• IdentificationICU.SPCL.AVC
  • TitleGuide to the American Veterans Committee, Chicago Area Council Records1946-1973
  • PublisherUniversity of Chicago Library
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Date1946-1973
  • Physical Description3 linear feet (5 boxes)
  • RepositorySpecial Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.
  • AbstractThe collection contains documents from the American Veterans Council, founded in 1944 and disbanded in 2003. The American Veterans Council was a liberal Veterans’ organization that sought to protect and extend Democracy. The collection spans from 1946-1973, with the bulk of the collection from 1946-1958. Researches interested in union and or Veterans history, especially with regards to Chicago, will find this collection useful.

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Politics, Public Policy and Political Reform

Military, War and Veterans

Chicago and Illinois

The collection is open for research.

When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: American Veterans Committee, Chicago Area Council. Records, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

The American Veterans Committee (AVC) was founded in 1944 as a progressive veteran’s organization and an alternative to groups such as The American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. As stated in its newsletter the organization sought, “to achieve a more Democratic and prosperous America and a more stable world.” With the motto of “citizens first, veterans second,” the AVC supported a range of liberal causes; for example, it challenged military segregation and maintained racially integrated chapters in Southern States. Targeted during post-WWII anti-communist campaigns, the AVC purged its Communist members in 1948, justifying the action through their goal to “extend and defend Democracy,” and to “keep the AVC a progressive Veterans’ organization independent of Communist Party-line control.” The AVC disbanded in 2003.

The American Veterans Committee, Chicago Area Council records spans from 1946-1973, with the bulk of the collection from 1946-1958. It is organized into three series, “Convention Material,” “Chicago Area Council” and “American Veterans Committee Publications.” “Chicago Area Council” series is divided into two subseries: “Correspondence” and “Organizational Documents.” Series I is arranged chronologically with a gap between 1952 and 1955. Documents consist of correspondence, memoranda, planning materials, by laws, and booklets regarding both national and Chicago-area conventions. Subseries 1 of Series II consists primarily Stanley A. Kaplan’s incoming and outgoing correspondence in his role as Chairman of the American Veterans Committee. Subseries 2 of Series II documents include correspondence, minutes, publications, memorandums, by-laws, financial documents, and booklets of the Chicago Area Council. Series III include AVC publications: The “AVC Bulletin,” a book and an issue of The Atlantic Monthly (both written by Charles G. Bolte), and other newspaper clippings about the AVC.

Of potential interest are the writings on and about the desegregation of the military and the growing anti-communist sentiments towards the AVC. Researchers interested in union and or Veterans history, especially with regards to Chicago, will find this collection useful.

The files were collected by Stanley A. Kaplan (1910-1981), Professor Law at the University of Chicago and former chairman of the AVC. A majority of the correspondence, memoranda, and AVC National Convention notes were written to or by Kaplan.

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:

  • Names
    • Kaplan, Stanley A., 1910-
    • American Veterans Committee
  • SubjectVeterans -- United States
  • Geographic CoverageFrance -- History -- Revolution, 1789-1799