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Guide to the John Nicholas Beffel Papers TAM.055

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2596

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Debra Slotkin Shulman

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on March 19, 2020
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Updated by Anna McCormick to correct the Custodial History note and Finding Aid Author.   , March 2020

Historical/Biographical Note

John Nicholas Beffel (1887 1973) Radical journalist, publicist, and editor. A prolific writer of articles, essays, and publicity dealing with leftist issues, many pertaining to the syndicalist labor organization the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), anarchism and several noted anarchists. Beffel also produced short stories, autobiographical sketches and poems. Much of his activity involved defense committees for accused radicals in such cases as: the Mooney Billings Case in which the two men were found guilty of a fatal bombing during a Preparedness Day parade in San Francisco in 1916; the Centralia, Washington, case in which ten IWW's were accused of murder during an assault of IWW headquarters in connection with an Armistice Day parade in 1919; Sacco and Vanzetti; the Kentucky Miners Defense, stemming from the bloody "Battle of Evarts" in Harlan County, 1931; the case of Athos Terzani, an anti fascist accused of accidentally murdering a comrade during a fascist rally in New York in 1933; and the un¬solved political murder of anti fascist leader Carlo Tresca in 1943. Beffel was also involved with The League for Mutual Aid, a social service agency for leftists in need of assistance, founded by Roger Baldwin in 1920. Much of the boxes of correspondence relates to Beffel's organizational and publicity efforts in these causes; much of the rest concerns his writings or those of his correspondents. Beffel edited several (published and unpblished) manuscripts, primarily by or about various anarchists (including Mikhail Bakunin, Rose Pesotta, and Harry Kelley, co-founder of the Ferrer colony in Stelton, N.J.), was interested in, and wrote about mysterious disappearances, and sometimes wrote articles under the names of Lancey Fitzgibbons, George Moresby, Mary Starland, Daniel Tower and others.