Welcome to the World of Dead Anarchists

Our Current Offerings:

Voltairine de Cleyre, 1866-1912
(photo courtesy of the Labadie Collection, University of Michigan)

 "The New Hope": A lost poem by Voltairine de Cleyre, rediscovered!

 "Some Nihilists I Have Met by Voltairine de Cleyre, with a new introduction by Robert P. Helms.

 Nunzio Pernicone:
Obituary [from Anarcho-Syndicalist Review]
by Robert P. Helms

See other tributes to contemporary fallen comrades: Paul Avrich: A Eulogy by Robert P. Helms; Love and Anarchy: A Profile and Interview with Paul Avrich, by Susan Phillips; "Barbara Hirshkowitz: Activist, Buddhist, Anarchist"; and A Tribute to Clara and Sidney Solomon.

Nineteenth-century radical preacher Hugh Owen Pentecost delivered sermons on anarchism rather than fire and brimstone! Now expanded!

Now available! Chaim Leib Weinberg's Forty Years in the Struggle: The Memoirs of a Jewish Anarchist, Translated by Naomi Cohen; Edited and annotated by Robert P. Helms

Anarchist activist George Brown weighs in on the anthracite coal strike of 1902 in "A Union Man on the Strike."

Alain Leroy Locke, the main theoretician of the cultural and aesthetic vision of the Harlem Renaissance, wrote a high school essay on "Anarchism, Its Origin and Creed."

In Philadelphia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries a large group of professionals practiced medicine or pharmacy while committing great energies to Anarchisim. Read: Doctors and Druggists Among the Early Philadelphia Anarchists by Robert Helms.

The Guardian of the Cemetery: A Canaque legend, recorded in verse by Louise Michel in New Caledonia in 1875. Translated from the French by Robert P. Helms

Insight into the mysterious Anton Köberlein and nineteenth century views on anarchism.

Almost as applicable today as it was in 1890! Samuel Williams Cooper on "Abuse of Police Powers."

Philadelphia anarchist Voltairine de Cleyre's moving poem Nameless.

In 1907, Voltairine de Cleyre debated the marriage question with Philadelphia physician and freethinker Henrietta Westbrook. De Cleyre took the position that They Who Marry Do Ill. But in asking Is Marriage a Failure?, Westbrook answered "No."

A never-before published 1897 letter by Voltairine de Cleyre: On domesticity, jealousy, and abortion.

From the editor...

The dead anarchists website has been launched in order to supply that extra measure of anarchist history to those who are hopelessly addicted to learning about the men and women who have struggled for centuries, searching for ways to eliminate governments from the Earth. This editor is such an addict, and derives pleasure by seeing others succumb to this delicious illness.

Finding an anarchist in a life situation similar to one's own can give moral strength to living anarchists. Often a young person will be told again and again that anarchist ideas are nonsense, by people who have an endless parade of generals and heads of state to use as examples for argument and role models for themselves. A similar pattern emerges as a teenager begins to form his or her own opinions about religion in a home that is dominated by clergy.

History is often ruled by tales about a handful of superstars, and with anarchism, the same thing happens, but with more likeable stars than usual. Voltairine de Cleyre once remarked that the whole movement seemed to operate out of Emma Goldman's suitcase. I held that same suitcase in my hand once, and that was fun. Anyway, when Emma or Voltairine, or Peter Kropotkin, or some other respected anarchist writer of the time arrived to give a lecture, they were not alone on a street talking to strangers. They slept at someone's house, ate dinner with someone, were introduced by a comrade, and fielded questions from many like-minded people. When a squad of policemen lumbered onto the scene, scores of people would feel the truncheon crash down on their heads. It's these smaller, local anarchist figures that make the fabric of the story, whereas the star characters make for wonderful embroidery.

As we slowly build up this garden of bygone faces, we will share lost texts by anarchists, descriptions of anarchists' grave sites, their landmarks, homes, and events in their lives. These little pieces have been gathered over the course of some fifteen years of research, mostly focusing on local research in my longtime home -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But my walking tours of old anarchist neighborhoods, though successful, do not seduce enough newcomers to the idea to satisfy my ruthless agenda, and so I have turned to the ether. We begin small, but the flow will not stop until this editor joins his friends in the graveyard. Please let us hear what you think of all this, and above all enjoy the reading!

Robert P. Helms, editor
June 5, 2006

George Brown, the Cobbler Anarchist of Philadelphia
By Robert P. Helms

The Kate Sharpley Library is pleased to announce the publication of a new pamphlet examining the life of George Brown (1858-1915), Philadelphia anarchist activist. Robert P. Helms traces the life of this anarchist shoemaker from freethinking Northamptonshire to Philadelphia's burgeoning anarchist movement of the 1890s. Never famous, and only occasionally infamous, Brown was typical of many of the militants who made the movement what it was, and his story sheds a fascinating light on the microcosm of a social movement.

Leafing through newscuttings, letters and memoirs Helms has restored Brown's life and activism to view. But this biograpy does more than restore the name of one militant. Never a 'leading light,' Brown's story highlights the activities of the grassroots anarchists of Philadelphia (like Brown and his partner and comrade Mary Hansen); the views and divisions of anarchists on sexual liberation at the turn of the twentieth century; and fractious debates within the Arden Single-Tax colony.

'The closer we examine this particular anarchist, the more he is his own unique self, the more fiercely determined he remains. He was somewhat wily, could be a bit pig-headed, but never for a selfish reason, never in a way that indicated even the slightest corruption. As yet another traveling anarchist noted in 1900, George's "whole soul is in the cause. He is a most genial companion, with a warm, human heart, but rigidly uncompromising in his devotion to anarchist principles."*'
*James F. Morton Jr. "Across the Continent III" Free Society, April 8, 1900

The Kate Sharpley Library is dedicated to preserving, researching and restoring the history of anarchism and the anarchist movement and regularly publishes information on lost areas of anarchist history.

George Brown, the Cobbler Anarchist of Philadelphia
By Robert P. Helms
Sixty page pamphlet, illustrated.
ISBN-13: 9781873605349 ISBN-10: 187360534X
Anarchist library series, number 17.
Price 3 (orders to London address) or $5 (Berkeley address)

Available direct from the publisher:
Kate Sharpley Library, BM Hurricane, London, WC1N 3XX
Kate Sharpley Library, PMB 820, 2425 Channing Way, Berkeley CA 94704, USA
Or from an independent bookstore near you!

Speaking of dead anarchists, we can't recommend highly enough:
Carlo Tresca: Portrait of a Rebel
by Nunzio Pernicone

Buy it from your favorite independent bookstore today!


27 November 2013