Swarthmore College Peace Collection

David McReynolds Papers, 1943 - date

Collection: DG 134

Contact Information

Swarthmore College Peace Collection
500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399 U.S.A.
Telephone: (610) 328-8557 (Curator); Fax: (610) 328-8544
Email: wchmiel1@swarthmore.edu (Curator)
URL: http://www.swarthmore.edu/Library/peace/

Descriptive Summary
The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for these papers/records.
McReynolds, David (1929- )
David McReynolds Papers
Inclusive Dates
1943- date
Call Number
DG 134

Language of Materials
Materials in English
10 feet [papers only]
David McReynolds has been an activist with the War Resisters League, the Socialist Party USA and the Democratic Socialists of America. He was an editor of Liberation magazine in the 1950s and a leader of the WRL from the 1950s until his retirement in 1999. McReynolds ran for Congress twice and for President of the U.S. twice, including a run in 2000. McReynolds has attempted to integrate anti-war and pacifist philosophy with Socialist economics. David McReynolds is openly gay and written about this topic as well.

Administrative Information
Restrictions to Access
Yes, Personal correspondence is restricted during the life time of the donor. Researchers may apply to the donor for permission to view this material.
Usage Restrictions
Alternate Form of Material
Acquisitions Information
Gift of David McReynolds, 1969 [Acc. 69-104, Acc. 69-135]; 1979 [Acc.79A-008]; 1986 [Acc. 86A-022]; 2005 [Acc. 05A-021]; War Resisters League, 1979 [Acc. 79A-008]; 1995 [Acc. 95A-093]; 1996 [Acc. 96A-039]; 1997 [Acc. 97A-037]; 2004 [Acc. 04A-096]
Processing Information
Processed by Peace Collection staff. Parts of this collection remain unprocessed.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the David McReynolds Papers (DG 134), Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Copyright Notice
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

Related Collections
War Resisters League (DG 040)

Historical Background
David McReynolds has been an activist with the War Resisters League, the Socialist Party USA and the Democratic Socialists of America. McReynolds is a leading figure in the U.S. peace movement, best known as a spokesperson for the War Resisters League (WRL). Numerous speaking tours and published articles have established him as an articulate, clear-thinking and persuasive pacifist. He traveled widely in his work with WRL in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Asia. Throughout his career he has advocate nonviolent direct action in the effort to bring about social and political change.

Born in 1929 in Los Angeles, California, McReynolds' earliest political activity was in the American Youth for Political Action, the youth division of the Prohibition Party. He founded The Blaze, in 1946, the official publication of the AYPA, which he editied until 1951, when he resigned from the Prohibition Party and joined the Socialist Party. McReynolds graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), in 1953, with a B.A. in Political Science. His campus activities included chairing the Christian Committee for Israel and the Student Committee Against Compulsory ROTC. From 1951 to 1954 McREynolds edited FOR-CAST, the youth newsletter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, in southern California. In 1954 McReynolds was arrested for refusing induction into the U.S. military, but the case was later dropped on technicalities. He was later classified as a conscientious objector without having to state his religious beliefs.

Also in 1954 McReynolds and several other Socialists became concerned about the weakness of the Socialist Party and formed the Committee for a Socialist Program in an attempt to address this problem. Socialist comrades were urged to work through the local branches of the party, build up these groups, and recruit new members whenever possible. McReynolds traveled across the U.S. on a six-week tour visiting party locals, and ending up in New York City. He attended the 1956 Socialist Convention in Chicago that June, where he advocated joining together the Socialist Party with the Social Democratic Federation in order to gain new members and strengthen both organizations. McReynolds was elected to the National Action Committee of the Socialist Party in 1956 and to the National Committee two years later.

