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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Harry Malofsky to Miriam 'Mim' Sigel
Harry tells Mim that he is 60 kilometers from the front and is enjoying the tranquility. He is looking forward to his two days in Madrid and plans on spending his 500 pesetas in a "royal fashion." Harry reports that La Pasionaria (Dolores Ibarurri) was to speak to the troops but never came. General Miaja came and said five sentences, two of which were 'salud.' Max Bedacht, founder of the American Communist Party, came to visit and Harry was glad to see him, as Harry had dated Bedact's daughter Elsie. Harry begins to describe his time at the front and the censor has blocked the story.
Harry Malofsky to Miriam 'Mim' Sigel
Harry tells Mim that he was been fighting for the last seven days and only now has the time to write. He doesn't want to discuss politics and doesn't want to be romantic about the war, but he describes the terror of war. Harry unloads on Mim an anti-fascist rant.
Harry Malofsky to Miriam 'Mim' Sigel
Harry writes from a military hospital, recovering from the typhus shot he received. He discusses the kindness and compassion of the British doctors. Describes military life: no drinking or fraternizing with the women. Harry writes that everyone makes an effort to learn Spanish. On Sundays there is an old movie show, or else Harry and his friends put on a show for the troops. Harry reports that the troops at the front have the fascists "on the run."
Harry Malofsky to Miriam 'Mim' Sigel
Harry is glad to have received Mim's letter and is touched that she thinks his cursing has increased since going to Spain. He writes about his good marksmanship and that he is a natural. He believes that his time is Spain will "straighten him out" and he thinks he'll be able to handle anything when he gets back to the US. He includes a verse from a song he has written in English and mentions that he is learning Spainish now that the IB has joined the Republican Army. He writes that there has been a turning point and it is expected that once the 500,000 conscripted Spaniards go into action, the war will be over. He hopes Catalonia pust an end to the 'Trotksy menace" that is trying to convince the Anarchists that the IB will overthrow them after the war.
Harry Malofsky to Miriam 'Mim' Sigel
Harry writes to Mim asking her to send the musical score of "We are the Fighting Anti-Fascists" to the newspaper New Masses. Asks Mim to make a few changes to the lyrics so it can be published in the July issue. Lyrics included.
Harry Malofsky to Miriam 'Mim' Sigel
Harry writes about his heartbreak over a goat, Esmeralda, that had kept him company and has now forgotten about him. Reports that on May 1 instead of marching to the front, he and the others rehearsed at a local theater. Encourages Mim to stick with the cause and the Youth Theater.
Harry Malofsky to Miriam 'Mim' Sigel
Harry is glad to have received Mim's lighthearted letter. He writes that the night before, he was informed that his best friend, a truck driver, was killed. He says that there has been an unconfirmed report that fascist General Mana has been killed and that six enemy planes were shot down over Bilbao. He is grateful for Mim's letters and is glad she liked the song he wrote. He would write more songs but cannot find a piano in town.
Harry Malofsky to Mrs. Sigel
Harry writes to his "comrade mother" (Paul and Miriam Sigel's mother) because he can not write to his own mother about his participation in the war. His parents think he is doing technical work in Spain as opposed to fighting. He writes about the war planes overhead and wondering what would happen if one of the bombs fell on him or near him. He says that his fear is quelled by the strong morale of the Loyalists. He says the morale is broken on the fascist side; after Belchite, only the fascist officers fought until the end, the soldiers gave up as soon as they could. Harry is grateful he can write to Mrs. Sigel because he can not write these things to his own mother.
Harry Meloff Theatre Festival program
Theater festival in memory of Harry Malofsky, a composer and writer himself. The program includes three plays at the Nora Bayes Theatre. The sponsoring committee includes Elia Kazan and Lee Strasberg.
Henry A. Soffer to Mr. and Mrs. Greenfield
Soffer's response to the Greenfields' letter of good wishes.
Herman Greenfield to James Manning
Postcard to James Manning about arriving in France. Postcard of the Cunard White Star, Britannic.
Herman Greenfield to Marty
Herman discusses his new found respect for letter writing. He is glad to hear that Marty has given up superficiality come around to real knowledge and understanding. He says that his time on the front has opened his eyes to reality, and how wartime turns priorities upside down. Herman states that he hates war but "would not trade all I have learned for the world." Promises Marty that when he returns they will do some writing together.
