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Arthur Harold Landis

Biography

Landis, Arthur


Landis, Arthur Harold. b. November 21, 1917, Birmingham, Alabama; High school education; Single; Driver and Cook; YCL 1934; received passport# 28921 San Francisco on June 1, 1937 which listed his address as 1209 South Maple, Los Angeles, and 226 North Irena Street, Redoondo Beach, both California (2809 S. Maple Sttreet, Los Angeles, California); Sailed June 12, 1937 aboard the Georgic; Arrived in Spain on June 30, 1937; Served with the XV BDE, Mackenzie-Papineau BN, Estado Mayor, Topograhical Section; Returned to the US on December 20, 1938 aboard the Ausonia; d. January 1986, Los Angeles, California.

Source: Sail, SACB, Cadre, Mac-Paps, RA, ALBA 066 Arthur H. Landis Papers; Good Fight C, Harriman, The Abraham Lincoln Brigade(New York: Citadel, 1967). Spain! The Unfinished Revolution(California: Camelot Pub, 1972).

Photograph: Arthur Landis, Mackenzie-Papineau topographer, November 1937. The 15th International Brigade Photographic Unit Photograph Collection; ALBA Photo 11; ALBA Photo number 11-0003. Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

 

Biography

Arthur H. Landis was born into a family of vaudeville performers in Birmingham, Alabama in 1917, and spent most of his youth in Redondo Beach, California. During the Depression, Landis moved across the Western states picking up work in canneries, mills, and on fruit farms.

In April 1937, at 19, Landis went to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War. He worked as a scout, a typographer, and an artillery spotter with the MacKenzie-Papineau Battalion, and fought in the battles of Aragon and Teruel, where he was injured. Landis also worked for a stint for an intelligence unit, and participated in an aborted operation to blow up the Italian Fleet headquarters. Just before Barcelona fell to Franco, Landis helped load the 15th Brigade Archives onto a Soviet ship. He sailed back to the U.S. on the R.M.S. Ausonia in December 1938.

Shortly after his return to the U.S., Landis married Ruth Jurow, and went to work for her father as a ladies clothing salesman in Rochester, Minnesota. Struggling financially, Landis and Jurow moved to Mexico City before settling in California in 1944. Landis and Jurow later divorced. It was in the mid-1950s that Landis began to actively pursue a career as a writer.

In 1967 Landis published The Abraham Lincoln Brigade, an account of the experiences of Americans who fought in the Spanish Civil War. The book was based largely upon the reminiscences of SCW veterans, which Landis collected via correspondence and on audiotapes (the latter comprise of the Arthur H. Landis Audiotape Collection). The year his book came out, Landis was awarded a medal by the Presidium of the Soviet Committee of War-Veterans for his "great contribution in the history of the struggle of the Internationalists against fascism on the battlefields of Spain."

In 1972, Landis published Spain! The Unfinished Revolution, about the political complexities on the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War. The book was published by Camelot, a company run by Landis with close friend and fellow SCW veteran, Manny Harriman. Despite a bitter dispute with the leadership of the Volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB) in the mid-1970s over the unauthorized translation into Russian of an essay written by Landis, Landis remained devoted to VALB throughout his life, contributing occasional articles to the association's newsletter, The Volunteer, and maintaining close associations with many VALB members.

In addition to his political writing and radical activism (he participated in the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s, among other activities), Landis established himself as a fantasy and science fiction writer. He published, edited and wrote for Coven 13, a gothic fantasy magazine, in the late sixties, and wrote a series of fantasy/science fiction novels (occasionally under the pen name James R. Keaveny, after an old family friend). Landis also published and wrote for Dealer's Voice, a motorcycle magazine. Through the 1970s, Landis worked occasionally as an automotive parts truck driver to supplement his writing income. Landis died of bone cancer in January 1986 in Los Angeles.

- Biography courtesy of Tamiment Library, NYU. 

 

 

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Last Name Landis
First/Middle Name Arthur Harold
Ethnicity
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