Emma Goldman

Lithuanian-born American Anarchist
Born Jun 27, 1869

Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. Born in Kovno in the Russian Empire, Goldman emigrated to the U.S. in 1885 and lived in New York City, where she joined the burgeoning anarchist movement in 1889.… Read More

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1869 Birth Emma Goldman was born on June 27, 1869. … Read More


1885 16 Years Old In 1885, Helena made plans to move to New York to join her sister Lena and her husband. … Read More
1886 17 Years Old Anarchism was central to Goldman's view of the world and she is today considered one of the most important figures in the history of anarchism. First drawn to it during the persecution of anarchists after the 1886 Haymarket affair, she wrote and spoke regularly on behalf of anarchism. … Read More
1887 18 Years Old After four months, they married in February 1887. Once he moved in with Goldman's family, however, their relationship faltered. On their wedding night she discovered that he was impotent; they became emotionally and physically distant. Before long he became jealous and suspicious. She, meanwhile, was becoming more engaged with the political turmoil around her—particularly the fallout of the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago and the anti-authoritarian political philosophy of anarchism. … Read More


1892 23 Years Old In 1892, Goldman joined with Berkman and Stein in opening an ice cream shop in Worcester, Massachusetts. … Read More


1899 30 Years Old …  In November 1899 she returned to Europe, where she met the anarchist Hippolyte Havel, with whom she went to France and helped organize the International Anarchist Congress on the outskirts of Paris. On September 6, 1901, Leon Czolgosz, an unemployed factory worker and registered Republican with a history of mental illness, shot US President William McKinley twice during a public speaking event in Buffalo, New York. … Read More
1906 37 Years Old In 1906, Goldman decided to start a publication of her own, "a place of expression for the young idealists in arts and letters". … Read More
1907 38 Years Old Berkman took the helm of Mother Earth in 1907, while Goldman toured the country to raise funds to keep it functional. … Read More
1908 39 Years Old In the spring of 1908, Goldman met and fell in love with Ben Reitman, the so-called "Hobo doctor". … Read More


1914 45 Years Old When Margaret Sanger, an advocate of access to contraception, coined the term "birth control" and disseminated information about various methods in the June 1914 issue of her magazine The Woman Rebel, she received aggressive support from Goldman, who had already been an active in efforts to increase birth control access for several years. … Read More
1915 46 Years Old In 1915 Goldman conducted a nationwide speaking tour in part to raise awareness about contraception options.
1916 47 Years Old 1 More Event
Although the nation's attitude toward the topic seemed to be liberalizing, Goldman was arrested on February 11, 1916, as she was about to give another public lecture. … Read More
1917 48 Years Old On June 15, 1917, Goldman and Berkman were arrested during a raid of their offices which yielded "a wagon load of anarchist records and propaganda" for the authorities. … Read More


1919 50 Years Old 1 More Event
…  Goldman was released on September 27, 1919.
1920 51 Years Old …  The ship landed her charges in Hanko, Finland on Saturday, January 17, 1920. … Read More
1924 55 Years Old Goldman found it difficult to acclimate to the German leftist community. Communists despised her outspokenness about Soviet repression; liberals derided her radicalism. While Berkman remained in Berlin helping Russian exiles, she moved to London in September 1924. … Read More
1925 56 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1925, the spectre of deportation loomed again, but a Scottish anarchist named James Colton offered to marry her and provide British citizenship.
1927 58 Years Old Goldman traveled to Canada in 1927, just in time to receive news of the impending executions of Italian anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti in Boston. … Read More
1928 59 Years Old In 1928, she began writing her autobiography, with the support of a group of admirers, including journalist H. L. Mencken, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, novelist Theodore Dreiser and art collector Peggy Guggenheim, who raised $4,000 for her. … Read More


1933 - 1934 2 More Events
1937 68 Years Old 1 More Event
Goldman began to worry about the future of Spain's anarchism when the CNT-FAI joined a coalition government in 1937—against the core anarchist principle of abstaining from state structures—and, more distressingly, made repeated concessions to Communist forces in the name of uniting against fascism. … Read More
1939 70 Years Old Frustrated by England's repressive atmosphere—which she called "more fascist than the fascists"—she returned to Canada in 1939. … Read More
1940 71 Years Old 1 More Event
On Saturday, February 17, 1940, Goldman suffered a debilitating stroke. … Read More
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