Herman Greenfield to Uncle Marty
Herman thanks Uncle Marty for hes letter and is glad to hear that there is much support for the Lincoln Brigade back in the states. He asks Marty to "square" him with his father, to try to sway his opinion of Herman's service in Spain. He offers Marty his reasons for going to fight in Spain, his unwillingness to live a life of oppression. He is sure that the International Brigades will be victorious, with the unified Spanish people and thousands of brigaders. Herman describes his group within the battalion, and mentions commander Robert Merriman. He reassures Marty that he is well taken care of and well trained.
Herman Greenfield to his father
Herman describes how well he and the others have been trained. In the course of training, he has lost 22 pounds and has become a "pretty good shot." He has also been promoted to sergeant. He reassures his father that he will not be reckless and will not get shot "because of some darn fool stunt."
Herman Greenfield to his father
Herman is in training and requests photographs of the family, especially of his younger brother Jay. He wants to make sure Spanish children have the same opportunity for a happy childhood as his brother. He includes his address through the SRI in Albacete. Also included is an envelope.
Herman Greenfield to his father
Herman apologizes for not writing sooner. Discusses his chances of coming home but believes he is still needed in the fight against Franco. He admits that being away has made him think about his family more than ever. Tells his father he should help with the movement.
Herman Greenfield to his mother
Herman is sorry to hear that the financial conditions are home are not doing well. He tells his mother that she would love Spain, especially how medical staff are treated. He discusses his health and the food that has been generously sent to Spain for the troops.
Herman Greenfield to his mother
Herman writes from a hospital where he is recovering from yellow jaundice. He is sure his mother would love to work in a place where people from many different countries come together for a common cause. He discusses how well the sick are treated and that they are treated for their mental, as well as physical, traumas.
Herman Greenfield to his parents
Herman describes his first taste of battle. He explains that the troops dig gun trenches under the cover of darkness at night. He discusses a success over the fascists near Teruel. He encloses a picture of himself and a Spanish lieutenant in his company (not included in this collection). Includes his address through the SRI at Albacete.
Herman Greenfield to his parents
Herman tells his parents about his agreeable daily routine: he watches at the gun from 5am to 9am, "loafs around all day," then he is on again from 5pm to 9pm.
Herman Greenfield to his parents
Herman tells his parents he is about to enter battle. Promises to write once the fighting is over, giving them a full report. Asks them to send him cigarettes, candy, and cake.
It seems to me...
Newspaper story about Jim Lardner's being wounded in action during the Ebro Offensive, July 21, 1938. Broun wonders what Ring Lardner, Sr., would have thought about his son fighting for the Loyalists.
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
Jim writes to his mother that he is back at camp after having spent 10 days at a school for corporals. He said the training was more mental than physical and he spent his spare time writing for the school's newspaper. Jim gives his mother a run down of this daily activities at the school. Jim tells his mother that he has not received her letters, but explains that there was a grand reorganization of the International Brigades, so he may never receive some of them. Jim is glad he has been reunited with his friend, John Murra, after Murra's temporary post as interpreter. Jim explains that all his best friends are communists; they make the best soldiers and the best men. He says that he has received three letters from Walter Kerr who has encouraged Jim to write a few pieces about Spain. Jim thinks he will hold off until he sees some action.
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
James writes that he is about to go into battle but is not at all nervous. He is now a corporal and in charge of four men. He talks about the long march to his current location and going into a nearby town where he had an omlette and wine. Censor marks visible.
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
James writes to his mother explaining his new appearance: tan skin, shorter hair, slimmer. He will be sending this letter through Joe North of the Daily Worker who will send it air mail from Barcelona to Paris.
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
James relates the story of his tooth abscess. He concerned about the dental bill and is prepared to put up a fight if he is overcharged; he will visit the dentist for his twentieth follow-up. He discusses having a bout of eczema, which has cleared up. James mentions a vague chance of getting an assignment through the United Press in Germany and is making progress in his German Berlitz course. He thinks he has a better chance of going to Spain to write stories about the Americans in the International Brigades.
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
Jim describes his daily routine and training to his mother. Mentions that he has seen Jimmy Sheean, Joe North, and Leigh White and they have brought him two letters, one of which is from Mrs. Lardner. He asks his mother to stop asking him to come home in her letters, as he thinks it slows them down by the censors. He also explains that he has not enlisted for a specific period of time; when one enlists it is for the duration of the war. Tells his mother to disregard news that Hitler and Musselini will withdraw support from Franco; he says that the Loyalists will not be tricked into weakening their forces. Jim asks about the family.
