excerpts from a letter by John Sharpe for the PROMETHEUS RESEARCH LIBRARY to the French Spartacist group on the subject of archives (dated 19 July 1987), with enclosed excerpts from an earlier letter from France.

The CERMTRI is a major source of course, and easy to use. Louis Eemans clearly believes in the OCI/PCI's stated purpose of a non-sectarian archives. When the archives were formed in the mid-70's (in the former PB offices of the OCI), they went around to all the old-timers who had quit, etc., soliciting archives, and had quite a bit of success. And of course they had the PCI/Lambert archives as a core. Their bibliographical bulletins are quite valuable. The core of the collection is the 1940's and early 1950's. They also have (or should have) complete sets of WV and the publications of all iSt sections.

In addition, during the period the OCI was flirting with the SWP, they got a major stock of SWP internal bulletins. As I recall, they also have a fair amount of Latin American material.

(2) Then there is the BDIC at Nanterre, which also has the bound volumes of WV. This is based on Pierre Frank's personal archives and those of the Pabloite IS. It has considerably more early material than the OCI does. In particular, it has extensive holdings of the early La Verité (1929-35) which the OCI does not and material around the trade union dispute over the "Opposition Unitaire" in 1930-31.

(3) There is also the Institut francais d'histoire sociale, which holds the Rosmer archives. It is dusty and not very well organized--you have to know what you are looking for--but they have a lot of material.

(4) Finally, there is the Musee sociale. While their holdings of Trotskyist material are not that great, they are listed as a source in Louis Sinclair's bibliography of Trotsky works. It is extremely well organized and a pleasure to work in, as most of the material (in particular full files of L'Humanite and other newspapers) are directly available on the shelves. This is the library that Robrieux did much of his work on his history of the PCF in. I seem to recall, although I am not at positive about this, that the Librarian is (or was) Colette Chambelland, who edited Monatte's papers at the end of his life. In any event, I recall the librarian there as being extremely well-informed.


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Last updated 9 April 1998