Explore Firsthand Narratives of Communist, Socialist, and Far-Left Groups
Political Extremism and Radicalism is a 2022 Modern Library Awards platinum winner and 2022 SIIA CODiE award winner for Best Library Reference or Educational Database.
This archive provides insight into how communist, socialist, and Far-Left groups and figures saw themselves and the world around them during the major political and social events that occurred in the twentieth century.
The primary sources in this collection come from multiple regions, offering the opportunity for a comparative study of left-wing thinking and government ideology. For example, how communist parties differ around the world, why communism or socialism succeeds in some countries and not others, as well as the characteristics of these movements in different countries.
Connect researchers to firsthand narratives to explore left-wing political radicalism and extremism across Europe, America, Latin America, and more. Collections include documents and correspondence that shed light on the political ideologies of Marxism-Leninism, Maoism, Trotskyism, and anarchism. Researchers can analyze the world’s response to major extremist events, like the Russian Revolution, the rise of the Soviet Union, and the Red Scare.
Value of the Collection:
- Prestigious Collections: This collection is sourced from highly regarded, authoritative institutions, such as Yale University, Harvard Law School, the British Library, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- International Coverage: Primary sources come from multiple regions, expanding the opportunity for a comparative study of left-wing thinking. Regions covered primarily include the United States and the United Kingdom, but Russia and Latin America are also well represented, along with several European, African, and transnational groups.
- Rare Content: The collection contains unique content not found anywhere else online, making it a must-have for researchers and instructors specializing in the history of communism, socialism, or other Far-Left groups.
- Scholarly Appeal: Research shows that there is an increased number of researchers focusing on modern history.
Radical Left Political Movements and Social Issues: American Old Left
Source: University of California, Davis
Size: c. 270,000 pages
Date range: 1800–1950
Books, pamphlets, and ephemera documenting a wide range of nineteenth- and twentieth-century left-wing political, social, and cultural issues and movements. Specific topics in this research collection include the history of socialism and communism, free thought, social protest, anarchism, pacifist and peace movements, third-world liberation movements, and the anti-globalization movement.
Senate House Library, University of London Collections
Size: c. 118,000 pages
Date range: 1900–2012
These archival collections from the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and Institute of Latin American Studies largely pertain to Trotskyism as well as Marxism, Leninism, anarchism, and other left-wing thinking. The collections include Al Richardson/Jim Higgins Papers, radical periodicals, political pamphlets from Chile and Bolivia, Baruch Hirson Papers, Will Fancy Papers, Pelling Collection, Alan Clinton Papers, Balázs Nagy Papers, Stephen Graham, and Workers Party of South Africa.
Rose Pastor Stokes Papers, 1900–1958
Source: Yale University
Size: c. 7,600 pages
Date range: 1900–1958
Rose Pastor Stokes was an American writer and activist. A prominent socialist and founding member of the Communist Party of America, she was deeply committed to both the labor movement and women’s issues, including advocating for better access to birth control. Her papers consist of correspondence, 1905–1933; writings, including manuscripts and published material, 1900–1958; printed material, consisting mostly of newspaper clippings, 1904–1953; drawings, some of which were either exhibited or published, 1923–1932; and miscellaneous material related to Pastor Stokes’s literary interests and political activities, 1904–1944.
Anna Strunsky Walling Papers, 1897–1964
Source: Yale University
Size: c. 24,300 pages
Date range: 1871–1964
Anna Strunsky Walling was an American socialist and author. She wrote about the cause of labor and social issues. This collection mainly consists of correspondence.
Papers of Walter Lippmann
Source: Yale University
Size: c. 210,400 pages
Date range: 1906–1974
Walter Lippmann was an American journalist, writer, and political analyst. In his early life, he was a member of several socialist societies, including the Harvard Chapter of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society; the Harvard Socialist Club; the Socialist Party, New York County; and the Socialist Press Club of New York City. He was also executive secretary to the Reverend George R. Lunn, socialist mayor of Schenectady, New York. As the author of The Communist World and Ours (1959), his journalism is an important critique of world politics at the time.
Alger Hiss Defense Collection
Source: Harvard Law School Library
Size: c. 70,000 pages
Date range: 1922–1980
The Alger Hiss Defense Collection contains the Defense Files and the Subject Files from the Hiss Defense Files collection at Harvard Law School. This collection features correspondence, notes, reports, interviews, memos, and investigative work that went into the Hiss defense team’s preparation and strategy—all of which provide a more complete picture of the case than available anywhere else. Included are personal and name files relating to Hiss, his family, friends, work associates, accusers, supporters, witnesses, and members of his legal defense.
Because of its size, breadth, and richness, the Alger Hiss Defense Collection is among the most important collections on the controversy in existence. The case is of interest to historians of espionage, Cold War history, twentieth-century history and politics, and—because of Hiss’s connection to the U.S. State Department and the founding of the United Nations institutions—foreign relations. This collection’s wealth of legal files has special appeal to legal scholars.
