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Register of the C. Frank Glass papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Collection Summary

    Title: C. Frank Glass papers
    Dates: 1913-1987
    Collection Number: 2004C12
    Creator: Glass, C. Frank (Cecil Frank), 1901-1988
    Collection Size: 3 manuscript boxes (1.2 linear feet)
    Repository: Hoover Institution Archives
    Stanford, California 94305-6010
    Abstract: Correspondence, writings, police reports, personal documents, printed matter, photographs, and postcards, relating to Trotskyism in South Africa, China and the United States. Includes many letters by Rayna Prohme, American revolutionary journalist in China and sister-in-law of Glass.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Languages: English

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.
    Access to audiovisual materials requires at least two weeks advance notice. Audiovisual materials include sound recordings, video recordings, and motion picture film. Hoover staff will determine whether use copies of the materials requested can be made available. Some materials may not be accessible even with advance notice. Please contact the Hoover Institution Archives for further information.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], C. Frank Glass papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2004.


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog Socrates at http://library.stanford.edu/webcat . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in Socrates is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    1901 Born, Birmingham, England
    1909 Immigrated to South Africa
    1921 Founding member, Communist Party of South Africa
    1931 Relocated to China
    1932-1933 Tass News Agency writer, Shanghai
    1934-1935 Shanghai Evening Post and Mercury reporter
    1935-1936 Shanghai Times reporter
    1935-1937 Secretary, Communist League of China
    1938-1941 China Weekly Review writer, Shanghai
    1942 Relocated to the United States
    1944-1963 National Committee member, Socialist Workers Party
    1988 Died, Los Angeles, California

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Cecil Frank Glass was a radical journalist and revolutionary political activist on three continents. He was a founding member of the Communist Party of South Africa in 1921, and in 1928 became an early adherent of the International Left Opposition led by Leon Trotsky. After relocating to Shanghai, China, in 1931, he spent most of the next decade there, working as a journalist. Concurrently he was actively involved in rebuilding the Trotskyist movement in China, and was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist League of China. Glass was closely associated with radical American journalists in Shanghai, including Wilbur Burton and Harold Isaacs. There he also met the American Grace Simons (1901-1985). She was first married to Burton and afterwards to Glass. Grace's older sister Rayna Simons Prohme (1894-1927) had been a prominent figure among Western revolutionaries involved with the Left Guomindang, had edited the Peking People's Tribune and other journals, and had been an associate of Mikhail Borodin and Song Qingling (Madame Sun Yat-sen). Rayna accompanied Madame Sun to the Soviet Union following the failure of the 1927 revolution in China, and died suddenly in Moscow, evidently of a brain tumor.
    After two trips to the United States and Mexico (where he conferred with Trotsky) during the 1930s, Glass relocated permanently to the United States during World War II. There, he was for years a leading member of the Socialist Workers Party, but eventually developed a more sympathetic view of the Maoist government of China than could easily be reconciled with an orthodox Trotskyist position.
    In political work Glass made use of the pseudonyms Frank Graves, Li Fu-ren and John Liang. He is the subject of a biography by Baruch Hirson, The Restless Revolutionary: Frank Glass (London: Porcupine Press, 2003).
    The C. Frank Glass papers in the Hoover Institution Archives were acquired from Susan Weissman in 2003. The collection is small. There are also Glass papers at Concordia College in Toronto, Ontario, but it seems likely that many other papers did not survive.
    The collection is arranged in four series: Correspondence, Speeches and Writings, Subject File, and Audiovisual File. Of particular interest are many lengthy letters by Rayna Prohme, some written to her sister Grace, and some written to her second husband William Prohme and passed on to Grace when Prohme died in 1935. The collection also includes printed copies of political articles by Glass, and photocopies of surveillance reports on Glass and associates made by British, French and American police and consular authorities in Shanghai.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Fourth International.
    Communism--South Africa.
    Communism--United States.
    China--History--Republic, 1912-1949.
    Prohme, Rayna Simons, 1894-1927.