Alexander Trachtenberg Papers, 1870-1975

Scope and Content Note

The Alexander Trachtenberg Papers date 1911-1968 and consist mainly of correspondence and clippings. They are organized in five groups: (1) General Correspondence, (2) Writings and Speeches, (3) a Subject File, (4) Biographical Materials, and (5) Miscellaneous Items.

The General Correspondence, mainly incoming and including several letters in Russian, totals only one folder, filed chronologically. The letters are of scattered dates between 1914 and 1968, with a concentration in the 1950's and early 1960's. Included are letters from L. B. Boudin, 1917; Norman Thomas, 1955, 1959; and Herbert Aptheker, 1960. Also included is a form letter from Norman Cousins, 1965, and one from Robert S. Cohen, Ossie Davis, and Staughton Lynd, 1966. One 1934 letter concerns the John Reed Clubs but the most typical letters are friendly greetings from friends. Also included are occasional copies of Trachtenberg's letters to the editor. Correspondence of a relevant specific nature also can be found in the Subject File and with the Biographical Materials.

The second group, Writings and Speeches, consists of clipped writings by Trachtenberg, 1921 and 1959 Congressional testimony by him, fragmentary notes apparently used in his writings, and reviews and other items concerning his books. Included are a very few typed and annotated drafts of his articles. Trachtenberg's articles primarily concern the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917, socialism in general, the Paris Commune, international labor, and Marx, Engels, and Lenin. They were published in Pearson's Magazine, The Intercollegiate Socialist, Workers Monthly, Worker's Council, and The Communist, and in the newspapers the New York Call, Chicago Socialist, Advance, and Daily Worker.

The Subject File contains correspondence, clippings, and miscellaneous documents such as statements, discussion guidelines, constitutions, etc., concerning organizations and events with which Trachtenberg was involved. The largest folders are those of International Publishers and Trachtenberg's Smith Act trials.

Biographical Materials, the fourth group, consists again of correspondence, clippings, and miscellaneous other documents. One section concerns public celebrations of Trachtenberg's birthdays at ages 50, 60, 70, 75, and 80; he received greetings from many noteworthy people on these occasions. Another folder contains clippings reporting on his speeches and activities, particularly during 1917 and 1918. A third folder contains clipped obituaries and letters of condolences received at his death in 1966.

The final category, Miscellaneous Items, includes just five documents: (1) a page headed “Resolutions submitted to the Anti-War-Meeting, held at Cooper Institute, November 19th, 1870”; (2) a typed attack, written circa 1916 by an unidentified person, on A. M. Simons for his hostility to the Socialist Party; (3) a typed bibliography entitled “'The Marxist & Progressive Press in the United States, A Statistical & Historical Survey' compiled by Oakley C. Johnson, August 7, 1963”; (4) an undated memorandum on the closing of the Social Science Library, New York City, and connected problems; and (5) three typed pages entitled “Statement of the AFL Executive Council on Friendship Between the American and Russian People.”