JAFFE, PHILIP J. (PHILIP JACOB), 1895-1980.
Philip J. Jaffe papers, 1936-1980

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322

404-727-6887

rose.library@emory.edu

Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/8zgxc


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Jaffe, Philip J. (Philip Jacob), 1895-1980.
Title: Philip J. Jaffe papers, 1936-1980
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 605
Extent: 70 linear feet (160 boxes), 3 oversized papers boxes(OP), 3 microfilm reels (MF), and 1 oversized bound volume (OBV)
Abstract:Papers of editor Philip J. Jaffe, including personal papers, correspondence manuscripts by Jaffe and others, photographs, documents, clippings, pamphlets, and rare journals.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Source

Purchase, 1980 with subsequent additions.

Citation

[after identification of item(s)], Philip J. Jaffe papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Processing

Processed by Nancy Roth Remington, Virginia J. H. Cain, 1986.


Collection Description

Biographical Note

Philip Jacob Jaffe (March 20, 1897-December 10, 1980) was born in Mogileb, a village near Poltova in the Ukraine, the second son of Morris Jaffe, a Jewish laborer, and Reva Jaffe. In 1906, he immigrated to the United States with his mother and three younger siblings, joining the father who had left Russia in 1904 to seek a new home for his family. Jaffe graduated in 1913 from Townsend Harris Hall, a highly selective three-year high school. After spending a year at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, he was enrolled briefly at City College in New York (1914) and at Columbia College (1915), then worked for three years at a variety of jobs including that of messenger for a classified advertising agency owned by a second cousin. The cousin, Alexander Newmark, an ardent Socialist and one of the founders of the Jewish Daily Forward and Socialist Call, was also the father of Philip's future wife, Agnes (b. September 25, 1898). Jaffe served briefly in the United States Army (1918) and then returned to Columbia University (1918-1922) where he completed his B.A. and M.A. degrees in English. He and Agnes were married 30 March 1918. Jaffe became a naturalized citizen of the United States on May 4, 1923.

To pay for his wife's treatments for tuberculosis, which she had contracted in college, Jaffe gave up his plans to teach in a university for a career in business. In the early 1920's, he became the partner of Wallace Brown, a stationery manufacturer. He later bought out Brown's interests, retaining the original name of the company and branching out into the greeting card business. At its peak of success in the late 1940's or early 1950's, the company grossed an estimated five to six million dollars annually.

Jaffe's interest in the Communist Party and in the Chinese Communists in particular was kindled by Chi Ch'ao-ting, the Chinese husband of Agnes Jaffe's cousin, Harriet Levine. Jaffe considered himself a Socialist during the 1920's, but grew increasingly dissatisfied with the party. In 1932, he attended the first meeting of the American Friends of the Chinese People (AFCP), where, except for Jaffe, all present were also members of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA). In 1933, under the pseudonym of J.W. Phillips, Jaffe became the first editor of the AFCP's newsletter (later a glossy magazine) China Today which published numerous reports on the Chinese Communists. Eager to reach a larger audience, Jaffe, together with Frederick Vanderbilt Field, founded Amerasia magazine in 1937. Jaffe continued to publish Amerasia until 1947. The Amerasia board was composed of many of the leading American scholars of Asia; the subscriber list, while never carrying more than two thousand names, included many government offices both in the United States and abroad. As editor of Amerasia, Jaffe and four others were among the first westerners to visit Mao and other Chinese Communist leaders in Yenan in June 1937.

From 1933, when he became editor of China Today, until 1945, when he was arrested by the FBI, Philip Jaffe enjoyed a reputation as an editor, author, lecturer, and political figure, all the while continuing his full-time occupation as president of a large and successful company. In addition to editing two journals, he was the author of New Frontiers in Asia (1943), served on the boards of numerous organizations, consulted and corresponded with scholars and government officials, spoke on college campuses and in large public forums, and was a prominent figure in left-wing political circles. Although Jaffe was never a member of the Communist Party (CPUSA), his contacts with the CPUSA were close. In his unpublished autobiography (1978), he claimed to have been a Communist in all respects except for actual membership. Many of his closest friends, among them Earl Browder (General Secretary of the CPUSA from 1930 until 1945), were Communists, and a number of groups with which he was associated, such as the China Aid Society, the League on Soviet American Friendship, and the AFCP, if not directly run by the CPUSA, were at least supportive of positions held by the Russian and Chinese Communists.

