Hoover Institution

Hoover Institution on war, revolution and peace (Standford University, Oakland, CA)

(notes by Dale Reed on the "Holdings on US socialism and communism at the Hoover Institution on war, revolution and peace".) Some of the informations in this article are related to the Trotskyist movement in US.
These are some of the informations:

Archival Holdings The American trotskyist movement is the subject of several valuable collections, including
— Herbert Solow Papers. Solow (1903-1964), was an active sympathizer of the Communist League of America and its successor the SWP in the 1930s. Solows journalistic writing and correspondence document the Trotskyst-led Minneapolis Teamsters strike and the American committe for the Defense of Trotsky.
— The small Ithiel de Sola Pool colletion consists primarily of mimeographes internal documents of the American Trotskyist movement, mostly dealing with the dispute over the nature of the Sivet union and its role in World War II that rent the SWP from 1938 until 1940.
— The Alfred M. Lewenthal papers provide further material on Trotskyism. He appears to have shifted his political sympathies from the SWP to the Workers Party and finally to socialdemocracy. The collection includes printed and mimeographed Trotskyist literature from the 1930s and 1940s, and later correspondence, memoranda and reports documenting he response of trade union official to communism in and out the union.
— The Geoffrey White Papers constitue another valuable source. White passed through the CP and Independent Socialist League before entering SWP in the late 1950s. He adhered the Robertson faction, which then formed the Spartacist. Correspondence, minutes, resolutions and reports document these events. Half the collection is taken up by a near complete file of SWP internal discussion bulletin running from 1939 to 1965.
—Some veterans of Independent Socialist League set up Independent Socialist Clubs in the mid-1960s, and, after some success in recruiting, consolidated as the International Socialists. A run of issuance of the International Socialists from 1967 to 1976, includes internal discussion bulletins, minutes of the National Action Committee (1969-73), resolutions, reports, bulletins of black and womens caucuses,and branch and factinal material.

Hoover Institution on Library Holdings on the American Trotskyist movement are particularly rich, wrote Dale Reed in Labor History. Holdings include: Militant/New Militant/Socialist Appeal/Militant (1928- ); New International/Fourth International/International Socialist Review (1934-75); World Outlook/Intercontinental Press (1967-86); Perspectiva Mundial (1977- ) The first Tortskyist youth group, the Spartacus Youth League, issued Young Spartacus (1931-35). At the time of the Trotskyist exodus from the Socialist Party, the latters youth group, the Young Peoples Socialist League, split into two rival organizations, one remaining loyal to SP, the other following Trotskys banner, and both laying claim to the YPSL title. The Trotskyist YPSL issued Challenge of Youth (1937-1940), Young Socialist Review (1937-1940), and Socialist Youth (1937-1939). The most recent incarnation of the SWPs youth group is the Young Socialist Alliance, which issued Young Socialist (1957-70, 1976- ) and Young Socialist Organizer (1971-72). Related material in the Library includes: News Bulletin of the American Committee for the Defense of Leon Trotsky (1937); 40 internal bulletins of the adult or youth parties (1933-35, 1938-41); and about 50 pamphlets (1933-50). Albert Weisbord, expelled from the CP in 1929, subsequently formed the Communist League of Struggle, which adopted a quasy-trotskyist position and issued Class Struggle (1931-37). B.J. Field split from the Communist League of America in 1934 to organize the League for a Revolutionary Workers Party, which issued Labor Front (1934-39) and New International Bulletin (1935-37). The Revolutionary Workers League, led by Hugo Oehler, resulted from a split from the Workers Party in 1935 and issued Fighting Worker (1935-47, 1950), Fourth International/Marxist/International News (1937-46, 1948-50), and a dozen of pamphlets. George Marlen split in turn from the RWL in 1936 to form the Leninist League, subsequently the Workers League for a Revolutionary Party, which issued In Defence of Bolshevism/Bulletin/Political Correspondence (1938-50).
Holdings on Shachtman group include: Labor Action (1940-58); New International (1940-58); Challenge of Youth (1940-41) and Young Socialist Review (1940-41), both organs of the Young Peoples Socialist League, of which it gained control; 50 internal bulletins of the adult or youth parties (1941-44, 1946-51, 1957-58); and twenty-five pamphlets.
Three groups originating in postwar splits from the SWP are documented to varying degrees.
The Workers World Party. Holdings include Workers World (1967-68), and Partisan(1965-69), organ of the partys youth group, Youth against War and Fascism). On the Spartacist League holdings include: Spartacist (1964-71); Workers Vanguard (1971- );Women in Revolution (1971- ); Young Spartacus (1970- , organ of the leagues yourh group, the Spartacus Youth League). On the Workers League there is the Bulletin of International Socialism/Bulletin (1966- ) In addition, the smaller Trotskyist Organization, not a direct split from the SWP, issues Truth (1980- ). (FF: On this group I can add that it was the section of the Fourth International (reconstructed), the Varga-Ramos international organization . TO was established in Detroit and then, around 1987, adhered as a tendency to Socialist Action. ). Other holdings not included by th Author in Trotskyist camp are: News and Letter (1966, 1977- ), International Socialist/Workers Power (1967-68); Changes (1979- ).


(Notes from Wes Ervin)
The Socialist Workers Party has donated its vast archives to the Hoover Archive at Stanford University (Palo Alto, California). There are HUNDREDS OF BOXES, containing a mind-boggling gold mine of letters, leaflets, internal documents, newspapers, telegrams, etc from Trotskyist groups all over the world, going back to the early 1930s. The collection is divided between The SWP Papers and the Library of Social History collection. There are also the personal collections of Joseph Hansen, Arne Swabeck, Charles Curtis, Milton Genecin, and Albert Glotzer.

Never before have I found, concentrated in one place, such a treasure trove of materials related to my own area of research (Trotskyism in India and Ceylon) - and Ive been looking for over 20 years. And from what Ive seen there, theres material on just about every Trotskyist group which ever existed.

These archives are still being organized and catalogued, so there is no comprehensive index yet. But there are preliminary registers which tell you, for example, whats in a given box. The collection is organized by section (country) and chronologically. So, if you are interested in, say, Argentina, or the minutes of the IS in the late 1940s, its easy to find the boxes.

Now, the bad news is that at this point theres not much you can do or get from afar. You really have to work on site. Hoover doesnt have the staff to investigate for you, for example to tell you exactly whats in a given box, or whether a given document is in the collection. Nor will they do photocopying. The good news is that you can, on your own, hire researchers to work for you. Hoover maintains a list of approved research assistants (graduate students looking for part time work). I had a researcher spend several weeks just preparing a list of the holdings on India and Ceylon, so when I did make my first trip out there from New York, I was able to use my time efficiently. (Ive made three trips so far, and its been worth the money.) The going rate for researchers seems to be about $15 an hour.

Also, Hoover has a policy that an individual may make no more than 100 xerox copies a year from a given collection. So you cant just go there and mass duplicate.


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Last updated 12 April 1998