Within this chapter of TrotskyanaNet we are dealing with a selection of public Trotsky archives, i.e. with a number of publicly accessible facilities preserving considerable quantities of relevant archival holdings with regard to Trotsky, Trotskyism and Trotskyists. Only European archives are dealt with here; for U.S. and Canadian archives see Public Archives: America.
Most of the material hosted by archival facilities is unique and thus not to be found elsewhere or — at best — as copies or microfilms. Typical examples for archival sources concerning the subjects of our website are letters, unpublished manuscripts, memoranda, minutes, notes, films, photographs, and audio tapes; most of the archives listed below are also containing Trotskyist internal bulletins (and related ephemeral serials) — material which as a rule is hardly to trace in libraries, because it is belonging to a species of documents which could be called semi-archival.
It goes without saying that scholarly historical research essentially depends on (archival) sources; as regards Trotsky, the possibilities of the research on sources can be considered as quite excellent insofar as a scholar dealing with certain aspects of Trotsky's life or work can consult a quite considerable number of archival collections benefiting from well arranged finding aids and other useful research tools, many of which have been made machine-readable during the last years.
It was Trotsky himself who always was most concerned about his papers and records, their preservation and security. When he was expelled first from Moscow, then from Soviet Russia, he was allowed to take his archival documents with him. Thus he transported them to Prinkipo, later to France and eventually to Mexico. In 1935/36 and 1939, considerable parts of his archives were sold by himself or — on his behalf — by his son Leon Sedov, respectively, to the IISH (Amsterdam), other parts were purchased by Harvard University from Trotsky in 1940, shortly before he was assassinated. Certain parts of his archives remained with Leon Sedov at Paris and were stolen by Stalinist agents or entrusted to Boris Nicolaevsky, respectively.
The history of Trotsky's archives partly can be considered as a real mystery or adventure story, certain aspects of which are mentioned on this page as well as within the chapter Public Archives: America.
"The history of Trotsky's archives has been a contentious one. Some papers, such as his correspondence with Sedov, have resurfaced only lately. Others had to be purchased from persons who had denied having them. Several files were destroyed by Trotsky himself for reasons of security. Yet these collections, properly inventoried, retain a large degree of importance, particularly with regard to the history of the USSR, Germany and China. To say the least, it is most surprising that some scholars appear to have 'forgotten' to consult them". (P. Broué) *
We would like to emphasize once again that our featuring of Trotsky archives is not at all exhaustive but selective, without any claim for completeness. Mention is made of the three most relevant and renowned repositories of Trotsky's papers (Hoover Institution Archives, Houghton Library, International Institute of Social History) and of some dozen other archives housing considerable archival material relevant to Trotsky/Trotskyism research. It should be mentioned here, that you can find some information about Trotsky archives in the Introduction and in chapter 1.3 of our Leon Trotsky Bibliography.
Some general informations about IISH
The Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis (IISG) at Amsterdam (The Netherlands), better known under its English name International Institute of Social History (IISH), is one of the world's largest and best organized documentary and research facilities in the field of social history in general and the history of the international labour movement in particular. Its holdings, as a rule, are open to the public. As of 2004, IISH holds over 2,700 archival collections, some 1,000,000 printed volumes and as many audio-visual items including photographs and posters, altogether amounting to more than 10,000 shelfmetres.
IISH is host to a considerable number of organizations and institutions, e.g. the ID-Archiv, a documentation centre for new social and alternative movements in Germany, the International Association of Labour History Institutions (IALHI), the Internationale Marx-Engels-Stiftung (IMES) (charged with the editing of the collected works of Marx and Engels, MEGA), Nederlands Persmuseum (Netherlands Press Museum), Nederlands Economisch Historisch Archief (Netherlands Economic History Archive, (NEHA), Gosudarstvennaia Obshchestvenno-Politicheskaia Biblioteka (Social-Political State Library, Moscow), etc.
IISH is issuing and/or sponsoring various scholarly journals and newsletters in English or Dutch, as for example International Review of Social History (IRSH), Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis, Jaarboek voor Vrouwengeschiedenis, MEGA-Studien. IISH maintains branch offices in Berlin and Moscow, too. It closely co-operates with social history research facilities all over the world. It carries out and stimulates scholarly research and is at the same time a well-respected meeting place for researchers from all over the world organizing conferences and symposia. An impressive number of books resulting from research work done at IISH have been published either by international academic publishing houses or by IISH's own inhouse publishing unit, Uitgeverij Stichting beheer IISG; a significant number of publications has been authored (or co-authored) by IISH staff members. Additionally, there are several dozen working papers and research papers available on the IISH server in digital format, downloadable for free. The Biographical dictionary of socialism and the worker's movement in the Netherlands (Biografisch Woordenboek van het Socialisme en de Arbeidersbeweging in Nederland, BWSA) can also be consulted online. Last not least, IALHI serials service provides topical Online contents of some 100 relevant journals and newsletters.
The IISH online catalogue (OPAC) holds records of almost all books, pamphlets and journals in the library of the IISH including the holdings of the Netherlands Press Museum and of Netherlands Economic History Archive. The catalogue also includes records of almost all IISH archival collections and of most of its image and sound collections. As of spring 2004, the catalogue altogether holds some 900,000 records, among them 2,700 archival collections. Archival search tools, however, are not part of the IISH OPAC.
IISH is located at Cruquiusweg 31, NL-1019, AT Amsterdam, The Netherlands, tel.: +31-20-6685866. For general information e-mail to: email@example.com.
About the IISH website and the electronic finding aids
IISH maintains an exhaustive and excellently designed website where detailed informations (chiefly in English, partly in Dutch, German and other languages) are provided about generalities, services, hours, addresses, news, events, collections, databases, digitized collections, research projects, staff members, own book publications and publishers, annual reports, journals, and exhibitions. An extraordinary extensive link collection is provided, too, listing (as of 2015) more than 5,000 links, among them a very considerable number of links to major websites for labour history, to women and gender studies websites, as well as to websites which have linked theirs to the IISH website. Thanks to the WWW, remote users outnumber those in IISH's reading room by about 150:1.
