Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, ALBA Digital Library

Founded in 1979 by the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB), the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) is a non profit national organization devoted to the preservation and dissemination of the history of the North American role in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and its aftermath. The Digital Library provides access to 150 letters, postcards, and telegrams in ALBA's collection.

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'Sit-in' Strikers Welcome Food Near...
Newspaper clipping about a sit-in strike. Appeared in the Long Island Press. Sent to Mr. Greenfield by Mr. James Manning.
A memorial program in honor of Harry Meloff
Memorial for Harry Malofsky at Steinway Hall. Sponsored by the Young Communist League.
Asturias, Octubre 1934-1937. Hoy como ayer el Socorro Rojo de Espana cuidara de vuestras familias.
Today like yesterday the Socorro Rojo of Spain will take care of your families. Postcard benefiting the Socorro Rojo Internacional of Spain. The back of the card reads: October, 1934 Red Asturias rises up in defense of democratic freedoms October 1937 Heroic Asturias defends on its own territory all of Spain against the foreign invasion. 10 centimes. To benefit the family and children of the Northern combattants.
Belchite 1937 Killed in Action, Harry Meloff, Defending Spanish Democracy
Newspaper clipping about Harry Malofsky's time in Spain. Date is approximate.
Bill Bailey to Marjorie "Marg" Polon
Bill writes to Marjorie about the weather and the work he has been doing with the union. He asks her to forward a copy of "The Pilot" weekly. He asks her if she'd be interested in sending books "for the boys in camp." Bailey mentions the Red Army giving Hitler "his own medicine" which helps to date this letter to late-1941 or early-1942. Letter signed "Mike."
Bill Bailey to Marjorie "Marge" Polon
Written on "Black Gang News" letterhead. Bill tells Marjorie about his work with the Longshoremen's union and how he has been screened out by not only the Coast Guard but the right-wing members of the union. He describes his protests against the war in Korea. Letter signed "Mike."
Bill Bailey to Marjorie "Margie" Polon
Bill discusses the recent air raid over Barcelona which killed hundreds of women and children, but didn't attack the boats in the harbor. He mentions that the International Brigades will be clearing out of Spain in the next six weeks, and he intends to be in France within the next two weeks. He says that on some fronts they are winning and on others they are simply keeping the enemy back. He is sure of a Republican victory. Letter is signed "Mike."
Bill Bailey to Marjorie "Margie" Polon
Bill describes the parade in Barcelona given in honor of the International Brigaders. He describes the music, the people, the flowers and outpouring of graciousness. He is still waiting to hear when he will be able to leave the country.
Bill Bailey to Marjorie "Margy" Polon
Bill fills Marjorie in on the work he has been doing in Hawaii and that he is ready to ship out for some time in the Pacific. He discusses the power of the five big corporations in Hawaii, that they control both the economy and politics of the islands. He asks Marjorie to send him a few letters letting him know what is going on in her life.
Bill Bailey to Marjorie Polon
Bill writes to Marjorie telling her that his plans to leave Spain have changed since losing his passport in an air raid. The train carrying documents and books was hit by a bomb so the soldiers must submit new applications to Washington. He expects it to be another 10 days until the Consul can get the information out. He will be traveling to Barcelona the next day to visit the maritime workers. Bill talks about a deadly air raid over Barcelona the previous week. He mentions that the fascists were able to reclaim lost ground near the Ebro, at a heavy loss of life. He discusses the recent US elections, espcially Olson's win as California governor. Bill ays that the people in Spain think that the next Nobel Peace Prize should go to Negrin and asks Marjorie to start spreading the word. He says that he is having a Spanish Republican flag made with all names of all the seamen that have been killed in action and plans to present it to the Maritime Federation on the Pacific Coast.
Bill Bailey to Marjorie Polon
Bill Bailey's first letter to Marjorie. He introduces, and describes, himself. He discusses the battles he has fought in and the importance of lifting the US embargo against Spain. He describes the destruction of a village by Franco's planes. Page 12 is written on the back of a postcard, the image of which is a soldier with 'SIA" written beneath him. Bailey says that these bombardments actually give the people more spirit to fight. Between numbered pages 13 and 14 is another postcard, describing "Unidad, Frente Popular, Libertad." He discusses the Trotskyites who make up Franco's Fifth Column and carry out the policies set by the fascists.
