Processed in 1993 by Robert H. Krapohl (May 9, 1993). Revised by Dorothy Christiansen (April 1994).
All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Eugene P. Link from April 1991 - March 4, 1993. Additional accessions were added in 2002 and 2003.
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Preferred citation for this material is as follows:
Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Eugene P. Link Papers, 1907-1993. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).
NOTE: The information found in this sketch comes from Eugene Link's resume (ca. 1984) which includes narrative annotations by his wife Beulah. The resume was updated upon the accession of the Link Papers from 1991-1993. Biographical information about Link can also be found in Ann Evory, ed., Contemporary Authors: A Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Current Authors and Their Works, vols. 37-40, 1st revision (Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Co., 1979), 333 and Jaques Cattell Press, Directory of American Scholars, 8th ed., vol. I (New York & London: R.R. Bowker Co., 1982), 455.
Eugene Perry Link was a son of the American Midwest. Born in Paris, Illinois on September 4, 1907, Link spent most of his early life in Emporia, Kansas, where he attended high school. His parents were Nathaniel (a pharmacist of some renown) and Lidabelle Link. As the middle child of the Link family (he had an older brother, Wendell, and a younger sister, Lidabelle), young Eugene distinguished himself early on through academics and through his oratory skills, winning the Kansas State Oratorical Contest four times during his high school and college years.
In the midst of the Great Depression, Link resolved to pursue an academic career. He graduated with the B.A. degree from the College of Emporia in 1929; three years of graduate study at the University of Chicago followed (1929-1931). Forced to leave Chicago because of finances, Link won an honors scholarship to Union Theological Seminary in 1931. Link's decision to attend a religious seminary is instructive of his later career. From the early 1930s onward, his academic scholarship would be consistently informed by Christian ethics and social justice. No person (other than his wife and collaborator, Beulah, whom he married in 1938) would make a greater impression on Link than Dr. Harry F. Ward, professor of ethics at Union Seminary and co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union. In many ways, Link's mature career was an effort to expand upon and apply the earlier work of his mentor, Ward.
Although he was ordained to the ministry of the Congregational Church in 1933, from the mid-1930s onward, Link's professional arena was predominantly the classroom. He held a succession of academic positions over four decades: Instructor of History, Mt. Hermon School, Mt. Hermon, Massachusetts (1933-1937); Assistant Professor of Social Science, Limestone College, Gaffney, S.C.(1938-1940); Professor and Chair of Sociology, State Women's College, Rock Hill, S.C. (1942-1944); Professor of Social Science, State Teachers College, Montclair, N.J. (1944-1946); Professor and Chair of Sociology, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado (1946-1950); Professor and Divisional Chair of Social Science, State University of New York, New Paltz (1950-1963); and Research Professor of American Social History, State University of New York, Plattsburgh (1963-1977; emeritus after 1977). Largely through part-time attendance in the late 1930s, Link obtained his Ph.D. in social history from Columbia University in 1941.
As Link matured professionally, he increasingly concentrated on those groups that have tended to suffer from the abuses of the capitalist system: laborers, women, minorities, and Third World nations. This emphasis can be seen as a natural extension of the "Social Gospel" doctrine formulated by Washington Gladden, Walter Rauschenbusch, Harry F. Ward, and others. As a teacher at Plattsburgh, Link was among the first to champion an expanded curriculum in the social sciences that examined those who were traditionally ignored in social history.
Link's greater renown comes from the degree to which he has been able to translate his concern for social justice into action. He has traveled abroad extensively. He served as a Fulbright Lecturer in India two different times (1954 and 1960) and strongly urged the United States government to establish diplomatic relations with the Peoples Republic of China in the 1970s. The clearest example of Link's penchant for action rather than theory, however, has been his long association with the American Federation of Teachers (since 1935) and the United University Professions. In the 1970s, Link held the important offices of Vice President in the New York State University Federation of Teachers and served as leader for Membership Development for the United University Professions. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Committee of Active Retired Members (CO-ARM) of the UUP. His experience and counsel have been sought repeatedly by union organizers from campuses around the nation.
