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"Kur-heiny?" "Teip!!"
March 20, 2007 1:58 PM   Subscribe

New York University's Tamiment Library, one of the world's foremost centers of learning on labour history and the Left, has been given the archives of the Communist Party USA. (alternate non-NYT link) The donation includes 20,000 books, journals and pamphlets and a million photographs from The Daily Worker’s archives. Highlights include the original, hand-written will of Joe Hill.
posted by By The Grace of God (13 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
The CPUSA's homepage. (It seems to be down at the moment.)
posted by By The Grace of God at 2:01 PM on March 20, 2007


That's an uncanny coincidence - I dreamt I saw Joe Hill last night. Alive as you or me, too.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:29 PM on March 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Might as well get this out of the way: Better read than dead.
posted by rob511 at 2:55 PM on March 20, 2007


It would be interesting to know how Hill's will ended up in their archives. AFAIK he was never a member, and the IWW was pretty institutionally hostile to what they sometimes called the "Comical Party."
posted by Abiezer at 3:00 PM on March 20, 2007


I wonder why they chose NYU and not the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library? The line about a "wider audience" seems a bit unconvincing, but I guess giving all that material to a local NYC repository rather than shipping it cross-country has a lot to do with it.
posted by RogerB at 3:51 PM on March 20, 2007


I used to subscribe to The Daily Worker just to laugh at the stilted revolutionary rhetoric. Oh crap, I'm probably on some DHS list now.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:57 PM on March 20, 2007


that NYU Library needs to put all its stuff online...they could learn from the IISG.

(also, Stephen King named his son after Joe Hill--he's an author too)
posted by amberglow at 5:35 PM on March 20, 2007


It would be interesting to know how Hill's will ended up in their archives. AFAIK he was never a member, and the IWW was pretty institutionally hostile to what they sometimes called the "Comical Party."

Joe Hill died in 1915. The two parties that would fuse to become the Communist Party were founded in 1919, and quite a large number of Wobblies (John Reed, Elizabeth "Gurley" Flynn, William Z. Foster, and James P. Cannon, among many others) came into them. It's likely that one of the copies of Joe Hill's will came into CP possession in the early years. By the time the CP came to be a mass organization, the IWW was mostly a thing of the past.
posted by graymouser at 5:37 PM on March 20, 2007


Joe Hill died in 1915.

Yeah. SEZ YOU, see?
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:40 PM on March 20, 2007


Ah - thanks graymouser.
posted by Abiezer at 5:58 PM on March 20, 2007


RogerB: speaking from experience, bequests such as this often happen because of personal relationships. Alternately, it could come down to geographic location, reputation of the institution, professional capability to preserve and make accessible the collection, or other factors.

Then again, who knows? Maybe the guys in Berkeley are hooligans and counter-revolutionaries.
posted by dhartung at 5:59 PM on March 20, 2007


This is awesome. I remember from undergrad (not at NYU) that they have ultra rare Weatherman communiques and the like. Very cool stuff.
posted by sneakin at 6:40 PM on March 20, 2007


Nice post, thanks!

From the Times story:

Ruthenberg underscores the “secret manner in which the party is conducted.” The Los Angeles branch, known as “XO1XO5” uses the password “‘Kur-heiny,’ which means: ‘Are you advancing?,’ ” he writes. “The answer is: ‘Teip,’ meaning ‘yes.’”

Heh. Kur eini is Lithuanian for 'where are you going?'; taip means 'yes.' I wonder how Lithuanian got to be the Secret Language of the Los Angeles Boy's Club branch of the CPUSA?
posted by languagehat at 5:31 AM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


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