Spanish Civil War Pamphlets Accessible Online

September 28, 2012

The Southern Worker featuring Kenneth Bridenthal. Internet Archive.

The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has several pamphlets and magazines related to American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War in its online collection.  These open source documents provide access to materials normally accessible only within an archive.  All of these items were published for fundraising and propaganda purposes and provide a view of what was being consumed on the home front.  The items available include:

From a Hospital in Spain, Nurses Write. Medical Bureau to Aid Spanish Democracy, [1937]. This fundraising pamphlet includes letters, or excerpts of letters, from nurses and other female personnel in the American Medical Bureau. Letter writers include Mildred Rackley, Fredericka Martin, Rose Freed, and Lini Fuhr.  An interview with Dr. Edward Barsky is also included in the pamphlet.  Link here.

From the Cradle of Liberty to the Tomb of Fascism. The Communist Party of Eastern Pennsylvania, undated [1938]. The pamphlet publishes a collection of letters written by volunteers from Philadelphia.  Most of the letters’ authors are identified.  The list includes Earl Luppo [Leppo], Morris H. Wickman, Steve Nelson, Joe Drill, Andrew Pape, Manuel Shapiro, Joe Dougher, Martin Hourihan, Harry Walach [Wallach], and Barney Spaulding. Among the letters signed with only a first name is one signed by “Bertha.”  From the letter’s content it is apparent that this is from Bertha Kipness, a nurse from Philadelphia, who served with the American Medical Bureau. The majority of letters were written between May and August 1937. Several of the letter’s authors were later killed in action.

In addition to the letters, the pamphlet includes a list of men from Philadelphia who were killed in Spain including Joseph Seligman Jr., Luigi Barrelli[?], Morris H. Wickman, Chester Mujlianas, George Dyken, Dmitri Semenoff, John Johnson, Robert Greenleaf, Konstantinos Romanzes, Aino Petaya and Frank Watkins. It is also one of the only sources to mention John Parks, one of the first American volunteers to die in Spain. He was killed when two trucks carrying Lincoln Battalion soldiers to the Jarama Front took a wrong turn and passed into enemy lines. It notes “John Parks in the Hands of the Enemy since February 28, 1937.”  Note the date listed is twelve days after the trucks were lost on February 16th. Link here.

Letters from Spain, by Joe Dallet American Volunteer to his Wife. New York Workers Library Publishers, 1938.  A collection of Joe Dallet’s letters home to his wife, published after his death at Fuentes de Ebro. The pamphlet includes a biographical sketch of Dallet along with brief memorials by William Foster, Earl Browder, Tim Buck, Steve Nelson, and John Williamson.  Link here.

Next Step to Win the War in Spain. Workers Library publishers, January 1938. Transcripts of speeches presented by Earl Browder, Head of the American Communist Party, and Bill Lawrence, former Albacete Base Commissar.  Link here.

Southern Worker, Magazine of the Common People of the South, Vol. 5, No. 16. Chattanooga, Tennessee: Communist Party of the USA in the South, July 1937. This issue includes an article on volunteer Fred Williams’s family by Pat Barr titled “Mary And I Are Glad Our Son Went To Spain.”  Although Williams was previously identified as an African American, this article suggests he may have been Caucasian. The article focuses on the family and their working class background.  Williams did not return from Spain and it is assumed that he was killed in the closing stage of the Ebro Offensive.  Link here.

Southern Worker, Magazine of the Common People of the South, Vol. 5, No. 17, Chattanooga, Tennessee: Communist Party of the USA in the South, September 1937. The magazine features Alabama volunteer Kenneth Bridenthal on its cover and reprints a letter previously published in the Birmingham Post. Link here.

Story of the Lincoln Battalion, Written in the Trenches in Spain. New York: Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion, [1937]. This is the pamphlet written by volunteer John Tisa that focuses on the first actions of the Lincolns. It is the earliest published account of the Jarama period. Link here.

Chris Brooks maintains ALBA’s biographical dictionary of the U.S. volunteers in the Spanish Civil War.


3 Responses to “ Spanish Civil War Pamphlets Accessible Online ”

  1. Heather Shin on October 1, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    I am most interested in the nurses pamphlet during the war. Women, in particular nurses, indeed played a significant role in the Spanish war.

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  3. Roman on June 22, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    Dmitri Semenoff (Dmytro Semenyuk) He was born in Rakivchyk near Kolomyia (Ukraine). Emigrated to the United States. He is the cousin of my grandmother.