Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2351

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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

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Collection Overview
Name of Creator:National Lawyers Guild. Massachusetts Chapter, Inc.
Title:National Lawyers Guild. Massachusetts Chapter, Inc. records
Reference Code:M197
Location Code:36/2-3
Extent:9.20 cubic feet (10 boxes)
Scope and Content Abstract:The bulk of the collection are subject files that detail the Massachusetts Chapter's research, organizing and work around national and local issues, notably NLGMC's work in support of housing rights, various Central American countries in the 1980s, its protest of Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork's nominations to the Supreme Court, and Charles Fried's nomination to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Included are issues from 1970 to 2006 of the Chapter's newsletter, Mass Dissent. Also documented is the Chapter's support of Law School chapters at local universities. The collection also contains administrative records such as membership lists, dues, and financial records.
Historical Abstract:The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) was founded in New York City in 1936 in response to the conservative American Bar Association. The Massachusetts chapter (NLGMC) formed soon after. At the founding convention in Washington D.C. in 1937, the National group formally opened itself to all lawyers regardless of race, sex, or political beliefs and started campaigning for anti-lynching legislation, legal protections for collective bargaining, full scale social security, and federally funded neighborhood legal aid bureaus. Targeted early on in the second red scare, red-baiting of key members caused membership to crumble and the Boston Chapter was essentially decimated. The NLGMC reformed in 1969, focusing efforts on issues of labor, reproductive rights, Central America and government repression. NLG and NLGMC are still active today.
Language and Scripts:Majority of collection in English, some materials in Spanish and Haitian Creole.
System of Arrangement:Arranged in one alphabetical sequence.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • National Lawyers Guild. Immigration Project
  • National Lawyers Guild. Central America Task Force
  • National Lawyers Guild. National Immigration Project
  • National Lawyers Guild. National Committee to Combat Women's Oppression
  • National Lawyers Guild. Massachusetts Chapter
  • National Lawyers Guild
  • National Lawyers Guild. Massachusetts Chapter

  • National Lawyers Guild--History.
  • Social justice.
  • Lawyers -- United States.
  • Peace movements -- United States.
  • Civil rights lawyers
  • Activists--Massachusetts--1970-1980.

Conditions Governing Access:The collection is unrestricted
Technical Access:There are unlabeled files that are on 5¼ floppy disks the archives does not have equipment to support.
Accruals:Further accruals are possible
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:Copyright restrictions may apply
Appraisal, Destruction, and Scheduling Information:Due to confidentiality restrictions, records relating to clients of the Referral Service and Unemployment Law Project have been removed.
Related Archival Materials:

Records pertaining to the NLG Chapter at Northeastern University School of Law can be found in A45, Box 8.

Processor:Finding aid prepared by Martha Pearson, June 2014