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Guide to the Pacific Street Films Photographs PHOTOS 046

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Erika Gottfried

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 12, 2018
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Pacific Street Films Photographs
Dates [inclusive]: 1919-1980
Dates [bulk]: 1940-1959
Abstract: Pacific Street Films produced several films on anarchism, including Free Voice of Labor--The Jewish Anarchists (1980), and Anarchism in America (1982). The collection contains images collected by PSF in the course of making these films, including photographs of Rose Pesotta, Mollie Steimer, Rudolph Rocker and other anarchists, and of anarchist gatherings, including picnics hosted by the newspaper the Frei Arbiter Stimme, the Free Society Group of Chicago, the Mohegan Colony at Crompond, New York, and of students at the residential labor union training school, Commonwealth College in Mena, Arkansas.
Quantity: 0.5 Linear Feet in one manuscript box.
Quantity: (ca.119 items); 2 x 1 ¾; 4x5; 5x7; 8x10, b&w, color
Call Phrase: PHOTOS 046

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Historical/Biographical Note

Pacific Street Films (PSF) is an independent film company that began producing social and political documentary films in 1969. It began its corporate life as the Pacific Street Film Collective, and its founders were active in the student anti-war movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Politically they identified themselves as anarchists, and PSF has produced several films on anarchism, including Free Voice of Labor--The Jewish Anarchists (1980), and Anarchism in America (1982).

Prominent anarchists represented in the collection include:

Mollie Steimer (1897 - July 23, 1980)-- a lifelong anarchist activist who began her political career by opposing American intervention in Soviet Russia during the First World War. In the course of this, she was arrested under the Sedition Act, and became one of the defendants in the landmark free speech case, Abrams v. United States. She, like her good friends Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, was deported from the United States to the Soviet Union. She was later also deported from the Soviet Union. Senya Fleshin, an anarchist whom she met while in the Soviet Union, became her lifelong companion. He later became a photographer, and they operated a photography studio, "SEMO" (Senya and Mollie) in Mexico City.

Rudolph Rocker (1873-1958), a German anarchist who became enamored with Yiddish language and literature, and became one of its primary exponents and champions; he was responsible, also, in his capacity of editor of important Yiddish language publications, for having getting translated and publishing for the first time in Yiddish many of the great writers of nineteenth century literature. He was also a leader in the Jewish anarchist movement, and in the Jewish labor movement in England in the years before World War I. Milly Witkop Rocker was his companion (it is said that for reasons of principle they were never legally married).

Rose Pesotta (1896-1965), a friend of Mollie Steimer, was an anarchist who was also an organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers for many years; she also served as its vice-president for a number of years.

Sources:

  • For more information on Steimer, and for more photographs of Steimer and her friends, see memorial pamphlet, Mollie Steimer--Toda Una Vida De Lucha: La Rebelion De Una Anarquista Condenada Por Ambos Imperios(Mexico 12, D.F.: Ediciones Antorcha, 1980).

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Scope and Content Note

The collection represents some of the photographs collected by PSF in the course of researching and producing films on the topic of anarchism; most were donated to Pacific Street Films (PSF) by elderly anarchists interviewed for the films or by their friends and relatives or political allies. (Wherever possible, it has been indicated on the container list from whom which photographs were donated.) Many of the photographs were shot by Valerio Isca, an Italian immigrant anarchist and a photographer, who was very active in the defense of Sacco and Vanzetti.

Portraits of individuals and organizations include: Jacob Abrams, Mary Abrams, Watkins Bannister, Alexander Berkman, Ethel Bernstein, Mina Bluestein, Carmen Carbo, Proudhon Carbo, Joseph Cohen, Lotta Colseman, Jim Dick, Nellie Dick, Jack Dubinsky, Emmy Eckstein, Ruth Ferman, Senya Fleshin, Free Society Group of Chicago, Harry Hirshcup, Ida Isca, Dora Kaiser, Leon Kramer, Regina Lancman, Clara Larsen, Kris Larsen, Sol Linder, Samuel Lipman, Fannie Luchovsky, Michael Morris, Johanna Murachnia, Dora Perkus, Rose Pesotta, Sir Herbert Read, Helen Richter, Fermin Rocker, Millie Rocker, Philip Rocker, Rudolph Rocker, Bill Roth, Dorothy Rubin, Esther Rubin, John Samosen, Tania Schapiro, Anna Schwartl, Manya Simionoff, Anna Sosnofsky, Mollie Steimer, Aaron Stein, William Taback, Elvira Vattuone, Abe Vinocur, Tisa Vinocur, Volin. In addition, some of the photographs are of various individuals involved with and annual picnics hosted by the Yiddish anarchist newspaper, the Frei Arbiter Stimme (Free Voice of Labor), published from 1890 to 1977.

There are also photographs shot at the Mohegan Colony, at Crompond, New York. Founded in 1923, the community, which at one time covered as much as 450 acres, was a liberal and radical one (many anarchists were among its residents, including Harry Kelly, and Valerio and Ida Isca) established (as outlined in its constitution) "to free ourselves and our children from at least some of the diseases of city life; to give free rein in our thoughts and ideals; to offer our children a libertarian education which will fit them to be fighters for a better world." Also included are shots of students at Commonwealth College (1923-1940), in Mena, Arkansas--a residential labor college established for labor organizers and leaders.

Arrangement

Folders are arranged topically.

