Among ALBA’s ongoing priorities has been the continuing expansion and cataloguing of its massive archives at New York University’s Tamiment Library. The archives include the complete files of the national office of VALB and the personal papers and memorabilia of numerous Spanish Civil War volunteers. These now include several hundred Spanish Civil War posters, thousands of letters written home from Spain, hundreds of photographs, and recorded interviews, as well as pamphlets, books, and unpublished works. Donations of documents by veterans and their families and friends continue to this day. The organization remains committed to preserving, cataloguing, and disseminating not only the wartime experiences of North American volunteers living in these documents, but also the whole story of their lives, from their cultural and political background to the remarkable contributions they made in the decades that followed the Spanish Civil War.
During the 1990s ALBA dramatically expanded its collecting and outreach efforts. With the discovery of the International Brigades Archives in Moscow, ALBA embarked on a major fundraising and negotiating process to bring copies of this archive to the United States. As a result, New York University’s Tamiment Library now houses a large number of microfilm and photographic records about the North American role in Spain. While ALBA’s acquisition efforts continue, the records which it has obtained will support research well into this century.
Featured Tamiment Collections
Harry Randall Collection: Fifteenth International Brigade Films and Photographs
Under the supervision of Harry W. Randall, Jr, the Photographic Unit of the 15th International Brigade was charged with documenting the activities of the Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. The collection consists of 3 reels and 1,832 images taken by the Unit from August 1937 to September 1938 and captures the daily life of the volunteers in combat, in the camps, and in the towns, villages, and across the rugged terrain where the Brigade trained and participated in the fighting. In addition, the collection documents political assemblies, congresses, celebrations, and the everyday activities of the Spanish populace.
Manny Harriman Video Oral History Collection
The collection consists of oral history interviews Manny Harriman began videotaping in 1985 with veterans and/or their surviving relatives and friends across the country. The collection also contains a small number of recordings of VALB political activities during the mid-1980s, particularly around aid to Nicaragua. Harriman captured the personal histories of at least 180 veterans. The interviews cover veterans’ family histories, their motivations for joining the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, their experiences fighting in Spain and later in World War II, and their activities in subsequent years.
John Gerassi Oral History Collection
The Premature Anti-Fascists: Oral History of American and Canadian Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War was published in 1986, and is a tribute to the men and women who volunteered to fight on behalf of the Spanish Republic. This collection contains 227 audiocassettes consisting of 89 separate interviews with individual veterans that were conducted for Gerassi’s project
Arthur H. Landis Oral History Collection
The Landis collection of audiotapes consists primarily of interviews with American Spanish Civil War veterans conducted in the 1960s as part of Landis’s research for his book The Abraham Lincoln Brigade.
Francis Patai Audio Collection
The oral histories that make up this collection are part of Patai’s extensive research material for her book on US women who volunteered as medical personal in the Spanish Civil War. The collection consists of interviews with volunteers from the Spanish Civil War, primarily the women who served as nurses.