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Preliminary Inventory to the Murray Bookchin Papers TAM 160

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 Tamiment staff, 2009

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 13, 2018
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Title: Murray Bookchin Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1950-2003
Abstract: Murray Bookchin (January 14, 1921-July 30, 2006) was a libertarian socialist, political philosopher, speaker and writer. The founder of the social ecology movement within libertarian socialist and ecological thought, Bookchin is noted for his synthesis of the anarchist tradition with modern ecological awareness. He was the author of two dozen books on politics, philosophy, history, and urban affairs as well as ecology. The collection contains correspondence, unpublished writings (including essays and manuscripts of unpublished and published books), published writings, including translations of Bookchin's books, Green movement periodicals, reviews of Bookchin's books, printed ephemera and documents related to the Left Green Network, the Burlington, Vermont Greens, and other Green movements, including those in Europe, course outlines, and photographs.
Quantity: 17.25 Linear Feet in 18 boxes
Location: Materials stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu at least two business days prior to research visit.
Call Phrase: TAM 160

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Historical/Biographical Note

Murray Bookchin (January 14, 1921- July 30, 2006) was a libertarian socialist, political philosopher, speaker and writer. The founder of the social ecology movement within libertarian socialist and ecological thought, Bookchin is noted for his synthesis of the anarchist tradition with modern ecological awareness. He was the author of two dozen books on politics, philosophy, history, and urban affairs as well as ecology. Bookchin was a radical anti-capitalist and vocal advocate of the decentralization of society, in particular in his writings on libertarian municipalism, a theory of face-to-face, grassroots democracy. He was a staunch critic of biocentric philosophies such as deep ecology and the biologically deterministic beliefs of sociobiology.

Bookchin was born in New York City to Russian Jewish immigrants and was imbued with Marxist ideology from his youth. He joined the Young Pioneers, the Communist youth organization, at the age of nine. He worked in factories and became an organizer for the Congress of Industrial Organizations. In the late 1930s he broke with the Communist movement and gravitated toward Trotskyism, working with a group publishing the periodical Contemporary Issues. Then gradually becoming disillusioned with the coercion he saw as inherent in conventional Marxism-Leninism, he became an Anarchist, helping to found the Libertarian League in New York in the 1950s. Bookchin began teaching in the late 1960s at the Free University, a counter-cultural Manhattan-based institution. This led to a tenured position at Ramapo State College in Mahwah, NJ. He also co-founded, in 1971, the Institute for Social Ecology at Goddard College in Vermont.

His book, Our Synthetic Environment, published under the pseudonym Lewis Herber six months before Rachel Carson's  Silent Spring, described a broad range of environmental ills but received little attention. His essay "Ecology and Revolutionary Thought" introduced ecology as a concept for radical politics. His 1969 essay "Listen, Marxist!" warned Students for a Democratic Society against the threat of takeover by a Marxist group.  The Ecology of Freedom, which he published in 1982, had a profound impact on the emerging ecology movement.  From Urbanization to Cities(originally published as T  he Rise of Urbanization and the Decline of Citizenship) traces the democratic traditions that influenced his political philosophy and defines the implementation of the libertarian municipalism concept. A much smaller work,  The Politics of Social Ecology, written by his partner of twenty years, Janet Biehl, briefly summarizes these ideas. In 1999, Bookchin broke with anarchism and placed his ideas into the framework of communalism.

In addition to his political writings, Bookchin wrote extensively on his philosophical ideas, which he called "dialectical naturalism." The dialectical writings of Hegel, which articulate a developmental philosophy of change and growth, seemed to him to lend themselves to an organic, even ecological approach. His later philosophical writings emphasize humanism, rationality, and the ideals of the Enlightenment. Bookchin's last major published work was The Third Revolution, a four-volume history of the libertarian impulse in European and American revolutionary movements. He died of heart failure on July 30, 2006 at his home in Burlington, Vermont at the age of 85.

