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Register of the Alfred Max Loewenthal papers
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Alfred Max Loewenthal papers
    Date (inclusive): 1886-1980
    Collection Number: 80189
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 59 manuscript boxes, 5 oversize boxes, 2 motion picture film reels (25.6 linear feet)
    Abstract: Correspondence, memoranda, reports, minutes, serial issues, other printed matter, and motion picture film relating to electrical workers' unions in the United States, to teachers' unions in the United States and abroad, and to socialism, communism, and Trotskyism in the United States and especially in the labor movement.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: Loewenthal, Alfred Max, 1916-1980


    Collection is open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Alfred Max Loewenthal papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1980.


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Biographical Note

    1916 Born, Newark, New Jersey
    1941 Charter member, Local 447, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Union, Nutley, New Jersey
    1948-1956 Business agent, Local 447, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Union (subsequently International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers)
    1955-1965 Director, Union Leadership Academy, Rutgers University
    1956-1961 Education director, District 4, International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers
    1961-1965 Assistant to the president, District 4 (subsequently District 3), International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers
    1963 Democratic Party candidate for mayor of Verona, New Jersey
    1964 Candidate for Democratic Party nomination for Congress, 12th Congressional District of New Jersey
    1965-1967 Assistant to the president, International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers
    1967-1970 Public relations director, American Federation of Teachers
    1970-1979 Assistant to the president, American Federation of Teachers
    1980 Died, Baltimore, Maryland

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The papers of Alfred Max Loewenthal, an official of electrical workers' and teachers' unions, are concerned with the intersection of labor and communism, and with the intersection of labor and education. They deal with the issue of Communist Party influence in American unions and also with AFL-CIO efforts to counteract communist influence in unions abroad. They also deal with educational activities of unions and with the unionization of educational workers.
    Loewenthal joined the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Union (UE) in 1941 as a rank-and-file member on the shop floor. The UE was a major union within the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and one in which the Communist Party gained substantial influence. Loewenthal, however, was aligned within his Local 447 with an anti-Communist faction. With the onset of the Cold War, the CIO adopted a policy of requiring its constituent unions to purge themselves of pro-Communist officials. When the UE refused to comply, it was expelled in 1949, and the CIO proceeded to charter a rival union, the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers (IUE). Loewenthal, by then business agent of Local 447, was instrumental in leading his local out of the UE and into the new IUE. He rose within the IUE to become assistant to President Milton Weihrauch of District 4 (subsequently redesignated District 3), which represented more than 100,000 electrical workers in New York and New Jersey. Factionalism continued, albeit in new form, within the IUE. The 1964 reelection of James B. Carey, president of the IUE since its inception, was found by the National Labor Relations Board to have been tainted by fraud, and the results were overturned. Paul Jennings, installed as IUE president despite lesser irregularities in his own campaign, appointed Loewenthal as his assistant. A rift arose between Jennings and Weihrauch, hitherto allies, which came to a head when misuse of District 3 union funds was uncovered. Weihrauch was ousted, and Loewenthal, though not accused of wrongdoing by anyone, was fired by Jennings. The UE, which had maintained its existence as an independent union outside the AFL-CIO, viewed the disarray within the IUE with considerable glee. This ended Loewenthal's electrical union career, which is documented in the ELECTRICAL WORKERS' UNIONS FILE.
    While still a Local 447 official, Loewenthal began to specialize in union educational activities. He was founder and director in 1955 of the Union Leadership Academy, sponsored by the IUE in conjunction with the Rutgers University Institute of Management and Labor Relations and the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations to provide leadership training for union members. He continued as educational director of District 4 and was charged with community relations, human rights, and international contact functions, as well as educational affairs, for District 4 and later for the entire IUE. His labor educational activities are documented in the LABOR EDUCATION FILE, which also covers the one-year appointment he received after leaving the IUE as professor of labor history at Rutgers University, despite his lack of the customary academic credentials.
    Loewenthal became an official of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in 1967, initially as public relations director and subsequently as assistant to successive AFT Presidents David Selden and Albert Shanker. In addition to concerns with the relationship between collective bargaining and professionalism as affecting teachers and other educational workers, Loewenthal continued to specialize in human rights and international affairs issues for the AFT. In its international aspects, he was in close touch with the AFL-CIO Department of International Affairs and related bodies, such as the African-American Labor Center, the Asian-American Free Labor Institute, and the American Institute for Free Labor Development. The AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS FILE documents his general work for the union. Contacts with teachers' unions in other countries are covered in the INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS' UNIONS FILE.
    Loewenthal's early political history is not explicitly documented in the collection. Leaflets of opposing factions in the IUE labeled him a Trotskyist. The LEFT-WING PUBLICATIONS file does include a large volume of Trotskyist literature from the 1930s and 1940s, including internal bulletins, suggesting that he may indeed have been a member or sympathizer of the Socialist Workers Party during his youth. If so, he put that period behind him. He was heavily involved in Democratic Party politics by the early 1960s. Loewenthal was the Democratic candidate for mayor of Verona, New Jersey, in 1963, and in 1964 unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for Congress from the 12th Congressional District of New Jersey. These campaigns are documented in the ELECTION CAMPAIGN FILE. Loewenthal's mature politics were anti-communist and liberal. He was a strong supporter of Israel and of the American Jewish community, a strong supporter of the black civil rights movement, and an opponent of nuclear weapons testing. In the 1970s he was close to Social Democrats, U.S.A.
    The SPEECHES AND WRITINGS file includes Loewenthal's own writings from all periods of his life. The SUBJECT FILE consists of collected material, mainly printed matter, arranged topically. The OVERSIZE FILE notably contains oversize publications of the IUE and of Trotskyist organizations. The small AUDIOVISUAL FILE is associated with Loewenthal's IUE period.
    The Hoover Institution acquired the collection from Eleanor Loewenthal in 1980 following her husband's death.
    Portions of the collection have suffered from water damage.
    The abbreviations AFT, IUE and UE are used throughout the register.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    American Federation of Teachers.
    Fourth International.
    International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers.
    Communism--United States.
    Electric industry workers--United States.
    Labor unions--United States.
    Socialism--United States.
    Teachers' unions--United States.