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Guide to the Edward Isaac Lending Papers ALBA.068

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Wendy Scheir, October 2004

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 20, 2017
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Lending, Edward Isaac, 1912-2003
Title: Edward Isaac Lending Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1937-1995, (Bulk 1978-1995)
Dates [bulk]: bulk
Abstract: Edward Isaac Lending (1912-2003) fought with the International Brigades in Spain and later served in the United States Army during World War II. This collection includes Lending’s correspondence with veterans (primarily dating from the 1970s and 1980s); writings, which include articles, letters to editors and typescripts for speaking engagements; as well as a small number of documents dating from the Spanish Civil War and World War II periods.
Quantity: 1.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes)
Language: Materials are in English.
Call Phrase: ALBA.068

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Historical/Biographical Note

Isaac Edward Lending was born March 24, 1912 and raised in the Bronx. His father, who ran a textile trimmings business, was a religious Jew and early member of the Zionist Organization of America. As a young man, Lending switched the order of his first and middle names, and was known thereafter as Edward Isaac Lending.

Lending studied journalism and business at City College of New York and New York University, but never completed his degree. In 1935 he joined the Communist Party and in 1937, at 27 years old, he departed for Spain aboard the Ile de France to join the International Brigades in fighting the Spanish Civil War. Over the next 21 months, Lending played a variety of roles in the war. He fought and was wounded in the Battle of Brunete. When he recovered, he was promoted to sergeant and fought in the Battles of Quinto and Belchite. In a break from fighting, Lending edited Brigade newspaper Our Fight and worked with volunteer Robert Steck in the Cultural Commission organizing a theatrical troop to entertain rearguard units. In December 1937, Lending volunteered for anti-aircraft service, joining the German Dimitrov Battery in the air defense of Barcelona.

After returning to the U.S. in December 1938, Lending became a member of the Executive Board of the Veterans of the Abraham Brigade (VALB). In 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in World War II, putting his anti-aircraft experience to use in Belgium and Holland. During Lending's service an Army Service Forces investigation reported on his political activities. The report concluded that Lending was to be barred from attending Officer Candidate School as well as from performing a host of security-related duties. He was, however, granted an honorable discharge in 1946.

Lending pursued his political goals through journalism and public speaking, meanwhile making his living in sales and advertising in New York City. He married Jean Strunsky in 1949 and lived in Mexico City between 1950 and 1952. In 1960 he married Florence Davis. Their only child together died of Tay-Sachs Disease at age three.

While Lending had been devoted to the Communist Party between 1935 and 1943, his disillusionment with policy dictated by Soviet Party leadership had been growing at least since the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939 to the point where he completely severed ties with the Party in 1943. Around this time Lending also grew critical of the VALB organization for what he perceived to be its rigid political orthodoxy. He gradually distanced himself from VALB and embarked upon what became a lifelong mission to persuade his former Spanish Civil War comrades, among others, to reject the Communist Party line. He gave talks, conducted correspondence with veterans, publicly challenged VALB in its publication, the Volunteer, and wrote numerous articles and letters to editors on the issue.

Another effort to which Lending devoted much time and energy was raising awareness of Jewish participation in the Spanish Civil War. Among other activities, he joined an endeavor led by veteran Irving Weissman to secure pension rights for struggling Polish Jewish veterans of the Botwin Company; and he initiated a campaign to commemorate Jewish fighters in Spain.

In 1978, after a brief period managing the family textile business, Lending retired and moved with Florence to Florida. The couple made frequent trips to Israel to be with Lending's stepson and family.

Lending died in Florida on September 24, 2003 at the age of 91.

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Scope and Content Note

Series I, Correspondence.

This series comprises Lending’s incoming and outgoing correspondence primarily written in the late 1970s and the 1980s. All of Lending’s correspondence reflects the deep impression the Spanish Civil War made on him. In letters with Victor Berch (archivist of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archive at Brandeis University) and Peter Carroll (while Carroll was researching his book Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade), among others, Lending recounts tales of battles, revisits the intricate political controversies of the period, memorializes fallen comrades and analyzes the impact that the war had on his life and politics. Many of the letters reflect Lending’s lifelong project to disabuse others, especially former Spanish Civil War comrades, of their allegiance to what he considered to be the hypocrisy and betrayal of Communism. Veterans with whom Lending corresponded include Moe Fishman, John Gerassi, Manny Harriman, Ben Iceland, Charles Nusser, Albert Prago, Abe Osheroff and George Watt. Other of Lending’s correspondence focuses upon his efforts to gain public recognition for Jewish participation in the Spanish Civil War. Correspondence also includes exchanges with political philosopher Sidney Hook; with veteran David Miller, who conducted an extensive interview with Lending (see Series II for transcript); with Morris Schappes, editor of Jewish Currents; and with Irving Weissman. A file of Lending’s letters to writer Ronald Radosh does not include Radosh’s replies.

Series II, Subject Files.

