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Finding Aid to the Lisette and Sam Kutnick Abraham Lincoln Brigade Collection
larc.ms.0229  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Materials collected by Lisette (Lee) and Sam Kutnick over the course of their political work in the San Francisco Bay Area. The collection contains typed transcripts of letters (circa 1937-1938) written by members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade from the Spanish Civil War to family and friends in the Bay Area, collected by Lisette (Lee) Kutnick when she served as secretary of the Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in San Francisco. Kutnick gathered and typed copies of letters received by friends, as well as many addressed to her and her husband Sam. The letters span the period when the Americans arrived in Spain in early 1937 and continued to the end of 1938 when most of the American volunteers returned home. The collection also contains materials from Sam Kutnick's work on the County Personnel Committee of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) in the late 1940s and early 1950s. This committee was charged with investigating CPUSA members for political and personal transgressions, recommending names to County Leadership for expulsion from the Party. There are handwritten notes with lists of names for further research, correspondence with other County or District Committees to share information on members, correspondence from Party members recommending others for investigation, and files related to the investigation of specific local Party members.
Background
Lee Kutnick (1914-2010), born Lisette Levy, was a community and union organizer who supported a variety of leftist causes, including the Communist Party of the United States of America. In the early 1930s, she moved to San Francisco and married Sam Kutnick. From 1937 to 1938, Lee served as the Secretary of the Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (ALB). She received, transcribed, and circulated letters sent from ALB members including those written by her cousin, Douglas "Dud" Wayne Male, who fought and died as part of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Lee worked as an office worker for more than 50 years as a member of OPEIU Local 3 and served on the executive board of Local 3 from 1983 to 1986. Lee Kutnick worked until the age of 87 in the office of Sheet Metal Workers Local 104. The Spanish Civil War (1936-39) began when a Nationalist faction supported by the military, Catholic church, and conservative groups instigated a coup d'etat against the left-leaning Popular Front government which had won electoral control of the Spanish Republic. This insurrection was met with armed resistance by the Loyalists, a coalition of leftist groups including the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), a confederation of anarcho-syndicalist labor unions.The Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) was formed in 1919 after splitting from the Socialist Party of America. CPUSA was centered around the belief that workers were united as a social class under capitalism and entitled to control the industries in which they labored. CPUSA was known for opposing white supremacy and advocating for racial integration and civil rights for Black people. The Party and its members were deeply involved in the labor movement in the United States in the early 20th century, organizing and supporting trade unions, worker organizations, and strikes. As anti-capitalist sentiments surged during the Great Depression, the organizing successes of the Communist Party in the United States were followed with intense State repression.
Extent
3 Linear Feet (7 boxes)
Restrictions
Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives and Research Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Labor Archives and Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
Availability
Collection is open for research.