Left Pamphlet Collection

Ref: Special Collection

Title: Left Pamphlet Collection

Scope: A collection of printed pamphlets relating to left-wing politics mainly in the 20th century

Dates: 1900 -
Extent: over 1000 items

Name of creator: University of Sheffield Library

Administrative / biographical history:

The collection consists of pamphlets relating to left-wing political, social and economic issues, mainly of the twentieth century. A great deal of such material exists from many sources but, as such publications are necessarily ephemeral in nature, and often produced in order to address a particular issue of the moment without any thought of their potential historical value (many are undated), they are frequently scarce, and holding them in the form of a special collection is a means of ensuring their preservation. The collection is ad hoc, and is not intended to be comprehensive.

At the end of the twentieth century, which was a period of unprecedented conflict and political and economic change around the globe, it can be seen that (as with Fascism) while the more extreme totalitarian Socialist theories based on Marxist ideology have largely failed in practice, despite for many decades posing a revolutionary threat to Western liberal democracy, many of the reforms advocated by democratic Socialism have been to a degree achieved. For many decades this outcome was by no means assured, and the process by which it came about is a matter of historical significance which ephemeral publications can help to illustrate.

The collection includes material issued from many different sources, both collective and individual, of widely divergent viewpoints and covering an extensive variety of topics. Political organisations represented here are of both the ‘extreme’ or authoritarian Left – for example, Communist Parties of Great Britain and elsewhere, the Soviet Union and the satellite regimes of Eastern Europe which frequently issued ‘official’ versions of events, and organisations such as the Socialist Workers Party, the International Socialists, and Militant – and the democratic Left, represented by, for example, the Labour Party, the Independent Labour Party, the Fabian Society and the Common Wealth Party. There are in addition publications by individuals, by trades unions, and also occasionally official government documents such as those published by HMSO on relevant topics.

  • Related collections: Klugmann Collection, Left Book Club Collection, Mendelson Collection, Zaidman Collection
  • Source: Various
  • System of arrangement: Numerical
  • Subjects: Communism; Socialism
  • Conditions of access: Available to all researchers, by appointment
  • Restrictions: None
  • Copyright: According to individual publication
  • Finding aids: Listed and catalogued