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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Russ 13.1

Leon Trotsky exile papers,

Papers of Russian revolutionary and Soviet leader Leon Trotsky from his period of exile in Coyoacán, Mexico.

Dates

  • 1929-1940.
  • 1937-1940.

Language of Materials

Collection is in Russian, English, German, French, Spanish, Polish, and Czech.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Extent

1 collection (197 boxes (65 linear ft.))

Exile papers, 1929-1940, contain correspondence, compositions, a small amount of Dewey Commission (Commission of inquiry into the charges made against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow trials) exhibit papers, and related ephemera. Correspondence includes letters to and from Trotsky, his wife Natalia, his son Lev Sedov, and his secretaries. Other correspondence is chiefly between members of the Fourth International Secretariat, other groups, and Soviet deportees. Writings include Trotsky's articles, reviews, statements, minutes of meetings, memoranda and notes, and printer's copy of the diary he kept in France and Norway in 1935; and similar writings of members of the Fourth International. Household papers contain secretarial notes, records of correspondence, photographs, and other items pertaining to the Trotsky household, particularly in Coyoacán, Mexico. Travel and legal documents, contracts, royalty reports and miscellaneous receipts are also included in the collection.

Biographical / Historical

Trotsky was a Russian revolutionary and Soviet leader.

Arrangement

The papers have been organized into three series:
  1. I. Correspondence
  2. ___A. Letters to Lev Trotsky
  3. ___B. Letters to Lev Trotsky's secretaries
  4. ___C. Letters from Lev Trotsky
  5. ___D. Letters from Lev Trotsky's secretaries
  6. ___E. Letters to Lev Sedov
  7. ___F. Letters from Lev Sedov
  8. ___G. Letters to Natalia Sedova Trotsky
  9. ___H. Letters from Natalia Sedova Trotsky
  10. ___I. Other letters
  11. II. Compositions
  12. ___A. Compositions by Lev Trotsky
  13. ___B. Household papers
  14. ___C. Documents, contracts, etc.
  15. ___D. Other compositions
  16. III. Dewey Commission exhibits
  17. Appendix: Notes concerning the microfilm of the Leon Trotsky exile papers
Please note that several item numbers were inadvertently omitted from this finding aid thus numbering is not always sequential.

Physical Location

b

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Leon and Natalia Trotsky; received: 1940, 1946, 1953.

The papers of Leon Trotsky were purchased by the Harvard College Library in 1940 and 1946 with funds provided by John Wood Blodgett, Jr. The preliminary arrangements for the sale and shipment of the archives were made by Trotsky himself; after his death, these were completed by his widow, Natalia Sedova Trotsky. The first shipment of papers contained all that survived for the years 1917 to 1937, with the exception of certain official papers retained by the Soviet Union at the time of Trotsky's deportation and of miscellaneous papers in his son's possession that were either lost, stolen, or impounded during the exile period. The second shipment, purchased from Mrs. Trotsky in 1946, contained the papers for the years 1937 through 1940. For administrative purposes the archives were divided into two parts: the pre-exile papers (1917-1928) and papers from the exile years (1929-1940). A stipulation was made by both Lev Trotsky and Mrs. Trotsky that the exile papers were not to be opened to the public until 1980.

Existence and Location of Copies

Microfilm available through the Houghton Reading Room (38 reels). Microfilm reflects the pre-cataloged state of the papers.

Separated Materials

For the Soviet papers and related collections of Leon Trotsky see bMS Russ 13.

Geographic Abbreviations:

