Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

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The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), originally Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, was founded in Chicago in 1913 to fight antisemitism and other forms of bigotry and discrimination. In 2009, ADL became independent of B’nai B’rith and changed its name to Anti-Defamation League. Its activities include investigation and documentation of antisemitism, extremism, and other forms of hate in the United States; and litigation, education, and policy advocacy regarding the subjects of antisemitism, extremism, hate, the Holocaust, and civil rights. ADL is a strong supporter of Israel. ADL’s headquarters are in New York City, with regional offices across the country and in Israel.

In 1913, Leo Frank, Jewish manager of the National Pencil Company in Atlanta, as well as president of the local B’nai B’rith lodge, was wrongly convicted of having murdered a 13-year-old girl. Frank was then lynched in 1915 by an angry mob shortly after the judge commuted his death sentence. In the year of Frank’s trial with its related incidents of antisemitism and injustice, Sigmund Livingston, a Chicago lawyer, proposed creating the Anti-Defamation League under the auspices of B’nai B’rith. ADL was founded with a dual mission “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.”

ADL’s early activities were concerned mainly with countering antisemitic expressions and stereotypes on the stage, in film, and in print media. Beginning in the 1930s, ADL documented and fought to counteract discrimination against Jews by hotels and resorts, and later, general discrimination by social clubs. During World War II, ADL established organizations to embark on public education campaigns to fight prejudice, antisemitism, and bigotry. The organizations included the Institute for American Democracy, which promoted democratic principles and cooperation between all races, religions, and classes; one of its well-known posters showed Superman telling a group of students that talking against anyone because of their religion, race, or national origin is un-American; the Institute for Democratic Education, which fought prejudice and discrimination via radio programs such as “The American Dream”; Appreciate America, which produced posters and cartoons that endorsed diversity, racial equality, and patriotism; and Dolls for Democracy (a joint program with B’nai B’rith Women), which consisted of women who volunteered to teach children about the meaning of democracy through storytelling presentations with handmade dolls.

After World War II, ADL partnered with Bess Myerson, who was crowned the first Jewish Miss America in 1945. When Myerson encountered antisemitism on her tour of the country, ADL arranged an alternate speaking tour for her, with the theme, “You can’t be beautiful and hate.” Many of Myerson’s speaking engagements were at high schools and colleges, where she reached out to young people, promoting values of tolerance and empathy for people from all religious, ethnic, and racial backgrounds.

ADL sought to protect the separation of church and state and the rights of religious minorities in education, filing an amicus brief in the 1948 Supreme Court case McCollum v. Board of Education that argued for the unconstitutionality of “released time” for religious instruction in public school classrooms. It fought against quotas for Jewish students in college and university admissions.

ADL campaigned for civil rights in the United States, joining with other civil rights groups to call for an end to discrimination in housing, employment, and education. In 1949, it published “How to Stop Violence! Intimidation! In Your Community,” which described anti-mask legislation designed to combat activities of the Ku Klux Klan. ADL filed a joint amicus brief in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, stating that “segregation deprives millions of persons of rights that are freely enjoyed by others and adversely affects the entire democratic structure of our society.”

In 1960 ADL commissioned sociologists at the University of California, Berkeley, to conduct surveys measuring antisemitic sentiment in the United States. The project resulted in the publication of a series of rigorous and detailed examinations of American antisemitism. ADL strongly supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. ADL leaders, including National Director Benjamin R. Epstein, participated in the Selma to Montgomery Marches.

In the 1970s ADL began developing Holocaust education, which expanded to include the Hidden Child Foundation (Holocaust survivors), the Bearing Witness program (to train Catholic school educators), and later, Echoes and Reflections (to support educators in teaching about the Holocaust). In the 1980s ADL launched anti-bias training programs for educational and workplace settings through its A World of Difference Institute and its No Place for Hate program. It began publishing the Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, an annual survey of antisemitic threats, harassment, and violence in the United States.

ADL joined with other groups to lobby for the Hate Crime Statistics Act, passed in 1990, which required states to collect data on crimes committed because of the victim's race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.

