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Preliminary Inventory of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute Collections, circa 1940-1998
BANC MSS 99/281 c  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Organizational Information
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute Collections
    Date: circa 1940-1998
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 99/281 c
    Compiler: Ginger, Ann Fagan
    Extent: 183 Cartons, 71 Boxes; 2 Oversize Boxes; 2 Card File Boxes; 1 Oversize B Folder
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research with the following exceptions: Series 1.3, 3.3, 6.2, 6.5, and 9.4 need processing review by Public Services before they can be served to the public; Series 2.2, 4.1, 4.4, 5.1, 5.2, 7.3, and 9.2 need curatorial review before they can be served to the public. Please see reference desk for an Application for Access to Restricted Material (ARM) form. See on-line catalog record to determine availability.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has been not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the appropriate curator or the Head of Public Services for forwarding. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute Collections, BANC MSS 99/281 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Meikljohn Civil Liberties Institute Records were given to The Bancroft Library on May 1, 1999 by Ann Fagan Ginger, founder and Executive Director of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute and Jim Syfers, representing the Board of Directors of the Meiklejohn Institute.

    Organizational Information

    The Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute (MCLI) was incorporated as an independent, non-profit organization in 1965 by Ann Fagan Ginger in Berkeley, California. The Institute bears the name of innovative educator and scholar Alexander Meiklejohn, a lifelong champion of civil liberties and social justice. Ginger established the unique center on human rights because she thought that effective, innovative legal research, writing, and courtroom strategies should be shared among all lawyers and clients in the constitutional law fields of civil liberties, due process, and civil rights.
    The Institute advocates for human rights and peace law by seeking ways to use the laws established by the United Nations Charter, Nuremberg Principles, the Three Human Rights Treaties ratified by the U.S., along with U.S. and state Constitutions and Bills of Rights.The mission of MCLI includes responding to calls from grassroots activists and providing referrals that help individuals address their grievances and by reporting violations.
    Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Library (MCLL) officially incorporated with MCLI in 1965. The library established a unique collection of the best legal "briefs", transcripts, and motions in cases, beginning with those reported in the Civil Liberties Docket since 1955. Soon, requests from lawyers and activists began pouring in, utilizing the library for the best legal points for integration issues in the South and arguments against the Vietnam war and the draft. Unions and the Left sought new information to help end the blacklists and persecutions of Reds and progressives. Expanding to a global perspective in the 1970's and 1980's MCLI's subsequent publications, The Human Rights Docket and Human Rights and Peace Law Docket continued to build substantial holdings in the library, adding topics such as draft law, sex discrimination, anti-nuclear, affirmative action, and immigration case materials.
    MCLI is also the official repository for the organizational records of the National Lawyers Guild. Significant documents donated by its members include the Rosenberg, Hollywood Ten, and Smith Act case files. The library's collections including the NLG records were transfered to the Bancroft Library in 1999 . They provide a rich variety of primary source material on civil rights and civil liberties trials (in particular McCarthy era and early 1970's civil rights cases), legal and social justice organizations, labor rights organizations and activists, Vietnam anti-war collections, anti-nuclear and World Peace organizations, and collections concerned with academic freedom.
    The Institute offers interships and work-study opportunities to high-school, college, law school and library school students, and significant work for seniors who are concerned about human rights and peace law in the United States.
    As an organizer for the right to education, an information clearinghouse on social change, and an advocate of government responsibility, MCLI joins networks and provides speakers. Under the direction of Ann Fagan Ginger and the Board of Directors the Institute continues to publish and distribute the Human Rights and Peace Law Docket, the Human Rights Organizations and Periodicals Directory, Peace Law Packets, and a Newsletter. MCLI's highly regarded Studies in Law and Social Change include Alexander Meiklejohn: Teacher of Freedom, The Cold War Against Labor, and the Ford Hunger March. Meiklejohn's more recent publications include a booklet on the Beijing Women's Conference of 1995 and Ginger's book, Nuclear Weapons are Illegal.
    In 1999 the Institute began working with the Center for the Covenant at San Francisco State University and with the India Legal Centre for Human Rights and the Law on common inssues of concern.
    The Institute's survival depends on those who share its goals and values.
    Portions taken from Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute website at http://www.sfsu.edu/~mclicfc 

    Scope and Content

    The Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute (MCLI) Collections document twentieth century American legal battles over civil liberties, human rights, labor rights, anti-war, peace law, nuclear proliferation and academic freedom. The collection is built around a core collection of legal case files assembled by the institute since 1965 for legal researchers. The Meiklejohn Institute has documented over 9000 civil liberties cases in a series of published guides: Civil Liberties Docket, Human Rights Docket, Human Rights and Peace Law Docket, and Human Rights Casefinder, 1953-1969, the Warren Court Era. Over 3000 or these cases have corresponding files in the cores collection. Case files may include all or a selection of the following: legal briefs, memorandum, pleadings, court transcripts, case histories, research materials, correspondence, news clippings, pamphlets, and attorney's drafts.
    Other papers within the collections include office files of attorneys and organizations in the fields of labor rights, social justice, and world peace. There are extensive files on the Vietnam War resistance, the Free Speech Movement trial, the Peoples Park mass arrests, and the trials of Angela Y. Davis, the Pentagon Papers, and Wounded Knee.