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Guide to the Carl Lichtenstein Papers TAM 677

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

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Colin Torre

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 10, 2018
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Source - dnr: Lichtenstein, Alice
Title: Carl Lichtenstein Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1967-1992
Abstract: The Carl Lichtenstein Papers include publications and other material collected by Lichtenstein, a member of the Spartacist League and founder and principal archivist of the League's Promethean Research Library, between the years 1970-1990. The collection is comprised of newspapers, articles, flyers, and leaflets that document and comment on radical activity in relation to the affiliates and opponents of the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist).
Quantity: 2 Linear Feet in 2 record cartons
Language: Materials are in English.
Mixed Materials [31142051725094] [Box]: 1
Mixed Materials [31142051725102] [Box]: 2
Call Phrase: TAM 677

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Historical/Biographical Note

Carl Lichtenstein (1942-2011) was a leftist activist, a member of the International Communist League (the Fourth Internationalist Spartacist League), and a founder and principal archivist of the Spartacist League's Prometheus Research Library (PRL). Educated as a nuclear physicist, Lichtenstein received a PhD from Cornell University in 1970. In 1971, he left academia and joined the Communist Party, serving as a member of successive Spartacist League branches in Boston, Los Angeles, Ann Arbor and New York, and as a longtime member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2070. In his role as archivist for the PRL, Lichtenstein developed the library's collections by expanding and refining the scope of its holdings, by collaborating with the libraries of similarly radical organizations, such as the Socialist Workers Party, and by developing methodology for the collection of primary source material related to labor and radical history. In 1975, Lichtenstein traveled to Mexico City in order to preserve and describe the contents of Leon Trotsky's personal library. In addition to his editorial work with the Prometheus Research Series bulletins, Lichtenstein was co-author, with Diana Kartsen, of the books Dog Days: James P. Cannon vs. Max Shachtman in the Communist League of America, 1931-1933 (2002) and  James P. Cannon and the Early Years of American Communism (1992).

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Scope and Content Note

The collection is comprised of publications, articles, flyers, bulletins, and pamphlets collected by Carl Lichtenstein between the years 1970-1992, on subjects including international Communism, Trotskyism, Leninism, Stalinism, health care, civil rights, women's rights, public protest, and the history of socialist and revolutionary movements in the United States and abroad. A majority of the publications were produced by members or allies of the International Spartacist League (Fourth Internationalist), and include issues of the Revolutionary Marxist Committee newsletter, the Revolutionary Communist Youth newsletter, and Workers Action.


This collection has not been arranged by an archivist. The materials are arranged in the order in which they were received from the donor.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Lichtenstein, Alice

Subject Organizations

  • International Spartacist League (Fourth Internationalist)

Subject Topics

  • Trotskyism.
  • Radicalism.
  • Labor movement.
  • Communism -- United States.
  • Libraries and communism -- United States.
  • Socialism -- United States -- 20th century.
  • Civil rights workers.
  • Protest movements.

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by Charles Lichtensteain, the creator of this collection, were relinquished and transferred to the public domain in 2015 by Alice Lichtenstein. These materials are governed by a Creative Commons CC0 license, which permits publication and reproduction of materials accompanied by full attribution. See, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Carl Lichtenstein Papers; TAM 677; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Separated Materials

Books have been removed from the collection and transferred to the library's collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Alice Lichtenstein in 2015. The accession number associated with this gift is 2015.053.

Processing Information note

At the time of accessioning, materials were moved into archival housing, and a collection-level finding aid was created to describe these materials. No physical processing or arrangement was performed at this time.

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