Welcome to the Kate Sharpley Library

The Kate Sharpley Library exists to preserve and promote anarchist history. (More information.)

Everything at the Kate Sharpley Library - acquisitions, cataloguing, preservation work, publishing, answering enquiries is done by volunteers: we get no money from governments or the business community. All our running costs are met by donations from members of the collective, subscribers and supporters, or by the small income we make through publishing. Please consider donating and subscribing.

We also try to promote the history of anarchism by publishing studies based on those materials - or reprints of original documents taken from our collection. Check out our books and pamphlets available for sale or explore our online documents or browse back issues of our Bulletin.

Our physical library (in California) includes books, newspapers, pamphlets, manuscripts and ephemera documenting the history of anarchist movements. Contact us to arrange a visit.

Recent news

Remembering Spain by Marzocchi online

You can now read Umberto Marzocchi's account of his time in the anarchist militias on the Aragon front during the Spanish Civil War. This is the second edition, with a timeline of Marzocchi's life. Just scroll down past the description of the pamphlet at http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/xgxf5b

Guillotine at Work second part available

Maximoff’s The Guillotine at Work is an essential source for looking at the history of the Russian anarchist movement after 1917. It was originally published by the The Chicago section of the Alexander Berkman Fund in 1940. The first half, which comprises the argument against Leninism, was reprinted by Cienfuegos Press (1979). Now a PDF of the second part of the book (documents about the repression of the anarchist movement) is freely available at libcom.org. You can get this essential primary source on Russian anarchism at: http://libcom.org/library/guillotine-work-part-2-data-documents

Read it and remember!

New: Ready for Revolution: The CNT Defense Committees in Barcelona, 1933-1938 by Agustín Guillamón

“Ready for Revolution” studies the origins and achievements of the anarchist Defence Committees who formed the backbone of resistance to the military coup of July 1936. After that, they reorganised life in the working class districts of Barcelona. “Ready for Revolution” also looks at how the revolutionaries were defeated, and the consequences.
It will make essential reading for those interested in Spanish anarchism, in the Spanish Civil War, or in anarchist ideas in practice.

Agustín Guillamón is an independent historian, editor of “Balance”, a magazine dedicated to new research on the Spanish Revolution, and the author of “The Friends of Durruti Group, 1937–1939” and “The Committees Revolution”.

“Ready for Revolution: The CNT Defense Committees in Barcelona, 1933-1938” by Agustin Guillamon, translated by Paul Sharkey, published by AK Press and the Kate Sharpley Library.
ISBN 9781849351423.
Copies available in the USA. $14.95
Due to be published in the UK: 3rd April 2014. £10.95

Read the Kate Sharpley Library’s introduction to “Ready for revolution”:

Read “The CNT defense committees in Barcelona 1933–1938: An interview with Agustín Guillamón”:

January/February 2014 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 77, January/February 2014 has just been posted on the site. You can get to the contents here http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/1zcsgp or read the full pdf here http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/z08n8s

This issue contains:
Florentine Lombard : a Kent anarchist and volunteer nurse during the Naples cholera epidemic of 1884. http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/8kpstt
Library News: Ready for Revolution Published http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/b8gvp7
El Combate, October 1955 [front page only] http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/8sf8pr
2014 Bottled Wasp pocket diary http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/n02wkc
Wealth of negations, Terms and conditions: Management edition. (Selected highlights) http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/d51db7
Anarchism and Worker's Self Management in Revolutionary Spain By Frank Mintz [Book Review] http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/w6mbmn
The Floodgates of Anarchy by Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer : some thoughts http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/c8680n
Pano Vassilev's 'The Soviets idea' - call for help  http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/g4f60x
Review: The Albert memorial: the anarchist life and times of Albert Meltzer (1920-1996) an appreciation by Phil Ruff http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/zgmtxr
Ghost dancers: the miners' last generation by David John Douglass [Book review] http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/v6wz71

Social movement archive appeal for help: CRAS Centre de Recherche pour l’Alternative Social Toulouse

Our comrades at CRAS – Centre de Recherche pour l’Alternative Social in Toulouse are appealing for support to get a decent building, nearly thirteen years on from the industrial disaster that damaged their former premises.

Please email your message of support to: cras.toulouse@wanadoo.fr
CRAS website (in French) http://cras31.info/index.html


Please find attached:

An open letter-cum-request addressed to Mayor of Toulouse Pierre Cohen seeking support in the procurement of premises for our association. You can sign it and return to us by post or email, add a personalised perhaps, or circulate this one more widely. 

Monsieur Pierre COHEN, Mayor of the city of Toulouse

Monsieur, we would draw your attention to the problem faced by the Centre de Recherche pour l’Alternative Social (CRAS). CRAS is an association of independent and volunteer archivists launched in 1979 in order to preserve the memory of social movements regionally. It has still not managed to procure from the city council working premises deserving of that description. We would remind you that the association’s former premises were partly demolished by the AZF explosion* and that the association has not, since then, been able to find lasting accommodation for its activities.

For the past thirty years, the association has been a significant and unique archival resource, a cultural and social asset to the region and to the city of Toulouse in particular. Its resources have been used by many people (researchers, writers, movie-makers ..) who have found their subject matter there. This is an archival resource accessible to the public; it is in danger and deserves our every attention. The dispersion of the archives is an impediment to their preservation, handling, circulation and routine management.

In December 2008, the association requested your help, issuing a statement addressed to you and enclosing the association’s statutes, the receipt from our declaration to the prefecture, a background history and an outline of our activities and the documentation held.

For upwards of five years now, its members have liaised with elected councillors (Mme Nicole Belloubet, Mme Touchefeu, Mme Gonzalez Tricheux and Monsieur Mateos) a technical expert ( Monsieur Fourbeau) and the head of the council’s heritage agency (Monsieur Brossant). In terms of practical outcomes for the association, we have been afforded access to accommodation measuring 4 metres square and made a one-off offer of premises that were unsuitable. Every year the association gathers in fresh resources which it stockpiles wherever it may and in cellars.

Mr Mayor of the city of Toulouse, we cannot believe that you can knowingly be indifferent to the fate of this association. We appeal to you once again to take steps quickly to resolve an untenable situation that has been too long in place. We are confident that you will respond urgently to this righteous request.

Yours faithfully, Monsieur le Maire.


Signed:                                              Description:


The above is a user of the holdings of the CRAS archives, or a person (or body) cognizant of the public usefulness of that association and expresses support for the CRAS in its overtures to the office of the mayor of Toulouse with an eye to securing municipal accommodation.


*    An explosion at the AZF fertiliser plant in Toulouse in 2001 claimed 31 lives and caused devastation. Despite initial speculation that terrorism was involved, the explosion has since been classified as an industrial accident

Please email your message of support to: cras.toulouse@wanadoo.fr