No doubt some of you will be aware that the Kate Sharpley Library and Documentation Centre has been in existence for the last eight years. During the course of 1991 the Library was moved from a storage location in London to Northamptonshire, where we are in the process of creating a complete computerised database of the entire collection. At the same time a working group has been created to oversee the running and organisation of the library.
The library itself is made up of private donations from deceased and living comrades, and comprises several thousand pamphlets, books, newspapers, journals, posters, flyers and unpublished manuscripts, monographs, essays etc, in over twenty languages, covering the history of our movement over the last century. It contains detailed reports from the IWA (AIT/IAA), the Anarchist Federation of Great Britain (1945-50), the Syndicalist Workers Federation (1950-79) and Cienfuegos Press business details among others. Newspapers include long runs of Freedom, Spain and the World, War Commentary, Man, Direct Action and Black Flag as well as many others.
We also have a sizeable collection of libertarian socialist and council communist material which we are keen to extend.
We have catalogued 350 English language books and over 500 pamphlets (in English). We are making a start on periodicals and ephemera (then tackling other languages). Within a month or so we will be preparing a catalogue, which will probably be published by ASP.
We have published two pamphlets, now ready: George Cores’ Personal Recollections of the Anarchist Movement and The First Flight: Origins of Anarcho-Syndicalism in Britain, by Albert Meltzer.
In our next issue we shall publish what we need to complete sets; meanwhile keep the books, papers, and posters rolling in. Don’t forget to save court proceedings, etc. What is still lacking are video cassettes. One subscriber mournfully tells us of the theft of all his cassettes - “I wouldn’t mind it I didn’t think the burglars wouldn’t wipe out all the recordings and replace them with John Wayne”. They included:
The TV Angry Brigade and Persons Unknown coverage, the 1986 series on the Spanish Civil War, the two-part Swedish-made TV documentary on the Pinelli-Valpreda case, the Harry Corbett one-person comedy on a Spanish anarchist before the London magistrates, a sentimental drama around the Jubilee Street Anarchist Club, various interviews at different times with Anarchists and other not entirely unsympathetic material, together with reports on the miners, dockers and printers battles with the police. Also (not on British TV so far as we know) there has been “Rebellion in Patagonia”, an Argentina film on the anarchist rising. (We have got a poor-quality recording of this).
There have been lots of anarchist videos and at one time there was a library of them. In fact, two - one at 121 Bookshop and one, less selective, at Housman’s.
Any feed-back? Any chance of getting hold of the above?
Documentation of trials: The purpose of a library and documentation centre such as this is to preserve for another generation of militants yet unborn the contributions and sacrifices you made in your time. Nowhere is there better proof of this than in the records of proceedings in court. The evidence against you, and the statements of the defence, Why should this continue to be lost? Even if you preserve it, your kids may in time throw it away.
TO ENHANCE THE COLLECTION WE APPEAL TO ALL ANARCHIST GROUPS AND PUBLICATIONS WORLDWIDE TO ADD OUR NAME TO THEIR MAILING LISTS.
WE ALSO APPEAL TO ALL COMRADES AND FRIENDS TO DONATE ANY SUITABLE MATERIAL TO THE LIBRARY (including trial documentation).
WE HOPE TO BE OPEN FOR CONSULTATION AND USE IN 1992
KSL was named in honour of Kate Sharpley, a pre-First World War anarchist and anti-war activist. One of the countless “unknown” members of our movement ignored by the “official” historians of anarchism.
In reply to queries:
We can photocopy BF (several others too) at cost price (we will have our own photocopier later) if you can give details, number and/or date, We haven’t yet got down to indexing Black Flag. Therefore looking up (say) ‘what it said about Maxwell” would be impossible at present, we can photocopy (say) No. 190, December 89 - “What Maxwell is up to” or whatever (hope this is plain).
Correspondence for the Bulletin is invited, also anarchist research complementary to that contained In the KSL. The Bulletin will be produced quarterly.
Listings (promised for this Issue) have taken longer than expected. It is hoped that the first listings will appear next Issue (Books: English titles have been catalogued, Spanish are following, the huge amount of pamphlets, periodicals and general archives are in course of classification).
Bulletin subscription: (Home) 2.50 (abroad) 5.00 (including postage) for five issues.
Kate Sharpley Library
c/o BM Hurricane
London W.C.1.N 3XX