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Croatia and the Croatian Collections in the Library of Congress

Manuscript Materials

Bain News Service. Naval aviator Lieutenant Theodore Gordon Ellyson (1885- 1928) [between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915]. George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The materials of Croatian interest in the Manuscript Reading Room of the Library of Congress are limited to those of American provenance such as the papers of U.S. diplomats and political figures. A pertinent example is the collection of correspondence of Theodore Gordon "Spuds" Ellyson (1885-1928), a U.S. naval officer, who commanded the destroyer J. Fred Talbot in the area of the Adriatic Sea from 1919 through 1920. His letters to his wife describe the Dalmatian boundary dispute between Italy and Yugoslavia and the seizure of Fiume (Rijeka) by seven thousand Italians under Gabriele D'Annunzio. His interactions with the populace and local officials highlight the tensions in the region. For example, from a letter dated December 1, 1919, from Spalato (Split), Dalmatia, he wrote: "...there is to be a big Jugo-Slav demonstration tonight...there have been many demonstrations today in which the crowds shouted, 'Down with Italy...'". His letters also impart the opposing side of the situation. For instance, in an earlier letter dated November 7, 1919, from Spalato, Ellyson mentioned how he inspected local prisons and jails and discovered several Italian sympathizers imprisoned without cause.

Also of potential interest to researchers on Croatia are the papers of Peter Constan, (1888-1985) the American diplomat who served as the vice-consul at Zagreb in 1946 during the trial of Alojzije Stepinac, the Archbishop of Zagreb. Constan attended the trial and filed official reports with the Department of State on the matter. His papers contain English translations of the indictment and defense statement. Also in the collection is a folder with several pieces of election ephemera from November 1945 and some propaganda pamphlets from the 1940s.

A number of the collections described below are related to Yugoslavia or the 1990s war in Bosnia, but when you dig deeper into them, Croatian-related content is findable. For example, the Manuscript Division holds the papers of Anthony Lewis (1927-2013), a U.S. journalist who covered the war in Yugoslavia for the New York Times, and the papers of the U.S. Senator Daniel P. Moynihan, who was very active in the areas of foreign relations and human rights. Some larger historical collections such as the Woodrow Wilson Papers and the United States. American Commission to Negotiate Peace records, 1898-1919 (bulk 1918-1919) also have content elucidating the complex political situation and boundaries affecting the Croats of the time.

Below are descriptions of selected collections with content relevant to the study of Croatia and former Yugoslavia. Titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. For all collections researchers should contact the Manuscript Reading Room in advance of a research trip, because some collections below have access restrictions and others are stored off-site.

About the Manuscript Division

The Manuscript Division seeks to preserve personal papers and organizational records that document the course of America's national experience. Its more than twelve thousand collections and more than seventy million items touch upon every aspect of American history and culture. The Manuscript Division's holdings are strongest, however, in the areas of American national government, the federal judiciary, diplomacy, military history, women's history, and black history.