Home > Bronx County Archives Finding Aids > Jackie Robinson Papers, 1943–1955

Jackie Robinson Papers, 1943–1955

Information, Description, and Finding Aid

Collection Information

Reference: MS-ROBINSON.1

Dates: 1943–1955

Extent: 0.58 linear ft. across 1 archival box

Digital collection available

Finding Aid Information

Creator(s): Steven Payne, Ph.D., Librarian and Archivist

Date created/updated: December 17, 2020

Biography

Joseph W. McCarthy (1915–1980) met Jackie Robinson in the mid-1950s and helped Robinson utilize the papers in this collection to write a series of three articles published in LOOK Magazine in 1955 (also included in this collection). McCarthy was a prominent free-lance writer and editor in New York City during the 1940s–1970s. He began his career in Boston as a reporter and sportswriter. During World War II, he was Managing Editor for the U.S. Army publication, Yank the Army Weekly, until 1945. During those years he lived in the Parkchester section of The Bronx with his young family.

In the following decades, McCarthy worked as a free-lance writer for publications such as Life, LOOK Magazine, and Holiday, and he authored, edited, or was ghost writer of eight books that included the 1961 memoir, Firsthand Report, by Sherman Adams, about Adams's years in the Eisenhower White House; the letters of the comedian Fred Allen—Fred Allen's Letters (1966); and a book on President Kennedy, Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye (1972).

Description/Scope and Content

The collection consists of the following six series:

1) General, which contains documents related to Branch Rickey (manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers), the Brooklyn Dodgers, Black organizations, and post-World War II civil rights issues.

2) Newspaper Correspondence and Clippings, which includes letters and clippings about the Brooklyn Dodgers and their minor league teams from various members of the press around New York City, the U.S., and Montreal. Of special interest are the letters between prominent sports editors of Black newspapers, like Wendell Smith, and Branch Rickey, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

3) Negro Baseball Leagues, which is comprised of clippings about, correspondence from, and other documents on players and teams in the various "Negro leagues." The material provides an insider view of Branch Rickey's early scouting of Black baseball players as well as the formation of the short-lived United States League. Most of the letters in this series from the earliest African American members of the Dodgers, like Roy Campanella or Don Newcombe, deny the allegation that the players had breached contracts with their previous teams.

4) Jackie Robinson, which includes correspondence to, from, and about Jackie; one publicity photograph of Jackie [PH-ROBINSON.1]; various documents about Jackie's public appearances; and the transcript of Jackie's testimony to the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

5) Campaign Against Jim Crow in Baseball, comprised of letters, petitions, postcards, and articles urging Branch Rickey to draft African American players to the Dodgers and thus challenge the Jim Crow policies of the American and National Leagues, which completely excluded Black players at the time. Much of the earliest material in the series, from 1944, comes from people or organizations in some way affiliated with or favorable to the Communist Party (C.P.U.S.A.), like Benjamin J. Davis, Jr., the New York City councilman representing Harlem; Paul Robeson; the National Maritime Union (N.M.U.); the Furriers union (I.F.L.W.U.); the National Negro Congress; etc. Indeed, Communists in New York and elsewhere took a leading role in the struggle to end Jim Crow practices in professional baseball, and their efforts were eventually successful because they were able to build a very broad coalition around the issue, one that included other less radical civil rights groups, organized labor, artists, academics, and various religious bodies and leaders. This series also contains letters of congratulation, prodding, and encouragement after Branch Rickey drafted Jackie Robinson to the Dodgers' minor league team in Montreal (the Royals) in 1945, as well as a handful of explicitly racist letters objecting to Rickey's decision.

*** This is also the series in this collection that contains material directly related to The Bronx, including a number of letters and postcards sent from Bronxites in protest of Jim Crow in baseball. Of particular interest is a letter sent by Lilyan Jiggetts, the secretary for Councilman Davis. Lilyan Jiggetts lived in the United Workers Cooperative Colony ("the Coops"), located at 2700 Bronx Park East, and was involved in various progressive organizations and causes during the 1940s and 1950s. (She was later involved, for instance, in the left-leaning National Council of Arts, Sciences and Professions.) Audley Moore, better known as Queen Mother Moore, also lived in the Coops during these years and claims in multiple oral histories that she was very involved in the effort to end Jim Crow in baseball (although there is no material directly from her in this collection).

