The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University is one of the oldest special collections in the United States devoted to the history of left politics, labor, and social protest movements. The collections include important materials relating to the fight for academic freedom, the Cold War at home, the women’s movement, the cultural left, and the social history of New York City. It is also the repository for the Archives of Irish America, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, and a growing Asian American labor collection. Tamiment’s holdings include oral histories, film, and more than 75,000 monographs, 20,000 linear feet of archives and manuscripts, 15,000 periodical titles, an 850,000 item pamphlet and ephemera collection, and a million photographs.
In 2006, the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) donated its archives and the Library of the Reference Center for Marxist Studies to the Tamiment Library in order to make its history accessible to students, scholars, and activists. The donation included over 430 linear feet of organizational records, approximately 500,000 images from the photograph morgue of the Party’s newspaper, the Daily Worker, and thousands of monographs, serials, and pamphlets from the Reference Center for Marxist Studies. These materials form one of the most important collections in the United States documenting the history of communism, socialism, Marxist theory and practice, and the cultural left, as well as the history of the varied movements that have struggled for progressive social change in America. Among the organization’s archives are records relating the formation of the American Communist Party in the 1920s, the Red Scare, the Cold War, the New Left era, and the breakup of the Soviet Union during the 1980s and 1990s. They describe how the Communist Party was organized and functioned and document the Party's role in the labor and civil rights movements and its relationships with international communist parties and movements. The library of the Reference Center for Marxist Studies contains rare and ephemeral publications issued by left-wing and labor presses, and a nearly complete run of Communist Party publications, monographs, journals, pamphlets, and newspapers published in Cuba, Eastern Europe, China, the Soviet Union, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, many of which are not available in North American research libraries. The Daily Worker photo morgue depicts labor, civil rights, peace, and political struggles from 1917 through the 1990s. It graphically captures nearly 75 years of world-wide Communist activities and illustrates the Party's relationship to a wide variety of international social movements.
For ART’s November meeting, the project staff responsible for processing the CPUSA collections at Tamiment Library will discuss the histories of these collections and relate challenges encountered during processing, as well as highlight interesting finds.
Hillel Arnold is the Project Archivist for the photo morgue of the Daily Worker. He holds an MA in History from NYU and a MLIS from Long Island University’s Palmer School. He has worked as Digital Projects Manager for the Foundation for Landscape Studies, developing a digital library of cultural landscape images in collaboration with the Society of Architectural Historians and ArtStor, as well as Archives Assistant at the Woody Guthrie Archives.
Jillian Cuellar is the Processing Archivist for the Communist Party, USA records. Prior to her current position, she worked as a project archivist at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library and as an assistant project archivist at Parsons the New School for Design. She holds a MSLIS with an Advanced Certificate in Archives from Pratt Institute.
Daniel Eshom is the Catalog Librarian for the library of the Reference Center for Marxist Studies. Previously, he worked at Columbia University as metadata specialist for the National Science Foundation's Digital Library, and at Simon & Schuster as copy chief. He is the author of two nonfiction books for young adults (Rosen Publishing) and numerous teacher's guides (Penguin-Putnam). He holds an MA in English Literature from Colorado State University and an MSLIS from Pratt.
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