Socialist Review records
Held at: Temple University Libraries Special Collections Research Center [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Temple University Libraries Special Collections Research Center. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Socialist Review ( SR) was a periodical, initially associated with the New Left movement, which ran from 1970 to 2006 under the titles Socialist Revolution (1970-1978), Socialist Review (1978-2001), and Radical Society: Review of Culture and Politics (2002-2006). The journal focused on socialist discourses, its stated purpose in the first issue being “to help build the theoretical comprehension of advanced capitalism which is prerequisite to the development of mass socialist consciousness” ( Socialist Revolution 145). Over time, the journal also confronted issues surrounding feminism, gender and sexuality, international affairs, social justice, political and economic systems, cultural theory, and postmodern critical theory. Prominent intellectuals who contributed to the journal or participated in its editorial board included: Robert Allan, Debra Chasnoff, Dan Brook, Nancy Chodorow, Noam Chomsky, Gary Delgado, Kate Ellis, Barbara Epstein, Jeffrey Escoffier, Herbert Gintis, Carol Hatch, Dorothy Healey, Michael Kazin, Karl E. Klare, Michael Lerner, Steve McMahon, Robby Meerpol, Ruth Milkman, David Noble, Michael Omni, David Plotke, Pam Rosenthal, Martha Rosler, George Ross, Son Silliman, Albert Szymanski, James Weinstein, Howard Winant, and Eli Zaretsky.
Originally titled Socialist Revolution, the journal was founded by James Weinstein and Anne Farrar, former members of another leftist journal, Studies on the Left. They formed a collective in San Francisco, formally “The Center for Social Research and Education,” but informally referred to as “the SR collective.” Critical of perceived sectarianism in East Coast leftist movements, the SR collective entertained discussions of Marxist theory, Second and Third World experiments with communism, European social democracy, and other variants of socialism. “The journals’ founding mission was to try to develop a democratic socialist analysis appropriate to US conditions,” the SR collective wrote in a 20-year retrospective ( Unfinished Business 3).
In 1976, a second editorial collective was started in Boston. It was made up primarily of individuals who had been members of the San Francisco collective as graduate students, then moved on to accept professorships in the Boston area. While the San Francisco collective continued to be comprised mostly of graduate students and activists, the Boston collective tended to be older and more established in the academy. There was some tension between the two groups, but in the jointly published journal, the collectives strove to bridge the gap between activists and academics. A short-lived New York collective failed to take root. (Silliman)
Socialist Revolution was renamed Socialist Review in 1978, reflecting a “more issue-oriented energy, activism, and optimism [for] a promising and potentially more democratic replacement” to radical socialist revolution ( Unfinished Business 6). SR continued to be an important forum for socialist discourses in the 1980s and 1990s, also engaging in discussions of new social movements. The journal published articles on American politics, labor, feminism, racial and sexual minorities, international relations and development, technology and the environment, and cultural and social theory. In 1981, Socialist Review absorbed the journal Marxist Perspectives.
Funding issues, always a concern for SR, became starker in the late 1990s. Brief hiatuses from publication in 1997, 1998 and 2000 prefigured a reimagining of the journal’s purpose, and a name change to Radical Society: Review of Culture and Politics in 2002. This new incarnation, “a journal of social movements, political strategies, foreign policy, international and economic affairs, fiction, poetry, art, and cultural commentary,” ceased publication in 2006.
Radical Society 29, number 1 (April 2002).
Ron Silliman, “Radical Society is Here,” February 04, 2003, http://ronsilliman.blogspot.com/2003/02/radical-society-is-here.html.
Socialist Revolution 1, number 1 (January-February 1970).
Socialist Review Collective, “Introduction,” Unfinished Business: Twenty Years of Socialist Review (New York: Verso, 1991), p. 1-10.
The Socialist Review records collection houses correspondence, financial records, administrative records, manuscripts and publications dating from 1966 to 2002. This collection documents the daily operations of the leftist periodical Socialist Review (titled Socialist Revolution prior to 1978, and Radical Society: Review of Culture and Politics after 2002), and the collectives that formed its editorial staff. The bulk of the collection is made up of manuscripts submitted for publication.
