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

March 2023 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 109, March 2023 has just been posted on our site. https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/2v6zdb The PDF is up at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/3n5vsb

The Wooden Shoe is on the other foot: examining a myth "The Wooden Shoe was an anarchist bookshop at 42 Old Compton Street in London which ran from 1966 to 1967. Donald Rooum blamed it for starting a dispute between Albert Meltzer and Vero (Vernon Richards), but that seems to be wrong." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/jsxnnt
Keeping Alive the Spirit of Revolt : Some thoughts on Albert Meltzer and his writings by Barry Pateman "Albert provided myself and many others with a road map to anarchism we could travel with." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/g4f6hh
Frank Leech by Albert Meltzer "Frank Leech was tireless over many years in speaking, giving practical aid to unofficial strikers, and issuing papers and pamphlets." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/nk9brx
Anarchist archives, terrorism and censorship by the Centro Studi Libertari/ Archivio G. Pinelli "If archives cannot preserve all the existing documents relating to a political movement, or referring to a certain historical period, what kind of history would one end up making?" https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/b8gw5s
Letterpress Revolution: The Politics of Anarchist Print Culture [Book review] by Peter Good "Anarchism has always been an assembly of factions and we can be certain that every tendency produced its own paper. Ferguson is to be praised for tracing the many forgotten printers..." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/4mw83p
Looking Back (then and now) "Our comrades from the Workers Solidarity Movement have issued the closing statement they promised when they stopped in December 2021. [...] The defeated anarchist militants who had opposed the official ‘collaborationist’ line during the Spanish Civil War carried out some similar soul-searching." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/gxd3zt

December 2022 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No.107-108, December 2022 has just been posted on our site. https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/rr50f1. The PDF is up at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/9kd6nt
It's a double issue partly because there are lots of book reviews but also because our attempt to unravel the Albert Meltzer-George Woodcock conflict turned out to be quite long. Did it really start in the 1940s? Or was it that after the war they drew ‘opposite conclusions from twentieth century history’?

Kate Sharpley Library collective interviewed by the Tyneside Anarchist Archive "are the days of physical literature numbered? What forthcoming titles are planned?" https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/2nggg5
Slaughter or slander? Notes on the Albert Meltzer-George Woodcock conflict "Albert Meltzer was a longstanding critic of non-revolutionary and ‘intellectual’ trends described as ‘new anarchism’ or ‘militant liberalism’ (depending on your point of view). Part of this was his conflict with the Canadian writer George Woodcock. I want to examine that conflict and when and how it arose in particular." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/cjt075
Anarchy in Action by Colin Ward [Book review] by Albert Meltzer "What the book is is an honest, though circumscribed, attempt to show how a limited application of anarchist principles may be made within in State preserving some civil rights." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/gf1x8k
The Idea by Nick Heath [Book review] "The Idea is a full (and honest) history of anarchist communism" https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/vhhphs
Spanish Participation in the Haute Savoie Resistance by Imanol "The Spanish contribution to the resistance in the Alps was not only sizeable but the libertarian presence there was significant." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/s7h64b
War And Peace by Proudhon [Book Review] by Coco Shrapnel "Many a stimulating yet unhappy hour can be spent with this book, pondering the wars in Yemen, Syria or Ukraine and the prospects for world peace." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/6t1hjs
Chris Jones [Chris Braithwaite] by Mat Kavanagh "Chris Jones left his home in the West Indies quite young and followed the sea. He saw capitalism at work under all conditions, and it aroused all his native antagonism to injustice and poverty." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/bg7c2w
Library Update [Nov. 2022] News from The Sparrows' Nest, Judy Greenway and (some of) what's new on the KSL site. https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/prr6vm
Leeds Anarchist Group (1935) by Herbert Foster "In the industrial hell of Leeds there is nothing so striking as the stark contrasts between extreme wealth on the one hand and the extreme poverty on the other. Such is the essence of Civilization." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/prr6nk

September 2022 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 106, September 2022 has just been posted on our site. https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/dv43bp The PDF is up at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/xpnxzt

