Burford Spanish Civil War Papers

Scope and Content

The records relate to the week E. J. Burford spent in Barcelona, Spain during July 1936 and the military uprising he observed while he was there. They comprise correspondence, photographs (including those taken by Burford and those he collected over the following years), radio broadcasts, press cuttings, a propaganda booklet and ephemera from the trip.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ephraim John Burford was born in London in 1905. In Burford's own words (at the beginning of an interview in 1997) this was to a "comfortable middle class background, liberal tendencies (father big wig in local Liberal Party, against votes for women, a jeweller, parents Jewish). About 14 or 15 I met one of my father's employees, who was a rabid socialist, a member of the Labour League of Youth, and I became a socialist, much to the disgust of my father. I didn't become active until Gollancz founded the Left Book Club". In July 1936 Burford and his wife Nancy motored to Barcelona for the Olympics and became stuck there when the military uprising broke out on the 19th July. Burford took a great interest in this and broadcast English translations of the news from the government Radio Barcelona before he and his wife were able to leave on Friday 24th July. "For the first time I became involved with Communists. When I came back to England I was unsettled, became involved with medical aid, etc, and finally worked my way into a nervous breakdown. War was becoming imminent, and I was not looking forward to it, so we took a world trip. We got as far as Cape Town, and went to Johannesburg which we liked, very friendly. Because I'd been in Spain I became a little bit of a celebrity with left wing groups. This was 1937." E. J. Burford died on 22 July 1997.


This collection has been maintained in its original order, arranged into five sections. There is a copy of the label on the original folder stored with the collection.

  • EJB 1 Correspondence
  • EJB 2 Scrapbook
  • EJB 3 Photographs
  • EJB 4 Publications
  • EJB 5 Ephemera

Access Information

Access is open to bona fide researchers except where stated.

Acquisition Information

Received from Sandra D. Shulman, wife of E. J. Burford's nephew, on 24 October 2005.

Other Finding Aids

A finding aid is available for consultation in the reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction and licensing rules available on request.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised.


There are no anticipated accruals.

Related Material

Collections held at the University of Liverpool:

Other collections related to the Spanish Civil War are held at The Labour History Archive and Study Centre.

Papers relating to E. J. Burford's published works are held at the Senate House Library, University of London, reference GB0096 MS1105.

Geographical Names