Marzani, Carla

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Carl Marzani (1912-1994), an Italian-American immigrant radical, was a writer, editor, publisher, and also produced political documentary films. During the late 1930s he received a degree at Oxford University, joined the anarchist Durruti Column during the Spanish Civil War to fight against the fascists, hitch-hiked around the world with his first wife, Edith, and then served briefly as a Communist Party, USA, organizer on New York City's Lower East Side. During World War II, he worked in the United States government's Office of Strategic Services; he also worked for the State Department in 1945 and 1946. He served almost three years in prison, from 1947-1950, for concealing his prewar Party membership during the period of his government employment. He lived and worked in New York City most of his life.

From the description of Carl Marzani photographs [graphic]. 1938-1990. (New York University, Group Batchload). WorldCat record id: 60951748

Carl Aldo Marzani (1912-1994) was born in Rome, Italy, but after the rise of Mussolini, he and his family emigrated to the United States in 1924, settling in Scranton Pennsylvania. In 1931, He graduated from Scranton High School and received a scholarship to Williams College, where he became a socialist, joined the League for Industrial Democracy, and met his first wife, Edith Eisner. He graduated in 1935, and in the summer of 1936, went to Oxford University on a fellowship. Following the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Marzani briefly fought on the Republican side in the anarchists Durruti Column. Returning to England, he joined the British Communist Party, received a BA degree from Oxford in June, 1938, the traveled with Edith through Europe and Asia, using his Communist contacts to meet Nehru and other leading radicals. In May, 1939, Marzani moved to New York City's Lower East Side, where he served as the Communist Party's district organizer through August, 1941, when he resigned from the Party. During this time he also briefly was an instructor in the Economics Department at New York University. In 1942, Marzani moved to Washington, DC where he worked for the Office of Strategic Services Analysis Branch under Colonel William J. Donovan, where his responsibilities included picking the targets for the 1942 Doolittle raid on Tokyo. In 1945, he moved to the Department of State, where he worked as the Deputy Chief of the Presentation Division of the Office of Intelligence.

In 1946 Marzani left government service and founded Union Films, to make documentaries for the labor movement, most notably Deadline for Action, a 40 minute documentary made for the United Electrical Workers of America, which placed major responsibility for the beginning of the Cold War on the United States and linked this to growing attacks on labor unions. The documentary was released in September 1946, five weeks before Marzani resigned from the State Department. In January, 1947, Marzani's past membership in the Communist Party led to an eleven-count indictment on charges of fraud for receiving his government pay while concealing his pre-war membership in the Communist Party, and later that year he was convicted, and subsequently served thirty-two months in prison. Union Films folded in 1949, after having also produced The Great Swindle (1947), Dollar Patriots (1948), and Our Union (1949). After his release from prison, Marzani self-published his first book, We Can Be Friends: Origins of the Cold War (Topical Books, 1952), and was the editor of the United Electrical Workers' UE Steward from 1951-1954. He then joined Cameron Associates, a radical publishing firm headed by Angus Cameron. Together they ran the Liberty Book Club. After Cameron left, the venture became Marzani & Munsell which operated the Prometheus Book Club. Notable titles included False Witness (1955), Labor's Untold Story (1955), Marzani's autobiographical novel, The Survivor (1958), The Open Marxism of Antonio Gramsci (translated and annotated by Marzani, 1959), and Inside the Khrushchev Era (another Marzani translation, 1959), and Dollars & Sense of Disarmament (co-authored by Marzani, 1960). In 1966, a fire destroyed Marzani & Munsell, and Marzani was divorced, and then married to Charlotte Pomerantz, a children's book writer. Marzani also wrote The Promise of Eurocommunism (1981), several pamphlets, and a five volume autobiography, The Education of a Reluctant Radical (1992-1994, 2001).

From the description of Papers, 1890-1994 (bulk 1935-1975). (New York University). WorldCat record id: 476038157

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Marzani, Carl. Papers, 1970-1974. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
creatorOf Marzani, Carl. Carl Marzani photographs [graphic]. New-York Historical Society
referencedIn Isserman, Maurice. Which side were you on? : the American Communist Party during the Second World War : interview transcripts and summaries, 1977-1978. Churchill County Museum
creatorOf Marzani, Carl. Papers, 1890-1994 (bulk 1935-1975). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Guide to the John Gerassi Papers, 1979-1983, 2000s Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Gerassi, John. John Gerassi oral history collection, 1980. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Merriam, Eve, 1916-1992. Additional papers of Eve Merriam, ca. 1930-1992. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Carl Aldo Marzani Papers [1890]-1994, (bulk 1935-1975). Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Guide to the Steve Nelson Papers, 1937-1991 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Aptheker, Herbert, 1915-2003. person
associatedWith Baldwin, Calvin Benham, 1902-1975. person
associatedWith Belfrage, Cedric, 1904- person
associatedWith Bessie, Alvah Cecil, 1904- person
associatedWith Biberman, H. J. (Herbert J.) person
associatedWith Bridges, Harry, 1901- person
associatedWith Burgum, Edwin Berry, b. 1894. person
associatedWith Cameron, Angus (Donald Angus) person
associatedWith Cameron Associates. corporateBody
associatedWith Cameron & Kahn. corporateBody
associatedWith Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963. person
associatedWith Dunham, Barrows, 1905- person
associatedWith Emerson, Edith person
associatedWith Fast, Howard, 1914-2003. person
associatedWith France, Royal. person
associatedWith Gerassi, John. person
associatedWith Heym, Stefan, 1913-2001. person
associatedWith Isserman, Maurice. person
associatedWith Kahn, Albert Eugene, 1912-1979. person
associatedWith Lardner, Ring, 1915-2000. person
associatedWith Lessing, Doris May, 1919- person
associatedWith Liberty Book Club. corporateBody
associatedWith Lowenfels, Walter, 1897-1976. person
associatedWith Maltz, Albert, 1908-1985. person
associatedWith Marzani, Edith Eisner. person
associatedWith Marzani & Munsell. corporateBody
associatedWith McWilliams, Carey, 1905-1980. person
associatedWith Merriam, Eve, 1916-1992. person
associatedWith Muste, Abraham John, 1885-1967. person
associatedWith Nelson, Steve, 1903- person
associatedWith Nelson, Truman John, 1912- person
associatedWith Perlo, Victor. person
associatedWith Pomerantz, Charlotte person
associatedWith Prometheus Book Club. corporateBody
associatedWith Smith, Edwin B. person
associatedWith Snow, Edgar, 1905-1972. person
associatedWith Starobin, Joseph R. (Joseph Robert), 1913-1976. person
associatedWith Strong, Anna Louise, 1885-1970. person
associatedWith Ward, Harry Frederick, 1873-1966. person
associatedWith Winter, Ella, 1898-1980. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
New York (State)--New York
United States
New York (State)--New York
Publishers and publishing
Anti-communist movements
Political crimes and offenses
Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Watergate Affair, 1972-1974


Active 1970

Active 1974



Ark ID: w6k935r8

SNAC ID: 8135225