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
Jim writes to his mother that mail is slow and it is better for him to read the Daily Worker newspaper to get news about the International Brigade. Jim has written an article in the Volunteer for Liberty about what families in the United States can do to ensure their care packages make it to Spain. Jim spent a day at the beach, a reward for good works, and then saw three "terrible" movies on the way back to camp. He discusses visiting his friend, Elman Service, at corporal school where they drank a few bottles of Spanish champagne and crashed the matriculating corporals' party. His Spanish speaking abilities have begun to catch up with his French.
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
James recounts his being wounded during the Ebro Offensive. He describes his wounds and the bombardment. He is currently in a hospital with nothing to read. He intends to write a newspaper piece about his ordeal and have Walter Kerr of the Herald Tribune pass it along.
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
Jim describes to his mother the excitement of receiving mail and, as he writes the letter, the postman is standing on a barrel calling out recipients' names. Jim says that he just stepped outside and he can hear the cannon fire and see flashed on the horizon. He announces that he will be a part of a light machine-gun squad of five. He is doing well and is sun burned.
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
Jim writes to his mother that he spent four days in Barcelona and can see that there is no chance of him getting into an artillery unit. He says the International Brigade is very disorganized, as they have just moved north, from Albacete. He intends to visit the Lincoln-Washington Battalion at Mora-la-Nueva where he has a pass to move to the front. He will meet with John Gates, the political commisar, who will most likely send Jim to a training camp. Explains to Mrs. Lardner that their letters will be censored if they contain military information or overcritizism. Instructs her to cable the American Consulate in Barcelona if she is concerned about his safety.
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
Tells his mother that there has not been much action except for digging trenches and "personal refuges" from artillery shells. He recounts one night digging for seven hours on a stony hill, surrounded by the fascist lines. By day break, the trenches were deep enough to cover their heads, just in time for the bombings. He writes: "I was never so well paid for hard labor as by that feeling of comparative safety."
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
Jim writes to his mother before he leaves for Spain. He will be traveling with Ernest Hemingway and will be the accredited correspondent for the Copenhagen "Politiken," the International News Service, and the Herald Tribune. He thinks that if things get exciting in Catalonia, the International News Service will want him for direct coverage of the war. He will be staying at the Majestic Hotel in Barcelona.
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
James is currently away from fighting and tells his mother it is a miracle he wasn't hit. Promises to wire a note assuring her he is safe once he is far enough away from the artillery. He is glad to have gotten his mother's letter which caught him up on family news.
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
Jim writes to his mother about his time away from the front, in Barcelona. He was able to enjoy all the indulgences city life has to offer: a bath, a clean bed, good food. He assures her that it will be a long time before he sees any action. He mentions his close friends, John Murra (still convalescing from the Ebro Offensive, where he was shot through the shoulder) and Elman Service, two volunteers who write to Mrs. Lardner after Jim's disappearance.
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
Postcard caption reads: Un aspecto del Parque. Jim writes to his mother while healing from a leg injury. He tells her he is improving slower than he expected. He has been in the hospital for 22 days. He says that all of his best friends survived the Ebro Offensive (July 21, 1938).
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
Jim tells his mother he will be going to Spain for his vacation, but promises to stay out of harm's way. He hopes that his research in Spain will lead to his writing a book. He has started taking Spainish lessons in preparation of his trip and mentions a prospective job in Germany. He discusses his financial situation and updates his mother on his dental health.
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
Jim reports on the progress of his injuries. He has walked into town without a limp and has been enjoying the easy life at his hospital. He believes there is still a piece of shrapnel in his leg. He compares his hospital to "an old people's boarding house in the Catskills."
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
Jim writes to his mother about her feelings on communism. He tells her about the communist ideology and that communists are not violent, unless the government has been forcibly overthrown. He thinks she has not given Soviet Russia the credit it deserves, especially when it comes to disarmament, working with the League of Nations, and throwing its weight behind the side of peace. He tells her about his 4th of July festivities, which included a good meal and athletic competitions in town. Jim describes the terrain of Catalonia as well as all the fresh fruit and vegetables the troops have been eating. He says that he has been made a temporary corporal.
