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American Youth Congress Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: American Youth Congress.
Title: American Youth Congress Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1937-1944
Quantity: 2 linear ft.
Abstract: Correspondence, minutes, publications, radio scripts, more from the youth organization active from 1935 to 1940.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

The American Youth Congress was formed in 1935 to be a "voice for youth" on economic, social, and political issues of interest to young people, including unemployment, education, the draft, Communism, and so on. The organization was structured like a mock Congress, with delegates from across the United States as well as Canada, Cuba, China, Puerto Rico, and other countries. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a strong backer of the organization (her involvement eventually led to the establishment of the National Youth Administration). When leaders of the AYC were subpoenaed by the House Un-American Affairs Committee (HUAC), Mrs. Roosevelt attended the hearings to demonstrate her support. The organization disbanded in 1940, largely due to internal conflict over the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The American Youth Congress Collection consists of correspondence, publications, and subject files.

Correspondence is that of the AYC with external individuals and organizations. Represented here are a range of liberal, leftist, progressive, and youth-focused organizations such as the Carnegie Endowmen for International Peace and the United Student Peace Committee. There is also correspondence with individuals, some supporters and others who were interested in the AYC as a phenomenon.

Publications of the AYC include several issues of three different newsletters and a "Delegates Manual" in newspaper format.

Subject files relate to internal AYC committees (Education Commission, Far East Commissions, Jobs Commission) and projects (Youth In Focus, American Youth Act) as well as including general AYC papers, including minutes and financial records. This series also includes typescript of radio programs, dramatized scenarios and conversations dealing with various youth-oriented questions and problems.

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Arrangement of the Collection

All series are arranged alphabetically.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has numerous collections relating to American radicalism. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

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Subject Headings


Carlson, Mildred.
Colby, Merle, 1902-1969.

Corporate Bodies

American Youth Congress.


Socialism and youth -- United States.
Youth -- United States -- Congresses.
Youth -- United States -- Political activity.
Youth protest movements.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Minutes (administrative records)
Press releases.
Radio scripts.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

American Youth Congress Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Adah C. Blackman Fund, 2009.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MRC
Date: 14 Sep 2009
Revision history:

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Box 1 Carlson, Mildred 1939
Box 1 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 1940
Box 1 Cerf, Bennett 1939
Box 1 Colby, Merle 1939-1940
Box 1 Council of Social Agencies of Chicago 1938-1939
Box 1 Creel, Randall 1940 - regarding ROTC, Joseph Curran of the Seaman's Union
Box 1 Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) 1938-1940
Box 1 International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Equal Citizenship 1939
Box 1 International Youth Council in Britain 1942
Box 1 Leslie, Kenneth 1942 - includes draft of article on pacificism among Christian youth, possibly by a Dr. Vlastos
Box 1 Stone, Candace 1939-1940 - regarding National Youth Center and Year-Round Hostel, and a proposed book on youth activities
Box 1 United Student Peace Committee 1937, undated - includes letter from Federal Union of Spanish Students
Box 1 IBM (International Business Machines) 1938 - mentions IBM's loan of their Filene-Finlay Translator System for the 2d Congress
Oversize 1 "Delegates Manual" (newspaper format)
Box 1 AYC News 1940 (3 issues)
Box 1 Newscast 1941 (7 issues)
Box 1 Youth 1938, 1939 (4 issues)
Box 1 Miscellaneous - brochures, fliers, etc.
Subject files
Box 1 American Youth Act
Box 1 Education Commission 1937 - memo on "The function of education in a democracy"
Box 1 Far Eastern Commission 1940
Box 1 Financial material 1942-1944
Jobs commission
Box 1 Minutes 1940
Box 1 Miscellaneous
Box 1 Radio scripts undated
Box 1 Titled - titles include "Freedom Under Fire" and "Mr. Youth Goes to Washington"
Box 1 Untitled
Oversize 1 Youth in Focus project
Box 1 Miscellaneous

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