The University Record, September 18, 2000

Events mark Labadie’s birthdate

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

The many facets of Detroit native Joseph A. Labadie (1850–1933) will be discussed and displayed as the University Library marks the anarchist’s 150th birthday.

An exhibit featuring letters, photos, flyers and poetry by this influential labor activist and anarchist will be on display through Nov. 22 at the Special Collections Library, seventh floor, Hatcher Graduate Library. The exhibit is open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday and 10 a.m.–noon Saturdays.

Labadie was involved with such organizations as the Knights of Labor, the Haymarket Defense Effort, the American Federation of Labor and the Socialist Labor Party, and such issues as the single tax movement, civil liberties and individualist anarchism.

He also was an avid collector of materials pertaining to these interests and donated his collection to U-M in 1911. That collection served as a core of anarchist materials that was later widened considerably to include a great variety of social protest literature together with political views from both the extreme left and the extreme right. Among its 35,000 books, 8,000 periodicals and 6,000 subject vertical files, the Labadie Collection contains materials relating to civil liberties with an emphasis on racial minorities, socialism, communism, colonialism and imperialism. The collection also contains extensive materials pertaining to American labor history through the 1930s, the IWW, the Spanish Civil War, sexual freedom, women’s liberation, gay liberation, the underground press and student protest.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Special Collections Library will present a symposium Oct. 18 that will explore the life of Joseph Labadie. Among the speakers will be Labadie’s granddaughter Carlotta Anderson, the author of All-American Anarchist: Joseph A. Labadie and the Labor Movement. She will speak on Labadie’s political life. Paul Avrich, an American scholar of anarchist history, will concentrate on Labadie’s writings. Philip Mason, who is an archivist, labor historian, and editor and author of several books on Michigan history, will speak about Labadie as a collector.

The free, public symposium will begin at 4 p.m. in the Special Collections Library.

For more information about the exhibit or seminar, contact Julie Herrada, (734) 764-9377 or jherrada@umich.edu. Additional information about the Labadie Collection is on the Web at www.lib.umich.edu/libhome/SpecColl.lib/labadie.html.