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Oscar Edelman Papers

Identifier: MS-144

Scope and Contents

The Oscar Edelman Papers are divided into fifteen series: Correspondence, Miscellaneous, Dayton Socialist Party, Ohio Socialist Party, National Socialist Party, Socialist International, Non-Socialist Party Political Activity, Local and State Socialist Publications, Haldeman-Julius Journals and Publications, Socialist Party Literature, Family Records, Rand School, Friends of Oscar Edelman, Personal Memorabilia, and Oversize Material.

Series I, Correspondence, 1912-1986, contains general correspondence, personal letters, carbon copies of letters written by Oscar Edelman, form letters, letters to the editor (clippings), and Debs Foundation correspondence from Terre Haute, Indiana. Correspondents include: Joseph W. Sharts, Barbara Webb, Fred Strickland, F.S. Hall, Segfried Ameringer, Ernest Utermann, Ernest Morgan, Jessie Stephen, Albert Carthy, Norman Thomas, and August Claessens.

Series II, Miscellaneous, 1912-1987, contains material concerning Socialist Party functions and individual participants. The series contains various Socialist magazines, The Booster (Dayton, Ohio), The Peoples League Bulletin (Dayton, Ohio) and several anti-socialist/communist clippings. Clippings, flyers, photographs, membership cards meeting notices, and memorabilia of Fred Guy Strickland, Barbara Webb Bourjaily, Oscar Ameringer, Ernest Morgan, Upton Sinclair, Oscar Edelman, Debs Foundation (including meeting minutes), Eugene Debs, Norman Thomas, and Karl Marx. Also included are catalogs, booklists and book reviews of the Charles Kerr Publishing Company.

Series III, Dayton Socialist Party, 1910-1980, consists of material concerning Dayton Socialist campaigns, clippings, flyers, stationary of Local Dayton Socialists Party, lectures, membership information including clippings, Miami Valley Socialist subscribers, Party officers, ward watchers, membership lists, Young People’s Socialist League records, Unity Park project (1918-1921), business records and clippings of the Miami Valley Socialist (1912-1928), and financial records of the Local Dayton Socialist Party (1922-1925).

Series IV, Ohio Socialist Party, 1913-1980, contains miscellaneous records of the Ohio Socialist Party, Ohio Party local records 1913-1980, the Socialist Party of Greene County 1922-1951, and the Miami Valley Socialist League 1934-1935. Also included are various clippings, reports and ballots concerning state elections 1913-1980.

Series V, National Socialist Party, 1912-1984, this collection contains material relating to national Socialist activities including pamphlets, booklets, correspondence and clippings. Also included are national Socialist publications: Michigan Socialist (seven issues) 1916-1917; New Appeal June 22, 1918; New Leader (two issues) 1933-1934; and New American (six issues) 1967-1972.

Series VI, Socialist International, 1936-circa 1985, consists of miscellaneous material of the Socialist International including clippings, booklets, election information and the Canadian Socialist Party.

Series VII, Non-Socialist Party Political Activity, 1926-1984, contains local, state and national election material. Also included is material concerning the League for Industrial Democracy, Americans United (ACLU), Workers Defense League, League of Women Voters, Labor Unions and religious organizations.

Series VIII, Local and State Socialist Publications, 1912-1925, contains 198 editions of the Miami Valley Socialist published in Dayton, Ohio. Also included are four editions of the Ohio Socialist 1919, the first edition of the Evansville Edition published by the Miami Valley Socialist on May 2, 1919, and the May 11, 1922 edition of the North Dayton Citizen a Dayton business publication.

Series IX, Haldeman-Julius Journals and Publications, 1925-1949, consists of three Haldeman-Julius Monthly journals (1925), four Haldeman-Julius Quarterly journals (1926-1927), and various publications circa 1925-1940s.

Series X, Socialist Party Literature, 1912-1983, consists of forty-six booklets and pamphlets relating to such topics as Eugene Debs, communism, socialist philosophy, labor, Dayton local economic history, and Lyndon LaRouche. Of note, is an audiocassette of an oral interview of Oscar Edelman by WYSO in 1973, which is digitized for access. In the interview, Edelman provides a history of socialism in the Miami Valley area, and recounts his own relationships with leaders in the party.

