New York Bureau of Legal Advice Collected Records, 1917-1920
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399
Telephone: (610) 328-8557 (Curator)
Fax: (610) 328-8544
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Curator)
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
New York Bureau of Legal Advice
New York Bureau of Legal Advice Collected Records
Language of Materials
Materials in English
7.5 linear inches [papers only]
The New York Bureau of Legal First Aid was founded on May 11, 1917. In May 1918, the group changed its name to the New York Bureau of Legal Advice. The Bureau was the first organization to provide free legal service to men who resisted the new draft laws related to the entry of the United States into the First World War. In September 1918, the Bureau was raided by the FBI which temporarily disrupted its work. The Bureau closed in the fall of 1919, shortly before the Armistice.
Restrictions to Access
Alternate Form of Material
Processed by Peace Collection staff; Anne Yoder, July 1999; this version of finding aid by Wendy E. Chmielewski, July 2012.
[Identification of item], in the New York Bureau of Legal Advice Collected Records (CDG-A.), Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law
Online Catalog Headings
These and related materials may be found under the following headings in online library/archival catalogs.
See tripod record
The Peace Collection holds the microfilmed collection of NYBLA holdings from the Tamiment Library at New York University. See Tripod record for further information
DG 089 Papers of Tracy Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon
The New York Bureau of Legal First Aid was founded on May 11, 1917 with a $100 grant from the Woman's Peace Party. It was initially sponsored by the People's Council, the Socialist Party, the Civil Liberties Bureau and the Workmen's Council. In May 1918, the group changed its name to the New York Bureau of Legal Advice. The Bureau was the first organization to provide free legal service to men who resisted the new draft laws related to the entry of the United States into the first world war. Its primary efforts went into monitoring the government's attitude toward conscientious objectors to war, and campaigning for their humane treatment and eventual amnesty from prison terms. It also opposed the deportation of labor union radicals (especially members of the International (Industrial) Workers of the World), and the harassment of others opposed to the war. In September 1918, the Bureau was raided by the FBI which temporarily disrupted its work.
Frances Witherspoon, a feminist and socialist peace activist, served as the Bureau's Executive Secretary. Charles Recht, a Czech-born attorney, was its General Counsel. Members of the Executive Committee included Tracy D. Mygatt, Roger Baldwin, Martha Gruening and Fola La Follette (daughter of Senator La Follette).
The Bureau closed in the fall of 1919, shortly before the Armistice.
The NYBLA collection includes correspondence with COs and family, office/administrative records, and newspaper clippings
Arrangement of Collection
Detailed Description of the Collection
Checklist; removal form; holdings in Tamiment Library
Programmatic material (includes bylaws), 1917-1919
Correspondence with army camp commanders etc., 1918-1919
General correspondence re:conscientous objectors, 1918 - Jan. 1920
Letters from conscientous objectors, 1917-1919
Letters from conscientous objector,. Bruno Grunzig, 1918-1920
Letters from wives and fiancees of conscientous objectors about visits to camps/prisons, 1918-1919
Statements of conscientous objectors re: their convictions, and reports of conditions (and treatment) in camps/prisons
Reports re: court-martials of conscientous objectors (including Julius Eichel), March 1918 - Feb. 1919
Statements from 2 conscientous objectors who were deported from the U.S.
Answers to survey of 256(?) conscientous objectors
Lists of conscientous objectors [includes some notes re: conditions in camps/prisons]
Newsclippings re: conscientous objectors [removed from scrapbook; photocopied]
Newsclippings re: conscientous objectors, 1918-1919, n.d. [photocopied]