Anne Burlak Timpson Papers
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The Anne Burlak Timpson Papers consist of 22.25 linear feet dating from 1912 to 2003 and are primarily related to her personal and political life. Types of materials include correspondence, diaries, manuscripts, speeches, legal documents, photographs, press releases, reports, minutes, newsletters, notes, subject files, journal and newspaper articles, scrapbooks, interviews, pamphlets, audiovisual materials, and memorabilia.
The bulk of the papers date from 1929 to the mid 1990s and focus on Timpson's social and political activism, her involvement in the Communist Party of the United States, her unfinished autobiography, and her family in the former Soviet Union. The collection documents seventy years of social, political, and family life through local, state, national and international lenses. Much of the arrangement, especially for the subject files, is in its original order, except for materials that were misfiled or not filed at all.
Different series provide insight into different periods of Timpson's life. While the collection is especially strong in subjects and organizations relating to the 1980s and 1990s, there are only a few primary documents related to her activism in the late 1920s. Her early years are best documented through her autobiography and oral histories/interviews. While her family correspondence is notably sparse in the 1950s and 1960s, her scrapbooks provide a sense of home and family life.
The subject files form the largest series and are a boon to anyone interested in the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA). The CPUSA is well represented from the 1960s to the mid 1990s. Especially well documented is the crisis that reverberated through CPUSA in 1991-92. In addition, the correspondence between Timpson and her brothers in the Soviet Union, as well as subject and organization files, offer a wealth of material that illuminates U.S.-Soviet relations. There is less information, however, regarding Timpson's early involvement in the Communist Party from the 1930s through the 1950s, and there is little documentation from her failed political campaigns in Rhode Island except for a few flyers. Although she talks about her work as Communist Party Secretary of Massachusetts in the 1940s in interviews, there are only a few documents that relate to this era. Materials related to her role in the Communist Party during the 1930s through 1950s are located in the writings and speeches series.
Other areas of Timpson's life are under documented. There is very little information on the period in the early 1950s when she left her children with friends while she was trying to avoid arrest. Although there is some material about her paid employment as a textile worker and union organizer in her oral histories and interviews, there are only a few items that reveal her work as a bookkeeper in the 1950s to the 1970s.
On the other hand, Timpson's Smith and McCarran Act indictments are well documented through legal materials, pamphlets, correspondence, and the F.B.I. files on Timpson. In addition to her trials, there is considerable material regarding others indicted under these or similar acts. Even though they have no specific subject files, the collection is filled with material related to race relations, the environment, anti-fascism, poverty, and the needs of the working class. Notable correspondents include Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Gus Hall, Joe Moakley, Eulalia Figueiredo Papaandreu Matusiak, Fred Whitehead, Henry Winston, and Helen and Carl Winter. In addition to the CPUSA, Timpson was involved in the U.S. Council for International Friendship, as well as other peace and justice organizations.