In February of 1957 McReynolds became the Editorial Secretary of Liberation magazine, which was supported by the War Resisters League. In the following year, McReynolds ran as a write-in candidate for Congress from the 19th Congressional district (Greenwich Village) on the Socialist Party ticket, gaining a modest portion of the votes. His participation in Civil Defense Drill protests largely directed by the WRL from 1958-1961, earned McReynolds a 25-day jail sentence in 1961, the last year such drills were held in New York City. In 1960 McReynolds joint the staff of the War Resisters League as the Field Secretary, while remaining on the Editorial Board of Liberation magazine, and maintaining an active interest in the Socialist Party.

McReynolds traveled extensively for the WRL in the early 1960s, speaking most frequently on college campuses. He worked closely with young pacifists and directed a gathering of students in Washington, DC, in February, 1962. On November 6, 1965 McReynolds and four other pacifist publicly burned their draft cards; McReynolds was not indicted. The following year he attended the European conference of the International Confederation for Disarmament and Peace, and traveled to Japan to meet with anti-atomic and hydrogen bom activists. Political and ideological differences with Dave Dellinger caused McReynolds to resign from the editorial board of Liberation in 1967. He expressed concern over the "failure of Liberation to push for nonviolent solutions and a tendency to be too much in awe of violent revolution . . it has ceased to be a radical pacifist journal." In December of 1967 he led the demonstration to halt the operation for the Whitehall induction center in New York City, and McReynolds and Dr. Benjamin Spock were among those arrested. Dr. Spock was later accused of conspiracy against the government in connection with this action.

In 1968 McReynolds again ran for Congress in the 19th Congressional District, this time on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, with Eldridge Cleaver running for U.S. President. In an article that McReynolds wrote for WIN Magazine in November 1969, he wrote openly about his homosexuality, and this piece generated a broad response. The following year this article, along with other writings on pacifism and socialism appeared in McReynolds' book We Have Been Invaded By the Twentieth Century (Praeger, 1970).

In 1970 McReynolds resigned from the Socialist Party in protest over what he perceived as a drift to the extreme right. He later rejoined the party in 1973 when it was reorganized as the Socialist Party USA. McReynolds' work for the WRL in the 1970s consisted of organizing demonstrations and participating in protests. He has been a frequent contributor to WRL News, analyzing current events and summarizing WRL activities. In 1975 he toured the U.S. to publize and gain support for the Continental Walk the following year. He also headed the International Task Force for Mobilization for Survival, which staged a demonstration at the May 1978 United Nations Special Session on Disarmament.

In 1980 McReynolds ran for President of the U.S. as the candidate for the Socialist Party USA, becoming the first openly gay man to run for the office. McReynolds ran for President again in 2000 as the Socialist Party USA candidate. In 2004 McReynolds ran for a New York Senate seat on the Green Party ticket, as an anti-war candidate.

McReynolds retired from the War Resisters League in 1999.

Collection Overview
The papers of David McReynolds contain personal correspondence, business correspondence, files about McReynolds work with U.S. peace and political organizations. Files concerning his political campaigns for U.S. Congress and the presidency are also included.

Items removed:
Some photographs

Arrangement of Collection
Material sent to the Peace Collection between 1969 and 1979 has been processed and organized into several series. Series I contains business correspondence from 1951-1978. This is organized chronologically. Series II. contains personal correspondence, dating from 1948-1978. It should be noted that this series is restricted. Series III. contains from concerning McReynolds work with the Socialist Party between the 1950s and early 1970s. Series IV. contains files of miscellaneous material about other organizations such as the Communist Party and the Youth Fellowship of Reconciliation. In Series V. there are writings by and about McReynolds date from the 1950s through the early 1980s. Series VI. contains personal datebooks and calendars dating from the late 1950s through the late 1970s. Material sent after 1979 is currently unprocessed and is arranged by accession number.

David McReynolds has always been a prolific photographer; and has often used the back of his photographs as "postcards" or notecards for correspondents. These photographs have been left in correspondence files and have been removed to the SCPC photograph collection.

Much of McReynolds' office files from the War Resisters League were sent to the Peace Collection after his retirement in 1999. In many cases it was impossible for WRL and SCPC staff to properly separate WRL files and McReynolds material. Some material McReynolds material remains in the WRL Records and some will be found in the McReynolds Papers.

