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The Victor Perlo Collection consists of the majority of works published by Mr. Perlo, including editions published in seven different languages.
In addition, the collection contains the published papers and manuscripts of Ellen Perlo, who co-authored and served as editorial manager for Victor Perlo’s publications.
The collection is comprised of monographs, pamphlets, manuscript material, correspondence, photographs, and personal and family memorabilia.
Series 1. Manuscripts The Victor Perlo Collection, Series One: Manuscripts, held by Frostburg State University Archives, contains 6 boxes with a total of 241 folders. Mr. Perlo’s folder headings were retained whenever possible. However, 46 of the folders were un-named and folder headings were assigned by the staff of the Beall Archives. The material dates from 1946 to 1999. It was not possible to determine the dates of some of the materials, therefore, they are listed as “undated” following the dated materials.
Many of the materials within Series One: Manuscripts relate to economics and its impact on the world. The materials in this series include articles written for publication, papers for conferences that Mr. Perlo attended, a manuscript of his 1979 book Economics of Racism, book reviews, papers on capitalism, economics, labor and living conditions, Latin America, Mexico, the Middle East, Military Budgets, Militarization and Profiteers, Militarization of the economy, minority groups, Native Americans, socialism, trade, economic charts, economic reports, correspondence and publicity for lectures, lectures, letters to the editor, speeches, and talks.
The collection provides insight into Mr. Perlo’s intellect and interests. These manuscripts reflect his life’s work on the issues about which he was most passionate. They demonstrate not only his interest and ideologies but his impact on international affairs as well. Mr. Perlo published various articles relating to the arms race in the United States, the Carter Economic Program, Reaganomics, Capitalism without Militarism, and the Israeli Economic Crisis.
Since Mr. Perlo was from New York, he frequently focused on New York issues and industries. One of his works was a report titled “Employment and Earnings Situation in the Ladies Coat and Suit Industry (New York, 1955)”. Another work in the Garment Industry in New York is “Conditions in the Garment Industry,” which focuses on wage trends and profits, unemployment, annual earnings and budget requirements, wage structure, position of women in the industry, minority workers, union agreements, and economic problems of the industry.
Within Mr. Perlo’s collection of manuscripts was a copy of a “Confidential Transcript of a Round Table Discussion on American Policy toward China,” which was held on October 6-8, 1949. Copies of the transcripts were not made available to individuals outside of the Department of State at that time. Folder 58 titled “Economic Analysis” gives an in depth analysis of the economic situation of the 1970’s. Mr. Perlo’s paper titled “Analysis of the Economic Situation, January 6, 1969, Introduction and Summary,” is an analysis of the economic situation and factors that influenced its development during 1970. In this folder, Mr. Perlo also deals with the international aspects of the United States economic crisis in the 1970’s.
Folder 87, Housing Program for New York (Folder Name assigned by Beall Archives staff) talks about the despair many individuals living in the slums of New York City face. It describes the housing conditions of hundreds of thousands “slum dwellers” in New York City and how these living conditions extend the boundaries of New York to include many large cities all across the United States. Mr. Perlo sets forth an economic program that he believes could decisively change and improve the living conditions for many New Yorkers.
Folders 100 through 105 “Labor and Living Conditions”, covering a period from 1961 to 1972 including many undated materials, discuss the labor and living conditions in the United States in relation to the economic crisis of the United States. Many of the articles deal with wages and attempts by unions and workers to increase wages, as well as impending legislation to cut wages. He also talks about how wages affect the economy.
Series 2. Published Articles This series constitutes ninety-seven folders within the collection. A variety of serial and non-serial published articles, letters to the editor about certain issues, newsletters, newspaper clippings, and published articles with unknown publication are within this series.
This series is organized in alphabetical order of the published articles with the title of the article on the folder. Victor Perlo was able to make serial issues of published articles. A few of the serial published articles include, New World Review (Folders 49-50), Political Affairs (Folders 53-56), and Science and Society (Folder 71).
The majority of Perlo’s published articles focus on the Communist Party and their actions, working class men and women, minorities, Native Americans, a variety of different occupations, society, and the economy.In conclusion, this series includes published articles that Victor Perlo wrote for foreign newspapers and journals. (Foreign publication, folder 26).