Of special interest to those who are seeking information about IISH's very rich archival collections should be the index page called Archives, providing information about more than 3,000 archival collections preserved at IISH. Users have various options to browse the archives index, e.g. by A-Z or by country; a list of all archives is available, too. Every index entry is linked to a brief description of the respective collection (descriptions of Dutch archives are in Dutch, those of non-Dutch archives in English). For most of the collections, full inventories or similar finding aids are pörovided, online accessible by a link in the respective brief description.
It should be mentioned here, too, that for a considerable number of collections printed and published guides or inventories are also available, published as a rule within the IISG werkuitgave (IISH working paper) numbered series.
Some notes about IISH's history
The IISH was officially established in November 1935, but its history goes back to 1914 when Nicolaas Wilhelmus Posthumus (1880-1960), a social democrat, pioneer of modern economic history in The Netherlands and an outstanding book and document collector, set up the Netherlands Economic History Archive (NEHA), concentrating on the preservation of archives of companies and related organizations and other sources relevant to economic history.
In view of the menace of fascism and barbarism in Germany and other European countries and in view of the unfolding Stalinist tyranny in the USSR, Posthumus decided to take care of and to safe from destruction or dispersal the 'paper legacy', as archives could be defined, of those social movements as well of their leaders and theoreticians threatened by fascism and/or Stalinism.
Posthumus intended to set up a politically neutral, scholarly institution and was fortunate to meet Nehemia de Lieme, the director of a big Dutch insurance company, De Centrale, which had close ties to the social-democratic movement whom he could convince of his initiative. Thus, thanks to extraordinary funds provided by De Centrale, the institute could be built up in the second half of the 1930s with a special focus on saving relevant material from all over Europe, for example the archival legacy of Marx and Engels, the Kautsky papers, the archives of the SPD (Social-Democratic Party of Germany), etc.
In view of the threat of a new World War, Posthumus, IISH's first director - he retired in 1952 - set up a subsidiary of the IISH in Britain where the most valuable archives were taken to safety since it became clear that Hitler's troops would not stop at The Netherland's border even in case of Dutch neutrality. In July 1940, after The Netherlands had been occupied by the Wehrmacht, the IISH was closed, and in the following months most of those IISH holdings which had remained at Amsterdam instead of being evacuated to Britain were shipped to Germany. The bulk of the stolen material was only rediscovered in 1946 near Hannover (British occupation zone) and could soon be brought back to Amsterdam. Other portions of the IISH holdings were later found in Poland and in the USSR; all in all, war-time losses proved remarkably small. Nevertheless, it took almost a decade before IISH was back to normal.
Thanks to financial assistance from the University of Amsterdam, the City of Amsterdam, the Wiedergutmachungsfonds and the Ford Foundation, the IISH could be re-opened in 1951 and gradually began to recover during the 1950s; in the 1960s and 1970s, benefiting from a remarkably growing interest in social research, it could resume its task of saving archives and acquiring relevant material on a large scale.
Since 1979 the IISH has worked within the framework of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. In view of constantly growing holdings, IISH found a new accomodation in Amsterdam's eastern docks redevelopment area in 1989.
In recent years the focus of collection development has shifted to Asia (IISH maintains branch offices in Ankara, Karachi, Dakha and Semarang) and to Eastern Europe; since the dissolution of the USSR the IISH has closely co-operated with the Rossiiskii Centr Khraneniia i Izucheniia Dokumentov Noveishei Istorii, part of the former Institut Marksizma-Leninizma in Moscow where the collections are partly complementary to the archives of the IISH.
Some notes about the Trotsky Papers at IISH
When in 1929 Leon Trotsky together with his wife Natalia Sedova and their son Lev Sedov were expelled from the USSR, they took a considerable part of their papers with them. From the very beginning of their exile years, Trotsky and Sedov spent the rest of their days tirelessly exposing the counter-revolutionary policies of Stalin and the ruling caste of Soviet bureaucrats.
They began to build up an International Left Opposition which eventually resulted in the creation of a new, Fourth International. Both men maintained hundreds of contacts to militants in various countries of the world, extensively exchanging letters with them. Trotsky was more busy then ever before writing manuscripts for books and journals, edited the Biulleten' oppozitsii and for some years could even keep letter contact with oppositional Bolcheviks in the USSR. He never ceased writing, not even under the most trying of circumstances, unwanted by bourgeois governments, slandered and attacked by the Stalinists, with his closest collaborators either arrested, broken or murdered by the GPU.
The papers of Trotsky and Sedov documented their life and tireless struggle and also functioned as a means of defence, e.g. against the monstrous charges leveled against them in the famous Moscow witch trials of the 1930s. Quite understandably, Trotsky was almost as much concerned about the safety of his archives as about his own life.
IISH acquired 3 portions of the Trotsky papers (or, Trotsky-Sedov papers, respectively):
— In December 1935 Trotsky sold a portion of his extensive papers, some 800 documents covering the years 1917-1922 (containing hundreds of letters, telegrams and memoranda exchanged between Lenin and him), to the just founded IISH. This collection was called by Trotsky himself the Lenin-Trotsky correspondence (Perepiska Lenina s Trotskim) although there were included communications from others, too. In 1939 these papers were evacuated to Oxford and only after WW II returned to Amsterdam and were later published as The Trotsky papers 1917-1922.
