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Abstract

A member of the Post War World Council, an ardent pacifist, and anti-imperialist, Stephen Siteman was a long-time member of the Socialist Party of America, serving for seventeen years as secretary to the party's leader Norman Thomas. In his late teens, Siteman was imprisoned as a conscientious objector during World War II. Although he was later pardoned, his time as a prisoner led him into active involvement in prison reform and the peace movement.

During his long involvement in the Socialist Party, Siteman collected a large quantity of material relating to important socialist issues, including Socialist Reform, the peace movement, conscientious objection, and prison reform. The collection also includes a small selection of Siteman's personal correspondence with Frank Zeidler, former Socialist mayor of Milwaukee, and the novelist Mark Harris.

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English
SCUA: the archive of social change
Stephen Siteman Collection
1976-2006
8 boxes (4 linear ft.)
Call no.: MS 503
Background on Stephen Siteman

Born in Montague, Massachusetts, on September 15, 1919, Stephen Siteman was introduced to Socialist ideals during the Great Depression, beginning a lifelong association with Democratic Socialism and leftist politics. A pacifist, Siteman was interned in upstate New York during the Second World War for resisting the draft, and although he was later pardoned for resisting military service, his experience helped galvanize his political beliefs.

Siteman became a member of the anti-Communist Socialist Party of America and for seventeen years, beginning in the 1950s, he served as secretary to the Party's leader and six time Presidential candidate, Norman Thomas. During this time, Siteman became deeply involved in several issues resonating with his life experience, including reform of the United States prison system and the promotion of peace and conscientious objection. Through his involvement in the Party, he was introduced to the novelist Mark Harris, assisting Harris with his dissertation on the pacifist and draft resister Randolph Bourne

During the later years of his life, Siteman worked closely with Frank Zeidler, the Socialist mayor of Milwaukee and one of the last Socialists to hold a significant elected office in the United States. Concerned with the failure of the Socialist movement to catch on in America and with the problem of factionalism, the two sought ways to return the party to its founding ideals. Together, they helped organize a series of Democratic Socialist Conferences during the 1980s in the hope of reviving the Party. Siteman retired to Greenfield, Mass., dying there on July 1, 2001, without realizing his dream.

Contents of Collection

The Stephen Siteman Collection is composed of three thematic series: Socialism, Peace, and Prison Reform. Ranging in date between 1910 and 1990, the contents cover a variety of topics that center on Socialist politics and Socialist ideals. Siteman's idealistic, pacifist, and internationalist world view informs the collection throughout, offering insight into the moderate end of the Old Left political spectrum.

Series descriptions

Series 1 contains publications on war resistance, conscientious objection, and peace. Comprised of works that question militarization and American Cold War-era politics, the series also includes articles on the philosophy and practice of non-violence. A significant portion of the series consists of the publications of War Resistance, The War Resister, and The War Resisters League from the 1940s through1960s.

The largest series in the collection, Series 2 (Socialism) contains three boxes that can be divided roughly into three portions. The two largest and most personal consist of Siteman's correspondence with the novelist Arthur Mark Harris, on the one hand, and with Frank Zeidler, Socialist Mayor of Milwaukee on the other, dating between 1948 and 1960.

At the time of his correspondence with Siteman, Harris was writing a dissertation on the pacifist Randolph Bourne and was referred to Siteman for help. From 1954-1956 Harris and Siteman corresponded regularly about Bourne, developing a cordial relationship. For his assistance, Siteman was sent copies of Harris's newly published books South Paw and Bang the Drum Slowly (neither present in the collection). Siteman was not shy to critique Harris's work: he did not care too much for South Paw and missed the overall message Harris was trying to convey. Although he wrote that he did not like baseball in general, Siteman did enjoy Bang the Drum Slowly, however in the letter thanking Harris for the book, Siteman politely told Harris not to send him any other books, stating that he knew writers received only a few free copies and that Harris should not waste them on him. Harris also sent Siteman a copy of his dissertation on Bourne, entitled Randolph Bourne: A Study in Immiscibility, which is included in the collection.