On June 6, 1945, FBI agents arrested Jaffe at the Amerasia offices in New York and confiscated numerous classified government documents and other items; five others were arrested at the same time. The " Amerasia Six" were charged with conspiracy against the United States, in particular the possession and transfer of classified government documents in wartime. A Washington Grand Jury refused to indict four of the defendants: Mark Gayn, a journalist and one of the Jaffes' closest friends; Kate L Mitchell, co-editor of Amerasia; Andrew Roth, a reserve lieutenant in naval intelligence and former contributor to Amerasia; and John Stewart Service, a career State Department officer who had recently returned from a long tour in China. In the end, only Jaffe and Emmanuel S. Larsen, a Washington-based State Department employee, were indicted. Both pleaded guilty to the charges and received fines, which were paid by Jaffe.

The trial and the publicity overwhelmed Jaffe, as did increasing financial burdens (from 1944 Jaffe was the sole owner and publisher of Amerasia), and in July 1947, Jaffe published the last issue of the magazine. In this issue Jaffe announced his support of Harry Truman for President, precipitating complete ostracism, both political and social, by his former friends and colleagues who remained loyal to the line of the CPUSA which supported Henry Wallace's candidacy. Jaffe's break with the CPUSA came about a year after Earl Browder's expulsion from the Party, and Jaffe remained close to Browder both during and after the former leader's fight to retain his position of leadership. Browder became the center of a group of former CPUSA supporters and members, including the Jaffes, known familiarly as the "Koffee Klatsch." This group, which gathered to discuss political issues, continued to meet on a regular basis until 1973 when Earl Browder died. With the exception of this group, Jaffe was spurned by nearly all of his former friends, a number of whom he had supported financially.

In 1950, the " Amerasia Case" was revived by Senator Joseph McCarthy. Jaffe was cited for contempt of Congress after invoking the Fifth Amendment before the Tydings Committee which had convened the "State Department Loyalty Investigation." Although Jaffe was acquitted of all charges, the experience had a lasting effect. Philip Jaffe lived thirty years after the congressional investigation, but never retained a measure of the stature and public recognition he had lost in the 1950's. During the last decade of his life he published The Rise and Fall of American Communism (1975), based in large part on the papers left to him by Earl Browder, and several short articles. His autobiography, "Odyssey of a Fellow Traveler," which he completed in 1978, was never published. Philip J. Jaffe died on December 10, 1980, in New York City. His wife, Agnes, survived him; they had no children.

Biographical Source: Biographical information on Philip Jaffe was taken from the papers and from interviews with Agnes Jaffe conducted in 1981 by the project archivist for the Jaffe papers. Detailed notes from these interviews are available in the collection control folder.

Philip Jacob Jaffe (March 20, 1897-December 10, 1980) was born in Mogileb, a village near Poltova in the Ukraine, the second son of Morris Jaffe, a Jewish laborer, and Reva Jaffe. In 1906, he immigrated to the United States with his mother and three younger siblings, joining the father who had left Russia in 1904 to seek a new home for his family. Jaffe graduated in 1913 from Townsend Harris Hall, a highly selective three-year high school. After spending a year at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, he was enrolled briefly at City College in New York (1914) and at Columbia College (1915), then worked for three years at a variety of jobs including that of messenger for a classified advertising agency owned by a second cousin. The cousin, Alexander Newmark, an ardent Socialist and one of the founders of the Jewish Daily Forward and Socialist Call, was also the father of Philip's future wife, Agnes (b. September 25, 1898). Jaffe served briefly in the United States Army (1918) and then returned to Columbia University (1918-1922) where he completed his B.A. and M.A. degrees in English. He and Agnes were married 30 March 1918. Jaffe became a naturalized citizen of the United States on May 4, 1923.

To pay for his wife's treatments for tuberculosis, which she had contracted in college, Jaffe gave up his plans to teach in a university for a career in business. In the early 1920's, he became the partner of Wallace Brown, a stationery manufacturer. He later bought out Brown's interests, retaining the original name of the company and branching out into the greeting card business. At its peak of success in the late 1940's or early 1950's, the company grossed an estimated five to six million dollars annually.