— In 1936 negotiations about the purchase of further parts of Trotsky's archives were successfully carried on between IISH and Sedov, then living in Paris and acting on behalf of his father then living in Norway. Some parts of this acquisition had already been transported to the Paris branch office of the IISH when in the night of Nov. 6/7, 1936 the office was broken into with the object of taking possession of Trotsky's archives (see note below). According to Sedov only a portion of those papers actually were stolen - probably by agents of Stalin's secret service - while other portions remained untouched but eventually, legally or illegally, came into Boris Nicolaevsky's hands instead of arriving at IISH - indeed an archival mystery story - and were only re-discovered some 50 years later within the gigantic Nicolaevsky Collection which in 1963 had been deposited at Hoover Institution, Stanford, California.
Trotsky, again very concerned about the fate of his archives, decided to take his papers to Mexico when leaving Europe in winter 1936/37. As mentioned elsewhere, he sold his archives some years later to Harvard University; these archives later became known as the Trotsky Papers at Houghton Library, Cambridge, Mass.
However, a certain part of Trotsky's papers remained in Europe when he set sails for Mexico. After the death of his son Lev Sedov in Paris (February 1938), Trotsky himself got in contact with IISH in order to transfer the remaining portion of his Paris archives to the IISH for saving them. The IISH annual report of 1939 made mention of a collection acquisition from a certain 'Abel', obviously a codeword for Leon Trotsky who often refered to his archfoe Stalin as 'Cain'. The collection was probably acquired in July 1939 and consisted chiefly of manuscripts and correspondence from 1929 to 1937 including a lively letter exchange between Trotsky, Sedov and Sedova, records of the International Secretariat of the International Left Opposition and its successors, and correspondence with and between various Trotskyists in Europe.
This collection of papers has been designated by the IISH as Lev Davidovič Trockij / International Left Opposition Archives, period 1917-1919 (1920-1929) 1930-1934 (-1939). It consists of some 1,300 items (chiefly carbon copies) including a card index system (altogether 6 m) listed in an online inventory (see also below.) As at 2014, all items contained in this collection have been scanned and are available now as PDF files (detailed listing see here)
Collections relevant to Trotsky/Trotskyism preserved at IISH:
*) The Trotsky papers 1917-1922 / ed. and annotated by Jan. M. Meijer. Vol. 1-2. London [etc.] : Mouton, 1964-71. XV, 894 pp. (Russian series issued by the Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis Amsterdam)
***) Horst, Atie van der: Inventaris van de archieven van de Revolutionair Socialistische Partij (RSP) en de Revolutionair Socialistische Arbeiders Partij (RSAP) 1928-1940. Amsterdam: Stichting beheer IISG, 1991. 40 pp. (IISG werkuitgave ; 17)
****) According to a press conference given by N. Posthumus in November 1936 (see IISH's History page).
Built up over a period of more than 500 years by purchase, gift and bequest, the Special Collections Department today houses more than 200,000 manuscript items and around 2,000,000 printed works including over 1,000 incunabula. As of 2004, Keeper of Special Collections is David Weston. The address of the Special Collections Department is: Hillhead Street, Glasgow G12 8QE, Scotland, Tel.: +44 (0)141 330 6767, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
With regard to Trotsky research, the Special Collections Department, a division of Glasgow University Library (GUL) at Glasgow, Scotland (Britain), cannot be considered as an archival repository, at least in a narrower sense of the term, since there are housed hardly unpublished or manuscript materials but books, pamphlets and other published items. However, we decided to feature it within the framework of this chapter since GUL Special Collections Department undoubtedly houses one of the world's most exhaustive collections of Trotsky's works.
The Trotsky Collection (Sp Coll Trotsky) at Special Collections Department is closely connected with the name of the late Louis Sinclair (1909-1990), an internationally renowned Trotsky bibliographer and scholar who for several decades of his life extensively and systematically collected the works of Leon Trotsky in some 40 languages; Sinclair's life and work is featured in the Louis Sinclair chapter of TrotskyanaNet.
In 1983 he generously donated his unique collection of Trotsky's writings to Glasgow University Library, insisting that this donation was treated as an 'anonymous' gift and that the books should not be supplied with bookplates or the like indicating whence they came. Thus the Sinclair Trotskyana Collection is hosted simply as The Trotsky Collection by the Special Collections Department of GUL. The original gift comprised some 1,800 editions of Trotsky's works — a considerable portion of which can be considered as rare books — ranging from his first ever published booklet (dated 1900) to reprints and posthumously published works from the 1970s and 1980s.
Additionally the donation comprised hundreds of discrete journal and newspaper issues, clippings etc. containing contributions by Trotsky as well as a considerable number of secondary items about him.
Last not least the Trotsky Collection also contains copies of Sinclair's valuable unpublished bibliographical works on the pre-history of the Fourth International, as for example his The IS papers : source material for the history of the 4th International (typescript 1984, 359 pp.)
During the following years the Trotsky Collection has been augmented with other gifts, e.g. with a collection of papers and printed material which was donated by Tamara Deutscher, the widow of Trotsky's biographer Isaac Deutscher. Copies of two Trotsky films shot by Alex Buchman at Coyoacán in 1939/40 are also contained in the Trotsky Collection.
A small selection of GUL's rich Trotskyana holdings, altogether comprising some 5,000 items, was displayed at the library in autumn 1987 on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Russian October revolution.
A card index of Trotsky's works arranged by language, together with an index of secondary materials and periodical items is availabe in the reading room of the Special Collections Department; many titles contained in the Sinclair donation are also retrievable by browsing through the University Library's OPAC. A copy of Sinclair's painstaking Leon Trotsky : a bibliography in the Special Collections Department reference shelves contains the call numbers of the works in the collection, too. According to an information we got some years ago from David Weston, then Head of the Special Collections Department, it is hoped at some point to issue a catalogue of the complete collection. Last not least it should be mentioned that the Papers of Louis Sinclair relating to bibliography of Leon Trotsky (accession number 4747, donation by Louis sinclair in 1989) are also housed by the Special Collections Department
The Library of the Glasgow Caledonian University (until 1993 named Glasgow Polytechnic) hosts more than 700 boxes of Trotskyist related material. This collection which is of great relevance to historical research on some main currents of English and Scottish Trotskyism (incl. its predecessors) is called:
The Modern Records Centre (MRC) is affiliated to the University of Warwick Library which is situated at Coventry CV4 7AL, England, phone: (0)24 76524219, fax: (0)24 76524211, e-mail: email@example.com. MRC was founded in 1973. Its mission is collecting the primary sources for British political, social and economic history with special emphasis of labour history and the history of industrial relations. By far the biggest and most eminent archive of this kind in Britain, its principal holdings are made up by records of trade unions, political parties and pressure groups including the extra-parliamentary Left.