The varied interests of Link can be seen in his numerous publications and correspondence. His major books are The Democratic-Republican Societies (Columbia University Press, 1942); Victories in the Villages (National Council on Educational Research and Training, 1964); The College of Emporia: Retrospection and Appreciation (Vermont Villanti Press, 1982); Labor-Religion Prophet: The Times and Life of Harry F. Ward (Westview Press, 1984); The Humanitarian Tradition in American Medicine: The Social Ideas of Physicians (Academy of Independent Scholars, 1990); and The T.B.'s Progress: Norman Bethune As Artist (Plattsburgh State University, 1991). In addition, Link has produced dozens of scholarly articles, book reviews, and unpublished prose essays dealing with American social history, marriage and family relations, the medical profession, and labor unions.
Link carried on a wide array of correspondence with colleagues and students. Of special interest are letters to and from George Angell, Herbert Aptheker, Lee Ball, Cyril Bibby, Merle Curti, Buell Gallagher, Arnold Johnson, and Corliss Lamont. Most of these letters are preserved in the Eugene P. Link Papers.
Officially retired from SUNY, Plattsburgh since 1977, Link remained very active as an author and union activist. His three children, Martha (Mrs. Charles Casey), Perry Jr., and Bruce all followed their father into professions in academia. Dr. Link died on April 26, 2006.
The papers of Eugene P. Link contain autobiographical materials, memorabilia, family and professional correspondence with colleagues and publishers, lecture notes, published and unpublished manuscripts, and offprints of colleagues articles related to Link's career as a teacher, author, social historian, labor activist, and Christian minister. In particular the collection reflects Link's life-long commitment to social and economic justice, free speech, and religious tolerance in a pluralistic society. Included in the Link Papers are the papers of his wife and collaborator, Beulah Link, Harry Ward, his teacher and mentor at Union Theological Seminary and the records of the Reilgious Freedom Committee (1954-1964.).
Prominent correspondents includes academicians and social activists Herbert Aptheker (long time director of the American Institute of Marxist Studies); Lee Ball (director of the Methodist Federation of Social Action, 1960-73); Cyril Bibby (noted British scholar on the Huxley family and Principal of Kingston upon Hull College of Education, 1959-76); Merle Curti (professor and professor emeritus of American history at the University of Wisconsin--Madison, 1947-1996); Buell Gallagher (professor of Christian ethics, champion of academic freedom and civil rights, and president of the City College of New York, 1952-69); Arnold Johnson (national legislative director of the Communist Party, U.S.A. for nearly forty years); and Corliss Lamont (noted political, philosophical, and economic critic of capitalism).
Other series of interest to researchers include Dr. Link's labor activities (1966-1992) and teaching career (1933-77, 1985). Unfortunately, the early materials relating to Dr. Link's participation in the American Federation of Teachers (1935-1965) and the founding of the United University Professions, Inc. are not included in this collection. The teaching career materials include institutional correspondence and lecture notes on social history courses taught at the State University Colleges at New Paltz and Plattsburgh, and Hull House, England.
Dr. Link's publications include over forty articles, primarily in the area of social history and the social ethic of Canadian and American physicians including the Barton brothers, Norman Bethune, Elizabeth Blackwell, Harvey Cushing, Abraham and Mary Jacobi, Johnathan Knight, and the Mayo family. A major Link publication is Labor-Religion Prophet: The Time and Life of Harry F. Ward (Boulder, CO; Westview Press, 1984.).
Link's extensive research files on Ward include three of Ward's unpublished manuscripts. Ward (1873-1966) was an ordained minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church; professor of Christian ethics at Union Theological Seminary from 1918-41 (and emeritus after 1941 until his death in 1966); a founder of the Methodist Federation of Social Service in 1907; and chair of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1920-40 and founder of the Religious Freedom Committee.
The Link Papers contain the records of the Religious Freedom Committee for the years, 1954-1964, including minutes of its Administrative Committee, financial and membership records, its newsletter "Religious Freedom News", and occasional publications. The Religious Freedom Committee was an interfaith, interracial group founded in New York City to work for the free exercise of religion under the First Amendment.
