A brief timeline of the key events in the life of legendary anarchist and women's rights advocate Emma Goldman.
Emma Goldman born in Kovno, Lithuania.
Goldman emigrates to the United States, settling in
Haymarket bombing: At the height of the fight for the
eight-hour work day, a bomb is thrown at police at a
mass meeting in Haymarket Square, Chicago, to protest
the police shooting the previous day of strikers at the
McCormick Reaper Works. Though the culprit is never
identified, eight anarchist leaders are tried for
murder and found guilty.
Goldman marries Jacob Kersner, gaining U.S.
citizenship; unhappy in the marriage and attracted
increasingly to anarchism, Goldman divorces Kersner
within the year.
Goldman moves to New York City.
Goldman's first lecture tour; speaks in Rochester,
Buffalo, and Cleveland.
Homestead, Pa., steel strike leads to a bloody
confrontation between strikers and Pinkerton
detectives; Goldman's comrade Alexander Berkman
attempts to assassinate Henry Clay Frick,
superintendent of the Carnegie Steel Company, and is
sentenced to twenty-two years in prison; Goldman
suspected of helping to plan the attempt on Frick's
Goldman prosecuted for a speech at a demonstration of
the unemployed in Union Square, New York City; found
guilty of aiding and abetting an unlawful assembly;
sentenced to one year in prison on Blackwell's Island,
where she apprentices as a nurse to the inmates.
Strike at the Pullman railroad car plant to protest
layoffs and wage cuts spreads to many western railroads
after the Pullman strikers appeal for support to
American Railway Union leader Eugene Debs; strike is
broken by court rulings against the union and by
federal troops under orders from President Grover
Goldman receives formal training in nursing in Vienna.
Spanish-American War: the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and
Guam ceded by Spain to the victorious United States.
Assassination of President William McKinley by an
anarchist. Goldman is unjustly implicated, arrested,
held for questioning, and released. Goldman changes
her name and, for a brief period, goes underground to
avoid public harassment.
Goldman helps found the Free Speech League in New York
City in response to the first prosecution under a
federal anti-anarchist law that barred anarchists from
entering the country.
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) founded.
Mother Earth magazine is founded by Emma Goldman and
comrades; published until 1917.
Goldman begins annual lecture tours to raise money for
the magazine, speaking on a broad range of issues
including modern European drama, women's equality and
independence, sexuality and free love, child
development and education, and religious
Goldman denied the use of auditoriums in Chicago for
meetings; meets Ben Reitman, who offers her his "Hobo
Hall," and eventually becomes her lover and the manager
of her lecture tours.
IWW free speech fight in Spokane, Washington.
"Uprising of the Twenty Thousand," a general strike by
women garment workers in New York City.
Goldman's Anarchism and Other
Fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York
City kills 146 people, mostly young women, when exits
that were kept locked to prevent union organizers from
entering the premises prevented workers from escaping
the fire, forcing many of them to jump to their deaths.
Free speech fight in San Diego; Ben Reitman dragged
from the city by vigilantes and brutalized.
IWW strike of Paterson, N.J., silk mills.
Goldman's Social Significance of the
Goldman lectures frequently on birth control and is
arrested several times; spends fifteen days in jail on
one occasion for distributing birth control
The United States declares war on Germany, entering
World War I.
Sedition Act passed.
Goldman serves time at state penitentiary in Jefferson
City, Mo., Berkman in Atlanta federal penitentiary.
Goldman and Berkman deported from the United States
with 247 other alien radicals. (Goldman's husband had
been denaturalized by the government in 1908 in order
to deprive her of her citizenship. The 1918 Alien Act
provided that an alien could be deported, if found to
be an anarchist, at any time after entering the United
"Red Scare": In the United States, the intolerance and suspicion of
foreigners and radicals increases in the
postwar years as the Bolsheviks consolidate their
victory in Russia, producing fear of worldwide
revolution; climaxes in the 1920 Palmer raids, when
thousands of foreign-born radicals are rounded up, and
Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution (giving women
the right to vote) ratified.
Goldman and Berkman in exile in Soviet Russia, where they
confront the Bolsheviks' denial of free speech and
expression and especially the suppression of
December: Goldman and Berkman leave Russia
Exile in Berlin, after a brief stay in Stockholm, Sweden.
Goldman publishes My
Disillusionment in Russia.
Goldman lives in London, writing and lecturing on
conditions in Soviet Russia and on modern drama.
Goldman lives in Canada. Based in Toronto, she writes and
lectures on Russia, modern drama, and social issues.
Execution of anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti provokes
Goldman finds a base for her writing and a respite from her
lecture tours in a cottage in Saint-Tropez, France,
purchased for her by philanthropist Peggy Guggenheim.
Goldman publishes her autobiography, Living My Life.
Goldman lectures in Scandinavia and Germany on the
menace of fascism and the rise of Nazism.
Goldman expelled from Holland.
Goldman granted a visa to enter the United States for a
ninety-day lecture tour.
Ill with cancer, Berkman commits suicide.
Goldman visits Spain and enlists in the loyalist cause in
the Spanish civil war, later opening an office in
London to raise support for the Spanish anarchists
fighting on the loyalist side.
Goldman moves to Canada after the defeat of the Spanish
loyalists to raise funds for women and children
refugees from the Civil War.
Goldman dies in Toronto and is buried in Chicago near
the Haymarket martyrs who first inspired her in 1887.
Taken from the Emma Goldman Papers web resource at Berkeley University (no longer online.