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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Emma Goldman

b. 1869, Kovno, Lithuania; d. 1940, Toronto

A Lithuanian emigrant to the United States, anarchist-feminist Emma Goldman was a central figure in the revolutionary ferment preceding World War I. A popular speaker on topics ranging from atheism to workers’ rights to birth control to freedom of speech, her lecture tours attracted large audiences and incurred the wrath of authorities. Jailed many times for her writings, public pronouncements, and political agitation, she was finally deported to Russia in 1919. First-hand experience led to disenchantment with the Bolsheviks, whom she accused of betraying revolutionary principles, and she left Russia in 1921. Her last years were dedicated to supporting the anarchist cause in Spain; based in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), she published an English-language information bulletin and toured collectivized farms and factories. Goldman’s many publications include Anarchism and Other Essays (1910), The Social Significance of the Modern Drama (1914), My Disillusionment in Russia (1923), and the thousand-page autobiography Living My Life (1932).