This first series is further divided into two sub-series: (1) autobiographical and biographical; and (2) family correspondence.
The autobiographical and biographical materials span the entire length of Eugene Link's life: grade school materials; his Emporia, Kansas, high school yearbook and diploma; papers from his undergraduate college (the College of Emporia) and various graduate institutions (the University of Chicago, Union Theological Seminary, and Columbia University); and alumni papers. Some of the materials in this subseries relate to Link's father, Nathaniel, a pharmacist in Emporia, who invented a well-known medicinal cream known as GIMP.
The papers of Link's wife, Beulah (they were married in 1938), also figure prominently in this subseries. Possessing a particular interest in mental retardation, Mrs. Link taught for thirty-one years at the elementary, high school, and college levels. Several of her articles were published over the years in various educational journals. Mrs. Link was her husband's partner in every sense of the word: as a union supporter, a counselor, an editor of Eugene Link's writings, and a supportive critic of his ideas and teachings.
The second division of series one deals with a voluminous family correspondence. A highly educated family, the Links saw all three of their children proceed to graduate school and careers in higher education. Martha Link Casey, possesses a doctorate in chemistry and has, since the mid-1970s, served on the administrative staff of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Their elder son, Eugene Perry, Jr., is a professor of East Asian studies at Princeton University. Younger son, Bruce, possesses a doctorate in psychiatry from Columbia University. The correspondence of the Link children sheds significant light upon the personal life of Dr. and Mrs. Link.
Fully one-seventh of the Link Papers are composed of a highly eclectic professional correspondence with many significant academicians and social activists from the political left. Sensitive to the abuses of capitalism, tempered by the Great Depression and New Deal politics of Franklin Roosevelt, Link and his associates were firmly committed to social and economic justice for all, absolute free speech, and religious tolerance in a pluralistic society. Link's professional correspondents include: Herbert Aptheker (long time director of the American Institute of Marxist Studies); Lee Ball (director of the Methodist Federation of Social Action, 1960-73); Cyril Bibby (noted British scholar on the Huxley family and Principal of Kingston upon Hull College of Education, 1959-76); Merle Curti (professor and professor emeritus of American history at the University of Wisconsin--Madison, 1947-1996) (approximately 200 letters); Buell Gallagher (professor of Christian ethics, champion of academic freedom and civil rights, and president of the City College of New York, 1952-69); Arnold Johnson (national legislative director of the Communist Party, U.S.A. for nearly forty years); and Corliss Lamont (noted political, philosophical, and economic critic of capitalism).
The professional correspondence also contains letters from Link's academic colleagues in Britain (he served as a visiting professor at Hull in 1975) and India (mostly through the faculty of Annamalai University where Link served as a Fulbright Lecturer in the 1950s), old college alumni (Dwight Leonard and David L. Miller) and many letters from legislators (U.S. Representatives, U.S. Senators and Governors from New York State).
The correspondence illustrates an evolution of Link's views toward an increasingly left-wing stance in the 1970s and 1980s. This evolution is underscored by Link's financial contributions to the Communist Party, U.S.A.
[correspondence with Beulah Link].
Link first joined the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in 1935 while he was teaching history at Mt. Hermon School for Boys in Northfield, Massachusetts. At that time, Link's principal concern was to resist the signing of a teachers' oath and Governor [of Massachusetts] James M. Curley's attacks on the freedom of speech and the academic exchange of ideas. Link became a founding member of the United University Professions (UUP) and attempted to establish teachers unions wherever he taught in the 1930s-1950s (South Carolina, New Jersey, and Colorado). Link's work in the AFT and UUP is illustrated by this series (although only since the year 1966). Especially noted is his role as Vice President of the State University Federation of Teachers in the early 1970s; his leadership in the area of Membership Development for the UUP (even after retirement from active teaching in 1977, Link travelled around the country helping to organize higher education unions on seven other campuses while offering advice to organizers on countless others); his inspiration in the creation of the Council of Active Retired Members (CO-ARM); and his support of union activities in many fields throughout the world.
