SCUA

Jaffe, Bernard

Bernard Jaffe Papers
1955-2016
4 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 906
Image of W.E.B. Du Bois at home in Accra, 1963
W.E.B. Du Bois at home in Accra, 1963

A New York native with a deep commitment to social justice, Bernard Jaffe was an attorney, confidant, and longtime friend of W.E.B. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois. In 1951, Jaffe joined Du Bois’s defense team at a time when the civil rights leader was under indictment for failing to register as a foreign agent. Forging a close relationship through that experience, he was retained as a personal attorney, representing the Du Bois family interests after they settled abroad. Jaffe was later instrumental in placing the papers of both W.E.B. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois and served on the executive board of the W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation, set up by Shirley’s son, David Graham Du Bois.

This rich collection centers on the close relationship between attorney Bernard Jaffe and his friends and clients, Shirley Graham Du Bois and W.E.B. Du Bois. Although there is little correspondence from W.E.B. Du Bois himself, the collection contains an exceptional run of correspondence with Shirley, from the time of her emigration to Ghana in 1961 until her death in China in 1977 and excellent materials relating to David Graham Du Bois and the work of the W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation.

Background on Bernard Jaffe

A New York native, Bernard Jaffe joined W.E.B. Du Bois’ legal team in 1951, beginning a decades-long relationship as counsel, advisor, and close friend of the great civil rights leader and his wife, Shirley Graham Du Bois.

Born in the Bronx on May 23, 1915, one of two children of Russian immigrants Louis and Kate (Rosenberg) Jaffe, Bernard was an intellectual prodigy. Barely 18 when he graduated from Columbia University, he continued at Columbia for law school and by 21, he had secured his first professional position, working with the Puerto Rican Reconstruction Administration, a New Deal program designed to bring economic revitalization and modernization to the island.

After service in the Army Air Corps during the Second World War, Jaffe returned to New York City and entered private practice. Radical in his beliefs and politically engaged, Jaffe was asked to join the legal team of the National Committee to Defend Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois and Associates in 1951, taking part in one of the signature civil liberties cases of the McCarthy era. Du Bois and his four co-defendants, all white, were officers of the Peace Information Center, an organization dedicated to nuclear disarmament, and at the high tide of the McCarthy-era, advocacy for peace and disarmament signified to the Justice Department that the defendants were acting on behalf of the Soviet Union. Already the for investigation by the FBI, Du Bois and his colleagues were charged under the McCormick Act of 1938 for failing to register as foreign agents. Although many of Du Bois’s supporters distanced themselves, the legal team led by Congressman Vito Marcantonio, rallied support and ultimately succeeded in having the case dismissed.

From the time of the trial, Jaffe remained connected to Du Bois and his family, and when the Du Boises emigrated to Ghana at the invitation of Kwame Nkrumah, Jaffe was retained as personal attorney to handle the details. He served in that capacity until Du Bois’ death in 1963, and thereafter continued as counsel and friend of Du Bois’ widow, Shirley Graham DuBois, until her death in 1977. Trusted by both Du Boises intimately, Jaffe assisted the couple in a wide range of endeavors, playing a vital role in handling publication rights, helping Shirley find a publisher for an edited series of her husband’s letters (edited by Herbert Aptheker), and assisting in placing the W.E.B. Du Bois Papers at UMass Amherst and the Shirley Graham Du Bois Papers at Harvard. Furthermore, Jaffe was a trusted advisor to David Graham Du Bois in managing his step-father’s estate, serving on the executive board of the W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation for nearly thirty years.

Brilliant and versatile, Jaffe was a legal generalist in his other work, handling a wide range of clients and causes, often emerging from his concern for people afflicted by poverty, political oppression, and racial inequality. Bernard Jaffe died at his home in Edgewater, N.J., on December 31, 2015.

Contents of Collection

This rich collection centers on the close relationship between attorney Bernard Jaffe and his friends and clients, Shirley Graham Du Bois and W.E.B. Du Bois. Although there is little correspondence from W.E.B. Du Bois himself, the collection contains an exceptional run of correspondence with Shirley, beginning just prior to her emigration to Ghana in 1961 and extending until her death in China in 1977. The collection offers insight into the Du Boises’ time in Africa and Shirley’s subsequent departure and resettlement in Egypt. The collection also includes a wealth of correspondence with David Graham Du Bois, along with materials from his work with the W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation.

