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Anarchist Incidents (1886-1920): Topics in Chronicling America

In the early 1900s, anarchists bombed and assassinated their way into the collective psyche of the time. This guide provides access to material related to “anarchist incidents” found in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.

Introduction

A New York building "wrecked by the explosion of a bomb which was made by Joseph Caron, said to be an anarchist." July 9, 1914. The Day Book (Chicago, IL), Noon Edition, Image 9. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Chaos! Smoke, bombs, and screams of terror permeate the crowded street. The anarchists are at it again. A 1894 issue of the Omaha Daily Bee described anarchists as those that believe “all human government is usurpation, tyranny, essentially wrong.” Anarchists have caused riots, bombings, and successfully assassinated several world leaders—including the 25th president of the United States. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.

Timeline

May 4, 1886 Haymarket riot.
November 11, 1887 Four anarchists are hanged for allegedly throwing a bomb at Haymarket.
July 11, 1892 Francois Claudius Koenigstein (Ravachol) is executed in France; becomes an anarchist martyr.
February 12, 1894 Emile Henry detonates a bomb in the Cafe Terminus, killing one and injuring twenty.
September 10, 1898 Elisabeth, Empress of Austria is stabbed by an anarchist.
July 29, 1900 Umberto I of Italy is assassinated by anarchist Gaetano Bresci.
September 6, 1901 President William McKinley is shot by an anarchist.
November 1919 Palmer Raids begin.
December 21, 1919 249 political radicals are deported including anarchist leader Emma Goldman.
September 16, 1920 A bomb explodes on Wall Street killing 38.