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Paul Avrich ca. 1980

Paul Avrich (August 4, 1931 – February 16, 2006) was a professor and historian. He taught at Queens College, New York for most of his life and was vital in preserving the history of the anarchist movement in Russia and the United States.


Life and work

The son of a Jewish family originally from Odessa, Avrich traveled to the USSR as an exchange student in 1961 following Nikita Khrushchev's 1959 visit to the United States. While there working on his thesis, The Russian Revolution and the Factory Committees, he researched the Kronstadt rebellion and the role of anarchists in the Russian Revolution. This information allowed him to produce pioneering and important works on these subjects.

Teaching at Queens College, he sought to communicate to his students an "affection and sense of solidarity with anarchists as people, rather than as militants." He was described as a "trusted friend" to many older anarchists whom he had met and interviewed, saving their stories for history.[1]

He wrote extensively on topics related to anarchism, including books on Sacco and Vanzetti, the Haymarket Riot, and the Kronstadt Rebellion. Other important works include a biography of Voltairine de Cleyre, The Modern School Movement (a study of an anarchist-inspired educational program)and Anarchist Portraits. He also edited the important oral history collection, Anarchist Voices. He also spoke regularly at the Libertarian Book Club in New York.

Avrich donated his collection of nearly 20,000 twentieth-century American and European anarchist publications and manuscripts to the Library of Congress.


From the Centre International de Recherches sur l'Anarchisme:

  • The Russian anarchists Princeton University Press, 1967; (Les Anarchistes russes; translated by Bernard Mocquot. Paris: Maspero, 1979; other translations in Japanese, Spanish and Italian)
  • Kronstadt, 1921 Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970 (La Tragédie de Cronstadt, 1921; translated by Hervé Denès. Paris: Seuil, 1975; other translations in Spanish and Czech)
  • Russian Rebels, 1600-1800 New York: Schocken Books, 1972
  • The Anarchists in the Russian Revolution New York: Cornell University Press, 1973 (Gli anarchici nella rivoluzione russa; translated by Michele Buzzi. Milano: La Salamandra, 1976)
  • An American Anarchist: The Life of Voltairine de Cleyre 1978
  • The Modern School Movement: Anarchism and Education in the United States 1980
  • The Haymarket Tragedy 1984
  • Anarchist Portraits 1988
  • Sacco and Vanzetti, The Anarchist Background 1991
  • Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America 1995


External links



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