Associated Archives: The David and Emily Alman Collection

Scope and Content

David Alman

The David and Emily Alman collection includes manuscripts, correspondence, printed material, memorabilia, legal material, financial material, photographs, audio, and video.

Book-length manuscripts by David Alman include American Fountain (his first novel, 1935-1936); Naomi (unfinished, 1940); The Whip and the Wall (novel, 1942); Don't Cry, Little One (not related to the novel written jointly by David and Emily Alman; 1943-1944); The Hourglass (Simon and Schuster, 1947); galleys for The Well of Compassion (Simon and Schuster, 1948); an untitled novel (1940s); Jacob Nadir (1950); an untitled novel (1951); The Risk (1955); Countrymen (1957); Molly (unfinished novel, 1958); People of the Tree (1961); The Hidden Brother (1964); Generations (Regnery, 1971; originally titled Boyo); A Counting; So We Begin; The Nth International; The Pairs; and Heroic Measures. Plays by David Alman include "The Held" (unpublished short play, 1965); "Martin" (unfinished); and "Mutzi in Eden" (1969). Other manuscripts by David Alman include poetry, short stories, speeches, and other miscellany.

Manuscripts in Emily Alman in the collection include "The Nature of Crime" (school project for Hunter College); "Lonnie's Hope" (play, 1944); "Westerns" (Master's thesis, 1959); Return to the Valley (1960); and The World of the Poor (3 volumes).

Manuscripts written jointly by David and Emily Alman include T & T: Trends and Tides (newspaper, 1947-1948); Mad Rock (1959); Don't Cry, Little One (novel, 1962); and The 91st Day (screenplay, under joint pseudonym "Emily David").

Manuscripts by other individuals present in the collection include "Julius and Ethel," a play by Leon Kruczkowski (originally in Polish; translated into Yiddish by Ida Kaminska) and numerous essays, speeches, and articles regarding the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg Case.

Much of the correspondence in the collection concerns the Rosenberg Case, including a group of letters consoling Michael and Robert Rosenberg on the death of their parents. Also included is a carbon-copy of a letter from Ethel Rosenberg to her lawyer Emmanuel H. Bloch, written while she was in prison and describing her experiences there, dated June 8, 1953; and copies of a handwritten letter from Michael Rosenberg to U. S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, asking for clemency for his parents. Other notable correspondents include Felix Frankfurter, Harold Urey, Barry Goldwater, and Lowell Weicker.

Professional correspondence in the collection includes letters from Fiorello LaGuardia, Howard Fast, and Patrick O'Neal. Also included are two indictments for David and Emily Alman to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, 1955. Personal correspondence includes several letters to and from various family members.

All correspondence dates from the 1930s to the 2000s.

Emily Alman

Printed material in the collection includes numerous pamphlets, newspaper clippings, flyers, and other items concerning the Rosenberg Case and the Committee to Secure Justice for Rosenberg and Sobell. Other printed items include numerous reviews for David Alman's The Well of Compassion, The World of Strangers, and Generations, as well as copies of the Seward Folio, the literary magazine from David Alman's high school (some issues include short stories by David Alman) and yearbooks from David Alman's high school (1939) and Emily Alman's yearbook from Hunter College (1946).

Of particular interest are the transcripts of hearings before the House Committee of Un-American Activities, August 2-5, 1955; David Alman was directly involved in the proceeding.

Personal memorabilia in the collection includes David Alman's high school diploma (1936); a ticket given to Emily Alman for loitering during a Peace Crusade (1942); Emily Alman's BFA Degree from Hunter College (1946); Emily Alman's MFA Degree from the New School for Social Research (1959); a menu from Stokesay Castle (1963); and other miscellaneous items.

Legal material in the collection includes a copy of David Alman's birth certificate; David and Emily Alman's marriage certificate; David Alman's passport (1949); contracts for World Full of Strangers, Ride the Long Night, and The Peddler (1970); and other items.

Financial material in the collection includes items regarding the Almans' bank accounts, insurance, mortgage, and royalties.

Photographs in the collection includes images of the Rosenbergs' funeral, as well as Helen Sobell, Emily Alman, Prof. Ephraim Cross, and Michael and Robert Rosenberg; in addition to photographs of the Almans themselves.

Audio material in the collection includes a long-playing record album of Abel Meeropol's "We Are Innocent," a musical setting of letters by the Rosenbergs, recorded by the Metropolitan Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. Also included are five untitled Dictaphone tapes and eight audio cassettes of interviews with Aaron Katz (head of the National Committee to Reopen the Rosenberg Case; see below, last paragraph) as well as some Rosenberg-themed music.

