Alexander H. Buchman photographs and film of Leon Trotsky and others
Conditions Governing Access
Items (103) and (104) are restricted: fragile; use surrogate. For access to original consult curatorial staff.
Extent1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)
Series II includes: reels of Super-8 film enlarged from 8 mm original film, filmed November 1939-April 1940; digital videocassette copy; and a DVD copy for reader use.
Biographical / Historical
Alexander H. Buchman was an American engineer, Communist sympathizer, and amateur photographer. In 1939-1940, he spent five months at Trotsky's villa in Coyoacán, Mexico, serving as one of Trotsky's guards and also exhaustively documenting the lives of Trotsky and his family and friends.
Charles Cornell (1911-1989) was an American Communist and member of the Socialist Workers' Party. On the suggestion of the SWP he worked as one of Trotsky's bodyguards in Mexico from 1939 until Trotsky's assassination. Together with Joseph Hansen, Cornell overwhelmed Trotsky's assassin and surrendered him to the police.
Farrell Dobbs (1907-1983) was an American Trotskyist politician and trade unionist; he became a personal friend of Leon Trotsky, whom he visited in Mexico shortly before the latter's death in 1940.
Joseph Hansen (1910-1979) was an American Communist who worked as Trotsky's secretary and guard from 1937 until Trotsky's death in 1940. Together with Charles Cornell, Hansen prevented Trotsky's assassin, Ramón Mercader, from fleeing and handed him over to the police.
Alfred Rosmer (1877-1964) was an anarchist and revolutionary syndicalist, then a leader of the French Communist party and a friend and ideological supporter of Leon Trotsky.
Diego Rivera (1886-1957) was a Mexican painter and muralist, and a Communist sympathizer. When Trotsky first arrived in Mexico he stayed in Rivera's home in Coyoacán, then moved to another villa nearby.
Otto Rühle (1874-1943) was a German Left Communist active in opposition to both the First and Second World Wars, a founder in 1916 of the Spartacist League (Spartakusbund), and of the group and magazine Internationale, which posed a revolutionary internationalism against a world of warring states.
Otto Schüssler (1905-1982) was a German-born Communist who in 1932 became Trotsky's secretary and close collaborator. In the 1930s he carried on Trotskyist activities in Europe under the pseudonym Oskar Fischer. In 1939 he rejoined Trotsky in Mexico and worked as his secretary and bodyguard until the latter's assassination in August 1940. After this Schüssler remained in Mexico and continued to be active in the Mexican section of the Fourth International under the pseudonym Julián Suárez. He left politics in the late 1940s.
Natalia Sedova, or Natalia Sedova Trotskaia (1882-1962) was Leon Trotsky's second wife.
Esteban Volkov (born 1926) is the official name of Trotsky's grandson, born Vsevolod Volkov, nicknamed Sieva Volkov (or Seva Volkov). He was the son of Zinaida Volkova, Trotsky's eldest daughter, who committed suicide in 1933. As Stalin's agents gradually eliminated Trotsky's entire family, in 1939 Trotsky's friends brought Sieva to rejoin his grandfather in the relative safety of Mexico. Volkov grew up in Mexico and settled there, continuing to live in his grandfather's Coyoacán villa and, after it was turned into the Trotsky museum, serving as its custodian.
- I. Alexander H. Buchman photographs of Leon Trotsky and others
- II. Leon Trotsky film
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Buchman, Alexander H., 1911-2003. Alexander H. Buchman photographs and film of Leon Trotsky and others, 1982: Guide.
- Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
- Description rules
- Language of description
- Finding aid written in English.
- EAD ID
Part of the Houghton Library Repository
Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.
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