Accessions after 1979
Acc. 96A-025
Acc. 96A-054
Acc. 96A-039 see War Resisters League (DG 040)
Acc. 05A-021

Detailed Description of the Collection

SERIES I: Business Correspondence

Box 1
1951, 1953, 1955, 1956 (February) - 1957 (February)

Box 2
1957 (March ) - 1958 (July)

Box 3
1958 (August) -1960 (June)

Box 4
1960 (July) - 1962 (June)

Box 5
1962 (July) - 1965 (November)

Box 6
1965 (December) - 1966 (March, part 1)

Box 7
1966, (March, part 2- (July)

Box 8
1966 (August - October)

Box 9
1966 (November) - 1967 (January)

Box 10
1967 (February - March)

Box 11
1967 (April - June, part 2)

Box 12
1967 (June, part 3 - August)

Box 13
1967 (September - December)

Box 14
1968 (January - March, part 1)

Box 15
1968 (March, part 2 - June, part 1)

Box 16
1968 (June, part 2 - September)

Box 17
1968 (October) - 1969 (January)

Box 18
1969 (February - August)

Box 19
1969 (September) - 1970 (March)

Box 20
1970 (April - June)

Box 21
1970 (July - October)

Box 22
1970 (November) - 1971 (January)

Box 23
1971 (February - May)

Box 24
1971 (June - November)

Box 25
1971 (December) - 1972 (March)

Box 26
1972 (April - June)

Box 27
July 1972- November 1972

Box 28
1972 (December) - 1973 (March, part 1)

Box 29
1973 (March, part 2) - 1973 (June)

Box 30
1973 (July - October)

Box 31
1973 (November) - 1974 (February)

Box 32
1974 (March) - 1974 (August, part 1)

Box 33
1974 (August, part 2 - 1975 (March)

Box 34
1975 (April) - September, part 1)

Box 35
1975 (September, part 2) - 1976 (February)

Box 36
1976 (March) - August)

Box 37
1976 (September) - 1977 (February, part 1)

Box 38
1977 (February, part 2 - June)

Box 39
1977 (July) - 1978 (January)

Box 40
1978 (February - August)

SERIES II: Personal correspondence [Restricted]

Box 1
1948- March 1957
1948, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955
January 1956- March 1957

Box 2
April 1957- October 1958

Box 3
November 1958- December 1959

Box 4
January 1960- December 1962

Box 5
January 1963- December 1964

Box 6
January 1965- December 1966

Box 7
January 1967- August 1969

Box 8
September 1969- August 1972

Box 9
September 1972- December 1974

Box 10
January 1975- April 1977

Box 11
May 1977- August 1973

SERIES III: Socialist Party

Box 1
Constitutions, Minutes, Releases
Constitutions- 1954, 1962
Rules and Regulations- 1957
Minutes, National Executive Committee/ National Committee- 1956, 1957-1958
Minutes, Miscellaneous- 1958
Memos, Opinions, Statements- 1955-1958

Box 2
Releases, Correspondence, Conventions
Memos, Opinions, Statements- 1959-1966, 1968-1970, 1972-1973, 1976-1978
Correspondence- 1957-1976
Conventions- 1956-1973

Box 3
Projects, Publications
Committee for a Socialist Program- 1954-1958
Statement on Unity- 1957
McReynolds’ Congressional Campaign- 1958
United Independent-Socialist Campaign- 1958-1959
Local New York 1956-1977
List of Socialists and community Publications Removed
Hammer and Tongs 1957-1966
Hammer and Tongs 1968-1973

SERIES IV: Other Organizations
Box 1
Communist Party
Youth Fellowship of Reconciliation
Songbook, Working Papers- 1953 (February)
Songbooks, Reference/Source Material