  1. Australia -Austr
  2. Austria - A
  3. Belgium - B
  4. Bulgaria - Bul
  5. Canada - Can
  6. Ceylon - Cey
  7. China - Ch
  8. Czechoslovakia - C
  9. Denmark - D
  10. Estonia - Est
  11. France - F
  12. Germany - G
  13. Great Britain - E
  14. Greece - Gr
  15. Holland - H
  16. Hungary - Hun
  17. India - Ind
  18. Indochina - Indo
  19. Ireland - Ire
  20. Israel - Isr
  21. Italy - I
  22. Japan - J
  23. Latvia - Lat
  24. Luxembourg - Lux
  25. Mexico - M
  26. New Zealand - NZ
  27. Norway - N
  28. Poland - P
  29. Roumania - R
  30. South Africa - S.Afr.
  31. South America - S.Am.
  32. Spain - S
  33. Sweden - Sw
  34. Switzerland - Swit
  35. United States - US
  36. Union of Socialist Soviet Republics - USSR
Other abbreviations
  1. Family - Fam
  2. Fourth International - FI
  3. Fourth International Secretariat - IS
Lev Trotsky's secretaries and their periods of service:
  1. 1. Charles Cornell: June 1939-Aug 1940
  2. 2. Lillian Curtiss: [1] Oct 1938 - [17] Jun 1939
  3. 3. Jeanne Martin des Pallières: Spring and summer of 1929, Some periods of 1930
  4. 4. Jakob Frank: [ca. Jun] 1929 - Oct 1929
  5. 5. Pierre Frank: Jul 1932 - Apr 1933
  6. 6. Jan Frankel: [Apr] 1930 - Jan 1933, Jun 1935 - Oct 1935, Feb 1937 - 20, Oct 1937
  7. 7. Joseph Hansen: [1] Oct 1937 - [15] Jan 1939, Oct 1939 - Jan 1940, Jun 1940 - Aug 1940
  8. 8. Rudolf Klement: 27 Apr 1933 - [15] Apr 1934
  9. 9. Vaughan Thomas O'Brien: Sep 1938 - Sep 1939
  10. 10. Maria Ilinishna Pevsner: Spring 1929 - 18 Jun 1933
  11. 11. Walter Rork: Dec 1939 - Aug 1940
  12. 12. Otto Schüssler: Spring 1932 - 10 Apr 1933, Feb 1939 - Aug 1940
  13. 13. Rae Spiegel: Aug 1937 - May 1938
  14. 14. Jean van Heijenoort: 20 Oct 1932 - Sep 1936, Jan 1937 - 5 Nov 1939
  15. 15. Sara Weber: Jun 1933 - Feb 1934, May 1938 - Jan 1939
  16. 16. Erwin Wolf: Nov 1935 - Sep 1936
  17. 17. Bernard Wolfe: Jan 1937 - Aug 1937
Pseudonyms:
  1. Pseudonym- User
  2. Adolphe - Klement, Rudolf
  3. Albert - Jungclas, Georg
  4. Alexander - Johnstone, K
  5. Andrews, Chris - Moustakis, Chris
  6. Audouin - Molinier, Henri
  7. *Bauer, Erwin or Eugen - Ackerknecht, Eugen
  8. Biline, L - Caby, Robert
  9. Blasco - Tresso, Pietro
  10. Boitel -Bardin, Joannès
  11. Braun - Wolf, Erwin
  12. Camille - Klement, Rudolf
  13. Clart - Rous, Jean
  14. Crux - Trotsky, Lev
  15. Dan, Théodore - Gurvich, Fedor Il'ich
  16. Daniel - Mangan, Sherry
  17. Dubois - Fischer, Ruth
  18. Durand - Sedov, Lev
  19. Erde - Friedberg, Karl
  20. Etienne - Zborowski, Mark
  21. Feroci - Leonetti, Alfonso
  22. Fischer, Oscar - Schüssler, Otto
  23. Francois - Frankel, Jan
  24. Frédéric - Klement, Rudolf
  25. Gebert - Porzsolt, Ladislaus
  26. Giacomi - Bavassano, Giacomo
  27. Gil - Sedov, Lev
  28. Gilbert - Craipeau, Yvan
  29. Glenner, John - Frankel, Jan
  30. Graef, Max - Frank, Jakob
  31. Graves, Frank - Glass, Frank
  32. *Held, Walter - Epe, Heinz
  33. Irish - O'Brien, Vaughan Thomas
  34. Julien - Tresso, Pietro
  35. Keller, Werner - Frankel, Jan
  36. Kin - Sedov, Lev
  37. *Lacroix, Henri - Lavid, Francis Garcia
  38. Legrand - Cannon, James Patrick
  39. *Li Fu-jen - Glass, Frank
  40. *Lode, Roelandt - Van Droogenbrock, J H
  41. Lola - Estrin, Lelia
  42. Mark - Sedov, Lev
  43. Markin - Sedov, Lev
  44. Martel - Cannon, James Patrick
  45. Martin - Leonetti, Alfonso
  46. Molinié - Molinier, Henri
  47. *Munis - Grandizp
  48. Nejdanoff - Manov, Stéphane
  49. Nelz, Walter - Ost, Walter
  50. Nicolle (Nicole) - Wolf, Erwin
  51. O'Rourke - Rork, Walter
  52. Parabellum - Maslow, Arkadi
  53. Parijanine - Donzel
  54. Paulsen - Estrin, Lelia
  55. Phelan, Terence - Mangan, Sherry
  56. Praux - Bardin, Alexis
  57. Ramm - Pfemfert, Alexandra
  58. Reiss, Ignace - Poretsky, Ignacy
  59. Römer, Olga - Feix, Anna
  60. *Rosmer, Alfred - Griot, Alfred
  61. *Rosmer, Marguerite - Thevenet, Marguerite
  62. Santini - Ravazzoli, Paolo
  63. Schmidt, W - Sobolevicius, Roman
  64. Scholze - Neurath, Alois
  65. Schwab - Walcher, Jakob
  66. Schwarz - Sedov, Lev
  67. Senin - Sobolevicius, Abraham
  68. Sénine -Sobolevicius, Abraham
  69. Solce (Solze) - Neurath, Alois
  70. Sonka - Sonnenschein, Hugo
  71. Souzo - Leonetti, Alfonso
  72. Steen, Walter - Klement, Rudolf
  73. Stuart, J. E.B. - Gordon, Sam
  74. Theodor (Théodore) - Klement, Rudolf