The files are grouped into 1 series:

Missing Title

  1. Container list

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Rubin, Dorothy--Portraits.
  • Read, Herbert Edward, Sir, 1893-1968. -- |v Pictorial works
  • Roth, Bill--Portraits.
  • Samosen, John--Portraits.
  • Rubin, Esther--Portraits.
  • Rocker, Millie Witkop--Portraits.
  • Rocker, Fermin--Portraits.
  • Rocker, Philip--Portraits.
  • Stein, Aaron--Portraits.
  • Steimer, Mollie, 1897-1980
  • Vattuone, Elvira--Portraits.
  • Taback, William--Portraits.
  • Schwartl, Anna--Portraits.
  • Schapiro, Tania--Portraits.
  • Sosnofsky, Anna--Portraits.
  • Simionoff, Manya--Portraits.
  • Rocker, Rudolf, 1873-1958. -- |v Portraits
  • Pesotta, Rose, 1896- -- |v Portraits
  • Berkman, Alexander, 1870-1936 -- |v Portraits
  • Perkus, Dora--Portraits.
  • Richter, Helen--Portraits.
  • Luchovsky, Fannie--Portraits.
  • Lipman, Samuel--Portraits.
  • Murachnia, Johanna--Portraits.
  • Morris, Michael--Portraits.
  • Colseman, Lotta--Portraits.
  • Dick, Nellie--Portraits.
  • Dick, Jim--Portraits.
  • Bluestein, Mina--Portraits.
  • Bernstein, Ethel--Portraits.
  • Carbó, Proudhon--Portraits.
  • Carbo, Carmen--Portraits.
  • Abrams, Jacob
  • Abrams, Mary
  • Bannister, Watkins
  • Ferman, Ruth--Portraits.
  • Eckstein, Emmy--Portraits.
  • Dubinsky, Jack --Portraits.
  • Kaiser, Dora--Portraits.
  • Isca, Ida--Portraits.
  • Hirshcup, Harry--Portraits.
  • Fleshin, Simon, 1894-1981
  • Larsen, Kris--Portraits.
  • Larsen, Clara--Portraits.
  • Lancman, Regina--Portraits.
  • Kramer, Leon, 1889-1962
  • Linder, Sol--Portraits.
  • Vinocur, Abe--Portraits.
  • Vinocur, Tisa--Portraits.
  • Volin, 1882-1945
  • Isca, Valerio.
  • Cohen, Joseph E., 1883-1950 -- |v Portraits
  • Fischler, Steven

Document Type

  • Negatives (photographic)
  • Black-and-white photographs.
  • Slides (photographs)
  • Color photographs.

Subject Organizations

  • Commonwealth College (Mena, Ark.)
  • Free Society Group of Chicago
  • Freie arbeiter stimme
  • Mohegan Colony (Crompond, N.Y.)--Portraits

Subject Topics

  • Jewish anarchists |v Portraits.
  • Yiddish newspapers |v Pictorial works.
  • Anarchists -- United States -v Portraits.

Subject Places

  • Crompond (N.Y.) |v Pictorial works.
  • Cuernavaca (Mexico) |v Pictorial works.
  • Mena (Ark.) |v Pictorial works.

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Because of the assembled nature of this collection, copyright status varies across the collection. Copyright is assumed to be held by the original creator of individual items in the collection; these items are expected to pass into the public domain 120 years after their creation. The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives is not authorized to grant permission to publish or reproduce materials from this collection.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

Related Material at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Oral History of the American Left (Oral Histories 2): Interviews by filmmakers. Free Voice of Labor--The Jewish Anarchists (VCA 415); Anarchism in America (VCA 435).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Provenance unknown; most likely donated by Steven Fischler of Pacific Street Films in circa 1990. The accession numbers associated with this gift are 1950.016, 1950.162 and NPA.1990.001.

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Container List

Container List

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 20 photographs of anarchists. (All were given to Pacific Street Films by Mollie Steimer, except for the photograph of the Chicago Free Society Group, which was donated to PS Films by Sam Dolgoff, and photo of Steimer, Senya Fleshin, and Samuel Lipman, shot in Leningrad, 1922, was donated by Clara Larsen)
ca.1919-1950
Box: 1 Folder : 2 31 black and white contact sheets and one print shot by Valerio Isca at Mohegan Colony and other locations in New York State of anarchists and anarchist gatherings. Matching negatives for contact sheets are in adjoining folder #3.
ca.1950-1958
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Matching 35mm negatives for contact sheets in folder #2.
ca.1950-1958 , 1976
Box: 1 Folder : 4 12 color slides shot Valerio Isca in the 1950s of Mohegan Colony and Frei Arbiter Stimme annual picnics, and in 1976 at (Mohegan?) home of Valerio Isca, with his wife Ida, family and/or friends; 1 color negative of Rudolph and Milly Rocker.
ca.1950-1959
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Three photographs of Rose Pesotta, her sister and niece, Esther and Dorothy Rubin (donated to Pacific Street Films by Esther Rubin).
ca.1939-1949
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Six color photographs shot in February 1980, at the Cuernavaca, Mexico, home of Mollie Steimer and Senya Fleshin, during filming for Pacific Street Films' 1982 documentary, "Anarchism in America". Photographs are of Mollie Steimer, Senya Fleshin, and Spanish anarchists Proudhon and Carmen Carbo.
Feb 1980
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Two photos of Commonwealth College (donated to Pacific Street Films by Clara Larsen).
ca.1920-1929
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Thirteen photographs of sheet music for 19th or early 20th century Russian radical (anarchist?) songs, and one contact sheet and negatives for same.
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Unidentified negatives, shot by Valerio Isca.
[1950-1959]
Folder: 10 Oversized
[1920-1929]

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