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Orilla Winfield Papers, 1948-1953
MSS 62  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Orilla Winfield Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1948-1953
    Collection number: MSS 62
    Creator: Orilla Winfield
    Extent: 1 legal folder

    Repository: Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
    Los Angeles, CA 90044
    Abstract: The collection papers are of Orilla Winfield, a Los Angeles County social worker. Materials consist of the correspondence from the Los Angeles County Department of Charities regarding the dismissal of Winfield in 1948 due to her refusal to sign a loyalty oath. There are also photographs of pickets, clippings and circulars from the United Defense Committee of Public Employees Against "Loyalty" Checks surrounding the civil rights case of Los Angeles County workers fired for failure to sign a loyalty oath.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Donated by Rose Warner, approximately in 1985.


    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], Winfield (Orilla) Papers, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles, California.


    Orilla Winfield was a social worker in the County of Los Angeles Department of Charities. On July 26th, 1948 she was discharged from her position for failure to sign a loyalty oath. Sixteen other county workers were also fired at the same time for the same reason. An additional 78 workers refused to sign a section of the oath affirming no affiliation with a list of over 130 organizations. Among the listed organizations, identified by California State Senator Jack Tenney, were : Bay Area Council Against Discrimination, California Conference for Democratic Action, Hollywood Cultural Committee, Hollywood Independent Citizens Committee of Arts, Sciences and Professions, Hollywood League for Democratic Action, Hollywood Theatre Alliance, Los Angeles County Political Commission, Los Angeles County Trade Union Commission, Motion Picture Cooperative Buyers Guild, Motion Picture Democratic Committee. The firings were appealed to the County of Los Angeles Civil Service Commission by the employees and upheld by the county. The AFL-CIO local of the Public Employees Union created the United Defense Committee of Public Employees Against "Loyalty" Checks to appeal the firings in California District Court and the United States Supreme Court. John McTernan handled the appeal.

    Scope and Content

    The file contains a copy of the County of Los Angeles Loyalty Check document, correspondence to Winfield from the County regarding her firing and appeal, clippings regarding the firings of the County workers, black and white photographs of picketing (persons identified: Rich Petherbridge, June Hirshman, Davida Franchi, and Virginia Wilson), fliers and a brochure from the United Defense Committee, the pamphlet produced by the Committee "If We Remain Silent", and a published copy of the Supreme Court of the United States October Term, 1948: Petition of Writs of Certiorari for case 711, Parker vs. County of Los Angeles and case 712, Steiner vs. County of Los Angeles.