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   Julius Edelstein Papers, 1917-1963 [Bulk Dates: 1948-1958]

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Julius C. C. Edelstein Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information


Julius Caesar Claude Edelstein (1912-2005), served as advisor and executive assistant to military officials and political figures. His papers primarily encompass his job as executive assistant and chief of legislative staff to Senator Herbert H. Lehman during Lehman’s senatorial years 1949-1956. Edelstein remained executive assistant to former senator Lehman from 1957-1960. His files include correspondence, memoranda, press releases, clippings, speeches, statistics, maps, pamphlets and government publications.Julius Caesar Claude Edelstein (1912-2005), served as advisor and executive assistant to military officials and political figures. His papers primarily encompass his job as executive assistant and chief of legislative staff to Senator Herbert H. Lehman during Lehman’s senatorial years 1949-1956. Edelstein remained executive assistant to former senator Lehman from 1957-1960. His files include correspondence, memoranda, press releases, clippings, speeches, statistics, maps, pamphlets and government publications..

At a Glance

Call No.:MS#1435
Bib ID:6910238 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Edelstein, Julius C. C. (Julius Caius Caesar), 1912-2005.
Title:Julius Edelstein Papers, 1917-1963 [Bulk Dates: 1948-1958]
Physical description:76.11 linear ft. (141 document boxes, 33 index card boxes )
Language(s):English and Hebrew
Access: This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. This collection has no restrictions.  More information »



This collection is arranged in nine series.

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Scope and Content

This collection holds the papers of Julius C. C. Edelstein. The records that comprise this collection primarily encompass the years in which Edelstein acted as executive assistant and Chief of Legislative Staff to Senator Herbert H. Lehman, 1949-1956. He remained Lehman's assistant through 1960. The records are primarily political in nature although there is personal correspondence of Edelstein's included. The subjects found throughout the collection are agriculture, appropriations, civil rights, civil service, defense, foreign policy and aid, health, housing, immigration, internal security, labor, minimum wage, St. Lawrence project, social security and welfare, tideland offshore oil, tariffs, taxes and veterans. The types of records that can be found are correspondence, pamphlets, government publications, clippings, press releases, statistics, maps and memoranda.

Series I: Bills, 1950-1956

This series contains both public and private bills introduced or co-introduced, by Herbert H. Lehman. Also found are amendments, drafts and senate resolutions regarding bills. The topics of the bills are immigration, juvenile delinquency and social security.

Series II: Campaign Files, 1934-1960 (1949-1960)

Files on the campaign years 1950, 1954, 1956 and 1960 are contained here. In 1949, Lehman was elected US Senator, replacing Robert F. Wagner who retired before his term expired due to ill health. In 1950, Lehman was reelected US Senator for a full 6 year term. Lehman campaigned vigorously for the presidential elections of 1952, 1956 and 1960, supporting Stevenson in 1952 and 1954 and Kennedy in 1960. In 1954, Lehman supported Wagner for New York City Mayor and Harriman for Governor.

Series III: Correspondence, 1923-1960 (1950-1960)

Series III primarily consists of correspondence directly related to the office of Senator Lehman. The majority of letters address issues surrounding immigration laws in the United States. In November of 1953, Senator Lehman called a meeting where he invited outstanding leaders of various the religious and civic organizations which had expressed concern about the racist aspects of US immigration laws. The group which participated in the meeting set up a steering committee to follow through for the purpose to help organize a campaign with the goal toward educating US citizens about the un-American nature of the country’s immigration policies as designated under the McCarran-Walter Immigration Act. The steering committee set up two subcommittees: one to prepare an outline of the structure and program, and the other to prepare a statement of the policies which the National Committee would adhere. Next, the committee prepared a letter to solicit membership. The letter was mailed in early 1955 to numerous individuals resulting in 350 people accepting membership on the National Committee. The National Committee was granted a charter of incorporation in the spring of 1955 under the New York State Education Law resulting in the formation of the National Committee on Immigration and Citizenship (NCIC). The incorporators were as follows; Spyros S. Skouras, Senator William Benton, F. Ernest Johnson, Philip B. Perlman, Thomas K. Finletter, Theodore R. McKeldin, Daniel Bell and Senator Herbert H. Lehman. In conjunction with the incorporators, the following individuals were on the first board of trustees; Francis B. Sayre, Jr., Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, John O’Grady, Walter P. Reuther, Roy Williams, Thomas A. Pappas, Jefferson B. Fordham and Jane M. Hoey. The chairman of the Board of Trustees, Spyros Skouras, was unable to devote a sufficient amount of time to the affairs of the Committee so Senator Lehman accepted the chairmanship.