  75. Torino - Leonetti, Alfonso
  76. Trent - Shachtman, Max
  77. Usick - Vanzler, Joseph
  78. Van - Van Heijenoort, Jean
  79. Vercesi - Perrone, Ottorino
  80. Verny, J - Frankel, Jan
  81. *Weber, Sara - Jakobs, Sara
  82. Well, Roman - Sobolevicius, Roman
  83. *Wright, John G - Vanzler, Joseph
  84. Zeman, Anton - Grylewicz, Anton
  85. Zvon - Salfrys, S
  86. * Pseudonym retained as catalogue heading.
Political Abbreviations:
  1. ADG, ADGB - Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftbund
  2. AK - Auslandkomitee
  3. ASF - Aktiv-Sozialistischer-Front
  4. ASR - Action Socialiste Révolutionnaire
  5. BP - Bureau Politique
  6. CC - Central Committee
  7. CC - Comité Central
  8. CAP - Commission Administrative Permanante
  9. CGI,CGIU - Confédération Générale du Travail Unitaire
  10. CI - Communist International
  11. CLA - Communist League of America
  12. CN - Conférence Nationale
  13. CNT - Confederación Nacional del Trabajo
  14. EC - Executive Committee
  15. FI,- Fourth International
  16. FSI - Fédération Syndicale Internationale
  17. FU - Front Uruque
  18. GAR - Groupe d'Action Révolutionnaire
  19. GBL - Groupe Bolchévik-Léniniste
  20. IAG - Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft
  21. ICE - Izquierda Comunista Espaola
  22. ICL - International Communist League
  23. IEC - International Executive Committee
  24. IKD - Internationale Kommunisten Deutschlands
  25. ILO - International Left Opposition
  26. ILP - Independent Labout Party (Great Britain)
  27. IOS - Internationale Ouvrière Socialiste
  28. IS - International Secretariat
  29. IVKO - Internationale Vereinigung der Kommunistischen Opposition
  30. JC - Jeunesses Communistes
  31. JSR - Jeunesses Socialistes Révolutionnaires
  32. KAP, KAPD - Kommunistische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands
  33. KJO, KJVO, KJVDO - Kommunistische Judgendverband Deutschlands (opposition)
  34. KPdSU - Kommunistische Partei der Sowjet-Union
  35. KPÖ - Kommunistische Partei Österreichs
  36. KPO, KPDO - Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (Opposition)
  37. LAG - Leninistisk Arbejdsgruppe
  38. LC - Ligue Communiste
  39. LCI - Ligue Communiste Internationaliste
  40. LO, LOD - Linke Opposition Deutschlands
  41. MA - Marxistische Aktion
  42. MG - Marxist Group
  43. NOI - Nuova Opposizione Italiana
  44. NSDAP - Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter-Partei
  45. NYC - National Youth Committee
  46. OCE - Oposición Comunista Espagñola
  47. OGA - Opposition de Gauche Allemande
  48. OGI - Opposition de Gauche Internationale
  49. OSP - Onafhankelijke Socialistische Partij
  50. PCB - Parti Communiste Belge
  51. PCF - Parti Communiste Francais
  52. PCI - Parti Communiste Internationaliste
  53. POI - Parti Ouvrier Internationaliste
  54. POR - Partido Obrero Revolucionario
  55. POUM - Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista
  56. PS - Parti Socialiste
  57. PSOP - Parti Socialiste Ouvrier et Paysan
  58. PSR - Parti Socialiste Révolutionnaire
  59. RFB - Roter Frontkämpfer-Bund
  60. RGO - Revolutionäre Gewerkschafts-Opposition
  61. RK - Reichskonferenz
  62. RL - Reichsleitung
  63. RSAP - Revolutionair-Socialistische Arbeiderspartij
  64. RSP - Revolutionary Socialist Party
  65. SA - Sturmabteilung
  66. SAP(D) - Sozialistische Arbeiterpartie Deutschlands
  67. SFIO - Section Francaise de l'Internationale Ouvrière
  68. SI - Sécretariat International
  69. SJV, SJVD - Sozialistischer Jugend-Verband Deutschlands
  70. SP - Socialist Party
  71. SPD - Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
  72. SPS - Sozialdemokratische Partei Schweizs
  73. SU - Sowjetunion
  74. SWP - Socialist Workers' Party
  75. SYL - Spartacus Youth League
  76. TPPS - Toujours PrÉts Pour Servir (Service d'ordre du SFIO)
  77. UB - Unterbezirk
  78. UBL - Unterbezirksleitung
  79. UW - Unser Wort
  80. WP - Workers' Party
  81. WPSA - Workers' Party of South Africa
  82. YC - Youth Club
  83. ZK - Zentralkomitee
Appendix: Notes concerning the microfilm of the Leon Trotsky Exile Papers The following notes were written in September 2008 by Joshua Rubenstein, a long time Associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University and Northeast Regional Director of Amnesty International.

