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Herndon J. Evans Collection, 1929-1982

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Author

Finding aid prepared by Processed by Archives Staff; machine-readable finding aid created by Beth Eifler

Title

Herndon J. Evans Collection

Date

1929-1982

Repository

University of Kentucky Special Collections

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation Note

[Identification of item], Herndon J. Evans Collection, 1929-1982, 82M1, Special Collections and Digital Programs, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington

Extent

3.5 Cubic feet

Abstract

Herndon J. Evans, editor of the Pineville Sun in Bell County, Kentucky, closely followed labor unrest in the Kentucky coalfields, especially in Harlan and Bell Counties, during the early 1930s. The collection contains handbills, leaflets, pamphlets and newspaper clippings collected by Evans primarily from 1931-1933. Also included are handwritten notes, correspondence, and drafts of articles and editorials written by Evans as well as memorabilia such as Communist Party membership books and organizational charts.

Biography/History

Herndon J. Evans (1895-1976), a resident of Bell County, Kentucky, was editor of the Pineville Sun and local correspondent for the Associated Press (AP) in the early 1930s, a period of labor unrest in the Kentucky coalfields, especially in Harlan and Bell Counties.

Evans closely followed events in the Pineville area, paying attention to the strikes and attempts by the United Mine Workers of America and the Communist Party's National Miners Union to organize the miners. He was particularly concerned with two delegations composed mainly of writers, including Sherwood Anderson, John Dos Passos, Theodore Dreiser, Waldo Frank and Mary Heaton Vorse, who travelled to eastern Kentucky to investigate the conditions of miners and their families and who eventually published their findings in Harlan Miners Speak: Report on Terrorism in the Kentucky Coal Fields (Harcourt, Brace, 1932). Evans was also keenly interested in the various groups of college students who came to support the miners. Opposed to the activities of these delegations, Evans worked to undermine their presence and credibility by using his journalistic skills to write editorials for the Pineville Sun and articles for the AP.

Scope and Content

The collection contains handbills, leaflets, pamphlets and newspaper clippings collected by Evans primarily from 1931-1933. Also included are handwritten notes, correspondence, and drafts of articles and editorials written by Evans as well as memorabilia such as Communist Party membership books and organizational charts.

Subjects

  • Pineville Sun. (Pineville, Ky.)
  • United Mine Workers of America.
  • Bell County (Ky.)--History
  • Harlan County (Ky.)--History
  • Knox County (Ky.)--History.
  • Pineville (Ky.)--History.
  • Dos Passos, John, 1896-1970
  • Dreiser, Theodore, 1871-1945
  • Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967
  • Vorse, Mary Heaton, 1874-1966
  • Coal miners--Kentucky
  • Coal mines and mining--Economic conditions.
  • Communism--Kentucky.
  • Editors--Kentucky.
  • Pamphlets.
  • Strikes and lockouts--Coal mining--Kentucky.

Related Material

, prepared by members of the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners (Harcourt, Brace, 1932).

Collection Inventory

Series I. Biographical Materials
Scope and Contents note:

Contains Family Affairs written by Mary Elizabeth Evans, Herndon's wife, as well as clippings pertaining to Evans himself. See also Box 2, Folder 23.

Miscellaneous materials
[Box: 1, Folder: 1] browse
Series II. Correspondence
Scope and Contents note:

Correspondence to Herndon Evans from supporters and those who disagree with his ideology and position on the labor strife in Harlan and Bell Counties. Also includes carbon copies of correspondence from Herndon Evans.

November 1931
[Box: 1, Folder: 2] browse
December 1931
[Box: 1, Folder: 3] browse
January 1932
[Box: 1, Folder: 4] browse
February 1932
[Box: 1, Folder: 5] browse
March 1-18, 1932
[Box: 1, Folder: 6] browse
March 19-31, 1932
[Box: 1, Folder: 7] browse
April 1932
[Box: 1, Folder: 8] browse
May 1932
[Box: 1, Folder: 9] browse
July 1932
[Box: 1, Folder: 10] browse
undated
[Box: 1, Folder: 11] browse
Miscellaneous [not strike-related]
[Box: 1, Folder: 12] browse
Series III. Handwritten Notes
Handwritten notes
[Box: 2, Folder: 1] browse
Series IV. Handbills and Leaflets about the Strike
Scope and Contents note:

Handbills calling for mass meetings and marches

December 13, 1931-June 12, 1932; undated
[Box: 2, Folder: 2] browse
Series V. Herndon Evans' News Stories
undated
[Box: 2, Folder: 3] browse
Series VI. Editorials and Letters to the Editor
February 1932; undated
[Box: 2, Folder: 4] browse
Series VII. Press Releases
November, 1931-May 1932; undated
[Box: 2, Folder: 5] browse
Series VIII. Publications
Scope and Contents note:

Publications about the strike and related topics such as ideological positions on communism

Subseries A. Books and Pamphlets about the Strikes
Document laid in book Harlan Miners Speak: Report on Terrorism in the Kentucky Coal Fields, 1932).]
[Box: 2, Folder: 6]
Pamphlets about the Strike
[Box: 2, Folder: 7] browse
Subseries B. Periodical Articles
Scope and Contents note:

These articles are primarily related to the strikes in Bell and Harlan Counties. However, a few articles are about communism in general.

