Content and Scope

The items in the ALBA Digital Library represent four collections that are historically significant and lend themselves to be easily used in a classroom setting.

The records contained in this digital collection were selected from four separate collections: the James Lardner Papers, the Herman Greenfield Papers, the Miriam Sigel Papers, and the Marjorie Polon Papers. All four collections are housed in New York University’s Tamiment Library. To see all 150 records, click here.

The James Lardner Papers

James Lardner (1914-1938) was a journalist who enlisted in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade to fight against Franco’s rebel forces in Spain. In March of 1938 Lardner traveled to Barcelona and after observing the war first hand, resolved to enlist in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. He was killed in action in September 1938. The collection consists chiefly of correspondence; most of it produced by Lardner during his time in Paris and Spain and addressed to his mother Ellis and his brother Ring.

View Jim Lardner’s online digital library collection here.
View the finding aid for this collection here.

The Herman Greenfield Papers

Herman ‘Hy’ Greenfield (1915-1938) was a native New Yorker.  

View Hy Greenfield’s online digital library collection here.

The Miriam Sigel Papers

The Miriam Sigel Friedlander Papers consist of letters written by three individuals who fought and died in the Spanish Civil War. Ernest Arion, Harold Malofsky (Melofsky) and Miriam’s brother, Paul Sigel were acquaintances in New York City before traveling to Spain in 1937. Arion and Malofsky were involved in cultural and political activities with the International Workers Order and Sigel was politically active while studying Engineering at New York University. All three wrote detailed letters to Miriam Sigel (later Friedlander) about their travels to Spain, their social activities and military duties, and their experiences fighting in the battles of the Spanish Civil War.

View Miriam Sigel’s online digital library collection here.
View the finding aid for this collection here.

The Marjorie Polon Papers

Marjorie Polon (1924-1977) a native of New York City, was the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants. The Marjorie Polon Papers consist chiefly of letters from six American Abraham Lincoln Brigade volunteers (Bill “Mike” Bailey, Nathan Gross, Harry Hakam, George Kaye, Sydney Levine and William Van Felix) who fought together in the Spanish Civil War. Although Polon’s correspondents were strangers to her, the letters she wrote were clearly important to the men who received them and several of them responded in detail to her. The bulk of the letters were written in 1938 and provide descriptions of battles, bombardments, and the relationship between the international volunteers and the Spanish citizenry as well as commentary on the political situation in the United States.

View Marjorie Polon’s online digital library collection here.
View the finding aid for this collection here.


The selection process for this digital collection was performed by James Fernández, a Professor in NYU’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages.

Once the images were selected, they were converted to digital format. The letters and prints were scanned at 600 dpi resolution using an Epson flatbed scanner.

The resulting TIFF files (archival images) for the letters and prints are stored at the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives. Access images (PDF files) were created from the TIFF files for Web delivery. The collection was built with CONTENTdm digital media management software using Dublin Core metadata.

To make searching easier for the end-user, the resulting images have been indexed. Two different thesauri were used in the indexing process. Library of Congress’ Authorities: Thesaurus for Graphic Materials provided the terms used in the subject fields (e.g. War relief, International organizations). In determining geographic location – Continent, Country/Region, State/Province, City/Place, and Geographic Feature – Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names was used.

The ALBA Digital Library is available through Digital Culture of Metropolitan New York, a collaborative effort between the Metropolitan New York Library Council, OCLC CONTENTdm, and New York Heritage Digital Collections.


James Fernandez, Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages, NYU

Project Archivist
Jill Annitto, MLIS, MPA

Project Management
James Fernandez, Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages, NYU
Jill Annitto, MLIS, MPA


Copyright © 2022 New York University. All rights reserved.

ALBA Digital Library is published by the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA).

The images may be copied by individuals or libraries for personal use, research, teaching or any “fair use” as defined by copyright law. Please include this statement with any copies you make. Non-commercial, non-subscription Internet editions created for an educational purpose may freely link to the site or individual pages.

Anyone interested in any other use of these images, including for-profit Internet editions, should obtain permission from the Tamiment Library, New York University.