On May 5, 1920, two Italian immigrant workers with ties to the anarchist movement, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were arrested and charged with the robbery and murder of a paymaster and his guard in South Braintree, Massachusetts. Coming at the height of the "Red Scare" following World War I, their trial and subsequent conviction proved a vivid example of the virulent anti-communist and anti-labor hysteria whipped up by the United States government during this time.
Following their conviction, a massive international defense campaign was mounted on their behalf. With a few notable exceptions, labor organizations throughout the world came to their support. Hundreds of thousands of workers, from Chicago to Johannesburg and from Copenhagen to Tokyo, joined in mass demonstrations, strikes, and meetings to protest their conviction and death sentence. However, on August 23, 1927 Sacco and Vanzetti were executed by the state of Massachusetts.
We have also provided a selected Bibliography of materials from the Holt Labor Library collection, useful Web Sites, and a list of other library Archives holding primary materials, to assist you in your research.
Cannon, James P. Notebook of an Agitator. New York: Pioneer Publishers, 1958. The first 31 pages reprints articles Cannon, National Secretary of the International Labor Defense, wrote for the "Labor Defender" and the "Daily Worker" in defense of Sacco and Vanzetti.
Ehrmann, Herbert B. The Case That Will Not Die: Commonwealth vs. Sacco and Vanzetti. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1969. Written by the last surviving major lawyer involved in the case.
Fast, Howard. The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti: A New England Legend. New York: The Blue Heron Press, Inc., 1954. A novel that "...tells the story of the last hours of Sacco and Vanzetti - of how a terrible sentence was passed upon them and carried out, and of what this sentence meant to millions of people the world over." -from book jacket.
Feuerlicht, Roberta Strauss. Justice Crucified: The Story of Sacco and Vanzetti. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1977. The author's research included interviewing Vanzetti's sister in Italy and obtaining 100 letters from Vanzetti to his family that had never been published in English.
Floyd, William. There Is Justice : A Summary of the Sacco-Vanzetti Case. New York: Sacco-Vanzetti National League, n.d. Brief summary of the facts from an organization formed "to establish the innocence of Sacco and Vanzetti."
Labor Defender. Special edition on Sacco and Vanzetti, vol. 1, No. 7, July 1926. Includes "Sacco and Vanzetti: An Appeal to American Labor," by Eugene V. Debs and letters from Sacco and Vanzetti to supporters.
Russell, Francis. Sacco & Vanzetti: The Case Resolved. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1986. Based on new interviews and availability of the FBI files, the author followed-up his 1962 book, Tragedy in Dedham.
Shachtman, Max. Sacco and Vanzetti: Labor's Martyrs. New York: International Labor Defense, 1927. The International Labor Defense was actively involved in the international campaign to save the lives of Sacco and Vanzetti.
Sinclair, Upton. Boston: A Novel. New York: Albert & Charles Boni, 1928. Novel exposes the social and political bias of the Sacco and Vanzetti case.
Vanzetti, Bartolomeo. The Story of a Proletarian Life. The Anarchist Syndicalist Alliance, [n.d.]. Previously published by the Sacco-Vanzetti Defence Committee, Boston, 1924. Vanzetti's autobiography translated by Eugene Lyons.
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Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti - song lyrics by Joan Baez.
Ballads of Sacco & Vanzetti - by Woody Guthrie from Smithsonian Folkways. Play Real Audio selections.
Court TV: Sacco & Vanzetti - download film footage, also includes interviews and letters.
Digital Images from American Radicalism Collection - digitized articles, pamphlets, cartoons, and documents.
Events of the Sacco and Vanzetti Case - from the Anarchists Library.
Freedom of Information Act - Sacco/Vanzetti Case - FBI documents regarding the case (PDF format - Acrobat Reader required).
Sacco and Vanzetti - by Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman. [Published in The Road to Freedom (New York), Vol. 5, Aug. 1929].
Sacco and Vanzetti Memorial - additional links, FAQs, and bibliography from infoshop.org "your online anarchist community."
Sacco and Vanzetti Project - online visual materials, documents, a bibliography, and a chronology from the Sacco and Vanzetti Educational Trust of the Dante Alighieri Society of Massachusetts.
Sacco and Vanzetti Trial - chronology, biographical sketches, maps, images, statement of evidence, and more from the Famous American Trials site at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School.
"Two Good Arms" - "song from Charlie King (from the album 'Somebody's Story')... based on Vanzetti's final speech."
Vanzetti's Last Statement - the Feb. 1928 Atlantic Monthly article - use the search feature on the top menu bar to search for more articles.
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Archives - official records created by Massachusetts state
220 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
Phone (617) 727-2816
Fax (617) 288-8429
Center for Research in Black Culture - International Labor
Defense records, 1926-1946.
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
New York, NY 10037-1801
Phone (212) 491-2200
The Holt Labor Library provides these links for your convenience. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, the Holt Labor Library makes no guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of the information on these sites, and is not liable for any inaccuracy, error, or omission, regardless of cause.
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