The collection also includes two VHS-format video cassettes: an interview with Joel Barr by Ted Koppel from 1992, and the television show "Chronicle," with Aaron Katz appearing. In addition, the collection includes a scrapbook containing correspondence, manuscripts, prints, and sheet music (ca. 1970s-1990s); and two CD-ROMs, one for "An American Spectacular" and another regarding the Rosenberg Case.

Much of the material in the collection is grouped around to specific subjects.

One such group relates to the Martinsville Seven, seven African-American men executed in Martinsville, Virginia, Feb. 5, 1951. This material includes material regarding a vigil held in front of the White House, as well as telegrams sent to U. S. President Harry Truman and an essay, "The Vigil Goes On," probably written by David Alman.

Another group of material concerns the American Peace Crusade of 1951. This material includes various pamphlets, notes by David Alman, and a letter from the Rev. John N. Hollis.

Also grouped together is material related to Emily Alman's 1972 campaign for Mayor of East Brunswick, New Jersey; these items include newspaper clippings, press releases, photographs, bumper stickers, transparencies, buttons, financial statements, notes, and printed material.

Some Rosenberg Case material has already been mentioned above (correspondence, printed material, photographs, audio). Additional material includes a full transcript of the Rosenbergs' trial in the U.S. Supreme Court (1952), as well as volumes 3 and 4 of the stenographer's minutes; an unsigned testimonial scroll to Dr. Harold C. Urey; and "A Request to the Judiciary Committees of the U. S. Senate and the House of Representatives to Investigate the Conduct of the U. S. Attorney General's Office in the Rosenberg and Sobell Case" (1955).

Material regarding the Alman family is also grouped together. This includes material regarding Emily Alman, her mother Cecilia Greenstone Arnow, and her daughters Michelle Alman Harrison and Jennifer Alman. These items are mostly personal memorabilia, as well as some correspondence (including several letters from Cecilia Greenstone Arnow) and printed items.

The Alman collection includes a large portion of material devoted to the National Committee to Reopen the Rosenberg Case. This material includes: correspondence files, dating from April 1975 to the 2000s; manuscripts for programs, plays, essays, articles, and other miscellany, by various authors (most copies); periodicals, journals, magazines, newsletters, pamphlets, reviews; subject files; financial material; legal material; two video cassettes (VHS format); five Dictaphone tapes and seven audio cassette tapes; buttons and other paraphernalia.

Please note that the Committee to Secure Justice for Morton Sobell Collection may also be of interest, as it relates to the Rosenberg Case. For more information, see the entry for that collection.


Authors and activists David (1919- ) and Emily (1922-2004) Alman were neighbors of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in the lower Manhattan housing complex Knickerbocker Village. In 1953, the Rosenbergs were executed for conspiracy to commit espionage of having passed classified nuclear weapons designs to agents of the Soviet Union. The Almans were strongly opposed to the death sentence handed down in the verdict, and initial personal interest in the Rosenberg case turned into a decades-long investigation into the Rosenberg-Sobell trial.

Emily Alman graduated from Hunter College and received her doctorate in Sociology. In addition to working as a probation officer, she was the first chair of the sociology department at Douglass College, Rutgers University. After retiring from academia, she went on to practice law for 25 years. David Alman was a parole officer, businessman, social activist and novelist. In 1951, along with William A. Rueben, the Almans co-founded the National Committee to Secure Justice in the Rosenberg Case. The Committee worked to organize public support for a new trial, which they felt would lead to the exoneration of the Rosenbergs. The Almans met with the Rosenbergs' lawyer Emmanuel Bloch, hoping to find out if the allegations of misconduct in Rueben's articles were true, and to find out if there was anything they could do to help the Rosenbergs' two young sons, Michael and Robert. In 1955 the Almans appeared before the House Committee on Un-American Activities to testify about their work. The Almans' mostly recent book on the case, Exoneration (Green Elms Press, 2010)  the result of years of research features newly documented evidence of government misconduct during the trial.

In addition to their work on the Rosenberg case, the Almans were prominent activists for the causes of peace and civil rights for the poor and disenfranchised. Also, David Alman has published several novels, including American Fountain (1936); The Whip and the Wall (1942); The Hourglass (1947); and The Wall of Compassion (Simon and Schuster, 1948). Emily Alman has also published a novel, titled Ride the Long Night (Macmillan).

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