CCNY Student Wilfred Mendelson on the deck of the S.S. Manhattan on his way to fight in the Spanish Civil War in 1938.
Iberian Cultural Studies Associate Professor Isabel Estrada found the uncatalogued book in the Cohen Library prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. The digital edition was edited and annotated collaboratively by Estrada; NEH Digital Humanities Fellow Stefano Morello and students in the Spring 2022 course “Activism and the College Experience” at CCNY. The course sought to examine political activism on the CCNY campus in the context of the transnational conflict between totalitarianism and democracy that preceded WWII, while introducing students to digital humanities tools and methodologies.
Educators are invited to use the text from this collaborative critical edition as an open educational resource to teach about the Spanish Civil War, its perception from the United States, as well as past and present forms of student political activism. Click here to access the text.
Graduate student Melanie Matonte received funding from the Opportunities in Research and Creative Arts (ORCA) program at CCNY, and later presented the collection at the 7th ORCA Undergraduate Research Symposium this month.
Mendelson attended CCNY from 1931-35 when he was expelled for his subversive political activity. The book’s touching dedication to Mendelson’s parents is taken from a letter he wrote to them from Spain dated June 22, 1938: "You made me whatever I am today and I will always be proud of your teaching.” He died the following month in an offensive to recross Spain's River Ebro.
Contributors to the project in addition to Estrada, Morello and Matonte, included Stefan Hamilton, Scarlet Almanzar, Adonis Anderson, Kimberly Geraldino, Tafriha Nowsheen, and Amando Villano Clemente.
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