SERIES V: Articles by and about McReynolds
Box 1
Articles by McReynolds
List of Periodicals Discarded
Typescripts 1956-1960, 1962-1978
Miscellaneous Magazines 1956-1960
Village Voice Articles 1958-1962, 1964, 1970
Letters to Editor, Responses- 1947-1982
Articles About McReynolds

Campaign 1958
Campaign 1968
General 1956-1970
Biographical Information

SERIES VI: Datebooks/Calendars

Box 1

Accessions after 1979

Acc. 96A-025 WRL-Files
Box 1
Occasional Reports
War Resisters League National Committee
Mobilization for Survival (MFS)
Middle East
NGO Committee on Disarmament
Miscellaneous [2 folders]
Soviet Peace Committee
International Peace Communication and Coordination (IPCC)
Miscellaneous- War Resisters League
Humanist Party
Socialist Party
US Government

David McReynolds- A.J. Muste Memorial Institute
Socialist Party
Reports/Minutes- War Resisters League
Office Business for the War Resisters League
War Resisters International

Box 2
David McReynolds Personal Files [14 folders]
Soviet Dissent
War Resisters League

Box 3
Miscellaneous [6 folders]

Acc. 96A-054
Box 1
Red Baiting
Miscellaneous 1980
Miscellaneous 1981-1982
Miscellaneous [2 folders]

Box 2
Miscellaneous [4 folders]
Correspondence, 1983
Actions to Stop the Euromissiles

Box 3
Personal Files [4 folders]
Study of a Social Movement: Students Against Compulsory R.O.T.C.

Box 4
Personal files [10 folders]

Acc. 04A-096

Box 1
Miscellaneous [3 folders]
Middle East peace; miscellaneous
Middle East peace: newspaper clippings and miscellaneous
Book review; meeting minutes; miscellaneous
Publishing information and reviews, 1970-1971
Correspondence and publishing information, 1970
Correspondence, n.d.
War Resisters League: membership information
Correspondence 1980, 1983

Box 2
Correspondence, 1983
Correspondence, 1979 [7 folders]
Correspondence, 1978-79

Box 3
Correspondence, 1978 [6 folders]
Correspondence, 1976-1978
Correspondence, 1975-1976
Correspondence, 1974-1975
Correspondence, 1972-1974
Correspondence, 1965-1967

Box 4
Disarmament: periodicals and organizing guides, 1979-1982
The Continental Walk, 1976
Disarmament: pamphlets 1976
Nuclear disarmament: periodicals, booklets, etc., 1970s
Disarmament: pamphlets, 1979
Disarmament: pamphlets and booklets, 1939, 1974, 1979
Nuclear disarmament: pamphlets and booklets, 1960, 1980
Nuclear disarmament: pamphlets and booklets, 1980s
Nuclear disarmament: pamphlets and booklets, 1970s

Box 5
UN Special Session on Disarmament II
Correspondence and reports 1981-1882
Correspondence, 1983 [3 folders]
Correspondence, 1983 [includes 1979]
Correspondence, 1982-1983
Correspondence, 1983 and socialist documents
Correspondence, 1983 [ 2 folders]
Correspondence: Socialist Party campaign, 1983

Box 6
Correspondence: International Liaison Office
Correspondence 1982-1983
Correspondence, etc., 1980-1982
Correspondence, booklets, pamphlets, etc. 1977-1982
Correspondence 1981-1983
Correspondence 1981-1982
Correspondence 1979-1983
International Action Conference and the International Confederation for Disarmament and Peace
SSDII and International Action Conference, 1982

Box 7
Efforts: re: Vietnam, 1970s
Efforts: re: MX Missile, B-1 Bomber and nuclear weapons/energy, 1979-1980
Efforts re: Middle East, 1980
Efforts re: Iran/Iraq, 1979-1984
Efforts re: Civil Defense, 1973-1978
Miscellaneous efforts, etc, 1970-1980
Statements, re: CO convictions from young men and women, 1980 [2 folders]
WRL representation on A.J Muste Memorial Institute’s Board of Directors, 1984
Involvement with Movement for a New Society, 1970-1980
Fundraising and calendar, 1982-1989
Literature, 1980s-1990s: prices, lists, leaflets, campaigns, etc.
Socialist Party- not active, 1983
Win- active