Series 3. Posters (Perlo) This series consist of 96 posters.
Series 4. Correspondence of Rockwell and Sally Kent to Victor and Ellen Perlo – 1955-2000 The collection consists primarily of letters written between Rockwell Kent and his third wife, Sally Johnstone Kent and Victor and Ellen Perlo. The majority of the letters were written between 1955 and the early 1990’s. After Kent’s death in 1971, the Perlos and Sally Kent, and later her husband, Gordon, carried on the correspondence.
The letters consists, for the most part, of the originals from the Kent’s and copies of the Perlos’ letters. The letters indicate a very close friendship as evidenced by their mutual respect for each other’s work, similar political philosophy, and the frequency of visits between the households. The letters reflect the lives of the authors during this period. The Kents’ letters often include descriptions of daily life at their 200-acre dairy farm in upstate New York (Asgaard) describing gardening successes and failures, animals, the changing of the seasons, snowstorms, neighbors, visitors, etc. This contrasts sharply with the Perlos’ descriptions of life in New York.
In addition, there are frequent references to the various health ailments and concerns of both couples. Rockwell, in particular, suffered from heart troubles and a low pulse rate in his later years. The letters frequently discussed the political views and activities of the participants. The letters include discussions of the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK, Johnson, the Vietnam Conflict, and the deaths of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. Both the Kents and Perlos were very active in expressing their views both in writing and in public speaking.
In an effort to spread their political views, the couples traveled extensively, both in the United States and abroad. In particular, the letters discuss travels to the former Soviet Union and other eastern block countries. Another theme of the correspondence is the problems the couples encountered because of their leftist views including problems with the post office (letters opened and things disappearing), neighbors, difficulties at speaking engagements, and passport problems.
In particular, the letters discussed Rockwell’s well publicized passport case with John Dulles, a case that eventually went to the Supreme Court with Kent victorious. To a lesser degree, the letters discuss Rockwell’s work and his philosophy of art. In a letter dated 10/15/56, Rockwell states that “The only worthy purpose that art could serve was to deepen peoples understanding and the love of life, of people and the world we live in.”
The letters occasionally touch on projects Kent is working on. For example, in 1961, he was commissioned by the Soviet Union to do a painting of the first manned space flight. After Rockwell’s death in 1971, the focus of the correspondence shifts to the efforts made by Sally and later John Groton to insure a permanent legacy for the work of Rockwell Kent. The letters discuss the formation of the Rockwell-Kent Legacy and arrangements with Plattsburgh State College to create a permanent center dedicated to Kent.
Sally also discusses plans for the farm including establishing a museum and possibly donating it to the forestry service for public use. Also, includes descriptions of various book ventures, shows, and exhibitions. In addition to the letters, the collection also includes a small number of miscellaneous news clippings, articles, and announcements of Kent exhibits.
Series 5 – Victor Perlo Memorabilia This series includes a myriad of personal photographs, postcards/cards, Victor’s birth certificate, report cards from Flushing High School and his International Driver’s License. There is a copy of the sheet music for “The United Nations” by D. Shostakovitch, 1942, which was possibly a Red Army song along with economic statistic tables and a postal chess recorder album.
Series 6 – Correspondence Included in this collection of 74 folders are some fascinating letters from all over on current (then) affairs; letters about trips; invitations to lecture; and other files on requests for articles. The importance of the correspondence – aside from the content of the non-business aspects of lectures and articles and trips – is the wide range of interest in Victor and his work across the United States and abroad, and the spectrum of “hosts” from university to labor to political.
Series 7 – Personal Papers (Lectures, Reports, Correspondence) This series consists of seven boxes and 155 folders which contains correspondence between friends that are full of socio-political and personal bits that reflect relationships and personal interests.
Boxes 4 and 5 contain research materials for his book Economics of Racism II: The Roots of Inequality, USA. Of note is Victor’s verbal testimony before the Joint Economic Committee in Washington, DC on October 19, 1979. Also included are reports from the Smith Act trials and material on Victor’s victimization during the McCarthy era.