Link's unflinching support of unionism has brought him several awards. In 1985, he was recognized for his fiftieth year of involvement in the AFT. At the same time, Link helped initiate the scholarship for service-minded students which bear his name. Five years later (1990), he received the prestigious Diamond Service Award from the AFT. All of these events are chronicled in this series.
Finally, it should be mentioned that the commitment to unionism brought a good deal of opposition into the lives of Link and others of similar minds. Two early significant grievance cases against the administration of the State University of New York System, those of William Bruce and George Cranford, are examined in this series. In both cases, Link played the role of unofficial advisor to the aggrieved parties rather than active participant.
Despite his multifold interests, Link was first and foremost a teacher of social history. His long teaching career, which spanned nearly five decades, is illuminated by two subseries dealing with institutional correspondence and lecture notes.
Link taught as a full-time, permanent faculty member at seven schools in Massachusetts, South Carolina, New Jersey, Colorado, and New York. In addition, he was twice a Fulbright Lecturer in India and a one-year visiting professor in Britain and the Peoples Republic of China. Link's institutional correspondence covers all variety of educational matters, great and small, in which he was involved. In this subseries, particular attention is given to Link's career at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh (1963-77). The folder detailing this tenure contains Link's correspondence with George Angell (president of Plattsburgh, SUNY, from 1954-74). Link had known Angell when both served at the State University College of New Paltz, New York (Link as the Chair of the Social Science Division, 1950-63; Angell the Dean of the College, 1949-53). It was largely this friendship that led Link to Plattsburgh as "research professor" in 1963.
The second major subseries deals with Link's lecture notes from twenty courses taught at New Paltz, Plattsburgh, and Hull, England, over thirty-two years. Due to his interests in Third World cultures and minority rights in America, Link successfully introduced several courses in the 1970s that dealt with American cultural and social history including: African American, women's, Indian, and Asian studies. In that sense, he was a pioneer of the modern emphasis on multiculturalism in the State of New York University System.
Including George Angell correspondence.
This series is divided into four subseries: (1) articles (organized by decade); (2) published manuscripts; (3) unpublished manuscripts; and (4) correspondence.
The first subseries contains copies of most of the nearly forty articles produced by Link over the course of fifty years. Although almost all of the articles fit into the category of American social history, many deal with Link's particular interest: the social ethics of American and Canadian physicians. Consequently, the subjects of Link's articles are often socially active and humanitarian minded physicians like Abraham and Mary Jacobi, the Barton brothers, Jonathan Knight, Elizabeth Blackwell, Harvey Cushing, the Mayo Family, and Norman Bethune.
The second subseries contains the texts of six manuscripts that were published from 1940-90. Once again, the major theme of the humanitarian impulse within the American medical profession is most prominent.
The third subseries deals with unpublished manuscripts. Two of these are concerned with marriage and the family (a popular interest of both Dr. and Mrs. Link in the late 1940s and early 1950s). Various miscellaneous writings of Link (poems, funeral eulogies, etc.) can be found in this subseries as well.
The final subseries contains the lengthy correspondence that Link produced in his effort to get his writings published. Although this correspondence largely parallels and elaborates the subseries on articles and published manuscripts, two folders relate specifically to Link's communications with various individuals in the American medical profession and provide insight into how Link gathered research material on some of his most significant writings.
In this series are publications (mostly journal articles) of interest to Link that were produced by other authors. In a certain sense, they can be categorized as specific and non-specific (although they are not divided into actual subseries).
Roughly forty percent of this series deals with publications whose authors are specifically noted by Link. Perhaps most prominently are those professional publications produced by Link's children (Martha Casey, Perry and Bruce Link; as well as Martha's husband, Charles Casey, a professor of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin at Madison). Other specific writings are from Cyril Bibby, a noted Huxley scholar; Caldwell Esselstyn, a medical doctor known for his emphasis on holistic healing; and John Ise, an economics professor from the University of Kansas, who was "blacklisted" by many professional economic associations for his socialist leanings.
