From 1919 to 1920, fear of suspected anarchists and communists led to a nation-wide raid and deportations. This guide provides access to material related to the "Palmer Raids" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.
Chronicling America is a searchable digital collection of historic newspaper pages from 1777-1963 sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
Included in the website is the Directory of U.S. Newspapers in American Libraries, a searchable index to newspapers published in the United States since 1690, which helps researchers identify what titles exist for a specific place and time, and how to access them.
Spurred by numerous bombings and strikes, Attorney General Alexander Palmer sets about a campaign to crush radical “Reds” in the United States. Using legally questionable force and tactics, thousands of suspected anarchists and communists were arrested and hundreds deported during the “Palmer Raids.” 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.
June 2, 1919
Attorney General Alexander Palmer’s house is damaged in anarchist bombing.
November 7, 1919
First series of raids launched, 200 radicals arrested.
December 8, 1919
Russian-born anarchist Emma Goldman ordered banished and later deported.
January 2, 1920
3,000 arrested in nationwide roundup of "reds".
April 30, 1920
Palmer warns of plots against the lives of officials on May Day.
May 1, 1920
"May Day Scare." Palmer's warnings of May 1st revolution prove groundless.
January 19, 1921-March 3, 1921
Senate Judiciary Committee hearings investigating the legality of Palmer’s raid tactics and deportations.