In 1998 New York University's Tamiment Library established the Frederic Ewen Academic Freedom Archive to document the struggle to defend academic and intellectual freedom in the academy and public schools. The Tamiment Library has a long association with the struggle for academic freedom. It traces its origins to the Rand School for Social Science, a pioneering workers education program established by the American Socialist Society in 1906. Faculty members hired by the Rand School during its first decade of operation included Scott Nearing, who had been fired by the University of Pennsylvania, and Bertrand Russell, who had been dismissed by Brooklyn College; both because of their political beliefs. These cases represent two of the most notorious violations of academic freedom in the World War I era. During the post-war Red Scare more than 75 police officers and state troopers under the auspices of the infamous Lusk Committee of the New York State legislature raided the Rand School, seized books and historical records and temporarily closed the library.

In the years between 1920 and 1955, the Rand School Library became one of the United States’ most important repositories documenting the history of radical politics and labor. However, in 1956 at the height of the McCarthy period, the Rand School lost its tax exempt status and was forced to close. Seven years later, the library was absorbed by NYU’s Division of Libraries as a special collection.

In 1998, with the acquisition of the Frederic Ewen Papers, the Tamiment Library launched a national collecting project to identify, acquire, and preserve historical collections documenting the struggle to defend academic freedom. At the time, the expectation was that these research collections would become the foundation of a national center for the study of academic freedom. This plan was realized in 2006 when the Frederic Ewen Academic Freedom Center was established.

Frederic Ewen Academic Freedom Center Collections now include:

Irving Adler Papers

American Association of University Professors, Academic Freedom Committee

Burno Aaron papers

Mordecai Bauman Papers

Lee Baxandall Papers

Harold Cammer Papers

Frederic Ewen Graphics

Frederic Ewen Oral History Collection

Frederic Ewen Papers

Frederic Ewen Photographs

Henry Foner Papers

Philip Foner Papers

Charles James Hendley Papers

Israel Kugler Papers

New York Bureau of Legal Advice

National Lawyers Guild Records

Progressive Librarians’ Council Records

Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, & Krinsky Legal Files

Victor Rabinowitz Papers

Wilhelm Reich Collection

Morris Schappes Papers

Students Organizing Students Records

United Automobile Workers, Local 2110 (NYU Graduate Students)

Sam Wallach Papers

Yale Graduate Student Union Records