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Finding Aid to the Norman Leonard Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Publication Rights
  • Access
  • Preferred Citation
  • Material Cataloged Separately
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical Note
  • History of Leonard and Carder Law Firm
  • Chronology of Firms
  • Scope and Contents

  • Title: Norman Leonard papers
    Date (inclusive): 1938-1980
    Date (bulk): 1945-1960
    Collection number: larc.ms.0027
    Accession numbers: 1985/006; 1985/029
    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: 219.8 cubic ft. (525 boxes)
    Location: Collection is available onsite.
    Creator: Leonard, Norman
    Abstract: The files of Norman Leonard consist of legal cases brought to court by the law firm on behalf of its clients. For many years he represented the International Longshoreman's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU) and other Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) unions. Over the course of his career he defended Harry Bridges, Communist Party members prosecuted under the Smith Act, conscientious objectors targeted by the Selective Service, and individuals involved in the Free Speech Movement.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives and 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 and 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.


    Collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Norman Leonard Papers, larc.ms.0027, Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    Some materials have been removed from the files and are located in the Ephemera Collection of the Labor Archives.

    Related Archival Materials

    Collections of Norman Leonard papers are listed at the Bancroft, Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, California State University at Northridge, and the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. An oral history with Mr. Leonard conducted by Estolv Ward in 1985 and 1986 is on deposit at the Regional Oral History Office, the Bancroft Library.


    The legal files of Norman Leonard were donated to the Labor Archives and Research Center by Norman Leonard on June 1, 1985, accession numbers 1985/006 and 1985/029. They were boxed by Lynn Bonfield under the guidance of Marjorie Leonard, Norman Leonard's spouse, and taken directly from the Leonards' garage to the Labor Archives. Ten boxes of materials concerning the selective service group of lawyers who helped conscientious objectors have been transferred to the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute in Berkeley, California. An addition of eight additional boxes was donated to the Labor Archives in January, 1986.

    Processing Information

    Portions of the Norman Leonard Papers were processed by Labor Archives and Research Center staff; the collection was reprocessed and rehoused in its entirety by Megan Hickey and Liadan Ryland in 2013-2014. Although the order was largely maintained, box numbers have been changed.


    The Norman Leonard Papers are divided into four series: Series 1: Harry Bridges Case Files; Series 2: Labor Union Cases and Case Files; Series 3: Civil Liberties Defense Cases; and Series 4: Administrative Records. These series are further subdivided into subseries.

