Jack Alan Robbins Papers, 1965-1977

Summary Information
Title: Jack Alan Robbins Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1965-1977

  • Robbins, Jack Alan
Call Number: Micro 872

Quantity: 7 reels of microfilm (35mm)

Archival Locations:
Wisconsin Historical Society (Map)

Papers of historian and socialist Jack Alan Robbins, consisting of texts and drafts of his two doctoral dissertations on American Trotskyism and French Marxism; drafts, notes, and reference material for other articles and writings; annotated copies of many of the writings of Leon Trotsky; book reviews; copies of the Democratic Left Book Review and Ripples in the Stream; and fragmentary correspondence. Also present are scattered papers concerning a variety of socialist and other organizations.


There is a restriction on use of this material; see the Administrative/Restriction Information portion of this finding aid for details.

Language: English

URL to cite for this finding aid: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/wiarchives.uw-whs-micr0872
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Historian and socialist Jack Alan Robbins was born June 22, 1944 to Phillip and Marian Robbins of Mt. Vernon, New York. He attended local schools prior to studying government and international relations and Soviet and Eastern European area studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he received a B.A. in 1966. Robbins then pursued graduate work in political science at Fordham University, from which he received both an M.A. and a Ph.D. (1972). At Fordham Robbins researched and wrote a dissertation on American Trotskyism, 1928-1941, a topic which was ultimately rejected in 1969 as too controversial by the department of political science. The following year Robbins began a second dissertation on French Marxist Maurice Merleau-Ponty, which was eventually accepted for the degree in 1972.

During the school years, 1967-1969, Robbins was a teaching assistant at Fordham, and later worked with the Urban Renewal Department of Mt. Vernon and in the public information office of Fordham for summer vacations and other short breaks. In January 1970 he became the executive director of the Mt. Vernon Human Rights Commission, a position that he held for several years. Since receiving his doctorate, Robbins has turned his attention to writing and reviewing the works of others. He has written drafts and prospectuses of several articles, books, and anthologies, as well as numerous book reviews for different journals. Robbins has also been active in the Middle Atlantic Radical Historians Organization, and presented a paper at the 1976 convention. He served as editor and publisher of the Democratic Left Book Review and its successor, Ripples in the Stream, and in 1974 had a weekly show, The Literary Scene, on WARY Radio, Westchester College, Valhalla, New York.

Scope and Content Note

The papers of Jack Alan Robbins have been arranged into three series. The largest series consists of the Writings of Jack Robbins, with the other series being Organizations with which he was active, and Miscellany.

The WRITINGS OF JACK ROBBINS include examples of all types of works; drafts of books, articles, and book reviews; pieces written for inclusion in anthologies; a dramatic adaptation; radio scripts of book reviews; college term papers; an index to all Trotsky articles in The Militant; and drafts of both of Robbins's dissertations. Documentation of Robbins's first dissertation, “American Trotskyism, 1928-1941: Birth of a Revolutionary Marxist Movement,” is most complete, consisting of prospectuses and plans of work, correspondence with advisors, outlines, notes, questionnaires used to gather information, bibliographies, the text of the paper, and extensive reference material. Within the reference material are annotated copies of writings of Leon Trotsky, 1906-1939, and several contemporary articles regarding Trotsky. Similar material is present regarding Robbins's second dissertation, “Merleau-Ponty on Marxism, 1945-1955: A Dialectic of Politics and Philosophy,” including the text, a handwritten draft and a typewritten revision, correspondence, outlines, proposals, and bibliographies.

Other writings by Robbins in the collection are “The Last Year of 'Che' Guevara,” a 1968 article, with a partial text, notes, and reference material; book reviews written for his 1974 radio show; and texts and drafts of The Complete Poetry of John Reed, a Greenwich Village writer, activist, and supporter of the Russian Revolution, and of Literary Horizons. Both of these anthologies were edited by Robbins. Other works edited by Robbins are present in partial form, or only as proposed projects, including Bayard Rustin, From Protest to Politics, Socialism Today: The Reorientation Since Norman Thomas, “Problems of Democratic Socialism and Problems of Marxism in the Third World,” and a collection of the essays of Max Eastman entitled Communism, Socialism, and Democracy: A Perspective of 50 Years. Robbins also edited for two years the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee's Democratic Left Book Review, and its successor, Ripples in the Stream, for which there are printed copies, drafts of reviews and articles, and a few printing invoices. Another of Robbins's editorial projects is a collection of the literary essays, 1954-1974, of James T. Farrell, edited by Robbins in 1976, with the draft may be found a table of contents, reference materials, and correspondence. From Robbins' college days are files of term papers, 1965-1968, and his adaptation of the Albert Camus play, Les Juste, which Robbins also produced at the University of Notre Dame. A final portion of the series consists of fragmentary correspondence, mainly pertaining to writing projects, reviews, a written critique by Paul Buhle, and articles, excerpts, and reference materials by and about James T. Farrell, Newton Arvin, Herman Melville, and Henry James.

