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Leon Trotsky

a virtual exhibition

Introduction ~ Overview of the Trotsky Collection ~ Chronology of Trotsky's Life  ~ Exhibition of Trotsky material

The Trotsky Collection - A personal overview by Professor Geoffrey Swain

The Trotsky Collection has three great strengths that should be highlighted. Firstly, as the virtual exhibition of selected items makes clear, there is the bibliographical angle. The collection contains a large number of rare and unusual editions of Trotsky's writings from all over the world. Secondly, the collection is an excellent academic resource for the student of the Trotskyist movement. And thirdly, the collection provides a unique resource in Europe for the study of Trotsky's own life and career. (There is inevitably a certain overlap between the second and third point.)

In terms of bibliographical content, the collection is unique, and possibly also in terms of the Trotskyist movement, depending on what is available in America. In terms of Trotsky the man, it is of European importance, with the exception of Russia.

The virtual exhibition of selected items from the collection covers this area, although it is worth emphasising that the prefaces to these volumes are often written by people of significance in their own right, e.g. H.N. Brailsford's preface to Where is Britain Going? (Sp Coll Trotsky E64.197).

Unless otherwise stated, items mentioned below are held under the call number Sp Coll Trotsky Periodicals.

For the student of the Trotskyist movement the collection offers:

A complete run of the journal Cahiers Léon Trotsky.
A complete run of The Journal of Trotsky Studies
An incomplete set of the Japanese journal Trotsky Studies
A microfilm of the American Trotskyist newspaper Militant, 1928-42.
A microfilm of Labor Action 1936-7.
A run of the journal The New International, 1934-40 (1937 missing).
A run of the Fourth International, 1940-56 (with some issues of Le Quatrieme Internationale).
A run of International Socialist Review (1957-74 complete, with some issues for 1956 and 1975).
Copies of The Communist: Bulletin of the British Section of the Left Opposition.
Copies of Fight, organ of the "Trotskyist Group" in late 1930s Britain.
Copies of Expression, cited as "a revolutionary socialist monthly" published during the Second World War; the issue for January 1945 reprints Trotsky's essay, Problems of Civil War.
Copies of Tribuna Marxista, published in Mexico 1938-41.
Copies of Spark 1937-9, the organ of the Workers' Party of South Africa.
There are also microfilms:
Nicolaevskii Collection: The LL Sedov Papers (Sp Coll Trotsky 468-509)
Bulletins and other ephemera relating to the Fourth International (Sp Coll Trotsky 462-467)

For the historian of Trotsky's life and career, the collection offers:

The two major microfilm/microfiche collections:
Leaders of the Russian Revolution: Trotsky, containing the papers he donated to Istpart (the commission of the Russian Communist Party charged with writing its history) in 1922 (Sp Coll Trotsky 513-518)
The Military Papers of Leon Trotsky, containing all the paperwork associated with the time he served as Commissar of War from 1918-1925. (Sp Coll Trotsky Add 89-90)
All the published volumes of Trotsky's Collected Works. (Sp Coll Trotsky R87.1-15)
A copy of The Socialist for 1919 containing copies of 20 letters Trotsky wrote during World War One when working for La Vie Ouvriere.
A copy of the pamphlet Les Socialistes de Zimmerwald et la Guerre. (Sp Coll Trotsky F73.167)
Several issues of Communist International, mostly for the years 1919-23; this is supplemented by a complete set of the German version of the journal from 1919-23.
There are also editions of the proceedings of the first four congresses of the Communist International. (Sp Coll Trotsky 345-346, Sp Coll Trotsky 353, Sp Coll Trotsky 354)
Copies of The Communist Review, with an article in the July 1923 edition by Karl Radek summing up Trotsky's role as founder of the Red Army.
A copy of the special issue of Rabochaya Moskva of 21 February 1923 devoted to the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Red Army.
A copy of Russische Korrespondenz, 1920-22.
Trotsky's response to the 1928 programme of the Communist International. (Sp Coll Trotsky U72.29)
Publications of archival material on Trotsky from the 1920s, compiled by Yu Fel'shinskii in the 1980s:
Arkhiv Trotskogo: Kommunisticheskaya oppozitsiya v SSSR 1923-1927
(Sp Coll Trotsky R87.111-114; Sp Coll Trotsky R87.117-120)
A microfilm from the Lilly Library, Bloomington, Indiana entitled "correspondence". (Uncatalogued)
A complete reprint set of The Bulletin of the Opposition with a number of the originals.
Material collected by Isaac Deutscher when working on his biography, including a number of photocopies of Trotsky's correspondence. These include a letter from Gorky dated 1909 which discusses the newspaper Pravda that Trotsky ran at that time, and a large number of letters from the 1930s, which ultimately ended up at Yale University. (Uncatalogued)
There is also a small microfilm of other correspondence held at Yale. (Uncatalogued)
The Writings of Leon Trotsky (Sp Coll Trotsky U72.215-233)

Return to the introduction, go to a chronology of Trotsky's life or to the virtual exhibition of Trostkiana from Special Collections.

Top: Trotsky's passport picture, circa 1915, aged 36.
Photo from:
The Bolsheviki and World Peace, New York: Boni & Liveright, 1918 (Sp Coll Trotsky U72.11)