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John Mihelic Collection

Identifier: MS 015

Scope and Content Note

The bulk of this collection consists of political booklets and periodicals published by individuals and organizations active in labor movements across the country, and reflect communist and socialist viewpoints on many topics. Many of the booklets discuss trials, unlawful searches and seizures, raids, and arrests without due process of law. The booklets are arranged alphabetically and span the years 1908-1927.

The correspondence files contain very little information pertaining to Mihelic's direct involvement with the Socialist Party. Several letters indicate he corresponded directly to William Haywood, the Secretary-Treasurer of the General Defense Committee, and traveled to union meetings in order to raise funds for the Defense Committee.

Also included in the correspondence file are 17 pages (carbon copies) of labor history in poem and lyric form some of which were set to well known music. In 1915, Ralph Chaplin, a poet and writer and organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World, wrote Solidarity Forever to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic. These lyrics and song later became the anthem of the American labor movement.

Of particular interest is a letter of introduction for Mihelic signed by William Z. (Zig Zag) Foster, a U. S. labor leader and a member of the American Socialist Party. Foster was a union organizer, leader of the 1919 U. S. Steel strike, and founding member and leader of the American Communist Party. He was also the presidential candidate for the Communist Party in 1924, 1928, and 1932, and chairman of the American Communist Party after World War II (box 1, folder 2).


  • 1908-1927 , (Bulk 1918-1924)
  • Majority of material found within 1918 - 1924


Access Restrictions

Open for research without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the:
Ruth A. Haas Library
Archives and Special Collections
181 White Street
Danbury, CT 06810
Phone: 203-837-8992

Historical/Biographical Note

John Mihelic was born on February 2, 1898 in Kansas City, MO to John and Matilda Mihelic. Milhelic finished High School in Kansas City and then spent time "riding the rails." In his travels in the late 20s, he met a Russian-born woman Thelma Fogel who had moved with her family to St. Louis in 1921. The two lived together for 10 years and married in 1941. In addition to running a book store near the University of Chicago from 1940-1970, Mihelic also found work as a business machine repair man. Mihelic died on April 21, 1980.

Between 1919 and 1926, he was an active member of the Socialist Party. He was also involved with the Communist Party of America.

The "2nd National Convention" of the Communist Party of America was held at Bridgman, MI, August 17-22, 1922. It was prematurely terminated for fear of police action. On Aug. 22, a police raid did occur and 17 members of the CPA were arrested including Mihelic. Members of the CPA who were arrested at the Bridgman convention include: Phillip Aronberg, Alex Bail, Eugene Bechtold, Earl R. Browder, William F. Dunne, Charles Erickson, William Z. Foster, Alex Georgian, Caleb Harrison, Charles Krumbein, Cyril Lambkin, Max Lerner, Elmer McMillin, John Mihelic, Seth Nordlind, Thomas J. O'Flaherty, William Reynolds, C.E. Ruthenberg, A. Severino, T.R. Sullivan, Norman H. Tallentire, and Joseph Zack [Kornfeder].


  • The Communist Party of America (1919-1946) []


3.5 Linear Feet (, 2 boxes and 1 OS folder)

Language of Materials



John Mihelic was from Kansas City, Missouri and was a member of the Socialist Party. He was also involved with the Communist Party of America. The collection includes some correspondence and leftist/socialist publications from the early 20th century.


Folders are arranged alphabetically.

The files are grouped into 2 series.


Harriette Tax (niece of Thelma Fogel), Professor Emeritus of the School of Professional Studies, donated the Mihelic collection to the Archives and Special Collections Department of the Ruth Haas Library.

Guide to the John Mihelic Collection
Unverified Full Draft
Mary Rieke
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from John Mihelic Collection.doc

Repository Details

Part of the Western Connecticut State University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Haas Library
181 White St
Danbury 06810 USA US
203.837.8322 (Fax)