Bill Bailey to Marjorie Polon
Bill tells Marjorie that the IB has regained some of the land they lost in the retreats from the previous spring. In the action, Bill was hit by shrapnel and was evacuated to a hospital, where he is currently recovering. Bill gives Marjorie the details of the latest battle, about marching on toward Gandesa, approaching Franco's artillery. He discusses the relationship between the soldiers and the farmers and peasants. He says they fight side by side with them, and when there is a rest time, the soldiers volunteer to help in the fields. He says the troops got along so well with the women and children that when they marched off to the front, they cried in the streets after them. Bill says that many of the Spaniards take the Americans home with them during leave periods, so that the Americans might see their lives. Writes about the liveliness of Barcelona and thanks Marjorie for the cigarettes.
Bill Van Felix to Marjorie Polon
Bill writes to Marjorie that he received her address from Bill Bailey. He liked that she wrote her letters in green ink. He asks that she write to him, as she writes to the others. Bill offers to send her French and Spanish newspapers. Letter is signed "Guillermo." A postscript in Spanish says that Bill would like to be her friend when he returns to New York.
Bill Van Felix to Marjorie Polon
Bill describes his joy at receiving one of Marjorie's letters, aside from getting cigarettes. He wants to meet her when he gets home and will picket her house if she doesn't send him a photograph soon. He says that he is waiting to take a shower after a long trip across the Ebro.
Commendation for James Lardner
Commendation card awarded posthumously to James Lardner. David Gordon (Lardner24) had a card made for Lardner before the International Brigade left Spain. Gordon was detained at a French concentration camp in February 1939 and in 1948, rediscovered this card amongst his Loyalist mementos. He sends this to Ring Lardner, Jr.
Dave Doran to Queens County Committee, Young Communist League
Copy of a letter by Brigade Commissar Dave Doran to the Queens County Committee of the Young Communist League reporting the deaths of Sergeant Herman Greenfield of the Lincoln-Washington Machine Gun Company and Sergeant Emanuel Mandel of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion. They were killed north of Teruel during an attack that was successful in taking a number of Fascist positions.
David Gordon to Ring Lardner, Jr.
Gordon writes to Ring in order to pass along Jim's posthumous commendation for fighting fascism in Spain. Gordon apologizes for the long wait. He writes that when he was detained and searched at the French concentration camp of St. Cyprien in February 1939. He had passed his papers (including Jim's commendation) to a friend that had already been searched. Nearly ten years later, Gordon has begun to put his wartime mementos together and came across the enclosed card. He offers his support for Ring's current battle with the Un-American committee's inquest into his politics.
David McKelvy White to Mr. and Mrs. Greenfield
Letter from David McKelvy White, National Chair of the Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, to Herman Greenfield's parents reporting the news of his death.
Diana Sheean to Ellis Lardner
Sheean tells Jim's mother that she heard news of him last night. He has been transfered near Mora de Ebro, a quiet area with the American battalion; there is not much fighting.
Diana Sheean to Ellis Lardner
Sheean will forward Mrs. Lardner's cheque to Jim, along with chocolate and books. She commiserates with Mrs. Lardner, as her own son has gone to fight in Spain.
Ellis Lardner to Jeannette Kitchell
Mrs. Lardner tells her sister she is keeping busy with Jim being away. She went into New York to watch a big fight and afterwards, spent the evening at the Stork Club. She says that she finds it hard to sit still because she is so anxious, knowing her son is fighting so far away.
Ellis Lardner to Jeannette Kitchell
Mrs. Lardner writes to her sister about staying busy so she won't think about Jim in Spain. She describes her influx of house guests. Near the end of the letter, she writes about Jim; he is a combination of "ruthless logic and romantic idealism." Ellis supports Jim decision for fighting in Spain, but as a mother, constantly worries.
