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

January 2020 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online

January 2020 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 100-101, January 2020 [Double issue] has just been posted on our site. The PDF is up at: https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/g1jz9m

Looking back at the back issues "It seemed a simple idea: look through back issues of the Kate Sharpley Library’s bulletin to find some interesting articles, and then encourage people to read them and think about anarchist history..." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/k98v2t
December 2019 message from the Kate Sharpley Library "Particular thanks have to go the comrade who sent us historic copies of War Commentary and Freedom." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/7wm4kc
Mini-reviews: Biographies (anarchist lives from around the world) https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/wdbtnb
Death of a good comrade [Daniel Mullen] by Jack Wade (1942. From the First World War to the Spanish Revolution, via the fight for Irish independence) https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/rv176k
The Government of No One: The Theory and Practice of Anarchism by Ruth Kinna [Book review] by Sonny Disposition "This is a book devoted to ideas, rather than a history. I found it thought-provoking: some is good, in some places I disagree with the analysis and in others I think ‘oh dear me, don’t go there’." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/gmscvx
Beyond a footnote: ‘Class struggle anarchism’ "When and why did the phrase ‘class-struggle anarchism’ come into use?" https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/cfxr4s
Something should be done (or How to revolt) [book review] "Freedom is its own reward, and is exhilarating. And even when you lose, you know that freedom is possible. That’s why you should read this little book." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/4f4s1s
Miguel Garcia: a personal appreciation by Gerfried Horst "Regarding his own life, he said he felt satisfaction to have always acted according to his principles. He told me that nobody could live without an ‘ilusión’, which is not ‘illusion’ in the English sense, but a ‘hopeful anticipation’, a dream that may become true. " https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/qrfkxk
Dialogue in the form of soliloquy by Louis Mercier Vega (1946) "there is a sensible need to come up with a practical solution to the painful contradiction between the dynamism of the young and the slightly amorphous wisdom of the old." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/6q58db
Extras on the website (just because we can't fit it all in the bulletin, doesn't mean you shouldn't have a look) https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/prr6md
Speaking and Writing (Comment) by Albert Meltzer "This piece sheds a little light on how Albert’s style of discussion was formed in a movement where dealing with hecklers was a necessary skill, one where humour could be used for defence or attack." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/m37rdn
Albert Grace by Joe Thomas "I have a vivid recollection of being rescued by Albert Grace in the course of having an ‘altercation’ with a mounted policeman." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/x9602h
W. A. Gape Half A Million Tramps (1936) [Review] by Barry Pateman "Half A Million Tramps constantly articulates the tension between what an individual tramp may feel to be their rights and what charity, religion and the state decide these rights actually are." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/stqmjv
Our Masters Are Helpless: The Essays of George Barrett edited by Iain McKay [book review] by Barry Pateman "You might disagree with him at times but his striving to reach those who are not anarchists, using language that is clear and effective, is important and impressive. In a time of apparent madness his assertion that anarchism is common sense remains an important message for us all." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/893395
The Trouble with National Action [Book Review] "This is not a book which is particularly concerned with government policy, nor with maintaining ‘business as usual’." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/12jncb
Liz Willis Obituary of the Solidarity member and historian, "she remained a ‘free rebel spirit’ to the end." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/c86896
Ken Williams (ex-East London DAM) has died. We hope to have an obituary in a future issue https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/9p8fc6
Biographies by Sergei Ovsiannikov (links to Russian anarchist lives including Anarchist Women in Maltsev Prison 1907–1908) https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/v9s6h8

July 2019 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 99, July 2019 has just been posted on our site. The PDF is up at: https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/00013n

The First of May. "This coming May 1st, the Toilers of the entire world will take to the streets: to do what? Why will they do so? To demand what? A palliative that is not going to be able to bring about any improvement in our lot." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/sf7nrt
The Sons of Night by Antoine Gimenez and the Giménologues "This is a great work of history from below, full of untold stories and unheard voices. There’s Hans ‘Jack’ Vesper who dragged himself back through no-man’s land and ended up in such a state that he thought he was a bear." [Book review] https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/3j9mh6
Factionalism & Individualism by Albert Meltzer "Declension: “I assert individuality”; “You introduce factionalism”; “They are schismatics”" https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/8gtk63
Anarchist history roundup July 2019 part 1. Peter the Painter, Wobblies, Emma Goldman and Special Branch files on British anarchists (1945-52) https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/9cnqkv (part two escaped from the bulletin and is at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/12jnb5
Brenda Christie (1949-2019): a tribute "she turned her back on the ‘dolce vita’ of sixties Milan because it ‘failed to satisfy her sense of moral integrity.’ Instead, she lived a life full and committed." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/nvx26g
The Russian anarchist movement in North America by Lazar Lipotkin [review] "Lipotkin provides an extremely valuable account of the activities of the Russian anarchist movement in America, which was affected but not destroyed by repression in both America and Russia." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/gxd3pf


Awful news has come from Stuart Christie on the passing of his partner and comrade, Brenda. Stuart was one of the earliest supporters and friends of the Kate Sharpley Library. Our hearts go out to him and all his family at such a grievous loss. Solidarity and love from us all at KSL to Stuart, Branwen and the lovely grandchildren. Vale Brenda. .

