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James I. Loeb Papers

Call Number



1937-1963, inclusive
; 1939, bulk


Loeb, James I. (James Isaac), 1908-


0.25 Linear Feet in 1 manscript box

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


James Isaac Loeb (1908-1992), began his career of public service as a member of the Socialist Party, supporting the antifascist effort in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and leading efforts to aid refugees. The collection consists predominantly of correspondence documenting Loeb's efforts to coordinate international aid for refugees, as well as his analyses of international and inter-party politics.

Historical/Biographical Note

James Isaac Loeb (1908-1992) was born in Illinois. After receiving his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1938, Loeb moved to New York City with his wife, Ellen. There, Loeb's belief in the Spanish republican cause and his passionate desire to combat totalitarianism led him into political activism, beginning what turned into a career of public service.

A member of the International Labor Solidarity Committee of the Socialist Party, Loeb grew to detest the factionalism that he felt was damaging the unity and effectiveness of many progressive efforts, and during this period he became a sharp critic of the Communist Party. Despite his disaffection, Loeb continued working to gain freedom for Spanish political prisoners and to provide support to refugees. Fluent in Spanish and French, he traveled to Europe to meet with Socialist and other progressive leaders.

In 1941, Loeb co-founded and directed the Union for Democratic Action, and in 1947 he co-founded Americans for Democratic Action. From 1951-1952, Loeb was consultant to President Truman's special counsel. In 1952, he was executive assistant to Governor W. Averell Harriman. From 1961-1962, he was U.S. Ambassador to Peru, and Ambassador to Guinea from 1963-1965.


Oral History Interviews with James I. Loeb, Truman Presidential Museum and LibraryThe Papers of James I. Loeb, Dartmouth College Library


Folders are arranged alphabetically.

The files are grouped into one series:

Missing Title

  1. I, Spanish Refugee Aid and Relief

Scope and Content Note

The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence documenting Loeb's efforts to coordinate international aid for refugees of the Spanish Civil War, as well as his analyses of international and inter-party politics. Index cards with notes in blue felt tip pen interspersed throughout the collection were probably written by Loeb around 1970 in preparation to donate the materials to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives.

In letters to Socialist comrades and others, including Roger Baldwin of the American Civil Liberties Union, Loeb expresses anger and disappointment at the increasing factionalism on the left; this sentiment is borne out as well in a Socialist Party statement declaring withdrawal from the Medical Bureau and North American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy. In a section of a book proposal, "The Appeal to Unity," Loeb analyzes international political forces at play during and after the Spanish Civil War. Correspondence with Arthur G. McDowell, Acting Executive Secretary of the Socialist Party discusses underground antifascist activity in Spain and Germany.

Materials from the 1950s include telegrams from Norman Thomas to Franco, Truman and others regarding the threatened executions of Spanish trade union leaders. Also from this period Thomas writes to the Minister of Justice in Barcelona requesting amnesty for leaders of the communist organization Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista (P.O.U.M.) who had been arrested and accused of being fascist collaborators, and for the release of Russell Blackwell, an American jailed in Spain.

Access Restrictions

Materials are open to researchers. Please contact the Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives for more information and to schedule an appointment, or 212-998-2630.

Use Restrictions

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA), were transferred to New York University in November 2000 by the ALBA Board of Governors. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from the Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. For more information, contact or 212-998-2630.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; James I. Loeb Papers; ALBA 151; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Custodial History

The James I. Loeb Papers were donated to Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives by James I. Loeb in 1969 and 1970. This collection came to New York University in January 2001 as part of the original acquisition of ALBA collections, formerly housed at Brandeis University.

Collection processed by

Wendy Scheir

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 16:36:36 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Description is in English.

Edition of this Guide

This version was derived from loeb.doc


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
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