The correspondence with Zeidler is of a more personal nature. Zeidler and Siteman were longtime friends and collaborators. From 1985 to 1991, they exchanged letters and ideas on matters of Socialism, world politics, and the state of the Socialist Party. During Zeidler's term in office, Milwaukee grew industrially and never had to borrow money. Despite his success as a mayor, Zeidler failed to see his Socialist ways of administration take hold within the United States. "Socialist ideals of cooperation are combated with every event within the world," he wrote. Although he continued to work for the Democratic Socialist Conference -- material from which is included in the series -- Zeidler seemed to lose faith that Socialism would ever succeed in the United States. Siteman and Zeidler discuss the growing divisions within the party based on agendas like women's right or race, which divided the movement as a whole.

The series also contains several works on Socialist theory and practice, including an array of newspaper articles from 1918 to the 1980s.

Siteman's imprisonment as a conscientious objector and Socialist led him into research on reform of the American prison system. The Prison Reform series includes published articles and works, not only from the United States but from countries ranging from Austria to Yugoslavia. Siteman had the idea that prisons throughout the world did more harm than good, and he worked to change the system altogether. The series includes news articles documenting problems in prisons and laying out a vision for positive reform of the basic structure of the system. Several pamphlets focus on the idea of a Socialist reformation of the prison system, arguing that prison should be a place of reform, not simple containment.

