Vernon Richards Papers

Period  (1858-) 1907-2001
Total size   11.6 m.
Consultation Restricted
Inv.no. 148 is closed for 25 years until 2015
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Recchioni, Vero, later anglicised to Vernon Richards: born in London 1915, died in Hadleigh, Suffolk 2001; civil engineer, anarchist and editor; helped his father with propaganda work against Mussolini; arrested in Paris in January 1935 and extradited from France; in 1936, he published in collaboration with Camillo Berneri a bilingual anarchist and antifascist paper Italia Libera/Free Italy; founded and edited Spain and the World, which became Revolt in 1939, and eventually was followed by War Commentary 1939-1945 and Freedom from 1945; imprisoned for nine months for inciting agitation among soldiers in 1945; editor of Freedom until 1964; continued to run Freedom Press; among his publications are `Lessons of the Spanish Revolution' 1953 and `Errico Malatesta - Life and Ideas' 1965. Berneri, Marie Louise: his first wife, born in Arezzo, Italy 1918, died in London 1949; took part in the publication of Revision Paris; went to Spain in 1936 where her father Camillo Berneri edited Guerra di Classe; returned to Paris to study psychology at the Sorbonne; went again to Spain after the assassination of her father; in October 1937 she went to London to help her companion Vernon Richards with the publication of Spain and the World; member of the group that edited Revolt and then War Commentary and Freedom until her premature death; among her publications are `Journey through Utopia' 1950 and `Neither East nor West' 1952. Recchioni, Emidio: his father, born in Russi near Ravenna, Italy 1864, died in Paris 1934; railroad employee; originally a republican and follower of Giuseppe Mazzini; converted to anarchism in the early 1890s; contributed to Sempre Avanti; founded and edited, with Cesare Agostinelli and others, L'art. 248 Ancona in 1894; arrested in June 1894 in connection with the shooting of Prime Minister Crispi and confined for three years; started with Malatesta and friends L' Agitazione Ancona in 1897; soon arrested again and sent back to the prison isles, but managed to escape; emigrated to England in 1900; stayed involved in all Italian anarchist publications published in Ancona before and during the First World War; contributor to La Protesta and L' Adunata dei refrattari and other papers, mainly under his pen name Nemo; organized and financed a number of attempts on Mussolini.


Vernon Richards papers: correspondence relating to Freedom, 1924, 1933-1987 and n.d., including some personal letters, with Camillo Berneri, Gerald Brenan, Havelock Ellis, Emma Goldman, Jim Huggon and Steve Sorba, August John, Max Nettlau, George Orwell, Sylvia Pankhurst, Herbert Read, Raffaele Schiavina and many other anarchists mainly from France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and the USA; personal papers relating to education, study, finance, family members, memberships and business activities 1926-1983; manuscripts of articles and books, including `Malatesta - Life and Ideas' and `Lessons of the Spanish Revolution', with some other documents; manuscripts and notes by Camillo Berneri, Max Nettlau and others 1858-1984; manuscripts of translations, including `Kropotkin's The State - Its Historic Role' and Gaston Leval's `Collectives in the Spanish Revolution' by (1937) 1969, 1973-1975, 1978; files relating to Freedom Press, including minutes of meetings 1946-1948, 1965-1967; documents relating to organization, finance and premisis, partly also concerning Spain and the World and Revolt 1936-1984; manuscripts by various authors; documents on publishing activities, the Freedom bookshop, a conflict with the Anarchist Federation Group 1941-1946, the prosecution of Freedom members on charges of conspiracy 1940-1941, 1944-1945; documents relating to a protest meeting against political trials in Spain 1952, including single letters from Benjamin Brittan, Fenner Brockway, E.M. Foster, Aldous Huxley, Lewis Mumford and Bertrand Russell; documents on other subjects and printed material. Marie Louise Berneri papers: correspondence with anarchists 1936, 1938-1949, including Volin (pseudonym of Vsevelod M. Eichenbaum); letters from her mother Giovanna Berneri 1937, 1939 and from Vernon Richards 1945; diaries 1934, 1939, 1947-1949; documents relating to education and study 1933-1936; manuscript of `Workers in Stalin's Russia' 1941-1945 and of articles and speeches 1937-1938, 1940-1943; notes 1929, 1935-1944, 1949; documentation 1932-1947; letters by Marie Louise Berneri to her grandmother Aldalgisa Berneri-Fochi 1947-1949. Emidio Recchioni papers: letters received from Luigi Fabbri, Carlo Frigero, Luigi Galleani, Errico Malatesta, Max Nettlau, Raffaele Schiavina (1904-) 1921-1934; notebooks kept during his illness 1934; manuscripts of articles 1921 and n.d.; financial documents relating to his Italian produce store `King Bomba' in London 1917-1919 and Carrara marble trading 1925, 1931-1933; some documents concerning Michele Schirru's attempt on Mussolini and Recchioni's involvement 1930-1932. Papers of other relatives: papers of Camillo Berneri (1897-1937) consisting of letters received by Berneri 1916, 1920, 1929, 1935, manuscripts of articles primarily on the catholic church and fascism 1905-1906, 1909, 1926-1927, 1932-1937, notes on Spain 1936-1937, printed material; papers of Giovanna Berneri, Giliane Berneri, Constanza Recchioni, Vera Balfour-Recchioni.

