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American Civil Liberties Union of Florida Records

Identifier: Ms 002

Scope and Content

The records contain the official records and correspondence of the organization, topical files on subjects of interest, and complaints from citizens about alleged civil rights violations. The formal actions of the group are carried out through executive boards, boards of directors, various committees, a legal director and an executive director. Many of these records are found in the appropriate board meeting files, although some are in the Administrative Papers and Legal Director's files.

The ACLU receives many requests for legal assistance. In most cases, it is unable to assist, or can give very limited assistance through enclosing a publication, or giving a referral. Examples are found in several case files, also referred to as complaint, or intake files.

Most of the Chapter files were received from the state affiliate and represent interactions between the state and the locality. The files from the Gainesville chapter are an exception, having been received direct from the Chapter. Technically a separate record group, they have been included as part of the ACLU of Florida records, but have been kept distinct and separate from state records.


  • 1955-1996



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

The American Civil Liberties Union of Greater Miami was formally recognized by the American Civil Liberties Union as an affiliate on June 6, 1955. The group was formed largely as a response to the anti-Communist scare of the nineteen fifties. Following the formation of chapters in Gainesville and Tampa, the group's named was changed in 1959 to the Florida Civil Liberties Union. In 1965, the name was changed again to the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, and the Miami affiliate was recognized as a chapter within the state wide organization. (Cf. Florence Morgenroth, "Organization and Activities of the American Civil Liberties Union in Miami, 1955-66," (M.A. thesis; University of Miami, 1966).

The ACLU of Florida formally consists of two organizations, one being the ACLU Florida affiliate, and the other a fund raising group, the ACLU of Florida Foundation. Chapters have been formed in principal Florida cities.


26.36 Linear feet (53 Boxes)

Language of Materials



Correspondence and miscellaneous materials relating to personal liberty, civil rights, crime and criminals, desegregation of schools, and women.


These records are received periodically from the ACLU of Florida. Newly received records are often annexed to existing records rather than being interfiled. As a result, records of the same type are found throughout the collection.

Physical Location

Please note that part of this collection is housed in the Auxiliary Library Facility off campus and will require advance notice for timely retrieval. Please contact the Special and Area Studies Collections department prior to your visit.

Acquisition Information

Records donated by the ACLU of Florida. Most of the Chapter files were received from the state organization. The files from the Gainesville chapter are an exception, having been received direct from the Chapter.

Processing Information

This finding aid was revised in August 2022. Recognizing that historical terms do not always completely or directly map to contemporary terms, that historical terms can be offensive or inaccurately describe a person or group, and that the presence of both historical and contemporary terms may be useful for researcher discovery, the archivist has attempted to employ historical terms as they originally appear in the context of the collection, in the description, along with contemporary terms in brackets.

A Guide to the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida Records
Finding aid prepared by Dept. Staff
March 2005 (Updated August 2019)
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America