A Basque exile’s books come to rest in Liverpool

Special Collections & Archives is delighted to have received a significant acquisition to its holdings of books relating to Hispanic studies and the Spanish Civil War. Delivered in person by his grandaughters, Miren and Ane, the books which Manuel Irujo took with him to exile in Paris have been donated to the University, where they will be an important resource for teaching and research in Basque studies.

Book cover from Irujo collectionManuel Irujo (1891-1981), a Navarrese from Estella was the only Basque politician to hold ministerial responsibility in the Second Republican government, he was both Minister of Justice and Minister without portfolio, and became president of the Basque National Council in 1940. Irujo spent nearly half his life in exile – in Paris and London – from the post-Spanish Civil War government of his contemporary General Franco (1892-1975). Even after Franco’s death, Irujo’s return to Spain had to be delayed – leaving him only his final four years in his home country.

The books Irujo had with him in exile have been donated to Liverpool by his family, in recognition of Liverpool’s position as a centre of Hispanist studies, and with the purpose of promoting the development of Basque Studies. When catalogued, they will take their place alongside the library of E. Allison Peers, and other material related to the Spanish Civil war, including the E.J. Burford and Ronald Fraser collections, and the papers of Eleanor Rathbone, who was instrumental in the escape of thousands of Basque children from the conflict.

Irujo’s library of nearly 400 titles, in Basque, Spanish, Franch and English, is arranged in sections relating to: Basque Language and Literature; Navarra (Irujo’s home province); Basque people, culture and folklore; the Spanish Civil War, its aftermath, and Basque politics; political and social issues in the Basque country after the Civil War; Early Basque Nationalism; Basques and the Americas; Newspapers; and works on History, Travel, Geography, Science and Nature.

Many items are dedicated to Irujo by their authors, and the collection includes his own annotated copy of a volume of his memoirs. The Basque diaspora are well-represented, especially through the publications of Ekin, founded in Buenos Aires in 1942 by Basque exiles including Manuel’s Irujo’s brother Andres. 

Euzko Deya cover from Irujo collection