See all finding aids in this repository

Table of Contents

Print / View Finding Aid as Single Page

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives logo

Guide to the Reference Center for Marxist Studies Pamphlet Collection PE.043

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 Adrien Hilton

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 30, 2018
Description is in English

Historical/Biographical Note

The Reference Center for Marxist Studies (RCMS) was a radical library closely affiliated with the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA). Formed during the 1970s or early 1980s, it was located at the CPUSA headquarters in New York City. The RCMS library contained thousands of books, pamphlets, and serials devoted to the study of communism, the history of the CPUSA, socialism, the working class, African-Americans, women's issues, and national liberation struggles. Included were writings from a Marxist perspective on nearly every topic of historical and current interest. The RCMS was dedicated to serving the interests of students, scholars, political activists, community organizers, and trade unionists. The Center also sponsored cultural and educational programs, lectures, forums, and discussions.

The RCMS collection was formed through donations by American Marxists, labor leaders, and activists, as well as from the libraries of the Party-associated Jefferson School of Social Science and the Ruthenberg Library of its predecessor, the Workers' School, and from the CPUSA. One of the features of the library was its vast collection of pamphlets, categorized by over 800 subjects. Topics included: the activities of the CPUSA, including its early years, anti-communist movements, civil rights, the labor movement and individual labor unions, the peace movement, various Communist countries, and anti-colonial and national liberation movements. From the RCMS brochure about their collection of pamphlets, "the pamphlet collection is invaluable. It ranges from out-of-print 'penny pamphlets' of bygone activist days which have come out of closets onto our shelves to current issues relating to working class struggles."

The Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), founded in 1919 by members of the left wing of the Socialist Party USA, played an important role in the labor movement, particularly in the building of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, in struggles for civil rights for African Americans, while its cultural initiatives attracted a number of prominent artists and intellectuals, and its struggles to attain and maintain its legality were an important chapter in the history of U.S. civil liberties.