The Firebrand / Free Society journal

A partial online archive of weekly American anarchist newspaper The Firebrand (which later became Free Society) published from 1895-1904.

The Firebrand mainly taken from FriebrandPDX.

Free Society mainly taken from Fairuse.

Submitted by Fozzie on April 12, 2020

The Firebrand
"An Exponent of Anarchist-communism: Holding That Equality of Opportunity Alone Constitutes Liberty. That in the Absence of Monopoly, Price and Competition Cannot Exist. And That Communism is an Inevitable Consequence"

Volume 1: 1895
Volume 2: 1896
Volume 3: 1897

First issue published on January 27th 18951 in Portland, Oregon. Contributors included Emma Goldman and Lucy Parsons. The Firebrand was the first paper in the United States to imagine a political and economic system in which men and women would be able to have absolute social as well as economic and political control over their lives.

In September 1897, editors AJ Pope, Abe Isaak, and Henry Addis were arrested and charged with publishing and circulating obscene material through the mail, including Walt Whitman’s poem “A Woman Waits for Me” and a letter about free love, “It Depends on of the Woman,” signed by A.E.K.2

At the end of the trial, the jury’s hasty guilty verdict was set aside by the presiding judge, who suggested that the defendants could request a new trial if they wished. Addis and Isaak quickly gained their freedom, but The Firebrand ceased publication.3

Free Society
"A Periodical of Anarchist and Thought, Work and Literature"

In 1897, Abe Isaak and his family moved to San Francisco, where late in that year he resumed the publication under the new name, Free Society.

In 1901, Isaak moved to Chicago, where he became involved in the assassination of William McKinley after he coincidentally met the assassin, Leon Czolgosz, a few days before the incident. As a result of this encounter, he, along with his family and multiple other known anarchists, were arrested and put in jail. In 1904, Isaak moved to New York, but the move caused Free Society to suffer financially and eventually close.4

Volumes 04-08: ?
Volume 09: 1902
Volume 10: 1903
Volume 11: 1904

  • 1Alecia Giombolini - The Firebrand: A Portland Iconoclast,
    PSU History Department January 22, 2017
  • 2Jessica Moran - The Firebrand and the Forging of a New Anarchism: Anarchist Communism and Free Love
  • 3William Cornett - The Firebrand, Oregon Encyclopedia
  • 4Jane Addams Digital Edition - Isaak, Abraham (1856-1937)