Box 8
Reference material
Miscellaneous 1947-1961
Miscellaneous 1962-1963
Miscellaneous 1964
Miscellaneous 1965-1969
Undated miscellaneous
WRL: bills, receipts, checks, 1973-1975
WRL: bills 1973-1977
WRL: financial records, 1971-1979

Box 9
Correspondence, 1979 [3 folders]
Correspondence re: suit against landlord, 1970-1971
Correspondence, 1979
Correspondence, 1979-1982
Correspondence, 1981-1982
Correspondence, 1980-1981
Correspondence, 1980

Box 10
Correspondence, 1978
Correspondence, 1978-1979
Correspondence, 1979
Miscellaneous newspaper clippings, 1981
Miscellaneous newspaper clippings, 1982 [2 folders]
Miscellaneous newspaper clippings, 1982-1983
Miscellaneous newspaper clippings
Efforts re: El Salvador and Central America, 1982-1983
Efforts re: El Salvador, 1981

Box 11
Efforts re: Central America, 1981-1983
Efforts re: Central America, 1981-1984
Efforts re: Central America, 1982-1984
Efforts re: El Salvador and Central America: stopping U.S. intervention, 1982
Efforts re: El Salvador and Central America, 1981-1983 [2 folders]
Efforts e: El Salvador and Central America, 1983-1984
Efforts re: Central America and U.S. intervention

Box 12

WRL: financial records and meeting minutes, 1964-1968
WRL: miscellaneous [3 folders]
Efforts regarding South Africa, 1984-1985
Booklets on nonviolence 1948, 1958, 1964-1968
Periodicals and booklets regarding Latin American resistance
El Salvador and Guatemala: periodicals and newsletters, 1981-1984

Box 13
McReynolds’ writings and miscellaneous
Correspondence, 1981-1983
Correspondence, 1980-1981
Correspondence, 1980 [2 folders]
Correspondence and newsletters, 1982-1983
Correspondence 1982-1983
Japan, 1977
Correspondence with Theodore Lanning

Box 14
Correspondence, 1983
June 12
Correspondence, newsletter and organizer, 1982-1983
Correspondence, 1981-1983
Financial records: bills, 1972-1973
Financial records: bills, 1973-1974
Newsletters and correspondence, 1983
NGO Dialogue, 1978

Box 15
Correspondence, etc, 1981-1983 [2 folders]
David McReynolds, 1979-1982
Correspondence, 1979 [2 folders]
May 27/ Task Forces, 1978
Correspondence, 1978-1979
Correspondence 1979

Box 16

[note: many of the folders in this box, especially those with hard to read handwritten labels, have only one or a few items in them]
Correspondence and surveys, 1973-1979
Reports, surveys, correspondence 1977-1978
1979 correspondence
Correspondence 1975
WRL: mobilization; meetings, National Action Group, 1967-1968
CNVA and NECNVA Latin American Conference, 1967-1969; NV discussions
Radical Research Center mailing, 1970
SACB Subversive Activities Control Board, 1968
Paul Salstrom, 1966
Socialist Scholars Conference, 1967
Student mob civil disobedience 1967
SNCC Atlanta
November 4, 1966
AFSC Vietnam
“Sit-Down” massive civil disobedience 1966
Soldiers Against War
South Africa, 1966
2nd Chapter of Poor People’s Campaign
SDS CD Conference
SMC: Mobilization Campaign
War tax NY
Times Square Vigil, 1965
WIN: meeting notes

