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Harry Steinmetz Papers, 1917-1986 | Special Collections & University Archives

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Collection Overview

Title: Harry Steinmetz Papers, 1917-1986Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: Steinmetz, Harry C.

Extent: 23.75 Linear Feet

Arrangement:

I. Personal Papers

II. Correspondence

III. Education and Social Awareness Groups

IV. Various Articles and Newspapers

V. Periodicals

VI. Oversized Materials

VII. Miscellaneous

Date Acquired: 03/08/1983

Subjects: Communism, San Diego State University--Faculty--Biography--Sources, Steinmetz, Harry C.--Archives, United States--Social conditions--20th century--Sources, World politics--20th century--Sources

Forms of Material: Personal Papers

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection focuses primarily on international foreign relations from a social and political perspective.  The time period for this material starts in the early 1900’s and extends until the late 1980’s.

The collection is divided into seven series.  Each series is further divided into local, regional, national and international sections.

Biographical Note

Harry Steinmetz was a professor of Psychology at San Diego State College from 1930 until 1954. His career was subject to controversy, as he was dismissed from his teaching position on grounds of insubordination and subversion stemming from allegations of Communist affiliation. California law was significantly altered for the purpose of expediting his dismissal.

A Seattle native, Steinmetz received his bachelor's degree in Psychology from Purdue University, his masters from the University of Maryland, and his PhD from UC Berkeley. He began teaching at San Diego State College in 1930, serving as an associate professor of Psychology, and sat as chairman of the department for several years.

Though it was well known that Steinmetz held liberal political views, he became more conspicuous once faculty members became aware of his political involvement outside of campus. In 1935, Steinmetz unsuccessfully ran for mayor on a Socialistic platform and held high offices in local labor organizations. His position as an educator caused some to become suspicious of him in the conservative political climate after WWII. The first formal action taken against Steinmetz came from San Diego County Posts of the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans Association. His influential position at the University gave these organizations reason to believe that he could coerce impressionable students into adopting Communist values.

San Diego's post-war conservativism and strong ties to the military influenced the public's willingness to embrace an intolerance of non-conformity. Though Steinmetz was unthreatened by legal action at this point, local newspapers and media portrayed the professor in a suspicious light; associating him with Communist organizations and institutions. This attention was eventually enforced by legislative action made by state Senator Fred H. Kraft of San Diego. The senator was once a part of the California Legislature's Investigating Committee on Un-American Activities, and he created a bill that would have provided for the "dismissal of employees of state colleges" by expanding "unprofessional conduct" to include "persistent active participation in public meetings conducted or sponsored by a communist front organization," and "willful advocacy of communism, either on or off campus." Further, it allowed dismissal proceedings to be initiated by anybody who wished to file a complaint.  This proposal was vetoed by Governor Earl Warren, yet the anti-Communist sentiment permeating the country set the stage for further legal action against the professor.

On March 26, 1953, Steinmetz received a subpoena from the House Un-American Activities Committee, chaired by Congressman Harold Velde, and was required to appear before the committee. As Steinmetz once held a position with the American Federation of Teachers, he was questioned as to whether or not there had been any Communist infiltration of the organization. As the professor wished to protect himself from self-incrimination, he invoked the Fifth Amendment, creating an even greater air of suspicion surrounding his involvement with the Communist party.

Breaking what had been several months of silence, Steinmetz gave a vehement speech before 300 students, speaking out against the methods and purpose of the questioning committee. The speech was met with rancorous reactions from several prominent community members; many of which called for San Diego State College to dismiss the professor. Finally, on February 5, 1954, Steinmetz was fired from San Diego State College. He spent two years in appeals, where his lawyers challenged the constitutionality of the Luckel Act, which incorporated many of Senator Kraft's early proposals. The courts contended that although Steinmetz may have not been a threat to national security, he was definitely guilty in terms of his subversion of students. It was not until 1968 that the Luckel Act was ruled as unconstitutional, when it was too late for the professor.

Steinmetz spent the rest of his working career "hiding out," though he did continue to be active in left-wing causes. He practiced psychology in San Diego and Los Angeles, and lived in Europe, Canada, Michigan, and Georgia. He returned to SDSC in the late 60's, eventually receiving the title of Professor Emeritus. Steinmetz died on February 15, 1982 at the age of 82.

Subject/Index Terms

Communism
San Diego State University--Faculty--Biography--Sources
Steinmetz, Harry C.--Archives
United States--Social conditions--20th century--Sources
World politics--20th century--Sources

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections & University Archives

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Acquisition Source: Harry C. Steinmetz

Preferred Citation: Identification of item, folder title, box number, Harry Steinmetz Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal Papers],
[Series 2: Correspondence],
[Series 3: Education and Social Awareness Groups],
[Series 4: Articles and Newspapers],
[Series 5: Periodicals],
[Series 6: Oversized Materials],
[Series 7: Miscellaneous],
[All]

