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

October 2023 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 112, October 2023 has just been posted on our site: https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/63xv5h The pdf is up at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/bk3m09

The Paris Commune by Jules Scarceriaux (with cartoon by Richard Warren) 'We could never live in those mansions; there are carpets three inches thick; the furniture is too luxurious to be touched' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/7d7z7v
Jules Scarceriaux. Anarchist by the Dockstader Anarchist Mutual Aid Society 'The FBI made special note of Scarceriaux’s ability to speak nine separate languages, which made him a useful organizer for the I.W.W.' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/dncmk8
Seth Dockstader by the Dockstader Anarchist Mutual Aid Society 'For those who are unaware of Seth, he is not an anarchist from early period of the anarchist movement, but rather a contemporary who was a loyal friend and comrade to many still active today.' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/rxwgd9
Walking in the old ruts by H. Mace 'the emancipation of labour from the wages system is an economic problem, and that to make an assault on the House of Commons through the medium of a political Labour party to achieve its salvation is as fatal as practising nudism at the poles.' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/47d9gh
History notes (Sept. 2023) links to 'The Unstoppable Anarchist Ersilia Cavedagni' and 'The Patacons, a libertarian band in the Prades Mountains' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/gf1xc3
Defeat and Revival : Thoughts on The Weight of the Stars [Book Review] 'The Weight of the Stars is an essential contribution to the history of the anarchist struggle against Francoism.' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/tqjs5z
Everyday Anarchist by Nick Mamatas 'A Life for Anarchy: A Stuart Christie Reader, edited by the Kate Sharpley Library, is an excellent step in cementing Christie’s posthumous reputation, and those of his comrades.' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/280htt
Fighting the “monster of ignorance” [Book review] by Barry Pateman (Review of 'Letterpress Revolution' by Kathy Ferguson): 'This work opens up many paths for militants, researchers and writers to follow in trying understand anarchism and anarchists and their relation to anarchy.' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/51c6xv
Mat Kavanagh: A Tribute by John Hewetson 'Wherever he found himself Mat was always an anarchist. His experience taught him to adhere to the traditional ideas of the movement and his judgment was always sane, well-balanced and expressed with characteristic humour.' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/cvdq4x
Mat Kavanagh [Letter] by Henry Moorhouse 'Mat was the boy to remind them of certain principles which no amount of political opportunism could change or destroy.' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/h9w2qq
Audrey Beecham [letter] by Kevin E 'we were approached by this posh elderly woman who turned out to be Audrey. We were all in our early 20’s at the time, so it seemed unusual, but she was obviously interested and when she talked about her time in Spain we all got on fine.' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/vhhpng

London Anarchist Bookfair 2023

There'll be a KSL stall at the London Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday 7 October 2023. The bookfair is at 'Rich Mix' 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA
Map and other details at https://anarchistbookfair.london/
Don't forget cash and shopping bag (or two)!

August 2023 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 110-111, August 2023 [Double issue] has just been posted on our site. https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/34tp7t The PDF is up at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/j0zr8v
‘Our Cause May Grow The Richer,’ Some thoughts on Billy MacQueen by Barry Pateman. What do 'his scattered writings and publications tell us about him and the anarchist world he was part of'? https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/5tb49z
Remembering Roy Emery. ‘I remember Roy as someone who would stand up for his beliefs’. https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/w0vw8f
‘Not a good look’? Reading Dave Cope on British anarchist publishing history. 'Cope reacts badly to Albert [Meltzer]’s self-declared sectarianism.' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/z8wcn0
Anarchism: Arguments for and against [2023, review] 'It’s good to have this classic back in print.' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/m0chw9
Papers from Saint Louis. 'We have just posted some issues of anarchist newspapers published in Saint Louis (or nearby).' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/ncjvvt
Guillamón and the Nebula. 'We have recently put up two translated articles by Agustín Guillamón which look at affinity groups.' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/3xsknz
To The Miners by Janet Grove 'Away with masters, one and all,… and, workers, we’ll be Free!' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/n02x5f
The day we took the white tower [Price Waterhouse occupation, Glasgow, 1984] by Brian Biggins 'In retrospect, the group felt that the action was relatively successful – not from the narrow view of publicity for the Clydeside Anarchists – but because it was a positive action on behalf of the miners to the ruling class offensive.' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/4xgzxz
Papers and Projects. (Fundación Anselmo Lorenzo / Marie Goldsmith / Past Tense / Stuart Christie / Yiddish anarchist papers / Libcom / Cleveland / MayDay Rooms / Police Spies Out of Lives / The Salish Sea Anarchist Archive) https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/xd2789
Library Notes [July 2023] New subject headings! https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/pvmft6
Join the Professionals: The army of the unemployed. 'The Army doesn’t exist to do you a favour, it’s a force of repression, not a holiday club.' https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/2fr08m

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