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Guide to the Roberta Bobba and Peter Martin Photographs PHOTOS 055

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 Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Erika Gottfried

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 13, 2018
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Roberta Bobba and Peter Martin Photographs
Dates [inclusive]: circa 1918-1959
Abstract: Thirty-two black and white images of Italian immigrant anarchist Carlo Tresca (1879-1943) and labor and radical activist Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890-1964) and their relatives and friends.
Quantity: 1 Linear Feet in 1 box
Quantity: 32 items; 3x5, 8x10, black and white photographs; postcards.
Language: Materials are in English
Call Phrase: PHOTOS 055

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Historical/Biographical Note

These images are mostly of comrades and one-time lovers Carlo Tresca (1879-1943) and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890-1964), and their relatives and friends. Tresca, an Italian immigrant anarchist, was active in many radical causes, including the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.)and the anti-fascist movement in the United States. He was assassinated in 1943. Flynn, a key figure in early twentieth-century labor struggles, was an organizer and an orator and served as a leader in a number of labor and radical organizations, including the I.W.W. and the Communist Party of the United States. Flynn and Tresca met in 1912, and had a relationship that lasted for 15 years. Tresca also had a relationship with Flynn's youngest sister, "Bina" (Sabina). Bina Flynn and Tresca had a son, Peter Martin (who grew up to co-found the nationally-known center of beatnik culture, City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco). Bina Flynn later married Romolo Bobba. Bobba was one of the members of the Industrial Workers of the World imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, after the major I.W.W. trial of 1918 (in which most of the I.W.W. leadership, as well as a number of rank and file members, were convicted under the Espionage Act).


  • Camp, Helen C. Iron in Her Soul: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and the American Left(1995, Washington State University Press).
  • Gallagher, Dorothy. All the Right Enemies: The Life and Murder of Carlo Tresca(1988, Rutgers University Press)

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Scope and Content Note

The collection contains 32 black and white images of Carlo Tresca and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and their friends and family. These include photographs of Flynn family members sisters Elizabeth and Kathie Flynn (but not youngest sister Bina Flynn), and their father, Thomas Flynn, as well as photographs of a painted portrait of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and a bronze bust of Tresca (sculpted by Minna Harkavy) installed as a memorial in his home town in Italy, Sulmona, and photo-postcards, and reproductions of drawings.

There are also a few images of Romolo Bobba, including his mug shot from Leavenworth Prison, as well as portraits of Margaret De Silver (with whom Tresca lived the last decade of his life), but none of Tresca's son, Peter Martin. Other portraits and group photographs include Slater Brown, Hart Crane, Allen Tate (in a group photograph); Tom Mooney, and I.W.W. leader Vincent St. John.


Arranged by topic and grouped into one series.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Brown, Slater, 1896-1997
  • Crane, Hart, 1899-1932 -- |v Portraits
  • DeSilver, Marguerite -- |v Portraits
  • Bobba, Romolo
  • Tresca, Carlo, 1879-1943. -- |v Pictorial works
  • Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley -- |v Portraits
  • Flynn, Anna Katherine--Portraits.
  • Mooney, Thomas J., 1882-1942.
  • Flynn, Thomas--Portraits.
  • Tate, Allen, 1899-1979
  • St. John, Vincent, 1876-1929

Document Type

  • Black-and-white photographs.
  • Drawings (visual works)
  • Postcards.

Subject Topics

  • Anarchists -- United States -v Portraits.
  • Socialists -- United States -v Portraits.

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by Roberta Bobba, the donor of this collection, were transferred to New York University in 1992 by Roberta Bobba. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from the Tamiment Library.

Copyright for the manuscript of Carlo Tesca's authbiography and Max Nomad's biography of Carlo Tesca are retained by the donor.

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

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn Photographs (Photographs 18)

General Photographs (Photographs 001--under Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley and Tresca, Carlo).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Roberta Bobba in 1992. The accession numbers associated with the donation are NPA.1992.002 and 1950.218.

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Container List

Container list

Container 1     Title Date
Folder: 1 Carlo Tresca, family, and friends (18 items)
Folder: 2 Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, family and friends (10 items)
Folder: 3 Romolo Bobba and Others (4 items)

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