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Guide to the John Gerassi Papers ALBA.018

Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY, 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive

Collection processed by Craig Savino and Jessica Weglein, July 2005

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on December 13, 2012
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Edited to reflect 2012 addendum and for compliance with DACS and Tamiment Required Elements for Archival Description by Rachel Schimke  , 11/7/2012

Descriptive Summary

 
Creator: Gerassi, John.
Title: John Gerassi Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1979-1983, 2000s
Abstract: Journalist and scholar John ("Tito") Gerassi received his MA at Columbia University and earned his doctorate at the London School of Economics. Among his publications are The Great Fear in  Latin America (1965),  The Boys of Boise (1966), and the biography  Jean-Paul Sartre: Hated Conscience of His Century (1989).  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 consists chiefly of full transcriptions of 65 of the oral histories that were conducted for Gerassi's project (with supporting research materials) and unprocessed materials relating to Gerassi's research on Jean-Paul Sartre.
Quantity: 11.25 linear feet in 10 manuscript boxes and 7 record cartons
Language of Materials note: Most materials are in English, though there are some materials in Spanish and French.
Call Phrase: ALBA.018

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Historical/Biographical Note

Journalist and scholar John ("Tito") Gerassi was born in France in July 1931, to Fernando Gerassi, a Turkish-born artist of Sephardic Jewish heritage, and Ukranian born Stepha Awdykowicz. Moving between Barcelona and Paris, the couple belonged to the cosmopolitan circle of artists and intellectuals who congregated in cafes to argue art and politics, and counted Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir as close friends. When civil war broke out in Spain in 1936, Fernando Gerassi joined the Loyalist forces. He served as a general in the Spanish Army and became the inspiration for the figure of Gomez, the artist and revolutionary in Sartre's trilogy Roads to Freedom. Following the Fascist victory in Spain, the Gerassi family emigrated to the United States in 1940. John Gerassi was raised in New York City and attended Columbia University. He spent a decade in journalism, worked as an editor for  Timeand, later,  Newsweekbefore serving as a foreign correspondent for the  New York Times. He left journalism to pursue a career in academia and earned his doctorate at the London School of Economics. He was an instructor at the John Kennedy Freedom School in Berlin and at the University of California at Irvine before joining the faculty of Queens College of the City University of New York in 1978. Among his publications are  The Great Fear in Latin America(1965);  The Boys of Boise(1966); the biography  Jean-Paul Sartre: Hated Conscience of His Century(1989); and "The Comintern, the Fronts and the CPUSA," in  New Studies in the Politics and Culture of U.S. Communism(1993).

His father's death in 1974 and his own subsequent journey to Barcelona the following year kindled his interest in the Spanish Civil War and the men and woman who volunteered to fight on behalf of the Republic. The Premature Anti-Fascists: Oral History of American and Canadian Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War,Gerassi's tribute to these volunteers, was published in 1986. In the preface to that work, he describes his methodology for selecting and recording the oral histories that became the foundation for his study. In the spring of 1979, Gerassi sent out one-page questionnaires to 300 U.S. and Canadian veterans of the Spanish Civil War:

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Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of oral history transcripts from Gerassi's project, The Premature Anti-Fascists: Oral History of American and Canadian Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, as well as materials used by Gerassi in the course of researching and writing the book. The collection also contains research conducted for his books on Jean-Paul Sartre.

Arrangement

Series I is arranged alphabetically by name. Series II is arranged alphabetically by topic. Series III is unprocessed.

Organized into three series:

  1. Series I: Oral History Transcripts
  2. Series II: Subject Files
  3. Series III: Unprocessed Materials

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Bailey, Bill
  • Bessie, Alvah Cecil, 1904-1985.
  • Brown, Archie, 1911-1990.
  • Colodny, Robert Garland.
  • Dent, Walter.
  • Felsen, Milt, 1912-2005
  • Fishman, Moses (Moe), 1916-
  • Gates, John, 1913-
  • Geiser, Carl
  • Gladnick, Robert.
  • Goff, Irving.
  • Harris, Sydney, 1916-
  • Hunter, Oscar.
  • Hutchins, Evelyn, 1910-1982.
  • Kea, Salaria (O'Reilly)
  • Kilpatrick, Admiral.
  • Lending, Edward Isaac, 1912-2003
  • Lossowski, Vincent, 1914-1984
  • Marzani, Carl
  • Murra, John V.
  • Nelson, Steve, 1903-
  • Ornitz, Lou, 1912-1984
  • Pistone, Rosario.
  • Rosenstein, Herman, 1915-
  • Sartre, Jean-Paul, 1905-1980
  • Scheutrum, Walter.
  • Stamm, Morris.
  • Steck, Robert.
  • Watt, George, 1913-1994
  • Weissman, Irving, 1913-1998
  • Wolff, Milton.

Document Type

  • Articles.
  • Biography files.
  • Correspondence.
  • Drafts (documents)
  • Research (document genres).

