Jack Alan Robbins Papers, 1965-1977

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.