The ORGANIZATIONS file contains materials regarding many socialist and other groups with which Robbins was active. From the Mt. Vernon Commission on Human Rights, there are correspondence, papers concerning board meetings and a complaint filed against Robbins, and his notes defending his actions, Papers of the Socialist Scholars Conference date from the period of Robbins' membership on the steering committee, and include correspondence, 1970 conference papers, and lists of steering committee members. The Middle Atlantic Radical Historians Organization is represented by abstracts and other 1976 conference material, including items regarding Robbins's paper “Granville Hicks and Marxist Literary Criticism.” Papers of other organizations in the collection consist of printed correspondence and memoranda, leaflets, and flyers.

A small amount of MISCELLANY in the collection is composed of a typescript, an unidentified and undated work (possibly a dissertation) on political philosophy, and a few leaflets documenting the visit of Raya Dunayevskaya to the United States.

Administrative/Restriction Information
Use Restrictions

Jack Alan Robbins retains all literary rights to material in the collection.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Jack Alan Robbins, White Plains, New York, 1970-1977. Accession Number: M70-282, M73-154, M73-316, M73-341, M73-377, M74-33, M74-90, M74-291, M75-70, M75-594, M76-269, M77-159

Processing Information

Processed for microfilming by John Wright and Menzi Behrnd-Klodt, August 1981.

