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American Youth Congress Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 14 Sep 2009

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.

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.

Arrangement of the Collection

All series are arranged alphabetically.


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.

Related Material

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

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.

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.

Table of Contents



Subject files