti-radical unit; John Keegan of the Portland Police Department, and Raphael Bonham of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. For additional information on Knowles, Doyle, Haynes, Keegan. and Bonhan, see Knowles's testimony at the 1939 hearing regarding Harry Bridges's citizenship; box 1 and box 11, folder 30 of the Harry Bridges Legal Collection, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles; Stanley I. Kutler, The American Inquisition: Justice and Injustice in the Cold War (New York: Hill and Wang. 1982), chapter 5; Charles P. Larrowe, Labor in the United States (New York: Lawrence Hill Bnd Co, 1972), pp. 191-201; Estolv E. Ward, Harry Bridges on Trial (New York: Modern Age Books. 1940), chapter 10.
Some material refers to the Industrial Association, a San Francisco organization of banks and employers created in 1921 to promote the so-called American Plan, an anti-union effort based on the open shop. For information on the Industrial Association, see the hearings of the La Follette Committee (74th Congress. Senate. Committee on Education and Labor. Hearings. Part 60, pp. 21943-22263); Frederick L. Ryan, Industrial Relations in the San Francisco Building Trades (Norman. Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1935); and William IsseI and Robert W. Cherny, San Francisco, 1865-1932: Politics, Power, and Urban Development (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. 1986), pp. 95-99. Some of the material refers to the La Follette Committee; for more information (but none touching on this material), see Jerold S. Auerbach, Labor and Liberty: the La Follette Committee and the New Deal (lndianpolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., lnc., 1966).
Box 1, Folder 1

Reports of Undercover Informant "A.X." 1934 June 25-October 30


Subjects of the reports include the Communist Party, the Cannery and Agricultural Workers Industrial Union, and Upton Sinclair's EPIC campaign. Most focus on the Communist Party.
Box 1, Folder 2

Reports of Undercover Informant "A.X." 1939 April 15-1940 April 15


The informant was by then a high officer, perhaps vice-president, of the Communist Party in San Francisco; the informant claimed to have been a charter member of the Workers' Party of America (predecessor of the Communist Party), to have come to San Francisco in 1934, and to have been a member of the "Inner Circle" of party leadership. Most reports focus on activities at the Communist Party headquarters at 121 Haight Street, other party activities, activities of the American Civil Liberties Union, unions, and the California Youth Congress meeting in Los Angeles.
Box 1, Folder 3

Reports of Undercover Informant "Tommy" 1937 April 5-1937 December 27


The informant was employed by the Industrial Association, apparently beginning in 1934. He circulated through the city regularly each day, beginning on the waterfront. Subjects include union activities and Communist Party activities.
Box 1, Folder 4

Reports of Undercover Informant "Tommy" [continuation of the previous file] 1938 January 5-June 10

Box 1, Folder 5

Reports of Undercover Informant in Carmel 1936 June 30-August 28


The informant sought to infiltrate the group of radicals centered in Carmel around Lincoln Steffens and Ella Winter. During this period Steffens died and the reports include accounts of his funeral. Also refers to the Bakcay effort to infiltrate this group previously; for which, see Western Worker, May 21, 1936.
Box 1, Folder 6

Coded letter to Knowles 1938 June 28

Box 1, Folder 7

Reports of Informant on La Follette Committee Activities in San Francisco 1938 December 29-1939 February 8

Box 1, Folder 8

Reports from Various Informants 1935 August 3-1939 February 8


Reflects the activities of several informants; most concentrate on the Communist Party. Other subjects include the Simon J. Lubin Society, the defense of Harry Bridges.
Box 1, Folder 9

Affidavit of H. G. Mayes, undercover informant for the Industrial Association

Box 1, Folder 10

Transcript of a conversation on May 27, 1937; participants identified as Slaby, Phillips, and Blank 1937

Box 1, Folder 11

Reports on Activities 1934 June 29-1935 January 27


Mostly summaries of meetings, with occasionally additional information; concentrates on agricultural organizing, the San Francisco maritime and general strikes, other strikes.
Box 2, Folder 1

Reports on Radical and Union Activities outside California, most provided by "Advisory Associates" 1933 February 16-October 19, undated

Box 2, Folder 2

Reports on Radical and Union Activities outside California 1935 July 8-1939 October 25, undated


Includes a report on Louise Bryant.
Box 2, Folder 3

"Report of Communist Party Activity in the U.S.A ." 1937 June 24

Box 2, Folder 4

Reports on Radical and Union Activities in California 1934 October 17-1939 October 13, undated


Includes reports on Upton Sinclair, Donald Ogden Stewart, Helen Everett Meiklejohn, Dr. Alexander Meiklejohn.
Box 2, Folder 5

Correspondence and Reports 1936 May 1-November 23


Includes advertising for conservative publications, campaigns against taxes, "A Professor Quits the Communist Party" (reprinted by the Industrial Association).
Box 2, Folder 6