The holdings of MRC are considerable, amounting to several 1,000 shelfmetres of ephemera and archival collections. A summary guide provides an impression and a first orientation regarding the rich collections of personal and institutional papers related to "Trotskyist sources at the Modern Records Centre", providing a list of MRC's rich archival collections relevant to British Trotskyism with links to collection level descriptions. By clicking on a folder symbol, you can get down to item level, by clicking on details you can see the details of any particular description. Comfortable search functions are integrated.
Some printed sources of information about MRC's activities and collections issued by the University of Warwick, Coventry:
Several dozen archival collections housed at MRC are of particular importance with regard to Trotskyism research (the focus is on the British Trotskyist movement), inter alia:
The collection was deposited by the International Marxist Group (IMG) in 1976; several further deposits followed by its successor organization. The IMG was the (official) British section of the Fourth International (United Secretariat) from 1966 to 1982 when it was renamed Socialist League (SL, also known under the name of its paper, Socialist Action).
The collection consists of IMG discussion and internal information bulletins, preconference discussion bulletins, miscellaneous items on its international work, reports and leaflets on its students' work, women's work, etc. Also included are IMG/SL National and Political Committee minutes, notes to organizers, accounts, membership returns and printed material as well as internal circulars and similar documents of the Fourth International and of some of its national sections.
The archival and manuscript holdings of the University of Hull - some 750,000 documents and files amongst over 120 larger and over 300 smaller collections - are preserved by the Archives and Special Collections Department of the Brynmor Jones Library, University of Hull, Britain. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Among the archives housed there is one of special relevance to Trotskyism research:
Jock Haston (1913-1986) became a communist in the early 1930s whilst a merchant seaman, left the Communist Party at the time of the Moscow show trials and became a Trotskyist being involved in various groups of the splintered British Trotskyist scene of the 1930s and 1940s. In 1944 the RCP (Revolutionary Communist Party) was launched as a merger of some of the hitherto rival groups and Haston became secretary of the newly founded party which - for the very first time in the history of British Trotskyism - contested a parliamentary election (Neath by-election with Haston running as candidate) in April 1945.
However, the RCP some years later began to suffer from factionalism and splits which eventually ended in its dissolution in 1949 with Haston quickly joining the Labour Party.
The Jock Haston Papers are an important primary source for the study of the radical left in Britain, containing innumerable records (e.g. minutes, internal bulletins, broadsheets, memoranda, correspondence) of the RCP, the WIL (Workers' International League), RSL (Revolutionary Socialist League), Marxist League, Militant Labour League and other groups. The collection also includes documents from the Trotsky Defence Committee, from the Fourth International, from Trotskyist movements in the United States and other foreign countries, from the Communist Party, the Labour Party and the Independent Labour Party. A short description as well as a detailed description are online available. The reference code of the collection is DJH, the collection number is 130.
The Senate House Library (SHL) is the central library for the University of London and the School of Advanced Study, providing resources to support research to the highest international standards. It is one of the largest academic libraries for arts, humanities nd social sciences with more than two million books, dozens of special collection and some 1,800 archival collections. Collection level descriptions are searchable in this catalogue or in the MASC25 (Mapping access to special collections in the London region) catalogue. The extensive collection of Trotskyst archives is one of the SHL's core collecting strengths. Some of these collections should be mentioned here:
Al (Alec Stuart) Richardson (1941-2003) was a long-time activist of various British socialist and Trotskyist groups, co-founder and moving spirit of Socialist Platform as well as of the scholarly journal Revolutionary History. A renowned historian of the British Trotskyist movement, he was at the same time a classical scholar and Egyptologist.
Jim (James Robert) Higgins (1930-2002) was a long-time member of various groups of the British far left: after some years of activity in the Young Communist League and in the Communist Party, he became a member of the Socialist Labour League ("Healyites"), later of the Socialist Review Group. By the early 1970s he functioned as full-time secretary of the International Socialists ("Cliffites"), later renamed Socialist Workers Party which he left in 1977, becoming a journalist and author.
The Richardson/Higgins collection comprises 265 boxes, several thousand books and pamphlets, numerous periodicals, bulletins, memos and press cuttings as well as archival and manuscript material relating to Marxism, socialism and particularly to the politics and action of various Trotskyist groups both in Britain and on an international scale. The Richardson/Higgins collection was received by SHL as a donation from Socialist Platform in 2004, the boxes have been left in the order they were deposited in. It is thought that it is one of the best collections of its kind in Britian. A container-level description (333 KB, 43 pp.), prepared by George Savvides (assisted by Richard Temple, Zoe Browne and Stefan Dickers), is online available.
This collection of 34 boxes, chiefly containing internal bulletins, journals, newsletters, rank-and-file papers and ephemera issued by various British Trotskyist and other left-wing groups, parties, initatives and trade-unions, was created by Will(iam) Fancy (1933-2009) who was an activist of the Socialist Review Group, later of the International Socialists (IS, renamed Socialist Workers Party, SWP) and of NALGO before he left the SWP and became a full-time union secretary in the early 1980s. The Daily Mail decribed him as "the most dangerous man in Britain". A file level catalogue (239 KB, 15 pp.), prepared by Viv Aggett, is online available.