Jaffe's interest in the Communist Party and in the Chinese Communists in particular was kindled by Chi Ch'ao-ting, the Chinese husband of Agnes Jaffe's cousin, Harriet Levine. Jaffe considered himself a Socialist during the 1920's, but grew increasingly dissatisfied with the party. In 1932, he attended the first meeting of the American Friends of the Chinese People (AFCP), where, except for Jaffe, all present were also members of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA). In 1933, under the pseudonym of J.W. Phillips, Jaffe became the first editor of the AFCP's newsletter (later a glossy magazine) China Today which published numerous reports on the Chinese Communists. Eager to reach a larger audience, Jaffe, together with Frederick Vanderbilt Field, founded Amerasia magazine in 1937. Jaffe continued to publish Amerasia until 1947. The Amerasia board was composed of many of the leading American scholars of Asia; the subscriber list, while never carrying more than two thousand names, included many government offices both in the United States and abroad. As editor of Amerasia, Jaffe and four others were among the first westerners to visit Mao and other Chinese Communist leaders in Yenan in June 1937.

From 1933, when he became editor of China Today, until 1945, when he was arrested by the FBI, Philip Jaffe enjoyed a reputation as an editor, author, lecturer, and political figure, all the while continuing his full-time occupation as president of a large and successful company. In addition to editing two journals, he was the author of New Frontiers in Asia (1943), served on the boards of numerous organizations, consulted and corresponded with scholars and government officials, spoke on college campuses and in large public forums, and was a prominent figure in left-wing political circles. Although Jaffe was never a member of the Communist Party (CPUSA), his contacts with the CPUSA were close. In his unpublished autobiography (1978), he claimed to have been a Communist in all respects except for actual membership. Many of his closest friends, among them Earl Browder (General Secretary of the CPUSA from 1930 until 1945), were Communists, and a number of groups with which he was associated, such as the China Aid Society, the League on Soviet American Friendship, and the AFCP, if not directly run by the CPUSA, were at least supportive of positions held by the Russian and Chinese Communists.

On June 6, 1945, FBI agents arrested Jaffe at the Amerasia offices in New York and confiscated numerous classified government documents and other items; five others were arrested at the same time. The " Amerasia Six" were charged with conspiracy against the United States, in particular the possession and transfer of classified government documents in wartime. A Washington Grand Jury refused to indict four of the defendants: Mark Gayn, a journalist and one of the Jaffes' closest friends; Kate L Mitchell, co-editor of Amerasia; Andrew Roth, a reserve lieutenant in naval intelligence and former contributor to Amerasia; and John Stewart Service, a career State Department officer who had recently returned from a long tour in China. In the end, only Jaffe and Emmanuel S. Larsen, a Washington-based State Department employee, were indicted. Both pleaded guilty to the charges and received fines, which were paid by Jaffe.

The trial and the publicity overwhelmed Jaffe, as did increasing financial burdens (from 1944 Jaffe was the sole owner and publisher of Amerasia), and in July 1947, Jaffe published the last issue of the magazine. In this issue Jaffe announced his support of Harry Truman for President, precipitating complete ostracism, both political and social, by his former friends and colleagues who remained loyal to the line of the CPUSA which supported Henry Wallace's candidacy. Jaffe's break with the CPUSA came about a year after Earl Browder's expulsion from the Party, and Jaffe remained close to Browder both during and after the former leader's fight to retain his position of leadership. Browder became the center of a group of former CPUSA supporters and members, including the Jaffes, known familiarly as the "Koffee Klatsch." This group, which gathered to discuss political issues, continued to meet on a regular basis until 1973 when Earl Browder died. With the exception of this group, Jaffe was spurned by nearly all of his former friends, a number of whom he had supported financially.

In 1950, the " Amerasia Case" was revived by Senator Joseph McCarthy. Jaffe was cited for contempt of Congress after invoking the Fifth Amendment before the Tydings Committee which had convened the "State Department Loyalty Investigation." Although Jaffe was acquitted of all charges, the experience had a lasting effect. Philip Jaffe lived thirty years after the congressional investigation, but never retained a measure of the stature and public recognition he had lost in the 1950's. During the last decade of his life he published The Rise and Fall of American Communism (1975), based in large part on the papers left to him by Earl Browder, and several short articles. His autobiography, "Odyssey of a Fellow Traveler," which he completed in 1978, was never published. Philip J. Jaffe died on December 10, 1980, in New York City. His wife, Agnes, survived him; they had no children.

Biographical Source: Biographical information on Philip Jaffe was taken from the papers and from interviews with Agnes Jaffe conducted in 1981 by the project archivist for the Jaffe papers. Detailed notes from these interviews are available in the collection control folder.

