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AFL-CIO International Affairs Department, European Office, Paul Barton papers

 Collection 0553-LBR

Paul Barton was a European Representative for the AFL-CIO, who served in the Paris Office during the Cold War. He worked for the AFL-CIO International Affairs Department from 1968-1994. His records represent the AFL-CIO’s international relationship with European countries from the 1960s to the 1990s. Materials include his personal writings, published manuscripts, and transcripts of radio broadcasts. Notable topics are the Prague Spring, and labor and Communism in Eastern Europe.

Dates

  • 1945-1992
  • Majority of material found within 1950-1971

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

This collection is stored offsite. For more information about requesting offsite materials please see our offsite policies: https://www.lib.umd.edu/special/policies/offsite.

These records are under the purview of the MOU between AFL-CIO and University of Maryland Libraries which states that records 50 years or older are automatically open for researchers. This group of records was identified as being mostly older than 50 years at the time of processing (2015). Records will be restricted until they reach the age of 50 years old. Restricted records are found in boxes 3, 4, 6, 8, and 11.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Extent

18.00 Linear Feet (12 Paige boxes)

Content Description

The collection contains articles and publications authored by Barton, subject and reference files, transcripts of radio broadcasts, and newspaper clippings. The material was used or created by Paul Barton during his work with the AFL-CIO International Affairs Department between 1945 and 1992. Significant topics and events included in the collection are the Prague Spring and the 1953 uprising in Pilsen, as well as labor issues and Communism in Eastern Europe. One notable individual appearing in news clippings in the collection is Dieter Friede an anti-Communist editor for the Berlin newspaper Der Abend. Friede was kidnapped by the Russians in 1947 and forced by the Soviet State Security Force to “confess” to espionage. Friede was then sentenced to twenty-five years of hard labor.

Several languages are represented in this collection: English, French, German, Russian, Czech, and Spanish.

Biographical / Historical

Paul Barton (birth name Jiří Veltruský) was born in Czechoslovakia on June 5, 1919. Barton worked in a metal factory before he received his PhD in the philosophy of aesthetics of semiotics with a special interest in theater after World War II. During World War II, he helped organize workers in the labor movement. Barton was a member of the Prague Circle (a group of intellectuals), and was an advocate for democracy in Czechoslovakia. When the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia successfully launched a coup and gained control of the government in 1948, Barton was forced to flee Prague. He travelled to Paris, where he would live for the remainder of his life.

Barton was the European Representative for the AFL-CIO, serving in the Paris Office during the Cold War. In this role, he helped establish close contact with the French trade unions and international labor movements. He also served as a United Nations representative for the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). Additionally, Barton was a freelance writer and journalist who wrote about the deterioration of democratic rights in Czechoslovakia and Eastern Europe. His book on Soviet labor camps was praised by Russian dissedent Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He worked for the AFL-CIO International Affairs Department from 1968 until his death in 1994.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into six series:

Series 1
Articles
Series 2
Miscellaneous Writings and Translations
Series 3
Subject Files
Series 4
Radio Broadcasts
Series 5
Reference Materials
Series 6
Published Books

Custodial History

The papers of Paul Barton were transferred by the AFL-CIO International Affairs Department to the George Meany Memorial Archives in 1995. Several boxes of material were shipped from the Paris Office after his death, upon request of AFL-CIO President Lane Kirland. Barton's wife shared a bibliography of all of Barton's published writings. The George Meany Memorial Archives transferred these records as part of a major transfer of their archive and library holdings to the University of Maryland Libraries in 2013.

Related Materials

Related material at University of Maryland includes:

AFL and AFL-CIO International Affairs Department, Country Files, 1945-1971

AFL and AFL-CIO International Affairs Department, Jay Lovestone Files, 1939-1974

AFL and AFL-CIO International Affairs Department, Irving Brown papers, 1943-1989

For other material on or by Paul Barton, see: Salariat et Contrainte en Tchécoslovaquie(Paris, 1956), 40 ans après la Révolution d'Octobre 1917, 1947, 1957 (Fédération Confédérée Force Ouvriere, 1957), Prague A L'Heure De Moscou: Analyse D'Une Démocratie Populaire (Paris, 1954), L'Institution Concentrationnaire en Russie (1930-1957) (Paris, 1959), El Obrero en la U.R.S.S.: Convenciones Colectivas y Realidades Obreras en Europa del Este (San Sebastian : Ediciones Dinor, 1960), Misère et Révolte de L'Ouvrier Polonais: 25 Ans du Syndicalisme D'État les 74 Jours du Prolétariat (Paris (14e), Confédération Force ouvrière, 198, Av. du Maine, 1971), Infortunio y revuelta de los trabajadores polacos (Paris, 1971),



Other published works can be found in the journals Oedipe, La Revolution proletarienne : revue syndicaliste révolutionaire, Confrontation internationale, Die Tat, Masses-Informations Tchecoslovaquie, and Revue économique. The archive of the Czechoslovak Social Democratic party is home to resources dating from 1878-1948, which includes the time Barton wrote articles for Leteky vgem pracujicim (Pamphlets for all workers).

Processing Information

Christopher Carter initially processed this collection in Spring 2015 for a field study project as a volunteer. In October 2015, Graduate Assistant Megan O'Hern rehoused the collection into acid-free boxes and folders, and entered all descriptive content into a finding aid template in Word, and a folder list in Excel. At the time of processing, the labor collections were not included in the finding aid database, Archives UM.

The majority of the collection was organized by the creator into categories which form the basis of the series. Articles (2 boxes and parts of 2 others) were organized chronologically, although some are out of order. Conference Materials (1 box) were organized by conference. Miscellaneous Writings and Translations (5 boxes) were mostly unorganized. Radio Broadcasts (part of 1 box), were arranged by the group issuing the broadcast, then by date. Published Books (1 box) were unarranged; different translations of the same book which were kept together. Reference Materials (1.5 boxes) were arranged by topic.

Original order was maintained where possible, while some materials were organized (folders rearranged, chronologically) to facilitate researcher discovery and access. Materials written in a foreign language were not rearranged at the time of processing because there were no resources for translation.

Materials were received in acidic storage boxes. Boxes were consolidated to save space when materials were rehoused in acid-free boxes and folders, and loose papers were foldered.

In 2020, Emily Moore, a student assistant, reviewed the accession record and finding aid descriptions created in 2015 and transferred the information into a finding aid. She also entered the series, box, and folder information into the record, linking the accession and resource records.

Title
Guide to the AFL-CIO International Affairs Department, European Office, Paul Barton papers
Status
Completed
Author
Christopher Carter
Date
January 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • October 2015: Megan O'Hern rehoused the collection into acid-free boxes and folders, and entered all descriptive content into a finding aid template.
  • October 2020: Emily Moore reviewed the accession record and finding aid descriptions created in 2015 and transferred the information into a Resource Record in ArchivesSpace, along with minor revisions. She also entered the series, box, and folder information into the record, linking the accession and resource records.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742
301-405-9212