"Theodore Dreiser (An American Tragedy)," Time, November 23, 1931.
[Box: 2, Folder: 8] browse
"Why Blood Flows in Harlan," The Literary Digest, December 5, 1931.
[Box: 2, Folder: 9] browse
"Red Blood in Kentucky," Charles Walker, Forum and Century, January 1932.
[Box: 2, Folder: 10] browse
"Starvation and the Reds in Kentucky," Oakley Johnson, The Nation, February 3, 1932.
[Box: 2, Folder: 11] browse
"Marx Inverted," Book Review, The New Republic, February 24, 1932.
[Box: 2, Folder: 12] browse
"Kentucky Newspaperman Denies Distorting Story on Writers," Editor and Publisher, February 27, 1932.
[Box: 2, Folder: 13] browse
"In Pineville," Time, February 29, 1932.
[Box: 2, Folder: 14] browse
"Kentucky Man is Off AP String List," Editor and Publisher, March 5, 1932.
[Box: 2, Folder: 15] browse
"Kentucky Coal Town," Malcolm Cowley, The New Republic, March 2, 1932.
[Box: 2, Folder: 16] browse
"Theodore Dreiser," Edmund Wilson, The New Republic, March 30, 1932.
[Box: 2, Folder: 17] browse
"Who Knows What's Happening in Kentucky?" The Christian Century, A Journal of Religion, March 1932.
[Box: 2, Folder: 18] browse
The Epworth Highroad, March 1932
[Box: 2, Folder: 19] browse
Scope and Contents note:

[It is not clear why Herndon Evans may have saved this magazine.]

"Kentucky Hits Communism : The Truth about the Coal Mine Situation in South Eastern Kentucky and the Dreiser-Frank "Ballyhoo," Herndon Evans, Kentucky Progress Magazine, April 1932.
[Box: 2, Folder: 20] browse
"Kentucky Editors Look at Kentucky: A Series of Letters on Harlan and Bell Counties," The Nation, May 18, 1932.
[Box: 2, Folder: 21] browse
"Communist Forcing Showdown? : Why Reds Stir World Wide Violence," US News and World Report, May 23, 1958.
[Box: 2, Folder: 22] browse
"Herndon J Evans and the Harlan County Coal Strike," Phillip D. Supina, The Filson Club History Quarterly, July 1982.
[Box: 2, Folder: 23] browse
Scope and Contents note:

Contains biographical information about Herndon Evans.

Subseries C. Clippings about the Strikes
Scope and Contents note:

Clippings from newspapers around the country about the strikes in Bell and Harlan Counties

March-December, 1931
[Box: 3, Folder: 1] browse
Scope and Contents note:

Contains articles pertaining to Theodore Dreiser and his committee of U.S senators and private citizens who came to Kentucky to investigate conditions in the Kentucky coalfields

January-February, 1932
[Box: 3, Folder: 2] browse
Scope and Contents note:

Several articles in this folder are related to the abduction and abuse of two journalists, Allen Taub and Waldo Frank

March 1932
[Box: 3, Folder: 3] browse
Scope and Contents note:

Among other strike-related topics, this folder contains articles about the National Student League and their arrival in Bell and Harlan Counties

April 1932 and May 1932
[Box: 3, Folder: 4] browse
Scope and Contents note:

Articles in this folder continue to cover student support of the strike, including the arrival of students from Arkansas' Commonwealth College who were physically assaulted for their involvement

1931 [month and day unknown]
[Box: 4, Folder: 1] browse
1932 [month and day unknown]
[Box: 4, Folder: 2] browse
Subseries D. Clippings Unrelated to the Strikes
1929-1967
[Box: 4, Folder: 3] browse
Scope and Contents note:

Many of these clippings are about communism and constitutional rights in the United States.

Series IX. Herndon Evans' Scrapbook
Scope and Contents note:

Photocopied version for patron use. Original is in fragile condition and is located in Box 6.

Scrapbook pages: November 1931- May 1932, p. 1-68
[Box: 5, Folder: 1] browse
Scrapbook pages: Handwritten notes and speeches, p. 69-77
[Box: 5, Folder: 2] browse
Undated, p. 78-88
[Box: 5, Folder: 3] browse
Series X. Memorabilia
Memorabilia
[Box: 5, Folder: 4] browse
Scope and Contents note:

Includes Communist Party membership booklets, Pineville "transportation cards," membership cards for the "Society for the Protection of Defenseless Children," and patriotic memorabilia.

Also, located in Box 7, are blueprints: Louisville & Nashville Railroad, Cumberland Valley Division chart of total monthly [coal] loadings, January 1927 to date [February 12 1932]; Bolshevist Organization in the United States of America, At Present Time, 1931 [organizational chart].

Series XI. Related Materials
Scope and Contents note:

Materials not pertaining to the strike.

Anti-communist materials
[Box: 5, Folder: 5] browse
Scope and Contents note:

Includes publications on the dangers of communism in public schools and the effects of communist propaganda. Booklets from the Committee on Un-American Activities are also included.

Communist Party booklets and pamphlets
[Box: 5, Folder: 6] browse
Scope and Contents note:

Includes a picture book about unemployment by Phil Bard and published by the Young Communist League, and a pamphlet entitled War against Workers' Russia, by Earl Browder

Miscellaneous Pamphlets
[Box: 5, Folder: 7] browse
Scope and Contents note:

Contains an American Red Cross Handbook and a brochure of Pineville Kentucky

Series XII. Oversize Materials
Herndon Evans Scrapbook
[Box: 6] browse
Blueprints: Louisville & Nashville Railroad, Cumberland Valley Division chart of total monthly [coal] loadings, January 1927 to date [February 12 1932]; Bolshevist Organization in the United States of America, At Present Time, 1931 [organizational chart]
[Box: 7] browse