In response to the news of the Liberty archive’s first-phase completion, my friend Iain commented, “now, if only someone could do that for Freedom between 1886 and 1926!”
Amen! And for Mother Earth, and for any number of other important anarchist papers and journals. I’ve started to work up a text archive of the six issues of The Rebel (Boston, 1895-6), an anarchist-communist paper, which had a few Voltairine de Cleyre items in it, in part because it looked like a simple job, and because I wanted to look at something other than issues of Liberty and Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly for a change. Partly, I tackled it because it was there, and we ought to do what we can to make locally available bits of our history available more universally.
I’m working on a proposal for the Liberty Site that suggests both a philosophy and some mechanisms for gathering up our scattered heritage, using Liberty and the debates within and around it as a focus, and our interest in those debates as an engine, for extending and improving the existing archive. If someone was willing to begin a similar scanning project with Freedom, Mother Earth, or any of the other significant social anarchist periodicals, we could, if nothing else, bring to bear that much more interest and, one would hope, labor. If anyone is interested in attempting such a thing, get in touch. Perhaps we can work out some way of making it happen.