Ronald B. Heisler created this collection containing some 18,000 books, some 19,000 pamphlets and some 3,000 periodical titles over many years. Covering much of the world, there is special emphasis on Britain and Irland including items issued by radical groups, amongst them many publications of Trotskyist and New Left groups. There exist online available finding aids for the Heisler Collections, e.g. a file-level catalogue for MS 1174.
Baruch Hirson (1921-1999) was a physicist, historian, editor, political activist, and lifelong Trotskyist. Of Jewish-South African origin he spent many years of his life in Britain. The collection consists of 53 boxes, organized in 38 series. A file-level catalogue for ICS 32 (102 KB, 36 pp.) and a file-level catalogue for ICS 32B (255 KB, 32 pp.) are online available.
Balazs Nagy (1927-2015), probably better known by his pseudonym Michel Varga, was a Hungarian Trotskyist who spent most of his life in France; he was a leading figure in the so-called Lambertist current of the French and international Trotskyist movement. The collection consists of 52 boxes, the original order has ben preserved; the collection contains a relevant portion of material related to Eastern European Trotskyism. A file and item-level catalogue (549 KB, 64 pp.), prepared by Tom Parmiter, Thomas Ford, and Luke Thome, is online available.
Alan Michael Clinton (1943-2005) was a historian and policician. His collection comprises some 53 boxes containing Clinton's correspondence, research notes, drafts, manuscripts, organizational documents, ephemera, a considerable number of Trotskyist pamphlets and periodicals as well as material regarding his involvement with the Oxford University Labour Club and the Healyite Socialist Labour League. A file and item-level catalogue, (584 KB, 73 pp.), prepared by Ben Rowlands and Tom Bailey, is online available. - Please note that papers by Clinton are also preserved at Modern Records Centre (ref.-code: MSS.539)
The Schweizerisches Sozialarchiv [Swiss Social Archives] (SSA) was founded in 1906 as Zentralstelle für Soziale Literatur. It is a society funded by the City of Zurich, the Kanton of Zurich, by the Swiss Federal State and by private persons.
Jakob Tanner, professor at Zurich University, functions as president of the SSA (as of 2004). During First World War, Russian emigrants Lenin and Trotsky were among the users of the SSA. The website of SSA gives further details about the history, acquisition profile and publications of the SSA.
Its holdings (as at 2005) are amounting to some 100,000 books, several thousand serials (650 current), several 100,000 pieces of ephemeral writings (or, grey literature, such as little brochures, leaflets); SSA also houses a very considerable newspaper clippings collection comprising some 1,400,000 documents, filed within the framework of subject and country dossiers.
Within the archives section of the SSA the various parties of the Swiss left (social-democrat, communist, Maoist, Trotskyist, New Left, Green, etc.) and their regional branches are very well represented; altogether SSA (as at 2005) holds some 250 archives of corporate bodies and some 70 archives of individual persons (as at 2004); additionally it holds a letter collection with correspondence and autographs of socialists whose papers are preserved elsewhere. Short collection level descriptions are available Online via lists of collection holdings ("Archivfindmittel nach Themen").
The following collections preserved at SSA are relevant to Trotskyism research:
The Archiv "APO und Soziale Bewegungen" (APO-Archiv) [APO=Außerparlamentarische Opposition/Extra-parliamentary opposition, later renamed "APO-ARchiv der Freien Universität"] is affiliated to the Fachbereich Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften (Otto-Suhr-Institut, OSI), a faculty of the Freie Universität Berlin. It is situated at Malteser Strasse 74, 12249 Berlin. Informations and features about its history and mission are to be found within the framework of the archive's website.
The founder, spiritus rector and chief-archivist of this facility — by far the biggest and most eminent on the subject of German extra-parliamentary opposition and related movements of the 1960s and 1970s — has been Siegward Lönnendonker.
As at 2004, the holdings of the APO-Archiv comprise some 1,300 shelfmetres containing some 6,000 brochures and 4,286 folders. The collections are arranged into several dozens of subject groups, like for example SDS-Archiv, Gerichtsverhandlungen, Anarchisten und Situationisten, Berufsverbot, Sonderbestand Raubdrucke. A greater part of the holdings have been catalogued with LIDOS, a literature documentation system. The archive is frequently consulted not only by students and historians of the social and political impact of the students' movement, but also by journalists and other researchers seeking for original iconographic resources, nonprint documents, symbols of the movement etc. in order to display them in exhibitions or to make use of them in documentary film.
Schröder, Jürgen: The Berlin Archives 'Außerparlamentarische Opposition und Soziale Bewegung - APO Archiv' ..., in: Journal of Trotsky Studies, 1.1993, pp. 129-132.
[Anon.]: Archiv des Zentralinstituts für sozialwissenschaftliche Forschung an der Freien Universität Berlin, in: Jahrbuch Extremismus und Demokratie, 3.1991, pp. 422-423.
With regard to Trotskyism research, attention should be paid to the following group of holdings preserved at APO-Archiv:
The Trotskyism collection chiefly consists of the following archives: organization records and/or various documents (organs, bulletins, leaflets, circulars, etc.) of a number of German and foreign Trotskyist parties, groups and sects (including some material from international Trotskyist tendencies), e.g.: KJO Spartacus, Gruppe Internationale Marxisten (GIM) (incl. some dissenting splinter groups), Internationale Arbeiterkorrespondenz (IAK) (later renamed Internationale Sozialistische Arbeiterorganisation, ISA), Gruppe Arbeitermacht (GAM), Bund Sozialistischer Arbeiter (BSA), Lutte Ouvrière (LO, France), Sozialistische Arbeitergruppe (SAG), Trotzkistische Liga Deutschlands (TLD), Sozialistische Alternative Voran (SAV).
Rich material on Trotskyism is also contained in the personal archives of Peter Brandt (son of Willy Brandt and former KJO Spartacus activist) and Rudolf Steinke who both made some scholarly research on German Trotskyism and then deposited their collections at APO-Archiv.