In the 21st century, ADL founded the Center on Extremism to focus on monitoring, exposing, and disrupting extremist threats, and the Center for Technology and Society to recommend policy and product interventions to mitigate online hate and harassment.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Task Force to Define Cultural Pluralism to Develop and Test Strategies for its Effective Teaching. 1974-1976. Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies Library
creatorOf The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith Lodge 171 (Denver, Colo.) records, 1947-1977 Ira M. Beck Memorial Archives, Special Collections and Archives, Penrose Library, University of Denver, 2150 E. Evans Ave., Denver, CO 80208-2007
referencedIn Leonard Schroeter papers, 1940-1997 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
creatorOf Medal presented by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith to Harvard University for Distinguished Contributions to the Enrichment of America’s Democratic Legacy, 1960 Harvard University Archives.
contributorOf Neidich-Rudowitz family papers, 1890-1996. College of Charleston, Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library
contributorOf Blumenthal family. Collection 1910-2004, 1945-2001 / Blumenthal family. University of North Carolina, Charlotte, J. Murrey Atkins Library
referencedIn Oseran, Melville, 1918-. Oral history interview with Melville Oseran, June 6, 1993. University of Washington Libraries
contributorOf Southern Regional Council administrative records, 1944-1968. Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library
contributorOf Robert E. Sherwood papers, 1917-1968 (inclusive), 1934-1955 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Community Relations Committee, Columbus, Ohio. Records 1953-1976. Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historical Society
referencedIn Oral history interview with Benjamin Asia, June 5, 1991. University of Washington Libraries
contributorOf Max Einstandig collection, 1929-2005. Indiana Historical Society Library
contributorOf B'nai B'rith. Abraham Lodge No. 58 (Indianapolis, Ind.). Records, 1923-1944. Indiana Historical Society Library
contributorOf Pendley, Trent D. Trent D. Pendley collection, ca. 1996-2003. Indiana Historical Society Library
creatorOf Cincinnati Enquirer antisemitism case correspondence, 1918. The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
creatorOf B'nai B'rith. Anti-defamation League. Wisconsin Regional Advisory Board. B'nai B'rith Anti-defamation League Wisconsin Regional Advisory Board photos and lists of officers, 1946-1965. Milwaukee Jewish Historical Society
contributorOf Additional papers of Mary Steichen Calderone, (inclusive), (bulk), 1914-1989, 1960-1989 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
contributorOf J. R. Parten Papers 90-208; 90-285; 97-044; 98-290; 98-325; 2009-317; 2011-106., 1890-1899, 1913-1992, 2009 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
contributorOf Redfield, Robert, 1897-1958. Papers, 1917-1958 (inclusive). University of Chicago Library
contributorOf Minnesota War History Committee. Collected research materials, [1940s]. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
contributorOf J. B. Matthews Papers, 1862-1986 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
creatorOf Anti-Defamation League of San Diego Collection, 1946-1998. San Diego State University Library, SDSU Library and Information Access
contributorOf Rebecca Wolins correspondence and scrapbook, 1952-1985. Judah L. Magnes Memorial Museum, Rabbi Morris Goldstein Library
referencedIn Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston MacIver Report Records Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society
creatorOf Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota. Council records, 1922-1974 (bulk 1945-1970). Minnesota Historical Society Library
contributorOf Thelma McDaniel Collection, 1935-1989. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
referencedIn Cohn, Merle D.,. Oral history interview with Merle D. Cohn, March 1, 1986. University of Washington Libraries
contributorOf Max M. Kampelman Papers, 1922-2010 Minnesota Historical Society
contributorOf New York State War Council. Committee on Discrimination in Employment. Minutes and investigations files, 1941-1945. New York State Archives
referencedIn Ash, Harry,. Oral history interview with Harry Ash, Aug. 4, 1983. University of Washington Libraries
creatorOf Anti-Semitism collection, [ca. 1930]-1961. Yeshiva University
contributorOf Philip Lax, papers, undated, 1915, 1917, 1944-2003, 2005-2008 (bulk 1970s-1980s) American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn Anti-Semitism Collection., 1954-1964 The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
contributorOf Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles' Community Relations Committee collection 1933-1980. California State University, Northridge