Series 2: CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence to Harry Steinmetz, 1938-1975Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Correspondence to Harry Steinmetz, 1942-1974Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Correspondence to and from Harry Steinmetz, 1949-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Correspondence to Harry Steinmetz, 1960-1974Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Correspondence to Harry Steinmetz, 1961-1973Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Correspondence to Harry Steinmetz, 1962-1972Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Correspondence to and from Harry Steinmetz, 1963-1972Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Correspondence to Harry Steinmetz Family, 1964-1971Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Correspondence to Harry Steinmetz, 1964-1974Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Correspondence to Harry Steinmetz, 1964-1974Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Correspondence to Harry Steinmetz, 1964-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Correspondence to Harry Steinmetz, 1964-1980Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Correspondence to Harry Steinmetz, 1964-1980Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Correspondence to Harry Steinmetz, 1967-1972Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Correspondence to Harry Steinmetz from the National Council of American Soviet Friendship, 1967-1977Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Correspondence to Harry Steinmetz from the American Russian Institute, 1971-1977Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Correspondence to Harry Steinmetz, 1971-1979Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Correspondence to and from Harry Steinmetz, 1971-1980Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Correspondence to Harry and Doris Steinmetz, 1975-1980Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Steinmetz (Case Material) Correspondence with State Control Board, 1979Add to your cart.
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 1: American Russian Institute, 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Correspondence to the Attorney General of the United States by Steinmetz, 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 3: John Baker Correspondence Regarding: School Donations, 1975-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Thomas B. Caldwell, 1972-1974Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Alan Craston, United States Senator, Reports to Californians, Correspondence, 1978-1980Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Mark Fischer - Correspondence, Medical Bills, 1969-1970Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Correspondence to and from Doctor Stephen H. Fritchman, 1964-1973Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Correspondence to, from, and about Fred and Hannah Fujikawa, 1973-1974Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Correspondence Between Harry Steinmetz and Miriam Gourley, 1970-1975Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Martin Hall - European Peace Correspondence, 1967Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Correspondence Between Mr. Hong, Harry Steinmetz and Publishing Houses, 1963-1973Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Correspondence to and from Harold Klock, 1967-1973Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Jones Ashton and Marie, 1964-1965Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Correspondence to, from, and about Morris Kominsky, 1970-1972Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Correspondence to and from Kroath, 1965-1970Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Correspondence - National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, Incorporated, 1972-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Correspondence to and from Valerian Nesterov, 1971-1973Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Correspondence to and from the Parsons, 1964-1972Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Correspondence to and from Victor Perlo, 1969-1970Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Correspondence to and from Prague Newsletter, 1964-1965Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Response Letters from Publishing Houses, 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Diego Rivera, 1931-1974Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Correspondence to and from Holland Roberts, 1964-1970Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Raymond Robbins (Member of Red Cross Commission to Russia) - Correspondence to and about him, 1917Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Correspondence about Manuel Rojas, 1970Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Anna Louise Strong, 1966-1970Add to your cart.
Folder 27: San Diego Society for Cultural Relations with the Soviet Union, 1974-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 28: Correspondence, c. 1947-1980Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Correspondence, 1959-1975Add to your cart.
Folder 30: Correspondence, 1961-1968Add to your cart.
Folder 31: Correspondence, 1963-1966Add to your cart.
Folder 32: Correspondence, 1964-1980Add to your cart.
Folder 33: Correspondence, 1965-1967Add to your cart.
Folder 34: Correspondence, 1967-1972Add to your cart.
Folder 35: Correspondence, 1965-1974Add to your cart.
Folder 36: Correspondence, 1966-1968Add to your cart.
Folder 37: Correspondence, 1966-1977Add to your cart.
Folder 38: Correspondence, 1966-1981Add to your cart.
Folder 39: Correspondence, 1967-1970Add to your cart.
Folder 40: Correspondence, 1968-1975Add to your cart.
Folder 41: Correspondence, 1968-1981Add to your cart.
Folder 42: Correspondence, 1969Add to your cart.
Folder 43: Correspondence, 1970-1977Add to your cart.
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence, 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Correspondence, 1973-1977Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Correspondence, 1973-1977Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Correspondence, 1973-1977Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Correspondence, 1973-1977Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Correspondence, 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Correspondence, 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Correspondence, 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Correspondence, 1980-1981Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Correspondence, 1980-1981Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Correspondence, 1980-1981Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Correspondence, 1980-1981Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Correspondence, 1980-1981Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Address Information of Soviet Friends, No DateAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Correspondence with American Russian Institute, 1970-1975Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Association for Friendship and Cultural Relations / United States of American-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - Correspondence, 1970-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Association for Friendship and Cultural Relations / United States of American-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - Correspondence, 1968-1977Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Association for Friendship and Cultural Relations / United States of American-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - Correspondence, 1970-1971Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Association for Friendship and Cultural Relations / United States of American-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - Correspondence, 1971-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Association for Friendship and Cultural Relations / United States of American-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - Correspondence, 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 21: National Council of American Soviet Friendship - Correspondence, 1966-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Soviet Diplomatic Correspondence, 1971-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 23: SERVAS Correspondence, 1970-1978Add to your cart.
Folder 24: SERVAS Correspondence, 1971-1979Add to your cart.
Folder 25: SERVAS Correspondence, 1974-1978Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Soviet Diplomatic Correspondence, 1971-1977Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal Papers],
[Series 2: Correspondence],
[Series 3: Education and Social Awareness Groups],
[Series 4: Articles and Newspapers],
[Series 5: Periodicals],
[Series 6: Oversized Materials],
[Series 7: Miscellaneous],
[All]


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