Contents List
Series: Writings of Jack Robbins
“American Trotskyism, 1928-1941: Birth of a Revolutionary Marxist Movement,” PhD dissertation, Department of Political Science, Fordham University
Reel   1
Frame   1-24
Plan of work, correspondence, bibliographies, 1967; prospectus, revised prospectus, outlines, 1968
Reel   1
Frame   25-75
Correspondence, 1966, re: dissertation research; notes
Reel   1
Frame   76-116
Questionnaires used for dissertation
Reel   1
Frame   117-416
Text of dissertation
Reel   1
Frame   417-528
Reference Material Used for Dissertation
Reel   1
Frame   529-591
Periodical citations and notes re: Trotsky
Reel   1
Frame   592-758
Articles on Trotsky, reference materials, correspondence, excerpts of Trotsky's writings
Works By and About Trotsky
Reel   1
Frame   759-769
Court Speech at 1906 Trial for 1905 Petrograd Soviet Insurrection
Reel   1
Frame   770-882
The Bolsheviki and World Peace, 1914
Reel   1
Frame   883-902
Chapters From My Diary, 1917
Reel   1
Frame   903-978
Our Proletarian Revolution, with V. Lenin, 1917
Reel   1
Frame   979-1001
Our Military Construction and Our Fronts, 1919
Reel   1
Frame   1002-1040
Towards Socialism or Capitalism?, 1925
Reel   2
Frame   1-26
Towards Socialism or Capitalism?, continued
Reel   2
Frame   27-126
The Real Situation in Russia, 1927
Reel   2
Frame   127-138
World Unemployment and the Five Year Plan, 1930
Reel   2
Frame   139-176
Communism and Syndicalism, 1931
Reel   2
Frame   168-182
What Hitler Wants, 1933
Reel   2
Frame   183-198
The Soviet Union and the Fourth International, 1934
Reel   2
Frame   199-275
Articles from The New International, July 1934-June 1936, and other journals
Reel   2
Frame   276-291
The Revolution in Spain, 1937
Reel   2
Frame   292-304
Leon Sedoff, Son, Friend, Fighter, 1938
Reel   2
Frame   305-315
“Hitler's National Socialism,” Yale Review, December 1933
Reel   2
Frame   316-319
“Trotski Pro and Con,” The Living Age, June 1934
Reel   2
Frame   320-330
“If World War Comes Again,” Yale Review, June 1938
Reel   2
Frame   331-358
The Spanish Revolution in Danger, 1938
Reel   2
Frame   359-372
In Defense of the Soviet Union, 1939
Reel   2
Frame   373-599
Articles by Trotsky
Reel   2
Frame   600-743
Militant Index - Trotsky articles
“The Last Year of 'Che' Guevara: Death in the Mountains of Bolivia,” 1968
Reel   2
Frame   744-862
Partial text and notes
Reel   2
Frame   863-1069
Reference material and miscellany
“Merleau-Ponty on Marxism, 1945-1955: A Dialectic of Politics and Philosophy,” PhD dissertation, Department of Political Science, Fordham University, 1971
Reel   3
Frame   1-278
Text of dissertation
Reel   3
Frame   279-326
Correspondence re: topics, outlines, proposals, prospectuses, and bibliographies, 1970-1971
Reel   3
Frame   327-646
Outline, handwritten draft
Reel   3
Frame   647-883
Typed, revised draft
Reel   3
Frame   884-945
Bayard Rustin, From Protest to Politics, edited and with an introduction by Jack Alan Robbins - articles, tentative table of contents, correspondence
Reel   3
Frame   946-1122
Partial/draft of The Militant, by Robbins
Reel   4
Frame   1-69
“The Literary Scene,” WARY Radio Show, Westchester College, Valhalla, New York, 1974 - Press release, scripts of book reviews presented by Robbins
Reel   4
Frame   70-90
Socialism Today: The Reorientation Since Norman Thomas, edited by Robbins - Correspondence, proposals, bibliographies, and outline, 1971
Reel   4
Frame   91-278
“Problems of Democratic Socialism and Problems of Marxism in the Third World” - Book proposals, outlines and reference materials (some in French)
Reel   4
Frame   279-384
Communism, Socialism and Democracy: A Perspective of 50 Years - Essays by Max Eastman, edited by Robbins. Correspondence, outlines, table of contents, partial draft, bibliographies, articles by Eastman, reference materials.
The Complete Poetry of John Reed, edited by Robbins, with an introduction by Granville Hicks, and memoir by Max Eastman, 1973
Reel   4
Frame   385-546
Typed text
Reel   4
Volume   547-688
Draft of text
Reel   4
Frame   689-888
Drafts, reference material
Literary Horizons, co-edited by Granville Hicks, Oscar Cargill, and Robbins, 1973 (alternate title: Granville Hicks on British and Canadian Writers)
Reel   4
Frame   889-1120
Typed draft
Reel   5
Frame   1-144
Typed draft, continued
Reel   5
Frame   145-232
Democratic Left Book Review, Vol. I. nos. 1-5, Oct. 1974-Jan. 1975 - Correspondence, printed copies, drafts, draft reviews
Reel   5
Frame   233-279
Ripples in the Stream, Vol. I. nos. 1-3, Mar/Apr - Sept/Oct 1975 - Drafts, printed copies, reviews, printing invoices
Manuscript of literary essays, 1954-1974, of James T. Farrell, 1976
Reel   7
Frame   1-127
Draft of work, table of contents, correspondence, reference material
Reel   7
Frame   128-348
Reference material
Reel   5
Frame   280-319
Adaptation of Les Juste, Act I, by Albert Camus, adapted by Robbins for production at the University of Notre Dame, May 1965 - Revised script, directions, notes
Reel   5
Frame   320-691
Term papers, 1965-1968
Reel   5
Frame   692-924
Correspondence, reviews, other materials, 1966-1974
Series: Organizations
Reel   5
Frame   925-969
Mt. Vernon Commission on Human Rights, 1969-1973, undated
Reel   6
Frame   2-126
Socialist Scholars Conference, 1968-1970
Reel   6
Frame   127-347
Socialist Party-Democratic Socialist Federation, U.S.A., 1969-1973
Reel   6
Frame   348-381
International Union of Social Democratic Teachers, 1970-1971
Reel   6
Frame   382-492
League for Industrial Democracy, 1970-1973
Reel   6
Frame   493-522
Social Democrats U.S.A., 1973-1974
Reel   6
Frame   523-537
Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, 1973-1974 - Study Group papers
Reel   6
Frame   538-545
U.S. Committee for Justice to Latin American Political Prisoners, 1974
Reel   6
Frame   546-589
Middle Atlantic Radical Historians Organization, 1976
Reel   7
Frame   360-364
Conference Material, 1977
Series: Miscellany
Reel   6
Frame   590-938
Unidentified manuscript, typewritten, undated
Reel   7
Frame   349-359
Raya Dunayevskaya - Visit to United States