Scope and Content
Title: Charlotta A. Bass Papers
Collection number: MSS 002
Bass, Charlotta A., 1874-1968
Extent: 8 document cases
3 cubic feet
Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research.
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[Identification of item], Charlotta A. Bass Papers, MSS 002, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research,
Charlotta Bass, nee Spears, was born on February 14, 1874 in Little Compton, Rhode Island. She attended Brown University,
Columbia University and UCLA. At 36 years of age, she moved to Los Angeles and Joined the
Eagle later to become the
California Eagle. John Neimore was editor and publisher of the
Eagle and upon his death in 1912 he left the paper to Charlotta. She soon married Joseph Blackburn Bass from Topeka, Kansas. They
became co-editors and publishers of the
California Eagle. Mr. Bass died in the early 1930s leaving Charlotta to manage the paper.
Mrs. Bass was an activist who fought against the Ku Klux Klan and racial bias. Her political affiliations were with the Republican
Party until 1948 where she had once been the Western Regional Director for Wendell Willkie for the 1940 presidential race.
In 1950, Mrs. Bass attended the conferences in Prague, Czechoslovakia on the Defenders of the Peace Committee of the World
CONGRESS and subsequently visited the Soviet Union. Mrs. Bass was impressed with the Soviet Union's policies on racial issues
and saw it as a model for other countries:
I will never forget the moment when I first realized, standing there in the great Georgian University, that there is in very
truth not even a semblance of racial exclusiveness in Russia.
The example which the Russians are setting in this field will have an effect in every country in the world, including our
own. (p. 171 Bass,
Mrs. Bass joined the Progressive Party and ran for Congress in 1950 for the Fourteenth District in California. In 1952, she
was selected to run for Vice-President on the Progressive Party ticket.
In 1960, Charlotta Bass published her book
Forty Years: Memoirs from The Pages of A Newspaper. The book shows the relationship between the
California Eagle and the community which it served. It is incidentally an autobiography of Mrs. Bass. The book is a study of local social history
and is concerned with the struggle against discrimination in the workplace and in the community.
In the 1950s, Mrs. Bass retired from the paper and subsequently moved to Elsinore, California where she developed the Community
Reading Room on Black and Jewish history.
At the age of 95, Mrs. Bass died April 12, 1968.
Scope and Content
The Charlotta Bass COLLECTION covers the period form 1924 to 1983 and arranged in three series:
FORTY YEARS DRAFT AND MANUSCRIPT, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL PAPERS and FINANCIAL RECORDS.
The basic and most important feature of the collection is the draft and manuscript of Mrs. Bass's book
Forty Years published in 1970. The collection also includes publicity for
Forty Years such as the receptions held in Mrs. Bass's honor. There are also loan documents and loan account books. Business cards of
California Eagle, press card, dues cards from the Daughters of the IBOE of W and the OES, an invitation to attend the International Stalin Peace
Prize Ceremony, 1954, and a sample ballot of the Los Angeles Branch NAACP Election, 1954. There is a poem by S. O'Brien and
Family, 1934, expressing sympathy for the death of a family member, perhaps for Mr. Bass. The newspaper clipping from the
California Eagle, 1974, is an appeal to work and contribute to the National Negro Congress-Bay Cities Chapter led by Paul Robeson and Charlotta
Torchlight is a newsletter and in this particular issue a tribute is paid to Paul Robeson written by Mrs. Bass.
The correspondence reflects Mrs. Bass's political activism. Some of the correspondence refers to Marxism and the Cold War
Era. A letter from the Iota Phi Lambda Society of Toledo, Ohio, 1956, revoked Mrs. Bass's honorary membership because her
name was mentioned in the
Sixth Report on Un-American Activities in California, 1951. Other correspondence includes fan letters and cards from well-wishers.
The collection also contains the draft of a biography and published biographies of Mrs. Bass. Also included are her address
books and her campaign schedule for the presidential election of 1952. The memorial service of 1977 in honor of Mrs. Bass
is part of the collection in addition to the Obsequies of April of 1969.
Her personal bank statements and cancelled checks date back to 1952, while the bank statements and cancelled checks to the
California Eagle date back to 1927.
Most of the photographs in this collection were taken by professional photographers and undated. They probably date from the
late 1920s, they are of Mrs. Bass and her activities.
Bass, Charlotta A.
Forty Years: Memoirs From The Pages of A Newspaper. Los Angeles: Charlotta A. Bass, 1960.