Elman Service to Ellis Lardner
A friend of Jim's writes to Ellis after Jim is goes missing. He says that he and Jim shared a birthday and read each other's mail to the other. In doing so, they came to know the other's mother quite well. He tells Mrs. Lardner that he would very much like to see her when he returns to New York, three weeks from the writing of the letter. Service goes on to tell Mrs. Lardner that Jim was an admirable person. He wishes to meet Mrs. Lardner and talk more about Jim when he returns and intends for this letter to be an introduction.
Envelope addressed to Miriam 'Mim' Sigel
Envelope addressed to Sigel at Camp Unity where she taught dance.
Ernest Arion to Miriam 'Mim' Sigel
Ernest apologizes for not writing sooner. He is still convalescing and now has time to write. He discusses the strange mail service and the trouble his battalion had when them came into town. The townspeople have warmed to the Americans and they even put on a show.
Ernest Hemingway to Ellis Lardner
Telegraph to Jim's' mother asking her to cable Herbert Mathews at the Hotel Majestic in Barcelona if she hears where Jim is being held. Says that Delvayo will arrange an exchange repatriation. Tells her not to worry.
Ernesto to Marjorie Polon
Ernesto is glad to have a woman to write to, as it has been so long since he has seen a woman or pretty girl. He asks Marjorie to write him in English, and to send him and photograph and cigarettes.
Ernie Arion to Miriam 'Mim' Sigel
Ernie writes to Mim aboard the SS Ile de France oceanliner. He says that he had a bout of seasickness but the weather is beautiful. He says there are plenty of things to do but no one to enjoy them with. Ernie says the service is up to French standards and the food is the best he has ever eaten. The onboard movies are not very good.
Ernie Arion to Miriam 'Mim' Sigel
Ernie tells Mim that he is doing well in Spain. He, Harry Malofsky, and Bernie Abraham have been selected as head of the [entertainment?] committee and have re-written the lyrics to "Honey-Honey;" they will present it the following night.
Form letter about Harry Malofsky's memorial
Form letter to International Workers Order member (Miriam Sigel) enlisting hist or her help in organizing a Harry Meloff memorial, which will include his music. She is invited to an organizing meeting at 80 Fifth Avenue on October 12, 1937. Signed by Helen Vrabel and Sam Pevzner.
George Kaye to Marjorie Polon
George thanks Marjorie for her last letter and the ten cigarettes she sent. They came in handy during the worst artillery fire George has yet seen. He tries to give Marjorie a description of Harry Hakam, but suggests she read between the lines of his letters. He mentions that Bill Bailey is in the hospital with an infection in his leg.
Harry Hakam to Marjorie Polon
Harry tells Marjorie he did not like the poem she wrote. Instead, he prefers hearing about her life, what her parents think of communists and Spain, her siblings, her ambitions for her future. Asks that she find someone to write to Eloy in Spanish, and to remember to include cigarettes.
Harry Hakam to Marjorie Polon
Harry encourages Marjorie to make more of an effort for the cause. He suggests that she and her friends go up to Harlem to find someone who can help them write letters in Spanish. Harry describes himself and asks Marjorie for a photograph. He says that when he gets back he'd like to meet Marjorie's friend who has analyzed Harry's handwriting. He says that he rarely sees women at the front and plans to make up for it when he gets home. He ends by saying that there are a few distinguished guests in the camp. They are Joe North of the Daily Worker, Ernest Toller the German writer, and a nephew of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Asks for cigarettes.
Harry Hakam to Marjorie Polon
Harry introduces himself and tries to give Marjorie an idea of the kind of person Bill Bailey is. He tells her that is was Bailey who ripped the Nazi flag off the Bremmer and tossed it into the harbor in 1935. Harry admits that he like Bill Bailey over George Kaye. He asks that Marjorie get her pretty friends to send them letters, and to include pictures and cigarettes.
Harry Hakam's list of Brigaders
Harry lists ten men he is stationed with and encourages Marjorie to send them cigarettes and a picture. He says she should "tell them funny stories and don't call them heroes."