Collection inventory
Beyond the color line: 125th anniversary tribute to W.E.B. Du Bois, Rob Okun, ed.
1993
Box 1: 1
Correspondence: Du Bois, David Graham
1975-1978
Box 1: 2
Correspondence: Du Bois, David Graham
1980
Box 1: 3
Correspondence: Du Bois, David Graham
1981
Box 1: 4
Correspondence: Du Bois, David Graham
1982
Box 1: 5
Correspondence: Du Bois, David Graham
1983-1984
Box 1: 6
Correspondence: Du Bois, David Graham
1985
Box 1: 7
Correspondence: Du Bois, David Graham
1986
Box 1: 8
Correspondence: Du Bois, David Graham
1987-1989
Box 1: 9
Correspondence: Du Bois, David Graham
1990
Box 1: 10
Correspondence: Du Bois, David Graham
1991
Box 1: 11
Correspondence: Du Bois, David Graham
1994
Box 1: 12
Correspondence: Du Bois, David Graham
1995
Box 1: 13
Correspondence: Du Bois, David Graham
1996-2004
Box 1: 14
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1959
Box 1: 15
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1960-1961
Box 1: 16
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1962
Box 1: 17
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1963
Box 1: 18
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1964
Box 1: 19
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1965
Box 1: 20
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1966
Box 1: 21
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1967
Box 1: 22
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1968
Box 1: 23
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1969
Box 1: 24
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1970
Box 2: 1
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1971
Box 2: 2
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1972
Box 2: 3
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1973 Jan.-Apr.
Box 2: 4
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1973 July
Box 2: 5
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1973 Aug.-Dec.
Box 2: 6
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1974
Box 2: 7
Correspondence: Du Bois, Shirley Graham
1976
Box 2: 8
Correspondence: Du Bois, W.E.B.
1959
Box 2: 9
Correspondence: Kraus Reprint Co.
1970
Box 2: 10
Correspondence: Kraus Reprint Co.
1971 Feb.
Box 2: 11
Correspondence: Kraus Reprint Co.
1971 May-Oct.
Box 2: 12
Correspondence: Kraus Reprint Co.
1972-1974
Box 2: 13
Correspondence: Kraus Reprint Co.
1994
Box 2: 14
Correspondence: Moos, Elizabeth
1963
Box 2: 15
Correspondence: University of Massachusetts Press
1969-1970
Box 2: 16
Correspondence: University of Massachusetts Press
1971
Box 2: 17
Correspondence: University of Massachusetts Press
1972-1973
Box 2: 18
Correspondence: University of Massachusetts Press
1974-1979
Box 2: 19
Correspondence: University of Massachusetts Press
1980-1984
Box 2: 20
Du Bois, David Graham, “Washington and Du Bois: two roads to freedom,” talk at symposium of the Organization of American Historians and National Park Service
1998
Box 3: 1
Du Bois In Our Time [Exhibition]
2013
Box 3: 2
Du Bois Memorial Foundation
1969-1981
Box 3: 3
Du Bois, Shirley Graham: copyright
1976-1994
Box 3: 4
Du Bois, Shirley Graham: disposition of papers
1983-1986
Box 3: 5
Du Bois, Shirley Graham: power of attorney to Bernard Jaffe
1958
Box 3: 6
Du Bois, Shirley Graham: will
1961
Box 3: 7
Du Bois, W. E. B.: power of attorney to Bernard Jaffe
1958
Box 3: 8
Du Bois, W. E. B.: will
1961
Box 3: 9
Du Bois, W. E. B. and Shirley Graham Du Bois: tax returns
1958-1960
Box 3: 10
McCanns, Robert
1961-1962
Box 3: 11
McCanns, Robert
1963
Box 3: 12
McCanns, Robert
1964-1965
Box 3: 13
Miscellaneous
1980-2016
Box 3: 14
Permissions to publish requests
1976-1989
Box 3: 15
Permissions to publish requests
1995
Box 3: 16
Permissions to publish requests
1996
Box 3: 17
Permissions to publish requests
1998-2000
Box 3: 18
Permissions requests: U.S. Postal Service
1997-2000
Box 3: 19
Photographs
ca.1955-1992
Box 3: 20
Stuckey, Sterling, “Tragic scholarship: David Levering Lewis’ W.E.B. Du Bois”
ca.2001
Box 3: 21
University of Massachusetts Amherst: acquisition of W.E.B. Du Bois Papers
1973-2001
Box 3: 22
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: Administrative
1979-1982
Box 4: 1
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: Administrative
1984
Box 4: 2
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: Administrative
1985
Box 4: 3
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: Administrative
1986
Box 4: 4
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: Administrative
1987-1988
Box 4: 5
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: Administrative
1990
Box 4: 6
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: Administrative
1991 Jan.-Apr.
Box 4: 7
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: Administrative
1991 May-Dec.
Box 4: 8
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: Administrative
1992
Box 4: 9
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: Administrative
1993-1995
Box 4: 10
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: Administrative
1997-1999
Box 4: 11
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: Brochures
ca.1990
Box 4: 12
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: By-laws
1991
Box 4: 13
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: Founding
1985-1990
Box 4: 14
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: Institute Without Walls
1999
Box 4: 15
W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation: Tribute (125th birthday commemoration)
1993
Box 4: 16
W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite (Great Barrington, Mass.)
1928-1987
Box 4: 17
W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Centre (Accra, Ghana)
1985-1999
Box 4: 18
W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Committee
2004
Box 4: 19
W.E.B. Du Bois reinterment ceremony
1986
Box 4: 20
Administrative information
Provenance

Gift of Jonathan Klate and Bernard Jaffe, April 2016.

Processing Information

Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, May 2016.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Bernard Jaffe Papers (MS 906). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Gift of Jonathan Klate and Bernard Jaffe, Apr. 2016
Subjects
  • Ghana--History--1957-
Contributors
  • Du Bois, David Graham
  • Du Bois, Shirley Graham, 1896-1977
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
  • W. E. B. Du Bois Foundation
Types of material
  • Photographs

Africa, African American, Antiracism, Civil rights, Du Bois, W.E.B., Political activism, Social justice

Comments are closed.

© 2017 * SCUA * UMass Amherst Libraries

Log in | Site policies