Letter from Leon Trotsky to the students of Edinburgh University, 7 June 1935

Scope and Content

The letter is addressed to 'Aux Etudiants de l'Universite de Edimbourg', and begins 'Chers Messieurs, Je vous suis bien reconnaissant pour votre proposition si innatendue et si flatteuse: de poser ma candidature pour le Rectorat de votre Universite...' The letter is dated 'le 7 juin 1935', and was sent to Mr. R. N. Levitt, Edinburgh.

The gist of the letter is that Trotsky was unable to accept the invitation to stand in the election.

The letter is signed with a flourished though faded 'L. Trotsky'.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1935 Leon Trotsky was invited by Edinburgh University students to become a candidate in the Rectorial election that year. Trotsky had been a key figure in the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia, and was second only to Lenin in the early stage of Soviet communist rule. However, he lost out to Stalin in the power struggle that followed Lenin's death.

It was Viscount Allenby of Megiddo who went on to become the Edinburgh University Rector in 1935, though he died very suddenly in London the following year from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm - on 14 May 1936. Sir Herbert John Clifford Grierson then stepped up us Rector.

Just a year after the invitation from Edinburgh students, in 1936, Trotsky settled in Mexico. But, on 20 August 1940, acting on the orders of Stalin, Ramon Mercader attacked Trotsky with an ice pick and he died the next day.

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Acquisition Information

Received prior to 10 May 1982 via J. H. Burnett, University Principal. Accession no: E2009.01


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using generally available encyclopaedic information.

Other Finding Aids

None necessary for this collection.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Graeme D. Eddie, Special Collections, Edinburgh University Library.