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Communist Collection of A.E. Forbes

What's online?

Over 100 items were selected for digitization.

What's in the entire collection?

The collection presents broadsides and newsletters, some of which were hand rendered and relate specifically to the region, others are widely available Communist Party and Left wing propaganda. The collection also contains family and wartime correspondence, fictional writing, and a diary.

About Adolph Edward Forbes

Born in 1907, Adolph Edward Forbes lived in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh with his mother, father, and siblings. Following high school, Forbes spent fifteen years working in Pittsburgh and also traveling throughout the country, both on his own and later with the United States Navy. By the early 1930s Forbes was a member of the Communist Party, as evidenced by his involvement with its front organizations such as the Workers International Relief (WIR), Cultural Division. Forbes' work in the CP reflected his own interests, such as writing, acting, and selling books. During this time, Forbes worked on novels and short stories. He also acted in local productions of radical plays, was involved in the Pittsburgh Pen and Hammer (a working-class literary publication), and tried to establish a labor research library. There is no indication that Forbes held any high post in the Communist Party at either the national or local level.

In 1940, Forbes left civilian life and entered the United States Navy. In the Navy, Forbes was first a clerk and later a shipbuilder. It was during this time that Forbes met his future wife, Shirley Levine. They were married during World War II and eventually settled in Pittsburgh. While Forbes briefly attended the University of Pittsburgh following high school, he completed his degree after the war, making use of the G.I. Bill. In the next decades, Forbes remained in Pittsburgh with his family and became active within the local Jewish community.

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