Special collections and subject guides

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The MML holds a wealth of resources that tell stories of struggles against fascism in Britain and across the world. They show how, through the course of the twentieth century, fascism has been opposed collectively, and demonstrate the links between fascism as the ultimate expression of capitalism, and militarism as a necessary component of this. 

Our Spanish Collection is an internationally significant resource on the British response to the fascist threat in Europe in the 1930s.

Andrew Rothstein was born in 1898 in London and died there in 1994.  He was the son of Theodore Rothstein, a political refugee from Russia, member of the Russian Social Democratic Party and a close associate of Lenin.  Andrew went to school in Islington and was a history scholar at Balliol College, Oxford.  He was conscripted in the first world war and led the first of the army mutinies when he called on troops not to embark to join British expeditionary forces invading Soviet Russia. 

The MML has significant holdings on Marxist feminism and campaigns through history against women's oppression. The Library's collection also includes material relating to significant female activists and trade unionists including Helen Crawfurd, Eleanor Marx and Sylvia Pankhurst.

John Desmond Bernal (1901-1971) was one of the most eminent scientists of the twentieth century whose research had a groundbreaking impact across the medical humanities, from x-ray crystallography research, to the impact of war on human life. He was a passionate socialist and visionary of the beneficial role of science in society and a driving force in world-wide peace campaigning.

There is a wealth of material in the archives relevant to the fight against racism and anti-semitism from all parts of the world and periods of history, from the resistance against slavery to modern movements leading up to Black Lives Matter. These resources document the different forms of oppression and how they have been challenged and, to a certain extent, overcome, as well as exploring the ideological origins of such oppression as a capitalist/Imperialist construction.

Key collections and resources on these topics include: 

Paul Robeson

This guide was written as part of a student placement from the UCL Archives and Records Management MA to catalogue the First of May Celebration Committee collection. You can find the catalogue record for that collection here.

James Klugmann (1912-1977) was a historian of the Communist Party. He joined the party in 1933 while at Cambridge University and was Secretary of the World Student Association in the late 1930s. He was in charge of Education for the Communist Party, jointly with Jack Cohen, from 1946 to 1968 and introduced what were then innovatory group-based learning methods. He worked for the Communist Party as speaker, educator and writer, and edited ‘Marxism Today’ 1957-77. A member of the Marx Memorial Library Committee 1967-77, he was an avid collector of books, pamphlets and ephemera.

Born in Glasgow in 1903 and moved to Seattle (USA) at the age of ten, John Williamson joined the Socialist Labor Party of America in 1918 and played an important role in the struggles of the automobile, steel and electrical workers, and of the unemployed during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

According to the MML Quarterly Bulletin, Williamson was "seeking for the basic causes that made such struggles necessary". In 1921 he decided to join the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), which managed to survive despite the hostility of the American administration.

The library’s extensive periodical and pamphlet holdings contain several documents recording LGBTQ+ political struggles.

The collection of songs and music (archive and printed material) at the Marx Memorial Library spreads across the library’s main and special collections, with examples related to all subject areas.