Herman Wolf Papers
Scope and Content
The Herman Wolf Papers document the career of Herman Wolf from the early 1940s through the late 1980s. Spanning forty years of local, state, and national politics, Wolf's papers provide a unique view of the political scene, from Connecticut gubernatorial politics in 1949 to the presidential election in 1976. Wolf's papers concerning Buckminster Fuller are in a separate collection in this repository. Most of his papers concerning organized labor were donated to the Walter Reuther Library, Wayne State University.
- undated, 1926-1981
The collection is open and available for research.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from the owner(s) of the copyright.
Herman Wolf was born in Far Rockaway, Long Island, New York on 22 January 1912. He graduated from the Woodmere Academy in Long Island in 1929. After attending the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania for two years, he spent one year at the University of Chicago from which he graduated in 1933 with a B. A. in Economics. From 1935 to 1939 he attended the New School for Social Research in New York, as well as New York University.
As a young man, Wolf was deeply interested in reform movements, and while at the University of Pennsylvania was an active member of the Socialist Party. From 1934-1941, Wolf was a labor newspaper editor and publicity agent. He wrote publicity articles, speeches, press releases, radio broadcasts, and pamphlets for such organizations as the Textile Workers Union, the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, the American Labor Party, the New York State Department of Labor, and the Greater New York Fund. He also spent some time editing weekly newspapers, working on the New York Journal of Commerce, and writing articles for Time, Nation, and Survey Graphic. From 1937-1941, he operated his own public relations firm in New York City.
During the Second World War, Wolf's governmental employment was extensive. He directed labor-public relations for the British Management-Labor Commission, wrote a war handbook entitled Labor Defends America, a discussion of labor's role in production, morale, war controls, and training, promoted U.S. War Bonds for the Treasury Department in his writings for the labor press, and directed a staff of fifteen for the War Production Board which supplied 5,000 war plant Labor-Management Production Committees with ideas and material for improving efficiency.
After the war, Wolf spent two years as a director of a staff of seventy employees for the Fuller Houses Inc. of Wichita, Kansas, a corporation created to promote the building of R. Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Dwelling Machine (the Fuller House). This began a longtime association between Wolf and Fuller.
In 1946, Wolf moved to Connecticut and began a public-relations firm, Herman Wolf Associates, that would eventually serve over 100 clients. From 1947-1950, he was editor of several of the supplements for the Sunday edition of The Bridgeport Herald. It was at this time that Wolf became actively involved in Connecticut Democratic politics. He was a chief campaign aide in the successful gubernatorial campaigns of Abe Ribicoff in 1954 and 1958, John Dempsey in 1966, and Ella Grasso in 1974. He acted as executive aide to Governor Ribicoff from 1955-1958, and took part in Ribicoff's successful campaigns for the U. S. Senate in 1962 and 1968.
Herman Wolf participated actively in numerous campaigns for Senate, Congress, state legislature, and municipal office over a period of thirty years. In the course of his political public relations work, he met seven Presidents of the United States.
In 1972, Wolf closed down his public relations firm for a brief time to become Executive Vice-President of the Design Science Institute of Washington D. C., a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the philosophy and works of R. Buckminster Fuller. Wolf iwas a member of the National Press Club, the Public Relations Society of America, and the Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce. His first wife, Emily Elsas Wolf, whom he married in 1936, died in 1954. They had three children: David, born in 1942; Louise, born in 1944; and William (Bill), born in 1949. His second wife was Helen Neilson Wolf. In 1973, Wolf married Monica Estes. They have one daughter, Fay, born in 1978.
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Language of Materials
Born in New York in 1912; graduated in 1933 with a B. A. in Economics from the University of Chicago; was actively involved in political journalism from 1934 to 1941; operated several public-relations firms, including Herman Wolf Associates; served as a chief campaign aide for many successful campaigns for offices; member of the National Press Club, the Public Relations Society of America, and the Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce.
Series I: Gubernatorial Politics (undated, 1949-1980) contains files on gubernatorial candidates in Connecticut. The materials include biographical files, policy information, debate transcripts, pamphlets, and news clippings on candidates such as Abraham Ribicoff, Emilio Daddario and Ella Grasso. The series is arranged chronologically and by candidate.
Series II: Congressional Politics (undated, 1948-1980) includes campaign materials, pamphlets, speeches, and correspondence on candidates such as Dennis Carrol, William St. Onge and Ella Grasso. The series is arranged chronologically and by candidate.
Series III: Senatorial Politics (undated, 1950-1976) includes campaign materials, correspondence, news clippings and platforms of candidates for Connecticut State positions. Included are William Benton, Thomas Dodd, Abraham Ribicoff, and others. The series is arranged chronologically and by candidate.
