Bartolomeo Vanzetti : Italian Anarchist Activist and Martyr of the State

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(1888 - 1927)


After they returned the two became more active in the anarchist community. Vanzetti began reading about industrial society and revolt and both began distributing anarchist and revolutionary literature.

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From : Anarchy Archives


"Nameless, in the crowd of nameless ones, I have merely caught and reflected a little of the light from that dynamic thought or ideal which is drawing humanity towards better destinies."

From : "The Story of a Proletarian Life," by Bartolomeo Vanzetti

"That was a sad year. What toiler does not remember it? The poor slept outdoors and rummaged the garbage barrels to find a cabbage leaf or a rotten potato. For three months I searched New York, its length and its breadth, without finding work."

From : "The Story of a Proletarian Life," by Bartolomeo Vanzetti

"Judge Webster Thayer, the same man who later presided at the murder trial imposed the sentence. There was not a vibration of sympathy in his tone when he did so. I wondered as I listened to him, why he hated me so. Is not a judge supposed to be impartial? But now I think I know - I must have looked like a strange animal to him, being a plain worker, an alien, and a radical to boot. And why was it that all my witnesses, simple people who were anxious to tell the simple truth, were laughed at and disregarded? No credence was given their words because they, too, were merely aliens...."

From : "The Story of a Proletarian Life," by Bartolomeo Vanzetti


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About Bartolomeo Vanzetti

 Bartolomeo Vanzetti 1

Bartolomeo Vanzetti 1

Nicola Sacco was born in the Southern Itaian small town of Torremaggiore on April 22, 1891. He emigrated to the United States in 1908. Upon arrival he learned the trade of shoe-edge trimming and got a job working at a shoe-company in Milford, MA. He soon married and fathered a son.

Bartolomeo Vanzetti was born on June 11, 1888. The Vanzetti family lived in Northern Italy in the town of Villafalletto. Vanzetti also emigrated to the United States in 1908. He worked as a kitchen helper in New York, and after losing his job drifted to Boston where he worked odd jobs and met Sacco.

Sacco and Vanzetti feared the draft during World War I and in objection fled to Mexico with Sacco's family. When the war ended both returned to their homes. After they returned the two became more active in the anarchist community. Vanzetti began reading about industrial society and revolt and both began distributing anarchist and revolutionary literature.

In 1920, the two were charged with robbery of a shoe factory and murder of the paymaster and payroll guard in South Braintree, MA. They were found returning to a vehicle spotted near the scene of the crime; both were armed but claimed that they intended to use the car to distribute anarchist literature. Vanzetti who had already been convicted of a crime was arrested without question.

Their trial lasted six weeks at the end of which, both parties were found guilty. Initially, their trial received little publicity until the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee caused a stir by insinuating that the case was not a legal battle, but an ideological struggle between the jury and Sacco and Vanzetti, who had quite different political views. Ultimately however these claims fell on deaf ears when the Supreme Court of Massachusetts ruled against Sacco and Vanzetti on April 9th 1927. Sacco and Vanzetti's execution date fell on August 23, 1927. While tens of thousands of people protested outside the doors of Boston's old Charlestown prison, Sacco and Vanzetti were executed by electric chair.


From : Anarchy Archives


This person has authored 10 documents, with 26,219 words or 149,129 characters.

