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Spanish Civil War Collection

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About this Collection



The Spanish Civil War Collection on microfilm from Research Publications (now Primary Source Microfilm, an imprint of the Gale Group) is based on the Herbert Rutledge Southworth Collection on the Spanish Civil War, which resides in the Mandeville Department of Special Collections of the University of California, San Diego Library. The Southworth Collection was acquired by the UCSD library from Herbert Southworth between 1966 and 1969. Gabriel Jackson, now professor emeritus of history at UCSD, was instrumental in bringing the Collection to San Diego and in promoting its use since that time.

At the time of its acquisition, the Collection included more than 7500 books, pamphlets, serials, and newspapers comprising the personal library of Herbert Rutledge Southworth, an American journalist and historian whose deep interest in the Spanish Republican cause resulted in twenty-five years of intense collecting to document the turbulent history of modern Spain, and in particular, the Spanish Civil War. From among the riches of this Collection, Research Publications has microfilmed approximately 3000 pamphlets, constituting much of the most significant primary source material in the Southworth Collection.

The onset of the Depression in 1929 found Southworth working at a copper mine in Arizona. He soon fell victim to the massive unemployment which descended upon U.S. industry, and then enrolled at Texas Technological College, where he obtained degrees in history and Spanish. In 1934, Southworth moved to Washington, D.C., and before long, secured a post in the Library of Congress documents department. Shortly thereafter, he grew fascinated with events in Spain, and became deeply committed to the Spanish Republican cause. He wrote a number of anti-Franco articles in the Washington Post, and in 1938 was invited by the Spanish government to take a post at the Spanish Information Bureau in New York City, where he worked for more than a year until the end of the War. Realizing the importance of the torrent of material being published about the War in Spain, he began to collect. In 1943, his work as a radio journalist took him to Africa, and for fifteen years he and his wife, Suzanne Maury, ran a radio station in Tangier.

Both his geographic proximity to Spain and the nature of his profession afforded Southworth excellent opportunities to build his library in earnest, and his collecting interest became his passion. Southworth pursued his avocation with great zest until deciding to offer the Collection to UCSD in 1966.

Since the time of the original acquisition, the UCSD library has added thousands of volumes to the Southworth Collection. The holdings now number close to 12,000 volumes and include 8000 monographs, 3500 pamphlets, 550 serial and newspaper titles, 56 posters, and a small number of manuscripts. The Collection is supplemented by extensive holdings in the librarys general collections.

The UCSD library has a continuing commitment to build both the Southworth Collection and its other holdings on modern Spain. Current imprints are added to the librarys general collections, while primary materials dating to the mid-1940s are actively acquired whenever possible for the Southworth Collection.

Collection Highlights

Herbert Southworths passionate collecting so soon after the Spanish Civil War made possible his acquisition of hundreds of titles which are now very rare, and in many cases unique. At the time that the monograph and pamphlet collections were being cataloged in the early 1980s, 40% of the titles had never been reported to the National Union Catalog. The serial collection appears to include an even higher percentage of materials not held in any other U.S. research library, possible as high as 80%. The Collections riches are many, and its coverage of the secondary literature nearly exhaustive.

The Southworth pamphlet collection contains a wealth of primary materials documenting the Spanish Republican period (1931-1939), the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), and the post-War era of Francos rule (1939-1975). The collections greatest strengths are the Civil War itself and the immediate post-War years of the 1940s.

Among the most notable pamphlets are the more than 200 items relating to the Falange, Francos powerful political party, and its suborganizations, including the Sección Femenina. Many of these items record Francos efforts to rebuild Spain, both structurally and spiritually, in the wake of the War. Numerous other publications represent the Republican opposition parties, including the Partido Comunista de España, the Partido Socialista Obrero Español, the Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista, the Confederación Nacional de Trabajo, and the Unión General de Trabajadores.

The Collection includes more than 100 titles published by the Germans and distributed in Spain, in the Spanish language, during the Civil War and World War II; several titles detail the activities of Hitlers Condor Legion in Spain. The activities of the International Brigades are extensively documented, including numerous eyewitness accounts written by volunteers from the United States, England, France, and other nations.

Pictorial and written evidence abounds of the atrocities committed by both sides during the bloody four-year conflict, as thousands of civilians and numerous architectural treasures fell victim to the War. More than 150 literary pamphlets record the poetry and prose of Federico García Lorca, Miguel Hernández, Ernest Hemingway, and many others. Patriotic songs and hymns survive in a small collection of sheet music. Dozens of items treat the economic, social, and religious aspects of the War and its effects on Spanish society. The Collection also provides evidence of the largely unsuccessful post-War efforts of Spanish exiles to fight the Franco dictatorship and to maintain a democratic República Española in exile.


At UC San Diego, the entire Southworth Collection is open for use by members of the academic community and the general public. All materials are non-circulating, and are used within the Department of Special Collections reading room. Items may be photocopied insofar as their physical condition and copyright status permit. Some materials may be borrowed via interlibrary loan, but whenever possible, ILL requests are filled by photocopying.

For the first fifteen years that UCSD owned the Southworth Collection, it remained uncataloged and was accessible only through brieflisted records in the librarys card catalogs. In 1982, thanks to a large grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Collection began to be fully cataloged and classified, and as of now, it is more than 95% cataloged. Most of the materials not yet cataloged are serials.

Southworth catalog records are widely available to scholars throughout the world via the National Union Catalog, which is published by the Library of Congress and is available in most research libraries; through OCLC; in the University of Californias systemwide MELVYL online catalog; and in UCSDs own local catalogs.


The Southworth Collection is an extraordinarily rich resource for scholars of modern Spain. The Library of the University of California at San Diego continues to build and preserve the Collection, and to produce research tools which make access to Southworth materials as easy and effective as possible. The library welcomes all to explore its riches.

Jackie Dooley
Special Collections Librarian
Mandeville Dept. of Special Collections
Central University Library
University of California, San Diego