Overall, this collection offers insight into the inner workings of one of the New Left movement’s most important publications, Socialist Review. Many prominent leftist intellectuals associated with the publication are represented in these files: Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Barbara Epstein, among many others. This collection will be an invaluable resource for researchers studying the evolution of leftist ideology at the end of the 20th century, who may find the name change from Socialist Revolution to Socialist Review and the dynamics between the East Coast and West Coast collectives, both of which are well documented in this collection, to be particularly intriguing. The records will also be of interest to researchers studying the running of a small academic journal.
The Socialist Review records came to Temple University in two general groups. This first was a series of purchases in 1989, 1990 and 1994. The second was purchased in 2001. Though there is overlap between the two groups of material, they have been kept separate and form the basis of the collection’s first two series: “Series I. Early accessions, 1966-1994” and “Series II. Later accession, 1968-2001.” Following are “Series III. Issues of journal, 1970-2002” and “Series IV. Computer storage media, circa 1966-2001.”
“Series I. Early accessions, 1966-1994” includes materials purchased by Temple University in 1989, 1990, and 1994. It is subdivided into four subseries: “Subseries a. Submissions, 1966-1994”; “Subseries b. Administrative records, 1968-1992”; “Subseries c. Financial records, 1969-1992” and “Subseries d. Editorial materials, circa 1980-1990.” “Subseries a. Submissions, 1966-1994” consists of manuscripts submitted to the journal, editorial comments and correspondence regarding the submissions. The subseries is arranged alphabetically by author’s last name. Most folders consist either of a manuscript accepted for publication (with attendant correspondence), or just a rejection letter and no manuscript; there are also some subject files interspersed throughout. “Subseries b. Administrative records, 1968-1992” includes memos and correspondence, office records, communications between the San Francisco and Boston collectives, editorial notes, employee records and meeting minutes. “Subseries c. Financial records, 1969-1992” includes budgets, fundraising records, banking records and receipts. “Subseries d. Editorial materials, circa 1980-1990” includes proofs and photographs for advertisements, cartoons, and graphics published in the journal.
“Series II: Later accession, 1968-2001” includes materials purchased by Temple University in 2001. It is subdivided into four subseries: “Subseries a. Administrative records, 1971-2001”; “Subseries b. Donor records, 1968-2000”; “Subseries c. Financial records, 1975-2001” and “Subseries d. Submissions, 1982-2001.” “Subseries a. Administrative records, 1971-2001” includes memos and correspondence, office records, communications between collectives, editorial notes, employee records and meeting minutes. “Subseries b. Donor records, 1968-2000” includes correspondence files on individual donors, or “sustainers,” as the Socialist Review referred to their donors, arranged alphabetically. In addition, there are copies of the publication “Sustainer Information Bulletin,” arranged chronologically, and miscellaneous files on donor relations arranged alphabetically by subject. “Subseries c. Financial records, 1975-2001” includes budgets, fundraising records, banking records, receipts, invoices and bills. “Subseries d. Submissions, 1982-2001” consists of manuscripts submitted to the journal, editorial comments and correspondence with authors, regarding submissions.
“Series III: Issues of journal, 1970-2002” contains the published journal under the titles Socialist Revolution from 1970 to 1978, Socialist Review from 1978-2001, and Radical Society: Review of Culture and Politics thereafter. There is nearly a full run of the publication, from its first issue in 1970 through issue 90/3 (volume 20, number 3), July-September 1990. Coverage is spotty from 1990 on, and the collection contains no issues after the first Radical Society, 2002. Note that there were brief hiatuses from publication in 1997, 1998 and 2000.
“Series IV. Computer storage media, circa 1966-2001” includes 5-inch floppy disks, 3.5-inch floppy disks, and audiocassettes. The disks contain mostly correspondence, financial records, manuscript submissions, and computer back-up files; the audiocassettes are recordings of conference panel discussions, lectures and interviews.
Purchased from Socialist Review offices, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2001.
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
This collection was minimally processed in 2009-2011, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.
Employing processing strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article, More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections, the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages, in 23 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 2-3 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections, replace acidic folders or complete any preservation work.
Microfilms of Socialist Revolution and Socialist Review volumes 1-24 (1970-1994), including indexes, were separated from the collection and sent to the main library for use as access copies.
Duplicates of Socialist Revolution and Socialist Review issues present in the collection were removed.
- Temple University Libraries Special Collections Research Center
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
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Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Temple University Libraries Special Collections Research Center with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material