This set of microfilm was put together before the collection was cataloged. The reels themselves (there are dozens), have never been cataloged so that, in general, it is not known what is on each of the reels. But Mr. Rubenstein was able to view five of the reels, and discovered a particular pattern to each reel. These notes provide some guidance for future readers of the micofilm of the Exile Papers, but more work is needed.

Appendix: Notes concerning the microfilm of the Leon Trotsky Exile Papers
  1. Roll 85: The material is entirely from the 1930s to Trotsky's death in August 1940. No particular order to the material on the reel was determined, but there is a good amount of material dating to his time in Mexico, from 1937-1940.
  2. R - 1: This material consists almost entirely of correspondence between Lenin and Trotsky in 1918 and then other letters between Lenin and other figures until 1923. There is a volume in HOLLIS catalog with the Lenin-Trotsky letters: HOLLIS 1277476.
  3. Roll 6: This material again relates almost entirely, if not entirely, to the 1930s, during Trotsky's time in exile in Europe and then in Mexico.
  4. Roll 31: This set of microfilm material is surprising. It begins with a great deal of material from just before and just after the turn of the 20th century, including notes and letters between Lenin and his associates. For example, there are a number of letters between Lenin and Potresov, one of his close colleagues in the early Russian Marxist movement. And then the collection moves on to include correspondence between other famous figures from that circle, like Rosa Luxembourg, Alexander Helphand-Parvus, Pavel Axelrod, Vera Zasulich, and Yuli Martov. There is also a good deal of correspondence between Lenin and other family members. [Mr. Rubenstin does not know where any of this material is cataloged]. From there, the reel then includes Trotsky material from the 1930s until his death in August 1940.
  5. Roll 36: This set of microfilm seemed to include copies of telegrams and letters relating to Trotsky's time in Alma Ata in 1928, before he was thrown out of the Soviet Union in January 1929.

Processing Information

Processed by: Patrick K. Miehe
Explanation of the Cataloging of the Exile Papers: Reference numbers and geographic abbreviations: The numbers to the extreme right of the items in the catalogue refer to the numbers of the original folders from which the items were removed. A description of the content of these folders can be found at the end of the collection. The geographic abbreviations to the extreme right of the items in the catalogue refer to the nationality of the item's author and/or the country in which the item was written. For letters written by Lev Trotsky, his secretaries, Lev Sedov, Natalia Sedova Trotsky, or the Fourth International Secretariat, the abbreviations refer to the nationality of the recipient and/or the country to which the letter was sent. A reference number and geographic abbreviation apply to both the item directly opposite them and to all ensuing items until the appearance of another reference number and geographic abbreviation. A key to the geographic abbreviations is below.

Fourth International heading: To keep large groups of related manuscripts together, all Trotskyite party papers in this collection have been catalogued under "Fourth International." Readers should bear in mind, however, that the Fourth International designation is applicable as official nomenclature only for papers composed after July of 1936.

Fourth International Secretariat: To supplement material listed under "Fourth International Secretariat," readers should also refer to correspondence and compositions by members of the Secretariat - notably Eugen Bauer, Pierre Frank, Jan Frankel, Ruth Fischer, Anton Grylewicz, Rudolf Klement, Alfonso Leonetti, Pierre Naville, Alfred Rosmer, Jean Rous, Lev Sedov, Pietro Tresso, and Erwin Wolf.

Pseudonyms: An alphabetical list of pseudonyms matched with their users' real names is below. An individual's pseudonyms are also listed at the end of each entry in the first section (Letters to Lev Trotsky). In instances where an individual is generally known by his pseudonym, the pseudonym has been retained as a catalogue heading.

Annotations: Heavy blue and red pencil markings and/or annotations on many items throughout the collection are by Lev Trotsky and occasionally by one of his secretaries.
Link to catalog
Title
Trotsky, Leon, 1879-1940. Leon Trotsky exile papers: Guide.
Author
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
EAD ID
hou00301

Repository Details

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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