contributorOf Milwaukee Jewish Council for Community Relations. Milwaukee Jewish Council records, 1963-1967. Milwaukee Jewish Historical Society
creatorOf Anti-Defamation League John Birch Society Collection, undated, 1928-1980 (bulk 1958-1975) American Jewish Historical Society
creatorOf B'nai B'rith. Anti-defamation League. Virginia-North Carolina Office. Form letter to Virginia newspapers and leaders, 1957 March 11. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Oney, Steve, 1954-. Steve Oney papers, 1896-2009. Georgia Historical Society
creatorOf Jewish outreach papers, 1970-1999 (bulk 1978-1998) University of Michigan
contributorOf Anticommunist movement collection, 1951-1965. University of West Florida, John C. Pace Library
contributorOf Tenenbaum, Joseph. Dr. Joseph and Sheila Tenenbaum collection papers. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
referencedIn Student Activities Bureau papers, 1911-1977, (bulk 1943-1970) University of Minnesota Libraries. University Archives [uarc]
referencedIn Schary, Dore. Papers, 1920-1980. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
contributorOf National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council Records, undated, 1940-1994 American Jewish Historical Society
creatorOf John Birch Society records, 1966. The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
contributorOf Guy Benton Johnson Papers, 1830-1882, 1901-1987 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
contributorOf Paul A. Freund papers Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
creatorOf B'nai B'rith. Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Regional Office. Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, Mountain States Regional Office records, 1947-1977. University of Denver, University Libraries, Anderson Academic Commons
contributorOf Glen A. Chandler collection 1937-1971 Hoover Institution Archives
creatorOf Appel, John J., 1921-. B'nai B'rith, Anti-defamation League slide collection, 1973. Worcester Historical Museum
contributorOf Atlanta Urban League. Executive Director Grace Towns Hamilton administrative files, 1942-1961, 1967. Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library
referencedIn Rose Pesotta. Audio-visual materials. Cornell University Library
contributorOf Wole Soyinka papers, 1966-1996. Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
contributorOf Label A. Katz Papers, 1910s-1969, bulk 1953-1965 American Jewish Historical Society
contributorOf Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, 1968 -1983 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
contributorOf B'nai B'rith, District Grand Lodge No. 4 records, 1864-1999 (bulk 1980-1999) Judah L. Magnes Memorial Museum, Rabbi Morris Goldstein Library
contributorOf Botnick, A. I. and East, P. D. Papers. 1958-1967 and n.d. Tulane University, Amistad Research Center
contributorOf Anti-defamation League. Correspondence with Chaim Potok, 1982-1996. University of Pennsylvania: Rare Book & Manuscript Library: Manuscripts
contributorOf David Philipson Papers, 1883-1949. The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
contributorOf Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston Records Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society
contributorOf B'nai B'rith. North Shores Lodge. Myron Shelley San Diego Hebrew Home for the Aged Collection, 1947-1995. San Diego State University Library, SDSU Library and Information Access
referencedIn Indianapolis B'nai B'rith Lodge No. 58 Records, 1923-1944. Indiana Historical Society Library
contributorOf Ann Landers papers, 1947-2002. Chicago History Museum
contributorOf Historical Society of Pennsylvania collection of World War II papers 1920-1981 1938-1948. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
contributorOf Botnick (A.I. and Fay) civil rights collection, ca. 1819-1993. University of Southern Mississippi, Regional Campus, Joseph Anderson Cook Library
contributorOf Andreĭ Sakharov papers, 1852-2002 (inclusive), 1960-1990 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Elaine Leeder Collection of Rose Pesotta Papers, 1912-1961. Cornell University Library
contributorOf Jewish Labor Committee Philadelphia Metropolitan Area. Records, 1957-1985. Temple University Libraries, Paley Library
contributorOf National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing, Inc. records. 1945-1974 Tulane University, Amistad Research Center
contributorOf Vladimir Klodnycky Papers, 1917-1973 University of Minnesota Libraries. Immigration History Research Center [ihrc]
contributorOf Jewish Archival Survey, 1912-1991. Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Heinz History Center Detre Library and Archives
creatorOf Michigan State University. Library. American Radicalism Collection. Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith : file of clippings and miscellanea. Michigan State University Libraries, Main Library
