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Morris S. Novik papers

 Collection 0084-LBR-RG95-001

Morris S. Novik was a career as a radio and television consultant for the AFL, AFL-CIO, various unions, and other organizations. The collection focuses on the radio and television outreach in AFL and AFL-CIO campaigns as well as other union involvement in the radio and television industry. Materials consist mostly of scripts, correspondence, transcripts, reports, press releases, speeches, clippings, photographs and posters.


  • 1940-1989

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


6.375 Linear Feet (5 Paige boxes, 12 folders of photographs, and 2 oversize posters.)

Scope and Content of the Collection

The Morris S. Novik Papers document Novik's career as radio and television consultant for the AFL, AFL-CIO, various unions (ILGWU, International Association of Machnists, and International Longshoremen's Association), and other organizations (Entertainment Unions Committee, George Meany Foundation, and various radio stations and political campaigns). Dates span from 1940 to 1989 but mostly represent the period 1947-1967. The papers consist mostly of correspondence and radio and television scripts but also include transcripts, reports, press releases, speeches and statements, clippings, photographs, and posters. Major topics include the AFL's and AFL-CIO's campaigns (Taft-Hartley, political, Right-to-Work, civil rights), union involvement in the radio and television industry, George Meany, Edward Morgan's programs, and television programs produced through the George Meany Foundation.

Significant correspondents include George Meany, news commentator Edward Morgan, Joseph Keenen, senator and FCC commissioner Warren B. Magnuson, and news correspondent Harry Flannery. Also represented in the correspondence are the Entertainment Unions Committee, the George Meany Foundation, and various unions and AFL/AFL-CIO departments. There is also a large number of postcards and letters that reveal public reaction to the AFL's anti-Taft-Hartley radio programs.

Biographical / Historical

At the age of thirteen, Morris S. Novik, who was born on November 15, 1903, emigrated with his family from northwestern Russia to the United States. With only an elementary school education, Novik worked in public affairs for various socialist and labor organizations. By the time he was in his early twenties, Novik was the entertainment director of Unity House, a vacation resort owned by the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU). In 1938, New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia appointed Novik director of WNYC, a municipal radio station; he held this post until 1945. Much of Novik's career was also devoted to the role of broadcasting consultant to labor organizations such as the ILGWU, the AFL, and the AFL-CIO. In 1947, Novik made broadcasting arrangements and facilitated coordination between the AFL and the Entertainment Unions Committee, a coalition of radio writers, directors, actors, and musicians, during their campaign against the Taft-Hartley Bill. He also acted as a liaison between labor unions and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) when the issue of union involvement in television broadcasting arose.

Novik's participation in politics included his position as secretary to the New York County Committee of the American Labor Party in the 1930s and as consultant to the Democratic National Committee in the 1950s and to the New York Citizens Committee for Kennedy and Johnson in 1960.

Novik married Manya Davidson in 1931. He died on November 10, 1996, in New York.

Organization of the Collection

The collection is arranged into three series according to physical format. The last two series have been separated from the papers for preservation purposes. Series 1, Subject Files, comprises the bulk of the materials. Series 2, Photographs, includes images of anti-Taft-Hartley radio broadcasts (some of which have been removed from a scrapbook), promotional protraits of Edward Morgan, and various individuals. The photographs have been placed in the Photographic Prints Collection; however, their files retain the original folder title and have been arranged alphabetically. Series 3, Oversized, consists of two labor related posters that have been placed in the Oversized Collection.

Series 1
Subject Files
Series 2
Series 3
Oversized Material

Custodial History

Morris Novik donated his papers to the George Meany Memorial Archives (GMMA) in 1991. The George Meany Memorial Archives transferred these records as part of a major transfer of their archive and library holdings to the University of Maryland Libraries in 2013.

Related Materials

University of Maryland

Morris S. Novik papers are available in our Mass Media & Culture collections.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Edward P. Morgan papers papers

Processing Information

Margaret Alessi and M. Lee Sayrs at the George Meany Memorial Archives initially processed these records in 1997. The University of Maryland Libraries received the records and the finding aid in 2013. In 2017, Bria Parker exported and cleaned the finding aid contents from the Eloquent Systems database using OpenRefine, and finally transformed the finding aids into Encoded Archival Description (EAD) using a series of programmatic scripts. The finding aid was ingested into ArchivesSpace in 2018, at which point Rebecca Thayer updated the descriptive content for accuracy. Revisions include changes to biographical/historical notes, scope and content notes, and the creation of new collection numbers. Rebecca Thayer also enhanced custodial histories and re-wrote collection titles to better conform to archival standards.

Guide to the Morris S. Novik papers
Margaret Alessi and M. Lee Sayrs processed this collection at the George Meany Memorial Archive.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742