6) Joe McCarthy and LOOK Magazine, which includes information about Joseph W. McCarthy and the series of articles that he wrote with Jackie Robinson in 1955.

Provenance

The Jackie Robinson papers were donated to the Society in December 2020 by E. Doyle McCarthy, Professor of Sociology and American Studies at Fordham University and the daughter of Joe McCarthy, who helped Jackie Robinson write a series of three articles in LOOK Magazine in 1954 and used the papers comprising this collection to do so.

Preferred Citation

[Item name or description,] Jackie Robinson papers, box _, folder _, The Bronx County Archives at The Bronx County Historical Society Research Library.

Points of Access

  • Brooklyn Dodgers -- Brooklyn Brown Dodgers -- Ebbetts Field -- integration -- Montreal Royals -- National League -- United States League
  • Civil rights activism -- anti-discrimination -- baseball -- hiring practices
  • Civil rights organizations -- Committee of Racial Equality/Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.) -- Communist Party U.S.A. (C.P.U.S.A.) -- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.) -- National Negro Congress -- Urban League
  • Communism -- anti-communism -- Communist Party U.S.A. (C.P.U.S.A.) -- Daily Worker -- House Committee on Un-American Activities
  • Ethnic groups and nationalities -- African Americans
  • Individuals -- Campanella, Roy -- Davis, Benjamin J., Jr. -- Hart, Richard -- Jiggetts, Lilyan -- Lacy, Sam -- McCarthy, Joseph W. -- Newcombe, Don -- Owen, Arnold M. (Mickey) -- Partlow, Roy -- Powers, Jimmy -- Rickey, Branch, Jr. -- Rickey, Branch, Sr. -- Robeson, Paul -- Robinson, Jackie -- Shackleford, John -- Smith, Wendell -- Wright, John
  • Newspapers -- Black newspapers -- Afro-American Newspapers -- Chicago Defender -- National Negro Press Association (NNPA) -- People's Voice -- Philadelphia Independent -- Pittsburgh Courier
  • Negro league baseball -- Baltimore Elite Giants -- Brooklyn Brown Dodgers -- Chicago American Giants -- Chicago Brown Bombers -- Chicago Monarchs -- Kansas City Monarchs -- Memphis Red Sox -- Negro American League -- Negro Major American and National League Base Ball Teams, Inc. -- New Orleans Pelicans -- New York Cubans -- Newark Eagles -- Pittsburgh Crawfords -- San Francisco Sea Lions -- United States League
  • Unions and organized labor -- Furriers (I.L.G.W.U.) -- National Maritime Union (N.M.U.)

Related Collections

Series

Series Title Box Folders
1 General 1 2–11
2 Newspaper Correspondence and Clippings 1 12–24
3 Negro Baseball Leagues 1 25–49
4 Jackie Robinson 1 50–55
5 Campaign Against Jim Crow in Baseball 1 56–79
6 Joe McCarthy and LOOK Magazine 1 80–83

Container List

Series 1: General

Box

Folder

Contents

Year

1 2

Anti-Defamation League

1948

1 3

Anti-Discrimination Legislation

1945–1946

1 4

Mayor’s Committee on Baseball of New York City

1945–1946

1 5

Negro Actors Guild of America

1947

1 6

Negroes and the War

n.d.

