The Emma Goldman Papers

2004-2005
Faculty Mentor(s): 
Edwin M. Epstein (Chair, Peace and Conflict Studies) with Candace Falk (Director, Emma Goldman Papers)
Student Apprentice(s): 
Heidi Little

The apprentice, Heidi Little, studied civil liberties in wartime, with a special focus on the history of the Industrial Workers of the World in California (the Wobblies), 1917- 1919. In this period, Emma Goldman was on trial for her anti-conscription stance, jailed, and eventually deported to Bolshevik Russia. It was a turbulent period in America's history, as the U.S. entered the first World War and the issues of patriotism and civil liberties began to clash in ways that are sadly familiar today. Among the many points of interest in filling out the picture of the time is the history and role of the Industrial Workers of the World (the Wobblies), an under-researched group whose trajectory has significance beyond itself. The horrific fate of conscientious objectors to the war has yet to be fully explored. These threads are part of the texture of Goldman's story--and span disciplines of history, literature, and art, as expressions of the quest for social justice in an unjust world.

Little traveled to the archival collections of the University of Michigan's Labadie Collection, the Wayne State Labor Archives, and the Sacramento State Historical archive, and drew upon the extensive collection of the University of California Berkeley Library. An individualized analysis of her findings along with suggestions for further searches followed. The research then branched away from the purely factual to the conceptual, with bi-weekly discussions of the results and of the direction of the work. The work formed part of volume four, The War Years, 1917-1919, of the series: Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years.