Collection inventory
Series 1. Peace
1939-1989
American Catholics and War
1980s
Box 1
American Friends Service Committee: Steps to Peace
1951
Box 1
American Friends Service Committee: We the Offenders
Undated
Box 1
Beacon: No. 2
1943
Box 1
Camus, Albert: Neither Victims Nor Executioners
1960
Box 1
CCCO An Agency for Military and Draft Council: Quitting your Job is not a Crime
Undated
Box 1
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors: Punishment for Conscience
Undated
Box 1
Church and Socialism: Newspaper Clippings
1984
Box 1
Coggins, Herbert: Choosing a Reason for War
1941
Box 1
Conklin, Francis J. : Conscientious Objector Provisions: A View in the Light of Torcaso v. Watkins
Undated
Box 1
Cornell, Julien: Conscience and the State
1943-1944
Box 1
Davidson, Bill: Why Half Our Combat Soldiers Fail to Shoot
1952
Box 1
Doty, Hi: Bibliography of Conscientious Objection to War
1954
Box 1
Drinkwater, F.C.: War and Conscience
1951
Box 1
The Experience of the American Friends Service Committee in Civilian Public Service
1941-1945
Box 1
Fellow of Reconciliation: Meaning of Korea
Undated
Box 1
Fortune Magazine: Arms and the Men
1934
Box 1
Freeman, Harrop: One Nation, Indivisible
1971
Box 1
Friends Peace Committee: Positions of Conscientious Objectors
Undated
Box 1
German Pamphlets
1960s
Box 1
Gorgen, Carol Perry: Catholic Conscientious Objector
1963
Box 1
Greater Boston Strike Committee
1938
Box 1
Heard, Gerald: Militarisms Post-Mortem
1946
Box 1
Heisler, Francis: The Law Versus the Conscientious Objector
1943
Box 1
Hinshaw, Cecil E: Nonviolent Resistance a Nations Way to Peace
1956
Box 1
Hoyland, John: Gandhi-The Practical Peace Builder
1968
Box 1
Humius, F.C: Student Revolt West Germany
1968
Box 1
Huxley, Aldous: An Encyclopedia of Pacifism
1937
Box 1
Hyatt, John: Pacifism a selected Bibliography
1972
Box 2
Kepler, Roy C.: Dynamic Peace Making
1950
Box 2
Labor Anti-War Council: We Stand by Our Position
Undated
Box 2
Liempa: Kriegsdienstverweigerung
1966
Box 2
Ligt, Bart De: Science of Peace
1939
Box 2
Mayer, Milton: Conscience and the Common Wealth
Undated
Box 2
McDonald, Dwight & McDonald, Nancy: The War's Greatest Scandal: The Story of Jim Crow in Uniform
1943
Box 2
Morrison,Sybil: Plain Words on War
Undated
Box 2
Muste, A.J.: Pamphlets
Undated
Box 2
National Council Against Conscription: Case Against the Draft
Undated
Box 2
National Council Against Conscription: Militarization of America
Undated
Box 2
National Council for Universal and Unconditional Amnesty (NCUUA): Have You Heard the Joke about President Ford's Clemency Program?
Undated
Box 2
National Peace Council
1949
Box 2
Owen, Douglass J.J: The International Rights of Conscience
Undated
Box 2
Pacifist Research Bureau
Undated
Box 2
Peace News Pamphlet
Undated
Box 2
Peace News Pamphlet
Undated
Box 2
Peace Pledge Union (PPU)
Undated
Box 2
Post War World Council
Undated
Box 2
Presidents Advisory Commission on Universal Training: An Analysis
1947
Box 2
Provisional Defense Committee: What Happened on June 15?
Undated
Box 2
Service Board for Religious Objectors: Statement of Religious Bodies on the Conscientious Objector
1963
Box 2
Statement of Socialist party: Keep America out of War
Undated
Box 2
Summary of Brief
1940
Box 2
Titford, Charles F.: Pacifist Techniques
Undated
Box 2
Union Calendar: No. 563
1947
Box 3
War Resistance
1965
Box 3
War Resistance
1966
Box 3
War Resistance
1967
Box 3
War Resistance
1962-1963
Box 3
War Resistance
1964
Box 3
War Resister
1945-1949
Box 3
War Resister
1950-1953
Box 3
War Resister
1954-1955
Box 3
War Resister
1956-1957
Box 3
War Resister
1958-1959
Box 3
War Resister
1960-1962
Box 3
War Resisters International
1945
Box 3
War Resisters League
Undated
Box 3
War Resisters League
Undated
Box 3
Germany-Bridge or Battlefield
Undated
Box 3
Non-Violence for the West?
Undated
Box 3
Wartime Service and Treatment of Conscientious Objectors (Congressional Record)
1945
Box 3
The Way to Peace
Undated
Box 3
Wellock, Wilfred: A Mechanistic or a Human Society
Undated
Box 3
Why We Refused to Register
Undated
Box 3
Youth Committee Against War: News Bulletin
1939
Box 3
Series 2. Socialism
1943-1991
American Civil Liberties Union
1950
Box 4
Balabanoff, Angelica M.D.: Tears
Undated
Box 4
Black, Lee Roy: Union Press: Monograph
1975
Box 4
Catholic News Service (CNS) Origins
1986,1991
Box 4
Clinton Farms, New Jersey
1950,1953
Box 4
Democratic Socialism and Convention of Socialist Party: Minutes
1973
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 1st Session
1985
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 1st Session
1985
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 1st Session
1985
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 2nd Session
1985
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 4th Session
1986
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 4th Session
1986
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 4th Session
1986
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 6th Session
1987
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 6th Session
1987
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 7th Session
1988
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 7th Session
1988
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 7th Session
1988
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 8th Session
1989
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 8th Session
1989
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 8th Session
1989
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 9th Session
1989
Box 4
Democratic Socialist Conference: 9th Session
1989
Box 4
Eugene Debs Foundation:
Undated
Box 4
Harris, Mark: Correspondence
1954 February 25-May 28