Scope and Content Note

The Philip J. Jaffe papers include personal papers, correspondence manuscripts by Jaffe and others, photographs, documents, clippings, pamphlets, and rare journals. The papers are arranged in fourteen series, each of which is briefly described below and in greater detail elsewhere in this description. The materials in the Philip J. Jaffe papers came in two major accessions. The first group, including correspondence, clippings, and photographs, was acquired by purchase from Philip Jaffe in May 1980. At that same time, the library purchased from Jaffe a library of approximately 5000 volumes, many of which were identified as appropriate additions for the general book collection of the library. Agnes Jaffe gave the second major accession, including materials related to the earlier group of papers, to the library in June 1981.

The earliest items in the Jaffe papers date from the 1920's and the latest items date from the 1970s. The bulk of the collection dates from the 1930s through the 1950s when Jaffe was a figure of fame and notoriety. Relatively few materials in the collection date from the 1960s and 1970s, and these items are almost exclusively printed items such as clippings and reprints. Series 1, Personal Papers, includes several folders of correspondence dating from 1937-1977; published and unpublished writings; documents relating to Jaffe's indictment for contempt of the United States Senate (1951-1952); and bank statements (late 1960's and 1974-1980). Related materials may be found in Series 14, Collected Material: Mark Gayn correspondence. Information related to this series may also be found in the Note on Provenance and Arrangement and in Appendix I, Description of Materials Discarded After Philip Jaffe's Death (in collection file).

Series 2, Subject Files on Individuals, is the second largest series in the Jaffe papers. All but a few of the twenty-seven individuals represented here were known personally by Jaffe, and most of them were also associated with China at some point in their lives. This series includes correspondence, clippings, manuscripts (many of them written expressly for the journal Amerasia), and notes made by Jaffe and by his research assistant Gary Ulmen. The most extensive files are those on Anna Louise Strong, Ruth Fischer, and Evgeny Varga; files concerning Chi Ch'ao-ting, Hugh Deane, John Stewart Service, Agnes Smedley, and "Manuel Gomez" are interesting as well. The largest single series is Series 3, Jaffe accumulated the materials in this series during his years first as editor of China Today and later as editor of Amerasia. The series contains a very large number of original, typed manuscripts sent to Jaffe for inclusion in Amerasia, clippings, and notes by Jaffe on events and prominent figures. Not all manuscripts included here list an author, and a few give evidence of the heavy editing which was characteristic of the work that Jaffe and his associate Kate Mitchell performed on most articles published in Amerasia. It was not clear from Jaffe's own arrangement of this material which of these manuscripts actually found their way into print in Amerasia and which were never published. Other similar articles are filed by name in Series 2, Subject Files on Individuals. Photographs gathered during this same time period as those materials in Series 3 and located in Series 11.1, Photographs: China, and in Series 11.2, Photographs: Personal and Collected. This series is also complemented by a large number of items in Series 13, Printed Reference and Source Files.

Series 4, Japan, includes material dating primarily from the time period of the United States' occupation of Japan (1945-1952). Perhaps the most interesting and valuable items in this series are letters and reports written to Jaffe by his correspondent in Japan, Hugh Deane. Deane wrote Jaffe on a regular basis from late 1945 to early 1950, and in addition, purchased any documents, reports, and other printed material issued by Japanese political parties and relating to the United States' Supreme Allied Command (SCAP) headquarters. Very few of the documents acquired by Deane have survived to be included in this collection. A number of other letters from Deane to Jaffe, those without attached reports, are filed in Series 2, Subject Files on Individuals. A significant portion of this series is made up of typed translations from the Japanese Press. Nearly all of these translations are from Communist journals and newspapers, and Shuji Fugi did most of this translation work expressly for Jaffe in New York. A small amount of related material may be found in Series 13, Printed Reference and Source Files.

Series 5, Other Asian Countries, covers Korea, India, Malaya, Indonesia, Tibet, Indochina, and the Philippines. Perhaps the most interesting materials include "Korea Reports" written by Hugh Deane (1948) when he was based in Japan. Important related materials include the extensive collection of biographical note cards on prominent Indians prior to independence in 1947; these latter items may be found in Series 12, Proper Name Information File. Related printed items may also be found in Series 13, Printed Reference and Source Files. Jaffe also assembled a great deal of material on the development of Communism, some of which is located in Series 6, USSR and European Communism. Included here are a relatively small number of mimeographed translations from Russian sources as well as a few original translations apparently commissioned by Jaffe. Since neither journal edited by Jaffe directly concerned the Soviet Union, it is likely that the commissioned translations were made because of Jaffe's own personal interest. Clippings and printed items are also located in this series, and a number of pamphlets and journals related pamphlets and journals may be found in Series 13, Printed Reference and Source Files.