Alger Hiss Collection
Source: New York University
Size: c. 26,700 pages
Date range: 1892–2004
The Alger Hiss Papers from the Tamiment Library Collection is a compilation of material selected from four archival collections: the Hiss Family Papers, the John Lowenthal Papers, the Agnese Nelms Haury Papers, and the William A. Reuben Papers, each of which has been filmed in its entirety. Material selected for filming consists of the incoming and outgoing correspondence of Alger Hiss and members of the Hiss family, interview transcripts, legal documents, and memorabilia, as well as non-Hiss correspondence and research material, which sheds light on Hiss’s life and later efforts to reopen and reexamine the Hiss case. This collection contains no overlap with the Alger Hiss Defense Collection.
Anti-Socialist Organizations in Britain
Source: British Library, UK
Size: c. 30,400 pages
Date range: 1870–1914
This collection offers complete surviving runs of several major journals with the rallying cries for “radicalism” and “libertarianism” in the fight against socialism in Britain. It covers topics such as the UK Constitution, the monarchy, and the right to private property.
Titles in this collection include:
- The Journal of the Vigilance Association for the Defence of Personal Rights (1881–1886)
- The Personal Rights Journal (1886–1892)
- Personal Rights: A Monthly Journal of Freedom and Justice (1893–1903)
- The Individualist: A Monthly Journal of Personal Rights (1903–1914)
- The Liberty Review: A Weekly Journal Devoted to the Defence of Freedom and of the Right of Property (1893–1894)
- The Liberty Review: Property Owners; Guardian and Free Labour Advocate (1895–1895)
- The Liberty Review: A Journal of Politics, Economics, Sociology and Individualism (1895–1909)
- Jus: A Weekly Organ of Individualism (1887–1888)
- Capital and Labour: A Weekly Journal of Facts and Arguments on Questions Relating to Employers and Employed (1873–1882)
- The Anti-Socialist: A Newspaper and Review of Politics, Events and Literature (1909–1910)
- Liberty: The Organ of the Anti-Socialist Union of Great Britain (1911–1912)
- Free Labour: A Monthly Journal Devoted to the Emancipation of Industry as a Voluntary Right (1896–1897)
- Free Labour: Ashore and Afloat (1897–1899)
- The Free Labour Press and Industrial Review (1899–1909)
- The Elector: The Official Organ of the Centre Party Union and the Middle-Class Defence Organisation (1909–1911)
FBI American Legion Contact Program
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation
Size: c. 1,300 pages
Date range: 1940–1942
A conservative outlook, plus widely dispersed members, made the American Legion useful to the FBI in its investigations of communist infiltration. This file documents the FBI’s relationship with the Legion in the early 1940s.
Archives of the Independent Labour Party
Size: c. 103,500 pages
Date range: 1856–1975
The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was a left-wing British political party, established in 1893 in response to the Liberal Party’s reluctance to endorse working-class candidates. In 1900, Ramsay MacDonald founded the Labour Representation Committee, the precursor to the Labour Party; despite holding more radical aims than the Labour Party, the ILP was affiliated with the Labour Party from 1906 to 1932. In 1947, the ILP’s three Members of Parliament defected to the Labour Party. In 1975, the ILP rejoined the Labour Party and became a pressure group, known as Independent Labour Publications, within the Labour Party.
The archive contains pamphlets and leaflets; minutes, organizational and related records of the National Administrative Council as well as regional branches; and Francis Johnson’s correspondence.
Socialist and Labour Thought in Britain Since 1884
Size: c. 29,200 pages
Date range: 1884–1945
This collection of British political pamphlets is a landmark in Labour Publishing. Coverage includes a range of pressure groups and radical presses, such as the National Temperance League, Land Nationalisation Society, Christian Social Union, Humanitarian League, Glasgow Trades Council, Labour Prophet, Women’s Emancipation Union, Brotherhood Trust, Commonweal, Metropolitan Radical Federation, United Kingdom Alliance, Clarion, Socialist League, Dundee Labour Church, Hammersmith Socialist Society, and the Legitimation League, as well as many others.
FBI File on J. Robert Oppenheimer
Size: c. 7,300 pages
Date range: 1940–1959
J. Robert Oppenheimer, chairman of the general advisory board of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb and supported international civilian control of nuclear weapons. This stance led to his investigation by the FBI, and in 1953 he was suspended from the AEC as an alleged security risk. The material in this file, consisting mainly of covertly taped telephone conversations, opened mail, and interrogations of colleagues and acquaintances, gives an interesting perspective on the American intellectual and scientific community of the early 1950s, as well as on Oppenheimer himself.
Complements the first two modules in Gale’s series, but it can certainly stand alone. With its sophisticated search capabilities, support for primary-source literacy, and singular collections of primary-source material, this resource is a must-have for libraries supporting historical and political research of far-left political movements.
- Library Journal, reviewed by James Rhoades
Platform Features & Tools
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