Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Emma Goldman Papers

“But I have nearly all your letters since our deportation. There are so many it would take me weeks to find our correspondence from Canada of 1925, '26 and '27.”

The famous Russian-American anarchist Emma Goldman (1869-1940) wrote these desperate words to her lifelong companion and compatriot Alexander Berkman in 1936. Aware of the need to preserve and arrange their vast correspondence, she decided to deposit her papers at the IISH. She arrived on December 22, 1938 and spent several weeks in Amsterdam to get this "extremely difficult and hellishly painful job" done. But arranging archives was not really her best talent.

This tough job was finally accomplished by IISH archivist Wim Leendertse. The inventory to the Goldman papers is online; the papers themselves are being digitized as part of the Centrale project. They will be accessible on line in the course of 2014. Until then, the archive can be consulted on microfilm.
The Goldman archive includes extensive correspondence with Alexander Berkman (1904-1936) and with the American anarchist W.S. van Valkenburgh (1911-1938) and correspondence files with many others whose archives are at the IISH as well, including Angelika Balabanova 1925-1939, C.W. Daniel Company Ltd. 1926-1938, Senya Fléchine (Fleshin), and Mollie Steimer 1927-1939, Max Nettlau 1923-1938, and Rudolf Rocker 1929-1939

10 March 2014