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Guide to the Emma Goldman Collection TAM.012

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 Tamiment staff

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 20, 2018
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Historical/Biographical Note

Emma Goldman, anarchist, feminist, and writer, was born in Russia in 1869. Refused admission to high school because she failed to conform to school rules, Goldman began working in 1882 in a factory in St. Petersburg. At the age of 17 to avoid her father's plans for her marriage, she fled to the United States, where she again worked in a factory. She joined the anarchist movement in about 1886 after the Chicago Haymarket Square bombing and conspiracy trial. In 1892 she began public speaking in defense of her lover, Alexander Berkman's attempted assassination of industrialist Henry Clay. She continued traveling and speaking about her ideas on revolution and sex. She published The Blast and later, until her deportation, Mother Earth. Goldman was deported in 1919 as a result of opposition to the war. She returned to Russia, but disillusioned with the new regime she left to travel and speak in Europe. She published Anarchism and Other Essays(1917),  Living My Life(1931),  My Disillusionment in Russia(1924), and  My Further Disillusionment in Russia(1925).

In 1924 she was permitted to make her home in England and married James Colton for the convenience of British citizenship. Alternatingly residing in England, Canada (Toronto), and the South of France (St. Tropez), she wrote her autobiography, Living my Life(1931). A tour through Germany convinced her of the threat of fascism. Her lectures on the topic gained her a ninety-day visit to the United States in 1934. The Spanish Civil War provided her with a needed distraction from Alexander Berkman's suicide. She devoted herself to the loyalists and worked in England on behalf of the Spanish government. Early in 1939, she returned to Canada where she died May 13, 1940, retaining to the last her revolutionary ideals.


  • Falk, Candace, Emma Goldman: a Guide to Her Life and Documentary Sources. Companion volume and index to: The Emma Goldman Papers [microform].