Series XI, Family Records, 1882-1982, this series consists of Edelman family correspondence. Also includes photographs, naturalization records, family history and funeral information of Oscar Edelman’s parents. Also included are photographs, personal information of Emma P. Edelman, Edythe Edelman Baldon, Virginia Baldon, Amanda Edelman, Ruth Adelman Armstrong including correspondence, Anna Armstrong, John Edelman, and various Edelman relatives including the Kohring family.

Series XII, Rand School, 1918-1983, contains correspondence, publications, photographs, class information, and clippings concerning the Rand School of Social Science.

Series XIII, Friends of Oscar Edelman, 1911-1982, contains correspondence, photographs and clippings of Oscar Edelman’s friends, including Tillie Gibson and her trip to the Soviet Union, the Lantz family, and the Merry-Go-Round Night Club of Dayton, Ohio. Also included is correspondence, clippings (including several letters to the editor), booklets, articles and Supreme Court legal briefs of Joseph W. Sharts.

Series XIV, Personal Memorabilia, 1897-1985, consists of the personal memorabilia of Oscar Edelman. Included are two 1915 diaries, high school papers, debates and lectures 1911-1916, a scrapbook of notable historic figures, Socialist – poems, songs, definitions, book lists and reviews, legal papers, correspondence, wills, trip information, non-socialist lecture information, Dayton YMCA and the Heritage Club materials, First Unitarian Church information, miscellaneous materials on Col. Robert Ingersoll, a WSU paper entitled “Yours For Industrial Freedom” written by Laurie Marshall and Bob Fogarty. Also included are photographs of Oscar, family members, and miscellaneous people.

Series XV, Oversize Material, circa 1880-1914, 1948, contains material from the Oscar Edelman Papers collection which cannot be stored with the other series due to their size. Included in this collection is Oscar Edelman’s Baptismal Certificate (in German) March 19, 1914, four copies of Colonel Robert Ingersoll essays circa 1880s and a Chicago newspaper reporting that Dewey won the 1948 presidential election. (Loc. 6, Folder 4)


  • Creation: 1910-1987


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection. However, due to preservation concerns, the original audiocassette cannot be played in the reading room. Researchers should use the digital reference copy available in the E-archives by requesting ms144_e0001.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder. Materials with copyright held by Oscar Edelman have no restriction on their use, as the literary copyright has been deeded to the public.

Biographical / Historical

Oscar Edelman was born in Dayton, Ohio on April 9, 1897. He became interested in socialism at the age of fourteen when he attended the “Workers Ethical Platform Series” given by Fred Guy Strickland. In 1914 Edelman was the organizing chairman of the Dayton chapter of the Young People’s Socialist League (YPSL).

Edelman spent most of his life living and working for the socialist cause in Dayton, Ohio with the exception of sixteen months spent in Detroit, Michigan, from 1916 to 1917. During this time he was a member of the Detroit East Side Circle YPSL. When he returned to Dayton, he joined the Dayton Local of the Socialist Party of America on his eighteenth birthday. He was elected Literature Agent for the local chapter. He also won a scholarship to attend the Rand School of Social Science in New York City during the academic year of 1918-1919. He graduated class Valedictorian. When he returned from New York in 1919 he began working for the American Cigar Company.

Edelman was business manager for the Miami Valley Socialist from 1919-1924. He was also active in state party activities at this time. In 1922 he served on the state executive committee and from 1923 to 1925 he was state Party secretary. On the local level Edelman was executive secretary for the Local Dayton Socialist Party in 1925. During the 1920s he ran for public office on the party ticket, Dayton Board of Education (1923) and Montgomery County Treasurer (1924).

