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Eugene V. Debs

Eugene V. Debs
1895 – 1935
1 mss box

Manuscript & Rare Books Division
Indiana State Library

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                         Processed by: Unknown                       

Biographical Note:

Eugene Victor Debs was born November 5, 1855 in Terre Haute, Indiana. Debs was an American union leader as a founding member of the International Labor Union and Industrial Workers of the World. Debs was elected to the Indiana Senate 8th District, serving one term (1880 – 1884). Debs was also heavily involved in the Socialist Party, running unsuccessfully for President of the United States under the party ticket in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920. Debs gained national notoriety as a leader in the Pullman Strike and boycott of 1894. Outspoken in his socialist views, Debs was arrest in 1918 for violating the Espionage Act of 1917 for criticizing America’s involvement in World War I. Debs served 3 years in a federal prison before President Harding commuted his sentence in 1921. Following his release, Debs returned to Terre Haute, where he resided until being admitted into a sanitarium near the end of his life. Debs died October 20, 1925 in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Scope and Content Note:

The collection consists primarily of correspondence of Socialist Party Executive Secretary Otto Branstertter, with and regarding Debs during 1920 – 1923, including letters regarding amnesty for Debs and other people imprisoned for their opposition to World War 1, as well as letters regarding Socialist Party politics and Debs role in the party following his release from prison. Also included are Debs’ writings on the labor movement, his essay on Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1922), statements of Debs and others on their opposition of the war, scrapbook of newspaper articles regarding Debs’ 1923 speaking tour, copies of Debs’ letters to Cleveland, OH socialist leader Peter Witt and Terre Haute socialist Shubert Sebree. The collection also contains news-clippings, printed articles, other published materials on Debs, booklets “Ballad of Gene Debs” by Sarah Cleghorn (1928), and “At Death of Debs” by J. Howard Flowers (1926).

Correspondents include Roger Baldwin, Theodore Debs, Albert DeSilver, Irwin St. John Tucker, George S. Viereck, Bertha Hale White, among others.

Photocopying Policy:

Manuscript materials CANNOT be photocopied or digitized in their entirety. Photocopies and/or digital images cannot exceed 25% of a collection or a folder within a collection. In some cases, photocopying may not be permitted due to the condition of the item. Check with a Manuscript Librarian for other options.

Box and Folder Listing:

Box 1. 

1. Correspondence 1895 – 1920
2. Correspondence 1921
3. Correspondence January to April, 1922
4. Correspondence May 1922 – 1923
5. Correspondence 1924 – 1935
6. Correspondence no date

Collection Information

Size of Collection: 1 mss box, 6 folders
Collection Dates: 1895 – 1935
Provenance: Purchased by Indiana State Library, 1945
Access : The collection is open for research use
Restrictions: None
Reproduction Rights: Permission to reproduce, exhibit, or publish material in this collection must be obtained from the Manuscript Section, Indiana State Library.
Language: Materials are entirely in English
Alternate Formats: None
Related Holdings: None
Notes: Full item inventory available upon request
Collection also contains 2 envelopes containing original printed articles and clippings found within the collection – NOT to be used or photocopied


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