The main tool for accessing the archive's holdings is an electronic database called "Materialien zur Analyse von Opposition (MAO)" (alternatively here), documenting texts of German leftist organizations as well as link lists, and informations, chronologies etc. about them. Furthermore, via "Gruppen, Organisationen, Periodika, Verlage mit trotzkistischer Orientierung" you can get free access to a rich choice of high quality scans of journals, brochures etc. issued by various German Trotskyist groups and sects.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (Bonn) houses the so-called Trotzkismus-Archiv which originally was established around 1980 by Prof. em. Hermann Weber (1928-2014), the doyen of the scholarly research on German communism, at Mannheim University. Hermann Weber's intention was to create a resource centre for journals, newsletters, copies, microfilms, pamphlets, books, as well as some personal archives and collections relating to the history of (German) Trotskyism.
The Hermann Weber collection predominantly consists of printed materials, chiefly booklets and brochures from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. However, the collection also contains a considerable amount of bulletins, newsletters and other printed or mimeographed periodicals (including many factory and student papers), issued by German Trotskyists and by a variety of other left-wing organizations, including some from Britain, France, the U.S. and other countries as well as by international bodies of the Trotskyist movement. The collection contains also some secondary sources (incl. many anti-Trotskyist items).
In 2004, the Trotzkismus-Archiv (Sammlung Hermann Weber) was handed over to the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (Friedrich Ebert Foundation) (FES, Bonn), a private cultural non-profit institution committed to social democracy (for a short English-language flyer about FES click here), which maintains inter alia the Archiv der Sozialen Demokratie (AdsD, Archives of Social Democracy) and a well-known library, also known as Bibliothek der Sozialen Demokratie (Library of Social Democracy), being by far the largest library in Germany specialised in collecting and cataloguing the literature of and about the German and international labour movements. Most of the printed or mimeographed items contained in Weber's Trotzkismus-Archiv collection have been integrated into the rich holdings of FES's library as a special collection ("Sammlung Hermann Weber, Trotzkismus-Archiv" + call no.) and have been catalogued in the library's OPAC. These items (but not letters, memoranda and other personal archivalia) are documented in the following inventory which is also available as PDF file:
Of course the most important archival collection within the Trotzkismus-Archiv are the papers of the late Georg ("Schorsch") Jungclas (1902-1975), a veteran of the German Trotskyist movement (some 120 folders containing manuscripts, letters, bulletins, pamphlets and journals, among them some rare items from the 1940s and 1950s). As at 2007 there is no online finding aid but only container lists for internal use.
The postal address is: Archiv der Sozialen Demokratie der FES, Godesberger Allee 149, 53170 Bonn, the e-mail address for archival queries is email@example.com.
The Bibliothèque de Documentation Internationale Contemporaine - Musée d'Histoire Contemporaine (BDIC) [Library of Contemporary International Documentation - Museum of Contemporary History] was founded in 1914 and is by far the largest collection in France with regard to the political and social history of the 20th century.
The history of labour and the various sectors of the workers' movement are well represented within the holdings of BDIC which amount to some 1.3 mio. bibliographical units with special emphasis on French publications and archival collections. BDIC is located at the campus of the University of Nanterre (Université de Paris X), the address is: BDIC, 6, Allée de l'Université, F 92001 Nanterre, tel.: +33-1-47 21 40 22, fax: +33-1-40 97 79 40.
With regard to Trotskyism research, we can mention the following archival collections held by the BDIC:
Arbejdermuseet & Arbejderbevægelsens Bibliotek og Arkiv (The Workers Museum & The Labour Movement Library and Archives) some years ago has been formed by a merger of the two institutions reflected in its now official name.
Arbejderbevægelsens Bibliotek og Arkiv (ABA for short) - the Labour Movement Library and Archive - was founded in 1909 aimed at collecting material relating to the Danish and international working class movements in all their aspects including trade union orientations. ABA functions as an independent and nonprofit organization, funds are provided by Landsorganisationen i Danmark (LO, the Confederation of Danish Trade Unions) and by the Danish government.
It is the biggest facility of its kind in Northern Europe. The address is Rømersgade 22, DK 1362 Copenhagen K, tel.: +45-33932575, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As at 2006, the library consisted of some 60,000 books, 7,000 serials (out of which some 700 currently being received), and some 1,350 trade union bulletins. Almost all Danish workers' dailies are represented in the library either as hard copies or on microfilm. The library also houses a considerable number of non-Danish labour movement publications, chiefly in German and English language. Furthermore the collections include thousands of pamphlets and ephemera including newsletters and bulletins which were published only for a very limited period.
As at 2006, the archive contained some 2,000 organizational collections, for example records of the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions and of the political parties of the Danish workers' movement: Social Democratic Party (SD), Socialist People's Party (SF), Left-wing Socialists (VS), Communist Party (DKP). The archive also contained some 275 personal files, some 2,000,000 photographs, some 7,000 posters, some 2,000 films, videotapes and grammophone records as well as some 650 banners. Great portions of ABA's library and archive holdings are recorded in its online catalogue which allows a combined research across all ABA collections thanks to applying the so-called Z39.50 protocol technique; computer registration of older collections was/is under way. ABA has published a considerable number of bibliographical and related works, e.g. ABA's bibliografiske serie (1973- ), Årsskrift (1985-2000, ISSN 0900-2723), Arbejderbevægelsen i Danmark - historisk og aktuelt (1978-1992, ISSN 0105-2233); furthermore it participates in the editorial work of the scholarly journal Arbejderhistorie (ISSN 0107-8461).
