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Robert Allen Simon Papers

Identifier: P-518

Scope and Content Note

The Robert Allen Simon Papers consists of personal papers and records from educational institutions and professional activities, as well as personal memorabilia, photographs, and material documenting his civil disobedience case. It includes school and university certificates, applications, notebooks, textbooks, yearbooks, and scholarly writings. There are also scrapbooks, photographs, personal and professional correspondence, and newspaper articles written by Robert Simon. The material related to the burning of his draft card in 1967 as a protest against the Vietnam War contains court records and decisions, personal notes, statements addressed to the court and related correspondence, and newspaper clippings. Most of the materials are original documents, books, photographs, newspaper clippings, and artifacts, although there are a few photocopies – mostly of the original newspaper articles.


  • Creation: 1947-1983


Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.

Use Restrictions

No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at

For reference questions, please email:

Biographical Note

Robert Allen Simon was born January 16, 1942 and died in a car accident on August 29th, 1969. He was a journalist, author and student activist. Starting in his teenage years Simon developed an interest in humanities. At the age of 16 he attended an Early Admission Advanced Placement Summer Program for the most talented high school students at Stetson University in Deland, Florida, and in Fall 1958 began studying at Stetson College. He withdrew from Stetson University for personal reasons in January 1959 and then resumed his education in 1959 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, where he studied English literature between 1959 and 1964. During his studies, he wrote for the student magazine Tempo and the newspaper The Miami Hurricane as a Film, Drama and Literature Critic and Reporter, both published at the University of Miami. Simon also published in Miami News as a reporter and served as the co-editor and secretary of Liberal Light. In February 1962 he became a member of the University of Miami chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, a professional journalistic society. In the years 1966-1968 Simon completed a bachelor's program at the New School for Social Research in NY. In the fall of 1968, he entered a graduate philosophy PhD program in History at Rutgers University. He was admitted to a graduate program for 1968-1969 at the Sir George Williams University Montreal in Quebec (merged with Loyola College to create Concordia University in 1974). After he was indicted for burning his draft card, his fellowship to attend Williams University Montreal was cancelled.

Simon's burning of his draft card took place on November 8th, 1967 during a demonstration in front of the Federal Courthouse in Foley Square, New York City. About 100 people gathered with placards condemning the Vietnam War and to protest a grand jury questioning of others who had burned their draft cards in April of 1967. Robert Simon was one of four young men who burned their draft cards to demonstrate their opposition to the Vietnam War. He burnt his draft classification card despite the fact that he was himself classified as 4F (not qualified for service in the Armed Forces). In the months that followed the protest, Simon visited colleges and universities to give speeches explaining his act of civil disobedience. He argued that the traditional means of protest had been exhausted and that there was an urgent need to address his statement in an illegal form of protest. Simon was indicted by the US District Court in the Southern District of New York, found guilty, and sentenced to one year imprisonment, which was suspended for two years, during which time he was to be on probation. The Court’s decision was issued on the 28th of May 1969 and Simon did not appeal the sentence. On August 29, 1969, he died in a car accident. The Robert A. Simon Memorial Scholarship Fund was established posthumously at Miami-Dade Junior College to support deserving students in acquiring a college education and was awarded in 1969 and 1970.


5.7 Linear Feet (7 Manuscript Boxes and 1 Oversized Box)

Language of Materials



The collection consists of personal papers, records from educational institutions and articles written by Robert Simon. Also included are items related to Simon’s burning of his draft card to protest the Vietnam War, including court records, personal notes and correspondence. The collection reflects the role in modern American society of a young Jew involved in liberal causes and the literary world.

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Other Finding Aid

The pdf of the original Box List can be found here.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by Robert Simon’s mother, Mary Simon, in 1981.

Related Material

This collection is part of the AJHS Counter Culture Collection.

Processing Information

The collection was processed for the first time in the late 1980s and re-processed in 2014 by Aleksandra Kubica. Processing made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation and the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe.

Guide to the Robert Allen Simon Papers, 1947-1983
Processed by Aleksandra Kubica
© 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English
Processing made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation and the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe.

Revision Statements

  • September 2020: RJohnstone: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States