The New York University Division of Libraries recently received a two-year $262,662 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for its Tamiment Library to process and preserve the archives of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. This collection, assembled by a group of Spanish Civil War scholars in cooperation with the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, is the most important archive in the United States documenting American participation in the Spanish Civil War. The project will arrange, describe, and conserve more than 300 linear feet of historical material: 100 reels of microfilm, 5,000 photographs, 475 audio cassettes, 89 reel-to-reel tapes, 150 hours of film and video-tape, 120 posters, 6 paintings, and oversized documents, and artifacts (buttons, badges, medals, uniforms, banners, and flags).
The 2,800 men and women who formed the Abraham Lincoln Brigade went to Spain in 1937 and 1938 to fight fascism after General Francisco Franco and his supporters began a revolt against the country’s elected Popular Front Republican government. As Franco gathered support from Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, more than 40,000 volunteers from 50 international brigades joined in the struggle. At the time many viewed this struggle as the first battle in the war to defend democracy against fascism. The international brigades fought in Spain for 20 months, until Franco’s forces triumphed and the stage was set for World War II. The archives of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade document the experiences of these veterans both on the battlefield and after they returned home.
According to Michael Nash, head of the Tamiment Library, scholars from around the world with an interest in the Spanish Civil War and the struggle against fascism that culminated in World War II have been excited about the archive and will be delighted about the collection’s availability once it is processed.
For information about this project, please contact Dr. Michael Nash, Tamiment Library, New York University, 70 Washington Square South, New York, N.Y. 10012; 212-998-2428; or MN46@nyu.edu.
The Tamiment Library at NYU is an internationally known center for scholarly research on the history and culture of American activism and labor. Tamiment’s many collections document the history of the anarchist, communist, labor, radical, feminist and socialist movements in the U.S. from the Civil War to the present. In addition to housing over 25,000 books, 6,000 periodical titles, 300 manuscript collections, and 3,500 hours of audio tape, the Library has more than one million pamphlets, leaflets, clippings and related collections of posters, graphics, videos and artifacts.