Scope and arrangement
During the period Dec. 1936-Oct. 1938, some 3,000 Americans fought on the Loyalist side in the civil war in Spain. Almost all served in the Abraham Lincoln and George Washington Battalions which were formed in February 1937 as units of the XVth International Brigade. The XVth was one of five Brigades created to help defend the Spanish Republic against the Franco-led right-wing rebellion. At first it included a French Battalion and a Slavic Battalion; but finally it came to be made up of the British Battalion, the Canadian Battalion, the Spanish Battalion from Latin America, and the Abraham Lincoln and George Washington Battalions from the United States. In all combat areas the American volunteers were known as the Abraham Lincoln Battalion but in the popular mind the entire XVth Brigade was known as the Lincoln Brigade.
David McKelvy White (1902? -1945), after whom the collection was named, was a professor at Brooklyn College and college of the City of New York, and the son of a former Governor of Ohio. After his enlistment in the Washington Battalion he served in several major battles as a machine-gunner. After his return to the U. S. he worked as a fundraiser and spokesman for the Republic, and became the national chairman of the Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, which later became the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.
The material in this collection originally was a part of a much larger collection given to The New York Public Library in 1951 by the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Association. The remainder of the collection is in the General Research Division where it is cataloged under Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. The White collection includes radio scripts, 1937-1938, by David M. Miller, Sidney Kurtz, and others, written for broadcast by Radio Madrid on behalf of the Secretariat of Propaganda of the Loyalist government. There are also typescripts of articles by Leland Stowe, Kate Heyman, Sugden Tilley, and others, dealing the Republican cause, a typescript with holograph emendations of The Lincoln Battalion by Edwin Rolfe; and four letters written from Spain.