contributorOf Arthur Brin and family papers, 1891-1988. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
creatorOf Gutstadt, Richard E. [Letter] 1933 Dec. 13 Chicago, Ill. [to] the publishers of Anglo-Jewish periodicals / Richard E. Gutstadt. Abilene Christian University, Brown Library, Brown Library
contributorOf Charles Abrams papers, 1923-1970. Cornell University Library
creatorOf B'nai B'rith. Anti-Defamation League. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, 1959-1965. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
contributorOf Morris S. Lazaron papers, 1851-1979 (bulk 1930-1950) The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
creatorOf Mayer Newfield Papers, 1950-1973, bulk 1959-1973. Birmingham Jefferson Public Library, JCLC
contributorOf Harry Lashkowitz papers, 1910-1963. North Dakota State University Library
contributorOf Elmo Roper Papers., 1909-1972 Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.
referencedIn Oral history interview with Albert M. Franco, Jan. 30, 1982. University of Washington Libraries
contributorOf Mark M. Litchman papers, 1901-1965 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
contributorOf Collection regarding anti-semitism, 1949-1955. University of Virginia. Library
contributorOf Harold C. Fleming papers, 1950-1993 (bulk 1961-1987). Library of Congress
contributorOf Smith, Milton. Smith, Milton and Helen papers, 1878-2002 1950s-1970s. Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
contributorOf Edgar F. Magnin Papers, 1909-1984 The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
referencedIn Oral history interview with Arthur Siegal, Apr. 17, 1987. University of Washington Libraries
creatorOf B'nai B'rith. Anti-defamation League. Orange County. Orange County Regional Office. Orange County Holocaust Oral History Project interviews, 1992-1994. University of California, Irvine. Library. Department of Special Collections
contributorOf Hichborn, Franklin, 1869-1963. Correspondence of Franklin Hichborn, 1925-1955. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Shapiro, Irving S., 1916-2001. Irving S. Shapiro papers, 1964-1981 Hagley Museum & Library
contributorOf Cohen, Joseph, 1902-1974. Joseph Cohen papers, 1902-2006. The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
contributorOf National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Philadelphia Branch Records, 1943-2016, bulk 1943-1991 Temple University Libraries Special Collections Research Center
contributorOf Christine White collection, 1983-1987 Hoover Institution Archives
creatorOf Seymour H. Kaplan papers 1957-1972 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
contributorOf Jewish Chronicle, The, Soviet Jewry Collection, undated, 1963-1983, 1990 American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn Black Hills passion play collection, 1940-1961. The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
creatorOf B'nai B'rith. Anti-defamation League. Ohio-Kentucky Regional Office. Records 1940-1974. Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historical Society
contributorOf Sam Gejdenson Papers, undated, 1911-2001 Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.
creatorOf Katz, Nathan M., 1889-1950. Nathan M. Katz papers 1922-1951 bulk 1934-1947. Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Heinz History Center Detre Library and Archives
referencedIn Oral history interview with Albert M. Franco, July 13, 1978. University of Washington Libraries
referencedIn Oral history interview with Albert and Harriet Ullman, 1998. College of Charleston, Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library
referencedIn Oral history interview with Charles Kaplan, Nov. 7 and Nov. 11, 1982. University of Washington Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Abrams, Charles, 1902-1970. person
associatedWith Anderson, Marian, 1897-1993 person
associatedWith Anticommunist Movement family
associatedWith Anti-Defamation League of San Diego corporateBody
associatedWith Ash, Harry, person
associatedWith Asia, Benjamin, 1915- person
associatedWith Atlanta Urban League. corporateBody
associatedWith Belin, David W. person
associatedWith Blumenthal family. person
associatedWith B'nai B'rith. Abraham Lodge No. 58 (Indianapolis, Ind.) corporateBody
associatedWith B'nai B'rith, Columbus, Ohio. corporateBody
associatedWith B'nai B'rith. District Grand Lodge No. 4. corporateBody
associatedWith B'nai B'rith. Indianapolis Lodge No. 58. corporateBody
associatedWith Boston Jewish Community Relations Council person
associatedWith Botnick, A. I. person
associatedWith Botnick, A. I. and East, P. D. person
associatedWith Brin, Arthur, 1880-1947. person
associatedWith Calderone, Mary Steichen, 1904-1998 person
associatedWith Chandler, Glen A., collector. person
associatedWith Charles Abrams 1902-1970. person
associatedWith Cohen, Joseph, 1902-1974. person
associatedWith Cohn, Merle D., person
associatedWith Cohn, Merle D., person
