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Series XIV. Popular Front Culture

Scope and Content Notes:

The Popular Front grew out of the mutual recognition of Communists and non-Communist leftists in the mid-1930s that they needed to join forces against the threat of fascism. Formalization of this recognition included the 1935 shift in the Comintern line from Third Period policies that had mandated that Communists attack others on the Left as “social fascists” to Popular Front policies for a united front of the Left, and the electoral alliances that led to victories in 1936 elections in France and Spain.

In the US, the Popular Front functioned like the left wing of the New Deal. It drew support disproportionately from ethnics and racial minorities—e.g. immigrants and their children of Eastern and Southern European heritage, especially Eastern European Jews, and African Americans and Mexican-Americans. Popular Fronters championed the CIO, supported the Spanish Republic and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, and campaigned for racial equality. It was also a cultural movement as well as a political movement featuring a left-patriotic ethos and a set of stylistic preferences including topical songs in a folk motif, populist paintings inspired by the example of the Mexican muralists, agit-prop Brechtian theater, and social realist literature. A startling array of cultural producers who were either already famous or would later become so participated in Popular Front culture.


Box 10
Folder 4 From These Honored Dead..., By David McKelvy White and James Hawthorne
Folder 5 Photograph of Aiding State Trooper Michael Murray as He Lies on the Ground September 4, 1949
Folder 6 Wendell Phillips, By James J. Green, 1943
Folder 7 Poems for Workers, An Anthology, Edited by Manuel Gomez
Folder 8 "Ajut Infantil De Reraguarda" Flyer
Folder 9 "One Year of the Writers and Artists Committee for Medical Aid to Spain" Pamphlet, January-December, 1937
Folder 10 "Marxism and Culture No. I", A Brief Bibliography of Marxism and the Arts, Edited by Louis Harp
Folder 11 Hear...Ludwig Renn, Chief of Staff of International Brigades, 1937
Folder 12 Medical Bureau & North American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy Flyers (2)
Folder 13 20 Years After, 1914-1934, By James Lerner
Folder 14 "Critics Group Dialectics #1" Pamphlet, 1937
Folder 15 Issues #2, #4 and #5 of Critics Group Dialectics Stories
Folder 16 The Brave and the Blind, A One-Act Drama, By Michael Blankfort, 1937
Folder 17 Issues #3, #6 and #10 of Partisan Review, November-December, 1953,Summer, 1955, and October, 1948
Folder 18 Washington and Lincoln, The American Tradition, By Joseph North
Folder 19 Photograph of Men from The New York State Young Communist League Boycotting Japanese Goods