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Register of the Albert Glotzer papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Albert Glotzer papers
    Date (inclusive): 1919-1994
    Collection Number: 91006
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 67 manuscript boxes, 6 envelopes (27.7 linear feet)
    Abstract: Correspondence, writings, minutes, internal bulletins and other internal party documents, legal documents, and printed matter, relating to Leon Trotsky, the development of American Trotskyism from 1928 until the split in the Socialist Workers Party in 1940, the development of the Workers Party and its successor, the Independent Socialist League, from that time until its merger with the Socialist Party in 1958, Trotskyism abroad, the Dewey Commission hearings of 1937, legal efforts of the Independent Socialist League to secure its removal from the Attorney General's list of subversive organizations, and the political development of the Socialist Party and its successor, Social Democrats, U.S.A., after 1958.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: Glotzer, Albert, 1908-1999


    Collection is open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Albert Glotzer papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1991.


    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 at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Biographical Note

    1908 Born, Ivanik, Russia (now Belarus)
    1913 Immigrated to United States
    1923 Joined Young Workers (Communist) League and subsequently Workers (Communist) Party
    1928 Expelled from Communist Party. Founding member, Communist League of America (subsequently Workers Party of the United States and then Socialist Workers Party)
    1931 European trip. Stayed with Leon Trotsky in Turkey
    1934 European trip as delegate to International Socialist Youth Conference. Stayed with Trotsky in France
    1937 Official reporter of Dewey Commission hearings in Mexico at which Trotsky testified regarding Moscow Trial charges
    1940 Founding member, Workers Party (subsequently Independent Socialist League) following split in Socialist Workers Party
    1958 Joined Socialist Party (subsequently Social Democrats, U.S.A.) upon dissolution of Independent Socialist League
    1989 Author, Trotsky: Memoir and Critique
    1999 Died, New York City

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Albert Glotzer had a career as an American socialist leader that was notable both for its long duration and for the number of bases touched in the course of his evolution from communism to social democracy. It included a significant role in the beginning of American Trotskyism. By profession Glotzer was a court reporter, a skill he put to use in transcribing the proceedings of the commission chaired by John Dewey to investigate the Moscow Trial charges, which heard lengthy testimony from Leon Trotsky in hearings in Mexico City in 1937. For several years Glotzer was president of the Federation of Shorthand Reporters. In his earlier years he used the pseudonym Albert Gates in party work.
    The collection is arranged in four series corresponding to four distinct phases of Glotzer's political life. The Communist Period Papers consist of his papers as a member of the Workers (Communist) Party and of its youth group, the Young Workers (Communist) League. Glotzer joined the youth league in 1923 and the adult party two years later, both at precocious ages, and became a member of the national committee of the youth league. He was expelled from both youth league and party in 1928 as a Trotskyist.
    The Trotskyist Period Papers consist of Glotzer's papers as a member of the Communist League of America (1928-1934), of the Workers Party of the United States (1934-1936), of the Socialist Appeal Caucus of the Socialist Party (1936-1937), and of the Socialist Workers Party (1938-1940). These were successively the first organizational expressions in the United States of the international communist opposition movement led by Leon Trotsky. The papers document Glotzer's meetings with Trotsky in Europe and his participation in the Dewey Commission hearings, the formation of the Communist League of America, its merger with the American Workers Party to form the Workers Party of the United States, Trotskyist entry into and exit from the Socialist Party, establishment of the Socialist Workers Party, and the full-scale faction fight that rent the party when the onset of World War II acutely posed the question of Soviet defense. Glotzer was a member of the national committees of all the American Trotskyist organizations of this period.
    The Shachtmanite Period Papers consist of Glotzer's papers as a member of the Workers Party (1940-1949) and of the Independent Socialist League (1949-1958). These were the successive organizations of the group led by Max Shachtman which split from the Socialist Workers Party in 1940. Their departure with a substantial proportion of the membership capped the intraparty dispute over the "Russian question" in which Trotsky defined the Stalinized Soviet Union as a "degenerated workers' state," while Shachtman maintained that it had ceased to be a workers' state of any description and eventually settled upon "bureaucratic collectivist" as a label to categorize it. The possibility of reunifying the rival parties resulting from the split remained open and a subject of discussion for several years. Instead, the Shachtmanites, as they came to be called, ultimately evolved in a social democratic direction and disbanded in 1958. Glotzer was a member of the national committees of the Shachtmanite groups as well as editor of the newspaper Labor Action and of the theoretical journal The New International.
    The papers document the Workers Party's relationship with the Socialist Workers Party, its transition to Independent Socialist League, and its campaign for removal from the Attorney General's subversive organizations list.
    The Social Democratic Period Papers consist of Glotzer's papers as a member of the Socialist Party (1958-1972) and of its successor, Social Democrats, U.S.A. (1972-1999). Glotzer was a member of the national committees of these organizations, in which he, along with Shachtman and other former members of their group, came to play a leading role. The papers document their activities and influence, controversies within the Socialist Party at the time of the Vietnam War and the 1972 presidential election, and the transition to Social Democrats, U.S.A., while an opposing faction led by Michael Harrington split away. The series is also pertinent to Glotzer's earlier political history. In his later years he was conscious of being one of the last surviving personal associates of Leon Trotsky and one of the last surviving veterans of the formative period of the Trotskyist movement. He sought to record and evaluate his experiences in his book Trotsky: Memoir and Critique (published in 1989), in shorter writings, and in an extensive and patient correspondence with a younger generation of historians of the American left.
    Each of these series is subdivided in a similar manner, with a typical succession being: correspondence; speeches and writings by Glotzer; minutes, internal bulletins, other internal documents, and public issuances of the organizations to which he belonged during the period; contemporaneous issuances of other organizations; and miscellaneous or subject file material.
    There is a fifth series of Photographs.
    The Hoover Institution Archives acquired the main body of the collection from Albert Glotzer in 1991, with subsequent increments following.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Commission of Inquiry into the Charges Made Against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trials.
    Fourth International.
    Independent Socialist League.
    Social Democrats, U.S.A.
    Socialist Party-Social Democratic Federation
    Socialist Workers Party.
    Trotsky, Leon, 1879-1940.
    Workers Party
    Communism--United States.
    Internal security--United States.
    Socialism--United States.
    Subversive activities--United States.
    United States--Politics and government.