The remainder of the series tends to be unspecific with regard to the authors of the articles saved by Link. The implication is that Link saved these writings, not because he knew or admired their authors, rather, he saved them because their subjects caught his interest. Hence, these articles reflect many of Link's concerns: labor issues, humanitarianism and the medical profession, Marxism and Communism, the U.S. involvement in Nicaragua, propaganda, and trilateralism. In addition, this series is a bit of a catch-all category, containing travel pamphlets that Link collected during his Hull Lectureship in 1975.
This is one of the most voluminous and significant series in the Link Papers. Harry F. Ward (1873-1966) was an ordained minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church; professor of Christian ethics at Union Theological Seminary from 1918-41 (and emeritus after 1941 until his death in 1966); a founder of the Methodist Federation of Social Service in 1907; and chair of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1920-40. Deeply influenced by the Social Gospel of Washington Gladden and Walter Rauschenbusch, Ward, in turn, impressed the credo of social justice upon hundreds of his student ministers at Union Theological Seminary. Link was one of these students. After serving as Ward's graduate student assistant in the early 1930s, Link followed his theological mentor in the direction of extreme social activism. The large series of Ward materials acquired by Link throughout most of his adult life is testimony to the substantial impact that Ward had upon a more youthful Link.
The bulk of this series is concerned with Link's book, Labor-Religion Prophet: The Times and Life of Harry F. Ward (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1984). A book that took many years for Link to write, it is both the chronicle of a little understood, although much admired man, and the tribute of an adoring student for his venerable mentor. Extremely heavy on research materials, the series contains Link's notes, correspondence with Ward, efforts (unsuccessful and successful) to get his book published, and various reviews of the finished work.
Several folders of materials are concerned with the ninetieth birthday celebration organized for Ward by his admirers in New York City in 1963. Included are correspondence, financial accounts, and two reel-to-reel sound tapes that include the reminiscences of Ruth Crawford Francis, Stephen Fitchman, D.N. Pritt, and other colleagues of Ward.
Three works of Ward are preserved in this series in manuscript form: The Need For Free Exercise of Religion (1961); "Does This Nation Want the Bill of Rights or the Police State?" (transcript of a speech given by Ward in 1963); and Marx and Jesus (undated, a work that so thoroughly contrasted Marx with Jesus that Ward was unable to find a publisher for it). Of some interest to researchers might be the copy of the FBI file on Ward obtained by the Methodist Federation of Social Action in the 1970s.
Two folders of Ward materials deal with the family of Harry Ward. In the course of his research, Link became good friends with Ward's wife, Daisy, and three children, Gordon, Lynd, and Muriel. One folder contains this extensive correspondence between Link and the Ward family. The other folder relates specifically to the artwork and woodcarvings of Lynd Ward. A renowned artisan whose subjects often dealt with heroic, labor themes, Lynd Ward gave several woodcarvings to the Link family which were eventually exhibited and donated to the Rockwell Kent Gallery in Plattsburgh in 1986.
[includes letters to Link].
Organized by Harry F. Ward in 1952 at the suggestion of Methodist pastor, Lee Ball (who was largely reacting to the McCarthyism of the times), the RFC had a national membership of lay people and clergy pledged to work to maintain free exercise of religion as granted by the Bill of Rights. The national executive committee of the RFC consisted of thirty-five and an administrative committee of seventeen consisted of Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish members who were both black and white. The steering committee which was the true energizing force of the RFC included Ward, Ball, Richard Morford (long-time director of the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship), and William Howard Melish, an Episcopal priest. The lawyer of the group was Royal France, whose wife, Ruth, was an active admirer of Ward.
The Link Papers contain the Administrative Committee Minutes of the RFC from 1960-64; the original supporters/sponsors list of the RFC, 1950s-early 1960s; various pamphlets of the organization; and the Religious Freedom News, the official organ of the RFC. The RFC was disbanded in 1965 and many of its ongoing concerns were taken up by the Methodist Federation of Social Action.
This series contains two items that, because of size and subject, do not fit easily into any of the other series. The two items are a religious instructional book given to the Link family in 1944 by Clarence V. Hourell and the 1979 plaque awarded to Link by the International Who's Who of Education.