Scope and arrangement
Tucker's papers, the bulk of which date from the 1870s-1930s, consist of correspondence, fragmentary business and personal records, manuscripts of Tucker's translations from Proudhon, scrapbooks, photographs, material relating to his relationship with reformer Victoria Claflin Woodhull (1838-1927), and a large collection of Anarchist books, periodicals, and pamphlets in English, French, German, and a few other languages. The Inventory of the Benjamin R. Tucker Collection of Manuscripts, Books, and Pamphlets, John D. Stinson, September, 1971, contains a detailed listing of the collection.
The correspondence, some of which is in French, dates from circa 1866-1950. Letters to Pearl Johnson and Oriole J. Tucker are included. Tucker's correspondents were friends and political colleagues, readers of Liberty, and representatives of journals, publishing houses, and various organizations. There are particularly large files of correspondence between Tucker and the Scottish-German poet and Anarchist John Henry Mackay covering the years 1905-1933, and with editor and author George Schumm, from 1885-1939. Other correspondents include: Stephen Pearl Andrews, William Bailie, Henry Bool, Steven T. Byington, Henry and Thyrza Cohen, English publisher Arthur C. Fifield, Morton Fullerton, William B. Greene, Joseph and Rose Freeman Ishill of the Oriole Press in Berkeley Heights New Jersey, Joseph and Laurance Labadie, George E. MacDonald, Sidney H. Morse, Lincoln Steffens, Clarence L. Swartz, Edward Tuck, Brand Whitlock, C. E. S. Wood, Victor Yarros, and others. Correspondence between Tucker and George Bernard Shaw and Shaw's wife Charlotte F. Shaw, with related papers, are now at the New York Public Library's Berg Collection. See pages 1-5 and 46-47 of the 1971 inventory for a complete listing of correspondents.
Miscellaneous papers, include: fragmentary records of the Unique Bookshop (see the correspondence files, box 4, for correspondence between Pearl Johnson, then Tucker's assistant, and Tucker, in Europe, May-July, 1907, concerning business matters), of Liberty, and of Tucker's activities as a book publisher.
Twenty-two scrapbooks contain numbered clippings, circa 1880s-1930s, of articles on political, literary, and other topics, from French and American papers, some with Tucker's notes. A card index to the scrapbooks is contained in boxes 10-12. An additional scrapbook, 1870s, has not been indexed, and a group of loose clippings are in box 15.
Two boxes (13 and 14) contain photographs, chiefly in the form of cabinet card and carte de visite portraits, of radical figures (including many of Tucker's correspondents), and of a variety of statesmen, authors, artists, actresses, and other public figures. Ezra Heywood, Jo Labadie, Victoria Claflin Woodhull, Albert Parsons, August Spies, Elisee Reclus, and Emile Zola are among the many pictured. There are only a few photographs of Tucker and Pearl Johnson.
A group of files contains biographical miscellany (letters, photographs, printed items), presumably gathered by Tucker, on a variety of political and cultural figures. These include Emery A. Andrews, E. L. Augustus (a phrenological report), Sarah Bernhardt, Ezra Heywood, John Henry Mackay, Lysander Spooner, Josiah Warren (including examples of his "labor notes", the form of currency he promoted), and Walt Whitman (a signed photograph, 1882).
Papers relating to Tucker's personal life include the manuscript of an autobiography, The life of Benjamin R. Tucker as disclosed by himself in the principality of Monaco at the age of 74, and a file labeled (as it was originally) "autobiographical". This autobiographical file contains correspondence, 1920s-1930s, between Tucker and Charles Almy, Emile Armand, Dr. Bertha Johnson (Pearl Johnson's sister, a physician), George Schumm, and others, containing descriptions (as recorded either by Tucker or these correspondents) of Tucker's personal history, temperament, state of health in later years, and political beliefs. Notes written by Tucker as reminders to himself or to Pearl Johnson, and some autobiographical essays are included. Additional personal papers consist of: affidavits containing Tucker's requests to be excused from jury duty, 1897 and 1907; passports; a photograph of Tucker, 1931; notebooks containing accounts, autographs, and memoranda, and engineering drawings done by Tucker while a student at MIT.
Tucker knew the controversial reformer Victoria Claflin Woodhull when he was young, and the collection contains his correspondence with Emanie Sachs, her biographer (The Terrible Siren, Harper and Bros., 1928). Included is a forty-five page letter from Tucker to Sachs in which he describes his relationship with Woodhull. A typescript of the chapter in Sachs' book that incorporates this material is also included.
Finally, the collection contains a large group of Anarchist books, periodicals, and pamphlets, 1860s-1970s (chiefly late nineteenth, early twentieth centuries) in English, French, and German with some in Italian, Russian, and Spanish. There are books and pamphlets published by Tucker and complete runs of Liberty, 1881-1908, and the Radical Review; significant groups of books by or about Georges Clemenceau, John Henry Mackay, and Pierre Joseph Proudhon; a small group of engineering books; and books and pamphlets published by the Oriole Press. A sizeable group of books on health and sexuality, and printed materials on medical matters that belonged to Dr. Bertha Johnson are also included.
The Benjamin R. Tucker papers are arranged in four series:
(alphabetical listing incl. a few letters of Pearl Johnson Tucker (wife) and Oriole Tucker Riche (daughter)).
Liberty and The Radical Review, both published by Tucker, have been bound and are not included in box 21 with the other periodicals in English. The 1971 inventory has a complete listing.