Subject Organizations

  • Medical Bureau and North American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy.
  • Spain. Ejercito Popular de la Republica. Abraham Lincoln Battalion.
  • Spain. Ejercito Popular de la Republica. Brigada Internacional, XV.
  • Spain. Ejercito Popular de la Republica. MacKenzie-Papineau Battalion.
  • Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

Subject Topics

  • Oral history.

Subject Places

  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |v Biography.
  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |v Personal narratives.
  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |x African Americans.
  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |x Hospitals.
  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |x Participation, American.
  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |x Women.
  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939.

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Administrative Information

Custodial History note

The John Gerassi Collection was donated to Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives in three separate accessions. The bulk of the material was donated by John Gerassi in 1983. Subsequent donations were made by Betsy Gimbel in 1988 and by Ray Villis in 1997. This collection came to New York University in January 2001 as part of the original acquisition of ALBA collections, formerly housed at Brandeis University. In 2012, an additional donation was made to NYU's collection by John Gerassi's daughter, Lara.

Access Restrictions

Open for research without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the:
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-2630
Fax: (212) 995-4225
E-mail: tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

Related Material at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Archie Brown Papers, ALBA #207.

John Gerassi Oral History Collection, ALBA Audio #18

Vincent Lossowski Papers, ALBA #71.

ALBA collections at the Tamiment Library.

Irving Weissman Papers, ALBA #165.

Alvah Bessie Papers, ALBA #24.

Robert Colodny Papers, ALBA #211.

Separated Material

Photographs and audiotapes from the John Gerassi Collection have been transferred to the non-print section of the ALBA collection in the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. Approximately one linear foot of personal materials from the 2012 accretion was returned to the Gerassi family.

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Container List

Series I: Oral History Transcripts

Scope and Content Note

This series is made up of full transcriptions of 65 of the oral histories that were conducted for Gerassi's project. Included here are transcripts for the following individuals: Bill Bailey, Alvah Bessie, Robert Colodny, Archie Brown, Walter Dent, Milt Felsen, Moe Fishman, John Gates, Carl Geiser, Robert Gladnick, Irving Goff, Syd Harris, Oscar Hunter, Evelyn Hutchins, Salaria Kee (a.k.a. Salaria Kea) O'Reilly, Admiral Kilpatrick, Edward Lending, Vincent Lossowski, Carl Marzani, John Murra, Steve Nelson, Lou Ornitz, Rosario Pistone, Herman Rosenstein (a.k.a. Gabby Klein), Walter Scheutrum, Morris Stamm, Robert Steck, George Watt, Irving Weissman, and Milton Wolff.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Bailey, Bill
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Bailey, Bill (corrected by Bailey)
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Benet, James
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Bessie, Alvah
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Bessie, Alvah (w/corrections by Dan Bessie)
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Bonetti, Frank
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Brennan, William
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Brown, Archie
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Cohen, Milt
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Colodny, Robert
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Colodny, Robert (corrected by Colodny)
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Colow, Murray
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Dent, Walter
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Edwards, Lionel
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Felsen, Milt
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Fishman, Moe
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Forbes, Alex
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Forester, Clarence
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Gates, John
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Geiser, Carl
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Gladnick, Robert (Tape 1 Side A through Tape 3 side F)
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Gladnick, Robert (Tape 4 Side G through Tape 7 Side N)
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Goff, Irving
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Groden, Daniel
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Halonen, Oiva
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Harris, Sidney
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Hunter, Oscar
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Hutchins, Evelyn
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Kilpatrick, Admiral
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 1 Kish, Leslie
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 2 Lamb, Leonard
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 3 Landis, Art
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 4 Liversedge, Ron
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 5 Lloyd, Thomas
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 6 Lossowski, Vincent
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 7 Lossowski, Vincent; Lending, Ed; Miller, David
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 8 McElligot, John Paddy
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 9 MacLeod, Donald
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 10 Maki, Martin
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 11 Markert, Clement
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 12 Markert, Clement (corrected by Markert)
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 13 Markert, Clement (revised by the interviewee)
undated
Box: 5 Folder : 1 Marzani, Carl
undated
Box: 5 Folder : 2 Mattersdorfer, Fred
undated
Box: 5 Folder : 3 Murra, John
undated
Box: 5 Folder : 4 Nelson, Steve
undated
Box: 5 Folder : 5 Nelson Steve (corrections and notes by Nelson)
undated
Box: 5 Folder : 6 Noble, Harry
undated
Box: 5 Folder : 7 Norris, Len
undated
Box: 5 Folder : 8 O’Reilly, Salaria Kee (a.k.a. Salaria Kea)
undated
Box: 5 Folder : 9 O’Reilly, Salaria Kee (a.k.a. Salaria Kea) (duplicate)
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 1 Ornitz, Lou
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 2 Osheroff, Abe
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 3 Penrod, John
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 4 Penrod, John (duplicate)
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 5 Pistone, Rosario
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 6 Prago, Al
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 7 Reed, Robert
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 8 Rintz, Norman
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 9 Rosenstein, Herman
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 10 Rossen, John
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 11 Russell, Ross
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 12 Schmidt, Norman James
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 13 Shantzek, Mike
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 14 Skolnick, Abraham
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 15 Slater, Carl
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 16 Sorensen, Henning
undated
Box: 7 Folder : 1 Stamm, Morris
undated
Box: 7 Folder : 2 Stamm, Morris (radio interview)
undated
Box: 7 Folder : 3 Steck, Bob
undated
Box: 7 Folder : 4 Susman, Bill
undated
Box: 7 Folder : 5 Tisa, John and May
undated
Box: 7 Folder : 6 Watt, George
undated
Box: 7 Folder : 7 Weissman, Irving
undated
Box: 7 Folder : 8 Weissman, Irving (corrected)
undated
Box: 8 Folder : 1 Wellman, Saul (version 1 with edits)
undated
Box: 8 Folder : 2 Wellman, Saul (version 2 with edits)
undated
Box: 8 Folder : 3 Wolff, Milt
undated

