International Labour and Radical History Pamphlet Collection

The International Labour and Radical History Pamphlet Collection in the Queen Elizabeth II Library consists of more than 2200 pamphlets, representing a broad spectrum of leftist opinion that includes communists of various stripes, socialists, liberal reformers, trade unionists, civil libertarians and antiwar activists.

Published for the most part between the years 1920 and 1970 (the collection also includes a number of Fabian Society publications that predate this period), the majority of the pamphlets are English-language publications from the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, Canada and China. Among the topics and issues dealt with are socialist theory and practice, critiques of capitalism, war and peace, labour and the role of unions, international communism, the Vietnam war, racism and Third World liberation. Authors include Daniel DeLeon, Earl Browder, William Z Foster, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Georgi Dimitrov, James Cannon, Howard Fast, Anna Louise Strong, Paul Robeson, Harry Pollitt, Jacques Duclos, Vyacheslav Molotov, Sergei Eisenstein, as well as Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and Mao.

Canadian authors include Stewart Smith, Stanley Ryerson, William Kashtan, Dorise Nielsen, Jacob Penner, Sam Carr and Leslie Morris. However, the most significant of the Canadian titles are more than 60 works written by Tim Buck, representing a significant proportion of the writings (many of them scarce, uncommon or rare) of the longtime General Secretary of the Communist Party of Canada.

Because of their physical condition, most of the pamphlets are housed in the Rare Books area of the Library, although there are some titles in the main stacks. A project to digitize the pamphlets is ongoing. As of fall 2018, approximately 1700 have been added to the Libraries' Digital Archives Initiative.

The Queen Elizabeth II Library has a virtually complete run of the theoretical journal of the Communist Party of Canada (National Affairs Monthly/National Affairs/Marxist Review/Marxist Quarterly/Horizins) for the period 1944- 1966. (This periodical title is kept in Rare Books). In addition, the Library also owns several collections of radical/left literature in microform. Pamphlets on Socialism, Communism, Bolshevism, etc., 1849-1931(Library of Congress 1968) consists of 164 items in English, French and German by authors such as Marx, Engels, Eugene Debs, Upton Sinclair and Emma Goldman. Other collections include British Labour History Ephemera: 1880-1926 (World Microfilm Publications, 1973-1977), containing more that 1500 pamphlets devoted to topics as diverse as anarchism, the Paris Commune, critiques of capitalism, and working conditions; and the Socialist Party of America Papers, 1897-1964 (Microfilming Corporation of America, 1975) includes about 400 pamphlets distributed by socialist organizations, primarily dating from the period 1900 to 1940.

These titles, in conjunction with the pamphlet collection, offer faculty and students an extensive and significant source of primary material for the study of both the Canadian and international labour and radical movements.

For more information about the collection, please contact librarian Patrick Warner at the QEII's Archives and Special Collections.