Stuart's eulogy for Brenda is at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/9kd6dm
Our tribute from the KSL is at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/nvx26g

Out soon: A Towering Flame: The Life and Times of the Elusive Latvian Anarchist Peter the Painter

Breviary Stuff Publications are soon to publish the researches of Phil Ruff which have identified Peter the Painter as the Latvian anarchist Jānis Žāklis (and given details of the rest of his remarkable life).
A review of the limited English-language edition published in Latvia is at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/6t1h62. Details on the book at https://www.breviarystuff.org.uk/philip-ruff-a-towering-flame/
The book launch, organised by the Bristol Radical History Group is happening at the Cube Cinema on Monday 3rd June 2019. More details here: https://www.brh.org.uk/site/events/behind-the-myth-of-peter-the-painter/

February 2019 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 97-98, February 2019 [Double issue] has just been posted on our site. The PDF is up at: https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/k0p452

Osvaldo Bayer is Dead "He showed up at every protest by workers, peasants and native communities. Championship of ethics and human rights was his forte." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/dr7v4s
Osvaldo Bayer 1927-2018: In Memoriam by Frank Mintz "There is no separating Osvaldo Bayer’s output from the annals of Argentinean and world anarchism" https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/wstsc1
Alan MacSimoin 1957-2018 "Coming from Irish Republicanism to anarchism in the 1970s, he belonged to the Murrays Defence Committee, the Dublin Anarchist Group, the Anarchist Workers Alliance and helped found the Workers Solidarity Movement in 1984." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/v15gk9
Anarchy: A Definition by Stuart Christie "Whatever the immediate prospects of achieving a free society, and however remote the ideal, if we value our common humanity then we must never cease to strive to realise our vision." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/cnp66m
A beautiful idea: history of the Freedom Press anarchists by Rob Ray [Book review] "Rob Ray’s book begins with the disarming confession that he imagined writing a ‘relatively short pamphlet’ (p3). 300 pages later you’ve been given a whistle-stop tour of Freedom’s history" https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/vhhp7d
Statement by the Black Flag Group to the Liverpool Conference of the Anarchist Federation of Britain, Sept., 1968 "Anarchism is a revolutionary method of achieving a free non-violent society, without class divisions or imposed authority." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/5x6bxp
1952: Barcelona executions, global protests (Case number 658-IV-49) including material by Miguel Garcia Garcia "Every one of the resistance organizations – with only a few exceptions – had been smashed. Some had shot it out, some had been taken by surprise, some had been shot down." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/nzs92j
The Invisible Dictatorship [a short history of Anarchy magazine (second series)] by Philip Ruff "Humbled as I am to be awarded the position of Great Helmsman of the Anarchy Collective, the historical facts are rather different." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/pc87wq
News from the Kate Sharpley Library, February 2019 (more books on the way!) https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/z8wc83
David Porter "David was a fine man and a fine historian." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/189463
The Massana Gang by Imanol (with material by José Ester Borrás) "his was possibly the only group of any vintage that suffered no losses and that was a real rarity; his life was also spared because after he had disarmed some customs officers in France, he was charged and was then banished far from the French-Spanish border and was not deported." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/hqc13r
Thoughts on ‘What everyone should know about state repression’ by Victor Serge "The book’s an evocation of the Russian revolutionary tradition which gives it a certain amount of derring-do" https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/h70tdc

Photo of eight Nabat Confederation anarchists with notes by Malcolm Archibald and Anatoly Dubovik https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/bvq9fq
The Funeral of Sazhin-Ross by A. Alekseyev, Translation and notes by Malcolm Archibald. https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/p2nj3h
Bolshevik Concern for the Individual by V.T., Translation and notes by Malcolm Archibald. "He describes the mechanisms for control of the work force in a huge industrial plant in the USSR of the 1930s. As an example of this control, he recounts the plight of an exemplary worker who, like many Soviet citizens, had a dangerous, potentially fatal, secret in his past." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/rv1747
The Lost Memoirs of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Isaak Tarasiuk (Translation and editing by Malcolm Archibald, who would like to thank Vyacheslav Azarov for making this document available. The information about Isaak Tarasiuk’s life is the based on research by Vyacheslav Azarov, Anatoly Dubovik, and Viktor Savchenko.) https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/2jm776
Ivan Alekseyevich Yudin by G. P. Maximoff https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/sj3wn2
And two poems:
The gods are dead by J. William Lloyd https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/w0vvwd
The Disinherited by J. William Lloyd https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/bzkjd9