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Series II: Subject Files

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of clippings, articles, biographical files, research photocopies of correspondence from the Spanish Civil War-era, and some correspondence between Gerassi and individual veterans. Gerassi used these materials in the course of researching and writing his book. A file related to the Rockefeller Foundation grant received by Gerassi to fund this project can also be found here.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 8 Folder : 4 American Veterans: Contact Sheets
undated
Box: 8 Folder : 5 Bailey, Bill
undated , 1983
Box: 8 Folder : 6 Canadian Veterans: Contact Sheets
undated
Box: 8 Folder : 7 Canadian Volunteers: Government Records, 1937-1938 (photocopies)
undated
Box: 8 Folder : 8 Cartoons about Snipers, signed A.H.L. (photocopies)
undated
Box: 8 Folder : 9 Cohen, Milt
1983
Box: 8 Folder : 10 Fajardo, Jose M.: “The International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War” ( Mundo Obreroarticle)
1979
Box: 8 Folder : 11 Herrick, William
undated
Box: 8 Folder : 12 Larrando, Pacho Fernandez: “Foreigners and Strangers in the Civil War” ( Mucho Obreroarticle)
undated
Box: 8 Folder : 13 Lending, Ed: Correspondence (photocopies 1937, 1961-1979; originals 1980)
undated , 1980
Box: 9 Folder : 1 Liversedge, Ronald (Canadian): Spanish Civil War Memoir, 1965 (photocopied typescript).
undated
Box: 9 Folder : 2 MacEachron, Paul: Correspondence (photocopy, 1937)
undated
Box: 9 Folder : 3 Mykola, Kit: Memoir (Canadian Volunteer)
undated
Box: 9 Folder : 4 Päviö, Jules (Finnish-Canadian Volunteer)
1981
Box: 9 Folder : 5 Poem [Scab]: Author Unknown
undated
Box: 9 Folder : 6 Rockefeller Foundation Grant: Correspondence and Expense Reports
1981-1983
Box: 9 Folder : 7 Robel, Charles Edward: Clippings (photocopies, undated, 1934-1938, 1976)
undated
Box: 9 Folder : 8 Robel, Charles Edward: Correspondence (photocopies, 1937)
undated
Box: 9 Folder : 9 Robel Family: Correspondence (photocopies, 1929-1937)
undated
Box: 9 Folder : 10 Sennett, William: Correspondence
1980
Box: 9 Folder : 11 Smith, Randall (Pete)
undated , 1979
Box: 9 Folder : 12 Spanish Refugee Aid
1978
Box: 9 Folder : 13 Stamm, Morris: Clippings and Legal Documents (photocopies, 1949, 1977-1978)
undated
Box: 9 Folder : 14 Trotsky, Leon and Bertram Wolfe: Correspondence (research photocopies, 1936-1937)
undated
Box: 9 Folder : 15 Veterans: Annotated List
undated
Box: 9 Folder : 16 Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
1981
Box: 9 Folder : 17 VALB: Historical Commission Bulletin
1980
Box: 9 Folder : 18 VALB: Questionnaires: Midwestern and West Coast Veterans
undated
Box: 9 Folder : 19 VALB: Questionnaires: Northeastern Veterans
undated
Box: 9 Folder : 20 Watt, George
undated
Box: 9 Folder : 21 Weissman, Irving
undated
Box: 9 Folder : 22 Wellman, Saul
undated
Box: 9 Folder : 23 Yaroshchuk, Yosyp
undated

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Series III: Unprocessed Materials, 1940s-2000s

Scope and Content Note

The unprocessed materials consist of federal government documents on John Gerassi and his family obtained through the Freedom of Information Act in the 1970s; subject files on various political topics, mainly from the 1970s; Gerassi's research and publicity materials for his biographies of Jean-Paul Sartre; Gerassi's articles and unpublished writings from the late 1960s-late 1980s; biographical materials; and loose news articles collected in the 2000s on a variety of political topics (some with annotations). There are also two reels of microfilm from the Hoover Institution labeled "Nuestra Industria Revista Economica" and approximately 50 cassette tapes, some on Sartre and some labeled "personal" or "political."

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 10-17 Unprocessed Materials
1940s-2000s

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