Throughout all three subseries there is correspondence regarding the NCIC, ADA, American Jewish Congress and American Jewish Committee because of Lehman and Edelstein’s affiliation with these organizations. Office memorandums are abundant, Lehman to Edelstein and the reverse. These are usually the method by which Edelstein briefs Lehman on current news concerning his Senatorial post. The original order of the series consisted of five subseries: two arranged alphabetically, one for the years 1954-1958, and a second for 1960, one chronologically, and two titled “personal correspondence”. This has been maintained with the two alpha files under subseries III.1 and subseries III.3. It should be noted that Edelstein’s personal correspondence can be found in all three subseries.

Subseries III.1: Alphabetical, 1954-1960

Contains letters and memoranda. Political topics addressed: immigration, power projects, campaigns, civil rights, McCarthyism, labor, health and housing. Names that frequently appear are Senator Lister Hill; Edward Marks, Executive Director of the US Committee for Refugees; Jefferson B. Fordham, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School; Michel Cieplinski of the Nationalities Division (Democratic National Committee); V.A. Marcantonio of the American Labor Party; O.R. Ewing, Administrator of the Federal Security Agency; and James T. Farrell, an American novelist.

Subseries III.2: Chronological, 1950-1960

Comprised of a large amount of material from constituents expressing concern on a political issue or asking for the Senator’s help. As in all the other subseries in Series III, letters to and from various government officials are found throughout. The same political topics found in subseries III.1 are addressed with an emphasis on agriculture, civil rights and immigration.

Subseries III.3: Personal, 1923-1959 (1950-1959)

includes both personal and professional correspondence. Many letters are with regard to Julius’s wife, Rivka and her health. Much of the correspondence is between Edelstein and both his family and Rivka’s parents in Israel. There is some material in Hebrew.

Series IV: Office Files, 1932-1960 (1950-1955)

Office memoranda, administrative assistants meetings, general personnel information and staff assignments and/or projects form the basis of Series IV. Edelstein’s daily calendars are included in this series; these calendars note meetings and reflect Edelstein’s to-do lists.

Series V: Personal Research Files, 1928-1961 (1950-1959)

The Personal Research Files were labeled as such by Edelstein with a focus on the following subjects: immigration (with an emphasis on the McCarran-Walter Act), foreign policy, civil rights, communism (with an emphasis on McCarthyism), and power. The types of materials found within these files include correspondence, pamphlets, clippings, memoranda, press releases, speeches, newsletters, publications, and maps. These records are in their original order.

Series VI: Speeches, 1952-1957

These materials consist of public releases issued by Herbert H. Lehman. All speeches, statements, Congressional and Senatorial floor remarks, letters and radio broadcasts were given by Herbert H. Lehman unless otherwise noted. Some speeches are in draft form or were not delivered.

Series VII: Subject Files, 1917-1958 (1948-1953)

The materials found in this series include memoranda, speeches, referenda, statistics, clippings, press releases, and government documents directly linked to the subject of a current, pending or ongoing legislative matter. The prominent subjects are: agriculture, civil liberties, civil rights, civil service, dairy industry, defense, education, foreign policy and aid, health, housing, immigration including the NCIC, internal security bill, labor, New York State government, local and national politics, Niagara and Saint Lawrence power projects, social security and welfare, tidelands, taxes and veterans. The topical arrangement established by Edelstein has been maintained.

Series VIII: Address Index Cards, undated

These records contain the names and addresses of individuals and organizations compiled by Edelstein. The materials are organized alphabetically with U through Z missing.

Series IX: 2009 Accession, 1952-1963

These materials contain letters and memoranda, research files on immigration, the Democratic National Committee and policy papers by Joseph Rappaport. Also included are four photographs.

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Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Julius C. C. Edelstein Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Papers processed in June 2008 by Jennifer Comins

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion March 5, 2009 Finding aid written in English.
    2009-03-05 File created.
    2009-05-07 xml document instance created by Patrick Lawlor
    2010-05-13 finding aid edited by Lea Osborne