With regard to Trotsky/Trotskyism research, the following archival collections should be emphasized:
The Archives de l'Institut de Sociologie de Bruxelles [Archives of the Institute of Sociology at Brussels] form part of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) [Free University Brussels]. As of 2004 the institute is headed by J. Gotovitch, internationally renowned expert on the history of communism. The address of the institute is: Avenue Jeanne 44, 1050 Bruxelles, e-mail: email@example.com. Among the archival collections preserved at the ISB the following is of special interest with regard to the history of Belgian Trotskyism:
The Amsab - ISG (Archief en Museum van de Socialistische Arbeidersbeweging - Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis [Archives and Museum of the Socialist Workers' Movement - Institute for Social History] was founded in May 1980, continuing the work of the Nationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis (NISG) which was launched in the 1930s but was closed and dissolved during World War II and not being reconstructed after the War. In 1999, the hitherto AMSAB was renamed: Amsab - Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis. Its address is: Bagattenstraat 174, B 9000 Gent, Belgium; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. In recent years, its homepage as well as its online catalogue have been relaunched. Part of Amsab - ISG's rich holdings are preserved and managed at Antwerpen (Lamorinièrestraat 233, B 2018 Antwerpen, Belgium).
Amsab - ISG is the largest documentation centre relating to the Belgian labour movement with special focus on the Flemish part of this bi-lingual country. Its holdings comprise (as at 2005) some 50,000 books, some 3,100 serials, some 400,000 photographs, some 1,000 films, and a considerable number of flags, posters, etc. It holds records of almost all Belgian socialist and leftist parties, of Flemish trade unions and of groups and tendencies forming the new and alternative social movements (women's movement, peace movement, environmental movement, etc.) Amsab - ISG is not only a library and an archive, but at the same time functions as a research centre counting some 3,000 visitors every year. It also hosts conferences and is issuing scholarly publications including a quarterly journal titled Brood & Rozen : tijdschrift voor de geschiedenis van sociale bewegingen (ISSN 1370-7477) which until 1995 had ben published with title AMSAB-tijdingen).
With regard to Trotskyism research the following Amsab - ISG collections can be mentioned:
This rich collection documents the history of the Belgian section - which changed its name several times (Opposition Communiste de Gauche, Ligue Communiste Internationaliste, Parti Socialiste Révolutionnaire, Parti Communiste Révolutionnaire, Parti Communiste Internationaliste, Ligue Révolutionnaire des Travailleurs, or their respective Flemish denominations) of the Trotskyist Fourth International and its precursors from 1930 to the 1970s.
The collection consists of Trotskyist archival resources assembled and preserved by the late Emile van Ceulen, a veteran of the Belgian Trotskyist movement who died in 1989, and of documents (journals, papers, bulletins, etc.) which originally were preserved by the Stichting Léon Lesoil, a centre of study, documentation and publishing set up by the Belgian section of the Fourth International.
In 1982 the Stichting Léon Lesoil deposited its entire collection, called Fonds Léon Lesoil, at Amsab - ISG. In the following years the collection was amended by donations from individuals as well as by some regional branches of the Ligue Révolutionnaire des Travailleurs / Revolutionaire Arbeiders Liga (LRT/RAL).
The collection includes innumerable internal bulletins, minutes of meetings, correspondence, reports and other internal documents, amongst them material documenting the relations between the Belgian section and other Trotskyist groups, its involvement in international matters, etc. Printed (published) documents have been removed from the collection and now form part of Amsab - ISG's rich library holdings. Thus, Amsab - ISG is not only a goldmine of archival records concerning the history of the Belgian section of the FI and some other groups which had split away from it but also provides a rich collection of Trotskyist journals and newsletters, both from Belgium and abroad, issued during some 5 decades and including papers which were produced under the conditions of underground struggle, brutal repression, persecution and war and which are hardly to be found anywhere else. The reference no. is 045.
There is an exhaustive printed inventory for this collection:
Coninck, Rik de: Inventaris van het Archief van de Belgische Afdeling van de Vierde Internationale. Gent : AMSAB, 1997. 235 pp. (AMSAB werkinstrumenten ; 9).
This book also contains a historical introduction about the Trotskyist movement in Belgium, a lot of details about the history, contents and scope of the archive, and a name index.
Further information about this collection can be found in: Coninck, Rik de: De inventaris van het Archief van del Belgische Afdeling van de Vierde Internationale, in: Brood & rozen, 1997 (3), pp. 62-66. Additionally, there is a fully indexed repertory listing more than 600 periodicals and some 700 books and pamphlets which were taken from the Fonds Léon Lesoil and added to Amsab - ISG's library holdings:
Lievijns, Luc: Repertorium van de periodieken, boeken en brochures uit het Archief van de Belgische Afdeling van de Vierde Internationale. Gent : AMSAB, 1997. 265 pp. (AMSAB werkinstrumenten ; 7). [See also the abstract by Luc Lievijns in Brood & rozen, 1997 (3), p.67.]
