American Fund for Public Service Records, 1922-1941

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From the holdings of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, Center for the Humanities, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations
The American Fund for Public Service, Inc., known also as the Garland Fund, was created in 1922 when Charles Garland decided to use his inheritance to support radical social and economic causes.

While in operation, the Fund gave nearly two million dollars to many left-wing organizations, including civil liberties and minority rights groups, plus labor organizations and legal defense funds. Nearly every progressive group active between 1922 and 1941 is represented, including the NAACP, ACLU, American Birth Control League, and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

The records of the American Fund include the following:

  • List of appropriations and loans (1922-1941)
  • Application files for individuals or organizations requesting assistance
  • Internal and external correspondence of board members, treasurers, and legal counsel (1922-1941)
  • Board of directors’ meeting minutes (1922-1941)
  • Memoranda and reports on policy (1922-1932)

The grant and loan application files account for 70% of this collection. The files are divided into two series: Applicants Accepted and Applicants Refused; and further divided into four time periods: 1922-1927, 1928-1933, 1934-1938, and 1939-1941. This well-organized and easy-to-use collection will appeal to researchers in many disciplines.