Alexander Berkman Papers

Period  1892-1936
Total size   4.05 m.
Consultation Not restricted
User restriction   Only microfilms can be consulted


True name: Ovsej Berkman; born in Kovno, Lithuania 1870, died in Nice, France 1936; militant anarchist, writer; emigrated to the USA in 1888; in 1892, after the shooting of strikers at the Carnegie Steel mills in Homestead, Pennsylvania, tried to shoot the manager Henry C. Frick; imprisoned until 1906; coeditor of Mother Earth New York from 1906 and founder and editor of The Blast San Francisco 1916-1917; involved in all kinds of anarchist activities, e.g. in organizing the defense of Tom Mooney and in antiwar propaganda; imprisoned in 1917 and deported to Russia in 1919; left Russia disillusioned in 1921; active in exile in particular with the defense of persecuted anarchists in Russia and elsewhere; main founder and secretary of the Joint Committee for the Defense of Revolutionists Imprisoned in Russia, Berlin 1923-1926 and member of Relief Fund of the International Working Men's Association (IWMA) for Anarchists and Anarcho-Syndicalists Imprisoned or Exiled in Russia (in Paris and Berlin) 1926-1932; from 1925 he lived in France and worked as a translator; suffering from illness and poverty, he shot himself; his publications include `Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist' 1912, `The Bolshevik Myth' 1925 and `Now and After' 1929.


Diaries 1910-1911, 1916, [1918?]-1933, including his 'Russian' diary; extensive correspondence with Emma Goldman 1917, 1924-1936; correspondence c. 1906-1913, 1919-1936, with Rafail Abramovič 1930-1934, Angelica Balabanoff 1925-1936, Stella Ballantine 1924, 1927-1936, Roger Baldwin 1925-1927, 1931, Voltairine de Cleyre 1906, 1908, 1910-1912, Michael A. Cohn 1922-1936, M. Eleanor Fitzgerald 1919-1936, Isadora [Duncan?] 1925 and n.d., Mollie Steimer 1925, 1931-1936, Frank and Nellie Harris 1925-1936, Thomas H. Keell 1922-1936, Harry Kelly 1924-1935, Nestor Machno 1924-1925, Tom and Anna Mooney 1927-1928, 1931, 1934-1936, Max Nettlau 1912, 1924-1936, Rudolf and Millie Rocker 1913, 1925-1936, Augustin and Therese Souchy 1925-1927, 1931-1935, Modest Stein 1930-1936, Pauline Helen Turkel 1924-1935, John Turner 1925, 1930-1932, Harry Weinberger 1924, 1928-1931 and many others;

Some identity papers and residence permits, documents on household and finances, health and celebrations 1922-1936; documents on his imprisonment in the Western Penitentiary of Pennsylvania, including some letters 1892, 1903-1904; diary on his last days in prison 1905; 25 handwritten copies of a small illegal magazine published by Berkman and two other anarchists; documents on political agitation 1906-1917, including correspondence on The Blast 1915-1916, on his imprisonment in Atlanta, Georgia and deportation to Soviet Russia 1917-1920; documents on releif work for Russian and Polish anarchist prisoners and exiles c. 1925-1933, on the Tom Mooney and Ben Billings case [c. 1917], 1927-1933, on the anarchist movement and theory 1928, 1931-1935 and his fight against expulsion from France 1930-1935;

Documents relating to 'Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist' (1912) including a manuscript of Jack London's (unpublished) preface to the memoirs 1912 and drawings of the prison published in the memoirs; documents on other books; notes for and manuscripts of articles mainly on Soviet Russia, American society and anarchism, and of scenario's and stories; documents on translations of plays and nonfiction, consisting of correspondence and manuscripts 1927-1936; some manuscripts by others; clippings 1911-1935;

Papers of others: correspondence by Emma Goldman with publishers on Berkman's behalf 1925, 1929, 1932-1934 and with Emmy Eckstein 1929-1936; correspondence by Emmy Eckstein 1929-1936.

Processing information

Inventory made by Atie van der Horst in 2003

Alternate Form of Material

33 safety microfilms (2003) of inv.nos. 1-362