Pierre Duvalle


Image of Pierre Duvalle. Image is for aesthetic purposes only.


Pierre Duvalle


Because of the assembled nature of this collection, copyright status varies across the collection. Copyrights held by original creators of individual items in the collection are expected to pass into the public domain 70 years after the creator’s death. Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA), were transferred to New York University in November 2000 by the ALBA Board of Governors. Permission to publish or reproduce ALBA materials must be secured from the Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. For more information, contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu or 212-998-2630.


Moving Image


Manny Harriman


July 30, 1985


Pierre Duvalle was born in France, near the border of Spain, to a Basque mother and an African father who served in the French Army. The family emigrated to Cuba and from there to New York, where Duvalle finished high school and attended two years of college where he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). He also worked at a dry-cleaning plant. In New York, Duvalle encountered the radical political movements of the 1930s and was drawn to the activities of the Communist party. He became friends with communist organizer Milton Herndon, who died in Spain. Duvalle volunteered to serve in Spain when he was twenty four. Using a passport under the name Gerald Goldwyn, he sailed on the Aquitania on September 16, 1937. In Spain Duvalle served in the John Brown Artillery Battery and was in charge of the maintenance and operation of two large 155-millimeter guns. In the fall of 1938 while at the front, Duvalle was accidentally wounded. He was sent to a hospital in Valencia for treatment and recuperation. When the international volunteers were withdrawn from Spain, Duvalle rejoined his unit and crossed the border into France. After a period of internment, Duvalle returned to the United States on March 4, 1939. In New York he resumed his union job at the dry-cleaning plant, but soon moved to San Francisco. In 1940 the U.S. government ordered his registration as an alien resident. When he complied Duvalle had his first experience with FBI harassment. He was interrogated about his political beliefs and his experiences in Spain and threatened with deportation. As a result of FBI pressures he was fired from his job. In 1941 Duvalle volunteered for the U.S. Army but was turned down for medical reasons. He then began working at an aluminum plant. The FBI continued to harass him well into the 1950s. At one point Duvalle was imprisoned to await deportation. Finally, deportation proceedings were dropped when Duvalle promised to notify the FBI if he ever left the United States. Duvalle lived in San Francisco until his death in 1985.




Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archive




ALBA V 48-041
Box 4


The Manny Harriman Papers (ALBA 048) contain project files related to these oral histories, including completed personal history questionnaires for many of the veterans interviewed.

Bibliographic Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Manny Harriman Video Oral History Collection; ALBA VIDEO 048; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Item sets