The Hoover Institution has been given an important collection related to the French Communist politician and editor Marcel Cachin (1869–1958), collected by student scholar Margaret Lynch Silsby, who first started researching Cachin during her graduate training at Columbia in the mid-1940s. She was able to spend two years in Paris on a Fulbright scholarship in 1947–48, where she met with Cachin while working on her doctorate. In the 1960s and 1970s, Silsby continued her research and maintained a close relationship and regular correspondence with Marcel's daughter, Marcella. She was given the copies of Marcel Cachin’s diaries and letters by his descendants to aid in her research. The location of the originals, if they have survived, is unknown.
The contents of the papers include letters from Cachin to his wife, Marie-Louise, between April and November 1918. There are additional handwritten notes presumed to have been written by Marcella Cachin based on similar handwriting in her personal correspondence with Silsby. Marcel Cachin’s diaries cover several volumes: 1911–16, 1917–20, and, separately, his 1920 trip to Soviet Russia (this document is in a separate folder from other diaries and includes an index created by Silsby; the transcript was made ca. 1950 by Cachin’s widow). A significant gap exists between 1920 and 1937, followed by diaries for 1937–39 and for 1945.
Finally, the collection also includes Silsby’s interview notes with Marcel Cachin from December 4, 1948, and February 14, 1949, along with Madame Cachin’s description of the diaries.
Anatol Shmelev PhD
Anatol Shmelev is a research fellow, Robert Conquest curator of the Russia and Eurasia Collection, and the project archivist for the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Collection, all at the Hoover Institution.