Correspondence relating to Freedom Press, including personal correspondence 1945-2000; correspondence with Chip's Booksearch 1997-1999, Marianne Enckel 1988-1996, Simone Gangnet 1999-2000, Sidonie Goossens 1999-2000, Bob Jones 1985-1992, Morag 1999-2000; passport and other personal documents 1942, 1960; typescripts and manuscripts of his books and articles 1964-1999; correspondence with Freedom Press office 1998; typescripts and manuscripts of books and articles to be published by Freedom Press, including notes and documentation 1931-1933, 1964-1995; documents concerning the publication of books, pamphlets and the periodicals Freedom, The Raven and other publications 1932, 1941, 1995-1996; documents concerning the Marie Louise Berneri Memorial Committee 1949-1952, 1954, a Freedom readership survey 1960, Freedom Press bookshop 1973-1994, Friends of Freedom Press 1975-1990; financial documents of Freedom Press 1990-1999; documents concerning his activities as photographer, secondhand bookseller and tour guide 1946-1968; file on Herbert Read and other documents 1939-1969; documentation on reviews of his publications and of others 1949-1996, on persons, including George Orwell and Colin Ward 1947-1999, on communist countries 1939-1994, on anarchism and other documentation 1881-2000.

Papers of other relatives: papers of Giliane Berneri 1949-1954, 1999; papers of Marie Louise Berneri (1918-1949), including correspondence 1937-1948, typescript and personal notes 1936-1937, printed articles, published in War Commentary and Freedom 1939-1948.


The documents from Vernon Richards (no. 1-267) on the one hand and Marie Louise Berneri , Emidio Recchioni , other relatives and Freedom staff members (no. 268-367) on the other hand have been entered into separate sections.
In some cases though a strict separation proved not to be possible. Cross references have been made in these instances. Apart from this, the existing order has been maintained as far as possible, although inconsistencies have been corrected. Some remarks should be made as to the nature of the documents within the different sections.
Although Vernon Richards ' papers mainly consist of Freedom Press material resulting from his work as editor and treasurer, personal papers were mixed in with these. In particular this was the case in the correspondence (no. 1-27) which contains personal as well as Freedom Press letters and some letters to others, i.e. his second wife Dorothy (Peta) Hewetson. Occasionally some bills, notes and bank statements may be found between the letters. Time did not allow a more rigorous split.
Also the documents under the heading "Documentation" probably partly concern Freedom Press documentation, while another part may have been collected by Vernon Richards personally.
In 1984 the institute received photocopies of letters and manuscripts from Vernon Richards . Although the originals of these documents have been received by the institute in 1988, these photocopies have been entered into an annex because they partly contain notes made by Vernon Richards .
The documents of the Freedom Defense Committee have been separated from the archives and added to the Freedom Defense Committee archive.
Books, pamphlets, periodicals and a series of 38 volumes of the Reclus ' Universal Geography have been brought to the institutes' library.
Photographs and posters have been taken to the audiovisual department of the institute.
The archives measure 9.25 meter.

Processing information

List made by Tiny de Boer in 1990, 2002

Secondary creator
Recchioni, Emidio. Berneri, Marie Louise. Freedom
Alternate Form of Material

Security microfilms 1990.