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George Lavan Weissman Papers

Identifier: LP001347

Scope and Content

The George Lavan Weissman Collection consists of correspondence (both his and Connie Weissman’s), the manuscript for volume two of Trotsky’s war correspondence, on which Weissman was working at the time of his death, and numerous pamphlets and other publications put out by the SWP and a variety of civil rights and civil libertarian organizations to which he belonged.


  • 1935 - 1985


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


George Lavan Weissman was born in Chicago in 1916 and grew up in Boston, where he attended Boston Latin School and Harvard College. While at Harvard during the Great Depression, he became a Marxist, joined the Young People’s Socialist League and the Socialist Party and volunteered as an organizer for several labor unions in New England. Weissman followed the Trotskyists out of the SP after their expulsion in 1937 and helped found the Socialist Workers Party and the Fourth International in 1938. He married fellow SWP activist, Constance Fox Harding, in 1943.

As a self-described “party functionary,” Weissman was a branch organizer in Boston (1939-41) and Youngstown (1946), director and editor of Pioneer Publishing and Pathfinder Press (1947-81), manager of Mountain Spring Camp (1948-62) and editor and writer for the Militant and other party publications, including the first English-language anthology of Che Guevara’s writings, Che Guevara Speaks and The War Correspondence of Leon Trotsky: The Balkan Wars, 1912-1913 (He had become United States literary representative of the Trotsky estate after Natalia Sedova Trotsky’s death in 1962). After his expulsion from the SWP in the great purge of 1983-1984, Weissman joined with others to form the Fourth Internationalist Tendency and became a member of the Bulletin in Defense of Marxism editorial board. He died on March 28, 1985.


3 Linear Feet (3 SB)


A founding member of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and the Fourth International, George Lavan Weissman served as a branch organizer, as director and editor of Pioneer Publishing and Pathfinder Press, as manager of Mountain Spring Camp and as the editor and writer of various SWP publications. Following his expulsion from the SWP, Mr. Weissman helped to form the Fourth Internationalist Tendency and served on the editorial board of the Bulletin in Defense of Marxism. Mr. Weissman’s papers reflect his involvement with the SWP and his participation in various civil rights and civil liberties organizations. Che Guevara, the Freedom Now Party, Leon Trotsky, and the 1962-1964 Monroe (N.C.) civil rights case are among important subjects addressed in the collection.


PLEASE NOTE: Folders are computer-arranged alphabetically in this finding aid, but may actually be dispersed throughout several boxes in the collection. Note carefully the box number for each folder heading.

Related Materials

Additional Weissman correspondence with Donald L. West may be found in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin collections.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Guide to the George Lavan Weissman Papers
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA