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Guide to the Edward K. Barsky Papers ALBA.125

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 Collection processed by Jessica Weglein

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 08, 2017
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

Series I, Aid to Spain, 1937-1957, documents Barsky's work in Spain and his subsequent efforts on behalf of the Spanish refugees who were force into exile after the fall of the Republic. Materials that date from the Spanish Civil War include medical reports issued by the International Brigades; commendations from the Spanish Republic; clippings pertaining to Barsky's activities in Spain; AMB pamphlets; and a license granting Barsky permission to use a camera.

The bulk of these materials cover Barsky's work with the JAFRC, from its inception in 1941 to its dissolution in 1955. Included here is correspondence, reports, press releases, pamphlets, newsletters, materials related to fundraising events, the organization's constitution, and copies of addresses delivered by Barsky in his capacity as chairman. Notable materials include records and correspondence dealing with HUAC's investigation of the organization; and signed letters from Sean O'Casey, Dorothy Parker, and Paul Robeson promoting the cause of the JAFRC.

Also notable is the text of a Henry Wallace speech decrying the U.S. government's pro-Franco policy; pamphlets, articles, and correspondence relating to the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB) including materials protesting VALB's inclusion on the Attorney General's list of subversive organizations; a transcript of a meeting between Milton Wolff and the U.S. State Department on Spanish prisoners condemned to death; and clippings related to the Spanish refugee crisis.

Series II, Subject Files, 1950-1973. These files offer a glimpse into some of Barsky's political and professional preoccupations. Included here are materials related to his activities with the America Labor Party; a speech Barsky delivered paying tribute to editor of the Soviet Russia Today (later named New World Review) and Communist Party organizer Jessica Smith; and a proposal for the establishment of a private hospital in New York City.

Series III Trials & Hearings, 1946-1960, consist of legal records pertaining to the JAFRC's contempt trials, the Board of Regent's action against Barsky's, and the court cases that ensued. In addition to briefs and legal proceedings, are copies of an Amici Curiae brief -- filed by Barsky's medical colleagues --, and a petition of support signed by 621 physicians. This series also contains incoming and outgoing correspondence, with letters of support written to Barsky while he was imprisoned, and character references written to the parole board on his behalf prior to his release. There is also a separate file of correspondence related to the Board of Regents hearings and trials. Notable is a signed letter from journalist Vincent Sheean offering a first-hand account of Barsky's work in Spain and a review of Sheean efforts to defend Barsky and other members of the JAFRC during their contempt trials. There are also several documents that record his incarceration including a receipt of property noting the garments and other personal effects he surrendered when he entered the federal penitentiary to serve his term.

Series IV, Writings, Undated, 1937-1958, includes Barsky's unpublished memoir, "A Surgeon Goes to War," which gives an account of his time organizing medical units and operating on the frontlines in Spain; and a signed typescript of Sandor Voros' work on the American hospitals and international medical services during the Spanish Civil War. This series also includes a copy of Bulgarian physician Tsvetan Angelov Kristanov's account of his term as medical director of the International Brigades in Spain. The book, which is in Russian, includes a personal inscription to Barsky from the author, and a partial translation of the introduction. There is also an essay by an unidentified physician (perhaps Barsky) describing setting up emergency surgery units at the front. Two essays without attribution on academic freedom and co-education may be the work of Vita Lauter Barsky.


Series I and II are arranged alphabetically. Series III consists of two sections: the legal proceedings are arranged chronologically, followed by subject files, which are arranged alphabetically. Series IV is arranged alphabetically by author.

Organized into three series:

Missing Title

  1. I. Aid to Spain, 1937-1957.
  2. II. Subject Files, 1950-1973.
  3. III. Trials & Hearings, 1946-1960.
  4. IV. Writings, Undated, 1937-1958.