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American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California Records
MS 3580  
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Collection Overview
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The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC) records cover the years 1900 to 2000, with the bulk dating from 1934. Comprising correspondence, minutes, policy statements, annual reports, legal documents, attorneys' working notes, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and other printed material created or collected by the ACLU-NC, these records document the establishment and activities of the northern California branch, including and especially its efforts to protect and extend individual liberties in California. Administrative records (series 1), subject files (series 2), legal case files (series 3), and scrapbooks (series 4) illuminate some of the major social and political conflicts of the twentieth century in California and nationwide, including: the 1934 waterfront and general strike; the relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II; the mandatory loyalty oaths and HUAC hearings of the late 1940s and 1950s; the social movements of the 1960s, including the Free Speech, anti-war, and civil rights movements; battles over abortion, immigration, and gay rights in the 1970s and '80s; and privacy and censorship controversies raised by the popularization of the Internet in the 1990s. Administrative records (series 1) also document the activities of the ACLU's national office in New York.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a non-profit organization committed to the defense, preservation, and extension of civil liberties in the United States. Through legal and legislative advocacy – and public suasion – the ACLU has opposed the restriction of individual liberties by laws and governments, defending a wide range of controversial causes.
168 Linear Feet
Consistent with the ACLU-NC's support for freedom of information and informed public discourse on matters of public interest, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California records are open to researchers. However, some categories of records in the collection are restricted to protect privacy, confidentiality, and attorney-client privilege. These restrictions are identified in the Access Policy for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California Archives at the California Historical Society and summarized below.