Scope and Content
Title: Dorothy Healey Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1930-1978
Collection number: 1245
Creator: Healey, Dorothy
Extent: 4 boxes (2 linear ft.)
Abstract: Dorothy Healey (b.1914) was a member of the Young Communist League (1928-), and the Communist Party (1932-1973). She was appointed
a deputy labor commissioner by Governor Culbert Olson (1940), and served as the Chairman of the Los Angeles Communist Party
(1945). In 1952, she was arrested under the Smith Act. She appeared on college campuses in support of the antiwar movement
in the 1960s, and in 1969, and openly opposed the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia (1969), effectively removing herself from
the Party. Following her formal resignation in 1973, she became active in the New American Movement and the Democratic Socialists
of America. The collection consists of photocopies of U.S. government documents obtained by Dorothy Healey under the Freedom
of Information and Privacy Acts, and correspondence with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and government agencies regarding release
of her files. Also contains materials released by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC), the Department of Defense, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
University of California, Los Angeles. Library.
Department of Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department
of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
Healey was born Dorothy Rosenblum in 1914 in Denver, Colorado; her mother was a founding member of the Communist Party of
the United States; her parents moved to California in 1921, and Dorothy grew up in Oakland; joined Young Communist League
in 1928, and was arrested during the May Day unemployment demonstrations there in 1930; left high school in 1931 to work in
a cannery in San Jose; joined the Communist Party when she turned 18; became organizer of migrant farm workers, and in 1940
was appointed a deputy labor commissioner by Governor Culbert Olson; in 1945 she became the Chairman of the Los Angeles Communist
Party; arrested under the Smith Act and jailed in 1952; appeared on college campuses in support of the antiwar movement in
the 1960s; in 1969 she openly opposed the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, effectively removing herself from the Party;
following her formal resignation in 1973, she became active in the New American Movement and the Democratic Socialists of
America; Marxist commentator on KPFK radio (Santa Monica) for 20 years; wrote (with Maurice Isserman)
Dorothy Healey remembers: a life in the American Communist Party (1990).
Dorothy Healey was born in Colorado in 1914. Her family moved to California in 1291. At the age of 14, she joined the Young
Communist League and was arrested in 1930 during May Day unemployment demonstrations in Oakland. In 1931, she left high school
to work in a cannery in San jose. She joined the Communist Party at 18, the earliest she could do so constitutionally. During
the years she organized cannery and migratory workers, hundreds of Communists were among those beaten, jailed, killed. For
more than 20 years, she served as chairman of the Southern California party, and she was, as Jessica Mitford has written,
“a name to conjure within California when the party was at its zenith.” Her life spans the era of House Un-American Activities
Committee hearings and the McCarthy witch hunts. Dorothy Healey resigned from the party in 1969 because of its pro-Soviet
stand over Czechoslovakia. She remains a dedicated Marxist.
Scope and Content
Collection consists of photocopies of U.S. government documents obtained by communist leader Dorothy Healey under the Freedom
of Information and Privacy Acts. Includes correspondence with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, with government agencies regarding release
of her files, and with others. Also contains materials released by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC), the Department of Defense, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). These include surveillance requests
and reports, phone tapping requests, a file designed for prosecution of communist functionaries under the Smith Act, and information
about Angela Davis and the Angela Davis defense fund.
Expanded Scope and Content
The Dorothy Healey papers were purchased by the library of the California State University, Long Beach. These UCLA papers
consist of photocopies of materials obtained by her under the Freedom of Information and Privacy acts. The correspondence
with government agencies reveals her difficultires even at this stage, under the law. A brief perusal of the documents gives
evidence to the fact of years of surveillance of her activities, when sometimes her statements to that effect may have been
dismissed as a sense of persecution. As if in response to accusations such as George Putnam's - “Come, come now, Dorthy--perhaps
under Communism--perhaps under the Nazis--but it just doesn't happen in the United States of America” - Ms. Healey has given
this material to the Library. There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.
Dorothy Healey has been interviewed by the UCLA Oral History Program.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Communists--United States--Archival resources.
Tradition's chains have bound us [oral history transcript] / Dorothy Healey, interviewee. UCLA Oral History Department interview, c.1982. Available at Department
of Special Collections, UCLA.