Curator Discovers New Photographs of Lincolns’ Arrival
This fall, photography curator Joaquín Gasca, while doing research at Catalonia’s National Archive, came across a batch of unpublished photographs documenting the march through Barcelona of one of the first groups of American volunteers joining the Republic’s struggle against Franco’s army. The photographs, taken on January 16, 1937, are by Josep Brangulí (1879-1945) and his sons Joaquim (1913-1991) and Xavier (1918-1986).
The Barcelona march is the first documented instance in which American volunteers identified themselves as belonging to the “Abraham Lincoln Battalion,” as indicated by the large banner they carried. Most of them had left New York on the S.S. Champlain on January 5. They included Walter Garland, John William Parks, John Tisa, and Harry Wallach. At the time, the Lincoln Battalion included Centuria Antonio Guiteras, consisting of Cuban volunteers from New York, who marched with their own banner.
“It is an honor to discover, among the hundreds of thousands of photographs of the Spanish war, these originals by the great photographer Brangulí,” Gasca writes in a note to The Volunteer. “We have been able to ascertain that these images were never published at the time. They ended up among the large Brangulí family archive. Although several Barcelona photographers bore witness to the arrival of the U.S. volunteers—including Centelles, Branguli, Pérez de Rozas, and Merletti—only one photograph was published in the press at the time. I’d like to thank the volunteers from the Americas—Canada, Mexico, Cuba, the United States, Puerto Rico—who traveled to Spain to defend our life and our liberty. Many paid with their own lives. We are commited to remember them forever.”