Series IV: Connecticut Town Politics (undated, 1966-1975) includes advertising materials and debate transcripts from the Fairfield, CT, mayoral elections of John Sullivan, as well as campaign summaries of local elections in Connecticut cities and towns. The town files are arranged alphabetically.
Series V: Bridgeport: Curran Administration (undated, 1964-1973) focuses on Bridgeport politics. It includes biographical information on Mayor Curran, his speeches, addresses and press releases, photographs, and campaign materials. There is also information on the P. T. Barnum Festival, the Bridgeport Jets, the University of Bridgeport, and the Proud City Campaign. The series is arranged chronologically.
Series VI: Connecticut Democratic Party (undated, 1950-1980) contains information on state politics. Included are campaign material; correspondence; materials from the Democratic National Conventions, 1960-1968; materials from the Democratic State Central Committee; files on Hubert Humphrey, John F.Kennedy and the Kennedy family; files on the Republican National Committee; and state convention information. This series is arranged alphabetically.
Series VII: Ways To Win (undated, 1940s-1980) contains materials related to Wolf's proposed book, Ways to Win, which covered public relations efforts on behalf of political candidates. The series focuses on Wolf's 1968 Newspaper Project, with survey information, ads, target newspapers, and a newspaper advertising book outline. Also included in the series are public relations subject folders with information on billboards, campaign planning, image, media contacts, news releases, polls, radio campaigning, and volunteers. There is also a nineteen state candidate survey, and a house and senate candidate file which includes information on Robert Giaimo, Stewart McKinney, Horace Seely Brown, Christopher Dodd, Daniel Inouye, and Lowell Weicker. The series is arranged alphabetically.
Series VIII: Public Relations (undated, 1950-1981) contains materials from Wolf's non-politician public relations work, including information about the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Bureau of Advertising, and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. Advertising rates, fund raising, radio campaigning, and women in politics are some of the subjects in this series. The files are arranged alphabetically.
Series IX: Political Organizations (undated, 1926-1980) includes files on numerous organizations, including the Steering Committee on Human Rights Legislation, the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Democratic Action, Common Cause, the Hartford Jewish Federation, the National Urban League, the Rand School of Social Science, the Socialist Party, and the World Peace Foundation. The files are arranged alphabetically. This series also contains files of awards, dinners, testimonials, and ceremonies for politician figures, including Thomas Dodd, Ella Grasso, and Abraham Ribicoff.
Series X: National Politics (undated, 1936-1976) contains material on Alfred Landon, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the American Labor Party, Adlai Stevenson, John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Barry Goldwater, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, Ronald Reagan, George Wallace, and Jimmy Carter.
Series XI: Personal Papers (undated, 1941-1981) has been arranged under six subheadings: Alaska Federation of Natives, American Shakespeare Theatre, Bridgeport Jets, General Correspondence, Labor, and Subject Files. Alaska Federation of Natives contains brochures, pamphlets, project financing reports, and land claim bills concerning Native Alaskans' rights and the Alaska pipeline. American Shakespeare Theatre contains public relations' materials for the Stratford theatre, including advertising, correspondence, photographs, promotional materials, and theatre publications. Bridgeport Jets contains promotional materials such as buttons, press clippings and releases, and graphics. General Correspondence consists of folders of Wolf's correspondence arranged chronologically. Labor contains AFL-CIO materials, AFL candidate questionnaires and statements, local Labor Council correspondence, ILGW files, and labor reports. Subject Files is listed alphabetically, and includes information on AVCO; the Bottle Bill; cattle breeding; civil rights; Doubleday; Savings Bank Association of America; the State Police; and Herman Wolf's father, Irving Wolf.
Series XII: Memorabilia (undated, 1936-1968) contains both written materials and items from Wolf's years of involvement in politics, including posters, campaign buttons and flyers, bumper stickers, news clippings, and photographs. There is memorabilia from World War II; local, state and national elections; from well-known politicians such as Abraham Ribicoff, John F. Kennedy, Audrey Beck, and Ella Grasso>, as well as senate passes, inaugural invitations, and scrapbooks containing news clippings and election headlines.
Series XIII: Publications (undated, 1940s-1969) contains newsletters, journals, and reports from military, labor, and social organizations. The files are arranged alphabetically.
Series XIV: Audio Visual Materials (undated, 1950s-1975) contains interviews, radio spots, television advertisements from Connecticut and national political campaigns.
The materials were donated by Herman Wolf in December 1985.
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- Herman Wolf Papers
- Archives & Special Collections staff
- 2010 January
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