Box 4
Harris, Mark: Correspondence
1954 June 7-September 29
Box 4
Harris, Mark: Correspondence
1954 October 4-December 24
Box 4
Harris, Mark: Correspondence
1955 January 6-April 29
Box 4
Harris, Mark: Correspondence
1955 May 3-August 14
Box 4
Harris, Mark: Correspondence
1955 September 10-December 3
Box 4
Harris, Mark: Correspondence
1956 January 1-April 11
Box 4
Harris, Mark: Correspondence
1956 August 29-December 9
Box 4
Harris, Mark: Randolph Bourne: A Study in Immiscibility
1956
Box 4
Harris, Mark: Randolph Bourne: A Study in Immiscibility
1956
Box 5
Harris, Mark: Randolph Bourne: A Study in Immiscibility
Undated
Box 5
Harris, Mark: Randolph Bourne: A Study in Immiscibility
1956
Box 5
Harris, Mark: Randolph Bourne: A Study in Immiscibility
1956
Box 5
Harris, Mark: Randolph Bourne: A Study in Immiscibility
1956
Box 5
Hochschild, Mary Marquand: Memorial Talks at the Cosmopolitan Club
1974
Box 5
Japanese Internment and Papers
1995
Box 5
Jenkinson, Anthony: Know Your Enemy! Japan!
1943
Box 5
New York State Labor Religion Coalition
1984
Box 5
Revolutionary Union: Workers' History Calendar
1973
Box 5
Siteman, Stephen: Last Will and Testament
1974
Box 5
Socialism
1918-1920
Box 5
Socialism
1928-1939
Box 5
Socialism
1948-1949
Box 5
Socialism
1950s
Box 5
Socialism
1960-1970s
Box 5
Socialism
1980s
Box 5
Socialist Bibliography
Undated
Box 5
Socialist Book Bibliography
Undated
Box 5
Socialist Plaform
Undated
Box 5
Tamiment Institute Library: Bulletins
1960s
Box 6
Thomas, Norman: Newspaper Clippings
Undated
Box 6
Thomas, Norman: Nobel Prize Nominations
1955
Box 6
Thomas, Norman: Photographs
Undated
Box 6
USSR Information: Bulletin
Undated
Box 6
Vogel, Virgil J.: Bibliography
Undated
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1984-1985
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1986 January-June
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1986 July-November
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1987 January-April
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1987 May-July
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1987 August-October
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1987 November-December
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1988 January-March
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1988 April-May
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1988 June-July
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1988 August-September
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1988 October-December
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1989 January-March
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1989 April-June
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1989 July-August
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1989 September-December
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1990 January-March
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1990 April-May
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1990 June-December
Box 6
Zeidler, Frank: Correspondence
1991 January-March
Box 6
Series 3. Prison Reform
1910-1990
Abolish Capital Punishment (ACP)
1952
Box 7
Abolish Capital Punishment (ACP): Special Report to Members
1967 June
Box 7
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Workers: The Public Employee
1954
Box 7
American League to Abolish Capital Punishment (ALACP)
1962
Box 7
Austria
1952
Box 7
Burma
1954-1957
Box 7
Canada
1933,1950-1964
Box 7
China
Undated
Box 7
Congress and Labor
1928,1965
Box 7
England
1950-1956
Box 7
France
1956
Box 7
Germany
1952-1955
Box 7
Greece
1952
Box 7
Handouts
1965
Box 7
Hong Kong
Undated
Box 7
Iceland
Undated
Box 7
India
1954
Box 7
International Labor Defense: Long Term Political Prisoners in America
1936
Box 7
Ireland
1963
Box 7
Israel
Undated
Box 7
Italy
1950
Box 7
Japan
1953
Box 7
Mufson, George: Letters
1953
Box 7
Netherlands
1952
Box 7
New Jersey Prison Riots
1950s
Box 7
New Jersey Prison Riots
1950s
Box 7
New Zealand
1955-1957
Box 7
Portugal
Undated
Box 7
Printing Pressmen
1953
Box 7
Prison Labor
1984
Box 7
Prison Manuscript & Newspaper Clippings
1952
Box 7
Prison Reform
1940-1950s
Box 7
Prison Reform
1940-1950s
Box 7
Prison Reform
1940-1950s
Box 7
Prison Reform Notebook
Undated
Box 8
Prisons & Unions
Undated
Box 8
Siteman, Stephen: Prison Reform
1950-1953
Box 8
Slayton, John W.: Criminology, Crimes, and Criminals
1910
Box 8
Socialist and Prison Reform Study
1950s
Box 8
Spain
1953-1955
Box 8
Sweden
1938,1950-1955
Box 8
Switzerland
1953
Box 8
United Nations
1952-1955
Box 8
United States Prison Reform
1900s
Box 8
United States Prison Reform
1950s
Box 8
United States Prison Reform
1950s
Box 8
United States Prison Reform
1950s
Box 8
United States Prison Reform
1950s
Box 8
United States Prison Reform
1950s
Box 8
United States Prison Reform
1950s-1960s
Box 8
USSR
1957
Box 8
Yugoslavia
1952
Box 8
Administrative information
Provenance

Purchased in .

Processing Information

Processed by Joel Nilles, 2009.

Approximately 9 linear feet of books have been separated from the Siteman Collection and have been catalogued and shelved separately in the Rare Books Collections. See a list of the Siteman Books separately.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Stephen Siteman Collection (MS 503). Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst Libraries.

Search terms
Subjects
  • Conscientious objectors.
  • Pacifists--United States.
  • Peace movements--United States.
  • Prison reformers.
  • Prisons--United States.
  • Socialism.
Names
  • Democratic Socialists of America.
  • Harris, Mark, 1922-2007.
  • Siteman, Stephen.
  • Thomas, Norman, 1884-1968.
  • War Resisters League.
  • Zeidler, Frank P.