Materials from Left Groups 1935 April 17-1939 June 29, undated


Includes meeting notices, appeals for support; organizations include anti-war groups, EPIC, Mooney-Billings.
Box 2, Folder 7

Correspondence from Left Groups 1934, 1938


Apparently consists of correspondence acquired from inside the Communist Party organization, dated 1934; includes a letter from an IWW members, dated 1938.
Box 2, Folder 8

"CIO 'Functionaries' Compiled by American Vigilant Intelligence Federation" 1938 August

Box 2, Folder 9

List of Suspected Radicals 1934-1938, undated


Apparently compiled in part as the result of undercover activities in Communist party headquarters in San Francisco. Includes some other lists as well.
Box 2, Folder 10

List of Members of International Longshoremen's Association Local 38-44 1936 July 31

Box 3, Folder 1

Notebook circa 1937 or 1938


Contains questions for possible witnesses against Harry Bridges, correspondence regarding the investigation of Bridges, instructions for securing evidence against Bridges. Witnesses include John Leach [sic], Pierre Margolis, Sam Goodwin, Norma Perry, Charles Cutright/Cuthbert, others.
Box 3, Folder 2

Testimony regarding Harry Bridges 1936 April 11-1937 December 22


Includes statements by Arthur Scott (also known as Arthur Kent or Arthur Margolis), Herbert Mills, John E. Ferguson, John L. Leach [sic].
Box 3, Folder 3

Material relating to John Mustak


Mustak provided evidence against Harry Bridges. Includes two affidavits, one disavowing the other, and correspondence relating to Mustak's conviction of armed robbery in Los Angeles.
Box 3, Folder 4

Material relating to Ivan Cox


Cox filed an eloborate lawsuit against Harry Bridges and many others; the suit was probably prepared by Doyle and perhaps Knowles. Includes undercover informants report.
Box 3, Folder 5

Correspondence of Harper Knowles and Stanley Doyle 1936 April 9-1939 February 14


Most of the correspondence deals with the investigation of Harry Bridges.
Box 3, Folder 6

Memorandum for the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization


Subject: activities of Harper Knowles in trying to secure the deportation of radicals, especially Bridges.
Box 3, Folder 7

Statement of George Cavagnaro 1938 January 20

Box 3, Folder 8

Affidavit of Stanley M. Doyle 1940 March 6


Concerns a conversation of Doyle with Richard Gladstein and Aubrey Grossman, regarding the Bridges case. Gladstein and Grossman try to buy information from Doyle.
Box 3, Folder 9

Miscellaneous Correspondence regarding Harry Bridges 1936 September 4-1939 September 14

Box 3, Folder 10

Statement by the American Legion to the Dies Committee 1938 October 21

Box 3, Folder 11

Brief prepared by the American Legion, charging Harry Bridges with being subject to deportation

Box 3, Folder 12

Survey Questions regarding Communist Activities


Includes a response regarding Los Angeles.
Box 3, Folder 13

Letter of Introduction from A.J. Mattei, to Martin Dies, for Harper Knowles 1938 October 20

Box 3, Folder 14

Copy of Subpoena Issued by the La Follette Committee to the Industrial Association 1936 September 22

Box 3, Folder 15

Correspondence from the La Follette Committee to Harper Knowles 1938 September 29-1940 February 9


Includes a subpoena, and extensions of it.
Box 3, Folder 16

Miscellaneous Correspondence 1931 July 18-1929 March 29

Box 3, Folder 17

Financial Papers relating to travel, most by Harper Knowles

Box 3, Folder 18

Financial Papers relating to the office of Harper Knowles at 1 Montgomery Street (also the office of the Associated Farmers) 1938-1939

Box 3, Folder 19

Brief. Sumner Duncan Dodge v. Arnold Gingrich et al. (libel suit) 1939


Has no obvious connection to the rest of the collection.

Series 2:  Harper Knowles Personal Papers, 1909-1954

Extent: 3.0 boxes

Scope and Contents

Consists of financial and household papers of Harper and Nora Knowles.
Box 4, Folder 1

Automobile insurance materials for H. Knowles, N. Duffy 1936-1949

Box 4, Folder 2

Household and home insurance, Harper Knowles 1936-1949

Box 4, Folder 3

Miscellaneous insurance papers: Harper Knowles and Nora Duffy Knowles 1943-1949

Box 4, Folder 4

Financial papers 1936-1940

Box 4, Folder 5

Home rental papers 1936-1940

Box 4, Folder 6

Harper Knowles personal papers 1931, 1937-1939

Box 4, Folder 7

Receipt books 1925-1927

Box 4, Folder 8

Erwin L. Knowles family correspondence and papers 1910-1916

Box 5

Bank account records, Harper L. and Nora E. Knowles 1947-1954

Box 6

Raymond Granite Co. papers 1909-1918, 1925-1928