Series 7, The Communist Party of the United, is the third largest series in this collection. Within the series itself, the primary focus is upon Earl Browder, General Secretary of the CPUSA (1930-1945) and a close friend of Jaffe's. Many of the items in this series, including the corrected stenograms of CPUSA Politburo, National Board, and other special meetings, were given to Jaffe by Browder (portions available on microfilm). Browder was a prolific writer both before and after his expulsion from the party in 1946, and Jaffe gathered what appears to be a fairly complete set of Browder's post-1946 work, most of which was not published. Browder also gave Jaffe copies of the results of his unsuccessful efforts at writing an autobiography, and he submitted to hours of questioning by Jaffe about his personal history, the development of his political convictions, and his role in the CPUSA. This series contains numerous transcripts of these question and answer sessions. Included as well as are several folders of Browder's correspondence (primarily typed copies of letters to Browder), clippings about Browder, and a complete run of the short-lived "Distributor's Guide" which Browder edited (January - April 1946) after his ouster as General Secretary of the CPUSA. A large number of pamphlets on the CPUSA and writings by Browder may be found in Series 13, Printed Reference and Source Files.

Series 8, Amerasia: The Magazine and the Case, contains a wealth of materials on the journal itself and about the court cases which resulted from the 6 June 1945 FBI break-in at the magazine's offices. The correspondence, which occupies more than half of the series, dates from 1936 (when Frederick V. Field, one of Amerasia's founders, solicited opinions on the need for a journal devoted to analysis of Asian affairs and Asian-American relations) to 1949, after the journal ceased publication. Other materials in the series relate to the Amerasia case in 1945 and its 1950 revival in the McCarthy era. Included here are clippings, radio reports, court documents, general articles, and, perhaps most importantly, pages of notes handwritten by Jaffe and apparently listing all of the documents removed from the Amerasia office and reconstructing his diary of appointments and meetings in 1944 and 1945. Related material may be found in Series 9, The McCarthy Period and the 1950's, and in Series 13, Printed Reference and Source Files.

Series 9, The McCarthy Period and the 1950's, and Series 10, General Politics, Jewish Affairs, and Miscellany, are composed largely of clippings from New York City newspapers. Series 9 contains material on the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR) and on McCarthyism including mimeographed items sent to IPR members and supporters during the early 1950's when the Institute was engaged in an extensive legal battle to retain its tax exempt status.

Series 11, Photographs, Currency, and Stamps, contains items collected by Jaffe as a part of his travels and research. The first subseries, Photographs: China, includes photographs taken by Jaffe, Agnes Smedley, and others, and complements Series 3, China. Subseries 11.2, Photographs: Personal, contains photographs both from the Jaffe family's travels and from their home life. Subseries 11.3, Photographs: Collected, consists of photographs gathered by Jaffe in the course of his professional career. Japanese and Chinese coins and stamps collected by Agnes and Philip Jaffe are located in Subseries 11.4, Currency and Stamps.

Other materials collected by Jaffe make up Series 12, Proper Name Information File, and Series 13, Printed Reference and Source Files. The former series contains biographical and subject notes maintained by Jaffe, while the latter series includes pamphlets, reprints, and other printed materials collected by Jaffe in the course of his work.

The final series in the Jaffe papers, Series 14, Collected Material, contains additions made to the collection which were received separately from the major accessions of Jaffe papers or which differ significantly in provenance from the rest of the collection. Subseries 14.1 contains correspondence from Jaffe's friend Mark Gayn, while Subseries 14.2 and Subseries 14.3 contain photocopied materials primarily about Jaffe and Amerasia released from the files of Federal Bureau of Investigation offices in Washington (Central Office) and in New York City (field office) in response to a Freedom of Information Privacy Act request initiated by this department.

Arrangement Note

Organized into fourteen series: (1) Personal papers, (2) Subject files on individuals, (3) China, (4) Japan, (5) Other Asian countries, (6) USSR and European communism, (7) The Communist Party of the United States, (8) Amerasia: The magazine and the case, (9) McCarthy period and the 1950s, (10) General politics, Jewish affairs, and miscellany, (11) Photographs, currency, and stamps, (12) Proper name information file,(13) Printed reference and sources file, and (14) Collected material.


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