Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Siteman, Stephen

Stephen Siteman Papers, 1942-1998.
5 boxes (2.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 503

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.

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.

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Series Descriptions

Series 1. Peace
1939-1989

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.


Series 2. Socialism
1939-1989

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.


Series 3. Prison Reform
1910-1990

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.

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Inventory of Collection
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
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Provenance

Purchased in .

Processing Information

Processed by Joel Nilles, 2009.

Related Material

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.

Subjects
  • Conscientious objectors
  • Democratic Socialists of America
  • Pacifists--United States
  • Peace movements--United States
  • Prison reformers
  • Prisons--United States
  • Socialists--United States
  • Thomas, Norman, 1884-1968
  • War Resisters League of America
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Harris, Mark, 1922-2007
  • Siteman, Stephen
  • Zeidler, Frank P
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