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Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Alinsky, Saul David, 1909-1972.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
American Civil Liberties Union.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
American Jewish Congress.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Americans for Democratic Action.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Benton, William, 1900-1973.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Campaign literature.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Civil issues.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Civil rights.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Communism--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Democratic National Committee (U.S.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Dulles, John Foster, 1888-1959.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Eastland, James O. (James Oliver), 1904-1986.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Economic assistance, American--Developing countries.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Economic assistance.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Eklutna Dam (Alaska)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Electric power production--Great Lakes (North America)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Emigration and immigration law--United States--History.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Europe--Ethnic relations--History--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Ewing, Oscar R. (Oscar Ross), 1899-1980.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Farrell, James T. (James Thomas), 1904-1979.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Fordham, Jefferson Barnes.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Great Lakes (North America)--Regulation.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Harriman, W. Averell (William Averell), 1891-1986.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hennings, Thomas Carey, 1903-1960.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hill, Lister, 1894-1984.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hydroelectric power plants--Alaska--Anchorage region.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hydroelectric power plants--New York (State)--Niagara Falls.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hydrogen bombs--Moral and ethical aspects.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Insurance, Health--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Internal security--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
International relations.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Javits, Jacob K. (Jacob Koppel), 1904-1986.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Jewish Telegraphic Agency.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Juvenile delinquency.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Kefauver, Estes, 1903-1963.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Labor laws and legislation--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lamont, Corliss, 1902-1995.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Landers, Ann.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lehman, Herbert H. (Herbert Henry), 1878-1963.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Levy, Beryl Harold, 1908-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Marcantonio, Vito, 1902-1954.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
McCarran, Pat, 1876-1954.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
McCarthy, Joseph, 1908-1957.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Mutual security program, 1951-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Niagara Falls (N.Y. and Ont.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Niagara Falls (N.Y. and Ont.)--Regulation.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
North Atlantic Trade Organization.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Nuclear energy--Law and legislation--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Offshore oil industry.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Price regulation--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Reconstruction (1939-1951)--Europe.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Republican Party (1854-present)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Russell, Richard B. (Richard Brevard), 1897-1971.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Saint Lawrence SeawayPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Stern, Julius David, 1886-1971.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Subversive activites--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Sweeney, Esther Emerson, 1905-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Taft, Robert A. (Robert Alphonso), 1889-1953.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Taxation--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United Nations.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States--Emigration and immigration--Government policy.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States--Politics and government--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States.--Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government (1947-1949)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States.--Congress.--Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States.--Congress.--Senate--Cloture.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States.--Congress.--Senate--Rules and practice.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States.--Defense Production Act of 1950.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States.--Dept. of Health and Human Services.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States.--Immigration and Nationality Act.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States.--Securities and Exchange Commission.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States.--Veterans Administration.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Walter, Francis E. (Francis Eugene), 1894-1963.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Julius C. C. Edelstein was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 29, 1912. He studied at the University of Wisconsin from 1927-1934 (Law and Medicine), supporting himself through nespaper reporting. In 1937 he began working for the United Press covering U.S. territories and island possessions. His career in journalism continued until World War II when he secured an ensign's commission in the U.S. Navy. After training as a communications officer, he became assistant naval aide to Admiral William D. Leahy, later being promoted to naval aide. Between 1945 and 1947 he served as public affairs advisor to the U.S. High Commissioner to the Philippines, Paul V. McNutt, and as personal advisor to the President of the Philippines, Manuel Roxas. In 1949, Edelstein became Senator Herbert H. Lehman's executive assistant and chief of legislative staff.

Senator Herbert H. Lehman believed in the ability of government to help those that can not help themselves. He fought for civil rights, displaced persons, affordable housing and voted against the popular anti-immigrant legislation. He was responsible for various social reforms such as minimum wage, unemployment insurance, public housing, medical care for the disabled and labor laws to protect workers. Edelstein championed these causes and became personally involved as well, researching and corresponding with numerous democratic constituents' and political figures. He was also a trustee of the National Committee on Immigration and Citizenship (NCIC), secretary for the New York Committee for Democratic Voters and a member of the American Jewish Congress, American Jewish Committee and Americans for Democratic Action (ADA).

In 1955, Edelstein married Rivka Ben-David. In 1956, Julius and Rivka's daughter Suzy was born. Rivka was an assistant military attaché to the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Edelstein continued to serve Lehman until 1960. In 1962, Edelstein became executive assistant to Mayor Robert F. Wagner.

While under Mayor Wagner, he served as executive secretary of the city's antipoverty board. When Robert F. Kennedy ran for the Senate, Mayor Wagner lent Mr. Edelstein to advise him on Jewish and Israeli issues. In 1965, Edelstein embarked on a career at the City University of New York (CUNY). He served as senior vice chancellor of CUNY until 1984 when he retired. He was the primary force behind open admissions at CUNY in the late 1960s, fighting for the economically disadvantaged so as to ensure they had access to an undergraduate education. In 2005, at the age of 93, Julius Edelstein died at New York Hospital.

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