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Collection Overview

Padmore, George, 1902-1959
George Padmore Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


Consists of original letters, essays, and articles of George Padmore (1903-1959), a leading Pan-Africanist, journalist, and author. Padmore played a crucial role in developing the Fifth, Pan African Congress, and was also instrumental in organizing black labor movements from the 1930s onwards.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of original correspondence, essays, and articles of George Padmore, from the period following his "expulsion" or resignation from the Communist Party up until the end of World War II. The correspondence is chiefly between Padmore and Henry Lee Moon, editor of the New York newspaper the New Amsterdam.

During this period, Padmore began a heated public exchange with the Communist Party, as they both were sending dueling letters to Moon, and to other newspapers for publication. Included is an essay, signed and annotated by Padmore for the Amsterdam News dated February 3, 1934, related to his expulsion from the Party. There are several autograph and typed letters to Moon. In a letter dated July 9, 1934, Padmore writes about his dispute with the Communist Party, and in another dated April 1945 he asks Moon to promote the idea of a Pan African Congress in his newspaper. Bearing the same above date, is an "Open letter to Earl Browder, Secretary of the American Communist Party," justifying Padmore's break with the Party. The editorial titled "Padmore Replies to Harry Heywood's Slanders" is also included. To be found is a letter from Moon to W. E. B. Du Bois, asking him to participate in the Fifth Pan African Congress.

Also included is an autograph letter signed from Mrs. Moon to her husband, sent from Berlin on May 11, 1933, regarding the state of black and white race relations in Nazi Germany. There are several letters and press releases, mostly sent to Moon, defending the Communist Party for expelling Padmore. There is a letter and an article from Cyril Briggs, the African-American writer and communist political activist, to Moon and the Amsterdam News, justifying the Communist Party's decision to expel Padmore, and a copy of an unsigned article "James Ford answers Padmore's Charges."


Material is arranged in chronological order.

Collection Creator Biography:

Padmore, George, 1902-1959

George Padmore, born Malcolm Ivan Meredith Nurse in Trinidad, worked there as a reporter with the Trinidad Publishing Company before moving to the United States in 1924 to study medicine. In 1927 he changed his name, and became editor of the newspaper Negro Champion.

Padmore joined the American Communist Party's American Negro Labour Congress, while contributing articles to the left-wing newspaper the Daily Worker. His talents as an organizer and writer led to his appointment as head of the Communist International's "Negro Bureau." From 1929 to 1933 he was a leading agitator for colonial revolution, travelling widely and residing for periods in Moscow, Hamburg, Vienna, London and Paris, as well as editing and writing for the Negro Worker. The rise of Nazism in Germany led the Soviet Union to join the League of Nations and seek new diplomatic and military ties with Britain and France; anti-colonialism was no longer the central issue it once was for the Communist International. Disillusioned, Padmore resigned from his positions and faced vicious Stalinist slander and verbal attacks, and in 1935, left Russia and returned to England. In 1937, he formed the International African Service Bureau, later the Pan-African Federation and in 1945, together with Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah, he was central in organising the Fifth Pan African Congress held in Manchester, England, which was attended by many scholars, intellectuals and political activists who would later go on to become influential leaders in various African independence movements and the American civil rights movement.

Collection History


The collection was purchased from The Raab Collection on April 11, 2008 (AM 2008-92).

Custodial History

The collection originally was Henry Lee Moon's Archive of George Padmore.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Dina Britain on April 15, 2008. Finding aid written by Dina Britain on April 16, 2008.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Some of the material is extremely fragile, please do not remove from the Mylar folders.

Credit this material:

George Padmore Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1