In 1929 Edelman went to work as an accountant/office manager for the Rieck Sheet Metal and Roofing Company. He remained active in party politics during the 1930s. In 1931 he became involved with the Socialist Party of America (SPA) on the national level when he was elected the national committeeman from Ohio. He was also a member of the Dayton Local Executives Committee and in 1934 became the party treasurer. He ran as socialist candidate in 1932 for County Treasurer and in 1934 he ran for County charter commissioner and Montgomery County auditor.

Edelman helped to form the Dayton Local-Socialist Democratic Federation of America in 1936. He ran for state representative in this ticket in the 1936 election. He was also an active participant of the “Emergency Peace Campaign, Keep the U.S. Out of War” at this time.

Although the Local Dayton Socialist Party ceased to be active in local politics by the end of the 1930s, Edelman remained an active proponent of the socialist cause. He maintained an interest in the Socialist Democratic Federation and various other groups, such as the Socialist International, the Workers Defense League, and the Americans United (ACLU).

The Debs Foundation, Terre Haute, Indiana, was formed in the 1960s in an effort to restore the home of Eugene V. Debs and give recognition to those individuals who have worked for the rights of labor. Edelman was a financial contributor to the foundation and also donated his large book and publication collection on labor history to the foundation’s library. He also served as a foundation trustee and was elected the Board of Director’s Vice President in 1975.

In later years Edelman resided at the Bethany Lutheran Village in Dayton, Ohio until his death on November 2, 1987. While there he maintained an interest in the socialist cause on a national and international level.


6 linear feet

35.9 Megabytes

Language of Materials




Edelman was a long-time, active member of the Socialist Party in Dayton, Ohio and for a period, served as business manager for the local Socialist newspaper, Miami Valley Socialist. His papers include correspondence, clippings, political literature, Socialist campaign materials, working papers, a minute book of the Young Socialist League in Dayton (1915), scattered copies of Miami Valley Socialist, and a collection of state and national Socialist Party literature.


The Oscar Edelman Papers are divided into fifteen series:

Series I:
Correspondence, 1912-1986
Series II:
Miscellaneous, 1912-1987
Series III:
Dayton Socialist Party, 1910-1980
Series IV:
Ohio Socialist Party, 1913-1980
Series V:
National Socialist Party, 1912-1984
Series VI:
Socialist International, 1936-circa 1985
Series VII:
Non-Socialist Party Political Activity, 1926-1984
Series VIII:
Local and State Socialist Publications, 1912-1925
Series IX:
Haldeman-Julius Journals and Publications, 1925-1949
Series X:
Socialist Party Literature, 1912-1983
Series XI:
Family Records, 1882-1982
Series XII:
Rand School, 1918-1983
Series XIII:
Friends of Oscar Edelman, 1911-1982
Series XIV:
Personal Memorabilia, 1897-1985
Series XV:
Oversize Material, circa 1880-1914, 1948

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Paper throughout the collection is brittle. Please handle materials carefully when viewing the collection. A computer is needed to listen to the digitized copy of the 1973 Oscar Edelman interview in the collection (e-item ms144_e0001).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers of Oscar Edelman were originally accessioned into the Wright State University Archives and Special Collections Department in May of 1984. These records were donated by Mr. Edelman, a member of the Local Dayton Socialist Party since 1914. Wright State University Archives and Special Collections received a second addition to this collection from Oscar Edelman’s private estate upon his death, November 2, 1987.

Existence and Location of Copies

Issues of the Miami Valley Socialist newspaper are available on microfilm in the Dunbar Library.

Related Materials

• MS-94 Local Dayton Socialist Party Records, .

• MS-141 Socialist-Feminist Conference Records, .

• A portion of the Edelman papers is also located at the Indiana State University Archives.

Processing Information

Preservation work on the collection completed by Andrea Green, Fall, 2007.

Guide to the Oscar Edelman Papers (MS-144)
Original accession processed by James C. Oda in the spring of 1985. Additions processed by Kerrie A. Moore, Spring 1990. Finding aid revised according to DACS standards by Toni Vanden Bos, 2018.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2018 October: Digital copy of audiocassette containing Oscar Edelman interview by WYSO in 1973 was added (ms144_e0001)

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA