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Upton Sinclair Campaign Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 23 Aug 2010

Biographical History

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American author, best known for his novels exposing corruption and poor social, economic and working conditions. His 1906 novel The Jungle led to reforms in the American meat-packing industry, including passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act. He ran twice for Congress on the Socialist Party candidate, unsuccessfully, and was the Democratic nominee for Governor of California in 1934. The campaign captured a great deal of attention; conservatives portrayed Sinclair as a Communist and circulated quotes from his novels taken out of context in an attempt to prove that he was an enemy of military veterans, lawyers, businessmen, the Knights of Columbus, universities, Christianity, and the Boy Scouts, among other things. He was defeated by his opponent, Frank F. Merriam. The campaign is notable for being one of the first to employ mass media techniques.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Upton Sinclair Campaign Collection consists of campaign letters and literature along with newspaper clippings, all relating to Sinclair's 1934 bid for the governor's seat in California. Included are a wide selection of publications and campaign ads by his opponent.

Arrangement of the Collection

Campaign literature appears first, followed by newspaper clippings and Sinclair campaign letters.


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.

Subject Headings


Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968.


Campaign literature -- 20th century.
Governors -- California -- Election -- History -- 20th century.
Governors -- Election.
Mass media -- Political aspects -- California -- History -- 20th century.
Political campaigns -- California -- History -- 20th century.


California -- Politics and government -- 1850-1950.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Upton Sinclair Campaign Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Richard W. Van Wagenen, 1988.

Table of Contents

Campaign materials