This series is comprised of documents primarily produced between the 1970s and 1990s. Exceptions include a hand-drawn "Wall-Paper" score chart from Spain rating the achievement of tasks by different Lincoln Brigade companies; a skit and poem, possibly written in conjunction with Robert Steck’s cultural commission; a portion of a diary by an unidentified volunteer; and an Army Service Forces investigation of Lending’s Communist activities conducted in 1944, during his service in World War II. A partial transcript of an interview with Lending conducted by veteran David Miller covers Lending’s childhood, his political dawning in the 1930s, a period spent working at the socialist Camp Unity, and encounters with political orthodoxy in Spain that fed his growing disenchantment with the Communist Party. (The audiotapes associated with this transcript have been separated into the non-print collection; consult staff for access.)

Evidence of Lending’s criticism of VALB includes a negative analysis of a VALB-sponsored proposal to develop a high school curriculum on the history of the Abraham Lincoln Brigades.

A cross-section of Lending’s writings are represented here, including articles published in Jewish Currents, the Florida Sun-Sentinel, Horizonand the  Volunteer; as well as numerous letters to editors. Other writings include a typescript about anti-aircraft battle that appears to be based in part upon a memoir written by comrade Jim Persoff (this memoir appears elsewhere in this series); and typescripts for public speaking engagements.


Arranged alphabetically within each series.

Organized into 2 series:

Missing Title

  1. I, Correspondence
  2. II, Subject files

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Hook, Sidney, 1902-1989
  • Watt, George, 1913-1994
  • Weissman, Irving, 1905-
  • Geiser, Carl
  • Carroll, Peter N.
  • Berch, Victor A.
  • Fishman, Moses (Moe), 1916-
  • Harriman, Manny.
  • Persoff, James.
  • Osheroff, Abe.
  • Miller, David, 1908-1977
  • Lending, Edward Isaac, 1912-2003
  • Iceland, Benjamin, 1910-1990
  • Schappes, Morris U. (Morris Urman), 1907-

Document Type

  • Drafts (documents)
  • Typescripts.
  • Personal papers.
  • Research (document genres).
  • Diaries
  • Biography files.
  • Correspondence.
  • Articles.

Subject Organizations

  • Spain. Ejercito Popular de la Republica. Brigada Internacional, XV
  • Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives
  • Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
  • Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Historical Commission
  • Spain. Ejercito Popular de la Republica. Abraham Lincoln Battalion

Subject Topics

  • Brunete, Battle of, Brunete, Spain, 1937.
  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939.

Subject Places

  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939 -- Personal narratives.
  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |x Participation, Polish.
  • Barcelona (Spain)
  • Mt. Juic (Spain)
  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |x Aerial operations.
  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939 -- Participation, American.
  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939 -- Campaigns.
  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |v Biography.
  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |x Participation, Jewish.
  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939 -- International brigades.

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Administrative Information


The Edward Isaac Lending Papers were donated to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives between 1978 and 1994 by Edward Isaac Lending. This collection came to New York University in January 2001 as part of the original acquisition of ALBA collections, formerly housed at Brandeis University.

Access Restrictions

Materials are open to researchers. Please contact the Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives for more information and to schedule an appointment, tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu or 212-998-2630.

Use Restrictions

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA), were transferred to New York University in November 2000 by the ALBA Board of Governors. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from the Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. For more information, contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu or 212-998-2630.

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

ALBA collections at the Tamiment Library.

Separated Material

Six audiotapes and three photographs from the Spanish Civil War period have been transferred from the Edward Isaac Lending Papers to the non-print section of the ALBA collection in the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives.

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Container List

Series I: Correspondence

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Correspondence: General
Jan 1970-Mar 1995
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Bedrick, Ron
undated , Apr 1990-Aug 1993
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Berch, Victor
Apr 1980-Nov 1996
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Brooks, Christopher
Jul 1993-May 1995
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Carroll, Peter
Jun 1991-Aug 1994
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Chesler, Frank
Dec 1978-Aug 1980
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Colow, Maury
Aug 1968-Oct 1968 , Oct 1991
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Fishman, Moe
Dec 1961 , Oct 1995
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Gerassi, John
Feb 1980-Apr 1980
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Harriman, Manny
Sep 1978-Nov 1978
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Hendricks, Jeffrey
Oct 1990-Dec 1990
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Hook, Sidney
Jan 1988-Jul 1989
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Iceland, Ben
Mar 1979-Nov 1989
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Kaufman, Sidney
Sep 1988-Jan 1995
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Lamb, Leonard
Aug 1975-Mar 1980
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Marr, Eric (U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum)
Nov 1993-Sep 1994
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Miller, David
Feb 1974-Nov 1977
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Nusser, Charles
Feb 1985-Nov 1992
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Osheroff, Abe
undated , Dec 1983-May 1995
Box: 1 Folder : 20 Prago, Albert
May 1979-Apr 1982
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Radosh, Ronald
Apr 1986-Mar 1995
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Ross, Adolph
Oct 1984-Nov 1985
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Schappes, Morris ( Jewish Currents)
Feb 1980-May 1995
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Smith, Randall (Pete)
undated , Apr 1979-Jan 1982
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Steck, Robert
undated , Aug 1979-Mar 1987
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Watt, George
Oct 1979-Feb 1992
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Weissman, Irving
undated , Mar 1985-May 1995

