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Paul Arthur Burns


Burns, Paul

Burns, Paul Arthur. b. March 14, 1906, Sommerville, Massachusetts; Irish American; Attended Middlebury College, Vermont; Single; Writer and Teacher; CP; received passport# 3988 Boston series on January 6, 1937 which listed his address as 15 Bingham Street, Williamstown, Massachusetts, and Detroit, Michigan; Sailed January 9, 1937 aboard the Lafayette; Arrived in Spain on January 14, 1937; Served with the  XV BDE, Lincoln BN, Commander Co. 1, WIA Jarama; promoted to BN Adjutant, WIA at Brunete (knee wound).  Served at Jarama and Brunete.  Repatriated August 1937; Returned to the US on September 13, 1937 aboard the Normandie; WWII Armed forces; d. December 9, 1996, NYC; First Commander Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

Source: Sail, SACB, Americans, Lincoln; RA, USSDA 2:0432, 53:0125; ALBA PHOTO 184 Paul Burns Photographs; Daily Worker November 29, 1938, p. 2; (obituary) Harry Fisher, “Paul Burns,” The Volunteer, Volume 19, No. 1, Winter 1996-97, p. 8; SSN.

Photograph: Paul Burn, New England Fights for Democracy.



Paul Burns ([1906?]-1996) was a writer, teacher, and Writers Union activist. Boston-born of Irish parentage, he worked his way through college and graduated from Middlebury College with an MA in Sociology. In 1937 he enlisted in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade to fight against Franco’s rebel forces in Spain. Burns was a sergeant in command of the Irish section and later became second in command of the infantry, Lincoln Battalion. He was active on the Jarama front and participated in two of the major campaigns of the war; the Battle of Madrid and the offensive at Brunete from July to August 1937. He was wounded twice—first, when shot in the arms and legs in Jarama on February 23, 1937 and again, in Brunete, when he was wounded by machine-gun fire. He left the International Brigades with a final rank of lieutenant.

Burns returned to the United States in October 1937 and was subsequently elected national commander of the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. He wrote for the Daily Worker, Sunday, and Story Magazine. After settling in Chicago, he became associate editor of the Daily Record, working in his spare time on a book of stories about the Irish battalion of the Lincoln Brigade. He was also a correspondent for the United Nations. Burns died in 1996. He was 90 years old.- Biography courtesy of Tamiment Library, NYU. 


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Last Name Burns
First/Middle Name Paul Arthur
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