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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the C.B. Baldwin Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1933-1975
Creator: Baldwin, Calvin Benham (1902-1975)
Extent: 33.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0343
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Government official and Progressive Party officer. Correspondence, subject files, speeches, clippings, tape recordings, photographs, and scrapbooks.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs Boxes 32, 33; Leaflets Box 21; Leaflets, broadsides, pamphlets Box 27; Audio material Box 34

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: These papers were donated to the University of Iowa Libraries in 1976 by Lillian Baldwin.

Preferred Citation: C.B. Baldwin Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Calvin Benham "Beanie" Baldwin was born on August 19, 1902, in Radford, Virginia. He attended the Virginia Polytechnical Institute from 1920 to 1923. For the next five years he worked for the Norfolk and Western Railroad. In 1929, Baldwin became the manager and owner of the Electric Sales and Service Company in East Radford, Virginia.
With the advent of the New Deal, Baldwin became the assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace. He first worked with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) and then for the Resettlement Administration. In 1937, the Resettlement Administration changed its name to the Farm Security Administration (FSA). In 1940, Baldwin took over the administration of the FSA. This controversial program distributed low interest loans to small farmers and encouraged cooperatives. Critics charged both the FSA and Baldwin with trying to communize American agriculture.
A supporter of the New Deal's most radical programs, C.B. Baldwin favored national health insurance, guaranteed jobs for the poor, and expanded federal housing. As attacks mounted by conservative factions became more and more frequent, he left government service in 1943 to work with the Congress of Industrial Organizations' Political Action Committee (CIO-PAC). In that capacity, he worked to secure the labor vote for Roosevelt. In 1945, CIO-PAC founded the National Citizens Political Action Committee (NCPAC). It was a liberal lobby whose membership included Communists. Baldwin became its executive vice-chairman and its driving force. Increasingly critical of Truman, Baldwin's NCPAC and other liberal organizations united to form the Progressive Citizens of America (PCA). Under Baldwin's political leadership, the PCA mounted a third party presidential challenge with nominee Henry A. Wallace, under the Progressive Party banner. At Wallace's request, Baldwin resigned his position as director of the PCA in January 1948, and became the campaign manager. Although they lost the 1948 election, Baldwin credited the campaign with moving Truman politically to the left. Baldwin remained the national secretary of the Progressive Party until its dissolution in 1955.
C.B. Baldwin died of cancer in 1975.

The papers of C.B. Baldwin consist of thirty-two linear feet of manuscripts dating from 1933 to 1975, documenting his career. Arranged in eleven separate series, the collection begins with a general subject file grouping. In these first eleven boxes are materials on Henry A. Wallace, the presidential elections of 1940-1948 and 1960, civil rights, Farmers Union, and correspondence. The second series is made up of speeches given by Baldwin, Wallace, and others. The third set consists of CIO-PAC materials, such as membership lists, news releases, memos, and publicity. Next is the National Citizens Political Action Committee (NCPAC) grouping. It contains notes from trips, publicity, and correspondence. Series five is made up of Progressive Citizens of America (PCA) documents. There are meeting minutes, leaflets, foreign policy papers, and information about state chapters.
The next group is titled Progressive Party. It is composed of papers from various conventions, fact sheets, and platform statements. The seventh series consists of three boxes relating to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It primarily documents Baldwin's service with the Farm Security Administration (FSA). The last four sections are respectively: photographs, tape recordings, newsclippings, and scrapbooks. There are photographs of such notables as Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Robeson, Fiorello LaGuardia, Henry Morganthau, and Henry A. Wallace. The tape recordings include interviews and Baldwin's memorial service. There are twenty-nine boxes of newsclippings. These are arranged chronologically with some subject folders on such topics as the Progressive Party, PCA, and Henry Wallace. The eleventh and final series consists of three volumes of scrapbooks dating from 1945 to 1948.
Important correspondence can be found throughout the entire collection. There are letters from: Will W. Alexander, Paul H. Appleby, Charlotta A. Bass, Elmer A. Benson, Anita McCormick Blaine, Jo Davidson, W.E.B. Dubois, Elinor Gimbel, Vincent W. Hallinam, Robert E. Hannegan, Moss Hart, Lyndon B. Johnson, Frank Kingdon, Fiorello LaGuardia, Fulton Lewis, Vito Marcantonio, Henry Morgenthau, Dorothy Parker, James G. Patton, Claude Pepper, Gifford Pinchot, Eslanda and Paul Robeson, Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, Fred W. Stover, Glen Taylor, Theodore O. Thackrey, Rexford G. Tugwell, Henry A. Wallace, and Alexander F. Whitney.

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The detailed description has not been entered into the repository.
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