People's World Photograph Collection
Scope and Contents of Collection
The People's World Photograph Collection consists of approximately 6,000 photographs used in People's World, a grassroots publication affiliated with the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). The photographs, along with a small selection of artwork, highlight social and political issues and events of the 20th century, with the views of the newspaper aligning with the CPUSA's policies on local and global topics of importance such as civil rights, labor, immigration, the peace movement, poverty, and unemployment. The photographs, the bulk of which span the years 1930 to 1990, comprise predominantly black and white prints gathered from a variety of sources including government agencies, photographic studios, individual photographers, stock image companies, and news agencies, while the graphic images comprise cartoons and drawings, the bulk of which were created by People's World artist Pele deLappe. Photographers represented in the collection include Allen Zak, Judy Shattuck, Jerome Magid, Sam Kushner, Nari Osei, Cathy Cade, Lou Dematteis, Douglas Wachter, Stephen Shames, Steve Murdoch, Kim Corsaro, Earl Dotter, Glen Pearcy, and Jose Alvear.
Series 1, Subjects, contains photographs related to topics frequently covered in People's World articles and opinion pieces. These include communist movements in places such as Cuba, China, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR); political groups, labor organizations, and committees including the CPUSA, the Independent Progressive Party (IPP), House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the Black Panther Party, The National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR), the International Warehouse & Longshore Union (ILWU), the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), and many other local and global issues of significance to the CPUSA and the American Left.
Series 2, Individuals, features individual and group shots of politicians, world leaders, writers, actors, civil rights activists, refugees, elected officials, labor union members and leaders, as well as people in the workplace.
Series 3, Arts and Entertainment, consists of photographs used by People's World in reviews of the arts and entertainment scene in the Bay Area. The bulk comprises images of various artists, musicians, and actors, and includes publicity stills from films, performances, art exhibitions, and Public Broadcasting Service television shows.
Series 4, Cartoons, Artwork, and Graphics, contains original cartoons by Pele deLappe that satirize politicians and current events. Also includes artwork, text, and images used in the graphic design of People's World.
Series 5, People's World Staff, comprises group and individual shots of staff at work, the bulk of which span the years 1940 to 1960. The photographs show varying aspects of newspaper production, including typesetting, printing processes, mailings, subscription drives, and editorial work.
Series 6, Negatives and Contact Prints, contains copy negatives of selected prints from Series 1, Subject Files, and Series 2, Individuals.
- Majority of material found within 1930-1990
Language of Materials
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives and Research Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Labor Archives and Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
History of People's World
The West Coast-based People's World was founded on January 1, 1938 as a daily grassroots newspaper affiliated with the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). Published in San Francisco, People's World circulated up and down the West Coast and was financed entirely by subscription. Its self-stated purpose was to represent the interests, causes, and struggles of the common people under the banner "For Security, Democracy and Peace." The paper's articles and photographs heralded social change, focusing on such issues as equality, social justice, civil rights, labor, and immigration. In the late 1950s, in response to strong anti-Communist propaganda led by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, the readership of People's World declined and the paper was forced to go to a weekly schedule. In 1986 it returned to being a daily after it merged with Daily World. The resulting People's Daily World continued to serve as the political voice of the Communist Party.
23 cubic ft. (46 boxes)
The People's World Photograph Collection consists of approximately 6,000 photographs used in People's World, a grassroots publication affiliated with the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). The photographs, along with a small selection of cartoons and artwork, highlight social and political issues and events of the 20th century, with the views of the newspaper aligning with the CPUSA's policies on topics such as civil rights, labor, immigration, the peace movement, poverty, and unemployment. The photographs, the bulk of which span the years 1930 to 1990, comprise predominantly black and white prints gathered from a variety of sources including government agencies, photographic studios, individual photographers, stock image companies, and news agencies, while many of the cartoons and artwork were created by People's World editor and artist Pele deLappe.
Arranged in 6 series: Series 1. Subjects, 1918-1992, is further arranged into two subseries: Subjects 1918-1969 and Subjects 1920-1992. Series 2, Individuals, 1856-1992; Series 3, Arts and Entertainment, 1967-1991; Series 4, Cartoons, Artwork, and Graphics, 1948-1983; Series 5, People's World Staff, 1940-1986; and Series 6, Negatives and Contact Prints, 1948-1990.
Original order has been maintained and the original headings for the subject files are those used by Peoples World staff. Subseries 1.1 and Subseries 1.2 are arranged alphabetically by subject. Since the collection was accessioned over a period of years, there is some overlap in terms of dates and subject headings. The individuals in Series 2 are arranged alphabetically by last name. The remaining series are arranged as received.
Materials are stored onsite.
The People's World Photograph Collection was originally donated by the staff of People's World on June 6, 1986. The images in Series 3, Arts and Entertainment, and Series 6, People's World Staff, were donated by Pele deLappe, and were collected in her capacity as features editor and cartoonist for People's World; a final addition, mainly containing negatives, was made through a purchase from Bolerium Books in 2011. The collection consists of the following six accessions: 1986/073, 1990/013, 1992/003, 1992/049, 1994/037, 2011/015.
Text files from People's World, comprised primarily of newspaper clippings, ephemera, notes, transcribed interviews and speeches, and reference material, were separated from the photographs and transferred to LARC's manuscript collection as People's World Research Files (larc.ms.0399).
Processed by Labor Archives and Research Center staff. Processing of additions and revision of finding aid by Alexandria Post, 2015, and Frances Kaplan, 2017.
Original order and subject heading titles have been maintained for Series 1, Subject Files. These came as two separate accessions and were integrated into the collection as follows: Subseries 1.1: Subjects 1918-1969 (accession 1986/073), and Subseries 1.2: Subjects 1920-1992 (accession 1992/049). As a result there is some overlap in terms of dates and subject headings.
Series 2, Individuals, combines photographs from accessions 1986/073 and 1992/049. The photographs comprise individual portraits as well as group shots and publicity stills. As many as possible of the individuals in the group photographs have been identified.
Series 3, Arts and Entertainment, consists of photographs collected by Pele deLappe in her capacity as feature editor for People's World, and given to the Labor Archives and Research Center (LARC) in August 1994 by Alice Sunshine (accession 1994/037).
- Anti-war demonstrations -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area -- Photographs.
- Civil rights demonstrations -- Photographs.
- Communism -- United States -- Newspapers.
- Demonstrations--United States--Photographs.
- Journalism, Pictorial--United States.
- Labor unions--United States--Photographs.
- Photograph collections--California--San Francisco.
- Photograph morgues (Collections)
- Political cartoons--Periodicals.
- Protest movements--Photographs.
- San Francisco (Calif.)--Newspapers.
- Underground press publications--California--San Francisco.
- World politics--Caricatures and cartoons--Periodicals.
- Finding Aid to the People's World Photograph Collection
- Finding aid prepared by Labor Archives staff.
- 2012, Revised 2017
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in: English.