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American Federation of Teachers: Selma Borchardt Collection [preliminary description] (1911 - 1967)
RepositoryWayne State University, Walter P. Reuther Library (preliminary)
Collection IDAccession Number 357
Size89 linear feet
Collection Description
Selma Borchardt (1895-1968) was born in Washington, DC. She received a BS degree in Education from Syracuse University in 1919, and an AB in 1922. In 1937, she received an MA from Catholic University of America, and later she completed all requirements for a PhD except the dissertation. She also received a law degree from the Washington College of Law in 1933. After teaching and supervising schools in Montgomery County, MD (1919-1921), Borchardt became the Legislative Representative and a Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in 1924. She held these positions until 1935, and again from 1942 until she retired in 1962. She also served as Secretary of the American Federation of Labor's Education Committee (1924-1955) and Secretary of the Education Committee of the Washington Central Labor Union. In 1927 she became a Director of the World Federation of Education Associations (later the Institute of World Studies).

Besides participating in the AFT and the WFEA, Miss Borchardt was a member of the National Youth Administration (1934-1944), and of the U.S. National Committee on UNESCO (1946-1952). She was a member of the U.S. Office of Education Wartime Commission in 1941, and when it was dissolved, she was placed on a smaller committee to supervise the operation of the High School Victory Corps (1941-1943). In 1934 she was admitted to the Washington, DC bar and in 1944 to the U.S. Supreme Court bar.
Collection Contents
The collection is arranged in 4 series: Course Work and Articles; World Federation of Education Associations; Institute of World Studies; and American Federation of Teachers (AFT). A Newark-related file is found in the AFT series, in Subseries 4H, Factionalism and Communism:

Box 130, Folder 20: Investigation of Communism in Newark Local (1955) contains a transcript of a meeting between two representatives of the Newark Teachers Union, president Joseph Bruder and a Mr. Bernstein, and representatives of the AFT, discussing allegations of Communist Party membership made against members of the Newark AFT Local. Bruder objects strongly to efforts to impose loyalty oaths and to investigations of teachers' private political opinions and affiliations. The union is inclined to support disciplinary measures in such cases.
FormatTextual materials
SubjectsEducation; Labor History
Time Period20th Century
Access policyOpen for research
Finding AidYes
Finding Aid URL