In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Emma Goldman

  • Introduction
  • Archival and Documentary Materials
  • Biographical Note
  • On Mother Earth and Related Anarchist Presses
  • Jewish and General Anarchism during Goldman’s Active Years
  • Exile in Russia and Critique of Russian Revolution
  • Beauty and the Arts
  • Emma Goldman’s Women
  • Goldman as an Anarchist Theorist
  • Anarchist Theorists’ Influence on Goldman
  • Spanish Civil War
  • Goldman and the Yiddish Press
  • Goldman’s Anarchist Jewish Ties
  • Feminist Works on Goldman
  • Goldman’s Ongoing Feminist Legacy
  • Goldman’s Feminism and Contemporary Intersectionality
  • Jewish Feminist Interest in Goldman
  • Anarchism and Israel, Zionism

Jewish Studies Emma Goldman
Marla Brettschneider
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 August 2021
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199840731-0216


Both in the United States and internationally, the anarchist Emma Goldman earned a reputation as a prominent Jewish radical feminist. Goldman became a household name at a time when that was extremely rare for a woman. Anarchism and Emma Goldman played a significant role in US politics around the turn into the 20th century, as they were also key for the development of US Jewish life, feminism, and the Left more generally. Like most Jews in the United States, even in her day, Goldman was secular, and also identifiably Jewish culturally. She was concerned about the potential statism of Zionism, but at the time most Jews in the United States and globally, of all political stripes, were similarly not Zionist. She also never hesitated to offer apt critiques of Jews whose politics differed from hers. Identified as “the most dangerous anarchist in America” of her day and a most dangerous woman, she was accused of terrorism for her political ideals and activism in a way that foreshadowed the ensuing century of US elites targeting justice workers by calling them terrorists. More broadly for Jews and Jewish studies, anarchist theory and what that meant for this Jewish feminist activist and thinker are among the best frames for understanding Jewish life without a central authority structure, and particularly in the diasporic context.

Archival and Documentary Materials

Materials on Emma Goldman can be found in various archival forms. A two-volume printed work chronicles approximately twenty years of Goldman’s activism in the United States (see Falk, et al. 2003 and Falk, et al. 2005). These volumes are of critical use to scholars, presenting important documents such as news articles, interviews, lecture notes, court transcripts, and personal correspondence from 1890–1901 and then from 1902–1909. Some materials presented are published here for the first time in English translation, such as Falk, et al. 2003 and Falk, et al. 2005. A helpful guide to Goldman’s documentary sources can be found in Falk, et al. 1995, as well as a guide to Goldman’s papers, which can be found in Falk, et al. 1990. Significant archival collections for the study of Goldman include the Emma Goldman Collection in the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives in New York City and the Emma Goldman Papers, 1869–1940 in the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, California.

  • Emma Goldman Collection. TAM012. Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York.

    Archive comprising personal correspondence, speeches, and published and unpublished writings, as well as the typescript of Emma Goldman Speaks (1970), an unpublished biography by Jeanne Levey.

  • The Emma Goldman Papers, 1869–1940. Institute for International Studies, The Bancroft Library, Berkeley, CA.

    Archive of tens of thousands of documents by and about Emma Goldman. Provides a glimpse into the social and cultural movements of the late-19th- and early-20th-century United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Used to educate the public about the complexities of social and political engagement.

  • Falk, Candace, Stephen Cole, and Sally Thomas, eds. Emma Goldman: A Guide to Her Life and Documentary Sources. Berkeley, CA: University of California, 1995.

    A part of the Berkeley digital library, this guide includes a bibliographical essay and chronology of Goldman’s life, and indexes for correspondence, government documents related to Goldman’s activities, and Goldman’s publications.

  • Falk, Candace, Barry Pateman, and Jessica Moran, eds. Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years. Vol. 1, Made for America, 1890–1901. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.

    Newspaper articles, court transcripts, lecture notes, interviews, and personal correspondence from 1890–1901 are matched with Emma Goldman’s recollections in Living My Life. Frames Goldman’s anarchism within the social, political, and intellectual currents of her time.

  • Falk, Candace, Barry Pateman, and Jessica Moran, eds. Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years. Vol. 2, Making Free Speech, 1902–1909. Berkeley Angeles: University of California Press, 2005.

    Continues thematically from Volume 1 (Falk, et al. 2003). Chronicles Goldman’s developing views on political violence and social reform, as the revolution in Russia gains strength, and includes growing US legal opposition against anarchism and labor organizing. Correlates the development of Goldman’s free speech alliances with the anarchist movement during the time of Goldman’s arrests as well as with the formation of Mother Earth in the years 1902–1909.

  • Falk, Candace, Ronald J. Zboray, and Daniel Cornford, eds. The Emma Goldman Papers: A Microfilm Edition. Berkeley, CA: University of California, 1990.

    Includes personal correspondence; previously unavailable government reports from the United States, the former Soviet Union, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and Canada; as well as published works that were not readily available in book form.

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