James Lardner to Ellis Lardner
James writes to his mother that contrary to the advice of Vincent "Jimmy" Sheean, he has decided to enlist to fight. He also asked Ernest Hemingway for advice; he thought it was a noble idea, but a personal one. James includes on page two his various reasons for fighting against fascism. He hopes his mother understands his position. He reassures her that the danger is greatly exaggerated in the press and that it is doubtful that Catalonia will fall.
James Lardner to Ring Lardner, Jr.
Caption on postcard: Departamento de hidroterapia. James writes to his brother about being injured by shrapnel and is currently reading Marxist literature in the hospital.
James Lardner to Ring Lardner, Jr.
Jim writes to his brother about working with a difficult writer, Marcel Rivet, who has taken Jim's typewriter. He has enclosed a story by Rivet that Jim helped edit in English. He is hoping that if Ring can sell the story, it might encouraged Rivet to return his typewriter. Jim tells his brother that is it difficult to try to speculate about the war, and doesn't bother because by the time Ring gets the letter, the news will have proven Jim wrong. He discusses the current problems in Vienna, having written a good deal about it from France. He gives his opinions on Hitler's presence in Czechoslovakia and whether he will succeed in an actual invasion. He thinks that France will be glad to stay out of any confrontations in Czechoslovakia with regards to Germany. Jim has tentative plans to write a book about the Lincoln and Washington Battalions, and some pieces for the Herald Tribune and a few magazines. He is studying German for a prospective job that he is sure to get within the next few months. He is also studying Spanish history for articles he will be writing about the war in Spain. He intends to visit Barcelona, Valencia, and Madrid. He will also be best man at a friend's wedding. He writes that already the whispers have started(in French), "always a best man, never the groom."
James Lardner to Ring Lardner, Jr.
Jim discusses reading material with his brother. Gives Ring an update on the current politics of Spain. Discusses the Communists and the Radical Socialists, who are anti-fascist but seem not to be pro-Popular Front. He discusses the government of France and limited number of Trotsky followers. He explains political turmoil in France and believes it has to do with exchange controll which the Socialists and Communists support in order to keep French capital in the country. Jim mentions that he has had a job offer at another newspaper and is fed up with the New York Herald Tribune. He also says that he has not been able to get to Spain, that the Herald Tribune is not interested in the war firsthand, but there is an opening as a correspondent with Franco; Jim says he will not try for the job because he doesn't know enough Spanish.
James Lardner to Ring Lardner, Jr.
Jim tells his brother that in the two months he has been in the Lincoln Battalion, he has not seen a single day of fighting. Nonetheless, he spends his time practicing infantry techniques. Jim says that he can't give Ring the inside scoop on the war as it is harder to follow in Spain than in California. He believes that any big change will have to come from the international community. Asks Ring what he thought about his piece on the Marx Brothers. Jim says that if there is any money for it forthcoming for the story, Ring can keep is as a loan. Jim asks his brother to send him a package of chocolate, tins of meat, and plum cake, care of Walter Kerr at the New York Herald Tribune office in Paris. His previous packages have gone missing.
James P. Manning to Mr. B.J. Greenfield
James Manning's response to Mr. Greenfield's request for a clipping about Herman Greenfield that appeared in the Long Island Press.
Jim Lardner's Farewell to Arms
Newspaper article about Jim Lardner's life and decision to fight in Spain.
John Murra to Ellis Lardner
Murra tells Ellis Lardner about Jim's joining the brigade and how he was welcomed by the soldiers after proving he belonged. He writes about he and Jim being wounded during the Ebro Offensive and seeing Jim in early September. He tells Mrs. Lardner that he and the others will continue to fight in Jim's honor the cause he died for.
Letter from Juan F. de Cardenas to Ellis Lardner
Franco's agent in the United States' responds to Mrs. Lardner's letter that presumably asks for help in locating Jim. De Cardenas promises he will do his best to help Mrs. Lardner.
Memorial for Harry Meloff
A memorial to Harry Malofsky given by the International Workers Order, of which he was a member. The flier includes the memorial program and its sponsors.
Nat Gross to Marjorie Polon
Nat thanks Marjorie for the cigarettes that made the worst artillery bombardment he has ever seen bearable. Asks Marjorie to write him a letter so he can write back to her. Also asks for a picture or two.

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