Letters of Bartolomeo Vanzetti from the Death House August 4, 1927. From the Death House of the Massachusetts State Prison TO THE DEFENSE COMMITTEE: Governor Alvan T. Fuller is a murderer as Thayer, Katzmann, the State perjurors and all the other.  He shake hand with me like a brother, make me believe he was honestly intentioned and that he had not sent the three carbarn-boy to have no escuse to save us. Now ignoring and denia all the proofs of our innocence and insult us and murder us.  We are innocent. This is a war of plutocracy against liberty, against the people. We die for Anarcy.  Long life Anarcy.     [This letter was written directly after Vanzetti learned of the Governor’s decision ... (From :
Selected Letters of Bartolomeo Vanzetti from the Bridgewater Hospital for the Criminal Insane  April 4, 1925.  Bridgewater Hospital for Criminal Insane COMRADE DONOVAN: This very sheet of paper tells you that I have received two copies of The Nation which you me in your letter of March 30th.  Much obliged, comrade Donovan, for the papers and more for your letter, which came to me as a flash of light. . . . So, you are studying Dante’s language, and will write to me in the "Idioma gentil sonante e puro” of the "Bel Paese aue li 'si' suona”?  Very well—I proudly congratulate you.  There is something in the Italian literature worth while reading, studying and ponderating by every pe... (From :
Selected Letters of Bartolomeo Vanzetti from the Charlestown State Prison, 1921-24 July 22, 1921.  Charlestown Prison MY DEAR MRS.  GLENDOWER EVANS: I was just thinking what I would to do for past the long days jail: I was saying to myself:   Do some work.  But what?  Write.  A gentle motherly figure came to my mind and I rehear the voice: Why don't you write something now?  It will be useful to you when you will be free.  Just at that time I received your letter. Thanks to you from the bottom of my heart for your confidence in my innocence; I am so.  I did not spittel a drop of blood, or steal a cent in all my life.  A little knowledge of the past; a sorrowful experience of... (From :
Selected Letters of Vanzetti from the Charlestown State Prison, 1925 through April 1927 November 13, 1925.  Charlestown Prison DEAR COMRADE BLACKWELL: Your most welcome letter of Nov. 4th reached me in due time.  Its news about your health assured me of your recovering and its arguments rouse many thoughts and sentiments within my being.  I am going to answer with an attempt to express myself--and this will be a long random letter. You blame to me, anarchist, Miss H----- because "she hates politics and never votes." Well, these facts cause me to add my admiration and my gratitude to her; and I don't believe that you have written in the hope that I would have approved your "blaming," for, you should believe that... (From :
Selected  Letters of  Vanzetti from the Dedham Jail, April - June 1927 April 14, 1927.  Dedham Jail DEAR COMRADE MARY [DONOVAN]: Today I have written, written and written all the time.  Now it is late and I am tired.  Yet I cannot help to write to you. . . . What I want to say to you is, again and ever, to be calm and self restrained.  Yes, just that and what I do not know to say.  I knew that you lost your job.   Another of their nice things.  Now you are working days and nights to save Nick and I.  Remember that you must rest, and rest at least for the necessity of it.  Good-bye, and all my regards to you, also Nick. [COMRADE MARY was Mary Donovan, a recording secre... (From :
Vanzetti's 1927 Letter to Governor Fuller The letter below was written shortly after Vanzetti was interviewed for two hours by Governor Fuller.  Vanzetti asked the Governor if he might write him about topics not discussed in the interview.  This is the letter he sent.  Six days after this letter was mailed, Governor Fuller issued his decision allowing the executions to go forward. July 28, 1927.  Charlestown Prison Hon. Alvan T. Fuller, Governor of Massachusetts, State House, Boston. YOUR EXCELLENCY: You told me Tuesday night that I might dictate to a stenographer the part, of my statement which I wanted to make to you, but was prevented by lack of time from making.  So I will say as follows:   ... (From :
I can’t remember when I first read “The Story of A Proletarian Life.” I just know that one edition or another has been in and around my life for a long time. I read it most years, and usually I find myself reading it in a different way from the time before. Sometimes I read it as the voice of the immigrant experience and am moved by the image of Vanzetti, alone in the Battery, trying to make sense of where he was and realizing his essential loneliness and alienation from all that he saw around him. His portrayal of the exhausting search for work and the seeking out of fellow country people for help and support is both grim and poignant reading and one can understand how the acts of kindness he receives begin to drive and s... (From :
Foreword The case of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti has attracted world-wide attention. Yet very few of our people, except those immediately associated with the case, are at all familiar with the personalities of the two men whose fate has aroused this strong international interest. It has been my privilege to know Vanzetti personally, and I have been struck by his simple-heartedness and sincerity. The belief in his innocence, widely held among those who followed the trials, is strengthened upon personal acquaintance. Though he has been living for more than three years under the shadow of a death sentence, he has maintained an equable temper and keen interest in world affairs, and his thirst for knowledge is unabated. Each... (From :
This arrangement of Vanzetti's speech first appeared in Labor Action. I have talk a great deal of myself but I even forget to name Sacco. Sacco too is a worker, from his boyhood a skilled worker, lover of work with a good job and pay, a bank account, a good and lovely wife, two beautiful children and a neat little home at the verge of a wood, near a brook. Sacco is a heart, a faith, a character, a man; a man, lover of nature, and mankind. A man who gave all, who sacrifice all to the cause of liberty and to his love for mankind: money, rest, mundane ambition, his own wife, children, himself and his own life. Sacco has never dreamed to steal, never to assassinate. He and I have never brought a morsel of bread to our mouths, from our ch... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
FROM THE DEATH HOUSE OF MASSACHUSETTS STATE PRISON - AUGUST 21, 1927 MY DEAR DANTE:   I still hope, and we will fight until the last moment, to revindicate our right to live and be free, but all the forces of the State and of the Money and reaction are deadly against us because we are libertarians or anarchists.   I write little of this because you are now a yet too little boy to understand these things and other things of which I would like to reason with you.   But if you do well, you will grow and understand your father's and my case and your father's and my principles, for which we will soon be put to death.   I tell you that for and of all I know of your father, he is not a criminal,... (From :


June 11, 1888 :
Birth Day.

August 23, 1927 :
Death Day.

November 16, 2016 ; 4:50:23 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Added to

April 21, 2019 ; 5:06:26 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Last Updated on


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