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Baldwin, Calvin Benham



  • Existence: 1902-1975


Calvin Benham "Beanie" Baldwin was born on August 19, 1902, in Radford, Virginia. He attended the Virginia Polytechnical Institute from 1920 to 1923. For the next five years he worked for the Norfolk and Western Railroad. In 1929, Baldwin became the manager and owner of the Electric Sales and Service Company in East Radford, Virginia.   With the advent of the New Deal, Baldwin became the assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace. He first worked with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) and then for the Resettlement Administration. In 1937, the Resettlement Administration changed its name to the Farm Security Administration (FSA). In 1940, Baldwin took over the administration of the FSA. This controversial program distributed low interest loans to small farmers and encouraged cooperatives. Critics charged both the FSA and Baldwin with trying to communize American agriculture.   A supporter of the New Deal's most radical programs, C.B. Baldwin favored national health insurance, guaranteed jobs for the poor, and expanded federal housing. As attacks mounted by conservative factions became more and more frequent, he left government service in 1943 to work with the Congress of Industrial Organizations' Political Action Committee (CIO-PAC). In that capacity, he worked to secure the labor vote for Roosevelt. In 1945, CIO-PAC founded the National Citizens Political Action Committee (NCPAC). It was a liberal lobby whose membership included Communists. Baldwin became its executive vice-chairman and its driving force. Increasingly critical of Truman, Baldwin's NCPAC and other liberal organizations united to form the Progressive Citizens of America (PCA). Under Baldwin's political leadership, the PCA mounted a third party presidential challenge with nominee Henry A. Wallace, under the Progressive Party banner. At Wallace's request, Baldwin resigned his position as director of the PCA in January 1948, and became the campaign manager. Although they lost the 1948 election, Baldwin credited the campaign with moving Truman politically to the left. Baldwin remained the national secretary of the Progressive Party until its dissolution in 1955.   C.B. Baldwin died of cancer in 1975.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

C.B. Baldwin Papers

Identifier: MsC0343

Government official and Progressive Party officer. Correspondence, subject files, speeches, clippings, tape recordings, photographs, and scrapbooks.

Dates: 1933-1975