Box 17
Whitehall demonstration
WR Conference
WRL: planning October 21, 1967
Parade Conference, December 16, 1967
Parade Committee, 1969
Peacemaker Summer Program, 1969
Philadelphia CNVA Conference
Poor Peoples’ Campaign
Presidio 27
Prison Meeting
Psych. Hospitals
Quaker concerns about China
Quaker Pilgrimage
QPCC, 1967
QPCC telephone tree
Correspondence and Bulletins, 1949-1965
Booklets, Newsletters, Publications 1941-1965
WRL, 1967
WRL News; Campaigns Against Vietnam War, 1963-1970
WRL: correspondence re: Vietnam, 1965-1985
WRL discussion on revolution 1968
WRI: Haverford, 1965
WIN: monthly meeting 1967
Anti-Cooperation Conference
Alexandria, Virginia arrests
Anti-Draft, 1965
Anti-Draft Week, March 1970

Box 18
Cuban Children’s Art Work, 1967
VO Speaking Schedule
WIN: Atlanta
CCNY Draft Workshop
Action Bulletin, May 27, 1965
Anti-Escalation Committee
April 15
John Baehler
Biafra vigil people
AQAG [A Quaker Action Group]
April Action
Biafra working folder
C. Rev. Bd. [Civilian Review Board]
Draft leaflet
Chester Board Committee, 1969
COs and military law

Box 19
Declaration of Conscience
Draft card burning, April 15, 1967
Draft leafleting
Demonstrations, Fall 1972
Foods for people
Food records
Grassroots conference
H.S. Draft meeting
FAIR, 1967
Grassroots Conference, 1969
H.S. graduation: leaflet
H.S. draft: meeting
H.S. list
August 6, 1969
Study of nonviolence
WRL: leaflet layouts
May 23, 1969
FOR Task Force on Central America
WRL: Central America program
Correspondence re: Central America, 1982
Campaign Against U.S. Intervention
National Network solidarity with Nicaragua

Box 20
Resources re: Central America, 1983-1984
Peace Brigades International, 1983-1984
Miscellaneous emergency mailings re: Central America, 1983-1984
Committee In Solidarity With People From El Salvador (CISPES), 1981-1984
Central America (New) National Organization, 1984
Latin America: miscellaneous
Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), 1981
Central America: miscellaneous tours
Pamphlets, 1960s
Pamphlets and publications, 1950s-1960s
Periodicals, 1960s
Newsletters and periodicals, 1949-1960s

Box 21
WRL: annual dinner, 1962 -- RSVPs
WRL: annual dinner, 1960 -- RSVPs
WRL: annual dinner, 1961 -- RSVPs
WRL: annual dinner, 1964 -- RSVPs
Miscellaneous, 1949-1950; WRL: annual dinner, n.d. -- RSVPs
Capital punishment and nonviolence, 1960s
Comic Books (Labor), 1947
WEB Dubois Clubs of America pamphlets and newsletters, 1960s
Pamphlets, 1960s

Box 22
Fliers and pamphlets, 1960s
Protest newsclippings, 1958-1962
WRL: newslippings, 1949-1960
Walk for Peace newsclippings, 1958
Newsclippings, 1967-1968
Correspondence, 1956-1969
Correspondence, 1949-1969
Correspondence, 1947-1964
Correspondence, 1948-1963
Correspondence, 1960-1964
Correspondence 1964
Correspondence, 1949-1960

Box 23
Dinners, conferences andevents, 1960
Membership lists
Financial records, 1960
Financial records, 1960-1963
Socialist Party: correspondence etc., 1978 [2 folders]
Correspondence, 1958, 1979-1980
Correspondence, 1978-1980
Correspondence, 1982

Box 24
Correspondence, 1981-1982
Correspondence, 1981
Correspondence and reports, 1981
Correspondence, 1981 [4 folders]

Box 25
Correspondence, 1981 [includes WRL correspondence?]
Correspondence, etc., 1982
Correspondence, etc., 1981-1982
Correspondence, etc, 1981

Box 26
Correspondence, etc, 1980
Correspondence, etc, 1982 [2 folders]
Correspondence, 1981

Box 27
Personal financial records and WRL financial records: checkbooks, bills, income tax statements, and receipts

This file was last updated on August 21, 2015