Labadie Collection’s holdings on the Spanish Civil War (1936-39)
Spanish Civil War books, pamphlets, and serials, together with vertical file material (clippings, announcements, leaflets) were collected in source by the first Curator of the Labadie, Agnes Inglis, because of the participation of Spanish anarchists in national life before the War and their divided attitude toward the Loyalist government during the conflict. As the Communists gained a stronger hand in the Loyalist coalition, they were able to purge both the anarchists and dissident socialists and especially the Trotskyists. Inglis avidly documented these developments, obtaining material of the utmost rarity now. She also collected pamphlets and serials from other radical sources, such as the Communists themselves and the fellow-travelers, the liberal and labor proponents of interventions, and even occasionally adherents of the Nationalist cause. From 1939 on Inglis documented the fate of refugees. The manuscripts cover Emma Goldman’s participation.
In 1989 the Library purchased for the Labadie Collection the Lois Orr papers consisting of books, pamphlets, serials, documents, leaflets, posters, personal correspondence, memorabilia, and typescripts of the ordeals experienced by Lois and her husband Charles. In 1936 the couple went to Spain, where they became partisans of the POUM (Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista) in Barcelona. During the May Days of 1937, when the Communists eliminated the Trotskyist and anarchist elements in the Loyalist government, the Orrs were arrested and imprisoned by the KGB. Upon fleeing Spain they worked briefly in socialist journalism in Paris before returning to the United States for labor organizing in the South.
Two University of Michigan professors, Leland Stowe and Cecil Eby, also contributed books to this collection.