Ahrens, Dani (b. 1968)
Andersson, John (1893-1962)
Balham Group : Modern Records Centre (Reg Groves Papers)
Balham Group : Modern Records Centre (Denzil Dean Harber Papers)
Barker, Colin (b. 1939)
Bleibtreu, Marcel (1918-2001)
Brandt, Peter (b. 1948)
British Left Opposition (BLO)
British Section of the International Left Opposition (BSILO) : Modern Records Centre (Frank Maitland/Henry Sara Papers)
British Section of the International Left Opposition (BSILO) : Modern Records Centre (Harry Wicks Papers)
Cliff, Tony (1917-2000)
Clinton, Alan Michael (1943-2005) : Modern Records Centre
Clinton, Alan Michael (1943-2005) : Senate House Library
Cornelissen, Igor (b. 1935)
Crawford, Edward (Ted) (b. 1936)
Deane, Jimmy (1921-2002)
Deutscher, Isaac (1907-1967)
Dewar, Hugo (1908-1980)
Dinge der Zeit [Journal]
Dolleman, Willem (1894-1942)
Dunaevskaya, Raja (1910-1987)
Fancy, William (1933-2009)
Fourth International, International/United Secretariat (FI/IS, FI/US)
Fraenkel, Boris (1921-2006)
Frank, Pierre (1905-1984)
Geudens, Jos (1947-2010)
Groves, Reg (1908-1988)
Gruppe Arbeitermacht (GAM)
Gruppe Internationale Marxisten (GIM) : Archiv APO und Soziale Bewegungen
Gruppe Internationale Marxisten (GIM) : International Institute of Social History
Harber, Denzil Dean (1909-1966)
Hart, Piet van't (1910-1975)
Haston, Jock (1913-1986)
Hennaut, Adhémar (1899-1977)
Higgins, Jim (1930-2002)
Hirson, Baruch (1921-1999)
Hyman, Richard (b. 1942)
International Marxist Group (IMG) : Modern Records Centre (Bob Purdy Papers)
International Marxist Group (IMG) : Modern Records Centre (E.A. Whelan Papers)
International Socialists (IS) : Modern Records Centre (Tony Cliff Papers)
International Socialists (IS) : Modern Records Centre (Richard Kuper Papers)
International Socialists (IS) : Modern Records Centre (Colin Barker Papers)
International Socialists (IS) : Modern Records Centre (Richard Hyman Papers)
International Socialists (IS) : Modern Records Centre (Steve Jefferys Papers)
International Socialists (IS) : Modern Records Centre (Stirling Smith Papers)
James, C.L.R. (1901-1989)
Jefferys, Steve (b. 1945)
Jungclas, Georg (1902-1975)
Just, Stéphane (1921-1997)
Kinch, Preben (1926-1989)
Lutte Ouvrière (LO)
Maitland, Henry (1909-2001)
Mandel, Ernest (1923-1995) : Amsab-ISG
Mandel, Ernest (1923-1995) : International Institute of Social History
Mandel, Gisela (b. Scholtz) (1935-1982)
Mangan, Sherry (1904-1961)
Marxist Labour League (MLL)
Marxist League (ML) : Modern Records Centre
Marxist League (ML) : Brynmor Jones Library
Michielsen, Leo (1911-1997)
Militant [Tendency] : Modern Records Centre (Tim Lewis Papers)
Militant [Tendency] : Modern Records Centre (Geoff Pugh Papers)
Militant [Tendency] : Modern Records Centre (Socialist Party Papers)
Moltved, Georg (1881-1971)
Moth, Poul (1898-1976)
Nagy, Balazs (1927-2015)
Nelz, Walter (1909-1990)
Ngo Van Xuyet (1913-2005)
Perthus, Max see Hart, Piet van't
Posadas, Juan (1912-1981)
Prager, Rodolphe (1918-2002)
Purdie, Bob (b. 1940)
Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) : Modern Records Centre (Jimmy Deane Papers)
Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) : Modern Records Centre (Denzil Dean Harber Papers)
Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) : Modern Records Centre (Ken Tarbuck Papers)
Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) : Brynmor Jones Library
Revolutionary Socialist League (RSL, 1930s-1940s) : Modern Records Centre (Denzil Dean Harber Papers)
Revolutionary Socialist League (RSL, 1930s-1940s) : Modern Records Centre (Ken Tarbuck Papers)
Revolutionary Socialist League (RSL, 1930s-1940s) : Brynmor Jones Library
Revolutionary Socialist League (RSL, 1950s-1960s)
Richardson, Al (1941-2003)
Rogers, Ernest (1914-2004)
Rousset, David (1912-1997)
Rühle, Otto (1874-1943)
Samary, Catherine (b. 1945)
Santen, Sal (1915-1998)
Sara, Henry (1886-1953)
Scheuer, Georg (1915-1996)
Sedova, Natal'ia Ivanovna (1881-1962)
Sinclair, Louis (1909-1990)
Sneevliet, Henk (1883-1942)
Socialist Labour League (SLL) : Glasgow Caledonian University Library
Socialist Labour League (SLL): Modern Records Centre
Socialist League (SL)
Socialist Party (SP)
Socialist Review Group (SRG) : Modern Records Centre (Tony Cliff Papers)
Socialist Review Group (SRG) : Modern Records Centre (Richard Kuper Papers)
Socialist Review Group (SRG) : Modern Records Centre (Ken Tarbuck Papers)
Socialist Workers Party (SWP) : Modern Records Centre (Tony Cliff Papers)
Socialist Workers Party (SWP) : Modern Records Centre (Steve Jefferys Papers)
Socialist Workers Party (SWP) : Modern Records Centre (Stirling Smith Papers)
Socialist Workers Party (SWP) : Modern Records Centre (Records of Bookmarks Publications)
Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei (SAP) (Switzerland)
Spartacist League (Britain)
Spartacist League (USA)
Spencer, Dave (1940-2012)
Steiger, Jost von (1917-2007)
Steinke, Rudolf (b. 1948)
Tarbuck, Ken (1930-1995)
Taylor, Chris (b. 1954)
Thalmann, Clara (1908-1987)
Thalmann, Paul (1901-1980)
Thornett, Alan (b. 1937)
Trolle, Børge (1917-2004)
Trotsky, Leon (1879-1940) : Arbejdermuseet & Arbejderbevægelsens Bibliotek og Arkiv
Trotsky, Leon (1879-1940) : International Institute of Social History
Trotsky, Leon (1879-1940) : Glasgow University Library, Special Collections Department
Trotsky, Leon (1879-1940) : Schweizerisches Sozialarchiv
Verbizier, Gérard de (1942-2004)
Vereeken, Georges (1896-1978)
Weber, Hermann (1928-2014)
Weber, Joseph (1901-1959)
Weber, Sara (1903-1976)
Wicks, Harry (1905-1989)
Workers' International League (WIL) : Modern Records Centre (Jimmy Deane Papers)
Workers' International League (WIL) : Modern Records Centre (Denzil Dean Harber Papers)
Workers' International League (WIL) : Modern Records Centre (Ken Tarbuck Papers)
Workers' International League (WIL) : Brynmor Jones Library
Workers Socialist League (WSL)
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