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MS Russ 13.9

Buchman, Alexander H., 1911-2003. Alexander H. Buchman photographs and film of Leon Trotsky and others, 1982: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Russ 13.9
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Buchman, Alexander H., 1911-2003.
Title: Alexander H. Buchman photographs and film of Leon Trotsky and others,
Date(s): 1982.
Quantity: 1 collection (1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)
Abstract: Photographs and film of the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky and his supporters, taken at his place of exile in Mexico in 1939 and 1940, shortly before his death, along with additional material.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

82M-60. Gift of Alexander H. Buchman, 2101 Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90026; received: 1982 April 21.

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to the photographs in this collection.
Items (103) and (104) are restricted: fragile; use surrogate. For access to original consult curatorial staff.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Alexander H. Buchman Photographs and Film of Leon Trotsky and Others, 1982 (MS Russ 13.9). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Related Materials

Copies of most of these photographs are also part of the Alexander H. Buchman Papers at the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University.

Biographical / Historical

Leon Trotsky (1879-21 Aug. 1940) was a Russian revolutionary, Soviet leader, and Communist theorist. While in exile in Mexico, he lived at a villa at 19 Avenida Viena in Coyoacán, a southern suburb of Mexico City.
Alexander H. Buchman was an American engineer, Communist sympathizer, and amateur photographer. In 1939-1940, he spent five months at Trotsky's villa in Coyoacán, Mexico, serving as one of Trotsky's guards and also exhaustively documenting the lives of Trotsky and his family and friends.
Charles Cornell (1911-1989) was an American Communist and member of the Socialist Workers' Party. On the suggestion of the SWP he worked as one of Trotsky's bodyguards in Mexico from 1939 until Trotsky's assassination. Together with Joseph Hansen, Cornell overwhelmed Trotsky's assassin and surrendered him to the police.
Farrell Dobbs (1907-1983) was an American Trotskyist politician and trade unionist; he became a personal friend of Leon Trotsky, whom he visited in Mexico shortly before the latter's death in 1940.
Joseph Hansen (1910-1979) was an American Communist who worked as Trotsky's secretary and guard from 1937 until Trotsky's death in 1940. Together with Charles Cornell, Hansen prevented Trotsky's assassin, Ramón Mercader, from fleeing and handed him over to the police.
Alfred Rosmer (1877-1964) was an anarchist and revolutionary syndicalist, then a leader of the French Communist party and a friend and ideological supporter of Leon Trotsky.
Diego Rivera (1886-1957) was a Mexican painter and muralist, and a Communist sympathizer. When Trotsky first arrived in Mexico he stayed in Rivera's home in Coyoacán, then moved to another villa nearby.
Otto Rühle (1874-1943) was a German Left Communist active in opposition to both the First and Second World Wars, a founder in 1916 of the Spartacist League (Spartakusbund), and of the group and magazine Internationale, which posed a revolutionary internationalism against a world of warring states.
Otto Schüssler (1905-1982) was a German-born Communist who in 1932 became Trotsky's secretary and close collaborator. In the 1930s he carried on Trotskyist activities in Europe under the pseudonym Oskar Fischer. In 1939 he rejoined Trotsky in Mexico and worked as his secretary and bodyguard until the latter's assassination in August 1940. After this Schüssler remained in Mexico and continued to be active in the Mexican section of the Fourth International under the pseudonym Julián Suárez. He left politics in the late 1940s.
Natalia Sedova, or Natalia Sedova Trotskaia (1882-1962) was Leon Trotsky's second wife.
Esteban Volkov (born 1926) is the official name of Trotsky's grandson, born Vsevolod Volkov, nicknamed Sieva Volkov (or Seva Volkov). He was the son of Zinaida Volkova, Trotsky's eldest daughter, who committed suicide in 1933. As Stalin's agents gradually eliminated Trotsky's entire family, in 1939 Trotsky's friends brought Sieva to rejoin his grandfather in the relative safety of Mexico. Volkov grew up in Mexico and settled there, continuing to live in his grandfather's Coyoacán villa and, after it was turned into the Trotsky museum, serving as its custodian.


Organized in the following series: Series I is arranged in ascending order by photo negative number, as assigned by Buchman (stored in boxes 2 & 3). Series II stored in box 1.

Scope and Contents

Series I contains 102 black-and-white photographs, selected from about 700 negatives taken from about November 1939 to about mid-April 1940, and printed in 1982. The numbers on the reverse of the prints correspond to negative numbers from which the enlargements were made. Dates are approximate.
Series II includes: reels of Super-8 film enlarged from 8 mm original film, filmed November 1939-April 1940; digital videocassette copy; and a DVD copy for reader use.

Container List