Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archive Collection Lists, Guides, and Inventories
The Abraham Lincoln Archives Collection is an ongoing project begun by the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB) in the late 1970s. These Spanish Civil War veterans recognized the importance of preserving the history of the role of North American volunteers. They formed the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives organization (ALBA) and began to collect letters, writings, oral histories, photographs, posters, artifacts, and ephemera that would preserve this history and contextualize it within the ongoing struggle for radical social change. The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives Collection was initially deposited with Brandeis University. In December, 2000 it was relocated to New York University's Tamiment Library.
The core of the archive is the roughly 300 individual collections documenting the life stories of Lincoln Brigade and Medical Bureau volunteers. Soldiers, nurses, and doctors are represented in these collections which contain documentation on approximately 10% of the U.S. volunteers who fought in Spain. There are also more than 10,000 photographs, 200 full color posters, postcards, oral history interviews, biographical materials, radio scripts, and artifacts (buttons, badges, uniforms, and a rifle).
The Tamiment Library continues to build the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, and is always interested in hearing from families and friends of volunteers, as well as researchers and collectors who may have relevant material to contribute to the archives.
The following research tools are available to assist with access to the ALBA collections in the Tamiment Library. Follow the links to electronic finding aids, where available.
An alphabetically arranged Collections List of the archival, audio, video, photograph, printed ephemera (called vertical files here), and non-print ALBA collections with links to electronic finding aids or brief collection descriptions.
Consult this selected bibliography to find books useful for research on the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.
The Tamiment Library holds tens of thousands of pamphlets in its collections. Three individual pamphlet collections within those holdings relate to the Spanish Civil War and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. See the library's Pamphlets Research Guide to learn about these materials.
ALBA Vertical Files
The ALBA Vertical Files are a rich source for background information on the people, events and topics related to the ALBA collections in the Tamiment Library and include coverage of the International Brigades as well. The files contain a variety of documents such as newspaper clippings, flyers, brochures, biographical material, anniversary and exhibit programs, obituaries, and other items. The materials are divided into two separate collections:
A selection of ca. 35 Spanish posters from Tamiment's collections which were produced by different (and sometimes opposing) leftist political parties, labor unions, and other organizations that supported the Spanish Republican government during Spain's Civil War from 1936 to 1938, have been digitized and are on display via ARTstor (available to NYU-affiliated researchers only). Selected posters and other images are also featured in online exhibits via the Tamiment website. Some, but not all, of these digitized images may be reproduced.
At the end of the Spanish Civil War the administrative records of the International Brigades were taken to Moscow so that they would not be seized by Franco. They are deposited in the Russian State Archive for Social and Political History where they form part of the Comintern Archive. Sections of the IB records relating to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade were microfilmed for ALBA and the microfilm is now part of the collection at NYU. These administrative records of the International Unit and Brigades of the Spanish Republican Army include: selected files of the Military Commission, Communist Party organizations (Spanish and international), official military bulletins, records relating to: command and headquarters, mail service and censorship, transport, supplies, training, and prisoners. These records document the way the Abraham Lincoln Brigade was organized and functioned, its relationships with other international brigades, its political organizations, and relations with Spain's Republican government.
See the International Brigades Archive (Moscow): Collection Guide, a translation of the original Russian-language guide, which describes the International Brigades Records comprising Fond 545 of the Comintern Archives in Moscow, for additional information.
The U.S. personnel files are included on the microfilm. Many of these include detailed questionnaires filled out by individual volunteers, and some contain photographs. Files may also include employment records, reports on illnesses and injuries, IB documents and communications, and copies of correspondence with family, friends, and fellow volunteers.
See the U.S. Personnel Files Names Index, an alphabetical list of the American Personnel Files in Fond 545, Opis 6 (Files 855-1019) of the Comintern Archives in Moscow, which is available in three binders at the Reference Desk in the Tamiment Library.
A comprehensive list of the U.S. Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War.
A history of the The Volunteer, a journal published first by the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB) and now by the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives organization, and many issues published between 1938 and the present are available from the ALBA site.
Following are a few useful websites related to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and the Spanish Civil War.
The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (organization)
Brandeis University Library - Spanish Civil War Collections
Digital Collections from U.C. San Diego Libraries
The International Brigade Memorial Trust (Great Britain)
Posters: Spanish Civil War Posters at the Library of Congress
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