Pacific Street Films Photographs
Language of Materials
Pacific Street Films produced several films on anarchism, including Free Voice of Labor--The Jewish Anarchists (1980), and Anarchism in America (1982). The collection contains images collected by PSF in the course of making these films, including photographs of Rose Pesotta, Mollie Steimer, Rudolph Rocker and other anarchists, and of anarchist gatherings, including picnics hosted by the newspaper the Frei Arbiter Stimme, the Free Society Group of Chicago, the Mohegan Colony at Crompond, New York, and of students at the residential labor union training school, Commonwealth College in Mena, Arkansas.
Pacific Street Films (PSF) is an independent film company that began producing social and political documentary films in 1969. It began its corporate life as the Pacific Street Film Collective, and its founders were active in the student anti-war movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Politically they identified themselves as anarchists, and PSF has produced several films on anarchism, including Free Voice of Labor--The Jewish Anarchists (1980), and Anarchism in America (1982).
Prominent anarchists represented in the collection include:
Mollie Steimer (1897 - July 23, 1980)-- a lifelong anarchist activist who began her political career by opposing American intervention in Soviet Russia during the First World War. In the course of this, she was arrested under the Sedition Act, and became one of the defendants in the landmark free speech case, Abrams v. United States. She, like her good friends Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, was deported from the United States to the Soviet Union. She was later also deported from the Soviet Union. Senya Fleshin, an anarchist whom she met while in the Soviet Union, became her lifelong companion. He later became a photographer, and they operated a photography studio, "SEMO" (Senya and Mollie) in Mexico City.
Rudolph Rocker (1873-1958), a German anarchist who became enamored with Yiddish language and literature, and became one of its primary exponents and champions; he was responsible, also, in his capacity of editor of important Yiddish language publications, for having getting translated and publishing for the first time in Yiddish many of the great writers of nineteenth century literature. He was also a leader in the Jewish anarchist movement, and in the Jewish labor movement in England in the years before World War I. Milly Witkop Rocker was his companion (it is said that for reasons of principle they were never legally married).
Rose Pesotta (1896-1965), a friend of Mollie Steimer, was an anarchist who was also an organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers for many years; she also served as its vice-president for a number of years.
For more information on Steimer, and for more photographs of Steimer and her friends, see memorial pamphlet, Mollie Steimer--Toda Una Vida De Lucha: La Rebelion De Una Anarquista Condenada Por Ambos Imperios(Mexico 12, D.F.: Ediciones Antorcha, 1980).
Folders are arranged topically.
The files are grouped into 1 series:
- Container list
Scope and Content Note
The collection represents some of the photographs collected by PSF in the course of researching and producing films on the topic of anarchism; most were donated to Pacific Street Films (PSF) by elderly anarchists interviewed for the films or by their friends and relatives or political allies. (Wherever possible, it has been indicated on the container list from whom which photographs were donated.) Many of the photographs were shot by Valerio Isca, an Italian immigrant anarchist and a photographer, who was very active in the defense of Sacco and Vanzetti.
Portraits of individuals and organizations include: Jacob Abrams, Mary Abrams, Watkins Bannister, Alexander Berkman, Ethel Bernstein, Mina Bluestein, Carmen Carbo, Proudhon Carbo, Joseph Cohen, Lotta Colseman, Jim Dick, Nellie Dick, Jack Dubinsky, Emmy Eckstein, Ruth Ferman, Senya Fleshin, Free Society Group of Chicago, Harry Hirshcup, Ida Isca, Dora Kaiser, Leon Kramer, Regina Lancman, Clara Larsen, Kris Larsen, Sol Linder, Samuel Lipman, Fannie Luchovsky, Michael Morris, Johanna Murachnia, Dora Perkus, Rose Pesotta, Sir Herbert Read, Helen Richter, Fermin Rocker, Millie Rocker, Philip Rocker, Rudolph Rocker, Bill Roth, Dorothy Rubin, Esther Rubin, John Samosen, Tania Schapiro, Anna Schwartl, Manya Simionoff, Anna Sosnofsky, Mollie Steimer, Aaron Stein, William Taback, Elvira Vattuone, Abe Vinocur, Tisa Vinocur, Volin. In addition, some of the photographs are of various individuals involved with and annual picnics hosted by the Yiddish anarchist newspaper, the Frei Arbiter Stimme (Free Voice of Labor), published from 1890 to 1977.
There are also photographs shot at the Mohegan Colony, at Crompond, New York. Founded in 1923, the community, which at one time covered as much as 450 acres, was a liberal and radical one (many anarchists were among its residents, including Harry Kelly, and Valerio and Ida Isca) established (as outlined in its constitution) "to free ourselves and our children from at least some of the diseases of city life; to give free rein in our thoughts and ideals; to offer our children a libertarian education which will fit them to be fighters for a better world." Also included are shots of students at Commonwealth College (1923-1940), in Mena, Arkansas--a residential labor college established for labor organizers and leaders.
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Because of the assembled nature of this collection, copyright status varies across the collection. Copyright is assumed to be held by the original creator of individual items in the collection; these items are expected to pass into the public domain 120 years after their creation. The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives is not authorized to grant permission to publish or reproduce materials from this collection.
Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Provenance unknown; most likely donated by Steven Fischler of Pacific Street Films in circa 1990. The accession numbers associated with this gift are 1950.016, 1950.162 and NPA.1990.001.