Harry Malofsky to Julies and Rose Blickstein
Harry discusses the latest confrontation with Franco's forces. He writes that even with Franco's superior machinery and planes, the International Brigades have a higher ratio of success. He describes his three days of fighting without food, water, or a bath. Asks Julius for more letters, especially ones with gossip.
Harry Malofsky to Julius Blickstein
Harry describes the beauty of Spain. He is surprised by the number of anti-fascists that have come from as far away as Palestine. He is also surprised that as a life-long communist, he should find himself fighting for democracy. Harry hopes that Spain will be victorious in its historic task at defeating the fascists.
Harry Malofsky to Julius Blickstein
Harry writes to his friend Julius about his group taking over the house of a fascist. He has just come from a 24 km hike and is relaxing with his feet in cool well water. Congratulates Julius on his recent wedding and says that the soldiers are not permitted to fraternize with the local women. Harry asks Julius to visit his parents who are upset he is fighting is Spain.
Harry Malofsky to Julius Blickstein
Harry describes the beauty of Spain. He is surprised by the number of anti-fascists that have come from as far away as Palestine. He is also surprised that as a life-long communist, he should find himself fighting for democracy. Harry hopes that Spain will be victorious in its historic task at defeating the fascists.
Harry Malofsky to Julius and Rose Blickstein
Harry writes about the International Brigades taking the city of Quinto. He says that he watched one Nazi officer commit suicide and twenty others executed. The fascists had thought the IB was the Russian army and they surrendered, leaving their trenches yelling "Viva ls Rusia." Harry says that they were surprised that only their leaders were shot; he is sure they will be very surprised by the IB in the future. Harry now considers himself a veteran; the planes no longer bother him and he says he is a very different person than he was in Madrid.His time in Madrid was wonderful; he became a little boy again. He missed his train out of Valencia and had to hop a freight train. He rode the rails for five days and had to hike to the front.
Harry Malofsky to Miriam 'Mim' Sigel
Harry describes his trip to Madrid and how the city has made him homesick for New York. He writes that their friend Bernie expects to be sent home, most likely for psychiatric reasons. Harry says that his parents are reunited and imagines it is because of the war and his being away. He writes that there were boxing matches the night before. Between bouts Harry jumped into the ring and was able to get the entire crowd singing.
Harry Malofsky to Miriam 'Mim' Sigel
Harry has just received a letter from Mim in response to his account of being at the front for the first time in July. He is now a hardened soldier; the planes and shells no longer bother him and dodging bullets is just a part of everyday life. He remembers Ernie being killed, the look of surprise on his face as he was hit. Harry is at the front again, and this time he simply watches the planes fly low, taking aim. They have taken over a small town and 1,200 prisoners; 32 officers were executed and two committed suicide. Harry says that there is only one town between their current location and Zaragosa that must be taken and the Lister Brigade is working on it. Harry encloses a photograph taken in Madrid (not included). Harry signs the letter Hershel.
Harry Malofsky to Miriam 'Mim' Sigel
Harry tells Mim that he is grateful to get so many letters from her and is very upset that he does not receive letters from his friends at the Youth Theatre. Describes his new quarters, which he shares with two friends. The three roommates purchased food and had snacks that remind Harry of food from Camp Kinderland. Harry apologizes for not being able to send a photograph to Mim, especially not one of him and a "senorita on his lap." He tells her to disregard the rumours that the men in Spain are fraternizing with the local women; Harry writes that the profolactics handed out on the first day are used to hold tobacco. Harry alludes to the homosexual leanings of some of the troops, having been so long without women. He is unsure when he will go to the front, but is confident in his training. Harry reports on his friends and why they haven't written to Mim. Asks her to drink a chocolate malted milk on Sixth Avenue and write back describing how it tastes.
Harry Malofsky to Miriam 'Mim' Sigel
harry says that he has been trained so well on the rifle that he has no doubt they will conquer Franco. He has been reunited with his friends, and one of them is his sergeant. Harry just had his typhoid shot and his fever is making it hard to concentrate and apologizes for the short letter. Asks Mim how her show is going with the Youth Theatre.

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