associatedWith Community Relations Committee, Columbus, Ohio. corporateBody
associatedWith Counselbaum, Stella. person
associatedWith Davis, Helen Gordon. person
associatedWith Einstandig, Max person
associatedWith Ethnic Heritage Studies Program (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Fleming, Harold C. person
associatedWith Franco, Albert M., person
associatedWith Frank, Anne, 1929-1945 person
associatedWith Frank, Leo, 1884-1915 person
associatedWith Gejdenson, Sam. person
associatedWith Gutstadt, Richard E. person
associatedWith Harvard University. corporateBody
associatedWith Hichborn, Franklin, 1869-1963. person
associatedWith Hoffman, Linda Neidich. person
associatedWith Jewish Archival Survey (Pittsburgh, Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Community Relations Council Boston-MacIver Report corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota. corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles. Community Relations Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Labor Committee Philadelphia Metropolitan Area. corporateBody
investigatorOf John Birch Society corporateBody
associatedWith Johnson, Guy Benton, 1901-1991 person
associatedWith Kampelman, Max M., 1920- person
associatedWith Kaplan, Charles, person
associatedWith Kaplan, Seymour H person
associatedWith Katz, Label A. person
associatedWith Katz, Nathan M., 1889-1950. person
associatedWith Klodnycky, Valdimir 1891-1973 person
associatedWith Krause, P. Allen, 1939- person
associatedWith Krooth, Richard. person
associatedWith Landers, Ann. person
associatedWith Lashkowitz, Harry, 1889-1963. person
associatedWith Lax, Philip, 1920-2012 person
correspondedWith Lazaron, Morris Samuel person
associatedWith Litchman, Mark M., 1887-1960. person
correspondedWith Magnin, Edgar Fogel person
associatedWith Matthews, J. B. (Joseph Brown), 1894-1966 person
associatedWith McDaniel, Thelma. person
associatedWith Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund corporateBody
associatedWith Milwaukee Jewish Council for Community Relations. corporateBody
associatedWith Minnesota War History Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Philadelphia Branch (Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing. corporateBody
associatedWith National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council corporateBody
associatedWith Newfield, Mayer. person
associatedWith Newfield, Mayer Ullman, 1905- person
associatedWith New York State War Council. Committee on Discrimination in Employment. corporateBody
investigatedBy Oney, Steve, 1954- person
associatedWith Oseran, Melville, 1918- person
associatedWith Parten, J. R. (Jubal Richard) person
associatedWith Paul A. Freund person
associatedWith Pendley, Trent D. person
associatedWith Pesotta, Rose, 1896-1965. person
associatedWith Philipson, David, 1862-1949. person
associatedWith Potok, Chaim. person
associatedWith Redfield, Robert, 1897-1958. person
associatedWith Roper, Elmo, 1900-1971 person
associatedWith Sakharov, Andreĭ, 1921-1989 person
associatedWith San Diego Hebrew Home for the Aged corporateBody
associatedWith Schary, Dore. person
associatedWith Schroeter, Leonard person
associatedWith Shapiro, Irving S. person
correspondedWith Sherwood, Robert E. (Robert Emmet), 1896-1955 person
associatedWith Siegal, Arthur, person
associatedWith Smith, Milton. person
associatedWith Smith, Milton and Helen person
associatedWith Southern Regional Council. corporateBody
correspondedWith Soyinka, Wole. person
associatedWith Tenenbaum, Joseph. person
associatedWith University of Minnesota. Student Activities Bureau corporateBody
associatedWith White, Christine, collector. person
associatedWith Wolins, Rebecca. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Kentucky
Dallas TX US
Jerusalem 06 IL
Los Angeles CA US
Ventura County CA US
Nevada NV US
St. Louis MO US
Germany
Cleveland OH US
Europe
New York City NY US
District of Columbia DC US
San Diego CA US
Arizona AZ US
Connecticut CT US
Soviet Union
Boston MA US
Texas TX US
Seattle WA US
Detroit MI US
Florida FL US
Atlanta GA US
Colorado--Denver
Houston TX US
New Orleans LA US
San Luis Obispo County CA US
Santa Barbara County CA US
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island NY US
San Francisco CA US
Philadelphia PA US
Denver CO US
Omaha NE US
Chicago IL US
Ohio
Orange County CA US
Denver (Colo.)
Subject
Antisemitism
Civil rights
Discrimination
Extremists
Hate crimes
Hate groups
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
Immigrants
Intergroup relations
Jews
Judaism
Prejudices
Racism
Right-wing extremists
White supremacy movements
Occupation
Activity
Advocacy
Education
Authors and publishers
Community organization
Litigation
Research

Corporate Body

Establishment 1913

Active 1959

Active 1965

International

English,

English,

Hebrew,

Spanish; Castilian

Information

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SNAC ID: 87577328