1 7

Owen, Arnold M. (Mickey)

1943

1 8

United Negro College Fund

1948–1950

1 9

Urban League

1948–1950

1 10

U.S.P.S. Return Receipts, Brooklyn Dodgers

1946

1 11

Y.M.C.A. and Branch Rickey

1949

Series 2: Newspaper Correspondence and Clippings

Box

Folder

Contents

Year

1 12

Afro-American Newspapers/Sam Lacy

1944–1949

1 13

Associated Press

1946

1 14

Black newspapers, general

1945–1949

1 15

Chicago Defender

1945–1946

1 16

Montreal newspapers, general

1946

1 17

Negro Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA)

1947

1 18

New York City newspapers, general

1945–1946

1 19

People’s Voice/Richard Hart

1946

1 20

Philadelphia Independent

1945

1 21

Pittsburgh Courier/Wendell Smith

1945–1946

1 22

Powers, Jimmy, column and reply

1946

1 23

United Press Association

1946

1 24

U.S. newspapers, general

1946

Series 3: Negro Baseball Leagues

Box

Folder

Contents

Year

1 25

Negro Leagues, general

1944–1947

1 26

Negro Leagues, clippings

1945

1 27

Negro Leagues, contracts, general

1945–1946

1 28

Negro Leagues, players, general

1946

1 29

Negro Leagues, scouting reports

1945–1946

1 30

Negro Leagues, umpires

1945–1950

1 31

Baltimore Elite Giants

1945–1946

1 32

Brooklyn Brown Dodgers

1946–1947

1 33

Campanella, Roy, correspondence

1946

1 34

Chicago American Giants

1945–1948

1 35

Chicago Brown Bombers

1945–1946

1 36

Chicago Monarchs

1946

1
37

Memphis Red Sox

1947

1
38

Negro American League

1950

1
39

Negro Major American and National League Base Ball Teams, Inc.

1945­–1949

1
40

New Orleans Black Pelicans

1945

1
41

Newark Eagles

1946

1
42

Newcombe, Don, correspondence

n.d.

1
43

Partlow, Roy, correspondence

1945–1946

1
44

Pittsburgh Crawfords

1946

1
45

San Francisco Sea Lions

1946

1
46

Shackleford, John, correspondence

1947

1
47

United States League, clippings

1945

1
48

Unites States League, formation

1945

1
49

Wright, John, correspondence

1946

Series 4: Jackie Robinson

Box

Folder

Contents

Year

1 50

Jackie Robinson, appearances

1946–1949

1 51

Jackie Robinson, correspondence, to Branch Rickey

1946–1947

1 52

Jackie Robinson, correspondence about, general

1945–1947

1 53

Jackie Robinson, movie

1947–1950

1 54

Jackie Robinson, publicity photograph [PH-ROBINSON.1]

n.d.

1 55

Jackie Robinson, House Committee on Un-American Activities

1949

Series 5: Campaign Against Jim Crow in Baseball

Box

Folder

Contents

Year

1 56

American League response

1945

1 57

American Youth for Democracy

1944

1 58

Committee of Catholics for Human Rights

1945

1 59

Daily Worker

1944

1 60

Davis, Benjamin J., Jr.

1944

1 61

Flier: Jim Crow in Baseball Must Go!

1945

1 62

Furriers Union

1944

1 63

Individuals, general

1944–1949

1
64

Individuals, Bronx

1944

1
65

Individuals, Brooklyn

1944–1945

1
66

Individuals, New York

1944–1946

1
67

Jamaica Inter-Racial and Inter-Faith Committee

1945

1
68

Metropolitan Interfaith and Interracial Coordinating Council

1945

1
69

National Committee to Combat Anti-Semitism

1945

1
70

National Maritime Union

1944

1
71

National Negro Congress

1944

1
72

Petitions

n.d.

1
73

Postcards, Boston

1944

1
74

Postcards, Bronx

1944

1
75

Postcards, Brooklyn

1944

1
76

Postcards, Manhattan

1944

1
77

Postcards, Philadelphia

1944

1
78

Congratulations on Signing Jackie Robinson

1945–1947

1
79

Correspondence, racist

1945–1946

Series 6: Joe McCarthy and LOOK Magazine

Box

Folder

Contents

Year

1 80

Correspondence, Bavasi, E.J., to Jackie Robinson

1950s

1 81

LOOK Magazine, Jackie Robinson articles

1955

1 82

McCarthy, Joe

n.d.

1 83

Miscellaneous

n.d.