For additional information, see: http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/bookchin/Bookchinarchive.html

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Scope and Content Note

This unprocessed collection contains correspondence, notebooks, unpublished writings (including essays and manuscripts of unpublished and published books), published writings, including translations of Bookchin's books, Green movement periodicals, reviews of Bookchin's books, printed ephemera and documents related to the Left Green Network, the Green movement in Burlington, Vermont, and other Green movements, course outlines, and a small number of photographs.

NOTE: This collection is stored offsite and advance notice is required for use.

Arrangement

The files are grouped into boxes by form or topic.

The files are grouped into 1 series:

Missing Title

  1. I. Preliminary Inventory, 1950s-2003.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Bookchin, Murray, 1921-2006
  • Biehl, Janet, 1953-

Document Type

  • Photographs.
  • Syllabi.
  • Reviews (document genre)
  • Manuscripts for publication.
  • Printed ephemera.
  • Notebooks.
  • Correspondence.

Subject Organizations

  • Institute for Social Ecology (Plainfield, Vt.)
  • Left Green Network (U.S.)

Subject Topics

  • Anarchism.
  • Communalism.
  • Social ecology.
  • Green movement.
  • Communism.

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright (and related rights to publicity and privacy) to materials in this collection created by Murray Bookchin are held by his children, Debbie and Joseph Bookchin, until 2019. The sole copyright holder beginning in 2019 is his granddaughter, Katya Bookchin. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Murray Bookchin Papers; TAM 160; 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

Murray Bookchin Audiocassettes (OH #56)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Murray Bookchin and Janet Biehl in 2003; additional materials were sent by Janet Biehl in 2006 and 2014. The accession numbers associated with these gifts are 2003.002, 2003.005, and 2015.003.

Sources

http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/bookchin/Bookchinarchive.html

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Container List

Series I: Preliminary Inventory, 1950s-2003

Container 1     Title Date
Box: 1 Murray Bookchin: Essay Manuscripts (1 of 3)
1950s-1994
Box: 2 Murray Bookchin: Essay Manuscripts (2 of 3)
1950s-1994
Box: 3 Murray Bookchin: Essay Manuscripts (3 of 3)
1950s-1994
Box: 4 Burlington (Vermont) Greens and New England Greens Materials
undated
Box: 5 Left Green Network; Social Ecology (international)
undated
Box: 6 Murray Bookchin: Book Manuscripts: Urbanization, Remaking Society (partial), Ecology of Freedom, John Ely Interview. Periodicals: Left Green Perspectives, Comment, Harbinger
undated
Box: 7 European Greens Materials
undated
Box: 8 Correspondence, Incoming
1950s-1993
Box: 9 Murray Bookchin: Books Translated into Other Languages (1 of 2)
undated
Box: 10 Murray Bookchin: Books Translated into Other Languages (2 of 2)
undated
Box: 11 Murray Bookchin: Books Not Previously Owned by Tamiment; Periodicals and Anthologies to which MB Contributed
undated
Box: 12 Murray Bookchin: Books Not Previously Owned by Tamiment; Periodicals and Anthologies to which MB Contributed.
undated
Box: 13 Correspondence, Incoming (1994-2003); Reviews of Bookchin's Books; Articles about Bookchin; "Deep Ecology" fight materials
1994-2003 , undated
Box: 14 Politics of Cosmology (unpublished Bookchin ms.); Bookchin's Early Notebooks; Course Outlines
undated
Box: 15 Articles about Bookchin, remainder, 1993-2003 (see also Box 13); Several More Book Manuscripts.
1993-2003 , undated
Box: 16 Unpublished Manuscripts; Handwritten Manuscripts
undated
Box: 17 Correspondence and Part of an Unpublished Manuscript.

Scope and Content Note

The manuscript is a later version of Part 1 of The Politics of Cosmology than that located in Box 14 in these Papers; it has extensive hand-written copy-editing and proofreading corrections on it.

1980s-1990s
Box: 18 FBI/FOIA Correspondence and Documents; Mailing List for Comment Newsletter; Photographs

Scope and Content Note

Photographs include what appears to be a portrait of Bookchin as a child, a portrait of him in the military (perhaps circa 1940s), various shots of him circa the 1960s-1980s, and a portrait of two women, circa 1950s, probably family members.

1920s-1980s

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