The Daily Worker

Daily Worker was created for Communist Party USA members in 1921. The paper was originally titled the Worker, centered in Chicago and marketed as a weekly newspaper for the first three years of its existence. It then moved to New York City and carried out a pre-planned expansion into a daily broadsheet with a new name, Daily Worker. Publication under this new title lasted from 1924 to 1958. Daily Worker was primarily focused on issues relating to organized labor.   

In the January 13, 1924 edition, the first under their new name, the paper declared “Now, in this first issue of The Daily Worker, we join hands with the comrades of the Communist International in declaring that the Daily is but ‘The forerunner of more revolutionary dailies in other parts of the country.’” Most articles covered events that involved collective labor action. This included crackdowns by business owners, strikes, and other forms of collective bargaining. 

A photograph of CPUSA May Day Protests from the 1930s.

 Like other Communist Party USA-backed newspapers of the time, Daily Worker was supportive of the Civil Rights movement. It fought continual legal battles for freedom of speech and freedom of the press to prevent Daily Worker from closing. The Daily Worker firmly opposed McCarthyism. American law enforcement and intelligence agencies heavily infiltrated the Daily Worker’s contributor and subscriber bases. Its pages were surveilled to gather information about the Communist Party USA. 

Firmly Stalinist in its outlook for most of its period of publication, Daily Worker struggled to keep together after the death of the Soviet leader. A further cause of division was the Soviet crackdown on the Hungarian uprising of 1956. In the November 5, 1956 edition, editor John Gates wrote, “The action of Soviet troops in Hungary does not advance but retards the development of socialism because socialism cannot be imposed on a country by force”. Many Communists were upset by the Daily Worker’s editorial stance that the crackdown was unjustified. Daily Worker subsequently moved towards Social Democrat political alignment and away from Soviet policies. 

A Photograph of John Gates.

The overall American Communist party membership was deeply divided by the Soviet response to the Hungarian uprising and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization policies. Subscriptions plummeted below sustainable levels. Daily Worker also refused to place advertisements within its pages like other capitalist papers used for financial stability. The lack of ad revenue meant that the paper was vulnerable to funding losses from subscriptions and support from the official communist party. 

As the Communist Party USA fractured ideologically, their finances suffered. The party withdrew financial support from Daily Worker in an attempt to cut costs. The final edition was released on January 13, 1958. The Daily Worker editorial board explained in their cover article that “Overwhelming was the financial burden on a shrinking Left-Wing movement beset by internal difficulties.” In its own obituary, the editorial board noted proudly that Daily Worker was “the longest-lived English language radical daily newspaper in the United States.” 

Dewey → Library of Congress Classification

The History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library (HPNL) and African American Studies Research Center (AASRC) are reclassifying their book collections, switching from Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) to Library of Congress Classification (LCC).

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New Collection: Advertising America

Digitized selections from the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives at Duke University. Although the archive has not been digitized in its entirety, the size of the digitized portion is nevertheless enormous. The J. Walter Thompson Company was one of the most important American advertising agencies of the twentieth century, and this digital collection documents its work in sixteen industries:

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Flash Newspapers: New Digital Collection

Flash newspapers were a type of “underground newspaper” that catered to people interested in reading about, or participating in, illicit activities, such as gambling, prostitution, and other forms of vice. Flash newspapers were often published and circulated secretly, so as to avoid detection by law-enforcement, and consequently these newspapers were  rarely collected by libraries. The best collection of flash newspapers in the United States is held by the American Antiquarian Society, and a large portion of that collection has now been digitized by Readex. The University of Illinois Library is pleased to announce that we have acquired this digital collection, American Underworld: The Flash Press.

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Latin American Newspapers Series 2

Now available: Latin American Newspapers Series 2. Part of the World Newspaper Archive (which also includes African Newspapers, and South Asian Newspapers), Latin American Newspapers Series 2 is the second module in what is arguably becoming the best digital collection of Central and South American newspapers available anywhere.

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Digitized Pittsburgh Newspapers

The Library now has permanent access to a collection of digitized Pittsburgh newspapers. Although the database is called ProQuest Historical Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the collection is actually a couple dozen different newspapers related to the Post-Gazette, which did not begin publication under that title until 1927. This collection boasts newspapers dating back to 1786.

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New Digitized Newspaper Collection: Historical Communist Newspapers

The Library now has permanent access to ProQuest Historical Communist Newspapers, a collection of nine labor, socialist, and communist newspapers published in the United States. All nine newspapers are connected to the Daily Worker (either preceding or succeeding titles).

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2 New Digital Collections of Women’s Magazines

The Library now has permanent access to the second series in ProQuest’s Women’s Magazine Archive. Series 2 adds six more titles to the collection (for a total of twelve magazines), and like its predecessor the magazines are, wherever possible, digitized in full color. Series 2 is also notable for the addition of Essence magazine, a publication for African American women.

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Something Interesting About Early American Newspapers Series 13

Series 13 of Early American Newspapers boasts over 2,300 titles from the trans-Mississippi west. If you browse the series, however, you might notice something peculiar: over a third of these titles are represented by only a single issue, with all these single issues coming from the year 1876. Why does the collection contain so many random issues from the year 1876?

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