Union-Bashing Economics [1975] by Albert Meltzer "It is the language of myth called in to justify power – an economic myth to replace the patriotic myth, but in this case using the same ‘national necessity’ ploy as in war." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/9320zj
Remembering Stuart, two years on "Copies of A Life for Anarchy: A Stuart Christie Reader arrived in the UK at the very end of June 2022... We’d like to see copies in libraries: have you asked your local library to get one?" https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/s4mz6t
A ‘good example’: A Life For Anarchy: A Stuart Christie Reader [Book review] by Mark R. "There is undoubtedly, a new world waiting to be built, and from those members of that ‘strange, unknown, unappreciated tribe’ who came before us, and in whose ranks Stuart Christie now stands, we can find the inspiration to fight on; for as another of those fighters once said; ‘we are going to inherit the earth; there is not the slightest doubt about that.’" https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/w6mc21
A living book : 'A Life For Anarchy: A Stuart Christie Reader' [book review] by Richard Warren "A life for anarchy is a proper reader – not a dry memorial, not a dusty headstone, but a living book to keep handy, to dip into repeatedly and to relish." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/7h4631
Immense enthusiasm and optimism : 'A Life For Anarchy: A Stuart Christie Reader' [book review] by Chris Ealham "I was impressed by his literary references, which ranged from obscure Scottish poetry to popular culture; this was always very natural, lightly worn, in no way jarring or artificial. He also displayed immense enthusiasm and optimism. Many of these admirable traits are attested to in the final section, which consists of tributes paid to Stuart by his comrades, friends and loved ones, although the frontiers between these categories were very fluid." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/98sgvg
The use and need for a union by Léa Wullschleger "Certainly, if they cannot fight against the bosses with the same weapons as them, capital, since they don’t own any, they can achieve anything through numbers and organisation; since we are no doubt the more numerous." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/0p2pvn
Joe Thomas [obituary] by Albert Meltzer "he was (to the surprise of his many friends in the trade union movement) a good friend to revolutionary anarchism and to the practicalities of anarcho-syndicalism (to the dismay of his Marxist friends)." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/gmsd1x
Audrey Beecham [1915-89] by Albert Meltzer "She was a good friend to Miguel Garcia and myself. I took back from Barcelona this October many messages of greetings from Spanish friends both of the ‘thirties and ‘sixties, which will never now be delivered." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/tx97x7
Anarchist history roundup Aug. 2022 https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/9zw5bb
Advice to My Anarchist Comrades (1901) by Élisée Reclus (and Stuart Christie) "What then should we do to maintain our intellectual vigor, our moral energy, and our faith in the good fight?" https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/31zf26

A Life for Anarchy: A Stuart Christie Reader out

Our collection of articles by and about our comrade Stuart Christie is now available in the UK. More details here: A Life for Anarchy: A Stuart Christie Reader out now https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/kprsz7

May 2022 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 105, May 2022 has just been posted on our site. https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/31zf3c The PDF is up at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/mw6p4g

Question and answer on Anarchism [Anti-Imperialism] by Albert Meltzer "Whenever we see the word ‘anti-imperialism’ nowadays we sniff at it carefully before opening the package, not as one would for explosives, but to see if the milk has gone sour. " https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/k0p4ff
Library update (May 2022) "As you might expect, other people have been busy digging away at anarchist history too." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/2281t9
Bessie Kimmelman: fragments of an anarchist life "No doubt more fragments of her life are waiting to be found!" https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/jdfpvs
The Makhnovshchina and Its Aftermath: Documents from the movement and its survivors [Book review] "Black Cat Press have (again) added to what we know about the Makhnovist movement." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/j3v02p
Alternatives to suicide by Albert Meltzer "In 1980 Cienfuegos Press published Towards a citizens’ militia: anarchist alternatives to NATO & the Warsaw Pact. Various politicians complained. An earlier article in Black Flag declared ‘to be attacked by these people is like having the Good House­keeping seal of approval.’ (v.6, n.3, June 1980) Here Albert probes the motives behind their fear of the idea of popular self-defence and speculates on what they would have done if Hitler had successfully invaded Britain. Would they really kill themselves rather than collaborate?" https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/12jnj6
Ken Williams [a tribute from Hastings] by Alex Price "The character me and my friends knew was probably semi-unrecognisable from the anarcho-syndicalist legend of 1980s London, although we knew he was in there." https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/8sf944