    Biographical Note

    Norman Leonard was a labor lawyer who primarily worked on union cases, naturalization and deportation trials, and civil rights trials in the 1930s through 1980s.
    Norman Leonard was born on February 27th, 1914, to Sam Leonard and Anna Ghinger, in Bronx, New York. Leonard received early exposure to the trials of laborers due to his father, who was a garment worker. During the 1926 International Ladies Garment Worker’s (ILGWU) strike, Leonard’s family moved to Los Angeles, where he graduated from high school in 1929. While in high school he developed an interest in politics, which led him to enter University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1930 as a Political Science major.
    Leonard’s time at UCLA marked his first major exposure to leftist ideals. He was influenced by two of his professors in particular – Fred Schuckman and Don Piatt, who interested Leonard in unemployment, the need for Social Security, and anti-ROTC campaigns. Leonard graduated from UCLA in 1934, at the same time as the San Francisco General Strike. After a short break from school, Leonard decided to pursue a graduate degree in International Relations. He received a scholarship to study at Columbia, and earned a Master of Arts degree in International Relations and International Law. Leonard then decided he would like to become a professor of International Law, and enrolled in Columbia Law School.
    While at Columbia Law School, Leonard fell in love with Marjorie Friedman, a fellow law student. After a year of dating Leonard proposed, and the two were married. Marjorie later went on to assist the law firm with research for many landmark cases.
    At this time Leonard also met Carol King, a lawyer who worked on immigration and naturalization law. Their friendship had a large influence on his career, and played a part in his decision in the 1950s to represent clients in naturalization and deportation cases. In his third year at law school, Leonard began searching New York for a job in a law firm, but without success. Carol King introduced Leonard to the Gladstein law firm in San Francisco, and by 1936 he was hired.
    In Leonard’s first case with the law firm, he worked on the defense for Harry Bridges in a contempt case in connection with the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Leonard continued working on labor cases, and built a working relationship with Bridges that would last throughout his career.
    When the United States became heavily involved in World War II in 1942, Leonard volunteered to be commissioned into the Navy. He served for two years as an ensign in Guadalcanal. Leonard was discharged from the Navy in 1945, and he returned with Marjorie to San Francisco, to practice with Gladstein.
    From 1946-1948, Leonard represented the American Communications Association (ACA) in hearings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). During this time, the Gladstein law firm continued representing Harry Bridges in deportation trials. In 1953, Leonard defended Bridges in his third and final denaturalization trial. Leonard acted as the primary court lawyer defending Bridges, and his defense led to the court ruling in favor of Bridges.
    In addition to Bridges, Leonard represented many other people during the 1950s for naturalization and deportation cases, fighting to secure citizenship for immigrants and ex-communists. This also led to Leonard traveling to Los Angeles to work with the ACLU for several months defending local leaders of the Communist Party prosecuted under the Smith Act. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) trials began in the 1940s and carried on to the 1950s, and due to Leonard’s opposition to the trials, he served as chairman for the San Francisco Committee Against HUAC. In connection with the HUAC trials, Leonard also defended clients who refused to take the California State Loyalty Oath.
    In 1953, Leonard defended Shirley Kremen, who was arrested for harboring what the government termed “Communist fugitives.” The FBI’s search and seizure was ruled unlawful, in violation of the 4th and 5th amendment. The 1940s and 50s also mark the first case Leonard argued in front of the Supreme Court representing the Marine Cooks and Stewards (MCS) in a libel case. Later, a hearing came before the NLRB to put the MCS, Sailor’s Union of the Pacific (SUP), and the Marine Firemen’s Union (MFOW) into one union. Leonard argued that due to racial tensions, it was not possible to merge the MCS with other unions. Leonard also represented MC&S President Hugh Bryson, when he was convicted of perjury for signing an oath stating he was not a communist. In 1955, Bryson was sentenced to two years in prison. Leonard took the case to the Supreme Court in an attempt to have the felony removed from Bryson’s record, but the Supreme Court did not rule in his favor.
    Leonard continued to defend members, ex-members, and suspected members of the Communist party throughout the 1950s. Among them was Archie Brown, a well-known member of the Communist party, and a member of the ILWU local 10. Under the Taft-Hartley Act, Brown was indicted for serving as an officer of the union while being a member of the Communist party. Leonard and the firm argued the case on the basis of constitutionally, however, the lower court decided they did not have the authority to debate the constitutionality of the law, and pronounced Archie Brown guilty in 1963.
    In 1958 Leonard became a full partner in the law firm, with his fellow partners Gladstein, Andersen, and Sibbett. Leonard continued to argue cases for civil liberties and unions. In 1963 Leonard defended protestors from the Palace Hotel sit-in, specifically Tracy Sims. The sit-in focused on the lack of jobs for black workers and other minorities in San Francisco. The trial resulted in a signed agreement between Sims and the Palace Hotel that the hotel would employ more minorities. In 1964, shortly after the Tracy Sims case, Leonard represented students who were arrested at the Berkeley sit-ins. Notably, Leonard and the rest of the firm defended the students for six months without receiving any pay.
    In 1969, Leonard represented San Francisco State Students from the Third World Liberation Front, arrested during a protest for trespassing and failing to disperse. This case also led to the Supreme Court, as the lower court refused to give the students a copy of their trial transcripts without paying for them. The Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s decision, which led to the case’s dismissal.
    Around the same time, Leonard was defending conscientious objectors who refused to participate in the Vietnam War, many of whom were also students. In response to this issue, Aubrey Grossman organized a panel of lawyers to represent conscientious objectors, recognized by the federal courts in San Francisco. Leonard’s wife, Marjorie, served as secretary of the panel. The panel cooperated together on research and experience to defend their clients.
    In 1963, Leonard was part of the representation team for the Williams trial, which came to be known as the B-Men trial. The case centered on issues of deregistration and perceived racial disparities within the ILWU. In the late 1960s, Leonard acted as a negotiator in arbitration for the ILWU’s containerization issue.
    In connection with the immigration trials, in the early 1960s Leonard began defending gay and lesbian individuals who were targeted by the government because of their sexual orientation. The Naturalization and Immigration committee charged that an individual could be deported if they were found to have a “psychopathic personality,” and this was used against gay individuals as a reason to deport them. Leonard took on these cases as part of his naturalization and immigration work. Leonard also took on cases where gay bars were targeted in shut-downs by the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
    In the mid to late 70s Leonard assumed representation for the Masters, Mates & Pilots, and took on a consultant role to the firm as the years went by. He retired officially in 1986.
    Norman Leonard passed away on March 7, 2006, at the age of 92. He was survived by his wife, Marjorie, and his two sons, Stephen and Eric.

    History of Leonard and Carder Law Firm

    Norman Leonard was associated with Leonard and Carder Law Firm from 1938 until his retirement. At the outset, Richard Gladstein was the senior partner and continued in that position until 1978. After 1978, Leonard became the senior partner. In this and other series of the Norman Leonard Collection, the law firm is referred to by many different names. A chronology of the names by which the law firm was known is listed below and runs to 1985 when the collection was deposited at the Labor Archives. This information was taken from telephone directories; the dates may not be exact, but offer an approximate year when changes in the partnership occurred.

    Chronology of Firms

    1971-1978 GLADSTEIN, LEONARD, PATSEY & ANDERSEN (Benjamin)
    1978-1980 LEONARD & PATSEY
    1983-1985 LEONARD & CARDER

    Full Names of Partners

    • Benjamin (Ben) Andersen
    • Norman (Norm) Leonard
    • George Andersen
    • Benjamin (Ben) Margolis
    • William (Bill) Carder
    • Richard (Dick) Patsey
    • Bertram (Bert) Edises
    • Herbert (Herb) Resner
    • Richard (Richie) Gladstein
    • Harold (Hal) Sawyer
    • Aubrey Grossman
    • Ewing Sibbett

    Scope and Contents

    The files of Norman Leonard consist of legal cases brought to court by the law firm on behalf of its clients. For many years he represented the International Longshoreman's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU) and other Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) unions. Over the course of his career he defended Harry Bridges, Communist Party members prosecuted under the Smith Act, conscientious objectors targeted by the Selective Service, and individuals involved in the Free Speech Movement.