A Taste of Lucifer

Lucifer the Lightbearer, aside from having one of the more provocative and wonderful names ever, was an important anarchist newspaper. Originally the Kansas Liberal of Valley Falls, and eventually the American Journal of Eugenics, it was, throughout its incarnations, it was concerned with marital and sexual freedom, as well as more strictly political aspects of anarchism.

I have made a number of issues available in scanned pdf form. They are unlovely, multi-generation reproductions, but scanned at a resolution where they are at least usable. Dana Ward’s Anarchy Archives also includes some transcriptions from Lucifer.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.


  1. Do you have access to all issues?

    If not, UCLA had a collection of them on microfiche – I made copies of a few issues years ago.

    I can dig them up and send them to you if you like (if they are different issues than what you already have)

  2. I have access to a very spotty collection on microfilm, and a handful of originals that I’ve picked up over the years, plus a nearly complete run of the “American Journal of Eugenics.” I would love to get access to more, if only so we could get them properly archived. I’m reachable at akabookish (at) yahoo (dot) com.

  3. I, for one, would love to see more. If you have those copies from UCLA,
    I think many would appreciate if you could put them online somewhere. Perhaps as a torrent, or usenet post, if bandwidth would be an issue.

  4. The prints I made from UCLA’s microfilm have page numbers that don’t seem to be related to the original publication, so I think they may be photos of a bound reprint of the issues, not photos of the originals… Or maybe I don’t understand how these were originally published… (maybe the pages were consecutive from issue to issue?) This makes it a little difficult to tell if I have complete “issues” or not.

    They are fairly dark too – not pretty.

    Turns out I have only four issues:

    April 21, 297/1897 (which you already have)
    May 5, 297/1897 (which you already have)
    June 5, 302/1902 (5 pages, and seems incomplete, but has an article by Voltairine de Cleyre)
    February 18, 304/1904 (4 pages, incomplete)

    I’ll scan 2 new ones and post a link.

  5. How exhilarating to find myself here amongst all of these links! Thanks for having such a great site!

  6. It looks like there’s a lot of interest in “Lucifer.” I’ve done a bit more research, and have tracked down what appears to be a better film source for these. There are, of course, 1119 issues in the “Lucifer”/”AJoE” run, so getting any portion of them online will be a labor.

    My recollection, from past research, is that the tabloid issues are nearly all 4 pages in length, and most of the smaller format issues are 8-pagers. Some volumes were paginated consecutively. I’m currently working on Third Series, Volume VII, and that’s the case with those issues.

    More issues soon. If anyone is interested enough in this stuff to work on indexing and/or transcription, let me know.

  7. The Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, has, I believe, the most complete run of Lucifer. That is where I first discovered it, and they later microfilmed it and I bought copies for my research on The Sex Radicals (1977). After the book came out I donated the
    several rolls of film to the University of Arkansas libraries. Stanford Univ. also should have a run, since they aquired it from Topeka at my request while I was a grad. student there. It is no surprise that a journal devoted to a religion of the ego should turn into a journal of eugenics, with all the social engineering and hubris that implies. Think about it. Hal D. Sears

  8. Thanks, Hal. For those who don’t know it, “The Sex Radicals” is a great book. The eugenics issue seems to me to be a complex one. It wasn’t just egoism but also the scientific model adopted by many radicals that made them susceptible to some unfortunate influences. Human stirpiculture was proposed in an entirely different context, at Onieda. The notion that one can take control of one’s sexuality probably naturally opens onto all these specific technologies of the control of reproduction. But different motives pushed individuals in different directions. Morrison I. Swift was strongly anti-religious, and that, together with his interest in eugenics ultimately led him off into extreme anti-semitism. W. H. Van Ornum held almost lamarckian notions about the effects of unhappy mothers on their infants, and so he assumed that liberal divorce laws would have eugenic effects.

  9. The Portland Oregon Library has all of them I believe. Volumed and stored under the river, you will have to request them – wait a few days – and then of course you can’t take them out of the library. I made some copies. Much easier to read than these scans. “The Blossom and the Friut,” was one of my favorite installments.

  10. does anyone know exactly which issue the editors and publishers were arrested for? the one which published a letter condemning forced sex within marriage?

  11. Hello friends, can anyone tell me where can I find a complete collection of the Lucifer, the Light Bearer, please ?

    I’m very interested by these numbers if you may have ?

    N°744 (Jan. 7, 1899).
    N°751 (Feb. 24, 1899).
    N°759 (Apr. 29, 1899).818 (June 16, 1900).
    N°825 (Aug. 4, 1900).

    Thanks per advance,


Comments are closed.