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Series II: Subject Files

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Abraham Lincoln Brigade Film Project: The Good Fight
Jan 1982-Apr 1984
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Asociacion de Ex-Presos y Represalindos Politicos: Spanish reparations effort
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Chisholm, Malcolm
Aug 1989-Sep 1990
Box: 2 Folder : 11 City College Volunteers in Spain
undated , May 1978
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Cohen, Morris
May 1991-Jun 1991
Box: 2 Folder : 13 Geiser, Carl: on Cuba
Box: 2 Folder : 14 Geiser, Carl: Prisoners of the Good Fightproject
undated , Dec 1980-Jan 1981
Box: 2 Folder : 15 German Democratic Republic: Report by Spanish Civil War Veteran
Box: 2 Folder : 16 International conference on the Spanish Civil War
Apr 1979
Box: 2 Folder : 17 Jewish Immigration to Palestine: Basque participation
Feb 1992
Box: 2 Folder : 18 Jewish Veterans: General
undated , Jan 1992-Sep 1994
Box: 2 Folder : 19 Jewish Veterans: Mt. Juic, Barcelona memorial
undated , Dec 1989-Feb 1994
Box: 2 Folder : 20 Jewish Veterans: Plans for reunion and memorial
undated , Nov 1982-Jun 1984
Box: 2 Folder : 21 Lending, Edward: Army Service Forces investigation of
Jun 1944
Box: 2 Folder : 22 Lending, Edward: Biographical
undated , Aug 1994
Box: 2 Folder : 23 Lending, Edward: Transcript of audiotaped interview by David Miller
Jul 1975
Box: 2 Folder : 24 March on Washington: No war in the Middle East
Jan 1991
Box: 2 Folder : 25 Morrissey and Ibrahim vs. Joseph Curran et al (pamphlet)
Box: 2 Folder : 26 Obituaries and Memorials
May 1960 , Dec 1977-Jan 1995
Box: 2 Folder : 27 Persoff, James: Spanish Civil War memoir—Description of battle
Box: 2 Folder : 28 Spanish Civil War: Articles about
undated , Feb 1969-Nov 1982
Box: 2 Folder : 29 Spanish Civil War: Diary (unidentified, photocopy)
Box: 2 Folder : 30 Spanish Civil War Historical Society
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Spanish Civil War: Poem and Skit
Jun 1938-Dec 1938
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Spanish Civil War: Postcards
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Spanish Civil War: Volunteer for Liberty (newspaper, w/note from Lending)
July 1938
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Spanish Civil War: Wall-Paper Score Chart
Jan 1938
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Teachers Union: "Boys in Spain" Subscription form
Box: 3 Folder : 6 VALB: Correspondence
undated , Oct 1972 , Jan 1979-Jul-94
Box: 3 Folder : 7 VALB: High school curriculum on Abraham Lincoln Brigade history
Dec 1989-Jan 1990
Box: 3 Folder : 8 VALB: Historical Committee
Nov 1980-Nov 1981
Box: 3 Folder : 9 VALB: Minutes
Dec 1980-Sep 1982
Box: 3 Folder : 10 VALB: Pensions for Polish Veterans
undated , Sep 1972-Dec 1990
Box: 3 Folder : 11 VALB: "Washington Merry-Go-Round"
Apr 1943
Box: 3 Folder : 12 Writings: on Barcelona Reunion 1988
Box: 3 Folder : 13 Writings: "Chronicles of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade" (talk)
Oct 1986
Box: 3 Folder : 14 Writings: "Jews Who Fought" (talk)
Jan 1991
Box: 3 Folder : 15 Writings: "Joe’s Long Shadow" (on Joe Dallet)
Box: 3 Folder : 16 Writings: Letters to the Editor
undated , Sep 1973-Mar 1991
Box: 3 Folder : 17 Writings: "Los Rompedores"
Box: 3 Folder : 18 Writings: "Los Rompedores" -- Correspondence regarding
Apr 1985-Nov 1985
Box: 3 Folder : 19 Writings: "Nostalgia"
Sep 1982
Box: 3 Folder : 20 Writings: Published – General
May 1976-Apr 1990
Box: 3 Folder : 21 Writings: Published -- Sun-Sentinel(South Florida)
Mar 1983-Apr 1995
Box: 3 Folder : 22 Writings: on Spanish Civil War, Description of Battle
Box: 3 Folder : 23 Writings: on Spanish Civil War (Florida Atlantic University talk)
Oct 1986
Box: 3 Folder : 24 Writings: Submitted to The Volunteer
undated , Jul 1978-Aug 1994
Box: 3 Folder : 25 Writings: "Textbooks in the Trenches"

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