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AFT National Defense Cases Records

Identifier: LR000348_NDF

Scope and Content

The papers document various matters that have led to dismissals and demotions of teachers, and reflect the union's efforts to defend the teacher's tenure rights.

Important subjects covered in the collection are: Civil liberties Defense policies Contract violations Tenure rights

Among the important correspondents are: Herstein, Lillian Kraus, Rosalie C. Kuenzli, Irvin R. Megel, Carl

Series Description: Series I, Local Defense Applications, 1940-1968: Correspondence, clippings, legal documents and other materials relating to defense applications made by various teachers to the National Defense Fund.

Series II, Defense Fund Office Files, 1937-1964: Office files of the Defense Fund includes correspondence, speeches, reports and financial records concerning the administration of the Defense Fund.


  • 1930 - 1969


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


The National Defense Fund of the American Federation of Teachers was established at the National Convention in Madison, Wisconsin on August 23-27, 1937. The fund was included in the union's annual budget and financed by per capital payments from each member of one cent a month. This fund was administered from Chicago, Illinois by executives in the union's national office. A member who was dismissed or demoted unjustly could apply for financial aid from the fund in order to help cover the costs of defense. The National Defense Fund provided coverage for one-third of a teacher's defense costs, the state organization furnished financial assistance for one-third, and the local gave monetary aid for the remaining third.


7.75 Linear Feet (16 MB)


Correspondence between the AFT national office, state federations, locals and individual members concerning legal action by or against members of the union. Also included are applications for grants from the AFT defense fund. Topics covered include academic freedom and the National Educational Policies Committee.


Arranged in 2 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-13), and Series 2 (Boxes 13-16). Folders are arranged alphabetically.


The defense cases of the American Federation of Teachers were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in May of 1969 by the A.F.T.

Related Materials

AFT collections

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in 1970 as the Completed Defense Cases Series of the A.F.T. Collection. The material was reprocessed and a new guide was written in May of 1986.
Guide to the AFT National Defense Cases Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA