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TONGUE OF FIRE

TONGUE
OF FIRE
Emma Goldman,
Public Womanhood,
and the Sex Question

DONNA M. KOWAL
Cover photo courtesy of PhillyHistory.org,
a project of the Philadelphia Department of Records.

Published by State University of New York Press, Albany

© 2016 State University of New York

All rights reserved

Printed in the United States of America

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For information, contact State University of New York Press, Albany, NY


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Production, Jenn Bennett


Marketing, Kate R. Seburyamo

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Kowal, Donna M., 1967-


Tongue of fire : Emma Goldman, public womanhood, and the sex question /
Donna M. Kowal.
pages cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-4384-5973-8 (hardcover : alk. paper) — ISBN 978-1-4384-5975-2
(e-book) 1. Goldman, Emma, 1869–1940. 2. Women anarchists—United States—
Biography. 3. Jewish anarchists—United States—Biography. 4. Feminists—United
States—Biography. 5. Women and socialism. I. Title.
HX843.7.G65K6897 2016
335'.83092—dc23
[B]
2015011073

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
CONTENTS

List of Illustrations vii


Acknowledgments ix
Introduction xi
1 Anarchist Women and the “Sex Question” 1
2 Bodies That Love: Emma Goldman’s Sexual Revolution 25
3 Sex, Labor, and the Public Sphere 53
4 “Tongue of Fire”: A Radical Subjectivity 75
5 Framing “The High Priestess of Anarchy” 97
Conclusion 123
Notes 131
Selected Bibliography 175
Index 193

v
ILLUSTRATIONS

5.1. Emma Goldman cartoon in the Pacific Commercial


Advertiser (Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands), 1901. 99
5.2. Illustration of Emma Goldman in the St. Louis (MO)
Republic, 1901. 103
5.3. Feature story about Emma Goldman by a female reporter
in the Herald Republican (Salt Lake City, UT), 1910. 108
5.4. Illustration of Emma Goldman as a man in the World
(New York), 1893. 110
5.5. Character portrait of Emma Goldman as an alleged
accomplice in the assassination of President William
McKinley in the World (New York), 1901. 117

vii
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I am indebted to my colleagues, family, friends, and countless other


beings for their support, sustained over many years. The foundation
for “Tongue of Fire”: Emma Goldman, Public Womanhood, and the “Sex
Question” was built with my dissertation The Public Advocacy of Emma
Goldman: An Anarcho-Feminist Stance on Human Rights (University of
Pittsburgh, 1996). I am grateful for the mentoring I received from
Lester C. Olson, who served as my dissertation director and encour-
aged my interest in “disorderly” rhetorics. In the years that followed, I
teamed up with Linda Diane Horwitz and Catherine Helen Palcze-
wski to explore the rhetorical styles of anarchist women, a project that
broadened my understanding and appreciation of the social influence
of anarchist-feminism and culminated in “Anarchist Women and the
Feminine Ideal: Sex, Class, and Style in the Rhetoric of Voltairine
de Cleyre, Emma Goldman, and Lucy Parsons,” which appeared in
volume 5 of A Rhetorical History of the United States (Michigan State
University Press, 2008). “Tongue of Fire” expands on some of the argu-
ments made in this essay, while focusing exclusively on Goldman as
the most prominent anarchist-feminist activist in terms of her public
notoriety and access to audiences.
This book and the aforementioned works would not have been
possible without the extensive documentation of Goldman’s speeches,
writings, and correspondence made available by The Emma Goldman
Papers microfilm collection (Chadwyck-Healey, 1991) and digital
library exhibition (University of California, Berkeley, 1995–2014),

ix
x ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

under the direction of Candace Falk; the Joseph A. Labadie Collection


curated by Julie Herrada (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor); and the
International Institute of Social History’s digital collection of Emma
Goldman Papers. Additionally, the Library of Congress website Chroni-
cling America: Historic American Newspapers is a wonderful resource that
enabled me to research how the press covered Goldman’s activism.
My colleagues in The College at Brockport’s Department of Com-
munication and Honors College have provided much encouragement
and support over the years. I am also grateful for the financial sup-
port I have received, particularly sabbatical leaves and scholarly incen-
tive grants. In the early stages of planning the manuscript, I benefited
greatly from the feedback and inspiration of fellow participants in the
feminist rhetorics writing workshop led by Karlyn Kohrs Campbell
and sponsored by Syracuse University’s Feminist Research Network
Forum in 2008. Likewise, I wish to thank SUNY Press Acquisitions
Editor, Amanda-Lanne Camilli, for her enthusiasm for this project,
along with the support of the Production Editor, Jenn Bennett, and
the Marketing Editor, Kate R. Seburyamo. The anonymous reviewers
of the manuscript provided me with invaluable suggestions for revi-
sion, especially “reviewer C” who encouraged me to extend the impli-
cations of my analysis. I am also grateful to Mary McCrank, former
student turned colleague and friend, who helped me prepare the final
manuscript.
Lastly, I am indebted to family members and friends—near and
far—who have provided me with ceaseless support and camaraderie.
Most of all, I am grateful for Tom, whose loving support and fun sense
of humor made it possible for me to bring this project to completion.
INTRODUCTION

I have decided to take up the fight here and to fight it out to the
end. I do not want to go to prison. I want to walk under the sky,
under the stars—but not the stars and stripes—but prison or no
prison, I will not be silenced.
—Emma Goldman, “Free Speech Strangled,”
Free Society, April 21, 1901

O n December 21, 1919, Emma Goldman stepped on to the SS


Buford, also known as “the Soviet Ark” and “a Christmas present”
for Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. She was one of three women
deported to Russia that day.1 The 249 passengers were deemed to be
undesirable aliens who posed an imminent threat to the United States
government—many were subject to anti-communism raids conducted
in New York City and other urban centers, authorized by the US
Department of Justice in the context of mounting hysteria over the
Bolshevik Revolution. The New York Tribune dramatically portrayed
the ship’s departure from Ellis Island, noting “the voices of the mem-
bers of the ‘Red’ colony raised in song. They were singing ‘The Inter-
nationale.’”2 Although Goldman’s thirty-year career as the voice of
American anarchism had come to a close with the departure of the
Buford, her ideas about living, working, and loving in freedom con-
tinue to resonate, especially for women. Indeed, as problems such as
pay equity, pregnancy discrimination, marriage equality, and access to
contraception, abortion, and sex education continue to get argued out
in the public arena, Goldman’s sexual politics has enduring relevance
to twenty-first century gender struggles.

xi
xii INTRODUCTION

Prior to the second wave of feminism, the notion that a woman


could be a sexual agent and be in control of her own body—that is,
seek sexual pleasure and make reproductive choices—was an excep-
tion to the norm. Furthermore, it was a violation of feminine docility
for a woman to speak from a podium to a “promiscuous audience” 3 of
women and men, let alone speak about sex in public. Yet, the associa-
tion of second-wave feminism with advances in sexual freedom—and
likewise the first wave with political enfranchisement and the third
wave with identity politics and transnational action—ignores the
“frequencies” or “radio waves” that have oscillated across centuries of
women’s movement activism, argues Nancy A. Hewitt (2012).4 Indeed,
if we employ the conventional narrative of feminism as a series of
waves, it quickly becomes apparent that Goldman’s anarchist-feminist
discourse has rippled across time. While suffrage activists who viewed
obtaining the right to vote as a benchmark for equality were among
Goldman’s first-wave contemporaries, her ideas are often understood
to be more aligned with the goals of second-wave feminism because
she rejected the notion that suffrage would liberate women, instead
calling upon women (and men) to realize emancipation by exercising
individual autonomy. Additionally, the emphasis she placed on sexual
pleasure and her critique of the binary construct of gender dovetail
with third-wave feminism, particularly its focus on sex positivity and
the problematization of identity. Even recent post-feminist arguments
for replacing collective action with individual action can be linked to
Goldman’s human rights advocacy and call for radical individualism.5
A woman “who prefers hell to heaven,”6 “an apostle of discord
and dynamite,”7 “a nuisance to society,”8 “the High Priestess of Anar-
chy”9—these are just a few of the many vivid characterizations of
Goldman, a Russian-Jewish woman who immigrated to America in
1885 and launched her career as an anarchist agitator from the bohe-
mian enclaves of New York City. Few public figures in early twentieth-
century America have evoked as much danger and stirred as much
controversy as “Red Emma.” She urged audiences, primarily comprised
of working-class immigrants and middle-class urban intellectuals, to
resist systemic oppression—legal, moral, social, political, and eco-
nomic—and especially gender/sex inequality. In addition to delivering
speeches on lecture tours across the United States and abroad and
prior to her deportation to Russia, she published the influential radical
journal Mother Earth (1906–1917) and two books: Anarchism and Other
INTRODUCTION xiii

Essays (1910), a collection of her lectures and writings, and The Social
Significance of the Modern Drama (1914), a commentary on the politi-
cal ideas of modern playwrights. After her deportation, she published
three additional books: My Disillusionment in Russia (1923), My Fur-
ther Disillusionment in Russia (1924), and a 2-volume autobiography
titled Living My Life (1931). The subjects of her speeches and writings
ranged broadly from arguments about free love, marriage, birth control,
sex trafficking, and suffrage to critiques of government, capitalism, cen-
sorship, morality, and war. No matter the subject, the trajectory of her
discourse was aimed at creating a society where all individuals could
think and act freely and creatively—with social unity being a product
of voluntary engagement in communal affairs rather than prescribed
by authoritative structures.
For Goldman, anarchism and feminism were interconnected modes
of thinking and acting in the world. As an anarchist, she considered
human oppression to be derived from both property relationships and
the “demons” inside our minds, and concluded that the realization
of individual autonomy was the only way to achieve liberation from
these oppressive forces. As a feminist, she challenged gender/sex norms
through both words and actions, violating the norms of acceptable
public behavior for women without concern for her reputation. The
emancipated woman (and man) resisted moral authority, compulsory
marriage and motherhood, and sexual double standards. Celebrat-
ing uninhibited autonomy and sexual freedom, Goldman understood
birth control as both an economic and personal imperative for women.
Whether it was her romantic relationships outside of marriage or her
rousing public speeches and writings that sometimes landed her in
prison, she aspired to conduct her life in a way that stayed true to her
ideals.
Although there certainly were many other radical women in Amer-
ican history who exposed the deeply rooted causes of social inequal-
ity and sought to live their lives according to their ideals, I submit
that the example of Goldman is especially cogent because her public
notoriety as the “Most Dangerous Woman in the World” enabled her
to challenge the prevailing norms of womanhood as well as the very
constitution of “public” and “private” spheres of discourse. Indeed, her
unprecedented access to audiences, which included sustained press cov-
erage, helped popularize the “New Woman”—a term that was used to
describe modern women who were actively resisting gender/sex norms
xiv INTRODUCTION

and seeking economic independence. While there has been consider-


able scholarly interest in Goldman, there currently is no book-length
rhetorical analysis of her discourse within the context of emerging
ideas about the New Woman. The purpose of this analysis, then, is to
explore the ways in which her public advocacy contributed to a shift
(or, more precisely, a return) of power over women’s bodies from the
masculine medical and political establishments to women and a shift
from the construction of women as objects of men’s sexual desire to
women as agents of sexual pleasure. The importance of casting women
as sexual agents cannot be understated as this enabled women to con-
sider motherhood and their relegation to the private sphere as a choice,
thereby anticipating the possibility of their participation in public life.
Goldman’s remarkable life and progressive ideas about freedom
have been studied extensively. Much of the prior research takes the
form of biographies and histories that document both her activism
and personal life within the context of American radicalism.10 Fewer
studies critically examine her anarchist-feminist ideas, argumentation,
and rhetorical influence.11 I draw from this body of literature about
Goldman, along with histories of labor and women’s movement activ-
ism throughout this book. For the purpose of explaining my line of
inquiry, however, I think it is important to recognize that, in the main,
the literature about Goldman leaves readers with a bifurcated image.
Goldman is at once an iconic figure who symbolizes the spirit of
rebellion and provides a role model for contemporary liberal femi-
nism; and she is a problematic figure whose utopian ideals and vitri-
olic discourse failed to sway audiences and whose contradictory public
and private life undermined her legitimacy as an exemplar feminist
thinker.12 As an icon, she has been called “an unmovable visionary” by
Alix Kates Shulman (1972),13 “an archetype rebel” by Richard Drinnon
(1973),14 and the “apotheosis” of free love by Ann Snitow, Christine
Stansell, and Sharon Thompson (1983).15 Reflecting on Goldman’s
achievements, Candace Falk (1984) writes, “In a sexually repressive
era, Emma dared to speak about intimacy in a political context” and
“inspired thousands of people throughout the world to feel powerful
in their personal lives.”16 Linda Gordon (2002) observes that, “More
than any other person, she fused into a single ideology the many cur-
rents that mingled in American sex radicalism” and “exerted substan-
tial influence on other radicals as a role model and a practitioner of
the New Morality.”17 In her analysis of Goldman’s contributions to
INTRODUCTION xv

political theory, Kathy E. Ferguson (2011) characterizes her as “a public


intellectual” whose ideas were grounded in the “situated, event-based,
and concrete” realities of political revolution.18 Bumper stickers, but-
tons, T-shirts, and posters with the phrase, “If I can’t dance, I don’t
want to be part of your revolution”—a phrase attributed to Goldman,
although by no means a direct quotation19—further memorialize her
as a luminary figure. Contrariwise, Martha Solomon’s (1988) analysis
of Goldman’s rhetoric concludes that she failed to offer solutions to
the social problems she diagnosed and characterizes her as “a flamboy-
ant and unattractive rhetorical persona” whose radical and “unoriginal”
ideas were unappealing to audiences.20 Vivan Gornick (2011) sub-
mits, “Emma Goldman was not a thinker, she was an incarnation. It
was not her gift for theory or analysis or even strategy that made her
memorable.”21 Challenging the perception that Goldman is a feminist
role model, Marian J. Morton (1992) questions the progressiveness of
Goldman’s definition of womanhood as “not unlike the suffragists”22 in
terms of her extolls of the “mother instinct,” while Dale Spender (1983)
criticizes her for offering “no indictment of male power in general and
no criticism of males in particular (emphasis original).”23 Exploring
the incongruity between Goldman’s public and private persona, Alice
Wexler (1984) documents the psychological dimension of her subor-
dination to Ben Reitman, the lover with whom she had a turbulent
long-term relationship.24 Lastly, in an analysis of her political ideas,
Bonnie Haaland (1993) defines Goldman’s anarchist-feminism as
“essentialist,” concluding that she “constructed an unambiguous view
of sexuality that was gender-bound, male-centred, phallocentric, and
heterosexual.”25
There is more than one way to read Goldman and contextualize
her ideas; and whether it yields a positive or negative assessment or
some combination thereof, every reading inevitably has its merits and
limitations. Goldman herself attempted to manage public memory by
writing an autobiography, a process that involves its own selective read-
ing and biases. Reflecting on the diverging views, Penny A. Weiss and
Loretta Kensinger, in their introduction to Feminist Interpretations of
Emma Goldman (2007)—a collection of new and reprinted essays about
Goldman’s contributions to feminism—conclude that new critiques
are needed to rethink and carefully contextualize her discourse.26 As a
scholar of feminist rhetoric and social movements, I am most interested
in the relationship of Goldman’s gender/sex politics to the history of
xvi INTRODUCTION

ideas about sexual freedom and women’s liberation. Accordingly, in this


book I explore how Goldman, beyond being an anarchist agitator, posi-
tioned herself as a philosopher of gender/sex who recognized women’s
bodies as a focal point of sociopolitical struggle. This book expands on
prior scholarship in three ways: first, by providing a rhetorical analysis
of Goldman’s anarchist-feminist discourse and representations of her
persona in the popular press; second, by taking into consideration both
her published writings on gender and sexuality and archival materials,
the latter of which gives some insight into the breadth of her ideas
about gender/sex; and, third, by locating her anarchist-feminist argu-
ments narrowly within the context of the shifting social geography of
gender/sex at the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century. The
purpose of this study is not to resolve the aforementioned bifurcated
image of her legacy—although it does contribute to that ongoing con-
versation—but rather to understand more fully the way in which her
ideas are situated and iterated in the context of gender/sex politics. My
use of the term “gender/sex” is intended to call attention to the way
both gender and sex differences are shaped by cultural norms. In Bodies
That Matter (1993), Judith Butler argues that the binaries of feminine/
masculine and gender/sex are culturally inscribed through the linguistic
framing of bodies.27
As the earliest example of anarchist-feminist discourse disseminated
widely across the United States as well as abroad, the ideas of Goldman
are well documented across a long activist career. There is an abundance
of archival materials available in The Emma Goldman Papers microfilm
(Chadwyck-Healey, 1991) and digital exhibition (University of Califor-
nia, Berkeley, 1995–2014), the Joseph A. Labadie Collection (University
of Michigan, Ann Arbor), and the International Institute of Social His-
tory’s Emma Goldman Papers digitized archive. The archival materials in
the form of drafts and fragments—which were probably prepared by
Goldman’s secretary—likely represent unpolished works in progress
or notes written late in Goldman’s career. Although these documents
include awkward language, misspelled words, and hand-written edits
to the typescript, I have attempted to preserve the original text. I have
found that the ideas expressed in these documents are both consistent
with and add clarity to her earlier published writings. For example, on
the one hand, the fragmented writings archived under the titles “The
Element of Sex in Life” (n.d.)28 and “Sexual Instinct and Creativity”
(n.d.)29 reinforce arguments that appear in “The Tragedy of Woman’s
INTRODUCTION xvii

Emancipation” and “Marriage and Love,” which appear in Anarchism


and Other Essays (1910). On the other hand, the archival materials add
clarity to her arguments about sexual freedom and desire, as well as her
thoughts about emerging theories on the psychology of sexual desire
beyond the Anarchism and Other Essays collection. Likewise, Goldman’s
letters to comrades, colleagues, and friends provide a rich context for
interpreting her arguments. On the matter of same-sex relationships,
for example, in a 1923 letter addressed to German sexologist Magnus
Hirschfeld in defense of French anarchist Louise Michel, Goldman
disputes stereotypes of homosexuality and sexual stereotypes in general,
while defining gender as encompassing a “whole gamut of sex”30—
ideas that are not so clearly articulated in her published essays, which
focus on heterosexual relationships. Lastly, in order to investigate Gold-
man’s public persona and the public response to her ideas about gender
and sexuality, I researched the extensive press coverage of her highly
publicized career using the Chronicling America digitized collection of
newspapers, along with government-issued investigative reports on her
political activities in the United States included in The Emma Goldman
Papers microfilm collection.
Woven throughout this study is literature on public and coun-
terpublic sphere theory and gender/sex performativity. Contemporary
public and counterpublic sphere theory examines constructs and uses
of discursive space as they relate to relationships of power between and
among subaltern groups and state apparatuses. “Any organized attempt
to transform gender or sexuality is a public questioning of private life,”
writes Michael Warner in Public and Counterpublics (2002), “and thus
the critical study of gender and sexuality entails a problem of public
and private in its own practice.”31 The concept of gender/sex perfor-
mativity, introduced by Butler in her germinal work Gender Trouble
(1990),32 provides a useful framework for examining the reiteration,
mediation, and disruption of regulatory norms as they are manifested
in corporeal behavior and shaped by the perceived division between
public and private spheres. Rejecting unifying constructs, the notion
of a performativity enables one to recognize the ways in which gen-
der/sex is “multiplicative”33—that is, enmeshed with class, ethnicity,
race, and so forth. Because women’s labor in early twentieth-century
America encompassed domestic and industrial work, Goldman sought
to draw attention to the ways in which capitalism sustained relations of
power in the private and public lives of both economically privileged and
xviii INTRODUCTION

working-class women. In order to situate Goldman’s ideas, I consider


the prevailing sociopolitical conditions for women, especially labor
practices, the commodification and regulation of sex and reproduc-
tion, and the culture of urban working-class women.
This book begins with an examination of Goldman’s activism in the
context of an American anarchist-feminist counterpublic that included
women from diverse milieus in terms of economic class and social
environment. Chapter 1, “Anarchist Women and the ‘Sex Question,’”
considers Goldman’s approach to anarchist-feminism alongside four of
her contemporaries: Kate Cooper Austin, Voltairine de Cleyre, Flor-
ence Finch Kelly, and Lucy Parsons. It also establishes three central
ideas that recur in anarchist-feminist discourse: the liberating potential
of exercising individual autonomy, the centrality of sexual freedom in
achieving a free society, and the placement of women’s liberation within
a larger framework of human liberation. The anarchist-feminist argu-
ment for achieving individual autonomy and sexual freedom was both
philosophy and praxis as it defined the emerging New Woman in ways
that contrasted with the views of suffrage activists and other reformers,
as well as anarchist men.
Directing attention more narrowly to Goldman’s discourse, chapter
2, “Bodies That Love: Emma Goldman’s Sexual Revolution,” places her
arguments within the context of the politics of sex and the female body
at the turn of the century, which upheld the privatization of sexuality
and the masculine regulation of female bodies through the medical
establishment and social purity movement. In addition to exploring
the scope of Goldman’s thinking on sexual agency (free love and free
motherhood) and sexual danger (unwanted pregnancy, venereal disease,
prostitution, sexual violence, jealousy), this chapter presents her as an
early advocate for the rights of homosexuals and the normalization of
same-sex relationships.
Goldman’s arguments for sexual revolution, I submit, are best
understood within the context of the gendered division of public and
private spheres at the turn of the century. Chapter 3, “Sex, Labor,
and the Public Sphere,” therefore examines Goldman’s construct of
womanhood in light of the gendered division of labor—men’s work
(public, paid labor) and women’s work (private, unpaid domestic duty).
By addressing labor in both the public and private spheres and the
perceived sexual misconduct of public women, this chapter reflects on
how Goldman’s public advocacy contributed to what would become
INTRODUCTION xix

decades of deliberation about the value and scope of women’s work


and a feminist consciousness that linked the personal to the political.
Shifting attention to Goldman’s rhetorical persona and style, chap-
ter 4, “‘Tongue of Fire’: A Radical Subjectivity,” examines the corporeal
nature of Goldman’s provocative discourse. Stylistically, in contrast to
that of middle-class suffrage activists, her discourse was distinguished
by its agitative and authoritative tone, use of analogies, metaphors and
expert testimony, deductive reasoning, and the negotiation of gender
norms—for example, idealizing motherhood while rejecting it as the
pillar of womanhood. Defining identity as intersectional and rooted
in lived experience, this chapter also explores the connection between
Goldman’s rhetorical style and her experiences as a Russian-Jewish
immigrant woman of the working class. I argue that the example of
Goldman’s “anarcho-feminine rhetorical style” broadens our under-
standing of the varied ways that female public speakers at the turn of
the century negotiated and disrupted social norms.
As Goldman sought to popularize her radical ideas about freedom,
she was vilified by the press and trailed by law enforcement for most
of her adult life. “Framing ‘The High Priestess of Anarchy,’” chapter 5,
examines media representations of her travels, speaking events, mul-
tiple lovers, and repeated arrests and trials—subjects of great interest
to Americans of all walks of life, whose consumption of news intensi-
fied with the advancement of tabloid-style journalism. By documenting
how the tabloid-style press exaggerated her capacity to foment trouble
and portrayed graphic depictions of her “disorderly body,” this chapter
explains why Goldman was forced to shift her message at the climax of
her career from advocating anarchism to defending her right to speak
in public.
Although Goldman did not have access to the terminologies that
feminists use today, her construct and example of womanhood antici-
pated contemporary debates over women’s public and private life and
work, as well as the evolving politics of identity within feminist discourse.
The anarchist-feminist model of womanhood envisioned by Goldman
attempted to negotiate the tensions between sameness and difference,
the individual and the collective, and the biological and the social, all the
while insisting that women could and should be bold, creative, intel-
ligent, and openly sexual in public. Accordingly, in the conclusion, I
reflect on the implications of her ideas for contemporary feminism as
well as for the transformation of public discourse.
1
Anarchist Women and
the “Sex Question”

The question of souls is old—we demand our bodies, now. We


are tired of promises, God is deaf, and his church is our worst
enemy.
—Voltairine de Cleyre, “Sex Slavery,” 1890

I demand the independence of woman; her right to support


herself; to live for herself; to love whomever she pleases, or as
many as she pleases. I demand freedom for both sexes, freedom
of action, freedom in love and freedom in motherhood.
—Emma Goldman, “Marriage,” 1897

“T he Sex Question,” also known as “The Woman Question,”


implies a sense of epistemic uncertainty about the nature of
womanhood, or the “proper” place of women in society. Introduced in
Europe and debated throughout late nineteenth- and early twentieth-
century America, the question was part of an international dialogue in
response to the social unrest that was evident among a growing num-
ber of women who began to challenge the notion that their sphere of
influence was “naturally” limited to the roles of sweetheart, wife, and
mother. Far from being singular in focus, the sex question pointed to
an array of questions about whether (or to what extent) the bodies
women occupy should delineate their rights and participation in public
life, including questions about voting rights, access to higher education
and professional employment, and the freedom to make choices about
interpersonal relationships, marriage, and childbirth independently
of the influence of men. Embedded within a dialectical discourse of
1
2 TONGUE OF FIRE

femininity and masculinity, these debates, in turn, reinforced the nature


of manhood and masculine roles. Of course, the prevailing definition
of manhood was perceived to be that which women were not: rational,
intellectual, independent, capable of fulfilling civic duties, productive
in supporting the family and society, sexually dominant, and physically
powerful.
Questions about women’s sphere of influence were a product of
the consciousness-raising efforts of the early women’s movement both
in the United States and abroad. These questions were further shaped
by responses to Charles Darwin’s arguments on human evolution and
natural selection in The Origin of Species (1859) and John Stuart Mill’s
rejection of social and legal inequality in The Subjection of Women (1869).
Darwin’s controversial book fueled disputes that centered on the phil-
osophical tensions among social, biological, and divine determinism,
while Mill’s essay attacked the notion that women are naturally inferior
to men. Are femininity and masculinity based on innate and biologi-
cal traits or are they products of socialization and environment? Is the
basic family structure in the form of a father and mother with children
natural and divined by God or is it socially constructed (and therefore
subject to change)? Is it possible and appropriate for a woman to make
a contribution to society beyond her natural and God-given role as
mother and wife? Could a woman receive an education equivalent to
that of a man, participate in civic affairs, and live independently of a
male authority figure? Would such behaviors violate what was seen
as the natural place of women in the home and in the church? These
were among the sex questions that were debated at the turn of the
century by suffragists, progressives, scientists, Christians, and others;
however, anarchist women took these debates even further by focusing
literally on sex—that is, sex as a bodily pleasure and mode of human
expression—and by questioning the binary opposition of “woman” and
“man,” “feminine” and “masculine.” Questions about enfranchisement
and access to participation in public institutions were, after all, irrel-
evant for anarchists, who understood the political and economic sys-
tem to be inherently corrupt. Anarchists largely rejected all forms of
institutionalized power.
Anarchist women asked questions that were broad in scope and
transcended any proposals for social and legal reform. They aimed to
realize individual and collective freedom beyond rights and privileges
sanctioned by the power of the state. What does it mean to be truly
free? What role do human relationships play in aspiring toward a
ANARCHIST WOMEN AND THE “SEX QUESTION” 3

free society? How do biological and social aspects of human beings


influence interpersonal relationships? What is the role of sexuality in
achieving fulfilling relationships? What are the possible ways in which
sexual fulfillment can be achieved? What are the connections between
economic freedom, sexual freedom, and individual self-realization? Can
women have a home and a family and still be free? What knowledge
and resources do women need to care for their own bodies and make
decisions about sex and reproduction? What social and economic con-
ditions are necessary in order for both women and men to achieve
equality, freedom, and self-realization? These are the sex questions that
were raised by Emma Goldman and her contemporaries; and they are
questions that continue to be asked today as evidenced in a variety of
twentieth- and twenty-first century debates that center on equality
and sexuality, including issues such as equal pay in the work place,
access to birth control and abortion, availability of parental leave, the
freedom for adults to engage in sexual intercourse without state intru-
sion, and the freedom to engage in same-sex relationships and receive
equal recognition of domestic partnerships and marriages. Whether
within the context of the nineteenth-century cult of female domes-
ticity or present-day patriarchal hegemony, the persistent questioning
of gender equality and sexual freedom reveals how the constitutive
discourses of propriety and power concerning women’s bodies have
adapted to the historically specific needs of economic and political
spheres of influence.
In this chapter, I examine how a collective of female anarchists at
the turn of the century interrogated the sex question.1 Although the
two terms were employed interchangeably, I use the term “sex question”
instead of “woman question” because when anarchist women addressed
sexual freedom and women’s liberation, they called attention to how
women’s power over their own bodies was at stake. Utilizing the spoken
and written word as well as acts of protest to disseminate their ideas,
anarchist women threatened the gendered separation of spheres by their
critiques of economic privilege, labor exploitation, and feminine gentil-
ity and piety. Among anarchist-feminist activists, Goldman enjoyed the
greatest access to audiences. During her career in the United States,
which spanned from 1889, the year she moved to New York City, to
1919, the year she was deported, she spoke to large audiences in lecture
halls and public squares across the country; and on at least one occa-
sion she even spoke from a pulpit. As an immigrant, Goldman spoke
English as a second language. She delivered some of her early lectures
4 TONGUE OF FIRE

in Russian, German, and Yiddish, and in later years she was able to
speak in Italian and French. Some of her lectures were free, while oth-
ers required an admission charge of about twenty-five cents. Smaller,
impromptu audiences occasionally formed around her in saloons. She
primarily addressed “promiscuous audiences”2—that is, crowds consist-
ing of both men and women—with the goal of promoting anarchism
to the masses, although occasionally she sought female-only audiences
for select topics such as birth control. As she developed into a national
public figure, her audience widened to artists interested in exploring
unconventional forms of self-expression3 and spectacle-seekers who
wanted to see in person this “High Priestess of Anarchy.” Government
reports and newspaper articles indicate that it was not unusual for
Goldman to draw a crowd of five hundred to eight hundred people to
hear her speak. Chapter 5 thus examines the media sensationalism of
this avowedly public woman, touted by tabloid-style newspapers across
the country as “Red Emma, Queen of Anarchists.” Goldman’s promi-
nence among anarchists, writes Margaret Marsh, is largely due to “her
wide-ranging propaganda efforts that reached well beyond the confines
of the anarchist movement.4 And her popular appeal is especially note-
worthy in the context of a male-dominated movement.
Anarchist women led unconventional lifestyles that signaled the
rise of an economically and sexually independent “New Woman.”
Anarchist women rejected institutionalized authority in all its forms;
and their philosophical ideas and rhetorical practices, which were not
uniformly shared, led to the formation of a radical counterpublic that
was situated in opposition to not only the public, as an extension of
the state, but reformers and radicals who were not willing to go as
far in attacking the root causes of oppression. In this analysis of the
contributions of Goldman, a central figure of the anarchist-feminist
counterpublic, it is crucial to begin by understanding the sociopolitical
context in which some women were drawn to anarchism as the only
viable solution to the conditions of capitalism.

EMERGENCE OF AN ANARCHIST-FEMINIST
COUNTERPUBLIC

For over two decades, theories about the nature of the public sphere
have been analyzed, challenged, and amended, especially in response to
ANARCHIST WOMEN AND THE “SEX QUESTION” 5

Jürgen Habermas’s (1989) influential theory in which he distinguishes


the public as a space that “mediat[es] between state and society, a sphere
in which the public as the vehicle of opinion is formed.”5 The constitu-
tion of the public realm has historically been understood to be shaped
by the gender dichotomy that associates public affairs with masculinity
(deliberating with the rational mind) and private matters with femi-
ninity, and, in particular, domesticity and reproduction (engaging the
emotions and the body).6 In this regard, Judith Butler and Elizabeth
Weed (2011) write, “gender is operating to help in the very definition
and historical production of major dimensions of social and political
life, including labor, class, politics, and rights.”7 The perceived division
of these two discrete spheres is thus complicated by the “interweav-
ing of gender, labor, and publicness.”8 Employing a singular construct
of the public (and by implication the private sphere) has ideological
implications that risk the exclusion of women and marginalized groups
and the issues that matter to them in gaining a public hearing. Indeed,
women of all classes and ethnicities, working-class people, people of
color, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people share in a his-
tory of exclusion from Habermas’s bourgeois public. As an alternative,
Michael Warner (2002) conceptualizes a three-part construction of
the public as a “social totality,” a “concrete audience, a crowd witness-
ing itself in visible space,” and as a “self-creating and self-organized”
relationship among strangers.9 Additionally, Warner, along with Rita
Felski (1989) and Nancy Fraser (1992), among others, has argued for
the necessity of recognizing a plurality of publics, and, most notably,
counterpublics that exist as sites of oppositional discourse.10
A counterpublic is a discursive (and sometimes physical) sphere of
social influence that is generated by the collective speech and action
of a subaltern group. Counterpublics are not fixed, discrete entities but
rather they have borders that shift and overlap with one another as
well as with the dominant public sphere. Subaltern counterpublics, as
defined by Fraser, function as “parallel discursive arenas where members
of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counterdiscourse to
formulate oppositional interpretations of their identities, interests, and
needs.”11 Furthermore, as Robert Asen and Daniel C. Brouwer (2001)
contend, “Counterpublic spheres voice oppositional needs and values
not by appealing to the universality of the bourgeois public but by
affirming specificity of race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or some other
axis of difference.”12 Therefore, whereas Habermas’s bourgeois public
6 TONGUE OF FIRE

brings together private individuals to engage in rational dialogue on


public issues, thereby excluding private or domestic matters such as
intimate relationships and family, counterpublics provide a space to
deliberate openly about gender, sexuality, and other private affairs—and
they may do so in a way that is not necessarily rational nor in service to
hegemonic notions of the public good. The early anarchist movement
in the United States was a dynamic “bodily habitus” that intersected
multiple publics through the participation of women and men, immi-
grants, laborers, intellectuals, progressives, and radicals.13 The anarchist-
feminist counterpublic was formed through the experiences of radical
women whose interests were not adequately supported or represented
by their male comrades.
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the
exclusion of women from public affairs was evidenced in the discourses
of legal, political, economic, social, and religious institutions.14 Politi-
cal disenfranchisement prevented women from influencing the policies
that affected their quality of life, and economic disenfranchisement in
some states prohibited them from owning property, controlling wages,
and forming business contracts. Social and religious norms delimited
women’s influence principally to the private sphere and obliged them
to carry out domestic duties “appropriate” to their sex by demonstrating
the virtuous qualities of piety and submissiveness—especially in the case
of white, middle-class women who were not expected to work outside
the home and contribute to household earnings.15 Poor women, who
had no choice but to work in factories, farms, mills, and manufacturing
plants—performing cheap labor in unregulated industries in order to
sustain themselves and their families—could not possibly embody the
nineteenth-century ideals of “true womanhood,” which continued to
be embraced well into the twentieth century.16 The women who were
drawn to anarchism emerged from varying socioeconomic backgrounds
that included middle-class professionals (e.g., teachers, journalists, and
other educated women) and “bold sexual experimenters,”17 in addition
to working-class laborers and immigrants.
Articulated through the activism of an eclectic mix of women,
the anarchist-feminist counterpublic was alienated from other politi-
cal entities, as well as from anarchist men. Rejecting the authority of
the state and relationships of power of all kinds, they opposed orga-
nized public bodies in favor of the free association and cooperation
of individuals. This does not mean they sought to radically privatize
ANARCHIST WOMEN AND THE “SEX QUESTION” 7

society, but rather they believed that “public goods” would be satisfied
by the agency of individuals mutually supporting each other, not by
institutions. Accordingly, anarchist women positioned themselves in
conflict with reformers who accepted the existing hierarchy but sought
to change it from within. For example, they critiqued the women’s
suffrage movement for its failure to address the root causes of sexual
inequality—namely, institutionalized authority and thought. Anarchist
women’s interpretation of social inequality was also notably different
from that of male anarchists, whose public advocacy tended to overlook
gender-based forms of oppression. As free-love advocates, anarchist
women “evoked radical notions of the possible by challenging their
audiences to consider ‘woman’ as a transitional construct,” writes Kate
Zittlow Rogness (2012).18 Furthermore, in the process of speaking
and writing in public forums about sexual freedom, anarchist women
embodied a sense of women’s agency and identity that pushed the
boundaries of what is speakable in public. As precursors to the second
wave of feminism, they theorized the personal as central to the struggle
for an equal and free society.
Because anarchist women emerged from and identified with diverse
socioeconomic and ethnic experiences, they differed from one another
in the way they envisioned anarchist solutions to inequality and injus-
tice—and, as provocateurs of anarchy, they did not hesitate to critique
one another’s arguments and contributions to the anarchist cause as
they vied for the attention of audiences and readers. Yet, despite any
competing interests and differences in philosophy, they were willing to
support one another in times of need, if only on behalf of the greater
cause of anarchism. On some occasions, they also were willing to lend
their support to socialists, communists, and other radical non-anarchist
groups—for example, to defend freedom of speech or support striking
workers. They also found common inspiration in the “martyrs” of Chi-
cago’s Haymarket Square tragedy of 1886. Their political conscience
was awakened by eight anarchist men who were convicted (and four
of whom were executed), for a bombing incident during a labor dem-
onstration in the square—despite the lack of an identifiable culprit.19
In what follows, I offer the following brief survey of the contri-
butions of five anarchist women—Kate Cooper Austin, Voltairine de
Cleyre, Florence Finch Kelly, Lucy Parsons, and Emma Goldman—in
order to illustrate some of the areas of difference and commonality
that formed the anarchist-feminist counterpublic. This overview also
8 TONGUE OF FIRE

serves the purpose of momentarily decentralizing Goldman, who has


received the most attention from scholars, no doubt because of her
prolific career as a speaker and writer and her public notoriety as “Red
Emma.” Indeed, it is important to acknowledge that the emergence of
anarchist-feminism in America involved the activism of a diverse col-
lective of radical women.20
One of the lesser-known anarchist women, Kate Cooper Austin
(1864–1902), lived and worked on a farm in Hook’s Point, Iowa. Raised
by a family that practiced Universalism, spiritualism, and free thought,
writes Howard S. Miller (1996), “Austin was a product of this contrary,
rural America, where populist experience crossbred with left-wing
European social theory.”21 According to her obituary, Austin was first
exposed to anarchism when “a stray copy of Moses Harman’s Lucifer
fell in her hand. It was a ray of light, for the paper touched on ques-
tions that had already revolved in her mind, demanding solution.”22
She married a like-minded husband and together they raised five chil-
dren and managed a buttery and household in which the conventional
gender/sex division of labor was not practiced—the time and physical
demands of farm work required cooperative effort. An avid reader of
radical journals, she eventually turned to writing and publishing her
own articles and letters on sexual freedom, the ills of capitalism, and
the worker’s revolution. Her writings appeared in various periodicals
from the 1890s through early 1900s, including Lucifer, Discontent, The
Firebrand, and The Demonstrator. She carried out her anarchist activism
through the written word rather than speechmaking because she was
committed to being with her family and tending to her farm. Aus-
tin’s philosophy of anarchism centered on individual autonomy, mutual
cooperation, and free love, and she believed both individual and collec-
tive acts of rebellion were necessary to bring about a free society. She
developed a close friendship with Goldman, who shared many of her
views and occasionally visited her farm. Austin was at the height of her
activism, writing articles on a weekly basis, when she died tragically of
consumption, also known as tuberculosis, at the age of thirty-eight.23
Voltairine de Cleyre (1866–1912) grew up in the rural town of
Leslie, Michigan, and was placed in a Catholic convent at an early age
because of her family’s economic hardship. Poverty and the restric-
tive nature of convent life were among the catalysts that led her to
anarchism, feminism, and atheism. Catherine H. Palczewski’s (1995)
analysis of de Cleyre’s anarchist-feminism demonstrates how de Cleyre
ANARCHIST WOMEN AND THE “SEX QUESTION” 9

developed a nuanced critique of sexuality through her rejection of male


privilege and masculine norms, in addition to compulsory marriage
and feminine purity.24 De Cleyre’s political philosophy centered on
the sovereignty of the individual in all aspects of life, and therefore she
embraced the concept of personal-property ownership—a view that
contrasted with Goldman’s communistic approach to anarchism, which
rejected private ownership as a form of power. In a speech delivered
on the occasion of Goldman’s arrest during a demonstration in New
York City on December 16, 1893, de Cleyre respectfully explained their
philosophical differences:

Miss Goldman is a communist; I am an individualist. She


wishes to destroy the right of property, I wish to assert it. I
make my war upon privilege and authority, whereby the right
of property, the true right in that which is proper to the indi-
vidual, is annihilated. She believes that co-operation would
entirely supplant competition; I hold that competition in one
form or another will always exist, and that it is highly desirable
it should.25

Paul Avrich (1978) notes that de Cleyre’s approach to anarchism


evolved over time, focusing less on individualism and more on promot-
ing tolerance and cooperation across different categories of anarchism,
to the point where she declared herself an “anarchist without adjec-
tives.”26 As a writer, de Cleyre frequently contributed articles to Mother
Earth, the anarchist journal published by Goldman, and served as a
writer and editor of The Progressive Age. De Cleyre was also recognized
as a prolific poet, and one of her poems, “Light Upon Waldheim,” was
a tribute to the Haymarket martyrs. Crispin Sartwell (2005) describes
her lucid writing style as “prosaic and practical observations interrupted
by flashes of poetry and radical intuition.”27 Although a long battle
with illness ended her life at the age of forty-five, de Cleyre, as Marsh
(1981) suggests, was “one of the best minds among the American
anarchists,”28 and her contribution to the development of anarchist-
feminist thought, in particular, was significant. In an essay in praise of
de Cleyre’s commitment to the anarchist cause, Goldman recognized
her as an “unusually gifted” orator and writer.29
Florence Finch Kelly (1858–1939) was a one-time anarchist who
later disassociated herself from the cause. While her contribution to
10 TONGUE OF FIRE

anarchist-feminist thought is limited and there is little evidence of


her interactions with other anarchist women, her example illustrates
the variety of women who were drawn to anarchism. Kelly grew up
on a farm in Kansas and, in defiance of her father’s wishes, went on
to complete a degree at the University of Kansas. In the late 1880s,
she launched a pioneering career in the male-dominated profession of
journalism at the Boston Globe, where she maintained a weekly column
called “The Woman’s Hour.” After marrying fellow journalist, Allen
Kelly, and raising two sons, she continued to write and expanded her
work to include short stories, novels, and an autobiography—the last
completed not long before her death at the age of eighty-two.30 It was
during her early career, when she was in her twenties while working at
the Globe, that she became interested in anarchism and associated with
Benjamin Tucker, fellow Globe writer and publisher of Liberty. Unlike
many of her comrades who called for direct and immediate action as
the instrument for realizing freedom, Kelly envisioned anarchism as a
gradual process where the authority of “reasonable and intelligent con-
viction from within” replaces “compulsion from without.”31 Kelly pub-
lished essays on the principles of anarchism, sexual freedom, and other
topics in Tucker’s Liberty. She also produced a free-love novel titled
Frances: A Story for Men and Women (1889) and “an avowedly anarchist
novel,” On the Inside (1890). Yet, according to Marsh, she later came
to reject anarchism and “carefully played down” her involvement in the
movement in her autobiography, The Flowing Stream (1939).32 Perhaps
this is the reason Melvin Mencher’s biographical sketch of Kelly’s con-
tributions to journalism in Notable American Women, 1607–1950 (1971)
does not mention her involvement in the anarchist movement or her
anarchist writings as part of her career development.33
Lucy Parsons (1853–1942) was “a recognized leader of the pre-
dominantly white male working-class movement in Chicago,” where
the Haymarket Square tragedy took place.34 Her husband, Albert Par-
sons, was one of four anarchists executed on charges of conspiring in
the bombing, and her lifetime of activism was shaped by the injustice
he suffered. Biographer Carolyn Ashbaugh (1976) notes there is little
information available about Parsons’s early life except that she was
born in Texas and is believed to be the daughter of parents of African-
American, Native-American, and Mexican ancestry (and most likely
slaves). Even though Parsons was outspoken about the injustices and
violence of racism, including publishing essays on racial inequality
ANARCHIST WOMEN AND THE “SEX QUESTION” 11

and lynching,35 she did not acknowledge her racial identity.36 Reject-
ing property relations and the abject poverty that stems from them,
her approach to anarchism instead underscored class struggle and the
necessity of supplanting capitalism. She was also outspoken about the
economic exploitation of women, whether it be in the context of the
factory, marriage, child labor, or sex trafficking. Unlike her contempo-
raries, however, she did not view “sexual varietism” to be critical to the
anarchist cause; instead she considered monogamy to be more natural
to human relationships—and without the risks of unwanted pregnancy
and venereal disease.37 Like Goldman, Parsons delivered speeches
across the nation and Europe. Yet the two women were known to be
political rivals with Goldman viewing Parsons as an opportunist who
took advantage of her husband’s notoriety and Parsons accusing Gold-
man of being driven more by ego than by commitment to the cause of
freedom.38 As a writer, Parsons contributed articles to various radical
publications and served as editor of Freedom: A Revolutionary Anar-
chist-Communist Monthly and The Liberator. In 1879, while pregnant
with the first of her two children, she wrote articles for The Social-
ist, a publication that her husband edited, and she gave speeches to
the Working Women’s Union.39 When Albert lost his job, she worked
as a seamstress to support the family while continuing with her own
activist work. One of the founders of the Industrial Workers of the
World, established in 1905, she insisted that it be an inclusive union
of workers that made no exclusions based on sex, class, ethnicity, or
race.40 Parsons’s activism continued into her eighties, a testament to her
uncompromising commitment to the pursuit of freedom.
Born in Lithuania, Emma Goldman (1869–1940), the principal
subject of this study, was one of three daughters and two sons in a
household that abided strictly by Russian-Jewish traditions. At the
age of seventeen, she immigrated to the United States in 1886 to flee
a restrictive Orthodox life that would have included an arranged mar-
riage. While living with her sister and her husband in Rochester, New
York, and working at the Garson Company textile factory, she was
subject to grueling labor conditions and exposed to the world of labor
organizing. She and her coworkers were enraged by the wrongful con-
viction and hanging of Albert Parsons, Adolf Fischer, August Spies,
and George Engel in Chicago on November 11, 1887, a day that came
to be known as “Black Friday.” In 1889, following a brief and unhappy
marriage to a fellow factory worker, Goldman moved to New York
12 TONGUE OF FIRE

City, where she immersed herself in the anarchist community. The


combination of the Haymarket tragedy and the mentoring provided by
anarchist activist and lecturer Johann Most, whom she met at a Lower
East Side café frequented by radicals, inspired Goldman to pursue her
own path as a speaker, writer, and agitator.41 Through her years working
full-time as an anarchist agitator, writes Marsh, Goldman “personified
anarchism to Americans.”42
As noted in the introduction, Goldman delivered speeches across
the country and abroad on a wide variety of topics, including anar-
chism, birth control, sexuality, marriage, atheism, conscription, child-
hood education, and modern drama. She published the radical journal
Mother Earth (1906–17) and a bound collection of selected lectures
and writings, Anarchism and Other Essays (1910). She was repeatedly
arrested and imprisoned, for example, for delivering a speech that
allegedly inspired the assassination of President William McKinley
(1901),43 for inciting to riot (1893), for lecturing and distributing
information about birth control (1916),44 and for advocating against
conscription (1917).45 Her free-speech struggles contributed to the
formation of the National Civil Liberties Bureau, which later became
the American Civil Liberties Union.46 After years of being tracked by
the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Goldman and her lifelong friend
and occasional lover, Alexander Berkman, were deported to Russia in
1919 for being in violation of the Sedition Act. They were among the
hundreds of victims of the “Red Scare,” a nationalistic political climate
that identified immigrant radicals as potential government threats. Fol-
lowing some years of activism in Europe and Canada, Goldman died
of a stroke in 1940 at the age of seventy and was buried along with
Voltairine de Cleyre, Lucy Parsons, and the Haymarket martyrs in
Chicago’s Waldheim Cemetery.
Working both independently and cooperatively, Austin, de Cleyre,
Kelly, Parsons, and Goldman contributed to the formation of an
anarchist-feminist counterpublic, a peripheral discursive space where
female anarchists stood apart from their male comrades and from the
mainstream women’s and labor movements because of their advocacy
of sexual freedom—the freedom to have intimate relationships outside
of marriage, to have access to birth control, and to choose to have chil-
dren (or not)—in other words, sovereignty over their own bodies. Their
audiences and readers included workers, immigrants, artists, writers,
intellectuals, bohemians, and folks who were simply curious to see what
ANARCHIST WOMEN AND THE “SEX QUESTION” 13

must have surely been a spectacle—a woman speaking in public and


calling for the demise of government authority and sexual revolution.
Despite their differing public personas and philosophical approaches
to anarchism, these women shared in an “anarcho-feminine rhetori-
cal style” that was sympathetic to the plight of workers, authoritative
in tone, analytical in justifying anarchist principles, and emotional in
arousing audiences to act.47
As a network of women, Austin, de Cleyre, Kelly, Parsons, and
Goldman included a complicated mix of shared ideals, friendships,
collegial partnerships, clashing interests, and competition for audi-
ences and readers. Each struggled to live out her ideals for free love in
a period of American history when women’s influence was restricted
to marriage, child-rearing, and related domestic duties. But they did
not believe that gaining access to the world of politics, education, or
business would lead to equality and independence. Instead, they urged
women to take control of their bodies—a power that is required a
priori to engaging in the body politic. Passionate for the greater cause
of human liberation, they provided a blistering critique of hegemony
and called for direct action; and some were willing to be arrested and
imprisoned and resort to violence, if necessary, to bring about mean-
ingful change.
Most anarchists viewed direct action, also known as “propaganda
by the deed,” as a fitting response to the coercive power of the state,
which for them was symbolized in cold blood by the Haymarket execu-
tions. De Cleyre understood direct action to encompass a wide range
of tactics, both nonviolent and violent, and argued that the use of vio-
lence was sometimes a necessity. In “Direct Action” (1912) she defends
a history of direct action in all its forms—including strikes, boycotts,
marches, demonstrations, sabotage, expropriation, and rebellion—as
“spontaneous retorts of those who feel oppressed by a situation.”48 Par-
sons frequently advocated the use of explosives and other violent means
of overthrowing power. Ashbaugh suggests that the suffering Parsons
experienced in life due to poverty and discrimination was channeled
into an anger directed against the wealthy.49 In 1884, the front-page
essay in the first issue of The Alarm, edited by Albert Parsons, was
Lucy Parsons’s article, “To Tramps, the Unemployed, the Disinher-
ited, and Miserable,” which ended with her famous line, “Learn the
use of explosives!”50 In “The Psychology of Political Violence” (1910),
Goldman offered the sympathetic explanation that those who suffer
14 TONGUE OF FIRE

will inevitably resort to violence out of desperation and zeal for the
cause of freedom.51 Some police reports on Goldman’s lectures indi-
cate that she occasionally threatened the use of violence, although the
authors of such reports may have exaggerated or fabricated her words
to justify the case for her deportation. A government transcript of the
speech “We Don’t Believe in Conscription” (1917), delivered in New
York City, quotes her as stating: “We believe in violence and we will
use violence. . . . [I]f it’s their [the government’s] intention to make
us quiet they may prepare the noose, they may prepare the gallows,
they may build more prisons for the spread of revolt and conscience.”52
During her career as an anarchist activist, Austin grew increasingly
more militant in her writings. According to Miller, she evolved into a
“bloodthirsty” rhetor who was “infatuated with violence” as a necessary
tool for bringing about revolution, as she urged her readers, “Let the
workers retaliate, give blow for blow, take life for life.”53 By contrast,
Kelly, who was drawn to anarchism primarily for its focus on rational
thought and its rejection of feminine virtue, was less committed to class
struggle and likewise less inclined to address the issue of violence.54
Taken together, the differences in persona, philosophical perspective,
rhetorical strategy, and activism among anarchist women point to a
fluid, dynamic counterpublic. As a collective of women who espoused
anarchist ideals, they imagined a society where personal liberty in its
most radical sense applied to women and men equally.

ANARCHIST-FEMINISM

As a category of political thought, anarchist-feminism is not a singu-


lar concept insofar as anarchism and feminism themselves represent
a plurality of ideas. Anarchist political philosophy is grounded in the
basic principle of radical individualism or a society without hierarchi-
cal order; however, it branches out into a variety of forms that reveal
different approaches, including “mutualists, collectivists, communists,
federalists, individualists, socialists, syndicalists, feminists, as well as
many others.”55 Modern feminist political philosophy is just as var-
ied, encompassing liberal, conservative, radical, ecofeminist, Marxist,
postcolonial, among other ideological positions. Of course, the term
“feminism” was not a commonly used word at the turn of the century,
and anarchist women most likely would have associated it with the
ANARCHIST WOMEN AND THE “SEX QUESTION” 15

reform efforts of middle-class activists, which centered on obtaining


suffrage, access to education, and entry into professions.56 Contempo-
rary scholars have adopted the term “anarchist-feminism” (or “feminist-
anarchism”) to signify the fusion of the two “isms” and draw attention
to how they modify each other. In the course of my research, I have
found that the philosophical foundation of anarchist-feminism cen-
ters on three intersecting ideas: the liberating potential of exercising
individual autonomy, the centrality of sexual freedom in unleashing
individuality and creativity, and the belief that women’s liberation can
be achieved only within a larger framework of human liberation.
First, anarchist-feminism embraces the ideal of realizing individual
autonomy, or personal freedom, through everyday practice—that is, by
willfully living one’s life free from the influence of institutionalized
thought and authority. Anarchist women extended this core anarchist
belief by applying it to gender/sex in a way that male anarchists were
generally not inclined to consider. Indeed, male anarchists, who tended
to focus on the plight of workers, often showed indifference toward the
sex question. Some went as far as to outright reject any social change
that would remove women from their “natural” domestic duties and
argued that women’s work is not worthy of equal pay.57 For example,
in a Liberty editorial regarding the question of equal pay for printers,
publisher Benjamin Tucker argues:

Apart from the special inferiority of woman as printer (a rule


to which there are many exceptions), there exists the general
inferiority of woman as worker and employee (a rule to which
there are few exceptions). Even the skilled women printers,
as a rule, show the average woman’s lack of ambition, of self-
reliance, of sense of business responsibility, and of interest in
her employer’s undertakings. In the absence of these qualities
they cannot be as successful as men industrially. That they will
never acquire these qualities I by no means dogmatically assert.
I only know that at present they lack them. Should these defi-
ciencies be overcome, they would command the same wages as
men, and I should be heartily glad to see such a result.58

While Tucker attempted to avoid a deterministic view of women’s


inferiority by casting their lack of skills as a matter of acquiring the
appropriate training and experience, the tenor of his argument reveals
16 TONGUE OF FIRE

that he still doubted women’s ability to succeed as workers and profes-


sionals. In another essay titled “The Woman Question,” also featured
in Tucker’s Liberty, anarchist writer Victor Yarros went further to argue
that women’s inferiority is inborn, a product of their reproductive func-
tion. “Nature having placed woman at such a decided disadvantage in
the path of life, of what avail are her protestations and cries for equality
with man? In order to enter into one of her strongest natural desires,”
explains Yarros, “she is compelled to enter into relations with a man
of which the burdensome and painful consequences she alone has to
bear.”59 Many anarchist men believed that women were intrinsically
unequal because of their “essential” role as mothers and that women
have no choice but to be dependent upon the fathers of their children
in order to have the necessary economic support for raising them.
In contrast to their male comrades, anarchist women viewed
equality between the sexes as a fundamental assumption of anarchist
thought. As Marsh writes, “Attacking marriage, often urging sexual
varietism, insisting on both economic and psychological independence,
and sometimes denying maternal responsibility, they argued that per-
sonal autonomy was an essential component of sexual equality and that
political and legal rights could not of themselves engender such equal-
ity.”60 Yet, it is important to recognize that beyond functioning as a
political ideology, anarchist-feminism also represented a state of mind
and a way of acting in the world that resisted the “cult of true woman-
hood.” That is, anarchist women attempted to actualize their beliefs in
their life’s work and in their relationships and interactions with others.
For this reason, Marsha Hewitt (1986) argues that anarchist-feminism
“forces us to re-think the nature of revolution as process, as transforma-
tive praxis of thought, feeling and collective social activity.”61 Anar-
chist women realized that inequality was rooted in the psyche of both
women and men and therefore changes in law or policy—or “external
tyrants,” as Goldman put it—as a means of generating equality were
futile; only by engaging in a personal revolution—a revolution of the
body and mind—could women and men experience true freedom from
systemic power, including socially inscribed gender roles and the family
structure. Writing for Liberty, Kelly called upon women to “learn to
be self-supporting. Else, they will always be slaves.”62 Arguing more
pointedly, de Cleyre writes, “I would strongly advise every woman con-
templating sexual union of any kind, never to live with the man you
love . . . never to have a child unless you want it, and never to want
ANARCHIST WOMEN AND THE “SEX QUESTION” 17

it (selfishly, for the pleasure of having a pretty plaything), unless you,


yourself alone, are able to provide for it.”63 The same vision of anar-
chism as a way of being and acting in the social world is echoed by
Goldman, who declares that “it has always been the individual, often
alone and singly, at other times in unity and co-operation [sic] with
others . . . who is the parent of the liberating thought as well as of the
deed.”64
Anarchist women believed that exercising personal autonomy is
the only possible way of breaking free from socially constructed roles
and conceptions, including norms of femininity and masculinity. They
took this idea even further to argue that exercising sexual freedom, in
particular, cultivates individuality and creativity—a second central idea
of anarchist-feminist thought. Anarchist women understood sexuality
to be a fundamental mode of human expression that had been denied
to women because of the social pressures imposed by religion, morality,
and government. Identifying marriage as a significant form of gender
oppression, in “Marriage and Love” (1910), Goldman likens it to pros-
titution, an “economic arrangement” that commits a woman to lifetime
service to her husband and “condemns her to life-long dependency,
to parasitism, to complete uselessness, individual as well as social.”65
In “They Who Marry Do Ill” (1908), de Cleyre recognized the injus-
tice of sex in marriage, which she describes as “a physical torture” for
women while pleasing for men.66 Parsons likewise critiqued marriage
as an exploitative institution linked to capitalism. In “Cause of Sex
Slavery” (1895), she asks, “How many women do you think would
submit to marriage slavery if it were not for wage slavery?”67 Austin
calls upon her colleagues to see free love as essential to the anarchist
cause: “The sexual question can no longer be passed over in silence.
. . . Sexual liberty constitutes part of general liberty. . . . Liberty in all
things, liberty to live and liberty to love—such must be the password
of anarchists.”68 It is interesting to note here that it was not unusual
for anarchist women to marry and live with the apparent ideological
tension of advocating an ideal that didn’t quite match up with their
personal choices. Of the five women profiled here, de Cleyre was the
only one who did not marry, although she did have a child whom she
left to be raised by the father and other family members.69 Because of
infertility, Goldman was the only one who did not pursue motherhood,
although she did express a deep desire to have children and believed in
the social value of free motherhood.70 Her commitment to reproductive
18 TONGUE OF FIRE

freedom and knowledge of reproductive health issues included formal


training and work as a nurse-midwife in the 1890s.71
In their vision of free love, anarchist women emphasized and prac-
ticed open sexual relationships—outside of marriage and with more
than one partner. Instead of seeing such relationships as immoral or
abhorrent acts, they considered sex to be natural, healthy behavior that
was not limited to the purpose of procreation. More than this, they
understood sex to be a source of pleasure. Parsons was the only one who
did not advocate free love as a form of self-expression, nor as an essen-
tial component of the anarchist cause. She denounced “poverty stricken,
care-worn, child-bearing-to-excess”72 in marriage while also critiquing
free love for the risks of venereal disease and pregnancy. Parsons fur-
ther insisted that, “Variety in sex relations and economic freedom have
nothing in common. Nor has it anything in common with Anarchism,
as I understand Anarchism; if it has then I am not an Anarchist.”73 To
the contrary, Austin believed the pleasures of sex outweighed the dan-
gers, arguing that women and men alike are “varietist[s] at heart;”74 in
other words, their sexual desire is most fulfilled by non-exclusive rela-
tionships. On the occasion of an anarchist meeting in Paris, she further
explained, “As long as the Church and the State continue to exercise
control . . . upon the desires and passions resulting from sexual appetite,
for that long will their dominion last.”75 In “The Tragedy of Woman’s
Emancipation” (1910), Goldman identified the primary obstacle that
prevented women from experiencing “true love” as the “internal tyrants,
whether they be in the form of public opinion or what will mother say,
or brother, father, . . . busybodies, moral detectives, jailers of the human
spirit” and called upon all women to experience “unrestricted freedom,
to listen to the voice of her nature.”76 Likewise, de Cleyre advised her
readers to “[n]ever allow love to be vulgarized by the indecencies of
continuous close communion” because permanent and long-term rela-
tionships stifle growth and freedom.77 Kelly’s contributions in the form
of her free-love novels, Frances and On the Inside, featured independent
female characters and their love affairs with men, absent of moral judg-
ment of their actions.78 Most of the published speeches and writings
of anarchist women reflected a focus on heterosexual relationships, as
implied by the above examples; however, as Marsh notes, within the
context of the period, “Their unconventionality varied from divorce
or marital separation, which constituted a relatively mild separation
from the norm, to sexual promiscuity or open homosexuality . . . [and]
ANARCHIST WOMEN AND THE “SEX QUESTION” 19

reflected nonconformity to accepted values of chastity and fidelity to


a spouse.”79 A reading of archival manuscripts and correspondence
authored by Goldman shows that she recognized heterosexual and
homosexual relationships equally, a point explored in chapter 2.
In order for women to experience sexual freedom, they need to
have the capacity to make choices about reproduction; that is, both
married and unmarried women need access to contraceptive devices
and sex education. Because disseminating information about birth con-
trol was illegal under the Comstock Act,80 anarchist women treated it
as both an issue of freedom of speech and sexual liberty. Aiding women
in their access to and educating them about how to use birth control,
they also challenged the authority of the medical establishment—male
physicians who profited from their regulation of women’s reproduc-
tive health. Anarchist-feminist advocacy of reproductive freedom also
fueled public debates about eugenics—the fear that “race suicide” would
result from a decline in the birth rate.81 Some public officials, including
President Theodore Roosevelt, were alarmed by a notable decrease in
the US birth rate of Anglo-Saxons in the early 1900s. In turn, hysteria
over the perceived birth rate increase among immigrants fueled nativ-
ist hostility toward “foreigners” and their children.82 Roosevelt warned,
“The chief of blessings for any nation is that it shall leave its seed to
inherit the land. The greatest of all curses is sterility, and the severest
of all condemnations should be that visited upon willful sterility.”83 In
this highly charged political atmosphere, Austin defiantly disseminated
information about contraception and contraband devices to her neigh-
bors and in her local community in Iowa.84 Goldman, who was the
most outspoken about birth control, delivered lectures on contraceptive
techniques across the country from 1915 to 1916 to female-only audi-
ences, as well as mixed audiences that included physicians, business-
men, and other professionals. She was arrested on two occasions and
imprisoned in a New York City jail for the first arrest.85 In an open
letter to the press following one of her arrests, Goldman justified her
actions along with fellow birth control advocates: “We do it because we
know the desperate condition among the masses of workers and even
professional people, when they cannot meet the demands of numerous
children. . . . [W]hen a law has outgrown time and necessity, it must
go. . . . [W]hile I am not particularly anxious to go to jail, I should
be glad to do so, if thereby I can add my might to the importance of
birth control.”86
20 TONGUE OF FIRE

In addition to demanding access to birth control, anarchist women


addressed compulsory motherhood and prostitution as forms of sexual
oppression that violated women’s sovereignty over their bodies and
significantly limited their life choices. In defense of free motherhood,
in “Sex Slavery” (1890), de Cleyre likened unwanted sex in marriage
to rape, “the vilest of all tyranny where a man compels the woman he
says he loves, to endure the agony of bearing children that she does
not want, and for whom, as is the rule rather than the exception, they
cannot properly provide.”87 Goldman viewed unwanted sex in marriage
as a form of prostitution: “[I]t is merely a question of degree whether
she sells herself to one man, in or out of marriage, or to many men.”88
Each faulted the capitalist system in which women, as Parsons put it,
are “obliged to live with a man whom she does not love, in order to
get bread, clothes, and shelter”89 and are reduced to “a thing fit only to
cater to his pleasures and passions.”90
Finally, because anarchist-feminists viewed liberation from institu-
tionalized power and its internal “outposts” as their ultimate goal, they
did not separate the struggle of women’s freedom from men’s. Reflect-
ing on men’s relative lack of support for women’s equality in “The Eco-
nomic Freedom of Women” (1888), Kelly writes, “Even the best of men
and those most imbued with a desire for justice and equity and best
able to apply individualist ideas to actual life—even these still have
something of the tyrant left in their feeling toward and their treat-
ment of women.”91 A free society, argued Parsons in “The Principles
of Anarchism” (n.d.), will yield “a higher and truer standard of man-
hood and womanhood”;92 that is, “There can be no privileges bought
or sold, and the transaction kept sacred at the point of the bayonet.
Every man [sic] will stand on an equal footing with his brother in the
race of life, and neither chains of economic thralldom nor metal drags
of superstition shall handicap the one to the advantage of the other.”93
Anarchist women understood that both men and women are victims of
capitalism and religious morality, and that they are equally deluded by
the mental constructs and dogmas associated with them, all the while
recognizing that women were oppressed differently than men because
of the hegemony of masculine and puritan values.
Additionally, many anarchist women, like their male comrades, held
on to the ideal that society should be organized on the basis of volun-
tary association or the “free grouping of individuals”94—an argument
ANARCHIST WOMEN AND THE “SEX QUESTION” 21

that presented a quagmire because it constrained the anarchist move-


ment from organizing itself and gaining traction as a viable socio-
political force.95 In “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For” (1910),
Goldman described an anarchist society as “consist[ing] of voluntary
productive and distributive associations.”96 She extended her critique
to the family and education in “The Child and Its Enemies” (1906)97
and “Francisco Ferrer and the Modern School” (1910)98 by calling on
parents and teachers to cease treating children as private property, but
rather as “independent, self-reliant spirits.”99 In “Anarchism” (1901),
de Cleyre writes, “My ideal would be a condition in which all natural
resources would be forever free to all . . . but it will only be through the
development of the modes of production and the taste of the people.
Meanwhile we all cry with one voice for the freedom to try.”100 Indeed,
the anarchist ideal was a vast experiment in transforming all aspects of
public and private life. Toward that end, cooperative housing and com-
munal living were among the new social spaces conceived by turn-of-
the-century anarchists. Writing for the liberal journal The Independent,
Kelly praised the construction of a set of cooperative apartment houses
in New York City as a solution to urban housing problems and a means
of putting cooperative principles into practice.101 Goldman was a sup-
porter of the Ferrer Colony, a rural alternative community established
in 1915 and named after Spanish anarchist Francisco Ferrer, whose
execution in 1909 became a rallying cry for anarchists around the
world. Although she did not live in the colony, Goldman used Mother
Earth as a forum to praise his vision and work. Situated on 143 acres of
cooperatively owned land near Stelton, New Jersey, the colony was set
up so that each member could build a home on his or her assigned lot
and attend the “Modern School,” which offered the decentralized and
inclusive approach to education envisioned by Ferrer.102 Such experi-
ments in communal living were oppositional to life under capitalism
and vital to demonstrating the possibilities for integrating anarchist
ideals in every aspect of public and private life.
The anarchist-feminist counterpublic was a loosely formed net-
work of women who saw in anarchism a solution to sexual inequality
and injustices of all kinds. Although their activist careers were for the
most part carried out independently from one another, as a collec-
tive they offered alternative models of womanhood that challenged
conventional feminine norms. While women’s suffrage advocates and
22 TONGUE OF FIRE

other reformers adapted their arguments to norms of feminine purity,


marriage, and the family unit, anarchist women envisioned the total
elimination of systemic injustice.
The anarchist-feminist response to the sex question was not simply
a matter of what public role women should play, but also their freedom
and independence in their private relationships: women’s autonomy
over their very bodies, not equality at the ballot box, was essential in
order to be truly free. Experimenting with free love in a sociopoliti-
cal climate that was more conducive to Victorian morality, anarchist
women improvised their lives and relationships in ways that both sub-
verted and internalized nineteenth-century norms of femininity as they
negotiated the “contested and fractured discursive domain” of gender.103
They talked about sex publicly in speeches, in radical journals, and in
casual salon conversations. By defining sexual freedom as a means of
exercising individuality, anarchist women interpreted the New Woman
as an independent agent who was free to engage in non-monogamous
relationships, partake in the pleasures of sex, and make reproductive
choices. Through their activism, they each contributed to the expan-
sion of public knowledge to include sexuality and worked to extend the
accessibility of that knowledge to women in the face of imprisonment
for doing so.
The significance of sexual freedom to the empowerment of women
to engage in the public is undeniable, as the potential for women to
act as independent agents requires the ability to make choices about
their lives and their bodies. In this regard, the anarchist-feminist coun-
terpublic created an opening for women to contest and traverse the
gendered division of public and private. Reflecting on the influence
of counterpublic discourse, Fraser writes, “[I]nsofar as these counter-
publics emerge in response to exclusions within dominant publics,
they help expand discursive space. In principle, assumptions that were
previously exempt from contestation will now have to be publicly
argued out.”104 By demanding sexual freedom and speaking about sex
in public, anarchist women made visible a part of women’s life that
was usually left unspoken. Nowhere is this subversion of the gendered
public sphere by anarchist women more evident than in the example
of the public life of Goldman. In The Rise of Public Woman (1992),
Glenna Matthews suggests Goldman was “[t]he first American woman
to command large audiences as a speaker over a long period of time
while openly living an unconventional life” and argues that her “life
ANARCHIST WOMEN AND THE “SEX QUESTION” 23

and career constitute a benchmark in establishing the possibilities for


public women, in divorcing a woman’s sexual conduct from her public
influence.”105 The next chapter investigates in greater depth Goldman’s
gender/sex politics and the sexual revolution that she believed would
lead women and men to experience a freer, more joyful life.
2
Bodies That Love
Emma Goldman’s Sexual Revolution

Her development, her freedom, her independence, must come


from and through herself. First, by asserting herself as a person-
ality, and not a sex commodity. Second, by refusing the right to
anyone over her body.
—Emma Goldman, “Woman Suffrage,” 1910

Free love? As if love is anything but free!


—Emma Goldman, “Marriage and Love,” 1910

A mong the anarchist women who were politically active during the
late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Emma Goldman
was by far the most prominent in terms of her public notoriety and the
wide dissemination of her speeches and writings that covered a broad
range of topics over the course of a long career—she was a woman
whose ideas were perceived to be such a security threat that the United
States government found it necessary to deport her in 1919. No doubt,
she has also received a great deal of scholarly attention because she was
“rediscovered in the 1960s by a generation of feminists who celebrated
her defiance of traditional womanly behavior.”1 Goldman understood
the “sex question” as not merely a matter of the expansion of women’s
sphere of influence into the public realm but a matter of their per-
sonal autonomy, happiness, and dignity. She diagnosed the problem
of women’s oppression to be the product of capitalism and a dualistic
system of gender, which regulated women’s bodies and limited their

25
26 TONGUE OF FIRE

ability to act independently from men. The solution to this problem did
not require collective action (as in public demonstrations and strikes)
inasmuch as it necessitated sexual agency (as in resisting gender/sex
norms and making personal choices about intimate relationships and
reproduction). To borrow from a phrase used by Judith Butler, instead
of “bodies that matter,”2 Goldman theorized bodies that love.
As part of her theory of gender performativity, Butler argues that
the binaries of sex and gender are a product of “a temporal process
which operates through the reiteration of norms.”3 As a mechanism of
power, “[W]e cannot take gender, or gendered meanings, for granted,
since gender is precisely that which is being produced and organized
over time, differently, and differentially,” write Butler and Elizabeth
Weed (2011).4 When analyzing representations of gender/sex in Gold-
man’s discourse, it is therefore critical to consider how gender/sex is
contextualized and how it “operates in the production of apparently
unrelated domains such as class, power, politics, and history itself.”5
Additionally, while Butler’s theory focuses more on the unconscious
performance or “doing” of gender, it is important to consider how
Goldman’s discourse created a space for agency—that is, a conscious
“undoing” of gender/sex norms. In the process of challenging gender/
sex norms, Goldman produced an alternative model of womanhood
that embodied her anarchist-feminist philosophy and her experience
as a working-class, Russian-Jewish immigrant woman. In other words,
her marginal status, although a source of hardship, opened up the “gaps
and fissures”6 through which she could destabilize gender/sex norms.7
In what follows, I examine Goldman’s vision of sexual revolution, and,
in particular, the way she challenged the existing system of masculine
control, conceptualized sexual freedom, and attempted to reconcile
the oppositional discourse of the gendered/sexed body. Appropriately,
I begin with a closer look at the gender/sex politics that regulated
women’s bodies at the turn of the century.

THE POLITICS OF SEX AND THE FEMALE BODY

“Sexuality is simultaneously a domain of restriction, repression, and


danger as well as a domain of exploration, pleasure and agency,” writes
Carole S. Vance in Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality
(1984).8 In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, anarchist
BODIES THAT LOVE 27

women and other free-love advocates promoted the benefits of and


practiced sexual freedom in a climate where the risks included rape
and other forms of male violence, unwanted pregnancy and related
risks such as miscarriage and abortion, compulsory motherhood, the
contraction of an incurable venereal disease, and, for some, the shame
and guilt that comes with committing a religious sin or losing their
perceived purity. The sexual dangers women faced were influenced by
their class and race/ethnicity; for example, white middle- and upper-
class women were more likely to have knowledge of and access to con-
traception, although they were also more subject to the “the cult of true
womanhood” than were working-class women in terms of repressed
sexuality. Moreover, most women knew very little about sex before
they got married, and what they did learn was often imparted by their
husbands.9 In sum, sexual pleasure for women was largely defined by
Victorian modesty and masculine heteronormative desire, limited to a
“guilty private space” removed from public consideration;10 and knowl-
edge about sexual behavior and the body was appropriated by a mas-
culine medical establishment.
Masculine regulation of women’s docile bodies was manifested in a
variety of discursive practices, including medical training and textbooks
and penny-press advertisements for patent medicines and elixirs that
would allegedly cure “female complaints.” The gradual “constriction of
women’s sphere” that began during the late eighteenth century and
continued into the nineteenth century contributed to a preoccupation
with the fragility of the female sex and an “emphasis on the morbid and
the melodramatic—fallen wombs, hysteria, venereal excess.”11 Sexual
behavior and the functioning of the female body—intercourse, men-
struation, pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, menopause, hysteria—were
treated as the subjects of medical discourse throughout the nineteenth
century. Whereas women had previously visited midwives for gyneco-
logic and obstetric care—a practice dating back to medieval times—
because it was unseemly for a man other than her husband to inspect
a woman’s body, the male-dominated American medical profession—
led by college-educated or so-called regular physicians—increasingly
sought to discredit “popular healers” for engaging in “quackery,” and,
in turn, advance their medical careers by taking on female clients. “[T]
hey also invented syndromes of diseases which explained away their
patients’ depressions and resentments and helped make physical fra-
gility, weakness, sickliness, and consequent hypochondria part of the
28 TONGUE OF FIRE

convention of bourgeois femininity,” writes Linda Gordon (2002).12


It was not unusual for a doctor to remove a woman’s ovaries without
a proper diagnosis simply because the ovaries were understood medi-
cally as “the troublesome seat of disease” in women.13 Even menstrua-
tion and pregnancy were cast as a sickness befallen to the female sex.
In circulation was a number of sex manuals, which were authored by
male physicians and which advised against female sexual indulgence
while emphasizing male orgasm—reducing many women’s experience
of sex to a brief act of penetration and submission to their husbands.14
Furthermore, degradation, humiliation, and sexual abuse were most
likely a reality that many women endured in medical examinations
performed by male doctors. Put simply, argues Gordon, “Many women
learned unease with their own bodies.”15 Occupying a female body
itself was a pathology that was coupled with the risk of physical and
emotional harm at the hands of male physicians. It is no wonder that
the emergence of birth-control devices in the United States, follow-
ing their introduction in Europe in the mid-1800s, sparked so much
interest and debate.
Arguments about the merits and liabilities of birth control came
from a variety of sources and illustrate the tumultuous sociopolitical
climate within which Goldman operated. As a means for women to
control pregnancy, birth control would seem to be a matter of indi-
vidual choice made in private; however, contraceptive practice became
a controversy defined by perceived medical, moral, and legal implica-
tions. “Regular physicians” largely rejected contraception because they
believed it to be harmful to women’s health and to be the equivalent of
aborting a pregnancy. Further, they believed the use of contraceptives
carried the risk of causing permanent damage to the organs and steril-
ity, not to mention reducing intercourse to “wasting seed.”16 Generally,
American doctors did not acknowledge any social dimension of sexual-
ity.17 Some took a strong moral stance, such as Alexander J.C. Skene,
gynecologist and author of the medical text Education and Culture as
Related to the Health and Diseases of Women (1889), who writes:

The woman who willingly tries to reverse the order of her


physical being in the hope of gratifying some fancy or ambi-
tion, is almost sure to suffer sooner or later from disappoint-
ment and ill-health. Doctors make fortunes (small ones) by
trying to restore health and peace of mind to those who vio-
late the laws of morals and health in their efforts to prevent
BODIES THAT LOVE 29

reproduction. In such cases, the relations are deranged by per-


verted mind influence.18

While the moral argument espoused by the medical establishment


reinforced the rhetoric of the social purity movement, free love advo-
cates, who saw great potential in the availability of birth control in
enabling reproductive choice, positioned their defense of sexual free-
dom in alignment with a different group of male experts: sexologists.
The critiques of sexual repression made by European philosophers
and scientists, especially the sexologists Edward Carpenter and Have-
lock Ellis, added considerable fuel to the pro-contraception argument
of free-love advocates by emphasizing the pleasures and social benefits
of sex. Free-love advocates included not only anarchists but also social-
ists, communists, and liberals of all social classes. Both Carpenter and
Ellis were socialists who identified with the politics of the free-love
movement. Although sexology had a distinct focus on male sexuality,
which contemporary feminist critiques have rebuked for reinforcing
gender/sex norms, many sexologists were progressive in their views
about women’s rights and their “questioning [of ] the exclusivity of
heterosexuality.”19 Vern L. Bullough (1994) argues that sexology was
groundbreaking because it established “there was not a rigid rule of
normality, and that in reality there was a wide natural range of varia-
tions which could be legitimately admitted within the range of nor-
mality.”20 Commenting on contemporary feminist critiques of sexology
as it was developed in the late nineteenth century, Rita Felski argues,
“While the sexological concept of the invert [homosexual] clearly
included some types of homosexuality, the term embraced a much
wider range of transgender identifications, including early recogniz-
able instances of a powerful and ineradicable desire to ‘change sex.’”21
In his study of the regulation of sexuality, Michel Foucault (1978) rec-
ognizes the discourse of sexology as both a mechanism of controlling
“perversity” and a catalyst for “the formation of a ‘reverse’ discourse:
homosexuality began to speak in its own behalf, to demand that its
legitimacy or ‘naturality’ be acknowledged.”22 By not limiting human
sexuality to heterosexual relationships and by conceptualizing sex as
an expression of love and intimacy—in other words, not just a matter
of procreation—sexologists supported free-love advocates’ attempts to
promote nonexclusive sexuality and make sex itself speakable in public.
In opposition to the free love movement, there was the social
purity movement, which supported voluntary motherhood on the
30 TONGUE OF FIRE

condition that it was achieved through the practices of continence and


abstinence. Rejecting contraceptive devices as unnatural and immoral,
social purists were able to align themselves with women’s-suffrage
advocates who adapted their arguments to feminine norms. The expe-
diency argument for suffrage, which upheld that women’s feminine
qualities—particularly their moral superiority—would improve the
state of politics, dovetailed with the social-purists’ stance on sexual
morality. Social-purity advocates sought to implement “a set of con-
trols over sexuality, structured through the family, enforced through
law and/or social morality, which would render sex, if not safe, at least
a decent, calculable risk for women.”23 It is worth noting that traces of
this line of argument persist in contemporary religious-based critiques
of birth control—for example, Roman Catholic Church leaders and
Christian-owned businesses that are reluctant to directly or indirectly
support the use of some methods of contraception. At the turn of
the century, arguments against birth control were bolstered by pas-
sage of the federal Comstock Act of 1873, which held contraception
to be a public vice and criminal act on the allegation that it promoted
promiscuity, prostitution, and the spread of venereal disease. Anthony
Comstock’s campaign to rid society of moral depravity extended to
censorship of sex and nudity in literature, art, and theater—or any
work that was deemed to be obscene or lewd according to standards
of Victorian morality. Nicola Beisel (1997) argues that the legitimacy
of Comstock’s anti-vice crusade was achieved through a rhetoric that
claimed to protect children from moral corruption while also address-
ing middle- and upper-class parents’ need to reproduce the class
status of their family, which was presumably threatened by immoral
cultural practices.24
Added to the moral discourse about birth control was the contro-
versial social theory and applied science of eugenics. Eugenicists envi-
sioned great societal benefits resulting from controlling the quantity
and quality of human reproduction. So-called negative eugenics theory
proposed sterilization and celibacy as tools for promoting “better stock”
and rejected birth control insofar as it lowered the birth rate among the
most fit members of society.25 Havelock Ellis, who was a British physi-
cian and a major figure in the eugenics movement, articulated eugen-
ics as important to the critique of capitalism by arguing that “good
stock” is spread across the social classes and that selective reproduction
according to traits rather than class position would facilitate the elimi-
nation of class distinctions.26 In time, as eugenics theory evolved and
BODIES THAT LOVE 31

was applied in the contexts of immigration conflicts and war, it became


associated with institutionalized racism, nativism, and genocide. Many
birth-control advocates at the turn of the century, however, including
Emma Goldman and Margaret Sanger, interpreted eugenics differ-
ently and more narrowly. They viewed it through the lens of control-
ling reproduction and preventing unwanted pregnancies among poor
women, who often lacked the freedom to make reproductive decisions
according to their financial resources and physical health. Still, others
feared that contraception would inevitably lead to “race suicide,” the
failure to maintain a robust birth rate as a consequence of “feminine
selfishness.”27 All the while, women—particularly middle- and upper-
class women who could afford birth-control devices and had access to
private doctors—were eager to learn new techniques for controlling
fertility before conception, in particular methods that were not depen-
dent upon “male will and skill.”28
Awareness of the use of contraceptives itself altered the social
meanings ascribed to sex by compelling people “to think of sexual
intercourse as something other than a reproductive act.”29 The bur-
geoning market of available contraceptive devices included “gadgets
of animal gut, rubber, metal, and chemicals.”30 Of course, the subtext
of debates about the safety and morality of birth control (or voluntary
motherhood) ultimately concerned women’s power over their bodies
and their personal sense of dignity. As Carol Ellen DuBois and Linda
Gordon (1983) write:

A bitter irony surrounds the place of motherhood in the sexual


system of nineteenth-century feminism. Clearly it was wom-
en’s greatest joy and source of dignity; for many women it was
what made sexual intercourse acceptable. But at the same time
motherhood was the last straw in enforcing women’s subor-
dination to men, the factor that finally prevented many from
seeking independence. What was conceived as women’s great-
est virtue, their passionate and self-sacrificing commitment to
their children, their capacity for love itself, was a leading factor
in their victimization.31

With reproduction and childrearing understood to be defining quali-


ties of the feminine ideal, women’s access to birth control posed a sig-
nificant threat to masculine authority and to an entire way of life based
on the gendered division of public and private labor.
32 TONGUE OF FIRE

The pathology and sexual danger associated with the female body
was linked to a myriad of social meanings about sexual behavior and
ontological assumptions about womanhood. The sexes were under-
stood exclusively as “opposite” with the male body serving as the norm
through which the female body would be judged as different and
“other.”32 The male body was strong, vigorous, in control, and engaged
in the polis, while the female body was mysterious, unruly, unclean,
weak, and best kept hidden from public view—and the object of het-
eronormative masculine desire. In short, the hierarchical binary of the
body was (and largely continues to be) interwoven within public/pri-
vate spheres of influence: mind/body, masculine/feminine, public/pri-
vate, culture/nature, reason/emotion.33 Within this system of Cartesian
dualities, the body is figured as a force that obstructs or debases the
pursuit of knowledge, and therefore simply being in a woman’s body is
a burden.34
This oppositional discourse of gendered/sexed bodies and the
body politic at the turn of the century is the scene in which Goldman
contested the existing sexual morality and attempted to negotiate the
normative constraints of gender/sex, especially as it shaped women’s
agency. Understanding gender/sex as “the activity of managing situated
conduct in light of normative conceptions of attitudes and activities
appropriate for one’s sex category,”35 I believe that the term “negotiate”
is important here because it calls attention to Goldman’s refusal to
limit gender to two opposing positions and efforts to create an open-
ing for new possibilities for agency. And, while the sexual revolution
that Goldman was a part of was predominantly heterosexual, as the
discussion below affirms, there is evidence of her entry into discourses
aimed at challenging heteronormative constructions of sexuality. In the
discussion that follows, I address the central ideas that comprise Gold-
man’s philosophy of gender/sex, including the exercise of individual
autonomy and sexual agency, the management of risks associated with
sex, and the widening of the scope of gender/sex.

AU TONOMOUS BODIES

Goldman’s anarchist-feminism begins with the philosophical prem-


ise that as humans, women and men are fundamentally equal in their
subjectivity to “natural law,” which she defines in “Anarchism: What
BODIES THAT LOVE 33

It Really Stands For” (1910) as “that factor in man [sic] which asserts
itself freely and spontaneously without any external force, in harmony
with the requirements of nature. For instance, the demand for nutri-
tion, for sex gratification, for light, air, and exercise, is a natural law. . . .
To obey such laws, if we may call it obedience, requires only spontane-
ity and free opportunity.”36 Working from this proposition of a state
of human existence unrestricted by religion, property, and government,
she presents anarchism as a “releasing and liberating force because it
teaches people to rely on their own possibilities.”37 Therefore, while
the mind/body binary establishes women’s “innate” qualities as rea-
son to devalue their contributions and exclude them from public life,
for Goldman they are among the qualities essential to experiencing
freedom and autonomy independent from established authority—an
argument based on the topos of passion rather than individual rights
or virtues.38
Goldman’s critique of freedom envisions a self-creating, ever-
becoming individual who follows his or her own “instincts,” “tastes,”
“desires,” or “inclinations.” In a draft essay titled “The Tragedy of the
Modern Woman” (n.d.), she identifies in lucid terms the internal obsta-
cles that women face: “Women have not dared freely to be themselves,
even to themselves. . . . The tragedy of the modern woman is she lacks
courage to be inwardly free.”39 Indeed, unlike suffrage advocates and
other reformers who assumed equality and freedom to be a state of
existence sanctioned by law or government, where agency is legiti-
mated and articulated within the public sphere, Goldman argues that
the freedom of the individual exists a priori to public life and takes the
form of positive liberty. “It [individual autonomy] is not the negative
thing of being free from something, because with such freedom you
may starve to death,” she argues in “The Individual, Society and the
State” (1940), an essay published in pamphlet form late in her career.
She continues, “Real freedom, true liberty is positive: it is freedom to
something; it is the liberty to be, to do; in short, the liberty of actual
and active opportunity.”40 Goldman’s vision of the limitless individual
echoes the ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche and Max Stirner—both of
whom viewed state and economic power as artificial—and the emerg-
ing existential philosophy movement, which emphasized the authentic-
ity of the experience of the individual, freedom of choice, and personal
accountability in the face of institutionalized power. Within the con-
text of contemporary public sphere theory, Goldman’s construct of the
34 TONGUE OF FIRE

limitless individual implies that publics are comprised of autonomous


bodies. In the process of imagining and performing a self-made iden-
tity, individuals establish material relationships and form alliances, if
only temporarily, that are free from the impersonal influences of the
state and institutionalized norms.
In upholding the “natural” state of individuals as the basis for equal-
ity and freedom, however, Goldman does not articulate identity as bio-
logically determined insofar as she also defines humans as social beings
situated within the forces of production. “No intelligent student will
deny the importance of the economic factor in the social growth and
development of mankind. But only narrow and wilful [sic] dogmatism
can persist in remaining blind to the important role . . . [of ] the imagi-
nation and aspirations of the individual,” 41 she writes. Reconciling the
perceived conflict between the individual and social self, she explains,
“The individual and society have waged a relentless and bloody battle
for ages, each striving for supremacy, because each was blind to the
value and importance of the other. The individual and social instincts—
the one a most potent factor for individual endeavor, for growth, aspi-
ration, self-realization; the other an equally potent factor for mutual
helpfulness and social well-being.”42 Reconciling the perceived divide
between the individual (private) and social (public), Goldman theo-
rizes humans to be part of a fluid “living force in the affairs of our life,
constantly creating new conditions” within their environment.43 Her
balancing of the natural/biological/individual with the cultural/social/
collective extends to her conceptualization of the relationship between
men and women. She insists that women and men are equally human
and that their identity is not limited to their gender/sex.
In one of her earliest published essays, “The New Woman” (1898),
Goldman expresses her rejection of masculinity as the universal stan-
dard for participation in public life by arguing that the “New Man”—
one who does not exert his authority over women—is needed, too, in
order for women to be free, and that the “New Woman” is deluded in
thinking that her liberation will come from “aping the male, seeking
to become masculine, considering man is superior to woman.”44 Like-
wise, she believes that women mistakenly identify men as the source of
their oppression. In “The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation” (1910),
she locates women and men as part of the same social fabric—they
are both individuals and members of a collective—and therefore are
interdependent in their struggle for freedom:
BODIES THAT LOVE 35

Peace or harmony between the sexes and individuals does not


necessarily depend on a superficial equalization of human
beings; nor does it call for the elimination of individual traits
and peculiarities. The problem that confronts us today, and
which the nearest future is to solve, is how to be one’s self and
yet in oneness with others, to feel deeply with all human beings
and still retain one’s own characteristic qualities. This seems to
me to be the basis upon which the mass and the individual, the
true democrat and the true individuality, man and woman, can
meet without antagonism and opposition. The motto should
not be: Forgive one another; rather, Understand one another.45

In the same essay, she continues by urging women and men to tran-
scend “the absurd notion of the dualism of the sexes, or that man and
woman represent two antagonistic worlds”;46 in order to experience
true freedom, both must recognize each other not only as a sex but as
“the human being, the friend, the comrade and strong individuality.”47
To add further clarity to her rejection of a binary construct of gen-
der, consider a fragment of Goldman’s writing catalogued within The
Emma Goldman Papers microfilm collection under the heading “Sexual
Instinct and Creativity” (n.d.). In addition to theorizing sexual desire
as a biological and social force experienced by both “the married” and
“the unmarried,” in this fragment she redefines so-called masculine and
feminine traits as universal qualities:

[W]oman which cries out in protest against statements that


she is more timid, less aggressive, more jealous and possessive
in love, more parasitically inclined, more incurably infantile in
her outlook in life, more likely to give her love to a person of
the opposite sex who can dominate her, more dependent on
emotional evaluations and less easily integrated into smoothly
working social bodies than her brother. She looks about her
and finds anywhere from a trace to a large splash of each of
these traits in the men she knows. Looking within, she finds
that she cannot be justly accused of totally lacking any of the
spiritual traits which are regarded as peculiarly masculine.48

In sum, Goldman believes that unreflective conformity to socially


derived norms of womanhood and manhood limit human creativity
36 TONGUE OF FIRE

and possibility. Her questioning of the gender binary and the delinea-
tion of women as a discrete “sex” is a form of consciousness-raising—a
strategy commonly associated with second-wave feminism—aimed at
challenging the notion that one’s possibilities in life are an outgrowth
of the sexed body. For women, acting as sexual agents—a message that
aligns with third-wave feminism—was imperative in order to eschew
the confines of moral, religious, and medical authority.

SEXUAL AGENCY

Defining anarchism as “a social order based on the free grouping of


individuals” according to “individual desires, tastes and inclinations,”49
Goldman envisions the autonomous agent as conscious of her/his
individuality and able to think, act, and express herself/himself cre-
atively and connect intimately with others without inhibition or fear
of judgment. As she proclaims in “Anarchism: What It Really Stands
For” (1910), “Break your mental fetters, says anarchism, . . . think and
judge for your self.”50 She considered sexual agency to be especially
important to one’s well-being and creative potential. In “The Hypoc-
risy of Puritanism” (1910), she declares it a “crime” that “[a]bsolute
sexual continence is imposed on the unmarried woman, under the pain
of being considered immoral or fallen, with the result . . . involving
diminished power of work, limited enjoyment of life, sleeplessness, and
preoccupations with sexual desires and imaginings.”51 Years later, in a
draft essay titled “The Element of Sex in Life” (n.d.), she defines the
“much-maligned sex impulse as the great psychological motive force of
humanity.”52 In this essay, in addition to critiquing the adverse physi-
cal and social consequences of sexual repression and taboos, which she
supports by citing the latest Freudian research, she delivers the follow-
ing mixed-metaphor encomium to sex:

To sex we owe more than poetry; we owe the song of birds,


all vocal music and the voice itself, the plumage that comes to
supreme glory in the bird of paradise, the mane of the lion, . . .
and all higher forms of life in [the] plant and animal world.
It is woven into every fabric of human life and lays its finger
on every custom. To the debit side of the sex account we must
charge many silly stupidities and some of the foulest injustices
BODIES THAT LOVE 37

which go to make the thing we call human culture the amazing


and variegated mosaic that it is.53

It is important to recognize that for Goldman free love does not mean
unrestrained promiscuity; rather, it means the freedom to be fully
human—which she equates with the freedom to love without artificial
constraints. When asked to define love during a newspaper interview
in 1897, she replied by describing the experience of social intimacy:

When a man or woman finds some quality or qualities in


another that they admire and has an overweening desire to
please that person, even to the sacrificing of personal feeling;
when there is that subtle something drawing them together,
that those who love recognize, and feel it in the inmost fiber
of their being, then I call that love.54

This statement suggests that even as she characterizes sexuality as “life


itself at the root” and repression of sex as repression “of sensuality,
of pride, and ambition,”55 she does not essentialize sex as ahistori-
cal or acultural. Beyond considering sex as an affirmation of natural
instincts and a source of pleasure, she considers sexuality to be a sig-
nificant social phenomenon—in contrast to the discourse of the Ameri-
can medical establishment, which delimited sex largely to the purpose
of procreation. The social value she assigns to sexual intercourse is
also articulated clearly in the fragment archived as “Sexual Instinct
and Creativity” (n.d.), where she writes: “[O]ne must recognize that
there are two functions of sex: One, the biologic, with procreation as
a goal—involving some intellectual but more emotional processes in
the interest of race perpetuation. The other consists of the promotion
of social growth through human relationships. This involves the play
function and erotic activity, with or without a procreative goal.”56 She
continues by explaining “two bases for the energy of the sexual drive”:
“[O]ne, conscious, directed, guided, subjected to ethical controls; the
other, unconscious, instinctual, impulsive, reacting to stimuli, but not
subject to reason.”57 She further explains in “The Hypocrisy of Puri-
tanism” (1910) that whereas moral standards may inhibit sexuality and
creativity and lead to monotony, “[e]very stimulus which quickens the
imagination and raises the spirits, is as necessary to our life as air. It
invigorates the body, and deepens our vision of human fellowship.”58
38 TONGUE OF FIRE

Goldman’s free love has an organic quality that is accentuated by her


hyperbolic rhetoric—“the fountain of life,”59 “a force of divine fire, of
life-giving,”60 “the harbinger of hope, of joy, of ecstasy,”61 “the voice of
love . . . calling, wildly beating against their breasts, demanding to be
heard, to be satisfied.”62
Most importantly, in terms of the social progress that anarchism
could bring to society, Goldman theorizes that the practice of free love
would remove any perceived antagonism between women and men. In
the following statement from “Marriage and Love” (1910), Goldman
expresses her deep conviction that sexual agency will reap social ben-
efits beyond the pleasures of intimacy:

Some day, some day men and women will rise, they will reach
the mountain peak, they will be big and strong and free, ready
to receive, ready to partake, and to bask in the golden rays of
love. What fancy, what imagination, what poetic genius can
foresee even approximately the potentialities of such a force in
the life of men and women. If the world is ever to give birth
to true companionship and oneness, not marriage, but love will
be the parent.63

In a sense, Goldman calls for a sexual “citizenry” where sexuality inter-


sects private and public and fosters social exchange. Making sexuality
normal and visible in public life does not mean the deprivatization of
intimacy however: “[E]ach love is the result of impressions and charac-
teristics the two people involved in give to it. Every love relation should
by its very nature remain an absolutely private affair. Neither the State,
the Church, morality, or people should meddle with it.”64 No longer
stigmatized within a realm of private sin, shame, and guilt, sexuality
and intimacy are healthy, mutual, personally gratifying, and accessible
in public. This was an especially radical proposition during a time when
a woman walking unescorted on a public street—let alone expressing
affection to a man—could easily be taken to be a whore.
To illustrate the implications of Goldman’s theorizing of pub-
lic sexual identity, consider the case of Amelia “Lizzie” Schauer. On
December 7, 1895, the New York Times reported on the disorderly con-
duct arrest of Amelia Elizabeth Schauer, “who is seventeen years old,
blue-eyed, comely and innocent looking” and was caught “going into
a hallway on First Street, near Second Avenue, with a man” at 11:30
BODIES THAT LOVE 39

p.m. on Wednesday night. Amelia informed the police officer that she
was a “respectable girl.” She explained that she had left the home of
her aunt, Mrs. Maggie Osterburg, that evening to go to another aunt’s
home because Osterburg could no longer afford to support her. Having
difficulty finding the home of her other aunt, identified as Mrs. Dit-
tmyer, Amelia had approached a man on the street to inquire about
the location of the Dittmyer residence—for either she had the wrong
address or the family had moved. “While she was with the man, who,
she said, was a stranger to her, she was arrested as a disorderly char-
acter,” the news report stated. Her family and friends attested that she
was a “girl of good character”; however, upon the hearing the testimony
provided by the police officer, who observed her with two men in front
of a saloon, the judge sentenced her to the workhouse on Blackwell’s
Island.65 The implications of Goldman’s advocacy for women’s sexual
agency are significant when one reflects on Schauer’s “crime” for being
in public with a man. Beyond expanding their participation in public
life, the normalization of sexual freedom would influence how women
are seen in public, shifting both the constitution of normative public
behavior and the social geography of gender.
During Goldman’s lifetime, it was single, working-class women––
who were not bound by the same expectations of virtue and chastity as
middle-class women and who worked in public spaces by necessity—
who embodied this new sexually assertive woman in the public streets,
dance halls, amusement parks, theaters, and factories of New York
City.66 So-called charity girls who engaged in sexual intimacy with men
for the sake of pleasure rather than economic gain inevitably “slipped in
and out of prostitution when unemployed or in need of extra income,”
notes Kathy Peiss (1986).67 Leisure activities that involve sexual rela-
tionships, however, come with a set of personal risks for women.

SEXUAL DANGER

Sexual freedom and the benefits derived from it require the freedom
for individuals to experience sexual pleasure and to enter and leave inti-
mate relationships as they choose, openly and non-monogamously—
and to do so without risk of harm to themselves or others. Implicit in
Goldman’s writing about sexual danger is the notion of sexual con-
sent and sovereignty; sex should not be coerced nor commodified. She
40 TONGUE OF FIRE

conceptualized sexual danger primarily through the lens of prostitu-


tion, by relating it to the business of sex trafficking and the institution
of marriage—both of which, she had had some firsthand experience.
In addition to two brief marriages—once in 1887, prior to the start of
her anarchist career, and the other in 1926, after her deportation, in
an attempt to change her citizenship—Goldman once felt impelled
to offer sex favors on the streets of New York City. In 1892, she was
desperate to raise money to support her comrade and lover, Alexander
Berkman, in his effort to plot the assassination of Pittsburgh steel-
works tycoon Henry Clay Frick.68 The cause of prostitution, according
to Goldman, was rooted in a capitalist system that rewarded women
solely on the basis of their sex value. As she writes in “The Traffic in
Women” (1910):

Nowhere is woman treated according to the merit of her work,


but rather as a sex. It is therefore almost inevitable that she
should pay for her right to exist, to keep a position in whatever
line, with sex favors. Thus it is merely a question of degree
whether she sells herself to one man, in or out of marriage,
or to many men. Whether our reformers admit it or not, the
economic and social inferiority of woman is responsible for
prostitution.69

The symbolic use of prostitution to mobilize resistance against sexual


oppression was commonly employed by anarchist women and free-love
advocates. DuBois and Gordon (1984) write:

While rape is an episode, prostitution suggests a condition


which takes hold of a woman for a long time, possibly for life,
difficult to escape from. The symbolic emphasis in prostitution
is on ownership, possession, purchase by men, while in rape
it is on pure violence. .  .  . [W ]hile rape can happen to any
woman, prostitution involves the separation of women into the
good and the bad, a division with class implications.70

This powerful image of masculine control was later employed in sec-


ond-wave feminism to raise awareness of economic and legal inequali-
ties, in addition to the problem of sexual violence against women.
BODIES THAT LOVE 41

Goldman also identified the risks of venereal disease, unwanted


conception, and abortion, which go along with prostitution and mar-
riage. In “The Hypocrisy of Puritanism” (1910), she calls attention to
the secrecy and professional incompetence in which abortions were
carried out and which placed women’s lives in grave danger.71 In “The
Social Aspects of Birth Control” (1916), she describes the reality of
repeated pregnancies that lead to so-called female troubles: “a lucrative
condition for unscrupulous medical men.”72 Married men’s patronage
at brothels caused their wives to contract venereal diseases, which were
in turn passed on to their children.73 Aligning herself with the eugenics
movement and the social theory of Robert Malthus, she argued that
access to birth control will quell the “insatiable” capitalist motive of
breeding “over-worked and underfed” workers and soldiers, and it will
improve the quality of life of women and children—especially in the
case of working-class women who must work outside the home even as
they are compelled to bear unwanted children.74 In addition to defin-
ing birth control as a social imperative, Goldman addresses the science
of birth-control methods and diseases related to sexual activity and
pregnancy—and her certification and experience as a nurse-midwife
positioned her as an expert on the subject. In 1916, Goldman was
convicted in a special sessions court for violating the Comstock Act,
which prohibited the dissemination of information about birth control.
A story about her trial appearing in the tabloid publication the Day
Book reported that the two police officers who testified “swore they
heard a birth control lecture attended by many society and clubwomen
and that Miss Goldman’s statements were ‘obscene,’ ” while Goldman
argued, “I have committed no offense. . . . I have simply given to the
poorer women in my audience information that any wealthy woman
can obtain secretly from her physician who does not fear prosecution.
I have offered them advice as to how to escape the burden of large
families without resorting to illegal operations.”75
In connecting economic oppression to sexual oppression, Gold-
man does not present women as helpless victims. She recognizes that
women’s bodies are regulated by the capitalist system, the medical pro-
fession, and the police, but she also insists that women’s agency is the
solution, whether women are compelled to prostitution for economic
gain, in an attempt to flee a “cruel, wretched life at home,” or to break
free from sexual repression and satisfy that which is “human nature.”76
42 TONGUE OF FIRE

Empowering women with knowledge about sexuality, contraception,


and self-care in the face of the risks associated with sex is essential
to their well-being and quality of life. Moreover, she believes that the
benefits of sexual freedom far outweigh the risks, which could be man-
aged to some degree through the practice of birth control.
However, even if the free society Goldman envisioned was able to
minimize the sexual dangers noted above, another risk remained: “the
green-eyed monster.” In “Jealousy: Causes and a Possible Cure” (1915),
she explains how “the domestication and ownership of women” under
capitalism created a “sex monopoly” out of marriage and monogamy.77
Feelings of possessiveness and envy are the emotional dimension of an
economic system that values production, competition, and consump-
tion. Goldman also identifies the gendered manifestation of jealousy
as the “conceit of the male,” who sees himself as “the conqueror” of
women, and the “envy of the female,” who sees other women as a threat
to her “precious property.”78 She theorizes that the solution to this cap-
italist ethos is voluntary love, which requires every man and woman to
relinquish ownership and “leave the doors of their love wide open . . .
[W]here there are no locks and keys there is no place for suspicion and
distrust.”79 Yet, as Candace Falk recounts in Love, Anarchy and Emma
Goldman (1984), Goldman’s autobiography and personal letters reveal
that, even as she theorized the influence of capitalism on human rela-
tionships, she was emotionally tormented by her attachment to long-
time lover, Ben Reitman, who frequently sought out sexual encounters
with other women. Goldman describes her first interaction with Reit-
man in her autobiography: “I was caught in a torrent of an elemental
passion I had never dreamed any man could arouse in me. I responded
shamelessly to its primitive call, its naked beauty, its ecstatic joy.”80 In
her biography of Goldman, Alex Wexler (1984) notes that “Goldman
had always attacked conventional notions of monogamy and fidelity.
She lived her own life as a free woman, loving men outside of marriage,
and indeed outside of any conventional relationship. . . . Still, to her
free love was not indiscriminate sex, nor Reitman’s casual encounters,
nor sex divorced from love.”81 Goldman thus considered the risk of
jealousy in intimate relationships as part of the human social condi-
tion, one that anyone “capable of an intense conscious inner life need
ever hope to escape.”82 Compared to the pain of jealousy, repression of
sexual desire was a far greater problem.
BODIES THAT LOVE 43

Goldman argues that women, more so than men, repress their sexu-
ality by upholding “Puritanic” notions of morality—not being “free and
big enough to learn the mystery of sex.”83 She urged women to refuse
to conform to the external forces that upheld misguided notions of
feminine purity. In the draft essay “The Element of Sex in Life” (n.d.),
Goldman identifies moral authority as the source of the problem:

Whole blocks on Main Street assume that “sex knowledge” is


of questionable propriety, or, at best, to be kept dark in “doc-
tor-books;” or regard it as the banal possession of the frankly
shameless. As a result, most pseudo-scientific “sex” literature
slops [sic] over into the emotions and lets facts alone, or pres-
ents facts under disguises. Much of it has not biologic back-
ground or anything of the laws of life which govern man no
less than every living thing. It is fear (sometimes called “rever-
ence” [sic]) that makes us “let sex alone.” It is mock modesty
and foolish shame, masquerading under the name “decency,”
that compels museums to clothe marble fauns and [cover]
Joves and bronze cupids with plaster-of-paris fig leaves. . . .
And so it came about that the commonest thing in nature next
to keeping alive became invested with the sanctity of heaven.84

Taking aim at the double standard applied to women, she also chastises
“a ridiculous sexual morality” 85 that upholds “sex is stronger in the male
than the female” and “[s]ex is disgraceful for nice girls.”86 Insofar as
sexual expression is fundamental to both health and happiness, humans
are ultimately “much more of a sex creature than a moral creature,”87
she argues. Her appeal for women to develop sexual awareness thus
challenged the social purity and anti-obscenity campaigns’ attempt to
keep sex privatized and assert a moral, asexual feminine ideal. Ulti-
mately, she diagnosed the suppression of sexuality to be a danger along-
side prostitution, venereal disease, and jealousy.
Goldman explains the consequences of sexual restraint in the
case of unmarried women in “The Hypocrisy of Puritanism” (1910)
by citing the work of Sigmund Freud: “Absolute sexual continence is
imposed upon the unmarried woman, under pain of being considered
immoral or fallen, with the result of producing neurasthenia, impo-
tence, depression and a great variety of nervous complaints.”88 In the
44 TONGUE OF FIRE

aforementioned draft essay “The Element of Sex in Life” (n.d.), she


diagnoses “sexual frigidity of woman” as either “prescribed by conven-
tional morality . . . or else because the particular man with whom she
has had intercourse has not succeeded rightly in awakening her erotic
sensibility.” 89 She continues, “In point of truth, many wives dare not
give themselves to the uttermost for fear that their husbands would
find them too aggressive, lacking in the right kind of femininity. Most
men are brought up to believe that woman must be taken and not give
herself gladly and joyously in love and passion.” 90 She extends her
indictment of the guilty shame caused by sexual morality to childhood
development, arguing that sexual impulses begin at birth. Quoting the
German philosopher Max Stirner’s “The Ego and His Own” to depict
vividly “the sexuality starved,” she writes:

Poor child, how often the passions may have beaten at your
heart, and the rich powers of youth have demanded their right?
When your head rolled in the soft pillow, how awakening
nature quivered through your limbs, the blood swelled your
veins and fiery fancies poured the gleam of voluptuousness
into your eyes. Then appeared the ghosts of the soul and its
external bliss. You were terrified, your hands folded themselves,
your tormented eyes turned its look upward, you prayed. The
storms of nature were hushed, a calm glided over the ocean of
your appetites. Slowly the weary eye-lids [sic] sank over the life
extinguished under them. . . . Now the habit of renunciation
cools the heat of your desire.91

Believing that the effects of childhood sexual repression last into adult-
hood and take a toll on women’s health and vitality, Goldman advo-
cated the necessity for sex education. In “The Social Importance of the
Modern School” (1912), she writes:

[T]he evil and sinister results of ignorance in sex matters. Yet,


they [educators] have neither understanding nor humanity
enough to break down the wall which puritanism has built
around sex. .  .  . If in childhood both man and woman were
taught a beautiful comradeship, it would neutralize the over-
sexed condition of both and would help woman’s emancipation
much more than all the laws upon the statute books and her
right to vote.92
BODIES THAT LOVE 45

Thus, beyond promoting knowledge of sex and the human body, sex
education, as Goldman sees it, should be aimed at eliminating artificial
social division and moral order.
It is clear that Goldman’s critique of the role of capitalism and
morality in causing sexual danger was far-reaching in its consideration
of both psychological and social implications; however, it is also appar-
ent from the discussion above that her critique focused on addressing
the relationship “between the sexes” (emphasis added). In this regard,
consistent with the oppositional binary implicit in the discourse of the
sex question as it was debated during her lifetime, Goldman’s public
advocacy tended to affirm heteronormativity even as it theorized a
broader definition of human sexuality that embraced homosexuality.

SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS

Goldman’s advocating for the removal of the influence of the state and
religion from personal relationships had significant implications for
the emerging movement for the rights of homosexuals. The gay rights
movement in the United States had barely begun during her lifetime;
however, in Germany and England the first wave had manifested itself
in the form of literary and scientific works and an early gay liberation
organization called the Scientific Humanitarian Committee. In addi-
tion to publishing a journal, the Committee launched a public petition
campaign in 1897 against a Prussian penal code that criminalized male
homosexuality.93 Goldman familiarized herself with the European lit-
erature, interacted with members of the gay community in Greenwich
Village, New York City, and became “[o]ne of the first public support-
ers of gay rights in the United States.”94 In A Queer History of the United
States (2011), Michael Bronski notes that the available terminology in
the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries limited what writers
and activists could say about homosexuality. During Goldman’s life-
time, the terms “invert” and “homosexual” were widely used by social
scientists, journalists, and others, and the term “lesbian” was introduced
in 1897 by Havelock Ellis.95 Similar to female reproductive “disorders,”
homosexuality fell under the scrutiny of the medical profession that
prescribed vasectomy and ovary removal to “cure” men and women of
their sexual “perversion.”96
Goldman spoke and wrote about the oppression of homosexu-
als, although this dimension of her work isn’t well documented in her
46 TONGUE OF FIRE

published speeches and writings, which focus almost exclusively on


heterosexual relationships. Anarchism and Other Essays (1910) is a col-
lection of essays that presumably represents her vision of anarchism;
however, she chose to exclude from this book arguments expressed
elsewhere that address same-sex relationships and the persecution of
homosexuals as these arguments relate to the cause of free love. This
omission can be understood in several possible ways: an act of self-
censorship of ideas that violated normative constructs of heterosexual-
ity, an attempt to adapt her radical arguments to popular audiences
(including for the purpose of selling her book), and/or a sign that she
had not yet (in 1910) fully developed or committed to an argument
for the normalization of homosexuality. Yet, according to her autobiog-
raphy, five years later during a 1915 lecture tour, she defended homo-
sexuality vigorously as part of her argument against sexual oppression
in the face of resistance from both the police and anarchist comrades:

Censorship came from some of my own comrades because I


was treating such “unnatural” themes as homosexuality. Anar-
chism was already enough misunderstood, and anarchists
considered depraved; it was inadvisable to add to the mis-
conceptions by taking up perverted sex-forms, they argued.
Believing in freedom of opinion, even if it went against me, I
minded the censors in my own ranks as little as I did those in
the enemy’s camp. In fact, censorship from my comrades had
the same effect on me as police persecution; it made me surer
of myself, more determined to plead for every victim, be it one
of social wrong or of moral prejudice.97

She continued with an expression of empathy for the men and women
who suffer from social isolation because of their so-called disease and
proclaimed anarchism to be “the living influence to free us from inhibi-
tions, internal no less than external, from the destructive barriers that
separate man from man [sic].”98
By defining sex as a significant social force—that is, sex is just as
much about social intimacy and pleasure as it is about procreation—
Goldman certainly created an opening for recognizing homosexual and
heterosexual relationships equally. As discussed earlier, she believed
that repression of sexuality stifled human ingenuity and creativity.
During a trip to Paris in 1900, Goldman came to the defense of the
poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, who was persecuted in England
BODIES THAT LOVE 47

as a homosexual. And, in “The Hypocrisy of Puritanism” (1910), she


attributed his imprisonment and death to the “reign of terror” and “toll”
of Puritanism.99 She also frequently praised and published the poetry
of another gay writer, Walt Whitman, whom she considered a cham-
pion for sexual freedom in his rejection of the sexual status quo.100 In
addition to attending Walt Whitman Fellowship International meet-
ings aimed at extending the influence of his writings,101 in 1917 she
delivered a lecture in praise of Whitman and the artistic inspiration
that comes from sexual freedom titled, “Walt Whitman, the Liberator
of Sex.”102 Ten years later in a personal letter to the American novelist
Evelyn Scott, reflecting on the challenges Whitman faced in his career
due to public scrutiny of his sexuality, Goldman writes, “The fools do
not seem to realize that Walt Whitman’s greatness as a rebel and poet
may have been conditioned in his sexual differentiation, and that he
could not be otherwise than what he was.”103
Other writings from different points in her career further affirm
that Goldman had embraced a liberal perspective of sexuality, even
though she privileged heterosexuality in her major published works—
for example, “Marriage and Love,” “Woman’s Suffrage,” and “The Trag-
edy of Woman’s Emancipation,” which are included in Anarchism and
Other Essays (1910). In “The New Woman” (1898) she states, “To assert
that freedom of the sex relations is the natural law is interpreted to
mean free lust”—in other words, to indulge in sexual desire freely.104 In
the draft “The Element of Sex in Life” (n.d.), her definition of sexual
desire transcends turn-of-the-century constructs of heteronormativity
and Victorian morality: “The concept of ‘falling in love’ may apply to
self, to members of one’s own or the opposite sex. . . . This is true for
the unmarried no less than for the married, although society makes
the adjustment a challenge, a propriety, a question.”105 Citing the latest
research on the “varied sex experiences” 106 of the married and unmar-
ried, she further argues:

Sexual activity in one of its many phases exists—whether in


active erotic play, auto-erotic, homosexual or heterosexual prac-
tice, or as an esthetic or vocational sublimation. Its nature and
intensity are subject to personal choice, judgment, standards,
and ideals which are regulative but not destructive—tempo-
rarily prohibitive rather than permanently inhibitive. If one
assumes that sexual life is and must be limited by social sanc-
tion to those living in wedlock, then what do those living in
48 TONGUE OF FIRE

unmarriage [sic] do or what may they do? The question is not


what they can do, as this is identical for both groups.107

As the draft continued, she also critiques the social regulation of both
heterosexual and homosexual relationships: “Economic inadequacy
does not stamp out heterosexual urges any more than the enactment
of a punitive law can destroy homosexual impulses.”108 These remarks
affirm Goldman’s open view of human sexuality.
Additional evidence of Goldman’s support for homosexuality—
both male and female—as a form of natural expression takes the form
of a published letter addressed to Magnus Hirschfeld, editor of Jahr-
buch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen and founder of the Scientific Humani-
tarian Committee, an organization dedicated to promoting the rights
of homosexuals. Goldman’s letter to Hirschfeld (1923), which was
written in English and published in German, is a response to an essay
authored by Karl von Levetzow who alleged that French anarchist
Louise Michel, a friend of Goldman’s who died in 1905, was a lesbian.
Goldman began the letter to Hirschfeld:

I have been familiar with your great work on sex psychology for
a number of years. I have admired the brave struggle you have
made for the rights of people who, by their very nature, can
not [sic] find sex expression in what is commonly called “the
normal way.” . . . I thank you for [the] . . . able and heroic stand
you have taken against ignorance and hypocrisy on behalf of
light and humanism. . . . I may, indeed, consider it a tragedy
for those who are sexually differentiate in a world so bereft of
understanding for the homosexual, or so ignorant of the mean-
ing and importance of the whole gamut of sex. But I certainly
do not think such people inferior, less moral, or less capable
of fine feelings and actions. Least of all should I consider it
necessary to “clear” my illustrious teacher and comrade, Louise
Michel, of the charge of homosexuality. Her value to human-
ity, her contribution to the emancipation of all the slaves, is so
great that nothing could add or detract from her, whatever her
sexual gratifications may have been.109

An English translation of the German publication in Gay American


History (1976) by Jonathan Katz employs slightly different language:
BODIES THAT LOVE 49

“It is a tragedy, I feel, that people of a different sexual type are caught
in a world which shows so little understanding for homosexuals, is so
crassly indifferent to the various gradations and variations of gender
and their great significance in life.”110 In any case, Goldman’s defense
of Michel affirms that she did not limit normal sexual intimacy to
heterosexual relationships. In the same letter, she rejects stereotyped
notions of homosexual “traits and characteristics inherent in them-
selves” and states, “As an Anarchist, my place has ever been with the
persecuted. . . . I used my pen and voice in [sic] behalf of those whom
nature, herself, has destined to be different in their sex psychology and
needs.”111 She also attributes her rejection of the oppression of homo-
sexuals to her interactions with lesbians she met while in prison, along
with the writings of Edward Carpenter, Havelock Ellis, and Richard
von Krafft-Ebing.
Some scholars have speculated that Goldman was not only intel-
lectually committed to upholding an inclusive philosophy of sexuality,
but that she had engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman. In
her historical account of anarchist-feminism, Marsh notes that Gold-
man was a close friend of Margaret Anderson, a founder and editor of
The Little Review, a journal that featured avant-garde works of art and
fiction, including writings about women in same-sex intimate relation-
ships. Anderson believed homosexuality to be “a more normal form of
sexual behavior than heterosexuality” and “she and her friends repre-
sented the link between the anarchist-feminist idea of sexual liberation
. . . and the bohemian idea of sexual liberation.” 112 Based on a reading
of sustained personal correspondence, both Candace Falk (1984) and
Jonathan Katz (1992) speculate that Goldman had a brief romantic
relationship with Almeda Sperry, a prostitute and free-love advocate
who wrote a series of direct and vivid love letters to Goldman dur-
ing the time that Goldman’s romance with Ben Reitman was waning,
although the tone of the letters suggest that Goldman did not share
the same degree of intense feelings as Sperry.113 Thus, even as Goldman
associated with Havelock Ellis, a sexologist who treated female homo-
sexuality as a sign of inversion or taking on the opposite gender/sex,
it is possible that she differed with him on this point while applaud-
ing his and fellow colleagues’ attempts to dispel the popular notion
that homosexuality was a disease and a moral violation. Furthermore,
as noted above, any assessment of Goldman’s contribution (or lack
thereof ) to the emerging discourse on the rights of homosexuals should
50 TONGUE OF FIRE

recognize that the existing terminology that was available to her and
other activists to define and explain homosexuality was still somewhat
new and in the process of being redefined during her lifetime. In any
case, it is clear that she interpreted the emerging politics of homosexu-
ality through the lens of an anarchist-feminist philosophy that upheld
the freedom to love.
As sexuality and sexual behavior were being redefined by the dis-
courses of science, psychology, and political movements, the addition
of Goldman’s brazen and persistent female voice to the sea of male
sex “experts” marked an important shift toward establishing the pos-
sibilities for female agency. By conceptualizing individual autonomy
as an a priori “living force,” she defined agency—the aspiring, desiring,
ever-becoming individual—as the only means for women and men to
overcome the limitations of thought and behavior, including the dual-
istic notions of gender/sex, imposed by systemic authority. Goldman
advocated a broad vision of sexual freedom in a cultural setting where
sex was treated as pathology, women’s bodies were controlled by their
husbands and the masculine medical establishment, and heteronor-
mativity was compulsory. Her ideal of womanhood valued personal
autonomy, communal engagement, creativity, and sensuality.
Goldman’s identification of the source of oppression—both
women’s and men’s—was far reaching, too. The discourse of the sex
question as it is was debated during her lifetime reiterated public/pri-
vate and masculine/feminine constructs even as it questioned them.
While Goldman did not critique masculine dominance to the same
degree that she critiqued feminine acquiescence within the capitalism
system114—a critique that would have necessitated a solution directed
at men—she targeted authority in its totality and called upon both
women and men to take personal responsibility for freeing themselves
and their bodies from the “internal and external” forces that worked
against their health, happiness, and dignity. The closing statement in
the draft essay “The Element of Sex in Life” (n.d.) underscores her
stance on sexual freedom:

Because I so completely agree with this point of view and


because I know the disastrous result of the old idea of sex I
find it imperative to call your attention to the need of treating
the sex question frankly and without the subterfuge usually
employed when referring to sex. With the greatest and freest
BODIES THAT LOVE 51

spirits and poet Walt Whitman I say, “Where sex is missing


everything is missing.” Let us get rid of the mock modesty so
prevalent on the surface of polite society, let us liberate sex
from the falsehood and degradation and let us realize that sex
is a dominant factor for good in life. 115

Goldman lived long enough to witness this new idea of sex begin to
take hold.
In Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (2012), John
D’Emilio and Estelle Freedman describe the cultural shift in sexual-
ity that unfolded by the 1920s: “[t]he new positive value attributed to
the erotic, the growing autonomy of youth, the association of sex with
commercialized leisure and self-expression, the pursuit of love, the vis-
ibility of the erotic in popular culture, the social interaction of men and
women in public, the legitimation of female interest in the sexual.”116
Goldman contributed to this shift by talking and writing about sexual-
ity, empowering her audiences to think of themselves as sexual beings,
and providing them with a framework for discussing sex in public. In
many ways, she was a predecessor to French existentialist Simone de
Beauvoir (1908–1986), widely recognized within second-wave femi-
nism for her book The Second Sex (1949), in explaining social attitudes
about sex and gender and theorizing the role of sexuality in women’s
psychological development. Both Goldman and de Beauvoir sought
to empower women to take command of their own bodies (a radical
idea in a culture where men controlled when, where, and how women
had sex) and achieve sexual fulfillment. Additionally, Goldman’s sex-
positive legacy is reflected in the Boston Women’s Health Collective’s
Our Bodies, Ourselves, a groundbreaking guide to women’s sexual health
and knowledge first published in 1971, and the Good Vibrations fem-
inist-identified retail sex shop established in San Francisco, California,
in 1977. Both of these organizations continue to operate today with
a mission focused on women’s sexual health and pleasure. And, in the
context of the 1990s third-wave feminism, Goldman became a symbol
of revolution and “girl power” in punk feminism and Riot Grrrl dis-
course.117 Her celebration of sexual freedom coupled with the anger
she directed at authority has staying power among activists. Although
her ideas were inevitably interpreted within the discourse of capital-
ism, she helped forge an opening for a non-normative sexuality and
public culture.
3
Sex, Labor, and the Public Sphere

The habit of employing girls in stores is becoming too fashion-


able. The practice should be discountenanced, except in places
visited only by ladies. It violates the natural modesty of the
female character, and strips it of that coy reserve which consti-
tutes its chief loveliness. The retirement of the domestic circle,
and not the busy walks of commerce, is the legitimate sphere of
woman. Take her from that position—where nature placed her—
and she loses caste, and endangers her virtue.
—Rochester Gem and Ladies’ Amulet, 1838

We now see woman in that sphere for which she was originally
intended, and which she is so exactly fitted to adorn and bless,
as the wife, the mistress of a home, the solace, the aid, and the
counsellor of that ONE, for whose sake alone the world is of any
consequence to her.
—George W. Burnap, On The Sphere and Duties of Woman, 1848

T he normative association of men’s work (paid labor) with the public


sphere and women’s work (unpaid domestic labor) with the private
sphere is a dichotomy that has long supported an unequal sexual divi-
sion of labor, as well as a false separation of public and private spheres.
However, this dichotomy obscures the complexity of interrelationships
that actually exist between public and private life. For example, paid
public work supports one’s private life, domestic work such as caring
for children and cooking supports public life (albeit without exchange
in the market), private institutions make monetary contributions to
and influence decision-making of public institutions, and private issues
such as intimate partner violence and rape are matters of public policy.

53
54 TONGUE OF FIRE

In the context of the early women’s movement, the dichotomy between


public and private was disrupted by the very discussion of reproductive
freedom, contraception, sexuality, and other so-called private matters
in public forums—such topics were best not spoken of at all, and, if
necessary, whispered only in private. Moreover, any discourse about sex
deemed to be obscene or lewd, including the dissemination of infor-
mation about birth control, was illegal according to the Comstock Act
of 1873.
To be female and speak about licentious subjects amplified the
seeming contradiction between what was seen as true womanhood and
public life. Of course, women who worked in public spaces as secre-
taries, teachers, textile workers, and the like also disrupted the gen-
dered separation of public and private spheres. For middle-class white
women, in particular, working out in the open or on display—that is,
where they could be observed by men—was perceived as inappropriate
behavior. Because “no ‘good’ woman would seek such employment,”
the sexual misconduct of “public women” was a matter of curiosity and
concern—not to mention fodder for gossip—during the initial years of
women’s entry into men’s sphere, writes Glenna Matthews in The Rise
of Public Woman (1992).1 Their presence in public thus made them more
vulnerable to a masculine gaze far more abstract and impersonal than
women experienced in private. Yet, insofar as the presence of working
women in public symbolized a widening terrain of agency, their visible
bodies symbolized the permeability of gendered spheres and a female
agency and identity that existed beyond household life.
Emma Goldman’s public advocacy on labor issues, as well as her
own livelihood, demonstrated the intersection between public and pri-
vate spheres. As an immigrant who needed to earn a living, she sought
employment outside the home and experienced firsthand the reality of
sweatshop working conditions so common in industrial cities. Upon
her immigration to the United States in 1885 and arrival in Rochester,
New York, Goldman worked in a garment factory in a grueling job
with long hours, weekly wages of just two dollars and fifty cents, and
close management surveillance of worker productivity.2 In 1893, she
prepared for a career change while she was incarcerated at Blackwell’s
Island prison by undergoing nurse-apprentice training and assisting
with the medical care of female inmates, including prostitutes. This
experience led her to seek formal training in Vienna in 1895, and, upon
her return, she worked as a nurse-midwife for a period of time in New
SEX, LABOR, AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE 55

York City among poor immigrant women in the Lower East Side.3
As she gained notoriety as an anarchist speaker, she eventually made
a living out of anarchism by charging fees for her lectures and for the
purchase of her monthly journal, Mother Earth, which cost ten cents
per copy or one dollar for a year subscription in 1906. Through these
wide-ranging work experiences, she came to identify the devaluing
of women’s labor and the work of laborers in general as rooted in an
unjust capitalist system. By addressing both private and public forms
of work, she drew attention to the ways in which capitalism sustained
relations of power in both the private and public lives of women. Her
model of womanhood rejected the separation of public and private
spheres by recognizing domestic work such as compulsory motherhood
as a public issue and a form of exploitative labor. Likewise, examining
the bleak conditions of women’s paid work, she diagnosed the negative
impact that grueling manufacturing work and tedious clerical jobs had
on women’s personal well-being, particularly their creativity and sexual
vitality. In other words, Goldman saw the public in the private and the
private in the public.
This chapter examines Goldman’s relationship with the labor
movement and her response to the labor conditions of women, particu-
larly the commodification of sex and reproduction. I demonstrate the
ways she interweaves public and private realms of life in her anarchist-
feminist conception of womanhood. By treating work in the context
of motherhood, the home, and the family as a form of labor worthy of
public recognition and debate, Goldman launched a critique of capi-
talism that continues to have relevance to debates about the value and
scope of women’s work.

GOLDMAN AND THE LABOR MOVEMENT

Goldman was an ardent spokesperson for the struggle of workers


around the world. On the one hand, her association with the Ameri-
can labor movement was limited insofar as she viewed organized labor
activism—which was largely tied to the socialist movement—as incon-
gruous with the anarchist rejection of institutionalized authority. On
the other hand, she positioned herself as an advocate for workers of
all classes and ethnicities, beyond national borders, and, on occasion,
supported specific labor movement struggles. The anarchist movement
56 TONGUE OF FIRE

needed the support of organized workers even as it promoted inde-


pendent and cooperative action as the appropriate method of bringing
about social change. Candace Falk (2005) writes, “Goldman was often
welcomed in places that had most recently undergone intense labor
strife, where she could offer her immediate fundraising support for
strikers and engage the community in political debate, pitting the anar-
chist perspective against the various socialist strategies on unionization
and the rights of workers.”4
Goldman arrived in the United States at a time when workers
were subject to an unregulated labor market and when women, immi-
grants, people of color, and children were the least protected against
hazardous conditions and unfair wages. In fact, the majority of female
workers, especially in large cities, were immigrants.5 Living conditions
were likewise wretched in urban areas as the influx of immigrants led
to increasing problems of overcrowding and poverty.6 While her own
experience as an immigrant worker enabled her to identify with the
plight of the common laborer, Goldman associated the full awaken-
ing of her political consciousness not with her firsthand experience
of labor conditions, but with the bombing of Chicago’s Haymarket
Square. The bombing occurred in an open square on May 4, 1886,
during a labor demonstration in support of establishing an eight-hour
workday. Although the culprit was never identified, eight anarchists
were indicted and deemed guilty as charged. Seven of the eight were
immigrants.7 She identifies the wrongful hanging of four of these men
as the turning point in her life that led her to pursue the cause of
these innocent “martyrs.”8 Several years later, in 1892, she found herself
plotting alongside comrade Alexander Berkman on the assassination
of Henry Clay Frick, manager of the Carnegie Steel Company, Ltd.
Frick had called in Pinkerton guards to squash striking Homestead
Steel Works laborers.9 The attentat against Frick failed and Berkman
alone was prosecuted and imprisoned, but Goldman’s involvement was
a testament to her resolve when it came to addressing the injustices of
capitalism. Lacking political representation, immigrant workers such
as Goldman felt they had no choice but to turn to radicalism in order
to be heard.
The number of immigrants in the United States steadily grew with
close to twelve million arriving between 1890 and 1910.10 A movement
toward nativism arose in response to the perception that immigrants
were the major actors behind union organizing and the belief that
SEX, LABOR, AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE 57

they acquired jobs at the expense of workers of native origin. Debates


over the relative worth of so-called ethnic members of the popula-
tion created extreme sensitivity to the question of their constitutional
rights. Because native-born Americans had a lower birth rate than
immigrants, speculations of race suicide emerged along with the alle-
gation that immigrants could potentially gain unprecedented political
representation due to their large numbers, a realization that factored
into the birth control debate, which I discuss in chapter 2. On the con-
trary, because of negative stereotypes, immigrants experienced enor-
mous difficulty gaining representation both within the polity and labor
organizations.
Immigrants were not welcome to join the membership of most
labor groups. Philip S. Foner’s (1975) landmark labor research shows
that the American Federation of Labor (AFL) upheld stringent regula-
tions regarding immigrant membership that made it virtually impossi-
ble to join while other organizations excluded immigrants completely.11
Perhaps it is because of the specific nature of their exploitation as
foreign-born workers and their exclusion from mainstream labor
groups that immigrants tended to join the ranks of militant organiza-
tions such as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW ). Despite
some factional power struggles in its early years, the IWW developed
a reputation for welcoming all workers as members of “One Big Union”
regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, or nationality.12 It especially attracted
young radicals interested in socialism and sometimes utilized violent
strike tactics, whereas the AFL tended to engage in more peaceful or
adjustive means such as collective bargaining. The IWW was a unique
organization in that unlike the various trade unions, it recognized the
solidarity of workers from all fields of employment. Furthermore, in
addition to representing marginalized workers, it was active in the
struggle for freedom of speech and the right to dissent. Even though
most anarchists tended to avoid associating with socialists and orga-
nized labor—with the exception of anarcho-syndicalists who viewed
unionism as a practical means for revolutionizing the economy and
society—many were willing to offer support especially when demon-
strating union members were being mistreated by authorities.
Goldman offered support to the “Wobblies” (as IWW members
were called), for example, during the 1912 free-speech struggle in San
Diego, California. Beginning in 1911, a series of free-speech conflicts
arose in the city in response to IWW activism in support of Mexican
58 TONGUE OF FIRE

revolutionaries and an ensuing prohibition of open-air public meet-


ings enacted by City Council in January 1912.13 IWW members who
protested the city ordinance were reportedly subject to violent acts of
clubbing by police officers and vigilante citizens. In her autobiography,
Goldman describes the chaotic scene of San Diego:

The patriots, known as Vigilantes, had converted the city into


a battle-field [sic]. They beat, clubbed, and killed men and
women who still believed in their constitutional rights. Hun-
dreds of them had come to San Diego from every part of the
United States to participate in the campaign. They travelled in
box cars, on the bumpers, on the roofs of trains, every moment
in danger of their lives, yet sustained by the holy quest for
freedom of speech, for which their comrades were already fill-
ing the jails.14

Firmly believing free speech to be critical to the anarchist cause and


realizing that the struggle in San Diego was one of national signifi-
cance, she provided support to the demonstrators by raising funds for
the IWW and organizing a food station.15
While Goldman generally supported the inclusive politics and
protest methods of the Wobblies, she was not willing to support the
socialist-identified labor organization or movement as a whole on the
principle that it failed to recognize the oppression of individual auton-
omy and creativity caused by institutionalized authority. Whereas some
labor organizations embraced workers’ ownership and management of
industry, she considered all forms of property and authority as the
source of human oppression: “The State and the political and economic
institutions it supports can exist only by fashioning the individual to
their particular purpose . . . teaching him [sic] obedience, submission
and unquestioning faith in the wisdom and justice of government.”16 In
a critique of socialism titled, “Socialism: Caught in the Political Trap”
(1911), she thus argues that socialists were misguided in their attempt
to organize a workers party.17 Perhaps her most biting critique of the
labor movement is illustrated by a Labor Day address delivered on
September 7, 1908:

Labor Day! What a deep and significant meaning the term


implies! Labor, the creator of wealth, the nourisher of the
SEX, LABOR, AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE 59

human race, the harbinger of peace and happiness. . . . And


you, army of unemployed, you men and women of the road and
the street, you countless numbers, who carry the banner, month
after month, week after week, you, with empty stomachs and
dull, heavy heads, with hunger and despair lurking in your eyes,
what has labor done for you?18

Lambasting the hypocrisy of the Labor Day tradition in front of a


gathering of unemployed men and women in New York City’s Cooper
Union, Goldman called attention to the need to organize those who
“have been idle, not by choice, but by grim, iron necessity.”19
The IWW was founded upon anarchist-syndicalism, a branch of
anarchism that embraced the concept of political organization based on
a revolutionary class struggle of all workers without interference from
the state.20 Goldman, too, believed in the need for workers to engage
in mass collective action. In a Mother Earth pamphlet titled The Road
to Universal Slaughter (1915), she writes, “Industrial and economic pre-
paredness is what the workers need. That alone leads to revolution at
the bottom as against mass destruction at the top. . . . That alone will
give the people the means to take their children out of the slums, out
of the sweat shops and the cotton mills.”21 Insofar as she believed that
the most effective collective action for workers is direct action—that is,
a spontaneous, unplanned strike where the establishment has no time
to prepare for retaliation—she identified with the IWW’s use of direct-
confrontation tactics against labor authorities.22 In “Anarchism: What
it Really Stands For” (1910), she explains, “Anarchism . . . stands for
direct action, open defiance of, and resistance to, all laws and restric-
tions, economic, social, and moral. Therein lies the salvation of man.
Everything illegal necessitates integrity, self-reliance, and courage.”23
And, in this regard, Goldman was willing to go to prison for her ideals
and actions. She was imprisoned for one year for incitement to riot
when, following a speech delivered in 1893, she instructed an audience
of unemployed workers in New York City’s Union Square to simply
“take bread” if they are hungry.24 On another occasion, reflecting on an
unsuccessful San Francisco rail strike, in a lecture on “Trade Unionism”
(1907) she observes, “Just think how easily they [the strikers] could
have won, if instead the Carmen [sic] decided to strike on the spur of
the moment, at a busy time of the day, left the cars on the tracks, and
refused to move them.”25
60 TONGUE OF FIRE

As an agitator, Goldman presented herself as a spokeswoman for


the downtrodden working class, the unemployed, those who were at
the bottom of the class system—even as her gradual rise in notoriety
as “Red Emma” perhaps removed her from the everyday reality of the
common worker. She strongly identified with the plight of the poor
and viewed middle-class people as no more than privileged snobs, who
in their misguided pursuit of material wealth and power failed to rec-
ognize true human freedom and creativity: “The only demand that
property recognizes is its own gluttonous appetite for greater wealth,
because wealth means power; the power to subdue, to crush, to exploit,
the power to enslave, to outrage, to degrade.”26 The principal problem
of labor, argues Goldman, is the disassociation between the worker
and the things (s)he creates. While the working class engages in the
necessary production of goods, the middle and upper classes are the
beneficiaries in terms of wealth, privilege, and independence: “Man
[sic] is being robbed not merely of the products of his labor, but of the
power of free initiative, of originality, and the interest in, or desire for,
the things he is making.”27
In conceptualizing the worker, Goldman addressed both women
and men, and those who engage in both physical and mental labor.
Although her speeches and writings convey her empathy for the com-
mon laborer—and especially “working girls”—she also attempted to
reach out to “intellectual proletarians.” As she remarks in Mother Earth,
“I have addressed them all, been with them all. Men with not enough
knowledge to write their name, men who have been hardened and
brutalized by drudgery and poverty.”28 Consistent with her Russian-
Jewish upbringing, as I discuss further in chapter 4, Goldman placed
high value on intellectual activity, although she believed that intellectu-
als had not adequately contributed to the cause for human liberation
because “they are so steeped in middle-class traditions and conventions,
so tied and gagged by them, that they dare not move a step. . . . [They]
are still so much of the bourgeois regime that their sympathy with
the workers is dilettante and does not go farther than the parlor, the
so-called salon, or Greenwich Village.”29 Intellectuals face a different
kind of oppression, she explains: “[T]he intellectual proletarians, even
as workers in shop and mine, eke out an insecure and pitiful existence,
and are more dependent upon the masters than those who work with
their hands. .  .  . [T]hey are slavishly dependent upon the Hearsts,
the Pulitzers, the Theater Trusts, the publishers, and, above all, upon
SEX, LABOR, AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE 61

a stupid and vulgar public opinion.”30 Goldman thus recognized that


anarchism could not be achieved without the support of all classes. By
publishing a nationally distributed journal and speaking in lecture halls
across the country, she was able to reach out to middle-class urban
intellectuals and bohemians, in addition to immigrants and laborers.
Her broad rhetoric of human liberation is perhaps best captured by the
opening statement of “The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation” (1910):

I begin with and admission: Regardless of all political and


economic theories, treating of the fundamental differences
between various groups within the human race, regardless of
all race and class distinctions, regardless of all artificial bound-
ary lines between woman’s rights and man’s rights, I hold that
there is a point where these differentiations may meet and
grow into one perfect whole.31

Goldman believed that class differences functioned as the principal


chasm that prevented social cohesion: “In a society where those who
always work never have anything, while those who never work enjoy
everything, solidarity of interests is non-existent; hence social harmony
is but a myth.”32
Goldman’s tenuous relationship with the labor movement and her
public advocacy on behalf of workers of all classes clearly indicate the
relevance of her discourse to the American labor struggle. Yet, as a
vocal spokesperson on behalf of workers, she was also alienated from
the core labor movement due to her immigrant status and her unyield-
ing communist-anarchist stance on property relations. More than this,
as I discuss in the section that follows, her treatment of sexual freedom
as a fundamental labor issue for women alienated her from the wom-
en’s suffrage movement. Goldman criticized the suffrage movement
for failing to represent working women of all kinds—that is, in both
the private and public spheres—and not addressing the root cause of
gender inequality, capitalism.

GOING PUBLIC WITH WOMEN’S WORK

The gradual expansion of women’s labor that took place during the turn
of the century to include work in both public and private arenas was
62 TONGUE OF FIRE

essential to the transformation of womanhood, particularly the open-


ing of opportunities for women to participate in public life. Goldman
lived during a time of incredible social and political upheaval as many
women began to question the societal norms that confined them to
domestic roles, and as national events revolved around labor agitation,
suffrage activism, Progressive Era reform, an influx of immigrants, and
World War I. The sphere of women’s labor began in the home with
the expectation that they marry and bear children, and this imperative
to lead a domestic life was especially strong for middle-class women.
Economically privileged women were especially praised for the vir-
tues of piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity.33 Perceived to be
naturally suited for the role of mother and homemaker and to have
a capacity for unconditional devotion, they were also looked upon as
morally superior to men.34 The domestic role of middle-class women
was significant to the advancement of capitalism, explains Julie Mat-
thaei (1982):

Since the husband centered his life around self-seeking com-


petition in the economy, women as wives became compli-
ments to this process of masculine self-seeking, and family life
itself became oriented around his struggle in the economy. . . .
Furthermore, given that success in the economy was gained
through loyal service to capitalists, one could say that family
life had begun to order itself according to capital’s need for
expansion.35

Women’s acquiescence to domesticity and to social, moral, and religious


customs was a “tragedy,” submitted Goldman, that impeded their hap-
piness and individual potential.
Female behavior, or “the regulatory practices of gender coher-
ence,”36 had been in the process of redefinition since the 1800s, when
women who worked outside the home had to redefine the boundar-
ies of public and private spaces in order to do so. Before they could
even advocate equality or the right to vote, women had to justify their
very presence in public space and on the public speaking platform—
speaking out was undeniably “unfeminine” behavior.37 As noted earlier,
working-class women were more likely to work in public spaces than
were middle-class women. Working-class women toiled in mills, fac-
tories, farms, and various manufacturing jobs out of economic need
SEX, LABOR, AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE 63

rather than for the purpose of pursuing some vocational interest—and


often their income was supplementary to the wages earned and con-
trolled by the father or husband of the household. Working conditions
for these women were often downright “unfeminine”—the typical
“sweatshop” with a ten- to twelve-hour workday and wages amounting
to half that of men’s. In her autobiography, Goldman describes vividly
the harsh conditions of the textile factory she worked at in Rochester,
New York: “The iron discipline forbade free movement (one could not
even go to the toilet without permission), and the constant surveillance
of the foreman weighed like stone on my heart. The end of each day
found me sapped, with just enough energy to drag myself to my sister’s
home and crawl into bed.”38 Some women, such as those from New
York City’s primarily Jewish-populated Tenth Ward district, averaged
about eighty-four working hours a week.39 Eleanor Flexner and Ellen
Fitzpatrick (1996) note, “In 1900 the largest group within the army
of wage earners was that of 1,800,000 women in domestic occupa-
tions (working for families other than their own) or in so-called service
industries.”40
Eventually, the expansion of the labor market that occurred with
the rapid growth of capitalism and industrialization opened up new
workspaces for women of all classes. The rise of capitalism and indus-
trialization was a critical factor because it transferred the traditional
functions of the family to the state, school, and factory.41 By the end
of the nineteenth century, new positions in the clerical field opened up
to accommodate the emergence of big business, attracting a diversity
of classes of women into the labor force.42 These new clerical posi-
tions, which included bookkeepers, accountants, and cashiers, required
women to be high-school educated.43 And while these changes in
the labor market allowed many women of the middle class to acquire
occupations outside the home, this new freedom conflicted with their
domestic duties. The contradiction between their participation in the
public sphere and their simultaneous assignment to the sphere of the
home led them to greater awareness of their subjugation. Of course,
the expansion of the women’s labor force also provided a new ratio-
nale for gaining suffrage. With increasing numbers of women working,
women no longer needed to rely solely on men for financial support,
nor for political representation—and wages earned for women’s work
outside the home could not so readily be understood as the prop-
erty of the husband or father.44 Thus, issues concerning labor reform
64 TONGUE OF FIRE

became important to the women’s movement and their entry into the
public sphere, with many uniting through unionization and engaging
in strikes in opposition to the poor working conditions. The United
Tailoresses’ Society, the Female Improvement Society of the City and
County of Philadelphia, and the Shirt Sewers’ Cooperative are just a
few examples of the unions representing female workers that engaged
in organized strikes as early as the mid-1800s.45
The differing experiences of middle- and working-class women
were manifested in the fragmentation within the women’s move-
ment. For working-class women and ethnic and racial minorities,
poverty—not the denial of voting rights—was the most significant
form of oppression.46 As discussed in chapter 1, working-class women
were drawn to radical movements because their needs would not be
addressed by obtaining suffrage alone; and, furthermore, “disorderly”
working-class women were “less bound by decorous norms of appro-
priate female behavior” compared to middle-class women.47 Goldman
herself believed that the working class had more freedom than the
middle class, for “they [the economically privileged] cannot put on
overalls and ride the bumpers to the next town in search of a job . . .
they have spent a lifetime on a profession, at the expense of all their
other faculties.”48 The next chapter thus examines how her working-
class and alien status created possibilities for rhetorical action and gen-
der/sex politics that differed from privileged women who were more
likely to participate in reform efforts like the suffrage movement.49
Goldman argued that the suffrage movement was shortsighted and
failed to adequately represent “working girls.” In her opinion, American
women misconstrued the ideal of liberation by narrowly focusing on
the “external tyrants” of universal suffrage and economic independence.
She reasons, “There is no reason whatever to assume that woman, in
her climb to emancipation, has been, or will be, helped by the ballot.”50
“True emancipation,” submits Goldman, is a personal transformation
in that it requires rejection of the “internal tyrants,” which are articu-
lated through religious and social conventions.51 These internal tyrants
thus include the limitations women placed on themselves by following
the social conventions of marriage and motherhood. She believed that
women only strengthened the “awful toll . . . to pay to the Church,
State, and the home” by equating suffrage with becoming better Chris-
tians, homemakers, and citizens.52 Instead, women needed to break
down these mental barriers and experience a new creative energy by
becoming openly sexually independent and assertive.
SEX, LABOR, AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE 65

Goldman also criticized American women’s movement leaders for


neglecting the plight of the common worker. She accused the wom-
en’s suffrage cause of serving only those who “already enjoy too much
power by virtue of their economic superiority.”53 “True, in the suf-
frage States women are guaranteed equal rights to property; but of
what avail is that right to the mass of women without property, the
thousands of wage workers, who live from hand to mouth?” 54 she asks.
“The American suffrage movement has been . . . altogether a parlor
affair, absolutely detached from the economic needs of people. Thus
Susan B. Anthony, no doubt an exceptional type of woman, was not
only indifferent but antagonistic to labor;” Goldman writes, “nor did
she hesitate to manifest her antagonism when, in 1869, she advised
women to take the places of striking printers in New York.”55 In her
later years, after women obtained the right to vote, Goldman continued
to believe that the American women’s movement had failed. Echoing
ideas expressed in “The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation” (1910), in
the draft essay “The Tragedy of the Modern Woman” (n.d.), she argues
that the women’s movement in both the United States and Europe has
failed to improve women’s lives. In terms of economic independence
within a capitalism system, she laments, “How many men have given
up their career for the woman? . . . In most cases women engaged in
studies, in scientific pursuits, as writers or artists not only must take
care of themselves but often also of the home, the children, and not
the least their husbands.”56 And in “Has Feminism Lived Up to Its
Promise?” a draft essay estimated to have been written in the 1930s,
she writes, “It is not so long ago that we were assured by leading femi-
nists that their creed would purify politics, abolish war, do away with
all social evils, create entirely new relations between the sexes. Today,
no intelligent [f ]eminist would indulge in such silly talk.”57 Goldman
had the foresight to anticipate that superficial equality in the polity,
workplace, and education would not emancipate women, nor society, as
long as the mental barriers to experiencing individual liberty continued
to limit their potential.
Setting herself against the mainstream women’s movement and
advocating an epistemology of the personal, Goldman brought to pub-
lic attention the interconnection between women’s private lives and
their work. As I discuss in chapter 2, she anticipated women’s agency
by urging women to consider reproduction as a choice rather than
compulsory, by discouraging matrimony and calling for the abolish-
ment of the institution itself, and by linking sexuality to well-being in
66 TONGUE OF FIRE

every aspect of life. There are four general categories of women’s labor
addressed by Goldman’s speeches and writing: industrial and profes-
sional work, compulsory marriage, prostitution, and compulsory moth-
erhood. In each of these forms of work, she diagnoses the injustices
caused by a capitalist system that established inequality, commodified
women’s bodies, and inhibited women’s creative and sexual potential.

INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL LABOR

More than five million women were employed outside the home by
1900, working in factories, offices, and department stores;58 however,
they typically earned wages below the poverty level and were more
likely than men to be employed in temporary or seasonal jobs where
layoffs occurred frequently.59 While women’s participation in labor
strikes during the turn of the century is well documented, their voices
were marginalized when it came to union demands.60 Accordingly,
women’s entry into the public workplace, whether as factory workers,
secretaries, clerks, or stenographers, was not a sign of their liberation
but of the expansion of capitalism and of a docile workforce, argues
Goldman. That is, women could now be exploited as a form of cheap
labor by an unregulated and corrupt capitalist system—just like men
were being exploited. “Six million women wage-earners; six million
women, who have the equal right with men to be exploited, to be
robbed, to go on strike; aye, to starve even. Anything more, my lord?”
she proclaims in “Marriage and Love” (1910), an essay that addresses
the influence of capitalism on intimate relationships.61 She asserts:

As to the great mass of working girls and women, how much


independence is gained if the narrowness and lack of freedom
of the home is exchanged for the narrowness and lack of free-
dom of the factory, sweat-shop, department store, or office?
In addition is the burden which is laid on many women of
looking after a “home, sweet home”—cold, dreary, disorderly,
uninviting—after a day’s hard work. Glorious independence!62

Despite any economic independence that women might gain from


earning and controlling their wages, women’s bodies, according to
Goldman, were exploited by capitalism equally within the private and
the public spheres.
SEX, LABOR, AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE 67

Goldman also criticized the gender inequities that existed within


the workplace and the impact that relationships of power had on wom-
en’s mental and bodily health. The convergence of capitalism and patri-
archy made it difficult for women to exert their sexual independence:

Very few ever succeed, for it is a fact that women teachers,


doctors, lawyers, architects, and engineers are neither met with
the same confidence as their male colleagues, nor receive equal
remuneration. And those that do reach that enticing equality,
generally do so at the expense of their physical and psychical
well-being. . . . Our highly praised independence is, after all,
but a slow process of dulling and stifling woman’s nature, her
love instinct, and her motherhood instinct.63

Thus, she diagnosed the problems with women’s labor not only in terms
of inequality and exploitation, but the diminishment of their natu-
ral sexual drive. Furthermore, she associated the lure of prostitution
with sweatshop conditions in factories: “Girls, mere children, work in
crowded, overheated rooms ten to twelve hours daily at a machine,
which tends to keep them in a constant over-excited sex state. Many of
these girls have no home or comforts of any kind; therefore the street
or some place of cheap amusement is the only means of forgetting
their daily routine. . . . That is the first step toward prostitution.”64 The
conditions of capitalism, which caused excessive strain on workers’ bod-
ies and mental state, are incongruous with supporting healthy intimate
relationships, she reasons. Employing slavery and prison metaphors,
Goldman conceptualizes marriage as abusive domestic labor: “She
learns soon enough that the home, though not so large a prison as the
factory, has more solid doors and bars. It has a keeper so faithful that
naught can escape him. The most tragic part, however, is that the home
no longer frees her from wage-slavery; it only increases her task.”65 The
expectation to marry and bear children, of course, went hand in hand
even as increasing numbers of women gained employment outside the
home.

COMPULSORY MARRIAGE

With the growing number of unmarried women seeking opportuni-


ties for wage-earning jobs, while most married women engaged in
68 TONGUE OF FIRE

unpaid domestic labor, emerged a new awareness about the incongruity


between women’s roles and economic status at work versus at home.66
As Nancy Cott notes in her germinal work The Grounding of Mod-
ern Feminism (1987), the tradition of marriage upheld that “husbands
owned their wives’ labor power as well as their property, and in return
had the obligation of support. The marriage contract in its economic
aspect resembled an indenture between master and servant.”67 While
changes to common-law statutes did yield more control over wages to
female workers by the early twentieth century, case law continued to
reinforce husbands’ ownership of wives’ household labor.68 Goldman
advocated the dissolution of the institution of marriage and house-
hold life as women know it as a solution to the problem of their legal,
economic, and social subordination to men. Marriage is a significant
issue because it directly addresses the social and economic relationship
between men and women, and it entails an aspect of women’s labor that
has been historically undervalued and removed from public scrutiny.
Goldman recognized the struggle married women faced as their lives
expanded to work in public spaces. She writes in “Marriage and Love”
(1910), “[T]en per cent. [sic] of the wage workers in New York City
alone are married, yet they must continue to work at the most poorly
paid labor in the world. Add to this horrible aspect the drudgery of
housework, and what remains of the protection and glory of the home?
As a matter of fact, even the middle-class girl in marriage can not [sic]
speak of her home, since it is the man who creates her sphere.”69 As
I mention in chapter 1, not long after she immigrated to the United
States and prior to her career as anarchist activist, Goldman had a
short-lived marriage to a fellow factory worker in Rochester in 1887
and married again in 1926 to a Canadian citizen. The latter was a
marriage of convenience as she attempted to use her acquired British
citizenship to re-enter the United States following her deportation in
1919. In 1926, in a speech draft entitled “My Attitude To Marriage”
(1926), Goldman insists “that now, as ever” marriage contributes noth-
ing to human emotional and sexual relationships and constitutes no
more than “a conspicuous public sanction of what transpires privately
between two people.”70 In a much earlier article published in 1897 in
The Firebrand, she describes marriage as “the crudest, most tyrannical
of all institutions” and uses prostitution and slavery as representative
metaphors:
SEX, LABOR, AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE 69

The sole difference between her [the prostitute] and the mar-
ried woman is, that the one has sold herself into chattel slav-
ery during life, for a home or a title, and the other one sells
herself for the length of time she desires; she has the right to
choose the man she bestowes [sic] her affections upon, whereas
the married woman has no right whatsoever; she must sub-
mit to the embrace of her lord, no matter how loathsome this
embrace may be to her, she must obey his commands, she has
to bear him children, even at the cost of her own strength and
health; in a word, she prostitutes herself every hour, every day
of her life.71

Goldman argues that women place themselves in conditions of forced


labor, including sex and impregnation on the husband’s demand and
in service to his pleasure, through their acquiescence to the institution
of marriage.
Additionally, she acknowledges that the oppression of marriage
prevents women from fully realizing their sexual potential and capac-
ity for independence. Goldman reasons, “Can there be anything more
outrageous than the idea that a healthy grown woman, full of life and
passion, must deny nature’s demand, must subdue her most intense
craving, undermine her health and break her spirit, must stunt her
vision, abstain from the depth and glory of sex experience until a ‘good’
man comes along to take her unto himself as a wife?”72 Upon mar-
riage, a woman engages in a lifetime of service to her husband, thereby
condemning her to “life-long dependency, to parasitism, to complete
uselessness, individual as well as social.”73
Clearly, Goldman viewed married women as victims not only of a
capitalist order that commodified their bodies, but of their own com-
placency. She writes, “Then there is the home. What a terrible fetish
it is! How it saps the very life-energy of woman,—this modern prison
with golden bars. Its shining aspect blinds woman to the price she
would have to pay as wife, mother, and housekeeper. Yet woman clings
tenaciously to the home, to the power that holds her bondage.”74 Gold-
man thus uses prison, slavery, and economic metaphors to describe the
household life of women who submit themselves to religious and social
customs. At times, she was bitterly critical of women, proclaiming,
“The great movement of true emancipation has not met with a great
70 TONGUE OF FIRE

race of women who could look liberty in the face.”75 For Goldman,
true womanhood refers to the fully emancipated woman who defiantly
refuses to succumb to any authority and who actively seeks to under-
stand and realize her sexual potential. Accordingly, Goldman rejected
the prevailing essentialist argument made by many suffrage advocates
that women’s moral superiority would make them valuable contributors
to politics. Her rejection of moral authority is likewise found in her
position on another form of women’s labor, prostitution.

PROSTITU TION

Goldman understood prostitution, like marriage, to be a form of wom-


en’s labor produced by capitalism. As sex for the purpose of financial
gain outside of the institution of marriage and the family, prostitution
removed the splendor of romantic love and intimacy from sexual rela-
tions. In “The Traffic in Women” (1910), she explains:

It is a conceded fact that woman is being reared as a sex com-


modity, and yet she is kept in absolute ignorance of the mean-
ing and importance of sex. . . . [W ]e need not be surprised
if she becomes a prey to prostitution, or any other form of
relationship which degrades her to the position of an object
for mere sex gratification. . . . To the moralist prostitution does
not consist so much in the fact that woman sells her body, but
rather that she sells it out of wedlock.76

Goldman believed that capitalism drove poor women—“[n]ot merely


white women, but yellow and black women as well”77—to prostitu-
tion because of the economic rewards based solely on their sex value:
“Nowhere is woman treated according to the merit of her work, but
rather as a sex. It is therefore almost inevitable that she should pay for
her right to exist, to keep a position in whatever line, with sex favors.
Thus it is merely a question of degree whether she sells herself to one
man, in or out of marriage, or to many men.”78 She therefore expressed
sorrow for girls and women who felt impelled to prostitute or marry
in order to make a living. As I mention in chapter 2, Goldman herself
experimented with prostitution in 1892 in an effort to raise money to
SEX, LABOR, AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE 71

support her comrade, Alexander Berkman, in his plot to assassinate


Henry Clay Frick in Pittsburgh, following the brutal attack on striking
Homestead Steel workers authorized by Frick. Apparently her inexpe-
rience was ill-disguised because the man who procured her, according
to Goldman in her autobiography, insisted that she take his money and
find a more suitable job, refusing to allow her to perform the sexual
favors he was seeking.79
In addition to linking capitalism to prostitution, Goldman iden-
tifies “puritanic” thinking and sexual inhibition as contributing fac-
tors. Because of social and moral codes—the most renowned being the
Comstock Act of 1873, which outlawed the distribution of obscene
literature including information about contraception and abortion—
women are “kept in absolute ignorance of the meaning and importance
of sex,” she argues.80 She believed that women who are considered
socially unfit for marriage were led to prostitution in order to expe-
rience sex—the only other alternative was lifelong celibacy.81 Thus,
Goldman links prostitution to marriage in terms of both economic
and sexual oppression. “As to a thorough eradication of prostitution,”
she concludes, “nothing can accomplish that save a complete transvalu-
ation of all accepted values—especially the moral ones—coupled with
the abolition of industrial slavery.”82
Goldman’s argumentation regarding the social causes of prostitu-
tion dovetails with her stance on morality and free love. That is, she
believed that women should be allowed to enter and leave sexual rela-
tionships and bear children without authorization from the state or
church, and, without moral judgment or scrutiny. At the turn of the
century, notable changes could be seen in the sexual independence of
women as well as their participation in public life, particularly among
the working class. As Kathy Piess documents in Cheap Amusements
(1986), these women were not only working outside the home, but
expressing themselves in openly sexual ways in public spaces, such as
dance halls, saloons, theaters, amusement parks, and sidewalks, thereby
transforming the nature of women’s leisure and courtship. Working-
class women, argues Piess, “pioneered new forms of public female
behavior which the dominant culture ultimately incorporated and pop-
ularized.”83 This emerging model of womanhood espoused and lived
by Goldman redefined their speech and action not only in the public
marketplace, but also in labor in the form of rearing children.
72 TONGUE OF FIRE

COMPULSORY MOTHERHOOD

Goldman’s anarchist-feminism vision, like many feminist discourses,


contains its own construct of motherhood. Goldman subscribed to
“natural law” and considered the biological instincts of humans to
interact with their social drive. Both women and men share the same
needs and desires for food, drink, and sex; however, she argues, women’s
sexual drive has been thwarted. Goldman believed that women and
men are different in that although both have the drive for sexual ful-
fillment, only women have the biological capacity to bear children.
She thus reasoned that all women possess “the mother instinct,”84 that
“there never yet lived a woman who did not love children, and who did
not desire one of her own.”85 She herself longed to have a child of her
own, although she was physically incapable due to an inverted womb.86
Although Goldman’s glorification of motherhood is a recurring
theme in her rhetoric, which I discuss in greater detail in chapter 4, she
did not uphold biological determinism. She acknowledged the capac-
ity to bear children as unique to women, while insisting that mother-
hood should be a choice made by women—as in choosing (or not)
to have a child and not having that choice preempted by authority
or the strain of exploitative labor. She strongly rejected compulsory
motherhood as a form of forced reproduction—that is, forced domestic
labor. In marriage, women are controlled by their husbands; “she must
obey his commands, she has to bear him children, even at the cost of
her own strength and health.”87 Instead, she argued that motherhood
should occur without marriage, not only because it is a mere economic
arrangement that is unnecessary for motherhood but because children
are better off being raised by “mothers in freedom by the men they
loved” and through “the care, the protection, the devotion free moth-
erhood is capable of bestowing.”88 Goldman had witnessed firsthand
the consequences of lack of family planning both inside and outside
of marriage. As a nurse-midwife, she became all too familiar with the
tragedy of unwanted and frequent pregnancies among poor women.
Unmarried immigrant girls and women were especially at risk of
unwanted pregnancy; they often lived in congested tenement housing
in close proximity to males in the extended family and boarders and,
therefore, lacked personal space and protection from coercion.89 When
delivering a public speech on birth control, Goldman would often try
to organize female-only audiences. “If I could get the women students
SEX, LABOR, AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE 73

to listen, I would do it. . . . I know that the girls will not come if it is
promiscuous, but if I could get them on their own grounds. . . . I am
more interested in young women who are starting out in life,” she com-
mented in a personal letter written to her friend and fellow anarchist
Agnes Inglis regarding a lecture on birth control.90
Challenging the attitude that women’s duty is to bear children,
Goldman argues in “Woman Suffrage” (1910) that independence is
generated by women who assert themselves as individuals, “not as a
sex commodity,” and “by refusing the right to anyone over her body;
by refusing to bear children, unless she wants them; by refusing to be
a servant to God, the State, society, the husband, the family, etc.”91
Women should have “the absolute right to free motherhood,” she
declares.92 She defines the ideal emancipated woman in “The Tragedy
of Woman’s Emancipation” (1910): “Emancipation should make it pos-
sible for woman to be human in the truest sense. Everything within
her that craves assertion and activity should reach its fullest expression;
all artificial barriers should be broken, and the road towards greater
freedom cleared of every trace of centuries of submission and slavery.”93
The changes that emerged in labor and politics during Goldman’s
lifetime coincided with the struggle to realize public womanhood. The
division of public and private spheres was experienced differently for
working-class women—immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, and
the poor—who out of necessity labored and earned wages for other-
wise “manly” jobs such as rolling tobacco, shoe making, and farming.
Because working-class immigrant women such as Goldman were not
bound by the same rules of decorum and custom as were middle-class
women, they did not experience the stigma of improper behavior—
after all, they violated norms of womanhood by their birthright as poor
people. Thus, for working-class women, different possibilities existed
not only for redefining womanhood but reframing private issues as
matters of public concern.
By addressing the nature of women’s labor in a variety of con-
texts—industrial and professional work, marriage, prostitution, and
compulsory motherhood—Goldman drew attention to the ways in
which capitalism sustained relations of patriarchal power in both the
private and public lives of women. As an anarchist, she viewed women’s
liberation as inseparable from men’s; however, she also recognized that
women’s bodies were commodified differently. She cast women at once
as both victims and agents; that is, victims of a capitalist system that
74 TONGUE OF FIRE

commodified their bodies and agents responsible for realizing their


own transformation. In this sense, Goldman’s model of womanhood
recognized gender as a solo performance on a stage that encompassed
both the public and private spheres. She presented women’s bodies as
a site of self-construction, whether it be motherhood, career, both, or
something else altogether, while also recognizing the value of collective
struggle. Reflecting back on the successes of the women’s movement
in Europe during her lifetime, she praised this “new and viril[e] type
of womanhood, much more alive, eager, active and freer than men” and
the “sex solidarity among women.”95 In Out in Public: Configurations of
Women’s Bodies in Nineteenth-Century America (2004), Alison Piepmeier
argues that “our understanding of womanhood must acknowledge fluid
interactions between public and private and the simultaneity of vic-
timization and agency.”96 Goldman’s anarchist-feminism did just that
by recognizing the transitional nature of gender roles. In challenging
some of the underlying assumptions of the social order, she showed
that women could openly express sexual desire (and view sex as a plea-
sure rather than danger), work and live independently, and refuse to
follow the norms of matrimony and childbirth that amounted to forced
labor. As an anarchist public speaker and writer, her ability to spread
her message, though, was constrained by her marginal status and a
sociopolitical climate that did not yet fully embrace the New Woman.
4
“Tongue of Fire”
A Radical Subjectivity

Your “maverick feminist” showed herself ready to break with the


most authorized, the most dogmatic form of consensus, one that
claims (and this is the most serious aspect of it) to speak out in
the name of revolution and history. Perhaps she was thinking
of a completely other history: a history of paradoxical laws and
non-dialectical discontinuities, a history of absolutely hetero-
geneous pockets, irreducible peculiarities, of unheard of and
incalculable sexual differences; a history of women who have—
centuries ago—“gone further” by stepping back with their lone
dance, or who today inventing sexual idioms at a distance from
the main forum of feminist activity with a kind of reserve that
does not necessarily prevent them from subscribing to the move-
ment and even, occasionally, from becoming a militant for it.
—Jacques Derrida and Christie V. McDonald,
“Choreographies,” Diacritics 12, 1982

F emale public speakers at the turn of the century had to negotiate


a social climate that was replete with contradiction. In order to
advance a political cause, they had to be confident, articulate, and per-
suasive; and they had to wield power in public. Yet, social convention
required that women—especially of the middle class—be soft-spoken,
submissive, and nurturing, and fulfill domestic roles. Accordingly, the
act of speaking before a public audience both unsexed women and
contested the exclusion of women from public space. The exclusionary

75
76 TONGUE OF FIRE

nature of the “bourgeois public,” writes Nancy Fraser (1997), was a


product of “classical traditions that cast femininity and publicity as
oxymorons; the depth of such traditions can be gauged in the etymo-
logical connection between ‘public’ and ‘pubic,’ a graphic trace of the
fact that in the ancient world possession of a penis was a requirement
for speaking in public.”1 In her landmark study of women’s rhetoric
over three decades ago, Karlyn Kohrs Campbell argues in Man Can-
not Speak for Her (1989) that women advocating suffrage developed
a rhetorical strategy to deal with this predicament that “emerged out
of their experiences as women and was adapted to the attitudes and
experiences of female audiences.”2 In order to accommodate audi-
ence expectations, they performed conventional feminine traits on the
public-speaking platform. “Feminine style,” as defined by Campbell,
is characterized by the use of personal tone; evidence in the form of
personal experience, anecdotes, and examples; inductive reasoning; and
identification with the audience and their experiences.3 She and many
other writers have since expanded on feminine style, addressing the
need for diverse applications and critiquing its limitations as a product
of cultural norms and privilege.4 The research on feminine style shows
that for some women—especially white, middle-class women—the
strategic performance of femininity helped legitimate their presence
on the public-speaking platform, for it demonstrated that even as they
occupied men’s sphere of influence they retained “natural” womanly
qualities.
Perceived as unrefined and ill-mannered a priori, radical orators
like Emma Goldman did not need to gain the approval of privileged
audiences in order to gain “public legitimacy.”5 However, because of
her marginal identity, Goldman’s ability to engage with audiences
beyond those already sympathetic to anarchism was a challenge. In a
personal letter to a friend in 1916, Goldman acknowledges how her
liminal social status affected her access to audiences, comparing herself
to birth-control activist Margaret Sanger: “You see, she is not known
as an Anarchist, not even as a Socialist. Besides, she is an American
woman and she has the support of the ‘prominent’ ladies. I do not
wish to avail myself of such mediums and so I must rely on the radical
element exclusively.”6 While this seems like an odd comment coming
from a woman who achieved unprecedented access to audiences, it sug-
gests that she considered “the radical element” to be the only audience
that would take her message seriously.
“ TONGUE OF FIRE” 77

In this chapter, I examine the connections between Goldman’s rad-


ical subjectivity and her rhetorical style and persona. She employed an
anarcho-feminine style and constructed a persona that was gendered in
a way that intersected with her class, ethnicity, and suspect citizenship.
Goldman and other anarchist women represented diverse life experi-
ences and different anarchist philosophies, as I discuss in chapter 1.
My use of the term “anarcho-feminine style” here does not refer to a
distinct set of rhetorical conventions shared by all anarchist women.
Instead, I use the term to draw attention to how her situated iden-
tity—intersecting gender, class, ethnicity—worked together with her
anarchism to produce “constraints and obstacles [that] became areas of
nongendered possibility.”7
Introduced by Kimberlé W. Crenshaw (1991), intersectionality
theory and criticism rejects singular conceptions of womanhood and
instead illustrates how the lived experiences of gender cannot be iso-
lated from the lived experiences of class, race, ethnicity, nationality,
sexuality, and other variables of identity.8 Over the past two decades,
scholars of communication who study the politics of identity have
used intersectionality as a guiding principle for analyzing discourse
that avoids treating gender or any component of identity as a discrete
or uniform category. In the case of counterpublic discourse, intersec-
tionality enables one to “articulate the ways that politics, social norms,
and personal histories lay the foundation for that discourse.”9 Recall
from chapter 1 that the discourse of anarchist women tended to appeal
to philosophical ideals about sexual freedom and anarchy, and it was
often unyielding in tone. Anarchist-feminists did not seek to preserve
an “established society, presupposing the ‘goods’ of order, civility, reason,
decorum, and civil theocratic law.”10 Their condemnation of injustices
of capitalism and their passionate appeals for emancipation appealed
to audiences who had experienced the hardships of poverty and exploi-
tation, as well as urban bohemians who viewed free expression and
free love as hallmarks of modernity. Yet, while there were some recur-
ring lines of argument and types of audiences, the experiences and
rhetorical styles of anarchist women were different from each other.
Goldman’s rhetorical style and persona constituted a performance of
her gender, class, ethnicity, and liminal citizenship—a confluence of
variables of identity that shaped meaning making.
Goldman positioned herself as an agitator whose primary goal
was to awaken the masses to the logical necessity for anarchism. Her
78 TONGUE OF FIRE

entrance onto the public speaking platform began in 1889 upon lis-
tening to a stirring speech about the Haymarket martyrs delivered by
Johann Most, a prominent anarchist and editor of the German anar-
chist paper Freiheit. Upon meeting Goldman, Most was impressed by
her dynamic personality and encouraged her to become his protégée.
Idealistic and impressionable, Goldman moved from Rochester to the
Lower East Side of New York City, entered the social circle of the
anarchist movement and “the metropolitan intelligentsia,”11 and began
her training in the art of public speaking. Government reports on her
speeches indicate that in her early career as a public speaker, she spoke
in Russian, German, and Yiddish to primarily immigrant workers in
New York City, with her most ardent supporters being Russian and
Polish Jews.12 Her ability to speak in multiple languages was undoubt-
edly a cause for concern by government authorities who sought to cur-
tail her access to audiences. With few exceptions, as much as possible
she preferred speaking to audiences of both women and men in order
to expose anarchism to the masses.
Presenting herself as an unrelenting agitator, Goldman, in her per-
formance on the speaking platform, showed a dynamic and provocative
display of her conviction and passion. Far from being polite and deco-
rous, this “bitch of an anarchist”13 spoke forcefully and demanded to be
heard. Her rhetorical style was a performance of her self-defined role
as an agitator and was expressed through both verbal and nonverbal
communication. “I am passionate. When I begin to speak it does not
take me long to become warmed to my subject. I carry my hearers with
me. Orator! Bah! I am no orator. It is as an agitator that I wish to be
known,” Goldman told a reporter from the Detroit Journal: “I wish to
impel men [sic] toward the goal we seek—the goal that is flooded with
the golden light of liberty—the goal that we are approaching and will
reach in time as sure as dawn follows night.”14 Her “tongue of fire”15
delivery, as Voltairine de Cleyre once described it, involved the use of
her voice, facial expressions, and body, and was frequently exaggerated
in newspaper illustrations. “[S]he is a vigorous and venomous speaker,
and attracts attention, if not respect, wherever she is heard,” reported
the St. Paul Daily Globe in response to an occasion for which she was
arrested in 1893 for encouraging a crowd of unemployed workers in
Union Square, New York City, to go ahead and “take bread” if both
work and bread are denied.16 Commenting on Goldman’s remarkable
“ TONGUE OF FIRE” 79

ability to command and inspire an audience, Christine Stansell (2000)


writes, her “dazzle as a speaker came, in part, from her relentless fas-
cination with herself, a narcissistic preoccupation she could effectively
project to her listeners. But it also derived from her gifts in evoking
the charisma of the metropolitan center. Hers was the sophistication of
urban free speech.”17 A “verbatim” report of her Union Square speech as
recorded by a detective (who most likely had his own political agenda
in transcribing her speech) included the positive response of the crowd,
which she reportedly raised to a “fever heat”—shouting “Hurrah! That’s
right!” and “We will! We will!”—as she called upon her listeners to act:
“If you take bread alone, it will not help you much. Take everything!”
and “prepare to defend yourselves.”18 Indeed, Goldman’s subaltern dis-
course was oppositional and even hostile to the status quo.
The combination of Goldman’s radical doctrine and bold platform
performance led reporters to describe her in vivid terms as an extremely
powerful individual, an “apostle of discord and dynamite,”19 “the very
picture of incarnate fury,”20 and “a rabid anarchist.”21 Her agitative tone
and penchant for sarcasm, often chiding her audience for lacking an
anarchist’s sensibility, added fodder to the legal challenges she faced as
a speaker, particularly with the Comstock, Sedition, and Alien statutes.
She seemed to accept the fact that some audiences found her outra-
geous or offensive, and she reasoned that she was a martyr for the
anarchist cause. Indeed, as I discuss later in this chapter, she identified
more with Russian women revolutionaries than with the American
suffragists engaged in a “parlor affair, absolutely detached from the
economic needs of the people.”22 However, Goldman regretted that
the spectacle and perceived danger implicated by her public presence
meant that some people would feel intimidated to attend her lectures,
even if they were eager to learn what she had to say. As she once
expressed to a Sun reporter:

You have no idea of the terrible strain I live under. I never get
up on a platform but I realize the safety of those 800 or more
people is in my hands; that in a sense I am responsible for it.
Let me advertise that I am going to speak on any social or eco-
nomic subject and as like as not there will be 150 uniformed
police in the hall. . . . [T]he sight of that corps is enough to
precipitate trouble from mere nervous strain. . . . Whenever I
80 TONGUE OF FIRE

go to rent a lecture hall I run up against all sorts of barriers


and actually do not know until I get to the platform whether
or not I shall be allowed to lecture.23

She was especially concerned that some women would be less inclined
to attend her speeches, particularly when it came to lecturing on fam-
ily planning and birth control, which would be perceived as lewd and
illegal speech by Comstock standards.24 Regarding female audience
members, Goldman wondered, “How can a timid woman, who may
have come here to learn, be unconscious that she is in a hotbed of
danger?”25
Goldman promoted her ideas to audiences by crisscrossing the
United States on lecture tours. As noted previously, she also published
and sold a collection of her speeches and writings titled Anarchism
and Other Essays (1910) along with the anarchist journal Mother Earth
(1906–1917), the latter of which was a vital forum for anarchist phi-
losophy and activism beyond Goldman’s ideas. In her study of the rise
of the bohemian movement, Stansell (2000) remarks, Goldman was
“adept at techniques of publicity and self-amplification; she was pivotal
in the transformation of ideas and politics into spectacle and celebrity
and in using the space where the left and entertainment converged.”26
Goldman’s theatrical rhetorical style was a blend of heated attacks and
appeals to reason. This style reflected her Russian-Jewish immigrant-
worker identity, and it aided her mission of bringing anarchism to the
masses.

A REASONING AGITATOR

One of the more prominent stylistic features of Goldman’s discourse is


its authoritative and scathing tone, which she frequently used to fault
audiences and readers who lacked an anarchist consciousness. In “A
New Declaration of Independence” (1909), for example, she parodies
the Declaration of Independence: “When in the course of human devel-
opment, existing institutions prove inadequate, .  .  . [w]e hold these
truths to be self-evident: that all human beings, irrespective of race,
color or sex are born with the equal right to share at the table of life.”27
In “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For” (1910), she proclaims,
“[E]ven a flock of sheep would resist the chicanery of the State if
“ TONGUE OF FIRE” 81

it were not for the corruptive, tyrannical, and oppressive methods it


employs to serve its purposes.”28 And, in another essay, “Minorities
Versus Majorities” (1910), she tackles the ignorance of the masses, the
President of the United States, and American politicians at once:

Today, as then, public opinion is the omnipresent tyrant; today,


as then, the majority represents a mass of cowards, willing to
accept him who mirrors its own soul and mind poverty. That
accounts for the unprecedented rise of a man like Roosevelt.
He embodies the very worst element of mob psychology. A
politician, he knows that the majority cares little for ideals or
integrity. What it craves is display. It matters not whether that
be a dog show, a prize fight, the lynching of a “nigger,” the
rounding up of some petty offender, the marriage exposition
of an heiress, or the acrobatic stunts of an ex-president. The
more hideous the mental contortions, the greater the delight
and bravos of the mass.29

Unenlightened women were a frequent target of Goldman’s critique


of power:

Nietzsche’s memorable maxim, “When you go to woman,


take the whip along,” is considered very brutal, yet Nietzsche
expressed in one sentence the attitude of woman towards her
gods. Religion, especially the Christian religion, has condemned
woman to the life of an inferior, a slave. It has thwarted her
nature and fettered her soul, yet the Christian religion has no
greater supporter, none more devout, than woman.30

Acutely aware that her confrontational tone was especially offensive


to women, Goldman commented, “Yes, I may be considered an enemy
of woman; but if I can help her see the light, I shall not complain.”31
To support her call for anarchy and sexual freedom, Goldman typi-
cally utilized appeals to general truths, expert testimony, statistics, and
logic. She conveyed a sense of mastery of the subject at hand and a dis-
tinct attitude of superiority over her unenlightened audience members.
A scholar who researched her subjects fully, she sought to apply in an
American setting the knowledge she acquired from traveling in Europe
and reading the works of major intellectuals and artists—in addition
82 TONGUE OF FIRE

to the knowledge she acquired as a nurse-midwife regarding women’s


reproductive health. A representative example of her reliance on the
knowledge of experts is her commentary on the state of matrimony in
“Marriage and Love” (1910) where she writes:

That marriage is a failure none but the very stupid will deny.
One has but to glance over the statistics of divorce to realize
how bitter a failure marriage really is. Nor will the stereotyped
Philistine argument that the laxity of divorce laws and the
growing looseness of woman account for the fact that: first,
every twelfth marriage ends in divorce; second, that since 1870
divorces have increased 28 to 73 for every hundred thousand
population; third, that adultery, since 1867, as ground for
divorce, has increased 270.8 per cent; fourth, that desertion
increased 369.8 per cent. Adding to these startling figures is
the vast amount of material, dramatic and literary, further elu-
cidating this subject.32

She continues her indictment of marriage and appeal for free love by
citing various contemporary writers who had commented on the state
of romantic relationships, including novelist Robert Herrick, drama-
tist Henrik Ibsen, and sexologist Edward Carpenter. In other works,
she cites Peter Kropotkin, Michael Bakunin, Moses Harmon, Henry
David Thoreau, George Bernard Shaw, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and
Friedrich Nietzsche, among other progressive thinkers. Additionally,
she frequently contrasts social and political conditions in the United
States with other countries, such as Russia, England, New Zealand,
and Finland. Speaking and writing in facts and abstractions, Gold-
man does not divulge anything about her personal life in her public
advocacy with the exception of her autobiography published in 1931,
even though her unconventional sexual relationships served as a living
example of her model of true womanhood.
Goldman’s reliance on drama, literature, and emerging scientific
research about anarchism and sexuality to support her arguments was
an attempt to introduce and popularize European ideas in an American
setting. She also sought to expand the American anarchist struggle to
conjoin the activism of intellectuals and laborers. To encourage work-
ing-class activists to read and incorporate the ideas of the intelligen-
tsia into their activism, she delivered and printed several works on the
“ TONGUE OF FIRE” 83

revolutionary ideas of modern drama, including the works of George


Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, Maxim Gorki, Henrik Ibsen, and
Gerhart Hauptmann, among others.33 Her tendency to refer to expert
sources suggests that she read widely and was inspired by the Euro-
pean intellectuals of her time. Her frequent use of expert testimony
and her application of anarchist philosophy to various subjects reflect
her fervent commitment to an ideal that was premised on the ideas of
avant-garde intellectuals—new ideas for audiences who had little or no
prior exposure to European modernism.
Another notable feature of Goldman’s argumentation is her fre-
quent use of analogies and metaphors. In making a comparison between
the authoritarian institutions of government and religion, she writes in
“Anarchism: What It Really Stands For” (1910) that “[t]he State is the
altar of political freedom and, like the religious altar, it is maintained
for the purpose of human sacrifice.”34 She likewise argues in “Woman
Suffrage” (1910) that just as a woman’s uncompromising support of
religion resulted in her own oppression by religion, so, too, her sup-
port of the right to vote resulted in subjugation by the very institu-
tion of politics to which she sought access. She uses such comparisons
to demonstrate the pervasiveness of oppression. She also repeatedly
employs metaphors of slavery, such as “enslaved,” “captive,” “oppressed,”
“chained,” “fettered,” “subdued,” to evoke an emotional image of human
exploitation in a capitalist society and the subjugation of women in
marriage. Goldman’s use of slavery metaphors is consistent with her
anarchist ideology, including her theory that the creative human spirit
ultimately cannot be contained despite mechanisms of power, and that
it will inevitably be unleashed and cultivated through self-expression
and sensual pursuits.

A DANCING RHETOR

As much as Goldman’s agitative rhetoric appealed to knowledge and


reason and empowered audiences to become more sexually aware, her
arguments were also full of incongruencies. While she typically struc-
tured her arguments deductively, moving from general definitions or
fundamental truths to particular cases, she did not demonstrate con-
sistency in assertion of claims over time or across works. Indeed, a
peculiar feature of her argumentation is that at times she appeared to
84 TONGUE OF FIRE

defy reason by simultaneously advocating contradictory claims. These


points of philosophical disagreement, I argue, should not be construed
as faulty argument. Taking into consideration specific contexts and
histories, I believe that more correctly they represent her attempt to
mediate competing sociopolitical tensions.
Goldman appeared to contradict herself, for example, by rejecting
compulsory motherhood while at the same time praising voluntary
motherhood as “the highest fulfillment of woman’s nature.”35 Naming
her journal Mother Earth also revealed her maternal tendencies, and it
contrasted with her criticism of motherhood as a prescribed duty. In
Rhetorics of Motherhood (2013), Lindal Buchanan argues that the topos
of motherhood “produces rich rhetorical resources capable of advancing
women and their civic agendas while simultaneously reinforcing lim-
iting stereotypes and inequitable gender relations.”36 Using Margaret
Sanger as one example of the strategic performance of motherhood,
Buchanan shows how Sanger used maternal imagery to broaden her
appeal to audiences and reframe her public image as a “mother of two”
instead of a “wild woman,” and likewise to align birth-control reform
with moral motherhood instead of promiscuity.37 In an analysis of the
militant rhetorical style of Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, a labor orga-
nizer—and, like Sanger, a contemporary of Goldman’s—Mary Boor
Tonn (1996) demonstrates how Jones constructed a mother persona
characterized by “a necessary mix of protective fury and nurturing” that
enabled her to skillfully mediate gender norms.38 As a woman who
did not have the experience of being a mother, Goldman could not
perform motherhood with the same embodied ethos as Mother Jones
and Margaret Sanger; however, she was convinced that mothers play a
vital role in the anarchist vision of a free society. She was also critical of
“[t]he narrowness of the existing conception of woman’s independence
and emancipation . . . the horror that the love or the joy of motherhood
will only hinder her in the full exercise of her profession.”39 Gold-
man’s association of maternity with womanhood while simultaneously
contesting the social compulsion to bear children demonstrates the
complicated gender politics of feminist rhetoric.
Another example of Goldman’s use of incongruent argumenta-
tion concerns the subject of marriage. Recall in chapter 3 that Gold-
man rejected the institution of marriage by likening it to prostitution:
“[T]he girl has to sell herself, body and soul, for the pleasure of being
someone’s wife.”40 She also rejected the notion that the state should
“ TONGUE OF FIRE” 85

sanction intimate relationships—in other words, that the public sphere


should arbiter private life. Yet, as mentioned earlier, Goldman married
two times in her life, a brief marriage to Jacob Kerstner soon after she
immigrated to the United States and, after her deportation, a “compan-
ionate marriage” to James Colton. By “masquerading under the name
Colton,” Goldman could live in Toronto, Canada, in proximity to her
American comrades.41 Aware of the seeming contradiction between her
public and private life, though, in a speech draft titled “My Attitude To
Marriage” (1926), she explains:

Many [p]eople have expressed surprise . . . that I who have for
so many years criticised [sic] the marriage institution, should
in the end have submitted to it. Invariably, they want to know
whether I have also changed my point of view held in the past
about the union between two people as entirely a private affair.
I cannot be too emphatic in my declaration now, as ever, I
am convinced that the institution of marriage as such can add
nothing whatever to the fundamental motives that bring men
and women together.42

She continues by explaining that as a private arrangement, “while mar-


riage may be a matter of convenience, it has no bearing on the emo-
tional impulse or sex expression of people.”43 This argument is different
from the prostitution metaphor she employed in earlier years, perhaps
an attempt to justify her own marriage of convenience to Colton in
order to acquire Canadian citizenship. “Nowadays, people submit to
the ceremony of marriage not because they believe in it,” writes Gold-
man, “but because it protects them from vulgar prying into their pri-
vate life. . . . [T]hey go through with the process in the same spirit as
one takes out a passport or secures a visa—to obtain breathing space
and to protect the privacy of their personality.”44 In this case, she thus
circumvents the challenge to her personal decision to marry by classify-
ing marriage as a private rather than public issue. However, in another
address delivered after her marriage to Colton, Goldman clearly altered
her stance by suggesting that “companionate marriage” would be a suit-
able solution to the problems associated with marital relations.
The concept of companionate marriage, a relationship defined by
mutual support of emotional and sexual needs and the monogamous
heterosexual couple ideal, emerged in the 1920s on the heels of the
86 TONGUE OF FIRE

suffrage and free love movements and the campaign for birth con-
trol.45 According to a newspaper report, Goldman delivered a lecture
in Toronto in which she advocated the new companionate marriage as
an alternative to the established institution. Companionate marriage,
she explains, is based on the principle that young couples postpone
marriage until they are “physiologically and psychologically best fit-
ted” and “with their parents consent, live and work and grow together
in their parents’ home.”46 Companionate marriage allows both women
and men to develop their sexual selves before getting married and to
avoid having children until they are absolutely ready. Moreover, she
explains that “easy divorce would be part of the scheme” so that indi-
viduals would not be forced to stay in an unwanted relationship.47 But,
by proposing a system of companionate marriage, she was no longer
advocating the anarchist ideal, which rejected marriage altogether in
favor of absolute sexual freedom; rather, she was calling for marriage
reform through the replacement of one institution with another. Thus,
even as Goldman advocated a radical philosophy of women’s autonomy,
at times she appeared to subscribe to traditional constructs and gender
roles. On the rise in popularity of companionate marriage, Rebecca
L. Davis (2008) argues that many free love advocates “tempered their
radicalism by describing monogamous marriage as the culmination of
heterosexual love. Instead of reforming marriage to improve sex, they
would reform sex to improve marriage.”48
A third subject in which Goldman can be seen to contradict her-
self is the use of violence to achieve the aims of anarchism. In “Anar-
chism is Not Necessarily Violence” (1907), she argues that although
anarchism does not inherently imply the use of violent methods, she
supports those who are impelled to use them:

[I]f an act of violence was committed by some person because


he was not able to control himself and his feelings would burst
within him, and would commit an act of violence upon some
tyrant or another, and upon investigation, I thought this act
justified no matter how unnecessary or foolish the act may
seem, I for one would extend to him my hand of friendship
and tender him my sympathy and assistance.49

A few years later, she reiterated this simultaneous sympathy for and dis-
association with those who use violence in “The Psychology of Political
“ TONGUE OF FIRE” 87

Violence” (1910). Although anarchism is the valuing of “human life


above [all] things,” she argues, it does not imply submission to tyr-
anny and, therefore, violence is often a valid response to oppression.50
Of course, it was strategic for Goldman to avoid directly advocating
violence because she could be (and had been) arrested for incitement
to riot and was alleged to have inspired the assassination of President
William McKinley.
Goldman’s dancing argumentation appears within single works
and within groups of works produced in a given period and, therefore,
cannot be explained adequately as simply the alteration of arguments
across time. And, because the composition of her audience was broad
in scope, the contradictions also cannot be understood as an attempt
to tailor her ideas to different groups. However, neo-classical under-
standings of rhetoric that assume rules of decorum and logic are not
necessarily appropriate for evaluating radical rhetoric that seeks to
evade established rules. Goldman and other anarchists who advocated
radical change in a society that resisted such change necessarily found
themselves in a complex rhetorical situation.
Compromises and contradictions are sometimes unavoidable when
advocating social change. The expectation that a rhetor takes an all-or-
nothing stance is unrealistic and out of sync with the lived reality of
social struggle. Martha Minnow (1990) argues that feminists who seek
to eliminate “false universalism” are, at the same time, impelled to use
universalist thinking in order to be recognized by established power—
in other words, feminists must “resemble the objects of their attack”
in order to seek desired change.51 Minnow suggests that not only is
logic an inappropriate criteria for analyzing feminist discourse but the
absence of logical consistency can be the byproduct of a strategic choice
made by a rhetor. A brief example from the anarchist movement illus-
trates her point. From a neo-classical perspective, there is a contradic-
tion between advocating radical autonomy and promoting organized
action. This contradiction served as an obstacle to advancing the anar-
chist cause.52 In order to present themselves as a social force and politi-
cal entity, anarchists had to engage to some degree in organizational
efforts even as they denounced institutionalized thought and action.
In this light, the aforementioned contradictions in Goldman’s
argumentation can likewise be viewed as the negotiation of a philo-
sophical dichotomy: ascribing to an anarchist ideal and the pragmatics
of working toward achieving that ideal in a society that is resistant to
88 TONGUE OF FIRE

reform, let alone revolutionary change. Moreover, as Buchanan (2013)


argues in her “both/and approach to motherhood,”53 a rhetor’s use of
normative constructs “(re)interpellates the audience, placing members
in familiar subject positions, eliciting conventional feelings, and inspir-
ing trust.”54 In this sense, Goldman’s blend of praise and criticism of
the roles of motherhood and marriage constituted a negotiation of old
and new conceptions of womanhood, a negotiation that responded
to the constraints of the historical moment and had rhetorical utility.
Likewise, her slippery argumentation both supporting and disapprov-
ing of the use of violence suggests an attempt to negotiate the reality of
oppression—the despair experienced by disenfranchised people—and
the ideal of a world that is peaceful and devoid of systemic injustice.
As an anarchist agitator, of course, Goldman defied norms of both
decorum and logic. Goldman’s anarchist philosophy urged audience
action based on autonomous decisions, removed from the influence of
institutionalized thought and behavior. As Kathy E. Ferguson (2011)
puts it, “Goldman’s political thinking can best be understood as event
based, ectopic, and untimely . . . stimulated by specific political situ-
ations . . . located in subaltern spaces . . . [and] out of step with pre-
vailing currents of thought.”55 Instilling a sense of autonomy in her
audiences, rather than instructing them to pursue a specific solution or
action, Goldman encouraged women and men to act as “free, indepen-
dent spirits.”56 “The political arena leaves no alternative,” she insists.
“[O]ne must be a dunce or a rogue”57—after all, “man [sic] has as much
liberty as he is willing to take.”58
Goldman’s open invitation to her audience to join the anarchist
cause was appropriately non-directive in that she defined anarchism as
a revolutionary state of consciousness and being rather than a matter of
policy implementation. To become anarchists, audiences had to enact
the very traits of courage, independence, and creativity on their own;
they had to freely and independently construct their own persona. A
similar message is echoed in “Woman Suffrage” (1910), in which she
describes the liberated woman: “Her development, her freedom, her
independence, must come from and through herself.”59
Goldman gained unprecedented public notoriety for her agitative
rhetoric and a public hearing for the anarchist cause. However, it is
likely that her condescending attitude also prevented her from being
taken seriously by many audience members, especially those outside the
anarchist counterpublic and, thus, limited the potential for audience
“ TONGUE OF FIRE” 89

empowerment. While Goldman’s larger-than-life persona enabled her


to fill lecture halls, it also made her into a sensational public celebrity.
Yet, she seemed to thrive in the starring role in which she cast herself.
On the occasion of a rally to release her comrade Alexander Berkman
from prison in 1917, and while she was out on bail, authorities threat-
ened the venue would be closed down if Goldman spoke. She stepped
onto the speaking platform with a handkerchief stuffed in her mouth
and “brought down the house.”60
In sum, Goldman’s agitative rhetoric sought to raise consciousness
of the roots of sexual oppression (and the logical solution of anarchism)
by using sarcasm, appeals to general truths, expert testimony, statistics,
argument by analogy and metaphor, deductive structure of reasoning,
negotiation of philosophical dichotomies, and audience empowerment
and incitement to action. Using such stylistic elements and idioms,
Goldman—as a prominent leader of the anarchist movement—con-
tributed to the establishment of an anarchist-feminist counterpublic
that defined emancipation as a personal revolution and sexual freedom
as a public issue.
The next section demonstrates how these distinct features of her
rhetorical style were derived from her identity and experience as a
Russian-Jewish immigrant woman of the working class. By construct-
ing a rhetorical persona that fit her identity, Goldman tapped into the
collective experience of the growing population of Eastern European
immigrants.

A RUSSIAN-JEWISH IMMIGRANT,
WORKING-CLASS WOMAN

Reflecting on how intersectionality has developed within communi-


cation scholarship over the past two decades, Cindy L. Griffin and
Karma R. Chávez (2012) observe that although there exists a myriad
of critical approaches, “what they share and call attention to is a com-
mitment to challenging simplistic thinking in terms of only one axis of
identity, form of oppression, or manifestation of power.”61 Conceptual-
izing identity as implicitly multiplicative enables one to contextualize
discourse through the lens of lived experience and articulate agency
within “a contested and fractured discursive domain.”62 Goldman man-
aged gender norms and conveyed a public persona that was situated
90 TONGUE OF FIRE

within the discursive context of her class, ethnicity, sexuality, and lim-
inal citizenship. While the prevailing norms called for feminine purity
and domesticity, Goldman worked outside the home, rejected morality
and religion, had multiple lovers, and spoke in public with an authority
that was met with condemnation and challenges to her civil liberties.
In turn, she adopted a rhetorical persona that both internalized and
transgressed conventional constructs of femininity at a time when a
marked shift in the social geography of gender was unfolding. It was
from the standpoint of a Russian-Jewish working-class female immi-
grant that Goldman redefined gender and conceived her anarchist-
feminist ideology.
An analysis of the relationship between Goldman’s social identity
and rhetoric must inevitably acknowledge her roots in Russia. Gold-
man emigrated from Russia to the United States in 1885 at the age of
sixteen and, as a consequence, witnessed part of the rise of the Russian
women’s movement that had begun in the mid-1800s. A brief look at
the rise of the Russian women’s movement and Goldman’s reflections
on female Russian revolutionaries—many of whom were Jewish—sug-
gests that her persona was greatly influenced by the struggle of women
in her homeland. As working-class Jewish women from Russia and
other parts of Eastern Europe journeyed to the United States, they
experienced a new set of struggles related to their class, their foreign
origin, and the radical ideas they imported from home. These experi-
ences shaped their group identity and served as a springboard for the
formation of radical counterpublics.
Similar to American and European women, Russian women of
the nineteenth century did not have any status apart from the liveli-
hood of their husbands. An 1836 Code of Russian Laws states, “The
woman must obey her husband, reside with him in love, respect, and
unlimited obedience, and offer him every pleasantness and affection as
the ruler of the household.”63 A collective of bourgeois women initi-
ated the Russian women’s movement, which was aimed at expanding
their sphere to include access to a university education and profes-
sional career opportunities. A colony of radical activists developed and
centered around the University of Zurich, well-known throughout
Europe for its admission of female students. It was these female Rus-
sian intellectuals who formed a community in Zurich, Switzerland,
who spread the idea of women’s rights to working-class women in Rus-
sia. Although the attempt to include working women in the movement
“ TONGUE OF FIRE” 91

was not a widespread organized effort, women who worked in factories


played an integral role in the revolutionary uprising of 1905.64
In the years prior to the 1905 uprising, the Russian women’s move-
ment primarily took the form of a personal rebellion, especially for
those involved in revolutionary politics.65 The political agenda varied
along class lines as it did in the early American and European move-
ments, but rejection of the traditional family code and establishment
of equality in sexual relations, or “free love,” were at the forefront
of concern for most women.66 Russian women revolutionaries chal-
lenged the privatization of sexual expression and empowered women to
achieve self-determination just as anarchist-feminists did in the United
States. Among the more radical women in Russia, issues regarding
inequality were secondary to the larger concern for social revolution,
which emphasized the emancipation of peasants and the redistribution
of land. Still, the women’s movement and the broader revolutionary
cause were interconnected because the women who strived for personal
autonomy were often the same women who participated in the general
struggle alongside men, culminating in the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.
Although discrimination prevented women from holding leadership
positions in the revolutionary movement, many were “full-time revo-
lutionaries who could with equal facility deploy armed trolley cars in
the Moscow Uprising of 1905, purge a local section of the party, or
serve as commissar to an entire front in the Civil War.”67 Linking the
struggle for women’s personal freedom to the liberation of the masses
was, of course, foundational to Goldman’s anarchist-feminism.
Goldman often publicly praised the efforts of Russian revolution-
ary women.68 Concurring with her Russian sisters and foremothers, she
advanced the argument that liberation must occur at the level of indi-
vidual action. And many of the subjects Goldman concerned herself
with—marriage, free love, distribution of property, and so forth—were
subjects addressed by female radicals in Russia. In a speech delivered in
1917, Goldman even compares herself to a prominent female Russian
revolutionary leader and friend:

When the great woman “Rassken”—who is known the world


over as the mother of the Revolution, was in America and
lived with me for a time, I used to look at her and marvel at
her wonderful youth, her spirit, her passionate faith, and always
asked her how did you succeed in retaining your spirit, your
92 TONGUE OF FIRE

youth, and your energy after twenty years in Siberia. She would
look at me with her large and beautiful eyes, and she would
say “How did you manage to retain your spirit, your youth, and
your energy after twenty years in Siberia of America.”69

Just a few years before her death, Goldman reiterated her respect for
women of the Russian Revolution in an encomium in which she pro-
claims, “Russian women have participated in every form of revolu-
tionary activity and went to their deaths or to prison with a smile
upon their lips.”70 She expressed her admiration and profound respect
for these “heroic women” from both the intelligentsia and proletarian
class by noting their “[i]ngenious and daring” qualities, “outstanding
personalities,” “exceptionally generous spirit,” and “martyrdom.”71 Rus-
sian women “face hell itself for their ideal,” in contrast to American
women, argues Goldman.”72 These words reveal a strong affinity with
the struggle of Russian women revolutionaries as well as the struggle
of the working class. Goldman strongly identified with Russian-Jewish
women, in particular, who, like her, immigrated to United States in
search of freedom. She also saw Jews in general as the lifeblood of the
anarchist movement: “[W]hat would become of progress were it not
for the Jews?. . . [T]he bulk of our American radicals would positively
die of inertia and anaemia [sic], were it not for the Jews constantly
infusing new blood into their system.”73
Among early revolutionary groups, Jewish women were only sec-
ond in numbers to Russian women.74 Radical political leanings within
the community of Russian-Jewish women transferred to the United
States, particularly in terms of immigrant participation in anarchist and
socialist groups.75 Russian-Jewish women like Goldman faced many
obstacles arising from religious beliefs and customs, which in turn
fueled their desire to rebel. Goldman’s childhood was characterized by
the dominion of her father over the family and the pressure to submit
to an arranged marriage, both of which she rebelled against when she
emigrated to the United States.76 On the one hand, Goldman’s activism
can be seen as a reaction to the sexual and moral oppression imposed
by Jewish traditions. On the other hand, her Jewish identity served as
a source of empowerment for her intellectual development.
Within nineteenth-century Russian-Jewish culture, women could
not aspire to the important roles of rabbi and scholar as could their
“ TONGUE OF FIRE” 93

intellectually driven husbands. In accordance with rabbinical law, Jew-


ish women were expected to demonstrate the virtues of self-denial
and devotion to the husband and home. Still, while these aspects of
religious tradition were often oppressive insofar as they denied women’s
personhood, within the context of Russian-Jewish masculine norms,
they also fueled a sense of empowerment. Because Jewish wives and
mothers were responsible for economic support while their husbands
and sons engaged in scholarly pursuits, Jewish women, unlike other
Russian women, had an opportunity to enter the public sphere. Dur-
ing the middle of the nineteenth century, working-class Jewish women
were introduced into the work force in factory positions and even-
tually comprised one-quarter of the entire workforce of Russia. The
workplace thus became a point of departure for discussion about the
political status and public role of women.77
As much as Jewish women’s access to the workplace contributed to
their consciousness-raising, so did their longing for education. Indeed,
an impressive number of the aforementioned women who attended
universities in Europe, particularly Zurich, were upper- and middle-
class Russian Jews. Likewise, when educational options opened for
women in Russia, Jews were among the first to enthusiastically partici-
pate in this new opportunity.78 In A Price Below Rubies: Jewish Women
as Rebels and Radicals (1993), Naomi Shepherd argues that female Jew-
ish radicals’ interest in intellectual endeavors can be understood as an
attempt to identify with the intellectual capacities of their fathers while
rejecting the subservient qualities of their mothers.79
Lastly, in addition to access to the workplace and higher edu-
cation, Jewish religious values influenced the revolutionary spirit of
women, which was imbued with an intense passion that far exceeded
men’s. According to Barbara Alpern Engel in Mothers and Daughters:
Women of the Intelligentsia in 19th Century Russia (1983), the belief
that women were morally superior to men because of their capacity for
self-sacrifice provided a rationale for demanding political rights and
likewise a critique of the traditional family-centered role of women.80
Revolutionary women defied the dominant culture in any way they
could—through seeking higher education and employment, breaking
dress and demeanor codes, organizing and leading activist groups, and
so on. Some were placed on trial and imprisoned for their participation
in revolutionary activities. The zeal of Russian women radicals, suggests
94 TONGUE OF FIRE

Engel, created a mythology that defined the revolutionary woman as


“limitlessly devoted and endlessly self-sacrificing, a martyr-heroine for
future generations.”81
The impressive number of Jewish female immigrant workers in the
United States at the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth centuries
was a product of the role models provided by the Russian women’s
movement.82 While Jewish female workers were perhaps the most vis-
ible in terms of sheer numbers and participation in political activism,
it could also be said that immigrant women in general dominated the
female labor force.83 According to Paula E. Hyman (1991), the rela-
tive autonomy of Jewish immigrant women in the United States was
evidenced by their enthusiastic participation in labor union activities.84
They had more autonomy in both work and leisure than other female
immigrants. They were part of a tradition of radicalism that embraced
personal liberation, and because many earned wages in factory jobs
to support their intellectual husbands, they experienced a degree of
autonomy that other women could not. Therefore, it is not a coinci-
dence, as Stansell notes (2000), that “[i]n the bohemian geography of
the imagination, Greenwich Village was proximate and permeable to
the Jewish Lower East Side.”85
Goldman’s own reflections on female Russian revolutionaries
indicate that she modeled her rhetorical persona after them. She was
highly conscious of her Jewish identity. She recognized, for example,
that Jews constituted a significant political force. In a lecture she deliv-
ered in 1908, she stated, “Because the Jews have never fought, it has
been assumed that they would never rebel against existing conditions.
Liberty cannot be attained without struggle, and the Jews have become
conscious of this truth. Their revolutionary spirit is growing power-
ful.”86 At times, she identified herself as a Jewish woman. In a personal
letter written to a friend in 1925, about six years after her deportation,
she comments, “I am too Jewish to become mystical or to ever accept
anything but clear thinking.”87 Another indication of her identity with
Jewish culture is found in a speech titled “An Anarchist Looks at Life,”
which Goldman delivered in 1933 at a literary luncheon. She remi-
nisces, “Between the age of eight and twelve I dreamed of becoming
a Judith. I longed to avenge the sufferings of my people, the Jews.”88
Throughout her life, Goldman was conscious both of the Jew-
ish tradition from which she arose and the way her public advocacy
and rhetorical persona were modeled after female Russian-Jewish
“ TONGUE OF FIRE” 95

revolutionaries. She reacted against her Jewish past by rejecting insti-


tutionalized religion and morality, which she believed thwarted sexual
activity and, likewise, the ability of individuals to live a fulfilling life.
She believed that, “Religion and morality had committed great crimes
against the human race in ignoring sex and crushing it when it showed
itself without sanction from the church.”89 Indeed, the Jewish tradition
staunchly repressed women’s sexuality. For example, it forbade them to
express any interest in sex except for procreative purposes and banned
certain activities around the time of menstruation.90
Similar to her Russian-Jewish sisters and foremothers, Goldman
also embraced intellectual development as part of her anarchist-femi-
nist vision. Her high regard for intellectual endeavors is first revealed by
her longing for education as a child,91 and, as an adult, by her interest
in major literary writers as they contribute to theories about revolution,
and her tendency to utilize testimonial evidence from modern philoso-
phers. Playing the role of an enlightened woman, seeking to awaken
the sleeping masses, she advised her audiences—especially women—to
rid themselves of their ignorance. Moreover, she did so with a religios-
ity that appropriated the impassioned rhetoric of spiritual faith.92
Goldman’s rhetoric is an illustrative example—but certainly not a
representative one—of the recurring contexts and elements of style and
idiom that constituted the anarchist-feminist counterpublic at the turn
of the century. She was both disenfranchised and empowered by the
socioeconomic climate from which she arose, and she had to negotiate
between achieving an anarchist ideal and responding to the conditions
of the historical moment. In contrast to many suffrage speakers who
strategically performed femininity to legitimize their public activism,
Goldman could not so readily do the same in order to make her public
sexuality and anarchist ideas more acceptable because she had violated
feminine norms by birthright. Nor did she seek the approval or adap-
tation of her ideas from the prevailing systems of power. Rejecting
state and institutional authority altogether, she employed an anarcho-
feminine style to convey a message that rested on an inner, personal
solution to the problems of inequality and economic exploitation. Her
agitative tone and dancing argumentation were products of her radical
subjectivity, while they also gained the attention of audiences beyond
her sympathizers. Despite passionate appeals to the light of knowledge
and reason over the darkness of ignorance, her rhetoric was imperfect
and illogical according to conventional norms of discourse, including
96 TONGUE OF FIRE

any expectations associated with middle-class virtue and femininity. As


an anarchist-feminist agitator who did not need to seek to gain public
legitimacy from authority, she “contested the exclusionary norms of the
bourgeois public, elaborating alternative styles of political behavior and
alternative norms of speech.”93
The example of Goldman’s rhetorical style and persona illustrates
how the critical analysis of women’s discourse must take into account
the multiple axes of identity and oppression that shape life experi-
ences and interactions with audiences. To do otherwise would be to
risk reiteration of normative performances of femininity and to ignore
the process of meaning making in a complicated discursive terrain.
Goldman challenged patriarchal norms not as a woman but as a work-
ing-class, Russian-Jewish immigrant woman whose American citizen-
ship status was suspect. These intersecting components of her marginal
identity produced an opening for agency, a strategy through which she
could disrupt the status quo and maneuver within complex systems of
oppression. While her provocative style worked in terms of accessing
a national audience and pushing the boundaries of womanhood, the
celebrity of Red Emma eventually overshadowed her intent to awaken
the masses to the truth of emancipation.
5
Framing “The High Priestess
of Anarchy”

Do you need an introduction to Emma Goldman? You have seen


supposed pictures of her. You have read of her as a property-
destroying, capitalist-killing, riot-promoter agitator. You see her
in your mind a great raw-boned creature, with short hair and
bloomers, a red flag in one hand, a burning torch in the other;
both feet constantly off of the ground and “murder!” continually
upon her lips.
—Nellie Bly, New York World, September 17, 1893

But this little Russian woman, with her thickened speech, her
good rolling ‘r’s, her disdain for rhetorical rules, her vehemence
of expression, her potent, unstudied postures, is the most inter-
esting woman I have ever met.
—San Francisco Call, April 27, 1898

She is doing tremendous damage. She is womanly, a remark-


able orator, tremendously sincere, and carries conviction. If she
is allowed to continue here she cannot help but to have great
influence.
—Charles Daniel Frey, “Report to Department of Justice,”
August 25, 1917

O ne of the most notorious public figures in the United States at the


turn of the century, “Red Emma” was a provocative and flamboyant
performer on the public-speaking platform. She attracted the attention
of the press wherever she went, including at her public lectures, arrests,
trials, imprisonments, and ultimately, her much-anticipated deportation

97
98 TONGUE OF FIRE

in 1919. In many ways, Goldman’s fame in itself was an achievement


for public womanhood in that it served as a catalyst for debate about
gender norms as they were delineated by constructions of public and
private and contributed to the legitimization of public femininity over
time. As Brenda R. Weber (2012) writes, “[T]he amalgamated signifier
of a famous female author [or orator] developed complex gender fluidi-
ties even as it reified conventional dimorphic separations.”1 Although
Goldman’s fame challenged foregoing conceptions of womanhood as
she attempted to awaken Americans to the ills of capitalism, there was
a personal price to pay for her notoriety in the form of a loss of privacy
and security.
For much of her life in the United States, Goldman was vilified by
the press and trailed—and sometimes harassed—by law enforcement.
As a woman in public, Goldman saw her fame called into question
as she pushed the perceived boundaries between public and private
spheres. Her very presence in public also conjured up a sense of danger
that no other woman of her time had. Indeed, perhaps the only other
nineteenth-century woman who comes closest to achieving an equiva-
lent fame is Victoria Woodhull, the renowned free-love and women’s-
suffrage advocate who managed a stockbrokerage firm on Wall Street
and ran for US president in 1872. Woodhull “catered to the public
desire for flamboyant figures” through calculated acts aimed at courting
media coverage.2 In an effort to disseminate her ideas widely, Wood-
hull sold her own publicity photographs and lithographs, and she was
frequently depicted in men’s sporting-news publications in sexually
provocative illustrations, which she did not challenge or reject.3 Gold-
man equally captured the public’s imagination through the press’s char-
acterization of her as a fiery, bomb-wielding anarchist, but she didn’t
manipulate the popular press in the same way as Woodhull because
she was far more marginalized as an anarchist and as a working-class
immigrant.
In addition to promoting her ideas through public lectures and
print publications, Goldman occasionally granted interviews with
reporters from the popular press across the country, including the New
York World, San Francisco Call, Detroit Journal, and Albuquerque Evening
Citizen. Over time, repeated press characterizations of “Red Emma, the
High Priestess of Anarchy” as a dangerous woman capable of wreaking
chaos made her into a public spectacle, and this no doubt contributed
to her ability to pack lecture halls with hundreds of curiosity seekers,
FRAMING “ THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF ANARCHY ” 99

FIGURE 5.1. Emma Goldman cartoon in the Pacific Com-


mercial Advertiser (Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands), 1901.

in addition to political sympathizers. In this chapter, I document the


drama surrounding her potential for fomenting trouble whenever she
gave a lecture, her repeated arrests and allegations for “incitement to
riot,” and her struggles with local authorities who tried to prevent her
from speaking; and I demonstrate how over time this drama became
a distraction from her message, shifting public attention to the ques-
tion of whether she should be allowed to speak at all. As this chapter
100 TONGUE OF FIRE

demonstrates, over time, promoting anarchism seemed to become less


important to Goldman than asserting her fundamental right to speak
(or write) and be heard (or read) by an audience whatever the message
or topic.

THE VOICE OF ANARCHISM

Goldman’s larger-than-life persona was a product of her identity and


theatrics on the public-speaking platform as well as a sensationalist
American press that tended to exaggerate her power and influence. The
American press coverage of her speeches spanned her career within the
United States. As prolific as she was as an orator, however, she came
to prefer the written word. As she explained in the preface to Anar-
chism and Other Essays (1910), “My great faith in the wonder worker,
the spoken word, is no more. . . . I came to see that oral propaganda
is at best but a means of shaking people from their lethargy: it leaves
no lasting impression. The very fact that most people attend meetings
only if aroused by newspaper sensations, or because they expect to be
amused, is proof that they really have no inner urge to learn.”4 She thus
perceived writing to be a solution to the challenges she faced on the
public-speaking platform, especially the distortions of her character
and ideas by the news coverage appearing in the popular press. As I
discuss later in this chapter, Goldman would eventually find publishing
her writings to be just as challenging as speaking in public.
More often than not, Goldman was depicted by the mainstream
press as a tempestuous, unruly orator and a woman who possessed
an uncanny power and ability to induce people to act. Her delivery,
according to the Albuquerque Evening Citizen, “is a matter of flash-
ing eyes, ringing tones and vitriolic attack.”5 The Pittsburg Dispatch
featured a story about a female reporter’s encounter with Goldman in
“anarchy’s headquarters,” a New York City saloon. “Everybody crowded
around her. .  .  . one would have thought the crater of Vesuvius had
again broken out into disastrous eruption. Her words in English were
harsh, blood-curdling and vigorous,” the reporter wrote of Goldman,
the “fire eater.”6 In an “impartial study of her and her career,” Utah’s
Spanish Fork Press likened her to a caged wild animal: “On the plat-
form she makes no gestures, but walks back and forth as she talks
in a low tense voice, strongly suggesting a black leopard in a cage.”7
FRAMING “ THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF ANARCHY ” 101

A woman with “nihilistic tendencies of an aggressive nature” and “an


inborn desire to ‘start something,’” an El Paso Herald story proclaimed;
“there is nothing picturesque about her . . . she is a veritable fury and
her face becomes distorted as she outlines her theories.”8 Such vivid
and unattractive descriptions truly exaggerated the influence Goldman
had as a spokeswoman for the anarchist movement—which would be
remembered in American history as a very marginal, ineffectual politi-
cal movement.
There is an abundance of examples of how the popular press appro-
priated Goldman’s persona to sell the news. On November 11, 1897, in
response to a speech she delivered a few days earlier on the anniversary
of the execution of four Haymarket martyrs, a Detroit Journal article
described her as a “woman with great and dominating power”:

[H]er sharp, clear words are the bullets of successive mental


explosions. . . . In the most vigorous moments of her talk she
would make straight arm gestures, at times with a clenched
fist. . . . What she said has been repeated on similar occasions
many times, but the words, flowing from her lips, in a tragic
and at times in an almost sonorous strength, had a deep and
profound effect. She held her audience in a vice-like grip. The
response she got was beyond the meaning of hand-clapping.9

Indeed, government officials and local authorities did fear that her
speeches would stir audiences to the point of igniting violence or other
unlawful behavior.
Goldman’s speaking events brewed controversy as she visited cities
across the country. One such event involved a pastor who invited her
to speak in his church, the People’s Tabernacle in Detroit, Michigan,
for the stated purpose of promoting understanding of antagonistic
views. A newspaper report on the incident with the sensational head-
line “Violent Anarchist in Christian Pulpit” noted that, “A large num-
ber of ladies took this opportunity of seeing what a real live anarchist
looks like.”10 Another story reported a crowd of “no less than 1,500
people being present, a fair majority of them being in accord with
the speaker.”11 As expected, Goldman delivered a speech denouncing
Christian religion and morality, which was promptly condemned by
church members. Some members resigned their membership, while
deacons called up the pastor to resign for allowing an “infidel to speak
102 TONGUE OF FIRE

in the pulpit.”12 In another controversy that received considerable


media attention, Goldman took on Billy Sunday, an influential evan-
gelist and prohibition advocate. In a story with the headline “Emma
Goldman Roasts Sunday—Hall Burns Down,” the Day Book described
a speech she gave in criticism of Sunday: “She ridiculed Sunday . . .
and burlesqued his actions on the rostrum, ending with the exclama-
tion, ‘If all those people I saw in Sunday’s tabernacle last night are
going to heaven, then I want to go to hell!’ . . . A few moments after
Miss Goldman and her followers left, the building burst into flames.”
Although the headline implies that Goldman’s speech caused the fire
in Paterson, New Jersey, the conclusion of the report notes, “The police
said an anarchist probably dropped a cigaret [sic].”13
The negative publicity that surrounded Goldman most likely
helped her attract audiences and perhaps even boosted sales of her
journal publication, Mother Earth (1906–17). She had no reputation
to lose as a working-class immigrant woman. And she never refuted
or defended herself against the unsavory and false characterizations,
accepting the public ridicule as the price to pay as a martyr for free-
dom. She attempted to maintain her focus on the ideas she wished to
convey even as news accounts framed her as a promulgator of violence,
a familiar stereotype of anarchists that lingered from public memory
of the 1886 Haymarket Square bombings.
The tabloid-style press coverage that was so common in the late
nineteenth century increased the anxiety of a visit by the dangerous
Emma Goldman to a city or hometown. As I demonstrate in the dis-
cussion below, her rise to notoriety coincided with the emergence of
the “new journalism,” or “yellow journalism” as it came to be known,
which feigned objectivity as it covered a variety of stories and inter-
views that piqued the imagination of readers and increased the sale
of newspapers. New York-based papers such as the Sun, the World,
and the Journal adopted “an innovative, commercialized, sensationalis-
tic, and above all dramatic style of reportage,” writes Karren Roggen-
kamp (2005).14 The style could be seen in papers across the country,
with techniques such as exaggerative headlines and illustrations and
pseudo interviews. Factual accuracy was less important than novelty
and the potential to entertain readers. According to Roggenkamp,
“Approaching the news with significantly different expectations from
those of newspaper consumers today, most nineteenth-century read-
ers embraced this ‘story’ aesthetic wholeheartedly, even if news stories
FRAMING “ THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF ANARCHY ” 103

FIGURE 5.2. Illustration of Emma Goldman in


the St. Louis (MO) Republic, 1901.

sometimes appeared overtly fictionalized.”15 The populist style of the


new journalism appealed to broad audiences, including immigrants and
the working class, which contributed to the development of a mass
readership. “Radical ideas were so popular in the latter half of the nine-
teenth century that mainstream commercial presses had to adopt such
a tone to attract a working-class audience,” argues Mily Williamson.16
It is in this climate that celebrity journalism emerged as “journalists
began crafting new techniques and rhetorical strategies for depicting
104 TONGUE OF FIRE

celebrities” with a focus on human-interest stories about the lives of


famous individuals.17
Popular press stories about Goldman ranged from brief accounts of
her activities to interviews and full-length character portraits. On rare
occasions, the articles were authored by female journalists. A 1910 Salt
Lake Herald Republican article authored anonymously “By a Woman,”
according to the byline, described Goldman in uncommonly positive
terms as “a highly intellectual woman with considerable insight into
human nature and what appears to be a real love for humanity” and
“an example of what a woman can do to emancipate herself and cul-
tivate her own powers.”18 The most notable story about Goldman by
a female journalist was written by none other than Nellie Bly, the pen
name of Elizabeth Jane Cochrane. As a reporter for Joseph Pulitzer’s
New York World, Bly gained national prominence for her reports on
the plight of the poor, the treatment of the mentally ill, the incar-
ceration of female prisoners, and for her profiles of influential people.
Her interview with Goldman was Bly’s first major story following a
hiatus from her career, which she had taken upon returning from her
infamous trip “around the world in eighty days.” Pulitzer cast Bly as
“both author of and protagonist in the journalistic tale” about Gold-
man.19 At the time, Goldman was in a New York City municipal jail
known as “The Tombs” awaiting trial for unlawful assembly on the
occasion of her Union Square speech. Bly’s interview with her appeared
in the New York World on September 17, 1893. Anticipation of the
exposé was raised by advertisements in the days leading up to it: “Nel-
lie Bly Interviews Emma Goldman . . . and Spends a Week Among
the Anarchists—See Next Sunday’s World”20 and “Nellie Bly Among
the Anarchists. Who they are and how they live, what their hopes
and plans are and what they say and do in their secret conferences.”21
Bly’s interview challenged the popular notion of Goldman as a vio-
lent anarchist and instead presented her as “the modern Joan of Arc,”
an earnest woman who is motivated by the sincere desire to end the
human suffering caused by capitalism. She also described Goldman as
modest, “a little bit of a girl, just 5 feet high” with “a saucy, turned-up
nose and very expressive blue-gray eyes” with “very pretty and girlish”
hair and “a mild, pleasant voice.”22 In addition to answering questions
about her anarchist beliefs, Goldman responded to Bly’s inquiry about
her chosen attire and how she spends her money, with Bly comment-
ing, “Can you not testify to this woman’s earnestness of purpose when
FRAMING “ THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF ANARCHY ” 105

she sacrifices her looks for books?” Indeed, Goldman’s appearance was
of great interest to consumers of popular news. The characterizations
of her body in the press tended to oscillate between ugly and beautiful.

READING GOLDMAN’S BODY

Reporters frequently described Goldman’s body and physical appear-


ance in great detail, enabling readers to visualize her disorderly body.
The sometimes even anatomical descriptions of the body parts of “The
High Priestess of Anarchy” were presumably effective in selling papers
and satisfying readers’ curiosity about this most powerful woman. More
importantly, when one understands the corporeal body as a site of cul-
ture and control, these constructions of Goldman’s body signify the
prevailing disciplinary practices of femininity. In both the nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries, femininity was frequently equated with
the condition of hysteria, a disorder perceived as unique to female
pathology.23 As a passionate, unruly woman, Goldman embodied the
conventional image of feminine hysteria. Yet, because her hysteria was
often figured in the form of masculine qualities, as I demonstrate in
the discussion below, images of her body at the same time served as a
symbol of resistance to feminine domesticity and docility.
In the context of a sensationalist press, stories about anarchists
often included journalistic observations about their bodies, which
dovetailed with stereotypes about immigrants and the poor. Anarchists
were filthy, sickly, beer drinking, unemployed, foreign, and, of course,
violent. The Norfolk Weekly News Journal characterized anarchists as
“wretches” and “mad dogs” that must be “hunted down” so that “their
bloody harangues will do no further mischief among weak or disor-
dered minds.”24 News-story references to anarchists as “unwashed” were
especially frequent.25 Even Nellie Bly’s somewhat flattering interview
with Goldman included a passing reference to “the oft-declaration of
Anarchists’ hatred for soap.”26 Some stories presented anarchists as
brazen drunks. For example, in a story about Goldman’s alleged con-
spiracy with Alexander Berkman to assassinate Henry Clay Frick and
her desire to be imprisoned with him so she could enjoy “free boarding
and lodging,” the Evening World “Sporting Extra” claimed that the two
reporters who were attempting to interview Goldman in a saloon “were
unceremoniously thrown out by a score of long-haired, uncouth law
106 TONGUE OF FIRE

haters. Miss Geldman [sic] viewed the ejection from her seat of honor
near a beer table and applauded the work of her unwashed brethren by
rapping the table with a mug of beer.”27 A story about her appearance
at a Labor Day picnic in Spring Valley, Illinois, claimed that she gave
a speech to “300 foreigners” proposing “[e]very anarchist child . . . is
to be baptized with beer” and that “[t]he anarchist woman added to
her popularity by treating her followers to liquor and drinking with
them.”28 Of course, national and international events fueled the mis-
trust of anarchists, particularly the bombing of Chicago’s Haymarket
Square during a labor demonstration on May 4, 1886; the attempted
assassination of Henry Clay Frick in 1892 by Berkman, Goldman’s
friend and one-time lover; the assassination of prime minister of Spain
Antonio Cánovas del Castillo in 1897 by anarchist Michele Angiolillo;
the assassination of President William McKinley by Leon Czolgosz in
1901; the rise of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the “Red Scare”
that coincided with it29—all of which came to be associated with the
official “chief ” of anarchists in America, Emma Goldman.30
While constructions of Goldman’s body were consistent with
depictions of male anarchists as coarse, violent, and criminally suspect,
constructions of her body were also inscribed with the feminine mys-
tique. She was a disorderly, unattractive, and yet a strangely beautiful,
enigmatic woman. Some descriptions raised intrigue about her physical
attractiveness and unfeminine behavior, especially earlier in her anar-
chist career. For example, an 1892 Pittsburg Dispatch article describes
her as “a gaily-dressed girl with golden hair, big grey eyes and a tall,
slight figure .  .  . smoking cigarettes .  .  . and swearing picturesquely
and luridly.”31 Conflating sex with power, on November 16, 1897, the
Detroit Journal headline and series of bylines read as follows:

emma goldman, anarchy agitator, shrieks for the


blood red flag. One Dynamite Bomb and One Death, She
Says, Are Worth Ten Years Talking and Preaching. This High
Priestess of Anarchy Declares the Doctrine of Destruction
and Discontent. And she has blue eyes. Silky, Soft Hair,
and Pretty Feet in Neat Shoes. Became Noted by Her Wild
Speeches Under the Banner of the Red Flag, and Tonight She
Will Address Detroit Anarchists in Commemoration of the
Haymarket Anarchists.32
FRAMING “ THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF ANARCHY ” 107

The article continues by providing a much more graphic description of


her physical allure:

She was small, plump; one could not in truth call her petite,
for she was too round and healthy looking. She wore a dress
of fuzzy brown stuff, the waist of which was made of the skirt
material decorated with fine satin striped silk. About the black
silk collar were two rows of beads, small, jetlike things, that
sparked when she would turn her head. The woman’s feet were
tiny, encased in kid shoes, and her hair, parted and brushed
over her forehead in a wave, was brown, and of silky softness.
She wore gold-rimmed eyeglasses, from which dangled a long
gold chain, and as she talked she idly fingered a vinegar bottle
that stood on the table. Her face was refined and unforgettable.
The mouth was its only homely feature, though the nose some
might have called too thick. The complexion was as clear as a
rose and the pink cheeks flushed and paled as she grew inter-
ested in her talk. The brow was fair and only two lines were
visible on its white surface. They ran up from the top of her
nose and might have been caused by her eyeglasses. Her eyes
were big and blue and languishing when in repose, but when
she waxed excited they flashed and sparkled like cat’s. This
woman was the famous Emma Goldman, the crown princess
of the anarchists of the new world.33

Years later, in 1908, the Spanish Fork Press remarks:

At 37 the woman is still a well preserved woman. She is only


five feet three inches in height and weighs about 132 pounds,
but her youthful gait and carriage give no slight impression of
nervous energy and determination. . . . Her hand is small and
well kept, her complexion youthful and her hair still chest-
nut. Her dark penetrating eyes shine lynxlike behind glasses
which hide her most marked sign of age, a growing net-
work of wrinkles. This astonishing woman’s voice is low and
pleasant and the impression one gets of her despite the firm
chin is of mildness and gentleness when she is speaking in
public.34
108 TONGUE OF FIRE

FIGURE 5.3. Feature story about Emma Gold-


man by a female reporter in the Herald Repub-
lican (Salt Lake City, UT), 1910.

The above examples of journalistic constructions of Goldman’s body


reveal a complexity of meanings associated with working-class anar-
chist femininity.
Days after Leon Czolgosz had shot President McKinley, the con-
structions of Goldman’s disorderly body became even more exagger-
ated and shifted toward emphasizing masculine attributes. The St. Louis
Republic’s story on Goldman, who was immediately presumed to have
FRAMING “ THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF ANARCHY ” 109

inspired if not been a conspirator in the crime, remarks, “She works


herself into a frenzy, which is akin to the excitement of the voodoo
worshipers of the black race . . . she is a master of the pantomimic art,”
and continues to report on the manner by which “words rush from her
mouth. She talks so fast that it would be difficult to follow her if the
enunciation were not so distinct. Every sentence is driven at her audi-
ence like a tack-hammer’s rap. They sound full of spite. It is the way
she says things, rather than what she says, that carry the venom which
Czolgosz has said fired him to attempt the life of the President.”35 “She
spends much of her time in back rooms of saloons where Anarchists
gather. A crowd of admirers constantly surrounds her,” a reporter from
Florida’s weekly, the New Enterprise, writes of Goldman: “She hates
women, and her life has been passed mostly among men. Her features
are almost masculine.”36 Some representations offered a sinister picture
like this one, again from the St. Louis Republic:

Her inky black hair finds an abandon when she is making an


address that is at once picturesque and suggestive of the wrig-
gling serpents on the Medusa head. The dark tresses seem to
writhe out of their coiffure and are tossed about by the vigor-
ous moments in repose on her strong thick neck. She has a
trick of tilting her nose derisively at a sharp angle in the air
and looking down through her glasses at the audience from
underneath her half-lidded eyes. It is one of her most effective
poses. It flashes to her listeners just the idea which it is plain
she intends to convey. The nose says she has contempt for gov-
ernment and those who permit it to exist. The half-veiled eyes
express her superior commiseration, the arched eyebrows ask
what are you going to do about it, and the curling lip is laden
with ferocity and scorn.37

The same article also describes at length just how unattractive she is:

As a woman, the anarchist leader is unlike all types of her sex.


She cares less than almost any living woman for her appear-
ance. . . . Emma Goldman is a woman of the average female
height. Her neck is noticeably short and sets well down upon
her shoulders, which are angular. Her complexion is inclined
110 TONGUE OF FIRE

FIGURE 5.4. Illustration of Emma Goldman as


a man in the World (New York), 1893.

to sallow. Weak eyes, which are pale blue, watery blue is the
ordinary description. . . . Her mouth is large and sensual. There
is a lack of resolution in the weak upper lip, but this deficiency
is balanced by the curl of the lower lip, which falls so low that
it discloses her firmly-set teeth. This lip and the chin, usually
wrinkled with scorn, are the strongest details of a face that is
rather wooden in repose. . . . At her throat usually flashes the
FRAMING “ THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF ANARCHY ” 111

blood-red silk of a tie worn in four-in-hand fashion, then ends


dangling down on her bosom.38

Still, other accounts of Goldman’s appearance present her as a remark-


ably plain, ordinary woman. A 1907 the Los Angeles Herald notes,
“Emma Goldman, the leading exponent of the doctrine of anarchy
is hardly a person to strike terror to the heart of man. She is a short,
chubby person, with brown hair, not done up according to the lat-
est decree of the fashionable hairdresser, spectacles and a big voice.”39
Countering the notion that Goldman is unattractive, a female journal-
ist from the Salt Lake Herald Republican justifies Goldman’s unassum-
ing appearance as “partly Russian temperament, and partly because she
thinks there are more important things than personal adornment. . . .
Beauty of a sort she has. It lies in a good physique, in clear eyes and
clean complexion.”40 In addition to stories showing a fascination with
her physical appearance, stories about Goldman frequently report on
her “free love” lifestyle and encounters with police.

LOVERS AND “HUSBANDS”

Despite her staunch rejection of the institution of marriage, as I dis-


cuss in chapters 3 and 4, Goldman married twice in her life—a short-
lived marriage to Jacob Kerstner in Rochester not too long after she
had immigrated to the United States before launching her career as
an anarchist agitator and, in 1925, six years after her deportation, a
“companionate marriage” to Canadian citizen James Colton in order to
secure a British passport and obtain some degree of protection against
immigration authorities. Aside from these actual marriages, Goldman’s
love affairs were of great interest to news reporters, who sometimes used
the discourse of matrimony to characterize her multitude of romantic
partners—perhaps because it was taboo to imply a sexual relationship
outside of marriage, and a language to describe such relationships was
not yet part of the normative lexicon.
One of the earliest news stories about Goldman’s love affairs is
titled “She Loves Berkman” and appeared in an 1892 edition of the
Evening World “Sporting Extra.” It claims that Goldman was trying
to get arrested so that she could be in the same jail with the man she
“would give her life to save.” It further calls attention to her power over
112 TONGUE OF FIRE

men: “Her word is law. She has conquered all by either her magnetism
or love diplomatically distributed among the men she wants as allies.”
“Are you a lover or simply a friend of Miss Goldman?” the reporter
inquired to one of her friends, Frank Keidler. The story continues, “He
only smiled in reply, and then commenced a long story about the supe-
rior accomplishments of the fair queen.”41
Several stories appearing in newspapers across the country between
1893 and 1908 identify Goldman as “wife”42 or “wife in spirit”43 of
Alexander Berkman and Berkman as the “husband”44 or “common law
husband”45 of Goldman. A May 20, 1906 story in the Washington Times
reveals that Berkman’s “little love secret has come out” for “the mys-
terious lady whom [he] addressed as E. Smith in his correspondence
[while in prison], proves to be no other than Emma Goldman, the
famous anarchist.”46 Days later, a May 25, 1906 Los Angeles Herald
story announced that the couple had married in Detroit upon Berk-
man’s release from prison, “[a]s the idea of marriage by forms of law is
repugnant to all anarchists, the contracting parties called no judge or
minister to read the service, but were united according to the tenets
of their belief.” What made the story even more sensational was the
claim that the “service” had been performed by Carl Nold, a mutual
friend who also served time in prison as conspirator in Henry Clay
Frick’s assassination. The story concludes by announcing that “Mr. and
Mrs. Bergman [sic] will make New York their home.”47 Two months
later, a reporter for the Albuquerque Citizen did a follow-up story on
Goldman’s views of matrimony, “[i]n view of the fact that she is a
bride, having recently married, in the anarchist fashion” to Berkman.48
Responding to the reporter’s inquiry, Goldman is quoted as challeng-
ing the “nonsense” notion that she is married to Berkman explaining,
“Anarchists do not believe in marriage. . . . Close living together of men
and women is injurious to affection. Their lives become commonplace
and monotonous. . . . Human nature craves variety in literature and
other affairs of life and so it is in the closer relations.”49 Still, another
story appearing in the Washington Times describes the reporter’s wit-
nessing of “the terrible pair of Reds” as they sat “on a park bench,
holding hands and breathing soft anarchist nothings into each oth-
ers ears.”50 Goldman’s publicized relationship with Berkman no doubt
added to the perception that she was “the most dangerous woman in
America,” as Berkman was well known for his multiple arrests, involve-
ment in bomb plots and a prison break out, in addition to his attempted
FRAMING “ THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF ANARCHY ” 113

assassination of Frick.51 Both were deported to Russia on the same ship


in 1919.
During her years of activism in the United States, Goldman had
several other “marriages,” according to news reports. Her first “free
love marriage,” according to a 1917 El Paso Herald retrospective on
her career, was with “Count Lasalle, of London, soon after her escape
from Rochester.”52 Prior to her romance with Berkman, Goldman was
“the sweetheart of Herr [ Johann] Most, whom she discarded in favor
of Bergmann [sic].”53 Most was an influential anarchist in his own right
who introduced Goldman to anarchism and mentored her as a public
speaker. Goldman would later “marry” her speaking tour manager Ben
Reitman. A 1908 New York Tribune story with the headline “Falls In
Love With Emma Goldman” proclaims that, “Emma Goldman has a
new flame. Dr. Ben Reitman, ‘King of Hoboes,’ announces that he has
fallen in love with the ‘Queen of the Reds.’ He has been in constant
attendance on [sic] her since she came from Chicago, thereby cut-
ting the ground from under Alexander Berkman.”54 The El Paso Herald
reports that Goldman was Reitman’s “wife or what ever [sic] they call
their better or worse half in the pure socialistic state.”55 Recall from
chapter 2 that her unsettled relationship with Reitman was one that
affected her deeply by challenging her commitment to free love.
Still other stories raised curiosity about other possible “husbands”
of Goldman, including fellow anarchist Claus Timmermann, who,
according to an 1893 report on his “not guilty” plea for an alleged pub-
lic-speaking violation, was asked if he intended to marry Goldman. The
reporter notes “that some feeling akin to affection exists between Tim-
mermann and Miss Goldman was evident by the anxiety with which
[he] asked about Miss Goldman’s arrest.”56 A 1912 story in the Tacoma
Times about anarchists on trial mentions a man by the name of Adrian
Wilber as “a former husband of Emma Goldman.”57 The fact that there
was some confusion about Goldman’s husband is further apparent in an
1893 Sun story reporting that “Jacob Kerstner [sic], the real husband of
Emma Goldman” was imprisoned for grand larceny—the two divorced
less than a year after they wedded in 1887. A 1917 El Paso Herald
story about her “meteoric and turbulent” career also mentions her
marriage to Kerstner, noting she had a “violent quarrel” with him and
proceeded to describe how she “escaped from the house by dropping
from a second-story window and ran to New York, where . . . [w]ithin
a short space of time she became more violent than her preceptors.”58
114 TONGUE OF FIRE

THE COMINGS AND GOINGS


OF A SUSPECTED CRIMINAL

With a reputation for fiery romances and lawlessness, Goldman was


“a woman to be watched in every movement.59 Consistent with the
emerging journalism style, voyeuristic accounts of her whereabouts and
run-ins with local authorities were often dramatized and tainted with
a suspicious tone. News reports chronicled her movements across the
country and sustained interest in the potential unrest that she could
foment wherever she went: “Emma Goldman Here,”60 “High Priestess
of Anarchy, Sneers Over Crime,”61 “Emma Goldman Raises a Row,”62
“Emma Goldman to Go to Arizona,”63 “Emma Goldman Will Not
Be Allowed to Speak,”64 “Emma Goldman to Show Car Strikers How
to Win,”65 “Emma Goldman in Trouble Again,”66 “Emma Goldman
Driven from Town,”67 and “No Traces of Emma Goldman.”68 The antic-
ipation of a speech by Goldman sometimes included a preview such
as the headline story of the Day Book on May 14, 1915 that proclaims:

A woman will take the platform of the Assembly Hall of the


Fine Arts building Sunday night and make a talk never before
made to a public audience in Chicago. She will tell the audi-
ence exactly what a first-class doctor tells a millionaire’s wife
who comes into his office crying: “Doctor, I don’t want to have
a baby. Help me not to have a baby.” The woman to make this
talk is Emma Goldman. . . . [S]he will tell her audience the
last word of modern medical science on birth control. She will
describe the physical technique by which it is claimed a woman
has power to say for herself just how few or how many babies
shall arrive to her.69

Even when a story was only remotely tied to Goldman, she was pre-
sented as central to the narrative. For example, in a story with the head-
line “Tar and Feathers for Anarchist in San Diego” in the Hawaiian
Gazette on May 17, 1912, a large illustration of Goldman with a torch,
bomb, prison-cell window, and guillotine was depicted even though
the story was about an incident in which Ben Reitman was attacked
by an angry crowd—presumably the image of his comrade and lover
Goldman sells newspapers better.70
FRAMING “ THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF ANARCHY ” 115

Some reports illustrate just how closely she was tracked and
observed by reporters. Regarding her arrest and trial for incitement
to riot in Union Square, a reporter dramatically describes her appear-
ance in the courtroom as she “came in quietly, almost unobserved . . .
shrank into a corner of the ‘ladies box.’ . . . She was clad in black. She
wore a small hat with white flowers and a heavy veil, through which
her gold-rimmed spectacles glistened and her large blue eyes flashed.”71
On August 17, 1894, the day of her release from Blackwell’s Island
after serving time for inciting to riot for her Union Square speech,
an Evening World reporter observes as she left the boat: “She wore
the same black skirt, check waist and black straw hat which made her
famous last year. She also wore spectacles. The only difference in the
hat was that instead of the feather which formerly adorned it, a wreath
of flowers had taken its place. Emma boarded a Second avenue ‘L’ road
train and started downtown.”72 Realizing her release from prison was
cause for “a brass band and procession,” the story notes that authorities
discharged her two hours earlier than usual, presumably to thwart sup-
porters from greeting her.73 Two days later, on the evening of August
19, a large reception was held to celebrate her release with report-
edly some three thousand people in attendance. In its description of
the event, the Washington Times notes that Goldman’s tongue “wags as
volubly and viciously as before her imprisonment.”74
Goldman’s perceived ability to sway a crowd and inspire lawless
behavior is what made her a dangerous woman. Reinforcing the popular
stereotype of women as incessant talkers, a Spanish Fork Press story thus
introduces Goldman as a woman whose tongue the authorities cannot
stop despite “the entire secret service of the United States assisted by
the postal authorities and a score of city police. . . . Laws have been
made especially to deal with her and whole corps of detectives trained
to enforce laws. But neither espionage, threats or imprisonment have
served to check the fanatical activity of Emma Goldman, internation-
ally known as the ‘Queen of the Anarchists.’”75 In another example,
on August 19, 1893, in the Evening World, the headline and bylines of
a report on Goldman’s famous Union Square speech proclaim, “Stirs
The Reds. Emma Goldman Tells Them They Must Sweep the Land of
the Rich. Death and Blood the Motto. She Says They Must Not Be
Surprised ‘If Anything Happens To-Night’ [sic].” The report claims
that she “advised unemployed men of this city to break into stores to
116 TONGUE OF FIRE

supply their wants.”76 The Scranton Tribune admonishes that “it is again
time for ministers and moralists to lift warning voices against her rant-
ings, for she is uttering more incendiary sentiments than if she were
endeavoring to incite her followers to burn and plunder the cities of
the land.”77
The news stories associating Goldman with lawless behavior
resulted in a conflict between her right to a fair trial—particularly, the
presumption of innocence until proven guilty—and the freedom of
the press. She was tried in the press for her alleged complicity in the
assassination attempt of Henry Clay Frick on July 23, 1892, although
Berkman alone traveled to Pittsburgh and was convicted of the crime:

Miss Goldman was generally credited with having instigated


Bergman’s [sic] crime, but she escaped the consequences of
complicity in that affair, and lived in retirement until the recent
labor disturbances in New York City gave her an opportunity
to flame forth as an apostle of anarchy. She traveled about from
one meeting of the unemployed to another, carrying confu-
sion and disturbance wherever she went, inciting the mob to
violence, arson and bloodshed and breathing defiance of the
police, the press and the established system of government.78

Berkman was sentenced to fourteen years in prison, while Goldman,


who admitted in her autobiography to helping him plan the assas-
sination, was not charged with any crime in this case, although news
coverage depicted her as a culprit.
Suspicion of Goldman reached new heights immediately follow-
ing Leon Czolgosz’s attempted assassination of President McKinley
on September 6, 1901. A St. Louis Republic exposé on Czolgosz, who
was presumed to have found inspiration in Goldman, notes that “[i]n
our city we are told that Emma Goldman, this devil incarnate, and her
associates frequently met in the saloon at the dark corner of Third and
Elm streets.”79 Immediately following the incident in Buffalo, she was
sought by police for questioning, and news reports across the country
speculated where she might be hiding and how she had managed to
elude authorities.80 Goldman stayed at the home of a friend in Chi-
cago until September 10, when she was apprehended by police and
released after two weeks of detention due to insufficient evidence of
her involvement in the crime.81 In the meantime, some reports describe
FRAMING “ THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF ANARCHY ” 117

FIGURE 5.5. Character portrait of Emma


Goldman as an alleged accomplice in
the assassination of President William
McKinley in the World (New York), 1901.

her attempt to “elude detectives,” attend secret meetings with com-


rades,82 and communicate by a telegraph cipher code.83 Speculation
of her involvement continued for years even though soon after the
incident the district attorney announced publicly there was insufficient
evidence to charge her.84 Even after the rule of insufficient evidence
was released, the Evening Star reported, “It is strongly suspected that
118 TONGUE OF FIRE

Emma Goldman’s lecture caused a dastardly crime. . . . She is certain


to be held under such close surveillance that the further exploitation
of her incendiary doctrines will precipitate her arrest and punishment
unless the police of the cities she visits fall wretchedly in their duty.”85
The tabloid-style coverage that implicated her in the fatal attack
combined with public statements made by Goldman expressing sym-
pathy for Czolgosz amplified her image as a public enemy. A year
after McKinley’s assassination, speculating that she was now plotting
another murder, a news report announced:

Goldman, the high priestess of anarchy, arrived in this city


Wednesday. . . . To the party from whom she rented the rooms
she gave the name Emma Gibson and said that she was from
Chicago. The police of this city were notified that she was
coming and it was the belief that she was hatching a plot to
kill President Roosevelt. . . . The woman tallies exactly with the
photographs of Emma Goldman in the police gallery.86

“And what manner of woman is this who is able to win converts to a


doctrine of murder,” asked the Spanish Fork Press in 1908: “This ques-
tion has never been satisfactorily answered for the woman is a good
deal of mystery in spite of the fact that her doings are chronicled
almost daily in the newspapers.”87 The mounting negative publicity
and allegations of her evil intentions made it increasingly difficult for
her to gain access to the public-speaking platform.

WILL SHE OR WON’T SHE SPEAK?

Whenever Goldman had a speaking engagement, the presence of


police and plain-clothes investigators was a given. On some occasions
she would arrive only to find the hall closed or the entrance blocked.
Encounters with police were an ongoing source of frustration in terms
of Goldman’s ability to access audiences. These encounters also pro-
vided fodder for a news saga about whether she would be allowed to
speak. On the occasion of an April 1901 labor strike in Philadelphia,
the Evening World reported that Goldman was blocked by police from
entering a hall in which she was scheduled to speak, noting that “own-
ers of halls have been warned not to allow her to make addresses.”88
FRAMING “ THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF ANARCHY ” 119

“Anticipating a bloody riot and the necessity for a great show of clubs
and stars, several members of the detective force paid 10 cents admis-
sion to Burbank [H]all last night and listened to a lecture on non-resis-
tance anarchy by Emma Goldman,” the Los Angeles Herald reported on
May 24, 1907.89 In another example, the New Ulm Review reported on
March 18, 1908, that Goldman had attended an anthropological soci-
ety meeting in Chicago while “thirty-five or forty ponderous police-
men, some in plain clothes, stalked in or remained just outside the hall”
and went on to describe how this “much dreaded woman” left the hall
because of the disturbance caused by of the presence of police.90 That
same year, the Norfolk Weekly News Journal declared:

There is absolute sympathy with the authorities that are fol-


lowing Emma Goldman through the country, preventing her
from making public speeches and preparing to punish her for
violation of the law. . . . It is perfectly easy to draw the line. The
moment that any man or woman from the platform or through
the press, counsels violence, either directly or in veiled terms,
that moment the prison doors should open. . . . It is time to
hunt down the anarchists and to put an end to the propaganda
crime. Let every city and state look into it.91

Goldman turned these struggles with officials into an opportunity to


advocate freedom of expression as fundamental to achieving individual
liberty. In a letter to the editor of the Philadelphia Public Ledger on
October 3, 1909, she writes, “I came here not to enter a fist fight with
the police. I came here to get forth my ideas, and I absolutely deny the
right of any official to stop me from speaking. . . . The club may be a
mighty weapon, but it sinks into insignificance before human reason
and human integrity.”92
In addition to her free-speech struggles, Goldman’s questionable
citizenship status contributed to her much anticipated deportation in
1919. While she gained United States citizenship in 1887 when she
married Kerstner, he was later denaturalized in 1908. This move by the
government was used to revoke Goldman’s citizenship—up until 1922
a woman’s citizenship status was dependent on that of the husband or
father, and in this case the former husband.93 The press did its part by
reinforcing her “foreign” origin. The Spanish Fork Press identified her
as “a foreigner fired with a fanatic hatred of American institutions,
120 TONGUE OF FIRE

and clever enough to keep alive and growing a widespread organi-


zation of other foreigners as bitterly hating our government and all
that it represents.”94 The fact that she could speak several languages,
of course, added to her foreign mystique. “She is a remarkably fluent
talker, and never fails to excite her Anarchist hearers to a high pitch.
She speaks Russian, German, English and French and writes in Span-
ish and Italian,” according to a biographical account of Goldman in
the New Enterprise.95
According to Robert K. Murray in Red Scare: A Study in National
Hysteria, 1919–1920 (1955), official inquiries regarding Goldman’s
deportation began as early as 1907.96 Government transcripts and
accounts of her speeches over many years demonstrate that she was
considered among those suspect of promulgating revolution in Amer-
ica. In the context of a mounting hysteria over immigrant radicals
who were allegedly importing communism, the office of Mother Earth
was ransacked on June 15, 1917, as part of a campaign to expel “radi-
cals bent on destroying American institutions.”97 In a statement at the
federal hearing for her deportation on October 27, 1919, Goldman
ridiculed a democratic system that violated the “sacred guarantee of
freedom of thought and conscience” and proclaimed, “With all the
power and intensity of my being I protest against the conspiracy of
imperialist capitalism against the life and the liberty of the American
people.”98
Goldman’s public persona and celebrity status was unusual for a
woman at the turn of the century. As the voice of anarchism and as a
woman who received substantial press coverage for over twenty years,
she was among the first public women in America whose notoriety
even extended abroad. Her fame was an asset in terms of her attempt
to popularize anarchism, access audiences of all classes, publicize the
injustice of her arrests, and exert pressure aimed at broadening the
scope of freedom of speech. Moreover, her notoriety contributed to
a shift in perceptions about femininity by opening up a space for the
possibility of public womanhood and redefining what constitutes pub-
lic speech—that is, to include speech by women as agents of power
and speech about women’s bodies. Signifying the new womanhood,
however, Goldman’s notoriety was also a liability in terms of the recal-
citrance she encountered by the press and by authorities. Indeed, with
vivid characterizations of her persona and accounts of her political
activities and scandalous personal life, an analysis of the news coverage
FRAMING “ THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF ANARCHY ” 121

of Red Emma proves to be a case study in yellow journalism and the


history of the penny press.
Depicted as a larger-than-life public enemy, Goldman was sur-
rounded by an atmosphere of terror. Audiences—including women
who wanted to learn more about equality, sexual freedom, birth control,
and political equality—had to deal with the constant and intimidat-
ing presence of police. In 1927, eight years after her deportation and
while living in Toronto, Goldman expressed her ongoing frustration
with gaining access to audiences and readers. She writes in a personal
letter to a friend:

My Canadian experience has added to my conviction that


there is no field for me for oral work. . . . The question is how
to get what one writes to the public who are likely to read it.
. . . One must have hopes that what one has to say will reach
a public, even if limited. So far I have not been successful in
having my things published. I mean not since my own publish-
ing venture was broken up. . . . Writing is a great effort for me,
and I cannot say that it gives me the same intense satisfaction
as the spoken medium. Somehow I feel more in direct contact
with the people before me. But then it is no use beating my
wings against the wind trying the impossible. . . . My chances
to express myself orally were killed on the 15th of June, 1917,
and nothing is likely to bring them back to life again.99

On that day in June 1917, Goldman and Berkman were arrested and
indicted for conspiracy to violate the draft. It was also the day President
Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Espionage Act, which made it
a crime to promote the success of the enemies of the United States,
to interfere with conscription, or to encourage disloyalty—including
through the dissemination of written material.100 The New York Tribune
reported the next day that Goldman dressed in purple for the occasion
and “in her golden hair—not a gray hair shows despite her forty-eight
years—glistened gold-encrusted tortoiseshell combs.”101 Although as a
public spectacle, Goldman was not always taken seriously and accused
of self-serving egotism, the government considered her a major threat.
Her radical ideas of personal freedom and her feisty persona, however,
would be revisited and celebrated in the second and third waves of
American feminism.
CONCLUSION

A true conception of the relation of the sexes will not admit


of conqueror and conquered; it knows of but one great thing:
to give one’s self boundlessly, in order to fine one’s self richer,
deeper, better.
—Emma Goldman, “The Tragedy of Woman’s
Emancipation,” 1906

Anarchism is a releasing and liberating force because it teaches


people to rely on their own possibilities.
—Emma Goldman, “An Anarchist Looks at Life,” 1933

A n open public sphere is not simply a distinguishing feature of an


egalitarian democracy or a discursive space where communication
flows freely, but a fluid social geography of gender and sexuality. As
Joan Wallach Scott writes in her germinal study Gender and the Politics
of History (1988), gender politics “dissolve distinctions between public
and private and .  .  . challenge the accuracy of fixed binary distinc-
tions between men and women in the past and present, and expose
the very political nature of a history written in those terms.”1 At the
turn of the century, the mobility of women—their ability to traverse
private and public space—was tightly controlled by men, whether in
the context of intimate relationships, family life, government, medi-
cine, commerce, or religion. In this context, Emma Goldman engaged
in the United States in a thirty-year public campaign that challenged
political, economic, and moral authority and an entrenched division of
public and private spheres that restricted the lives of women and men.

123
124 CONCLUSION

By living a highly publicized unconventional lifestyle and advocating


sexual revolution, she contested the most private and intimate aspects
of human experience.
For Goldman, sexuality and the freedom to love are the touchstone
of individual liberty and autonomy. Unfettered love and sexual equality,
Goldman argues, are the correctives to human subjugation inherent
in dogma, prejudice, and division. Rejecting the artificial construct of
women and men as opposing sexes, she thus held that “internal and
external tyrants” have no power over the assertion of human creativity
and passion. Perhaps her greatest insight was that feminine empow-
erment is within reach through individual action, regardless of any
institutional mechanisms of authority.
The goal of this study is to analyze Goldman’s anarchist-feminist
discourse and public career in the context of the emergence of public
womanhood, particularly the expansion of women’s sexual freedom.
Toward this end, I began by examining the anarchist-feminist coun-
terpublic that emerged in the late nineteenth century in opposition to
industrial capitalism and Victorian morality, as well as to a variety of
movements for sociopolitical reform. Experimenting with their ideals
of autonomous living and sexual agency, anarchist women interpreted
the New Woman as openly sexual and as the steward of her own body.
Distinguished for her long career as an anarchist agitator, thinker, and
writer, Goldman theorized the exercise of individual autonomy as a
fluid, living force that could uproot systemic authority and dualistic
notions of gender and sex. Linking feminist and anarchist ideals, she
also theorized the inseparability of women’s liberation and human lib-
eration—regardless of any perceived differences of sex, gender, ethnic-
ity, or class—and the possibility of living a life free from the influence
of authority and rigid notions of gender/sex. By casting women’s libera-
tion within the larger framework of human liberation and assigning
agency to women, Goldman and other anarchist-feminists were able
to identify an apolitical solution derived from one’s personhood rather
than from the state, while also avoiding the reiteration of adversarial
discourse directed to men (symbolism that would reinforce opposi-
tional constructs of gender).
The struggle for public womanhood during Goldman’s lifetime
coincided with an extremely turbulent period in American labor. As
laborers and immigrants fought for political representation and work-
place protections, middle-class women sought enfranchisement and
CONCLUSION 125

opportunities to become more economically independent. Goldman


was a Russian-Jewish immigrant who experienced firsthand the plight
of common laborers and understood the predicament of both poor
and privileged women who were impelled to marry, bear children, and
dutifully serve their husbands and households. Recognizing the role of
capitalism in sustaining patriarchal power, she insisted that reproduc-
tive freedom and access to birth control were necessary for women to
attain economic independence and personal happiness.
Goldman developed a “disorderly” rhetorical style and public per-
sona that were reflections of her marginal political and sociocultural
identity and were antagonistic to bourgeois rules of decorum. As she
attempted to raise consciousness about the necessity of anarchism and
sexual freedom through both the spoken and written word, she situated
her arguments within the milieu of avant-garde bohemians and Euro-
pean intellectuals and playwrights. However, at times she appeared to
contradict herself and negotiate her ideals for radical change by reiter-
ating the very norms she sought to supplant—for example, her associa-
tion of womanhood with motherhood. In other words, as Goldman’s
anarchist-feminist discourse contributed to the erosion of gender roles
constituted by public and domestic borders, it also remained partially
embedded in a bifurcated, heteronormative construct of gender and
sex. While tensions in her argumentation later became a subject of
scholarly debate about her legacy, these tensions did not seem to have
an adverse effect on her influence at the time. Sensational press cov-
erage of her speaking tours, travels, multiple lovers, arrests, and trials
made her into a celebrity. And, although her celebrity status may have
diminished her message, it aided in the promotion of the New Woman
in popular culture. Recognized as the leader of the American anarchist
movement, she was ultimately framed as an enemy of the state and a
threat to feminine virtue. Considering three decades of activism and
news coverage in the United States, she was a public woman like no
other during her time. By offering an alternative model of public wom-
anhood that rejected the privatization of sexual expression and dem-
onstrated that women could command public roles, Goldman’s ideas
would reverberate across decades of deliberation about the sex question.
Reflecting on the complicated history of women’s movements in
the United States, Nancy A. Hewitt (2010 and 2012) questions the
value and accuracy of the waves metaphor in American feminism,
which implies that:
126 CONCLUSION

Even as advocates of women’s liberation in the 1960s and


1970s eagerly sought out foremothers in the nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries—Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady
Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Emma Goldman—they also insisted
that they were broader in their vision, more international in
their concerns, and more progressive in their sensitivities to
race, class and sexual politics than early feminists.2

Instead, she argues that the narrative of American feminism should be


reimagined to recognize the common struggles that have surfaced and
resurfaced, the connections to global campaigns, and the role of class,
race, ethnicity, sexuality, and culture in how women have interpreted
and challenged relationships of power. Hewitt’s attempt to reframe the
history of the women’s movement thus dovetails with intersectional-
ity, which emphasizes intersecting systems of oppression and identity.
Indeed, in considering Goldman’s sexual revolution as it was shaped
by class and ethnicity in relationship to focal points of struggle in the
so-called second and third waves of feminism (roughly 1960s to 1970s
and 1990s, respectively), it is clear the problems she and her contem-
poraries diagnosed are ones that continue to be grappled with. Across
shifting contexts, women who have struggled to gain reproductive free-
dom, access to education, political representation, and economic inde-
pendence have faced a variety of challenges that are “always already”
interpreted through the axes of gender, class, ethnicity, and race.
The prospect of sexual freedom has long been shaped by recal-
citrant views of the gendered division of public and private spheres.
While significant advances in sexual freedom in the United States have
been forged in recent years—for example, the US Supreme Court’s
landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), which declares same-
sex couples have a constitutional right to marry—other trends suggest
a replay of familiar struggles. Although the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay
Act of 2009 targets the longstanding problem of wage discrimination
by establishing legal options to address bias, women continue to earn
on average approximately seventy-eight cents for every dollar paid to
men, and the wage gap for women of color is far greater. The history
of obstructions to ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and
the “glass ceiling” encountered by women and people of color affirm
the existence of a non-inclusive political climate. A growing number
of state-based legal restrictions on abortion make it more difficult for
CONCLUSION 127

women to make their own medical decisions and to access a health


clinic that is willing to perform an abortion in proximity to where they
live, while applying moral politics to control women’s bodies. Regard-
ing birth control access, in a challenge to the Affordable Care Act
of 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations owned by reli-
gious families cannot be required to offer a full range of contraception
options in their employee health-care plans, thereby limiting women’s
access to contraception on the basis of an employer’s free exercise of
religion (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 2014). In the context of
university campuses, a national debate and federal government investi-
gation was ignited in 2014 in response to institutions that avoid impos-
ing the harshest punishment on student perpetrators of sexual violence:
expulsion. At the time of this writing, two states—California followed
by New York—have adopted a “Yes Means Yes” policy for public insti-
tutions that defines voluntary sexual consent as a clear, unambigu-
ous verbal or physical yes. Although crimes of sexual coercion of all
kinds, including sexual harassment, rape and assault, intimate-partner
violence, and sex trafficking, undermine women’s safety and dignity,
they are among the most underreported. The scope and content of sex
education in America varies widely depending on state politics and
school-district policies. Government-supported programs for teach-
ing abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education serve the interests
of moral politics, as well as privatizing knowledge about sex, at the
expense of teaching youth about human sexuality and sexual health.
Lacking any guarantee of paid family leave or job protection, a woman
in the United States who gives birth to a child risks losing her wages
and job, as does her partner or spouse. A report released in January
2015 by the Southern Education Foundation establishes that for the
first time in fifty years, a majority of children enrolled in US public
schools are from low-income families. Any gains made by women in
education have been complicated by race/ethnicity and class inequi-
ties, occupational segregation, and wage disparity. Discrimination in
employment and housing especially affect the LGBTQ community.
Lastly, women continue to face a dilemma between exerting power
and influence in the public sphere while still being defined by familial
relationships and roles. The number of women who have been elected
to public office and appointed to corporate management positions is
significantly disproportionate to the population of women. Women in
public roles are frequently judged on the basis of a binary discourse of
128 CONCLUSION

gender. Those who choose not to marry or have children—whatever


the reason—are subject to criticism and even accusations of selfishness
in some social contexts. These and related pressures on sexual freedom
echo the same moral and sexual politics that existed during Goldman’s
lifetime and throughout the history of feminist movements in America.
In light of the above realities, how does revisiting Goldman’s dis-
course contribute to our understanding of sexual agency in the present?
Are there any lessons we can glean from her treatment of the movement
for women’s liberation as inseparable from human liberation? Does her
rejection of oppositional discourses of gender (or other rigid notions of
identity) contribute to our understanding of the value of intersectional-
ity theory for contemporary feminism and rhetorical criticism? As an
anarchist-feminist, Goldman identified an internal solution to gen-
der-based subjugation—the exercise of personal autonomy. She placed
sexual agency outside the realm of rights or correctives sanctioned by
public authority. In doing so, she didn’t dispute women’s role in public
life but rather she turned the idea of the public on its head by promot-
ing a discursive space where sexual expression intersects private and
public and supports social engagement. Goldman was not attempting
to de-privatize intimacy by rendering sexuality as normal and visible
in public. Rather, she was challenging the regulation of women’s bodies
and the dogma of private sin, shame, and guilt—a burden that women
experience differently from men. By treating sexuality and intimacy
as healthy, mutual, enriching, and speakable in public, a society can
talk candidly about preventing and rectifying sexual danger—abuse,
violence, unwanted pregnancy, and disease—while also recognizing the
value of sexual pleasure. More than this, it is only by speaking about sex
in public that we can disrupt the reiteration of rape culture, including
the sexual objectification of women’s bodies and blaming of victims.
The anarchist-feminist placement of women’s liberation within the
broader framework of human liberation was also nuanced in how it
called attention to the intersectional nature of systems of oppression
(how women experience axes of discrimination based on gender, class,
ethnicity, race) and how it was manifested in bodily experiences. For
example, Goldman’s rhetoric recognized that the social purity move-
ment’s use of the Comstock Act to prevent access to birth control
affected impoverished and privileged women’s bodies differently. Rec-
ognizing the multidimensional nature of oppression, as Crenshaw
argues,3 enables activists and scholars to think about agency as an act
CONCLUSION 129

that is complicated by axes of power. Goldman’s anarchist-feminist


rhetoric, along with other subaltern discourses, is best understood
within the liminal space that exists between an ideal of liberation and
a corporeal reality steeped in systemic injustice. Reflecting on her own
career as a radical activist, Angela Y. Davis writes in Women, Culture
& Politics (1990):

The work of the political activist inevitably involves a certain


tension between the requirement that positions be taken on
current issues as they arise and the desire that one’s contribu-
tions will somehow survive the ravages of time. In this sense
the most difficult challenge facing the activist is to respond
fully to the needs of the moment and to do so in such a way
that the light one attempts to shine on the present will simul-
taneously illuminate the future.4

This tension between realizing revolutionary transformation and


responding to the demands of the present moment—the intersection
of past liabilities and future aspirations, interwoven systems of oppres-
sion and possibilities for agency—is a predicament of radical activism.
The light that Goldman’s discourse emitted, and which makes her ideas
relevant to even a twenty-first-century context, is the basic premise of
her anarchist-feminist stance that women’s bodies and sexual freedom
matter.
NOTES

In the notes, short titles are used for recurring citations. Works fre-
quently cited are identified by the abbreviations listed below, with a full
citation given for the first citation within each chapter:

AOE Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays,


3rd rev. ed. (New York: Mother Earth, 1910;
New York: Dover, 1969).
CA Chronicling America: Historic American Newspa-
pers, Library of Congress, http://chronicling-
america.loc.gov/.
EGP The Emma Goldman Papers: A Microfilm Edition,
eds. Candace Falk, Ronald J. Zboray, and Daniel
Cornford (Alexandria, VA: Chadwyck-Healey,
1991).
IISH/EGP Emma Goldman Papers, International Institute of
Social History, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands),
http://hdl.handle.net/10622/ARCH00520.
RES Red Emma Speaks: Selected Writings and Speeches
by Emma Goldman, ed. Alix Kates Shulman
(New York: Vintage Books, 1972).

131
132 NOTES TO INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

1. “Shipping Lenine’s Friends to Him,” The Literary Digest, vol.


64, January 3, 1920, http://www.unz.org/Pub/LiteraryDigest-
1920jan03-00014.
2. “250 ‘Reds’ Sail To-day For Russia,” New York Tribune, Decem-
ber 21, 1919, in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspa-
pers, Library of Congress, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn83030214/1919-12-21/ed-1/seq-1/ (hereafter cited as CA).
3. According to Glenna Matthews, in the nineteenth century “the
word ‘promiscuous’ repeatedly shows up to characterize an audi-
ence or other assemblage composed of both men and women.”
See The Rise of Public Woman (New York: Oxford University Press,
1992), 100, note 18.
4. Nancy A. Hewitt, “Feminist Frequencies: Regenerating the Wave
Metaphor,” Feminist Studies 38, no. 3 (2012): 658–80.
5. For an overview of post-feminist thought, an eclectic body of liter-
ature characterized by antithetical arguments, see Stéphanie Genz
and Benjamin A. Brabon, Postfeminism: Cultural Texts and Theories
(Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009).
6. “Anarchist Emma Goldman, Who Prefers Hell to Heaven,” news-
paper cartoon, August 17, 1987, Joseph A. Labadie Collection,
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
7. “Rebuff for Anarchists,” Oregonian (Portland, OR), May 19, 1908,
Historic Oregon Newspapers, http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/
sn83025138/1908-05-19/ed-1/seq-6/.
8. Ben Boswell, “Old Red,” review of Living My Life, by Emma
Goldman, Time, November 9, 1931: 69.
9. “Emma Goldman, Anarchy Agitator, Shrieks for the Blood Red
Flag,” Detroit (MI) Journal, November 16, 1897, Joseph A. Labadie
Collection, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
10. Biographical and historical works on Goldman include: John
Charlberg, Emma Goldman: American Individualist (New York:
Harper Collins, 1991); Richard Drinnon, Rebel in Paradise: A Biog-
raphy of Emma Goldman (New York: Bantam Books, 1973); Martin
B. Duberman, Mother Earth: An Epic Drama of Emma Goldman’s
Life (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991); Candace Falk, Barry
Pateman, and Jessica M. Moran, Emma Goldman: A Documen-
tary History of the American Years, 2 vols. (Berkeley: University of
NOTES TO INTRODUCTION 133

California Press, 2003 and 2004); Candace Falk, Love, Anarchy, and
Emma Goldman (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1984);
Vivian Gornick, Emma Goldman: Revolution as a Way of Life (New
Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011); Leslie A. Howe, On Gold-
man (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2000); Margaret Marsh, Anarchist
Women, 1870–1920 (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press,
1981); Theresa Moritz and Albert Moritz, The World’s Most Dan-
gerous Woman: A New Biography of Emma Goldman (Vancouver, BC:
Subway Books, 2001); Marian J. Morton, Emma Goldman and the
American Left: Nowhere at Home (New York: Twayne, 1992); Alix
Kates Shulman, To the Barricades: The Anarchist Life of Emma Gold-
man (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1971); Alice Wexler, Emma
Goldman: An Intimate Life (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984);
David Waldstreicher, Emma Goldman (New York: Chelsea House,
1990); Kenneth C. Wenzer, Anarchists Adrift: Emma Goldman and
Alexander Berkman (St. James, NY: Brandywine Press, 1996); Alice
Wexler, Emma Goldman: An Intimate Life (New York: Pantheon
Books, 1984); Alice Wexler, Emma Goldman in Exile: From the
Russian Revolution to the Spanish Civil War (Boston, MA: Beacon
Press, 1989).
11. Analyses of Goldman’s ideas, argumentation, and rhetorical style
include: Penny A. Weiss and Loretta Kensinger, eds., Feminist
Interpretations of Emma Goldman (University Park: Pennsylvania
State University Press, 2007); Kathy E. Ferguson, Emma Gold-
man: Political Thinking in the Streets (Lanham, MD: Rowman and
Littlefield, 2011); Bonnie Haaland, Emma Goldman: Sexuality
and the Impurity of the State (Montreal, QC: Black Rose Books,
1993); Marsha Hewitt, “Emma Goldman: The Case for Anarcho-
Feminism,” in The Anarchist Papers, ed. Dimitrios I. Roussopoulos
(Montreal, QC: Black Rose Books, 1986), 167–75; Linda Diane
Horwitz, Donna Marie Kowal, and Catherine Helen Palczewski,
“Anarchist Women and the Feminine Ideal: Voltairine de Cleyre,
Emma Goldman and Lucy Parsons,” in The Rhetoric of Nineteenth
Century Reform and the Perfecting of American Society, vol. 5 of Rhe-
torical History of the United States, eds. Martha Watson and Thomas
Burkholder (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2008):
309–53; Vito Silvestri, “Emma Goldman: Enduring Voice of Anar-
chism,” Today’s Speech 17, no. 3 (1969): 20–25; Martha Solomon,
Emma Goldman (Boston, MA: Twayne, 1987; Martha Solomon,
134 NOTES TO INTRODUCTION

“Ideology as Rhetorical Constraint: The Anarchist Agitation of


‘Red Emma’ Goldman,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 74 (1988):
184–200; Kate Zittlow Rogness and Christina R. Foust, “Beyond
Rights and Virtues as Foundation for Women’s Agency: Emma
Goldman’s Rhetoric of Free Love,” Western Journal of Communica-
tion 75, no. 2 (2011): 148–67.
12. For a brief survey of biographies about Goldman, including points
of agreement and disagreement, see Jason Wehling, “Anarchy in
Interpretation: The Life of Emma Goldman,” Feminist Interpreta-
tions of Emma Goldman, eds. Penny A. Weiss and Loretta Kens-
inger (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007):
19–37.
13. Alix Kates Shulman, introduction to Red Emma Speaks: Selected
Writings and Speeches by Emma Goldman (New York: Vintage
Books, 1972), 25 (hereafter cited as RES).
14. Drinnon, Rebel in Paradise, viii.
15. Ann Snitow, Christine Stansell, and Sharon Thompson, intro-
duction to Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality (New York:
Monthly Review Press, 1983), 16.
16. Falk, Love, Anarchy, and Emma Goldman, 521–22.
17. Linda Gordon, The Moral Property of Women: A History of Birth
Control Politics in America (Urbana: University of Illinois Press,
2002), 142.
18. Ferguson, Emma Goldman: Political Thinking in the Streets, 3, 6.
19. There are two dance references that may help explain the “If I
can’t dance” quotation attributed to Goldman. In the speech “An
Anarchist Looks at Life” delivered at Foyle’s 29th Literary Lun-
cheon at Grosvenor House, London, on March 1, 1933, Goldman
commented on her teenage years: “I wanted to dance myself to
death”: see Candace Falk, Ronald J. Zboray, and Daniel Cornford,
eds., The Emma Goldman Papers: A Microfilm Edition (Alexandria,
VA: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991), reel 52: original from International
Institute of Social History (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), here-
after cited as EGP. Additionally, in her autobiography, Living My
Life, vol. 1, Goldman writes:

At the dances I was one of the most untiring and gay-


est. One evening a cousin of Sasha [Alexander Berkman],
a young boy, took me aside. With a grave face, as if he
NOTES TO INTRODUCTION 135

were about to announce the death of a dear comrade, he


whispered to me that it did not behoove an agitator to
dance. Certainly not with such reckless abandon, any-
way. It was undignified for one who was on the way to
become a force in the anarchist movement. . . . I did not
believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for
anarchism, for release and freedom from conventions and
prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. .  .  .
“I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s
right to beautiful, radiant things.” ([New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, 1931], 56)

20. Solomon, “Ideology as Rhetorical Constraint,” 184. A similar cri-


tique is found in Solomon, Emma Goldman (1987) and Silvestri,
“Emma Goldman: Enduring Voice of Anarchism” (1969).
21. Gornick, Emma Goldman: Revolution as a Way of Life, 141.
22. Morton, Emma Goldman and the American Left, 66.
23. Dale Spender, Women of Ideas and What Men Have Done to Them
(London: Ark Paperbacks, 1983), 504.
24. Wexler, Emma Goldman: An Intimate Life, 139–61.
25. Haaland, Emma Goldman: Sexuality and the Purity of the State, 183.
26. Penny A. Weiss and Loretta Kensinger (with Bernice A. Carroll),
“Digging for Gold(man): What We Found,” in Feminist Interpre-
tations of Emma Goldman, eds. Penny A. Weiss and Loretta Kens-
inger (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007),
15–17.
27. Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”
(New York: Routledge, 1993).
28. Emma Goldman, “The Element of Sex in Life,” draft (n.d.),
Emma Goldman Papers, International Institute of Social History
(Amsterdam, The Netherlands), inventory no. 213, 21586, http://
hdl.handle.net/10622/ARCH00520 (hereafter cited as IISH/
EGP). This piece of writing is also found in the EGP microfilm
collection, where it is part of a larger document archived as [Sexu-
ality, Motherhood, and Birth Control], fragment, reel 54: original
from IISH.
29. Goldman, [Sexual Instinct and Creativity], fragment (n.d.), EGP,
reel 54: original from IISH.
30. Goldman to Magnus Hirschfeld, (Berlin, Germany, 1923). Draft
136 NOTES TO CHAP TER 1

of article by Goldman was published in Yearbook for Sexual Inter-


mediate Types, issued by the Scientific-Humanitarian Commit-
tee, IISH/EGP, inventory no. 208, http://hdl.handle.net/10622/
ARCH00520. An English translation of the German publication
of this letter appears in Jonathan Katz, Gay American History: Les-
bians and Gay Men in the USA (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell,
1976), 377–80.
31. Michael Warner, Publics and Counterpublics (New York: Zone
Books, 2002), 31.
32. Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Iden-
tity (New York: Routledge, 1990).
33. Adrien Katherine Wing, “Brief Reflections Toward a Multipli-
cative Theory of Praxis and Being,” in Critical Race Feminism: A
Reader, ed. Adrien Katherine Wing (New York: New York Uni-
versity Press, 1997): 27–34.

CHAP TER 1:
ANARCHIST WOMEN AND THE “SEX QUESTION”

1. The discussion in this chapter is partially based on an earlier publi-


cation: Linda Diane Horwitz, Donna Marie Kowal, and Catherine
Helen Palczewski, “Anarchist Women and the Feminine Ideal:
Voltairine de Cleyre, Emma Goldman, and Lucy Parsons,” in The
Rhetoric of Nineteenth Century Reform and the Perfecting of American
Society, vol. 5, Rhetorical History of the United States, eds. Martha
Watson and Thomas Burkholder (East Lansing: Michigan State
University Press, 2008): 309–53.
2. For a rhetorical analysis of the origin and use of the term “pro-
miscuous audience,” see Susan Zaeske, “The ‘Promiscuous Audi-
ence’ Controversy and the Emergence of the Early Woman’s Rights
Movement,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 81 (1995): 191–207.
3. Margaret Marsh, Anarchist Women, 1870–1920 (Philadelphia, PA:
Temple University Press, 1981), 105–106.
4. Ibid., 123.
5. Jürgen Habermas, “The Public Sphere,” in Jürgen Habermas on Soci-
ety and Politics: A Reader, ed. S. Seidman (Boston, MA: Beacon
Press, 1989), 231–32.
6. See Susan Bordo, Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture,
NOTES TO CHAP TER 1 137

and the Body (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993) and


Elizabeth Grosz, Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994).
7. Judith Butler and Elizabeth Weed, introduction to Question of
Gender: Joan W. Scott’s Critical Feminism, eds. Judith Butler and
Elizabeth Weed (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011), 4.
8. Michael Warner, Publics and Counterpublics (New York: Zone
Books, 2002), 38.
9. Ibid., 65–67.
10. Studies on the influence of counterpublics include Robert Asen
and Daniel C. Brouwer, eds., Counterpublics and the State (Albany:
SUNY Press, 2001); Craig J. Calhoun, The Roots of Radicalism:
Tradition, the Public Sphere and Early Nineteenth-Century Social
Movements (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2012); Rita
Felski, Beyond Feminist Aesthetics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Uni-
versity Press, 1989); Nancy Fraser, “Rethinking the Public Sphere,”
in Habermas and the Public Sphere, ed. Craig Calhoun (Cambridge:
MIT Press, 1992); Michael Warner, Publics and Counterpublics
(New York: Zone Books, 2002).
11. Fraser, “Rethinking the Public Sphere,” 124.
12. Robert Asen and Daniel C. Brouwer, eds., “Reconfigurations of
the Public Sphere,” in Counterpublics and the State (Albany: SUNY
Press, 2001), 7.
13. Kathy E. Ferguson, “Anarchist Counterpublics,” New Political Sci-
ence 32, no. 2 (2010): 193–214.
14. Landmark studies on the history of the struggle for women’s rights
include Nancy F. Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism (New
Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987) and Eleanor Flexner, Cen-
tury of Struggle: The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States
(Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1959; Eleanor Flexner and Ellen
Fitzpatrick, enlarged edition, 1996).
15. Sara Evans, Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America (New
York: The Free Press, 1989), 68–69.
16. Barbara Welter dates the “Cult of True Womanhood” as lasting
from 1800 to 1860; however, she argues that its social influence
continued even as the concept of the “New Woman” was beginning
to take hold. See Dimity Convictions: The American Woman in the
Nineteenth Century (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1976), 41.
17. Marsh, Anarchist Women, 21–22.
138 NOTES TO CHAP TER 1

18. Kate Zittlow Rogness, “The Intersectional Style of Free Love


Rhetoric,” in Standing in the Intersection: Feminist Voices, Feminist
Practices in Communication, eds. Karma R. Chávez, Cindy Griffin,
and Marsha L. Houston (Albany: SUNY Press, 2012), 72.
19. The Chicago Haymarket Square bombing occurred in a highly
charged political atmosphere that included labor strikes, May Day
demonstrations, and clashes with police. The trial of eight anar-
chists rested on questionable evidence and appeared to be politi-
cally motivated. To this day it is unclear who was responsible for
throwing the bomb into the crowded square and whether police
provocation contributed to the violence. See James Joll, The Anar-
chists, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980)
and Timothy Messer-Kruse, The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists:
Terrorism and Justice in the Gilded Age (New York: Palgrave Mac-
millan, 2011).
20. See Marsh for an extensive overview of the history of anarchist
women in the United States.
21. Howard S. Miller, “Kate Austin: A Feminist-Anarchist on the
Farmer’s Last Frontier,” Nature, Society, and Thought 9, no. 2 (1996):
190.
22. Carl Nold, “Kate Austin,” Man! 2, no. 6–7 (1934), Kate Sharpley
Library, http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/w9gk7h.
23. Howard S. Miller, “Kate Austin,” 189–209.
24. Catherine H. Palczewski, “Voltairine de Cleyre: Sexual Slavery
and Sexual Pleasure in the Nineteenth Century,” National Women’s
Studies Association Journal 7 (Fall 1995): 54–68.
25. Voltairine de Cleyre, “In Defense of Emma Goldman and the
Right of Expropriation,” in Exquisite Rebel: The Essays of Voltair-
ine de Cleyre—Anarchist, Feminist, Genius, eds. Sharon Presley and
Crispin Sartwell (Albany: SUNY Press, 2005), 156.
26. Paul Avrich, An American Anarchist: The Life of Voltairine de Cleyre
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978), 147–55.
27. Crispin Sartwell, “Priestess of Pity and Vengeance,” in Exquisite
Rebel: The Essays of Voltairine de Cleyre—Anarchist, Feminist, Genius,
eds. Sharon Presley and Crispin Sartwell (Albany: SUNY Press,
2005), 14.
28. Marsh, Anarchist Women, 104.
29. Emma Goldman, “Voltairine de Cleyre,” in Exquisite Rebel: The
Essays of Voltairine de Cleyre—Anarchist, Feminist, Genius, eds.
NOTES TO CHAP TER 1 139

Sharon Presley and Crispin Sartwell (Albany: SUNY Press, 2005),


35.
30. Melvin Mencher, “Kelly, Florence Finch,” in Notable American
Women, 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary, vol. 2, eds. Edward
T. James, Janet Wilson James, and Paul S. Boyer (Boston, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1971), 323–24.
31. Florence Finch Kelly, “To the Doubters,” Liberty 3, no. 2, whole
no. 54 (November 8, 1884): 5, The Libertarian Labyrinth, http://
library.libertarian-labyrinth.org/items/show/2754.
32. Marsh, Anarchist Women, 22–23.
33. Mencher, “Kelly, Florence Finch,” 323–24.
34. Carolyn Ashbaugh, Lucy Parsons: An American Revolutionary (Chi-
cago, IL: Charles H. Kerr, 1976), 6, 13–14.
35. For example, see “The Negro: Let Him Leave Politics to the Politi-
cian” and “Southern Lynchings” in Lucy Parsons: Freedom, Equality
and Solidarity, ed. Gale Ahrens (Chicago, IL: Charles H. Kerr,
2004): 54–56, 70.
36. Regarding Parsons’s race/ethnicity, Ashbaugh argues that Parsons
“internalized the racism of white society to the extent that she
denied her own black ancestry” (66). Parsons’s racial identity was
also contested in historical records. Government documents iden-
tify her husband, Albert Parsons, as Caucasian. Her children’s birth
certificates identify them as “negro” or “nigger,” but their death
certificates categorize them as “white” (see Ashbaugh, Lucy Parsons,
274, note 11).
37. Ibid., 204.
38. Candace Falk, Love, Anarchy and Emma Goldman (New York: Holt,
Rinehart, and Winston, 1984), 65–66.
39. Ashbaugh, Lucy Parsons, 30, 33–34.
40. Ibid., 217.
41. Goldman describes the early experiences that led her to anarchism
and her lifetime of activism in her autobiography, Living My Life,
2 vols. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1931.
42. Marsh, Anarchist Women, 14.
43. Richard Drinnon, Rebel in Paradise: A Biography of Emma Goldman
(New York: Bantam Books, 1961) 68–77.
44. Ibid., 168.
45. Marian J. Morton, Emma Goldman and the American Left: Nowhere
at Home (New York: Twayne, 1992), 156–57.
140 NOTES TO CHAP TER 1

46. Marsh, Anarchist Women, 14.


47. For an in-depth discussion of anarchist-feminist rhetorical style,
see Horwitz, Kowal, and Palczewski, “Anarchist Women and the
Feminine Ideal” (2008).
48. Voltairine de Cleyre, “Direct Action,” in Exquisite Rebel: The Essays
of Voltairine de Cleyre—Anarchist, Feminist, Genius, eds. Sharon Pre-
sley and Crispin Sartwell (Albany: SUNY Press, 2005), 274.
49. Ashbaugh, Lucy Parsons, 55.
50. Lucy E. Parsons, “To Tramps,” Alarm (October 4, 1884), Chicago
History Museum, http://www.chicagohistory.org/dramas/act1/
fromTheArchive/wordToTramps_f.htm.
51. Goldman, “The Psychology of Political Violence,” in Anarchism and
Other Essays, 3rd rev. ed. (New York: Mother Earth, 1910; New
York: Dover, 1969), 79–108 (hereafter cited as AOE).
52. Goldman, “We Don’t Believe in Conscription,” government tran-
script of address, Harlem River Casino, NY, 18 May 1917, in The
Emma Goldman Papers: A Microfilm Edition, eds. Candace Falk,
Ronald J. Zboray, and Daniel Cornford (Alexandria, VA: Chad-
wyck-Healey, 1991), reel 59: original from the Immigration and
Naturalization Service via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
(hereafter cited as EGP). Another example is found in a police
transcript of an earlier speech where she is quoted as stating,
“[W ]e will say to the Government, give us what belongs to us
in peace, and if you do not give it to us in peace, we will take it
by force” (see “Anarchism is Not Necessarily Violence,” 6 January
1907, EGP, reel 47: original from the Immigration and Naturaliza-
tion Service via FOIA).
53. Howard S. Miller, “Kate Austin,” 199–200.
54. Marsh writes:

Kelly’s frustrations over the inequities of industrial Amer-


ica, although evident, were less well-defined than her femi-
nist views. She castigated the state for its encouragement of
corporate concentration and its oppression of the working
classes, but she unthinkingly acquiesced in the standard
anarchist answers, failing to come to grips on her own with
such issues as poverty and violence. Eventually she came to
believe that these anarchist remedies did not offer work-
able solutions to the problems of industrial society. As her
belief in its ultimate success faded, her interest waned. (24)
NOTES TO CHAP TER 1 141

55. L. Susan Brown, The Politics of Individualism (Montreal, QC: Black


Rose Books, 1993), 106.
56. For a discussion of the history and use of the word “feminism,” see
Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism, 2–4 and 13–16.
57. Marsh, Anarchist Women, 53–56.
58. Benjamin Tucker, “On Picket Duty,” Liberty 8, no. 24, whole no.
206 (November 21, 1891), HathiTrust Digital Library, http://babel.
hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp. 39015032019310;view= 1up;seq=1.
59. Victor Yarros, “The Woman Question,” Liberty 5, no. 20, whole
no. 124 (May 12, 1888), HathiTrust Digital Library, http://babel.
hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015032019310;view=1up;seq=1.
60. Marsh, Anarchist Women, 5.
61. Marsha Hewitt, “Emma Goldman: The Case for Anarcho Femi-
nism,” in The Anarchist Papers, ed. Dimitrios I. Roussopoulos
(Montreal, QC: Black Rose Books, 1986), 169–70.
62. Florence Finch Kelly, “The Sexual Freedom of Women,” Lib-
erty 5, no. 17, whole no. 121 (March 31, 1888): 5, HathiTrust
Digital Library, http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp
.39015032019310;view=1up;seq=1.
63. Voltairine de Cleyre, “The Woman Question,” in Exquisite Rebel:
The Essays of Voltairine de Cleyre, eds. Sharon Presley and Crispin
Sartwell (Albany: SUNY Press, 2005), 223–24.
64. Emma Goldman, “The Individual, Society and the State,” in Red
Emma Speaks: Selected Writings and Speeches by Emma Goldman,
comp. and ed. Alix Kates Shulman (New York: Vintage Books,
1972), 91–92 (hereafter cited as RES).
65. Goldman, “Marriage and Love,” in AOE, 228.
66. Voltairine de Cleyre, “They Who Marry Do Ill,” Mother Earth
2 ( January1908): 509, HathiTrust Digital Library, http://babel.
hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015024850334;view=1up;
seq=559.
67. Lucy E. Parsons, “Cause of Sex Slavery,” Firebrand, 1895, quoted
in Ashbaugh, Lucy Parsons, 202.
68. Kate Austin, quoted in Howard S. Miller, “Kate Austin,” 189.
69. According to Marsh, de Cleyre considered terminating her preg-
nancy because she did not wish to raise a child; however, her doctor
recommended against it due to her fragile health. As a mother, de
Cleyre “shut her son out of her life without discernable regret or
serious reflection” (131).
70. In her autobiography, reflecting on her decision not to have surgery
142 NOTES TO CHAP TER 1

to correct an inverted uterus, Goldman wrote, “Years of pain and of


suppressed longing for a child—what were they compared with the
price many martyrs had already paid. I, too, would pay the price, I
would endure the suffering, I would find an outlet for my mother
need in the love of all children.” See Living My Life, vol. 1, 23.
71. In 1896, upon completing training in Vienna, Goldman practiced
midwifery in New York City among poor immigrant workers. For
a timeline of Goldman’s life, see The Emma Goldman Papers, Sun-
site Digital Library Exhibition (University of California, Berke-
ley): http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/Goldman/Guide/chronology6900.
html.
72. Lucy E. Parsons, “The Woman Question Again?” The Liberator
(October 3, 1905); Lucy Parsons: Freedom Equality and Solidarity:
Writings and Speeches, 1878–1937, ed. Gale Ahrens (Chicago, IL:
Charles H. Kerr, 2004), 102.
73. Quoted in Ashbaugh, Lucy Parsons, 204.
74. Kate Austin, “The Lesson from Life,” Lucifer 4 (November 17,
1900), quoted in Howard S. Miller, “Kate Austin,” 193.
75. Kate Austin, “Why Vote?” Discontent 3 (October 24, 1900), quoted
in Howard S. Miller, “Kate Austin,” 189.
76. Goldman, “The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation,” in AOE,
221–22.
77. de Cleyre, “They Who Marry Do Ill,” 503, http://babel.hathitrust.
org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015024850334;view=1up;seq=552.
78. Marsh, Anarchist Women, 80–81.
79. Ibid., 22.
80. Established in 1873, the federal Comstock Law prohibited the
mailing of obscene literature and advertisements—or any material
of an “immoral nature” including birth-control information and
devices—through the US mail.
81. Some public officials, including President Theodore Roosevelt,
were alarmed by a notable decrease in the US birth rate in the
early 1900s. In The Moral Property of Women (Urbana: University
of Illinois Press, 2002), Linda Gordon argues that the rise of the
women’s movement and changes in the economy contributed to
the birth-rate decline. Increasing numbers of white middle-class
women were entering the public sphere for the first time and seek-
ing employment in an economy that was struggling to adapt from
a rural to an urban-centered society. Responding to the birth-rate
NOTES TO CHAP TER 1 143

drop, President Roosevelt warned that “race suicide” would be the


inevitable result (86–104).
82. Contrary to the rhetoric of race suicide, the fertility rate among
immigrants was actually lower than within the native population.
See Miriam King and Steven Ruggles, “American Immigration,
Fertility, and Race Suicide at the Turn of the Century,” Journal of
Interdisciplinary History 20, no. 3 (1990): 347–69.
83. Theodore Roosevelt, “The Man in the Arena,” Speech at the Sor-
bonne (Paris, France), April 23, 1910, Almanac of Theodore Roos-
evelt, http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html.
84. Howard S. Miller, “Kate Austin,” 198.
85. Drinnon, Rebel in Paradise, 167–69.
86. Goldman to the press on “Birth Control and the Necessity of
Imparting Knowledge on This Most Vital Question,” February 15,
1916, in The Emma Goldman Papers, Sunsite Digital Library Exhi-
bition (University of California, Berkeley), http://dpg.lib.berkeley.
edu/webdb/goldman/search?id=&keyword=&origin=&name=&lib
rary=&doctype=&year=&item=7.
87. Voltairine de Cleyre, “ Sex Slavery,” in Exquisite Rebel: The Essays of
Voltairine de Cleyre—Anarchist, Feminist, Genius, ed. Sharon Presley
and Crispin Sartwell (Albany: SUNY Press, 2005), 229.
88. Goldman, “The Traffic in Women,” in AOE, 179.
89. Quoted in Ashbaugh, Lucy Parsons, 222.
90. Lucy E. Parsons, “Woman: Her Evolutionary Development,” The
Liberator (September 10, 1905), in Lucy Parsons: Freedom Equality
and Solidarity, ed. Gale Ahrens (Chicago, IL: Charles H. Kerr,
2004), 93.
91. Florence Finch Kelly, “The Economic Freedom of Women,” Lib-
erty 5, no. 15, whole no. 119 (February 25, 1888), HathiTrust
Digital Library, http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp
.39015032019310;view=1up;seq=334.
92. Lucy E. Parsons, “The Principles of Anarchism,” Lucy Parsons
Center, http://lucyparsons.org/the-principles-of-anarchism.php.
93. Ibid.
94. Emma Goldman, “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For,” in
AOE, 62.
95. The anarchist rejection of institutionalized authority when applied
to the movement itself made it difficult to assert anarchism as an
organizational entity and social force. See James Joll, The Anarchists,
144 NOTES TO CHAP TER 2

2nd edition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980),


167.
96. Goldman, “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For,” in AOE, 56.
97. Emma Goldman, “The Child and Its Enemies,” Mother Earth 1,
no. 2 (April 1906), in RES: 107–15.
98. Emma Goldman, “Francisco Ferrer and the Modern School,”
in AOE, 145–66. Goldman lectured on the topic of the mod-
ern school movement most frequently between 1910 and 1915,
according to The Emma Goldman Papers, Sunsite Digital Library
Exhibition (see http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/goldman/Guide/
chronology0119.html).
99. Goldman, “The Child and Its Enemies,” in RES, 112.
100. Voltairine de Cleyre, “Anarchism,” in Exquisite Rebel, 79. Origi-
nally published in Free Society, 13 October 1901.
101. Florence Finch Kelly, “Co-Operative Apartment Houses in New
York,” The Independent 64, no. 3103 (May 1908): 1139–42, Google
eBook.
102. See Timothy Miller, The Quest for Utopia in Twentieth Century
America: 1900–1960 (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1998),
104–106. Also see Goldman, “Francisco Ferrer and the Modern
School,” in AOE, 145–66.
103. Kathleen Canning, “Feminist History After the Linguistic Turn:
Historicizing Discourse and Experience,” Signs 19 (Winter
1994): 396.
104. Nancy Fraser, “Rethinking the Public Sphere,” in Habermas and
the Public Sphere, ed. Craig Calhoun (Cambridge: MIT Press,
1992): 124.
105. Glenna Matthews, The Rise of Public Woman (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1992), 165, 10.

CHAP TER 2: BODIES THAT LOVE:


EMMA GOLDMAN’S SEXUAL REVOLU TION

1. Margaret Marsh, Anarchist Women, 1870–1920 (Philadelphia, PA:


Temple University Press, 1981), 123.
2. Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter: On The Discursive Limits of “Sex”
(New York: Routledge, 1993).
NOTES TO CHAP TER 2 145

3. Ibid., 10.
4. Judith Butler and Elizabeth Weed, introduction to Question of
Gender: Joan W. Scott’s Critical Feminism, eds. Judith Butler and
Elizabeth Weed (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011), 3.
5. Ibid.
6. Butler, Bodies That Matter, 10.
7. This argument is an extension of my prior work: Linda Diane
Horwitz, Donna Marie Kowal, and Catherine Helen Palczewski,
“Anarchist Women and the Feminine Ideal: Sex, Class and Style in
the Rhetoric of Voltairine de Cleyre, Emma Goldman, and Lucy
Parsons,” in The Rhetoric of Nineteenth Century Reform and the Per-
fecting of American Society, vol. 5 of Rhetorical History of the United
States, eds. Martha Watson and Thomas Burkholder (East Lansing:
Michigan State University Press, 2008), 309–53.
8. Carole S. Vance, “Pleasure and Danger: Toward a Politics of Sexu-
ality,” in Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality, ed. Carole
S. Vance (Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984), 1.
9. Vern L. Bullough, “The Development of Sexology in the USA in
the Early Twentieth Century,” in Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science:
The History of Attitudes to Sexuality, eds. Roy Porter and Mikulas
Teich (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 308.
10. Vance, “Pleasure and Danger,” 7.
11. Sarah Stage, Female Complaints: Lydia Pinkham and the Business of
Women’s Medicine (New York: WW Norton, 1979), 64–65.
12. Linda Gordon, The Moral Property of Women: A History of Birth
Control Politics in America (Urbana: University of Illinois Press,
2002), 106. Also see Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English,
Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness (Lon-
don: Compendium, 1974); Carol Smith-Rosenberg and Charles
Rosenberg, “The Female Animal: Medical and Biological Views of
Woman and Her Role in Nineteenth-Century America,” Journal
of American History 60, no. 2 (1973); Carol Smith-Rosenberg, “The
Hysterical Woman: Sex Roles and Role Conflict in 19th Cen-
tury America,” Social Research 39, no. 4 (1972); Sally Shuttleworth,
“Female Circulation: Medical Discourse and Popular Advertising
in the Mid-Victorian Era,” in Body/Politics: Women Discourses of
Science, eds. Mary Jacobus, Evelyn Fox Keller, and Sally Shuttle-
worth (New York: Routledge, 1990); Ann Douglas Wood, “‘The
146 NOTES TO CHAP TER 2

Fashionable Diseases’: Women’s Complaints and Their Treatment


in Nineteenth Century America,” Journal of Interdisciplinary His-
tory 4, no. 1 (1973).
13. Stage, Female Complaints, 75–80.
14. Gordon, The Moral Property of Women, 12.
15. Ibid.
16. Ibid., 106–107.
17. John Burnham, “Early References to Homosexual Communities in
American Medical Writings,’” Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality
7, no. 36 (1973): 40–49.
18. Alexander J. C. Skeene, Education and Culture as Related to the
Health and Diseases of Women (Detroit: George S. Davis, 1889), 30,
Google eBook. Also quoted in Barbara Epstein, “Family, Sexual
Morality, and Popular Movements,” in Powers of Desire: The Poli-
tics of Sexuality, eds. Ann Snitow, Christine Stansell, and Sharon
Thompson (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1983), 119–20.
19. Snitow, Stansell, and Thompson, introduction to Powers of Desire,
16.
20. Bullough, “The Development of Sexology,” 317.
21. See Rita Felski, introduction to Sexology in Culture: Labeling Bodies
and Desires, eds. Lucy Bland and Laura Doan (Chicago, IL: Uni-
versity of Chicago Press, 1999), 6.
22. Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality, vol. 1: An Introduction, trans.
Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage Books, 1990), 101.
23. Ellen Carol DuBois and Linda Gordon, “Seeking Ecstasy on the
Battlefield: Danger and Pleasure in Nineteenth Century Feminist
Sexual Thought,” Feminist Review 13 (February 1983): 46.
24. Nicola Kay Beisel, Anthony Comstock and Family Reproduction
in Victorian America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press,
1997).
25. Carole R. McCann, Birth Control Politics in the United States, 1916–
1945 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999), 110.
26. Ibid., 106.
27. Ibid., 110.
28. Gordon, The Moral Property of Women, 19.
29. John D’Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, Intimate Matters: A His-
tory of Sexuality in America, 3rd ed. (Chicago, IL: University of
Chicago Press, 2012), 59.
30. Gordon, The Moral Property of Women, 32.
NOTES TO CHAP TER 2 147

31. DuBois and Gordon, “Seeking Ecstasy on the Battlefield,” 45.


32. Simon J. Williams and Gillian Bendelow, The Lived Body: Sociologi-
cal Themes, Embodied Issues (London: Routledge, 1998), 113–15.
33. Studies of discourses of the sexed and gendered body in Western
thought include: Susan Bordo, Unbearable Weight: Feminism, West-
ern Culture and the Body (Berkeley: University of California Press,
1993); Anne Fausto-Sterling, Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and
the Construction of Sexuality (New York: Basic Books, 2000); Moira
Gatens, Imaginary Bodies: Ethics, Power and Corporeality (London:
Routledge, 1996); Elizabeth Grosz, Volatile Bodies: Toward a Cor-
poreal Feminism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994);
Simon J. Williams and Gillian Bendelow, The Lived Body: Sociologi-
cal Themes, Embodied Issues (London: Routledge, 1998); Jacquelyn
N. Zita, Body Talk: Philosophical Reflections on Sex and Gender (New
York: Columbia University Press, 1998).
34. See Bordo, Unbearable Weight, and Grosz, Volatile Bodies.
35. Candace West and Don H. Zimmerman, “Doing Gender,” Gender
& Society 1 ( June 1987): 127.
36. Emma Goldman, “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For,” in
Anarchism and Other Essays, 3rd rev. ed. (New York: Mother Earth,
1910; New York: Dover, 1969), 58 (hereafter cited as AOE).
37. Goldman, “An Anarchist Looks at Life” (speech, Foyle,’s 29th
Literary Luncheon, Grosvenor House, London, 1 March 1933),
in The Emma Goldman Papers: A Microfilm Edition, eds. Candace
Falk, Ronald J. Zboray, and Daniel Cornford (Alexandria, VA:
Chadwyck-Healey, 1991), reel 52: original from the International
Institute of Social History (hereafter cited as EGP).
38. Kate Zittlow Rogness and Christina R. Foust, “Beyond Rights and
Virtues as Foundation for Women’s Agency: Emma Goldman’s
Rhetoric of Free Love,” Western Journal of Communication 75, no. 2
(March–April 2011): 148–67.
39. Emma Goldman, “The Tragedy of the Modern Woman,” draft
(n.d.), Emma Goldman Papers, International Institute of Social His-
tory (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), inventory no. 266, 21114–15,
http://search.socialhistory.org/Record/ARCH00520/ArchiveCon-
tentList (hereafter cited as IISH/EGP). This piece of writing is
also found in the EGP microfilm collection, reel 52, original from
IISH. Additionally, this document has some content that corre-
sponds with Goldman’s published essay “The Tragedy of Woman’s
148 NOTES TO CHAP TER 2

Emancipation” (1910). My use of the archival draft is limited to


content that does not appear in the published version of “The
Tragedy.”
40. Emma Goldman, “The Individual, Society and the State,” in Red
Emma Speaks: Selected Writings and Speeches by Emma Goldman,
comp. and ed. Alix Kates Shulman (New York: Vintage Books,
1972), 98 (hereafter cited as RES). Shulman notes that this essay
was likely Goldman’s last published work, appearing as a pamphlet
with a 1940 estimated publication year (31).
41. Ibid., 99.
42. Goldman, “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For,” in AOE, 51.
43. Ibid., 63.
44. Emma Goldman, “The New Woman” (address, the Liberal Pro-
gressive Society of Providence, Rhode Island, February 13, 1898) in
Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years, vol. 1,
Made for America, 1890–1901, eds. Candace Falk, et al. (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 2003), 322–23.
45. Emma Goldman, “The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation,” in
AOE, 213–14.
46. Ibid., 225.
47. Ibid., 220.
48. Goldman, [Sexual Instinct and Creativity], fragment (n.d.), in
EGP, reel 54: original from IISH.
49. Goldman, “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For,” in AOE, 62.
50. Ibid., 53.
51. Goldman, “The Hypocrisy of Puritanism,” in AOE, 171–72.
52. Goldman, “The Element of Sex in Life,” draft (n.d.), IISH/
EGP, inventory no. 213, 21586, http://hdl.handle.net/10622/
ARCH00520. Also found in the EGP microfilm collection within
the fragment archived as [Sexuality, Motherhood, and Birth Con-
trol], reel 54: original from IISH.
53. Ibid., 21588–89.
54. Goldman, “What Is There in Anarchy for Woman?,” interview
with St. Louis (MO) Dispatch, October 24, 1897, in EGP, reel 47.
55. Goldman, [Sexual Instinct and Creativity], in EGP.
56. Ibid.
57. Ibid.
58. Goldman, “The Hypocrisy of Puritanism,” in AOE, 176.
59. Goldman, “The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation,” in AOE, 223.
NOTES TO CHAP TER 2 149

60. Goldman, “Woman Suffrage,” in AOE, 211.


61. Goldman, “Marriage and Love,” in AOE, 236.
62. Goldman, “The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation,” in AOE, 222.
63. Goldman, “Marriage and Love,” in AOE, 239.
64. Goldman, “Jealousy: Causes and a Possible Cure,” in RES, 169.
65. “Must Go to the Workhouse,” New York Times, December 7, 1895,
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9A00E2D9113
AE533A25754C0A9649D94649ED7CF#. Also see “Writ for
Amelia Schauer,” New York Times, December 8, 1895, http://query.
nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9F03E3DD1E3DE433A2575
BC0A9649D94649ED7CF.
66. Kathy Peiss, “‘Charity Girls’ and City Pleasures: Historical Notes
on Working-Class Sexuality, 1880-1920,” in Powers of Desire: The
Politics of Sexuality, eds. Ann Snitow, Christine Stansell, and Sha-
ron Thompson (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1983), 74–87.
67. Kathy Peiss, Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in
Turn-of-the-Century New York (Philadelphia, PA: Temple Univer-
sity Press, 1986), 110.
68. Goldman describes her motivation to experiment with prostitu-
tion in Living My Life, vol. 1 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1931),
83–93.
69. Goldman, “The Traffic in Women,” in AOE, 179.
70. DuBois and Gordon, “Seeking Ecstasy on the Battlefield,” 43.
71. Goldman, “The Hypocrisy of Puritanism,” in AOE, 172–73.
72. Goldman, “The Social Aspects of Birth Control,” Mother Earth
11 (April 1916): 468–75, HathiTrust Digital Library, http://babel.
hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015013434926;view=1up;seq=7.
73. Goldman, “The Traffic in Women,” in AOE, 188.
74. Goldman, “The Social Aspects of Birth Control,” 468–69.
75. “Emma Goldman Convicted in Birth Control Trial,” Day Book
(Chicago, IL), April 21, 1916, in Chronicling America: Historic
American Newspapers, Library of Congress, http://chroniclin-
gamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1916-04-21/ed-1/seq-25/
(hereafter cited as CA).
76. Goldman, “The Traffic in Women,” in AOE, 180, 184–85.
77. Goldman, “Jealousy: Causes and a Possible Cure,” in RES, 171. The
Emma Goldman Papers, Sunsite Digital Library Exhibition, indicates
that she first delivered this text as a speech in May 1915 (see http://
sunsite.berkeley.edu/Goldman/Guide/chronology0119.html).
150 NOTES TO CHAP TER 2

78. Ibid., 172.


79. Ibid., 175.
80. Goldman, Living My Life, vol. 1, 420.
81. Alice Wexler, Emma Goldman: An Intimate Life (New York: Pan-
theon Books, 1984), 155.
82. Goldman, “Jealousy: Causes and a Possible Cure,” in RES, 168.
83. Goldman, “Marriage and Love,” in AOE, 231.
84. Goldman, “The Element of Sex in Life,” draft (n.d.), IISH/EGP,
inventory no. 213, 21589–90.
85. Ibid., 21633.
86. Ibid., 21620.
87. Goldman, “The Social Importance of the Modern School,” in
RES, 124.
88. “The Hypocrisy of Puritanism,” in AOE, 171–72.
89. Goldman, “The Element of Sex in Life,” IISH/EGP, inventory no.
213, 21593–622.
90. Ibid., 21625.
91. Ibid., 21593–94.
92. Goldman, “The Social Importance of the Modern School,” in
RES, 123–25.
93. John Lauristen and David Thorstad, The Early Homosexual Rights
Movement (1864–1935) (New York: Times Change Press, 1974).
94. Ibid., 36.
95. Michael Bronski, A Queer History of the United States (Boston:
Beacon Press, 2011), xvi–xvii.
96. Jonathan Katz, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in
the USA (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1976). See esp. chapter
2, 129–207.
97. Goldman, Living My Life, vol. 2, 555–56.
98. Ibid.
99. Goldman, “The Hypocrisy of Puritanism,” in AOE, 167–68.
100. See Whitman poems in Mother Earth issues May 1906, August
1916, and March 1917, HathiTrust Digital Library, http://cata-
log.hathitrust.org/Record/000864035.
101. Juan A. Hererro Brasas, Walt Whitman’s Mystical Ethics of Com-
radeship: Homosexuality and the Marginality of Friendship at the
Crossroads of Modernity (Albany: SUNY Press, 2010), 9.
102. See “Chronology (1901–1919),” The Emma Goldman Papers,
NOTES TO CHAP TER 2 151

Sunsite Digital Library Exhibition (University of California,


Berkeley), http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/goldman/Guide/chronol-
ogy0119.html.
103. Goldman to Evelyn Scott, 27 November 1927 (Staten Island,
NY ), in IISH/EGP, inventory no. 146, 15236, http://hdl.handle.
net/10622/ARCH00520.
104. Goldman “The New Woman,” (address, the Liberal Progres-
sive Society of Providence, Rhode Island, February 13, 1898), in
Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years, vol.
1, Made for America, 1890–1901, eds. Candace Falk, et al. (Berke-
ley: University of California Press, 2003), 322.
105. Goldman, “The Element of Sex in Life,” in IISH/EGP, inventory
no. 213, 21604–605.
106. Ibid., 21607.
107. Ibid., 21609–610.
108. Ibid., 21611.
109. Goldman to Magnus Hirschfeld, (Berlin, 1923). Draft of article by
Goldman was published in Yearbook for Sexual Intermediate Types,
issued by the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, IISH/EGP,
inventory no. 208, http://hdl.handle.net/10622/ARCH00520.
110. Katz, Gay American History, 378–79.
111. Ibid.
112. Margaret Marsh, Anarchist Women, 1870–1920 (Philadelphia, PA:
Temple University Press, 1981), 94.
113. See Candace Falk, Love, Anarchy, and Emma Goldman (New
York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1984), 169–77, and Katz,
Gay American History, 523–30.
114. DuBois and Gordon observe that even as Goldman and her con-
temporaries made important strides on behalf of women’s free-
dom, they “rarely criticized men” and they “continued to accept a
male and heterosexual definition of the ‘sex act’” (49).
115. Goldman, “The Element of Sex in Life,” in IISH/EGP, inventory
no. 213, 21613–14.
116. John D’Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, Intimate Matters: A His-
tory of Sexuality in America, 3rd edition (Chicago, IL: University
of Chicago Press, 2012), 233.
117. For an overview of punk feminism, see Caroline K. Kaltefleiter,
“Anarchy Girl Style Now: Riot Grrrl Actions and Practices,” in
152 NOTES TO CHAP TER 3

Contemporary Anarchist Studies, ed. Randall Amster, Abraham


DeLeon, Luis A. Fernandez, Anthony J. Nocella II, and Deric
Shannon (London: Routledge, 2009), 224–35.

CHAP TER 3: SEX, LABOR, AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE

1. Glenna Matthews, The Rise of Public Woman: Woman’s Power and


Woman’s Place in the United States, 1630–1970 (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1992), 149.
2. Emma Goldman, Living My Life, vol. 1 (New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, 1931; New York: Dover, 1970), 15–16.
3. Ibid., 137–38, 185–86.
4. Candace Falk, “Raising Her Voices: An Introduction,” in Emma
Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years, vol. 2, Mak-
ing Speech Free, 1902–1909, eds. Candace Falk, et al. (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 2004), 55.
5. Philip S. Foner, History of the Labor Movement in the United States,
vol. 3 (New York: International Publishers, 1975), 259; Dorothy
Schneider and Carl J. Schneider, American Women in the Progressive
Era, 1900–1920 (New York: Facts on File, 1993), 56.
6. See Arthur S. Link, “The Progressive Movement: Reform, Radi-
calism, or Reaction?” in Problems in American History, vol. 2, 4th
ed., eds. Richard W. Leopold and Arthur S. Link (Englewood
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1972) and Dorothy Schneider and Carl
J. Schneider, American Women in the Progressive Era, 1900–1920
(New York: Facts on File, 1993), 51.
7. Margaret Marsh, Anarchist Women, 1870–1920. (Philadelphia, PA:
Temple University Press, 1981), 6–7.
8. Goldman, Living My Life, vol. 1, 8–10.
9. Ibid., 83–88.
10. Donna R. Gabaccia, “Immigration in the Gilded Age and Pro-
gressive Era,” Humanities OnLine, http://www3.niu.edu/comm/
najjar/public_html/immig.html.
11. Foner, History of the Labor Movement, vol. 3, 258–59.
12. Foner, History of the Labor Movement, vol. 4, 117–22.
13. Rosalie Shanks, “The IWW Free Speech Movement: San Diego,
1912,” Journal of San Diego History 19, no. 1 (1973), http://www.
sandiegohistory.org/journal/73winter/speech.htm.
NOTES TO CHAP TER 3 153

14. Goldman, Living My Life, vol. 1, 494.


15. Richard Drinnon, Rebel in Paradise: A Biography of Emma Goldman
(Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1961), 135.
16. Goldman “The Individual, Society and the State,” in Red Emma
Speaks: Selected Writings and Speeches by Emma Goldman, ed. Alix
Kates Shulman (New York: Vintage Books, 1972), 96 (hereafter
cited as RES).
17. “Socialism: Caught in the Political Trap,” in RES, 78–85. The
Emma Goldman Papers, Sunsite Digital Library Exhibition, indi-
cates that this speech was part of a 1911 lecture tour (see http://
sunsite.berkeley.edu/goldman/Guide/chronology0119.html).
18. Emma Goldman, “Labor Day,” Mother Earth 3 (September 1908),
Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years, vol. 2,
Making Speech Free, 1902–1909, eds. Candace Falk, et al. (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 2005), 365–66.
19. Ibid., 366.
20. Foner, History of the Labor Movement, vol. 4, 20.
21. Goldman, The Road to Universal Slaughter (New York: Mother
Earth, 1915), 9. Joseph A. Labadie Collection, University of Mich-
igan, Ann Arbor.
22. Foner, History of the Labor Movement, vol. 1, 156.
23. Emma Goldman, “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For,” in
Anarchism and Other Essays, 3rd rev. ed. (New York: Mother Earth,
1910; New York: Dover, 1969), 65 (hereafter cited as AOE).
24. Marian J. Morton, Emma Goldman and the American Left: Nowhere
at Home (New York: Twayne, 1992), 30.
25. Emma Goldman, “Trade Unionism,” excerpt from lecture, trans.
Louis T. Domas in “[Report to] Commissioner of Immigration,”
12 December 1907, in The Emma Goldman Papers: A Microfilm Edi-
tion, eds. Candace Falk, Ronald J. Zboray, and Daniel Cornford
(Alexandria, VA: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991), reel 47: original from
the Immigration and Naturalization Service via FOIA (hereafter
cited as EGP).
26. Goldman, “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For,” in AOE, 54.
27. Ibid., 54–55.
28. Goldman, “Light and Shadows in the Life of an Avant-Guard,”
Mother Earth 4, no. 12 (February 1910), HathiTrust Digital Library,
http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015014519279;view=
1up;seq=30.
154 NOTES TO CHAP TER 3

29. Goldman, “Intellectual Proletarians,” in RES, 183–84.


30. Ibid., 176–77.
31. Goldman, “The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation,” in AOE, 213.
32. Goldman, “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For,” in AOE, 59.
33. Barbara Welter, “The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820–1860,”
American Quarterly 18, no. 2 (1966): 151–74.
34. Ibid. Also see Sara M. Evans, Born for Liberty: A History of Women
in America (New York: The Free Press, 1989), 68–69, 71–74.
35. Julie A. Matthaei, An Economic History of Women in America: Wom-
en’s Work, the Sexual Division of Labor, and the Development of Capi-
talism (New York: Schocken Books, 1982), 118–19.
36. Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Iden-
tity (New York: Routledge, 1990), 24.
37. Matthews, The Rise of Public Woman, esp. chapters 5 to 8.
38. Goldman, Living My Life, vol. 1, 16.
39. Susan Estabrook Kennedy, If All We Did Was to Weep at Home: His-
tory of White Working-Class Women in America (Bloomington: Indi-
ana University Press, 1979), 77.
40. Eleanor Flexner and Ellen Fitzpatrick, Century of Struggle: The
Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States, enlarged ed. (Cam-
bridge: Belknap Press, 1996), 222.
41. In addition to Century of Struggle (1959 and 1996), germinal his-
tories of the early women’s movement include: Nancy F. Cott, The
Grounding of Modern Feminism (New Haven, CT: Yale University
Press, 1987); Linda Gordon, The Moral Property of Women: A History
of Birth Control Politics in America (Urbana: University of Illinois
Press, 2002); Vicky Randall, Women and Politics: An International
Perspective (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1987).
42. Flexner and Fitzpatrick, Century of Struggle, 230–31.
43. Philip S. Foner, Women and the American Labor Movement: From
Colonial Times to the Eve of World War I (New York: The Free Press,
1979), 257–58.
44. Flexner and Fitzpatrick, Century of Struggle, 223.
45. Kennedy, If All We Did Was to Weep at Home, 78–79.
46. Foner, Women and the American Labor Movement, 85, 259.
47. Matthews, The Rise of Public Woman, 197.
48. Goldman “Intellectual Proletarians,” in RES, 178.
49. This is not to say that the suffrage movement disregarded class
issues. Working class women participated in the suffrage movement
NOTES TO CHAP TER 3 155

and suffrage leaders addressed labor issues. For example, see Ellen
Carol DuBois, “Working Women, Class Relations, and Suffrage
Militance: Harriot Stanton Blatch and the New York Women’s
Suffrage Movement, 1894–1909,” in One Woman, One Vote, ed.
Marjorie Spruill Wheeler (Troutdale, OR: New Sage Press, 1995).
However, the suffrage movement predominantly represented mid-
dle- and upper-class women, and this can be observed in the move-
ment’s rhetorical strategies. See Donna M. Kowal, “One Cause,
Two Paths: Militant vs. Adjustive Strategies in the British and
American Women’s Suffrage Movements,” Communication Quar-
terly 48 (2000): 240–56.
50. Goldman, “Woman Suffrage,” in AOE, 209.
51. Goldman, “Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation,” in AOE, 221–22.
52. Goldman, “Woman Suffrage,” in AOE, 197.
53. Ibid., 206.
54. Ibid., 201.
55. Ibid., 207. Indeed, in 1870, the Men’s Typographical Union accused
Anthony of strikebreaking when she encouraged print shops in
Rochester, New York, to hire female workers in place of the men on
strike, and she was charged with running a non-union shop at her
paper, the Revolution. See “Biography,” Susan B. Anthony House,
Rochester, New York, http://susanbanthonyhouse.org/her-story/
biography.php.
56. “The Tragedy of the Modern Woman,” draft (n.d.), Emma Gold-
man Papers, International Institute of Social History, inventory no.
266, 21117, http://search.socialhistory.org/Record /ARCH00520/
ArchiveContentList (hereafter cited as IISH/EGP). Also archived
in the EGP microfilm collection, reel 52: original from IISH. As
noted earlier, my use of this document is limited to content that
does not overlap with the published essay “The Tragedy of Wom-
an’s Emancipation,” which Goldman included in Anarchism and
Other Essays (1910).
57. Emma Goldman, “Has Feminism Lived Up to Its Promise?” draft
(est. 1930s), in The Emma Goldman Papers: A Microfilm Edition, eds.
Candace Falk, Ronald J. Zboray, and Daniel Cornford (Alexandria,
VA: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991), reel 52: original from IISH (hereaf-
ter cited as EGP).
58. Foner, Women and the American Labor Movement, 257.
59. Leslie Woodcock Tentler, Wage-Earning Women: Industrial Work
156 NOTES TO CHAP TER 3

and Family Life in the United States, 1900–1930 (Oxford: Oxford


University Press, 1979), 17–21.
60. Historical accounts of women in the labor force and involvement
in labor activism include: Nan Enstad, Ladies of Labor, Girls of
Adventure: Working Women, Popular Culture, and Labor Politics at the
Turn of the Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999);
Philip S. Foner, Women and the American Labor Movement: From
Colonial Times to the Eve of WWI, vol. 1 (New York: Free Press,
1979); Julie A. Matthaei, An Economic History of Women in America:
Women’s Work, the Sexual Division of Labor, and the Development of
Capitalism (New York: Schocken Books, 1982).
61. Goldman, “Marriage and Love,” in AOE, 232.
62. Goldman, “Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation,” in AOE, 216.
63. Ibid., 216–17.
64. Goldman, “The Traffic in Women,” in AOE, 186.
65. Goldman, “Marriage and Love,” in AOE, 233.
66. For a discussion on patterns of women’s labor and marriage at the
turn of the century, see Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism,
179–86.
67. Ibid., 185.
68. Ibid.
69. Ibid., 233–34.
70. Goldman, “My Attitude To Marriage,” draft (November 1926) in
EGP, reel 51: original from IISH/EGP, inventory no. 243, http://
hdl.handle.net/10622/ARCH00520.
71. Goldman, “Marriage,” Firebrand 3, no. 4, (Portland, OR), 18 July
1897: 2, in EGP, reel 47.
72. Goldman, “Marriage and Love,” in AOE, 231.
73. Ibid., 228.
74. Goldman, “Woman Suffrage,” in AOE, 196–97.
75. Goldman, “The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation,” in AOE, 219.
76. Goldman, “The Traffic in Women,” in AOE, 184.
77. Ibid., 178.
78. Ibid.,179.
79. Goldman, Living My Life, vol. 1, 83–93.
80. Goldman, “The Traffic in Women,” in AOE, 184.
81. Ibid., 185.
82. Ibid., 194.
83. Kathy Peiss, Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in
NOTES TO CHAP TER 4 157

Turn-of-the-Century New York (Philadelphia, PA: Temple Univer-


sity Press, 1986), 184.
84. Goldman, “The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation,” in AOE, 217.
85. “Emma Goldman Advocates Companionate Marriage,” newspaper
summary of lecture (n.d.), Joseph A. Labadie Collection, Univer-
sity of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
86. Drinnon, Rebel in Paradise, 166.
87. Emma Goldman, “Marriage,” Firebrand 3, no. 4 (Portland, OR),
July 18, 1897: 2, in EGP, reel 47.
88. Goldman, “Marriage and Love,” in AOE, 237.
89. Grace Abbot, The Immigrant and the Community (New York: Cen-
tury, 1921): 69–80, reprinted in Immigrant Women, ed. Maxine
Schwartz Seller (Albany: SUNY Press, 1994, rev. 2nd ed.), 141–45.
90. Emma Goldman to Agnes Inglis, 18 September 1916, Joseph A.
Labadie Collection, University of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
91. Goldman, “Woman Suffrage,” in AOE, 211.
92. Goldman, “What I Believe,” in RES, 44.
93. Goldman, “The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation,” in AOE, 214.
94. Ibid., 219.
95. Goldman, “Has Feminism Lived Up to Its Promise?” in EGP, reel
52.
96. Alison Piepmeier, Out in Public: Configurations of Women’s Bodies
in Nineteenth-Century America (Chapel Hill: University of North
Carolina Press, 2004), 5.

CHAP TER 4: “ TONGUE OF FIRE”:


A RADICAL SUBJECTIVITY

1. Nancy Fraser, “Rethinking the Public Sphere,” in Habermas and the


Public Sphere, ed. Craig Calhoun (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992),
114.
2. Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, Man Cannot Speak for Her, vol. 1 (New
York: Praeger, 1989), 12.
3. Ibid., 10–12.
4. The following studies address the application, extension, and limi-
tations of “feminine style”: Jane Blankenship and Deborah Robson,
“A ‘Feminine Style’ in Women’s Political Discourse: An Explor-
atory Essay,” Communication Quarterly 43 (1995): 353–66; Shanara
158 NOTES TO CHAP TER 4

Rose Reid-Brinkley, “Mammies and Matriarchs: Feminine Style


and Signifyin(g) in Carol Mosely Braun’s 2003–2004 Campaign
for the Presidency,” in Standing in the Intersection: Feminist Voices,
Feminist Practices in Communication Studies, eds. Karma Chávez,
Cindy Griffin, and Marsha L. Houston (Albany: SUNY Press,
2012), 35–58; Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, “The Discursive Perfor-
mance of Femininity: Hating Hillary,” Rhetoric & Public Affairs
1 (1998): 1–19; Bonnie J. Dow and Mari Boor Tonn, “‘Feminine
Style’ and Political Judgment in the Rhetoric of Ann Richards,”
Quarterly Journal of Speech 79 (1993): 286–302; Sara Hayden,
“Re-Claiming Bodies of Knowledge: An Exploration of the Rela-
tionship between Feminist Theorizing and Feminine Style in the
Rhetoric of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective,” Western
Journal of Speech 61 (1997): 127–63; Linda Diane Horwitz, Donna
Marie Kowal, and Catherine Helen Palczewski, “Anarchist Women
and the Feminine Ideal: Sex, Class and Style in the Rhetoric of
Voltairine de Cleyre, Emma Goldman, and Lucy Parsons,” in The
Rhetoric of Nineteenth Century Reform and the Perfecting of American
Society, vol. 5, Rhetorical History of the United States, eds. Martha
Watson and Thomas Burkholder (East Lansing: Michigan State
University Press, 2008), 309–53; Victoria Pruin DeFrancisco and
Catherine Helen Palczewski, Communicating Gender Diversity: A
Critical Approach (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2007).
5. Glenna Matthews, The Rise of Public Woman (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1992), 165–66.
6. Emma Goldman to Miss Agnes Inglis, 15 Feb. 1916, Joseph A.
Labadie Collection, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
7. Horwitz, Kowal, and Palczewski, “Anarchist Women and the Fem-
inine Ideal,” 344.
8. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, “Mapping the Margins: Intersec-
tionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color,”
Stanford Law Review 43 (1991): 1241–49. Also see Critical Race
Feminism: A Reader, ed. Adrien Katherine Wing (New York: New
York University Press, 1997); Emerging Intersections: Race, Class, and
Gender in Theory, Policy and Practice, eds. Bonnie Thornton Dill and
Ruth Enid Zambrana (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University,
2009); Standing in the Intersection: Feminist Voices, Feminist Practices
in Communication Studies, eds. Karma Chávez, Cindy Griffin, and
Marsha L. Houston (Albany: SUNY Press, 2012).
NOTES TO CHAP TER 4 159

9. Cindy Griffin and Karma Chávez, introduction to Standing in the


Intersection, 18.
10. Robert L. Scott and Donald K. Smith, “The Rhetoric of Confron-
tation,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 55, no. 1 (1969): 7.
11. Christine Stansell, American Moderns: Bohemian New York and the
Creation of a New Century (New York: Henry Holt, 2000), 121.
12. Emma Goldman, excerpt from lecture, “The Revolutionary Spirit
in Modern Drama” in Louis J. Domas “[Report to] Commissioner
of Immigration,” December 14, 1907, reel 56: original from the
Immigration and Naturalization Service via FOIA; Goldman,
excerpt from lecture, “Speech Against Conscription and War” in
John Dillon “[Report to] U.S. District Court of New York,” 14
June 1917, reel 48: original from the Immigration and Naturaliza-
tion Service via FOIA; Goldman, summary of lecture, “The Trial
and Persecution of Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman”
in Charles Daniel Frey, “[Report to] Department of Justice,” 25
August 1917, reel 48: original from the United States National
Archives; Goldman, summary of lecture, “America and the Rus-
sian Government,” in American Protective League “[Report to]
War Department,” 28 January 1918, reel 48: original from the
United States National Archives, in The Emma Goldman Papers: A
Microfilm Edition, eds. Candace Falk, Ronald J. Zboray, and Dan-
iel Cornford (Alexandria, VA: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991), hereafter
cited as EGP.
13. Ben Boswell, “Old Red,” review of Living My Life by Emma Gold-
man, Time, November 9, 1931: 69.
14. “Emma Goldman, Anarchy Agitator, Shrieks for the Blood Red
Flag,” Detroit (MI) Journal, November 16, 1897, Joseph A. Labadie
Collection, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
15. Voltairine De Cleyre, “In Defense of Emma Goldman and the
Right of Expropriation,” in Exquisite Rebel: The Essays of Voltair-
ine de Cleyre—Anarchist, Feminist, Genius, eds. Sharon Presley and
Crispin Sartwell (Albany: SUNY Press, 2005), 154.
16. “Queen of Anarchists,” St. Paul (MN) Globe, September 3, 1893,
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, Library of Con-
gress, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90059522/1893-
09-03/ed-1/seq-11/ (hereafter cited as CA).
17. Christine Stansell, American Moderns: Bohemian New York and the
Creation of a New Century (New York: Henry Holt, 2000), 121.
160 NOTES TO CHAP TER 4

18. “Emma at the Bar,” The Evening World (New York), October 4,
1893, last edition, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn83030193/1893-10-04/ed-2/seq-1/.
19. “Rebuff for Anarchists,” Oregonian (Portland, OR), May 19, 1908,
Historic Oregon Newspapers, http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/
sn83025138/1908-05-19/ed-1/seq-6/.
20. “Emma Goldman an Ideal Study in Contradiction,” St. Louis (MO)
Republic, September 12, 1901, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.
loc.gov/lccn/sn84020274/1901-09-12/ed-1/seq-4/.
21. “Stirs the Reds,” Evening World (New York), August 19, 1893, in CA,
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030193/1893-08-19/
ed-4/seq-1/.
22. Emma Goldman, “Woman Suffrage,” in Anarchism and Other
Essays, 3rd rev. ed. (New York: Mother Earth, 1917; New York:
Dover, 1969), 205, 207 (hereafter cited as AOE). Also see Gold-
man’s encomium to Russian women activists titled “Heroic Women
of the Russian Revolution,” manuscript (New York), September 18,
1937, Joseph A. Labadie Collection, University of Michigan, Ann
Arbor.
23. “Emma Goldman’s Solution,” Sun (New York), May 2, 1909, in CA,
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030272/1909-05-02/
ed-1/seq-21/.
24. Goldman to Agnes Inglis, 18 September 1916, Joseph A. Labadie
Collection, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
25. Ibid.
26. Stansell, American Moderns, 138–39.
27. “A New Declaration of Independence,” Mother Earth 4, no. 5 ( July
1909) (New York: Mother Earth):137, HathiTrust Digital Library,
http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015081709548;view=
1up;seq=126.
28. Goldman, “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For,” in AOE, 57.
29. Goldman, “Minorities and Majorities,” in AOE, 73–74.
30. Goldman, “Woman Suffrage,” in AOE, 195–96.
31. Ibid., 210.
32. “Marriage and Love,” in AOE, 228–29.
33. Goldman, The Social Significance of the Modern Drama (New York:
Mother Earth, 1910); “The Modern Drama: A Powerful Dissemi-
nator of Radical Thought,” in AOE, 241–71; “The Revolutionary
Spirit in Modern Drama,” excerpt from lecture, trans. by Louis
NOTES TO CHAP TER 4 161

J. Domas in “[Report to] Commissioner of Immigration,” 14


December 1907, in EGP, reel 56: original from the Immigration
and Naturalization Service via FOIA; “Drama Developing New
Social Trend,” the Montreal (QC) Gazette, 6 March 1935, in EGP,
reel 53: original from the International Institute of Social History
(Amsterdam, The Netherlands).
34. “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For,” in AOE, 57.
35. “Marriage and Love,” in AOE, 235
36. Lindal Buchanan, Studies in Feminisms: Rhetorics of Motherhood
(Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2013), 14.
37. Ibid., see chapter 2: 24–62.
38. Mari Boor Tonn, “Militant Motherhood: Labor’s Mary Harris
‘Mother’ Jones,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 82 (1996): 16. For a
contemporary example of maternal rhetoric, see Sara Hayden,
“Family Metaphors and the Nation: Promoting a Politics of Care
through the Million Mom March,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 89,
vol. 3 (2003): 196–215.
39. Goldman, “The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation,” in AOE, 217.
40. Goldman, “Marriage,” Firebrand 3, no. 4 (Portland, OR), July 18,
1897: 2, in EGP, reel 47.
41. Emma Goldman, Living My Life, vol. 2 (New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, 1931), 987.
42. Emma Goldman, “My Attitude To Marriage,” draft (Novem-
ber 1926) in EGP, reel 51: original from the International Insti-
tute of Social History (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), inventory
no. 243, http://search.socialhistory.org/Record/ARCH00520/
ArchiveContentList.
43. Ibid.
44. Ibid.
45. See Rebecca L. Davis, “‘Not Marriage at All, but Simple Harlotry’:
The Companionate Marriage Controversy,” Journal of American
History (March 2008): 1137–63.
46. “Emma Goldman Advocates Companionate Marriage,” newspaper
summary of lecture, Joseph A. Labadie Collection, University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor. Goldman probably delivered this lecture
after she married in 1925. The article notes that she delivered it in
Toronto, just before leaving for Europe. When Goldman married
Colton, they traveled to Canada, and in 1928 they moved to St.
Tropez, France.
162 NOTES TO CHAP TER 4

47. Ibid.
48. Davis, “Not Marriage at All,” 1142.
49. Goldman, “Anarchism is Not Necessarily Violence,” excerpt from
lecture in police transcript, 6 January 1907, in EGP, reel 47: origi-
nal from the Immigration and Naturalization Service via FOIA.
50. Goldman, “The Psychology of Political Violence,” in AOE, 107.
51. Martha Minnow, Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion and
American Law (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), 238.
52. James Joll, The Anarchists, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Uni-
versity Press, 1980), 167.
53. Buchanan, Studies in Feminisms, 14.
54. Ibid., 7.
55. Kathy E. Ferguson, Emma Goldman: Political Thinking in the Streets
(Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2011), 277–78.
56. Goldman, “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For,” in AOE, 75–76.
57. Ibid., 65.
58. Ibid.
59. Goldman, “Woman Suffrage,” in AOE, 211.
60. Alix Kates Shulman, introduction to Red Emma Speaks: Selected
Writings and Speeches by Emma Goldman, comp. and ed. Alix Kates
Shulman (New York: Vintage Books, 1972), 25.
61. Chávez and Griffin, introduction to Standing in the Intersection,
11–12.
62. Kathleen Canning, “Feminist History after the Linguistic Turn:
Historicizing Discourse and Experience,” Signs 19 (Winter 1994):
396.
63. Richard Stites, The Women’s Liberation Movement in Russia: Femi-
nism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism, 1860–1930 (Princeton, NJ: Princ-
eton, University Press, 1978), 6–7.
64. Ibid., 153.
65. Barbara Alpern Engel and Clifford N. Rosenthal note that many
women and men considered the women’s liberation to be a mat-
ter of personal autonomy. See introduction to Five Sisters: Women
Against the Tsar (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1975; Dekalb: North-
ern Illinois University Press, 2013).
66. Richard Stites, “Women and the Russian Intelligentsia: Three Per-
spectives,” in Women in Russia, ed. Dorothy Atkinson, Alexander
Dallin, and Gail Warshofsky Lapidus (Stanford, CA: Stanford
University Press: 1977), 53.
67. Ibid., 60.
NOTES TO CHAP TER 4 163

68. Goldman, summary of lecture, “America and the Russian Revolu-


tion” in E.J. Bamberger “[Report to] Department of Justice,” Janu-
ary 18, 1918, in EGP, reel 60: original from United States National
Archives; Goldman, The Crushing of the Russian Revolution, Free-
dom Press (1922), Joseph A. Labadie Collection, University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor; Goldman, “Heroic Women of the Russian
Revolution,” September 18, 1937, Joseph A. Labadie Collection,
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
69. Goldman, summary of lecture, “America and the Russian Gov-
ernment,” American Protective League “[Report to] War Depart-
ment,” January 28, 1918, in EGP, reel 48: original from the United
States National Archives.
70. Goldman, “Heroic Women of the Russian Revolution,” September,
18, 1937, Joseph A. Labadie Collection, University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor.
71. Ibid.
72. Goldman, “Woman Suffrage,” in AOE, 205, 207.
73. Goldman, “The Joys of Touring,” Mother Earth 3, no. 1 (March
1908), HathiTrust Digital Library, http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/
pt?id=mdp.39015032388160;view=1up;seq=47.
74. Naomi Shepherd, A Price Below Rubies: Jewish Women as Rebels and
Radicals (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), 5–7.
75. Ibid., 9.
76. Ibid., 278–79.
77. Ibid., 43–53. In The World of Our Mothers: The Lives of Jewish Immi-
grant Women (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press,
1988), Sydney Stahl Weinberg also describes Russian-Jewish wom-
en’s role as characterized by self-sacrifice and helpfulness (27–34).
Their sole purpose in life was to serve their scholarly husbands.
78. Shepherd, A Price Below Rubies, 63, 77.
79. Ibid., 66.
80. Barbara Alpern Engel, Mothers and Daughters: Women of the Intel-
ligentsia in 19th Century Russia (New York: Cambridge University
Press, 1983), 3–5.
81. Ibid., 155.
82. Ibid., 72–73.
83. Eleanor Flexner and Ellen Fitzpatrick, Century of Struggle: The
Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States, enlarged ed. (Cam-
bridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1996), 234.
84. Paula Hyman, “Gender and the Immigrant Jewish Experience,”
164 NOTES TO CHAP TER 5

in Jewish Women in Historical Perspective, ed. Judith R. Baskin


(Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991), 222–42.
85. Stansell, American Moderns, 6.
86. Goldman, summaries and excerpts from lectures, transcribed by
William E. Carr, “[Report to] United States Commissioner of
Immigration,” April 9, 1908, EGP, reel 47: original from the Immi-
gration and Naturalization Service via FOIA.
87. Goldman to Minna, 12 May 1925, Joseph A. Labadie Collection,
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
88. Goldman, “An Anarchist Looks at Life” (speech, Foyle’s 29th Lit-
erary Luncheon, Grosvenor House, London, March 1, 1933) in
EGP, reel 52: original from IISH.
89. “Scores Religion for Crushing Sex,” summary of lecture, Toronto
(ON) Daily Star, March 18, 1935, EGP, reel 53: original from Mil-
lie Desser Grobstein.
90. Shepherd, A Price Below Rubies, 39–43.
91. Ibid., 279.
92. David Waldstreicher, “Radicalism, Religion, Jewishness: The Case
of Emma Goldman,” American Jewish Studies 24 (1990): 74–92.
93. Fraser, “Rethinking the Public Sphere,” 75.

CHAP TER 5:
FRAMING “ THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF ANARCHY ”

1. Brenda R. Weber, Women and Literary Celebrity in the Nineteenth


Century: The Transatlantic Production of Fame and Gender (London:
Ashgate, 2012), 8.
2. Amanda Frisken, Victoria Woodhull’s Sexual Revolution: Political
Theater and the Popular Press in Nineteenth Century America (Phila-
delphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 15.
3. Ibid.
4. Emma Goldman, “Preface,” Anarchism and Other Essays, 3rd rev. ed.
(New York: Mother Earth, 1910; New York: Dover, 1969), 41–42.
5. “Emma Goldman, Red, On ‘Women Under Anarchy,’” Albuquer-
que (NM) Evening Citizen, July 18, 1906, in Chronicling America:
Historic American Newspapers, Library of Congress, http://chroni-
clingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020615/1906-07-18/ed-1/seq-3/
(hereafter cited as CA).
NOTES TO CHAP TER 5 165

6. “Nights Among Reds,” Pittsburg (PA) Dispatch, August 28, 1892,


in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024546/
1892-08-28/ed-1/seq-13/.
7. “Woman Well Called Queen of Anarchists,” Spanish Fork (UT)
Press, June 25, 1908, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn85058245/1908-06-25/ed-1/seq-5/.
8. “Once in the Limelight,” El Paso (TX) Herald, August 29, 1917,
home edition, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn88084272/1917-08-29/ed-1/seq-6/.
9. “A Pen Picture of Emma Goldman,” Detroit (MI) Journal, Novem-
ber, 17, 1897, Joseph A. Labadie Collection, University of Michi-
gan, Ann Arbor.
10. “Violent Anarchist in Christian Pulpit,” Detroit (MI) Journal,
November 20, 1897, Joseph A. Labadie Collection, University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor.
11. “From a Pulpit,” Detroit (MI) Evening News, November 20, 1897,
evening edition, Joseph A. Labadie Collection, University of Mich-
igan, Ann Arbor.
12. “A Split in the People’s Church,” Detroit (MI) Evening News,
November 20, 1897, Joseph A. Labadie Collection, University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor.
13. “Emma Goldman Roasts Sunday—Hall Burns Down,” Day Book
(Chicago, IL), April 21, 1915, noon edition, in CA http://chroni-
clingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1915-04-21/ed-1/seq-24/.
Also see “Fire Razes Turn Hall After Emma Goldman Attack
on Sunday,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 20,
1915, night extra, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn83045211/1915-04-20/ed-1/seq-2/.
14. Karen Roggenkamp, Narrating the News: New Journalism and Lit-
erary Genre in Late Nineteenth-Century American Newspapers and
Fiction (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2005), xxi.
15. Ibid., xiii.
16. Mily Williamson, “When ‘Popular’ was ‘Radical’: The Mass Circu-
lation US Press in the 1890s, Emerging Celebrity Journalism, and
Popular Tastes,” Media History 18, no. 2, 115–27.
17. Charles Ponce de Leon, Self-Exposure: Human-Interest Journalism
and the Emergence of Celebrity in America, 1890–1940 (Chapel Hill:
University of North Carolina Press, 2002), 6.
18. “Emma Goldman Not a Dangerous Woman,” Salt Lake (UT)
166 NOTES TO CHAP TER 5

Herald Republican, April 13, 1910, in CA, http://chroniclingamer-


ica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85058140/1910-04-13/ed-1/seq-10/.
19. Roggenkamp, Narrating the News, 26.
20. “Nellie Bly Interviews Emma Goldman . . . ” advertisement, Eve-
ning World (New York), September 14, 1893, in CA, http://chroni-
clingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030193/1893-09-14/ed-2/seq-1/.
21. “Nellie Bly Among the Anarchists,” advertisement, Evening World
(New York), September 16, 1893, in CA, http://chroniclingamer-
ica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030193/1893-09-16/ed-1/seq-8/.
22. “Nellie Bly Again,” New York World, September 17, 1893, The Emma
Goldman Papers, Sunsite Digital Library Exhibition (University of
California, Berkeley), http://ucblibrary3 .berkeley.edu/goldman/
Samples/bly.html.
23. Elaine Showalter, The Female Malady: Women, Madness and English
Culture, 1830–1980 (London: Virago Press, 1987), 129.
24. “Hunt Them Down,” Norfolk (NE)Weekly News Journal,
April 3, 1908, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn95070058/1908-04-03/ed-1/seq-4/.
25. For example, see “Ejecting Bad Immigrants,” Evening Star (Wash-
ington, DC), April 7, 1891, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.
gov/lccn/sn83045462/1891-04-07/ed-1/seq-7/; “An Anarchist
Convicted,” Evening World (New York), September 8,1893, in CA,
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030193/1893-09-08/
ed-3/seq-1/; “Emma Goldman Who Talks,” Kansas City (KS) Jour-
nal, August 22, 1897, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/
lccn/sn86063615/1897-08-22/ed-1/seq-8/.
26. “Nellie Bly Again,” New York World, September 17, 1893, The Emma
Goldman Papers digital library exhibition (University of California,
Berkley), http://ucblibrary3.berkeley.edu/goldman/Samples/bly.
html.
27. “She Loves Berkman,” Evening World (New York), July 28, 1892,
in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030193/
1892-07-28/ed-4/seq-2/.
28. “Baptism in Beer,” Saint Paul (MN) Globe, September 8, 1899, in CA,
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90059523/1899-09-08/
ed-1/seq-7/.
29. See Robert K. Murray, Red Scare: A Study in National Hysteria
1919–1920 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1955).
NOTES TO CHAP TER 5 167

30. “Emma Goldman is Anarchists’ Chief,” Minneapolis (MN) Jour-


nal, May 21, 1906, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn83045366/1906-05-21/ed-1/seq-1/.
31. “Nights Among Reds,” Pittsburg (PA) Dispatch, August 28, 1892,
in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024546/
1892-08-28/ed-1/seq-13/.
32. “Emma Goldman, Anarchy Agitator, Shrieks for the Blood Red
Flag,” Detroit (MI) Journal, November 17, 1897, Joseph A. Labadie
Collection, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
33. Ibid.
34. “Woman Called Queen of Anarchists,” Spanish Fork (UT) Press,
June 25, 1908, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn85058245/1908-06-25/ed-1/seq-5/.
35. “Emma Goldman an Ideal Study of Contradiction,” St. Louis (MO)
Republic, September 12, 1901, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.
loc.gov/lccn/sn84020274/1901-09-12/ed-1/seq-4/.
36. “Plans to Stamp Out Anarchy,” New Enterprise (Madison, FL),
October 24, 1901, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn95047178/1901-10-24/ed-1/seq-6/.
37. “Emma Goldman an Ideal Study of Contradiction,” St. Louis (MO)
Republic, September 12, 1901, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.
loc.gov/lccn/sn84020274/1901-09-12/ed-1/seq-4/.
38. Ibid.
39. “Detectives Ready for Riot Calls,” Los Angeles (CA)Herald, May 24,
1907, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042462/
1907-05-24/ed-1/seq-8/.
40. “Emma Goldman Not a Dangerous Woman,” Salt Lake (UT) Her-
ald Republican, April 13, 1910, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.
loc.gov/lccn/sn85058140/1910-04-13/ed-1/seq-10/.
41. “She Loves Berkman,” Evening World (New York), July 28, 1892,
sporting extra, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn83030193/1892-07-28/ed-4/seq-2/.
42. “Plans to Stamp Out Anarchy,” New Enterprise (Madison, FL),
October 24, 1901, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn95047178/1901-10-24/ed-1/seq-6/; “Unemployed in New York,”
Capital Journal (Salem, OR), August 19, 1893, daily edition, in CA,
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn99063954/1893-08-19/
ed-1/seq-1/.
168 NOTES TO CHAP TER 5

43. “Emma Goldman Wife in Spirit,” Washington (DC) Times, May 26,
1906, last edition, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn84026749/1906-05-26/ed-1/seq-1/.
44. “Telegraphic Touches,” Colfax (WA) Gazette, October 26, 1906,
in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085460/1906-
10-26/ed-1/seq-1/; “Woman Well Called Queen of Anarchists,”
Spanish Fork Press (Salt Lake City, UT), June 25, 1908, in CA,
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85058245/1908-06-25/
ed-1/seq-5/.
45. “Berkman Arrested,” Alexandria (DC) Gazette, March 30, 1908,
in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025007/
1908-03-30/ed-1/seq-2/.
46. “Berkman’s Helper is Emma Goldman,” Washington (DC) Times,
May 20, 1906, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn84026749/1906-05-20/ed-1/seq-5/.
47. “Bergman [sic] Weds Emma Goldman,” Los Angeles (CA) Her-
ald, May 25, 1906, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn85042462/1906-05-25/ed-1/seq-1/.
48. “Emma Goldman, Red, On ‘Women Under Anarchy,’” Albuquerque
(NM) Evening Citizen, July 18, 1906, in CA, http://chronicling-
america.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020615/1906-07-18/ed-1/seq-3/.
49. Ibid.
50. “Emma Goldman Wife in Spirit,” Washington (DC)Times, May 26,
1906, last edition, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn84026749/1906-05-26/ed-1/seq-1/.
51. For a biographical account of the lifetime relationship between
Berkman and Goldman, see Paul Avrich and Karen Avrich, Sasha
and Emma: The Anarchist Odyssey of Alexander Berkman and Emma
Goldman (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2012).
52. “Once in the Limelight,” El Paso (TX) Herald, August 29, 1917, in CA,
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88084272/1917-08-29/
ed-1/seq-6/.
53. “Queen of Anarchists,” St. Paul (MN) Daily Globe, Septem-
ber 3, 1893, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn90059522/1893-09-03/ed-1/seq-11/.
54. “Falls in Love with Emma Goldman,” New York Tribune,
March 17, 1908, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn83030214/1908-03-17/ed-1/seq-7/.
NOTES TO CHAP TER 5 169

55. “Ben Reitman is Breaking Out,” El Paso (TX) Herald, January 27,
1910, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88084272/
1910-01-27/ed-1/seq-10/.
56. “Claus Timmermann Pleads,” Evening World (New York), Septem-
ber 1, 1893, last edition, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/
lccn/sn83030193/1893-09-01/ed-2/seq-1/. Also see “An Anarchist
Convicted,” Evening World (New York), September 8, 1893, in CA,
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030193/1893-09-08/
ed-3/seq-1/.
57. “City Briefs,” Tacoma (WA) Times, January 15, 1912, in CA, http://
chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085187/1912-01-15/ed-1/
seq-7/.
58. “Once in the Limelight,” El Paso (TX) Herald, August 29, 1917, in CA,
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88084272/1917-08-29/
ed-1/seq-6/.
59. “Goldman and Most,” Evening Star (Washington, DC), October 3,
1901, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/
1901-10-03/ed-1/seq-4/.
60. “Emma Goldman Here,” Herald (Los Angeles, CA), May 16,
1898, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042461/
1898-05-16/ed-1/seq-5/.
61. “High Priestess of Anarchy, Sneers Over Crime,” Chicago (IL) Daily
Journal, March 3, 1908, in The Emma Goldman Papers: Microfilm
Edition, eds. Candace Falk, Ronald J. Zboray, and Daniel Cornford
(Alexandria, VA: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991), reel 47 (hereafter cited
as EGP).
62. “Emma Goldman Raises a Row,” Kansas City (KS) Journal,
November 21, 1897, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn86063615/1897-11-21/ed-1/seq-2/.
63. “Emma Goldman to Go to Arizona,” Los Angeles (CA) Herald,
March 9, 1909, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn85042462/1909-03-09/ed-1/seq-2/.
64. “Emma Goldman Will Not Be Allowed to Speak,” Salt Lake (UT)
Tribune, March 15, 1908, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.
gov/lccn/sn83045396/1908-03-15/ed-1/seq-2/.
65. “Emma Goldman to Show Car Strikers How to Win,” Washington
(DC) Times, March 6, 1910, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.
gov/lccn/sn84026749/1910-03-06/ed-1/seq-2/.
170 NOTES TO CHAP TER 5

66. “Emma Goldman In Trouble Again,” Spokane (WA) Press, January 7,


1907, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085947/
1907-01-07/ed-1/seq-1/.
67. “Emma Goldman Driven from Town,” Evening World (New York),
November 10, 1902, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/
lccn/sn83030193/1902-11-10/ed-1/seq-2/.
68. “No Traces of Emma Goldman,” Pittsburg (PA) Dispatch, July 26,
1892, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024546/
1892-07-26/ed-1/seq-1/.
69. “Not More Babies, But Better Children,” Day Book (Chicago,
IL), May 14, 1915, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn83045487/1915-05-14/ed-1/seq-1/.
70. “Tar and Feathers for Anarchist in San Diego,” Hawaiian Gazette
(Honolulu, HI), May 17, 1912, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.
loc.gov/lccn/sn83025121/1912-05-17/ed-1/seq-3/.
71. “Emma at the Bar,” Evening World (New York), October 4, 1893, last
edition, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030193/
1893-10-04/ed-2/seq-1/.
72. “Emma Goldman Free,” Evening World (New York), August 17,
1894, extra 2 o’clock, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/
lccn/sn83030193/1894-08-17/ed-1/seq-4/.
73. Ibid.
74. “Emma Goldman’s Tongue,” Washington (DC) Times, August 20,
1894, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87062244/
1894-08-20/ed-1/seq-1/.
75. “Woman Called Queen of Anarchists,” Spanish Fork (UT) Press,
June 25, 1908, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn85058245/1908-06-25/ed-1/seq-5/.
76. “Stirs the Reds,” Evening World (New York), August 19, 1893, in CA,
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030193/1893-08-19/
ed-4/seq-1/.
77. “A Feminine Incendiary,” Scranton (PA) Tribune, August 23,
1899, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026355/
1899-08-23/ed-1/seq-4/.
78. “Queen of Anarchists,” St. Paul (MN) Globe, September 3, 1893, in
CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90059522/1893-09-
03/ed-1/seq-11/. Also see “She Loves Berkman,” Evening World
(New York), July 28, 1892, sporting extra, in CA, http://chroniclin-
gamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030193/1892-07-28/ed-4/seq-2/.
NOTES TO CHAP TER 5 171

79. “The Real Foundation of ‘Czolgozism,’” The St. Louis (MO) Repub-
lic, September 16, 1901, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/
lccn/sn84020274/1901-09-16/ed-1/seq-10/.
80. For example stories see: “Emma Goldman Sought by Federal
Detectives,” St. Louis (MO) Republic, September 9, 1901, in CA,
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020274/1901-09-
09/ed-1/seq-1/; “Eludes Detectives,” Minneapolis (MN) Journal,
September 28, 1901, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/
lccn/sn83045366/1901-09-28/ed-1/seq-1/; “Emma Goldman,
the Much Sought After Woman Has Been Located and Will
Be Arrested,” Hickman (KY) Courier, September 13, 1901, in CA,
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052141/1901-09-
13/ed-1/seq-8/; “Searching for Emma Goldman,” Daily Journal
(Salem, OR), September 9, 1901, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.
loc.gov/lccn/sn99063956/1901-09-09/ed-1/seq-3/.
81. Richard Drinnon, Rebel in Paradise: A Biography of Emma Goldman
(New York: Bantam Books, 1973), 69.
82. “Eludes Detectives,” Minneapolis (MN) Journal, Septem-
ber 28, 1901, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn83045366/1901-09-28/ed-1/seq-1/.
83. “Emma Goldman Sought by Federal Detectives,” St. Louis (MO)
Republic, September 9, 1901, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.
gov/lccn/sn84020274/1901-09-09/ed-1/seq-1/.
84. “No Evidence Against Emma Goldman,” New York Times, Sep-
tember 13, 1901, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=
FA081EF83F5B11738DDDAA0994D1405B818CF1D3.
85. “Goldman and Most,” Evening Star (Washington, DC), October 3,
1901, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/
1901-10-03/ed-1/seq-4/.
86. “Hatches to Plot Murder,” San Francisco (CA) Call, August 23,
1902, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/
1902-08-23/ed-1/seq-1/.
87. “Woman Called Queen of Anarchists,” Spanish Fork (UT) Press,
June 25, 1908, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn85058245/1908-06-25/ed-1/seq-5/.
88. “Emma Goldman Did Not Speak,” The Evening World (New York),
April 10, 1901, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn83030193/1901-04-10/ed-1/seq-3/.
89. “Detectives Ready for Riot Calls,” Los Angeles (CA) Herald,
172 NOTES TO CHAP TER 5

May 24, 1907, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/


sn85042462/1907-05-24/ed-1/seq-8/.
90. “Police Too Much For Goldman,” New Ulm (MN) Review,
March 18, 1908, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn89081128/1908-03-18/ed-1/seq-1/.
91. “Hunt Them Down,” Norfolk (NE) Weekly News Journal,
April 3, 1908, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn95070058/1908-04-03/ed-1/seq-4/.
92. Goldman, letter to the editor, Philadelphia (PA) Public Ledger,
October 3, 1909, in Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the
American Years, vol. 2, Making Speech Free, 1902–1909, eds. Can-
dace Falk, et al. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004),
454–56.
93. For an account of the political and ideological nature of Gold-
man’s deportation trial, see Dierdre M. Moloney, National Insecu-
rities: Immigrants and U.S. Deportation Policy Since 1882 (Chapel
Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012), 172–75.
94. “Woman Called Queen of Anarchists,” Spanish Fork (UT) Press,
June 25, 1908, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn85058245/1908-06-25/ed-1/seq-5/.
95. “Plans to Stamp Out Anarchy,” New Enterprise (Madison, FL),
October 24, 1901, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn95047178/1901-10-24/ed-1/seq-6/.
96. Murray, Red Scare, 207.
97. Arthur S. Link, “The Progressive Movement: Reform, Radical-
ism, or Reaction?” in Problems in American History, eds. Richard
W. Leopold and Arthur S. Link (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice
Hall, 1957), 529.
98. Emma Goldman, federal hearing deportation statement, 27
October 1919, The Emma Goldman Papers, Sunsite Digital Library
Exhibition (University of California, Berkeley), http://sunsite.
berkeley.edu/goldman/Exhibition/plea.html.
99. Goldman to Evelyn Scott, 17 October 1927 (Staten Island, NY ),
IISH/EGP, inventory no. 146, 15228–29, http://hdl.handle.
net/10622/ARCH00520.
100. See “Chronology” (1901–1919), The Emma Goldman Papers,
Sunsite Digital Library Exhibition (University of California,
Berkeley), http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/Goldman/Guide /chronol-
ogy0119.html.
NOTES TO CONCLUSION 173

101. “Emma Goldman and Berkman are Arrested,” New York Tribune,
June 16, 1917, in CA, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/
sn83030214/1917-06-16/ed-1/seq-1/.

CONCLUSION

1. Joan Wallach Scott, Gender and the Politics of History (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1988), 26–27.
2. Nancy A. Hewitt, introduction to No Permanent Waves: Recasting
Histories of U.S. Feminism (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University
Press, 2010), 2. Also see Nancy A. Hewitt, “Feminist Frequen-
cies: Regenerating the Wave Metaphor,” Feminist Studies 38, no. 3
(2012): 658–80.
3. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, “Mapping the Margins: Intersec-
tionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color,”
Stanford Law Review, vol. 43 (1991): 1241–49. Also see Critical
Race Feminism: A Reader, ed. Adrien Katherine Wing (New York:
New York University Press, 1997).
4. Angela Davis, Women, Culture & Politics (New York: Vintage
Books, 1990), xiii.
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

This bibliography includes works by and about Emma Goldman and her
contemporaries. It also includes the scholarly literature that informed
my analysis of Goldman’s speeches and writings. Excluded from this
list are newspaper articles, which are cited fully in the endnotes.

Ahrens, Gale, ed. Lucy Parsons: Freedom Equality and Solidarity. Chi-
cago, IL: Charles H. Kerr, 2004.
Asen, Robert, and Daniel C. Brouwer, eds. Counterpublics and the State.
Albany: SUNY Press, 2001.
Ashbaugh, Carolyn. Lucy Parsons: An American Revolutionary. Chicago,
IL: Charles H. Kerr, 1976.
Avrich, Paul. An American Anarchist: The Life of Voltairine de Cleyre.
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978.
Avrich, Paul, and Karen Avrich. Sasha and Emma: The Anarchist Odys-
sey of Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman. Cambridge, MA:
Belknap Press, 2012.
Beisel, Nicola Kay. Anthony Comstock and Family Reproduction in Vic-
torian America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997.
Blankenship, Jane, and Deborah Robson. “A ‘Feminine Style’ in Wom-
en’s Political Discourse: An Exploratory Essay.” Communication
Quarterly 43 (1995): 353–66.
Bordo, Susan. Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the
Body. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.
Boswell, Ben. “Old Red.” Review of Living My Life, by Emma Gold-
man. Time (November 9, 1931): 69.

175
176 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Brasas, Juan A. Hererro. Walt Whitman’s Mystical Ethics of Comradeship:


Homosexuality and the Marginality of Friendship at the Crossroads of
Modernity. Albany: SUNY Press, 2010.
Bronski, Michael. A Queer History of the United States. Boston, MA:
Beacon Press, 2011.
Brown, L. Susan. The Politics of Individualism. Montreal, QC: Black
Rose Books, 1993.
Buchanan, Lindal. Studies in Feminisms: Rhetorics of Motherhood. Car-
bondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2013.
Bullough, Vern L. “The Development of Sexology in the USA in the
Early Twentieth Century.” In Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science: The
History of Attitudes to Sexuality, edited by Roy Porter and Miku-
las Teich, 313–16. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press,
1994.
Burnham, John. “Early References to Homosexual Communities in
American Medical Writings.” Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality
7, no. 36 (1973): 40–49.
Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex.” New
York: Routledge, 1993.
———. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New
York: Routledge, 1990.
Butler, Judith, and Elizabeth Weed, eds. Question of Gender: Joan W.
Scott’s Critical Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press,
2011.
Calhoun, Craig J. The Roots of Radicalism: Tradition, the Public Sphere
and Early Nineteenth-Century Social Movements. Chicago, IL: Uni-
versity of Chicago Press, 2012.
Campbell, Karlyn Kohrs. “The Discursive Performance of Femininity:
Hating Hillary.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 1 (1998): 1–19.
———. Man Cannot Speak for Her. Vol. 1. New York: Praeger, 1989.
Canning, Kathleen. “Feminist History After the Linguistic Turn: His-
toricizing Discourse and Experience.” Signs 19 (Winter 1994):
368–404.
Charlberg, John. Emma Goldman: American Individualist. New York:
Harper Collins, 1991.
Chávez, Karma, Cindy Griffin, and Marsha L. Houston, eds. Standing
in the Intersection: Feminist Voices, Feminist Practices in Communica-
tion Studies. Albany: SUNY Press, 2012.
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 177

Cott, Nancy F. The Grounding of Modern Feminism. New Haven, CT:


Yale University Press, 1987.
Crenshaw, Kimberlé Williams. “Mapping the Margins: Intersection-
ality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color.”
Stanford Law Review 43 (1991): 1241–49.
Davis, Angela. Women, Culture & Politics. New York: Vintage Books,
1990.
Davis, Rebecca L. “‘Not Marriage at All, but Simple Harlotry’: The
Companionate Marriage Controversy.” Journal of American History
(March 2008): 1137–63.
de Cleyre, Voltairine. “Anarchism.” In Exquisite Rebel: The Essays of
Voltairine de Cleyre—Anarchist, Feminist, Genius, edited by Sharon
Presley and Crispin Sartwell, 69–82. Albany: SUNY Press, 2005.
———. “Direct Action.” In Exquisite Rebel: The Essays of Voltairine de
Cleyre—Anarchist, Feminist, Genius, edited by Sharon Presley and
Crispin Sartwell, 271–86. Albany: SUNY Press, 2005.
———. “In Defense of Emma Goldman and the Right of Expro-
priation.” In Exquisite Rebel: The Essays of Voltairine de Cleyre—
Anarchist, Feminist, Genius, edited by Sharon Presley and Crispin
Sartwell, 149–57. Albany: SUNY Press, 2005.
———. “ Sex Slavery.” In Exquisite Rebel: The Essays of Voltairine de
Cleyre—Anarchist, Feminist, Genius, edited by Sharon Presley and
Crispin Sartwell, 227–37. Albany: SUNY Press, 2005.
———. “They Who Marry Do Ill.” Mother Earth 2 ( January 1908).
HathiTrust Digital Library, http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=
mdp.39015024850334;view=1up;seq=559.
———. “The Woman Question.” In Exquisite Rebel: The Essays of Vol-
tairine de Cleyre—Anarchist, Feminist, Genius, edited by Sharon
Presely and Crispin Sartwell, 223–24. Albany: SUNY Press, 2005.
DeFrancisco, Victoria Pruin, and Catherine Helen Palczewski. Com-
municating Gender Diversity: A Critical Approach. Thousand Oaks,
CA: Sage, 2007.
D’Emilio, John, and Estelle B. Freedman. Intimate Matters: A History
of Sexuality in America. 3rd ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago
Press, 2012.
Dill, Bonnie Thornton, and Ruth Enid Zambrana, eds. Race, Class, and
Gender in Theory, Policy and Practice. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers
University Press, 2009.
178 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Dow, Bonnie J., and Mari Boor Tonn. “‘Feminine Style’ and Political
Judgment in the Rhetoric of Ann Richards.” Quarterly Journal of
Speech 79 (1993): 286–302.
Drinnon, Richard. Rebel in Paradise: A Biography of Emma Goldman.
New York: Bantam Books, 1961.
Duberman, Martin B. Mother Earth: An Epic Drama of Emma Gold-
man’s Life. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991.
DuBois, Ellen Carol, “Working Women, Class Relations, and Suffrage
Militance: Harriot Stanton Blatch and the New York Women’s
Suffrage Movement, 1894–1909.” In One Woman, One Vote: Redis-
covering the Woman Suffrage Movement, edited by Marjorie Spruill
Wheeler, 221–44. Troutdale, OR: New Sage Press, 1995.
DuBois, Ellen Carol, and Linda Gordon. “Seeking Ecstasy on the
Battlefield: Danger and Pleasure in Nineteenth Century Feminist
Sexual Thought.” Feminist Review 13 (February 1983): 7–25.
Ehrenreich, Barbara, and Deirdre English. Complaints and Disorders:
The Sexual Politics of Sickness. London: Compendium, 1974.
Engel, Barbara Alpern. Mothers and Daughters: Women of the Intelli-
gentsia in 19th Century Russia. New York: Cambridge University
Press, 1983.
Engel, Barbara Alpern, and Clifford N. Rosenthal. Five Sisters: Women
Against the Tsar. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1975; Dekalb: North-
ern Illinois University Press, 2013.
Enstad, Nan. Ladies of Labor, Girls of Adventure: Working Women, Popu-
lar Culture, and Labor Politics at the Turn of the Century. New York:
Columbia University Press, 1999.
Evans, Sara. Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America. New York:
The Free Press, 1989.
Falk, Candace. Love, Anarchy, and Emma Goldman. New York: Holt,
Rinehart, and Winston, 1984.
Falk, Candace, Barry Pateman, and Jessica M. Moran, eds. Emma Gold-
man: A Documentary History of the American Years. Vol. 1, Made
for America, 1890–1901. Berkeley: University of California Press,
2003.
———. Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years.
Vol. 2, Making Speech Free, 1902–1909. Berkeley: University of
California Press, 2004.
Fausto-Sterling, Anne. Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Con-
struction of Sexuality. New York: Basic Books, 2000.
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 179

Felski, Rita. Beyond Feminist Aesthetics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Uni-


versity Press, 1989.
———. Introduction to Sexology in Culture: Labeling Bodies and Desires,
edited by Lucy Bland and Laura Doan, 1–8. Chicago, IL: Univer-
sity of Chicago Press, 1999.
Ferguson, Kathy E. “Anarchist Counterpublics.” New Political Science
32, no. 2 (2010): 193–214.
———. Emma Goldman: Political Thinking in the Streets. Lanham, MD:
Rowman and Littlefield, 2011.
Flexner, Eleanor, and Ellen Fitzpatrick. Century of Struggle: The Wom-
an’s Rights Movement in the United States, enlarged ed. Cambridge,
MA: Belknap Press, 1996.
Foner, Philip S. History of the Labor Movement in the United States. Vol.
3–4. New York: International Publishers, 1975.
———. Women and the American Labor Movement: From Colonial Times
to the Eve of World War I. Vol. 1. New York: The Free Press, 1979.
Foucault, Michel. History of Sexuality. Vol. 1, An Introduction. Trans-
lated by Robert Hurley. New York: Vintage Books, 1990.
Fraser, Nancy. “Rethinking the Public Sphere.” In Habermas and the
Public Sphere, edited by Craig Calhoun, 109–42. Cambridge: MIT
Press, 1992.
Friskin, Amanda. Victoria Woodhull’s Sexual Revolution: Political Theater
and the Popular Press in Nineteenth Century America. Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.
Gabaccia, Donna R. “Immigration in the Gilded Age and Progressive
Era.” Humanities OnLine, http://www3.niu.edu/comm/najjar/
public_html/immig.html.
Gatens, Moira. Imaginary Bodies: Ethics, Power and Corporeality. Lon-
don: Routledge, 1996.
Genz, Stéphanie, and Benjamin A. Brabon. Postfeminism: Cultural Texts
and Theories. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.
Goldman, Emma. “America and the Russian Government.” Sum-
mary of lecture in American Protective League “[Report to] War
Department,” 28 January 1918. In The Emma Goldman Papers: A
Microfilm Edition, edited by Candace Falk, Ronald J. Zboray, and
Daniel Cornford, reel 48 (original from the United States National
Archives). Alexandria, VA: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991.
———. “America and the Russian Revolution.” Summary of lecture in
E.J. Bamberger “[Report to] Department of Justice,” January 18,
180 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

1918. In The Emma Goldman Papers: A Microfilm Edition, edited


by Candace Falk, Ronald J. Zboray, and Daniel Cornford, reel 60
(original from United States National Archives). Alexandria, VA:
Chadwyck-Healey, 1991.
———. “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For.” In Anarchism and
Other Essays, 3rd rev. ed., 47–67. New York: Mother Earth, 1910;
New York: Dover, 1969.
———. “An Anarchist Looks at Life.” Speech delivered at Foyle’s 29th
Literary Luncheon, Grosvenor House, London, March 1, 1933.
In The Emma Goldman Papers: A Microfilm Edition, edited by Can-
dace Falk, Ronald J. Zboray, and Daniel Cornford, reel 52 (original
from International Institute of Social History). Alexandria, VA:
Chadwyck-Healey, 1991.
———. “Anarchism is Not Necessarily Violence.” Speech transcript,
January 6, 1907. In The Emma Goldman Papers: A Microfilm Edition,
edited by Candace Falk, Ronald J. Zboray, and Daniel Cornford,
reel 47 (original from Immigration and Naturalization Service via
FOIA). Alexandria, VA: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991.
———. “A New Declaration of Independence.” Mother Earth 4, no.
5 ( July 1909) (New York: Mother Earth), HathiTrust Digital
Library, http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.390150817095
48;view=1up;seq=126.
———. “Birth Control and the Necessity of Imparting Knowledge
on This Most Vital Question.” Letter to “The Press,” February 15,
1916. The Emma Goldman Papers, Sunsite Digital Library Exhibi-
tion (University of California, Berkeley), http://dpg.lib.berkeley.
edu/webdb/goldman/search?id=&keyword=&origin=&name=&li
brary=&doctype=&year=&item=7.
———. “The Child and Its Enemies,” In Red Emma Speaks: Selected
Writings and Speeches by Emma Goldman, compiled and edited by
Alix Kates Shulman, 107–15. New York: Vintage Books, 1972.
———. The Crushing of the Russian Revolution. (London: Freedom
Press, 1922). Joseph A. Labadie Collection, University of Michi-
gan, Ann Arbor.
———. “The Element of Sex in Life.” Draft (n.d.). Emma Goldman
Papers. International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam, The
Netherlands). Inventory no. 213, http://hdl.handle.net/10622/
ARCH00520.
———. “Emma Goldman Advocates Companionate Marriage.”
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 181

Newspaper summary of lecture (n.d.). Joseph A. Labadie Collec-


tion, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
———. Federal hearing deportation statement, October 27, 1919. The
Emma Goldman Papers Sunsite Digital Library Exhibition (Univer-
sity of California, Berkeley), http://sunsite .berkeley.edu/goldman/
Exhibition/plea.html.
———. “Francisco Ferrer and the Modern School.” In Anarchism and
Other Essays, 3rd rev. ed., 145–66. New York: Mother Earth, 1910;
New York: Dover, 1969.
———. “Has Feminism Lived Up to Its Promise?” Draft (est. 1930s).
In The Emma Goldman Papers: A Microfilm Edition, edited by Can-
dace Falk, Ronald J. Zboray, and Daniel Cornford, reel 52 (original
from International Institute of Social History). Alexandria, VA:
Chadwyck-Healey, 1991.
———. “Heroic Women of the Russian Revolution.” Manuscript
(New York), September 18, 1937. Joseph A. Labadie Collection,
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
———. “The Hypocrisy of Puritanism.” In Anarchism and Other Essays,
3rd rev. ed., 167–76. New York: Mother Earth, 1910; New York:
Dover, 1969.
———. “The Individual, Society and the State.” In Red Emma Speaks:
Selected Writings and Speeches by Emma Goldman, compiled and
edited by Alix Kates Shulman, 86–100. New York: Vintage Books,
1972.
———. “Intellectual Proletarians.” In Red Emma Speaks: Selected Writ-
ings and Speeches by Emma Goldman, compiled and edited by Alix
Kates Shulman, 176–85. New York: Vintage Books, 1972.
———. “Jealousy: Causes and a Possible Cure.” In Red Emma Speaks:
Selected Writings and Speeches by Emma Goldman, compiled and
edited by Alix Kates Shulman, 168–75. New York: Vintage Books,
1972.
———. “The Joys of Touring.” Mother Earth 3, no. 1 (March 1908).
HathiTrust Digital Library, http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=
mdp.39015032388160;view=1up;seq=47.
———. “Labor Day.” Mother Earth 3 (September 1908). In Emma
Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years. Vol. 2,
Making Speech Free, 1902–1909, edited by Candace Falk, Barry
Pateman, and Jessica Moran, 365–67. Berkeley: University of Cali-
fornia Press, 2005.
182 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

———. Letter to the editor, Philadelphia (PA) Public Ledger, October


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INDEX

abortion, 3, 27, 41, 127 74, 89, 91, 128; and men, xviii, 6,
agency: Goldman’s conception of, 15–16; as political philosophy, 2,
50; sexual, 36–39, 124; theorizing, 14–22, 26, 50
89, 129; women’s, 7, 32–33, 54, 74 “An Anarchist Looks at Life,” 94,
Albuquerque Evening Citizen, 98, 123
100, 112 anarcho-feminine style, xix, 13, 77
Alien Sedition Act, 79 Anderson, Margaret, 49
American Civil Liberties Union, 12 Anthony, Susan B., 65, 126
anarchism: and feminism, xiii, appeals to general truths, 81, 83, 89
14–23; and freedom of speech, 19, Asen, Robert, 5
100; Goldman’s definition of, 36, Ashbaugh, Carolyn, 10, 13
46, 61, 88; Goldman as spokes- audience: access to, xiii, 3–4, 22, 102,
person for, xi, 12, 120; and sexual 118, 120, 121; and counterpublics,
agency 36–39; and women, 6–7; 5–7; empowerment of, 51, 83,
and violence, 13–14, 86–87 88–89; Goldman’s target, xii, 19,
Anarchism and Other Essays, xii–xiii, 72, 76–80, 87; as promiscuous, xii,
xvii, 12, 46, 47, 80 4, 132n3
“Anarchism is Not Necessarily Vio- Austin, Kate Cooper: anarchist-
lence,” 86 feminist ideas of: 14, 17, 18, 19;
“Anarchism: What it Really Stands biography of, 8
For,” 21, 32–33, 36, 59, 80, 83, 100 Avrich, Paul, 9
anarchist-feminism: and audience,
12–13, 77; as counterpublic, 7–8, Beisel, Nicola, 30
21–22; definition of, 14–16; Gold- Berkman, Alexander: deportation of,
man’s approach to, 32–36, 72, 12; and Henry Clay Frick, 40, 56,

193
194 INDEX

Berkman, Alexander (continued) and compulsory motherhood, 20;


106, 116; imprisonment of, 116, and gender roles, 2, 16, 31, 62;
121; publicized love affair with and Goldman’s anarchist-feminist
Goldman, 111, 112, 113 philosophy, 21; and labor force,
biological determinism, 2, 72. See 11, 56, 59, 67
also essentialism Chronicling America: Historic Ameri-
birth control: access to, 19–20, 31, can Newspapers, xvii
125, 127; advocacy to female class division: and gender inequal-
audiences, 4, 72–73, 80, 121; cam- ity, 40; Goldman’s treatment of,
paigns against, 28–29, 30; Com- 61; and labor activism, 59, 63.
stock Act prohibition of, 30, 54, See also middle-class women and
71; Goldman’s arrests for speak- working-class women
ing about, 12, 19, 41; Goldman’s collective action, xii, 26, 59
speeches and writings about, 19, Colton, James, 11, 85, 161n46
41, 80, 114; methods of, 28, 30, communal living, 21
31; and sexual freedom, 19, 31 companionate marriage, 85–86, 111
Bly, Nellie, 97, 104, 105 Comstock Act: Goldman’s violation
Bodies That Matter, xvi, 26 of, 41, 79, 80; and prohibition of
bohemian culture, xii, 49, 77, 80, 94 birth control, 19, 30, 54, 71, 128
Bolshevik Revolution, xi, 91, 106 contraception. See birth control
Boston Globe, 10 contradiction: and rhetorical style,
bourgeois femininity, 28, 62, 64, 76, 84–87, 125, 129; in women’s pub-
125 lic and private life, 17, 54, 63, 75
bourgeois public, 5, 75, 96 Cott, Nancy, 68
Bronski, Michael, 45 counterpublic: anarchist-feminism
Brouwer, Daniel C., 5 as, 6–7, 12–14, 21–22; theorizing,
Buchanan, Lindal, 84, 88 xvii, 5–6, 77
Bullough, Vern L., 29 creativity: 35, 37, 50, 60, 88, 124
Butler, Judith, xvi, xvii, 5, 26 Crenshaw, Kimberlé W., 77, 129
“cult of true womanhood,” 3, 16, 27,
Campbell, Karlyn Kohrs, 76 137n16
capitalism: and anarchist-feminism, Czolgosz, Leon, 106, 108, 109, 116,
4, 8, 11, 20, 77 ; and gender roles, 118
55, 62–63, 66; Goldman’s critique
of, 41–42, 55, 61, 66–67, 70–71 Davis, Angela Y., 129
Carpenter, Edward, 29, 48, 49, 82 Davis, Rebecca L., 86
censorship, 30, 46. See also freedom Day Book, 41, 102, 114
of speech de Cleyre, Voltairine: anarchist-
Chávez, Karma R., 89 feminist ideas of, 13, 16–17, 18,
Cheap Amusements, 71 20, 21; biography of, 8–9
“The Child and its Enemies,” 21 D’Emilio, John, 51
children: and anarchist women, 17; deductive reasoning, 83, 89
INDEX 195

Detroit Journal, 78, 98, 101, 106 Felski, Rita, 5, 29


difference, xix, 14, 61, 124 female body: as pathology, 27–28,
direct action, 13, 59 32; politics of, 22, 50–51, 54, 74,
divorce, 18, 82, 86, 113 120; regulation of, 3, 20, 25–28,
Drinnon, Richard, xiv 32, 41
DuBois, Carol Ellen, 31, 40 feminine docility, xii, 6, 27, 62, 66,
75, 105
education: Goldman’s critique of, 21, feminine style, 75–77
65; and sexuality, xi, 19, 44–45, feminism: first wave, xii, 45; second
127; women’s access to in Russia, wave, xii, 7, 36, 40, 51, 121; third
90, 93; women’s access to in the wave, xii, 36, 51, 121 126; and
US, 2, 13, 15, 126, 127 waves metaphor critique, xii, 125
“The Element of Sex in Life,” xvi, Feminist Interpretations of Emma
36, 43, 44, 47, 50 Goldman, xv
Ellis, Havelock, 29, 30, 45, 49 Ferguson, Kathy E., xv, 88
El Paso Herald, 101, 113 Firebrand, 8, 68
Emma Goldman Papers, xvi, xvii, 35 Fitzpatrick, Ellen, 63
Engel, Barbara Alpern, 93, 94 Flexner, Eleanor, 63
equality: anarchist-feminist vision Foner, Philip S., 57
of, 16, 21, 22; Goldman’s con- Foucault, Michel, 29
ception of, 61, 65, 67, 95, 124; “Francisco Ferrer and the Modern
suffrage movement’s approach to, School,” 21
xii, 7, 33 Fraser, Nancy, 5, 22, 75
equal pay, 3, 15. See also women’s wages Freedman, Estelle, 51
Equal Rights Amendment, 126 freedom of speech, 7, 57–58, 79,
Espionage Act, 121 120. See also censorship
essentialism, xv, 15, 70. See also bio- free love: and anarchist-feminism,
logical determinism 7, 13, 18, 22, 40, 77; and birth
ethnicity/race: and Goldman’s anar- control advocacy, 29; Goldman’s
chist-feminist philosophy, 55, 124; conception of, 37–38, 42, 46, 71,
and Goldman’s rhetorical persona, 91; and heteronormativity, 86;
64, 77, 89–90; and intersectional- risks of, 27
ity, xvii, 5, 27, 73, 126, 128 Freud, Sigmund, 36, 43
eugenics, 19, 30–31, 41 Frick, Henry Clay, 40, 56, 71,
Evening Star, 114, 117 105–106, 116
Evening World, 105, 111, 115, 118
expert testimony, xix, 81–83, 89 Gay American History, 48
gender/sex binary: and constitution
Falk, Candace, xiv, 42, 49, 56 of public and private spheres, 5,
family unit: and gender roles, 2, 32–33, 53–54, 123; Goldman’s
3, 21–22, 30, 62, 93; Goldman’s critique of, 34–36, 45; and the “sex
critique of, 16, 21, 55, 70, 73 question,” 2–3
196 INDEX

gender/sex fluidity, 48, 49, 98, 123 Hawaiian Gazette, 114


gender/sex norms: anarchist-fem- Haymarket Square bombing, 7, 56,
inist critique of, 17, 20, 21–22; 102, 106, 138n19
disruption of, xvii, 54, 96, 128; Herrick, Robert, 82
Goldman’s negotiation of, xix, heteronormativity, 32, 45, 47, 50,
89–90, 95–96; and the public 125
sphere, 5, 63–64, 75–76, 98; and Hewitt, Marsha, 16
rhetorical persona, 76, 84, 95, 120 Hewitt, Nancy A., xii, 125–26
Gender and the Politics of History, 123 Hirschfeld, Magnus, xvii, 48
Gender Trouble, 17 homosexuality: and anarchist
Goldman, Emma: as anarchist women, 18; early history of US
agitator, xii, 12, 60, 78, 88, 96; activism, 45; Goldman’s support
arrests of, 9, 19, 87, 99, 115, 121; of, xvii, 45–50; and sexology, 29
biography of, 11–12; childhood human liberation, xviii, 32–35, 61,
of, 92; citizenship of, 40, 68, 77, 124, 128
85, 98, 119; deportation of, xi, 14, Hyman, Paula E., 94
68, 85; death of, 12; as disorderly “The Hypocrisy of Puritanism,” 36,
woman, xix, 105–108; histori- 37, 41, 43, 47
cal legacy of, xiv–xvi, 51, 125; hysteria, 27, 105, 120
languages spoken, 3–4, 78; media
depictions as violent, 101–102, Ibsen, Henrik, 82, 83
116, 119; as midwife, 18, 41, 54, identity: as autonomous, 34; and
72, 81–82; lovers of, xv, 40, 42, gender/sex politics, xii, xix, 54;
49, 90, 111–13; marriages of, 85, and sexuality, 38; as intersectional,
111, 113, 119; police encounters xix, 77, 89, 126, 128
with, 41, 58, 79, 114, 118–19, 121; immigrants: and anarchism, 6, 12;
public speaking experiences, 3, 78, fear and stereotypes of, 19, 30–31,
100, 118; Russian-Jewish identity 105; Goldman’s appeal to, xii, 61,
of, 11, 90, 92, 94 89; labor and living conditions of,
Gordon, Linda, xiv, 28, 31, 40 56; population of, 56–57, 62; and
Gornick, Vivian, xv women’s agency, 73, 94
Greenwich Village, 45, 60, 94. See individual autonomy, xiii, 25, 32–36,
also New York City 50, 124. See also positive liberty
Griffin, Cindy L., 89 “The Individual, Society and the
The Grounding of Modern Feminism, State,” 33–34
68 inductive reasoning, 76
Industrial Workers of the World, 11,
Haaland, Bonnie, xv 57–58, 59
Habermas, Jürgen, 5 inequality: Goldman’s critique of,
happiness, 25, 43, 50, 59, 62, 125 61, 66, 67, 95; as theorized by
“Has Feminism Lived Up to Its anarchist women, 7, 16
Promise?” 65 institutionalized power: anarchist
INDEX 197

rejection of, 7, 15, 20, 87; Gold- Living My Life, xiii, 42, 46, 58, 63,
man’s critique of, 33, 55, 58, 88, 71, 116
95 logical argument, 78, 81, 87, 88, 95
intellectuals, 12, 60–61, 81–83, 90, Los Angeles Herald, 111, 112, 119
125 Love, Anarchy and Emma Goldman,
International Institute for Social 42
History, xvi
intersectionality, xix, xvii, 77, 89, 96, Man Cannot Speak for Her, 76
126, 128 marriage: and anarchist-feminism,
intimacy: as social expression, 29, 16, 18; as compulsory labor, 9,
37, 39; deprivatization of, 39, 128; 67–70, 72; as prostitution, 17, 20,
Goldman’s conception of, 38, 46, 40, 70–71; as slavery, 67. See also
49, 70 companionate marriage
Intimate Matters: A History of Sexu- marriage equality, xi, 3, 126
ality in America, 51 “Marriage and Love,” xvii, 17, 25,
38, 47, 66, 68, 82
Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen, Marsh, Margaret, 4, 9, 10, 12, 16,
48 18, 49
“Jealousy: Causes and a Possible masculine power, 34, 40, 50, 54
Cure,” 42 masculinity, xvi, 2, 5, 17, 20, 27, 32,
Jewish identity. See Russian-Jewish 34, 35
identity maternal imagery, 84, 88
Jones, Mary Harris “Mother,” 84 Mathaei, Julie, 62
Joseph A. Labadie Collection, xvi Matthews, Glenna, 22, 54
McKinley, President William, 12,
Katz, Jonathan, 48, 49 87, 106, 108, 116–18
Kelly, Florence Finch: anarchist- medical establishment, 19, 27–28,
feminist ideas of, 14, 16, 18, 20, 29, 37, 50, 123
21; biography of, 9–10 Mencher, Melvin, 10
Kensinger, Loretta, xv menstruation, 27, 28, 95
Kerstner, Jacob, 85, 111, 113, 119 metaphor: economic, 69; prison
67–68; prostitution, 68, 85; slav-
labor: exploitation, 3, 54, 63, 66, 67; ery, 68–69, 83
gendered division of, xviii, 53, 67, Michel, Louise, xvii, 48–49
68, 72; working-class in contrast middle-class women: and anarchism,
to middle-class, 60, 62, 64, 73, 76, 6; and gender roles, 62, 64, 68,
124–25; women’s wage-earning, 73; Goldman’s critique of, 60, 64;
54–55, 63, 66–67, 94 the public sphere, 54, 62, 63–64,
labor movement: activism, 12, 124–25; and rhetorical style, 75,
56–58, 94, 118; Goldman’s rela- 76
tionship to, 55–56, 58–59, 61 Miller, Howard, 8, 14
Liberty, 10, 15, 16 Minnow, Martha, 87
198 INDEX

“Minorities Versus Majorities,” 81 in, 3, 14, 19, 40, 59, 78, 104; urban
modernism, 77, 83 life in, 21, 39, 63, 68. See also
monogamy, 11, 42 Greenwich Village
morality: anarchist-feminist rejec- New York Times, 38
tion of, 17, 22, 30; Goldman’s cri- New York Tribune, xi, 113, 121
tique of, 38, 43–45, 47, 71, 95; and New York World, 97, 98, 104, 117
social purity movement, 29–30 Nietzsche, Friedrich, 33, 81, 82
Morton, Marian J., xv Norfolk Weekly News Journal, 105,
Most, Johann, 78, 113 119
Mother Earth, xii, 9, 12, 21, 55, 59,
60, 80, 84, 102, 120 oppression: anarchist-feminist
motherhood: as compulsory, 55, response to, xiii, 7, 128; causes of,
72–73, 84, 88, 125; as feminine 4, 50, 58, 60, 89; and counterpub-
instinct, xv, 67, 72; and women’s lic formation, 4–6; of homosexu-
oppression, 31, 64; as voluntary, als, 45–46, 49
29–30 Out in Public: Configurations of
Mothers and Daughters: Women of Women’s Bodies in Nineteenth-
the Intelligentsia in 19th Century Century America, 74
Russia, 93 ownership. See property
Murray, Robert K., 120
mutual cooperation, 6–7, 14, 20–21, Pacific Commercial Advertiser, 99
34 Palczewski, Catherine H., 8
“My Attitude to Marriage,” 68, 85 Parsons, Albert, 10, 11, 13
My Disillusionment in Russia, xiii Parsons, Lucy, anarchist-feminist
My Further Disillusionment in Russia, ideas of, 13, 17, 18, 20; biography
xiii of, 10–11
passion, 18, 20, 33, 44, 69, 124
negotiation: of gender/sex norms, patriarchy. See gender/sex norms
xix, 32, 75, 88, 95, 125; of philo- performativity, xvii, 26, 74, 76–79,
sophical dichotomies, 34, 87, 89 84, 95–96
neo-classical rhetoric, 87 Philadelphia Public Ledger, 119
“A New Declaration of Indepen- Piepmeier, Alison, 74
dence,” 80 Piess, Kathy, 39, 71
New Enterprise, 109, 120 Pittsburg Dispatch, 100, 106
new (“yellow”) journalism, xix, 102, pleasure: Goldman’s conception of,
103, 118, 121. See also popular press 37–38, 46, 51, 74, 128; masculine
New Ulm Review, 119 regulation of women’s, 27, 38, 74,
New Woman (as social construct), 128; and women’s agency, xii, xiv,
xiii, 4, 22, 74, 124. See also public 18, 22, 26, 29, 39. See also sexual
womanhood danger
“The New Woman,” 34, 47 Pleasure and Danger: Exploring
New York City: Goldman’s activities Female Sexuality, 26
INDEX 199

popular press, xvi, 98, 100, 101–104. rape. See sexual violence
See also new journalism Red Scare, 12, 106, 120
positive liberty, 33. See also indi- Red Scare: A Study in National Hyste-
vidual autonomy ria, 1919–1920, 120
poverty: and class struggle, 11, 56, Reitman, Ben, xv, 42, 49, 113, 114
66; conditions and women, 6, 31, religion: Goldman’s critique of, 33,
56, 64, 66, 70, 72; Goldman’s cri- 64, 81, 95, 101; and oppression, 2,
tique of, 58–60, 70, 72, 125; and 30, 123
women’s agency, 64, 73; stereo- reproductive freedom, xii, 19, 22, 29,
types of, 105 54, 125. See also sexual freedom
pregnancy: medical establishment rhetorical persona, 77, 84, 90, 94,
regulation of, 27–28; and women’s 96, 100
health, 18, 41; unwanted, 11, 27, rhetorical style, 13, 76–78, 80, 84,
72, 74, 128 96, 125
A Price Below Rubies: Jewish Women Rhetorics of Motherhood, 84
as Rebels and Radicals, 93 The Rise of Public Woman, 22, 57
private sphere. See public-private The Road to Universal Slaughter, 59
binary Roggenkamp, Karren, 102
property: Goldman’s critique of, xiii, Roosevelt, President Theodore, 19,
9, 21, 33, 42, 58, 60, 65; women 81, 118
and, 66, 3, 68 Russian-Jewish identity, 11, 26, 60,
prostitution: Goldman’s critique of, 80, 90–95
17, 20, 40–41, 67, 69–71; as meta- Russian-Jewish social customs, 11,
phor, 68, 85; and working-class 92–93
women, 39, 70 Russian Revolution of 1917. See
“The Psychology of Political Vio- Bolshevik revolution
lence,” 13, 86 Russian women revolutionaries, 79,
public-private binary, 5, 32, 53–55, 90–94
73–74, 98, 123
public good, 6, 7 Salt Lake Herald Republican, 104,
public legitimacy, 29, 76, 95, 96, 126 108, 111
public sphere. See public-private same-sex marriage. See marriage
binary equality
public womanhood, 22, 54, 73, 98, same-sex relationships. See
120, 125. See also New Woman homosexuality
puritanism. See morality San Francisco Call, 97, 98
Sanger, Margaret, 31, 76, 84
A Queer History of the United States, Sartwell, Crispin, 9
45 Schauer, Amelia “Lizzie,” 38–39
Scott, Eveyln, 47
race. See ethnicity/race Scott, Joan Wallach, 123
radical rhetoric, 87 Scranton Tribune, 116
200 INDEX

Sedition Act, 12, 79 “Socialism: Caught in the Political


self-expression, 4, 18, 51, 83 Trap,” 58
sex education, xi, 19, 44–45, 127 social purity movement, xviii, 29–30,
“sex question,” 1–3 43, 128
sexology, xvii, 29, 49, 82 The Social Significance of the Modern
sexual agency, 26, 36–39, 124, 128. Drama, xiii
See also sexual freedom Solomon, Martha, xv
sexual danger: and jealousy, 42; Spanish Fork Press, 100, 107, 115,
and male violence, 27, 40, 127; 118, 119
and perceptions of the female Spender, Dale, xv
body, 32; and pregnancy, 18, 27, Sperry, Almeda, 49
72, 128; and prostitution, 39–40; St. Louis Republic, 103, 108–109, 116
and sexual repression, 43–44; and St. Paul Daily Globe, 78
venereal disease, 18, 27, 41 Stansell, Christine, xiv, 79, 80, 94
sexual desire, xiv, 18, 35–36, 42, 47, statistical evidence, 81–82, 89
74 Stirner, Max, 33, 44
sexual double standards, xiii, 43 strikes, 13, 26, 64, 66
sexual freedom: and anarchist suffrage movement: arguments of, 7,
women, 7, 12; and creativity, 17; 30, 33, 70; and feminine rhetori-
Goldman’s advocacy of, 42–45, cal style, 76; and labor activism,
46–51, 125; and individual 62–64; Goldman’s critique of, 61,
autonomy, 15, 19, 22; and public 64–65, 83
discourse, 39, 89, 126–28; and Sun, 102, 113
urban working-class women, 39,
77; as “varietism,” 11, 16, 18. See tabloid journalism. See new
also reproductive freedom journalism
“Sexual Instinct and Creativity,” xvi, Thompson, Sharon, xiv
35, 37 Tonn, Mary Boor, 84
sexual intercourse, 3, 27, 28, 31, 37, “Trade Unionism,” 59
44 “The Tragedy of the Modern
sexual violence, xviii, 20, 27, 40, 53, Woman,” 33, 65
127, 128 “The Tragedy of Woman’s Emanci-
shame, 27, 38, 44, 128 pation,” 18, 34, 47, 61, 65, 73
Shepherd, Naomi, 93 “The Traffic in Women,” 40, 70
Shulman, Alix Kates, xiv Tucker, Benjamin, 10, 15, 16
Snitow, Anne, xiv
“The Social Aspects of Birth Con- Vance, Carole S., 26
trol,” 41 venereal disease, 18, 27, 41
“The Social Importance of the victimization of women, 20, 31, 41,
Modern School,” 44 69, 73–74, 128
socialism, 7, 14, 29, 55–58, 92 Victorian morality. See morality
INDEX 201

violence, 13–14, 86–88. See also masculine control of, 19, 28–29,
sexual violence 72
voluntary association. See mutual women’s wages: men’s control of, 6,
cooperation 68; as unequal to men’s, 56, 63, 66,
126. See also equal pay
Warner, Michael, xvii, 5 women’s work. See domestic labor
Washington Times, 112, 115 and paid labor
Weber, Brenda R., 98 Woodhull, Victoria, 98
“We Don’t Believe in Conscription,” working-class women: and gender
14 roles, 26, 27, 39, 41, 76; Gold-
Weed, Elizabeth, 5, 26 man’s identification with, 60; in
Weiss, Penny A., xv the public sphere, 5, 62–63, 73;
Wexler, Alice, xv, 42 and radicalism, 6, 64; and rhetori-
Whitman, Walt, 47, 51 cal style, 64; sexual independence
Wilde, Oscar, 46 of, 71, 73–74
Williamson, Mily, 103
Wilson, President Woodrow, 121 Yarros, Victor, 16
“Woman Suffrage,” 25, 73, 83, 88 yellow journalism. See new
Women, Culture & Politics, 129 journalism
women’s bodies. See female body
women’s health: Goldman’s advo- Zittlow, Kate Rogness, 7
cacy of, 17–18, 31, 43–44, 51, 67;