Anarchy is a school of thought that advocates stateless societies based on voluntary associations. There are lots of sub-types of anarchism. In fact, you could almost define it by its differences as much as its similarities. A partial list includes Anarcho-Feminism, Anarcho-Collectivism, Anarcho-Communism, Anarcho-Pacifist, Green Anarchism, Individualist Anarchism, and Social Anarchism. The ideology varies widely, with some forms of anarchism advocating violent revolution, some advocating pacifism, and still others advocating reform. The one thing all forms have in common is an antipathy toward the state.

The men and women in this post were arrested and in some cases, executed, by the authorities, so it’s safe to assume most of them were on the more revolutionary side.

Anarchism was rampant in the United States, France, Russia, and Italy at the turn of the century. I recently researched Paterson, New Jersey, and learned the city was a hotbed of anarchism around 1900. Possibly it was the most well-known anarchist centers in the United States at the time.

I noticed when I read about Paterson that many of the anarchists were very young. When I researched this post, I was surprised that the majority of the anarchists I could find info about were very young – and the men were often quite attractive! It’s an interesting commonality for people who are part of a political school of thought.

François Claudius Koenigstein, known as Ravachol, was a French anarchist. He was guillotined on July 11, 1892, after being twice found guilty of complicity in bombings. The mugshot of him was taken by Alphonse Bertillon, the father of the modern mug shot.

Police mugshot of Ravachol, by Alphonse Bertillon, 1892

Emma Goldman is one of the most famous and easily recognizable anarchists. This mugshot, taken in 1893, was the first I could find of hers – though it wasn’t the last! Goldman was born in 1869 in Lithuania. She grew up in Eastern Europe and Russia, and it was in St. Petersburg that she became a radical.

In 1885 she immigrated to the US. She worked in textile factories in New York and Connecticut where anarchism was increasingly popular. This mugshot was taken in New York City in 1893 for inciting a riot when amongst a group of unemployed workers.

Emma Goldman, 1893 mugshot

Jeanne Malpet was 51 years old when she was arrested in Paris in 1894. She was booked as an anarchist. I couldn’t find any additional info on Jeanne.

Jeanne Malpet, anarchist

Émile Henry was a 22-year-old French anarchist, who detonated a bomb at the Café Terminus in the Parisian Gare Saint-Lazare February 1894. The attack killed one person and wounding twenty. Henry was arrested and his mug shot was taken. He was executed soon after by French authorities.

Émile Henry, 1894, anarchist

Sante Geronimo Caserio was a 21-year-old Italian anarchist who murdered Marie François Sadi Carnot, the President of the French Third Republic. Caserio was born in Motta Visconti, Lombardy. In June 1894, he fatally stabbed President Carnot after a banquet, with speculation that he killed Carnot to avenge Émile Henry.

Sante Caserio. 21-year-old anarchist


Annette Soubrier was 28 years old, when she was arrested in Paris, as an anarchist. I don’t have additional info about Annette.

Annette Soubrier, 1894


Clotilde Adnet was just 19 in 1895 when Paris police arrested her for being an anarchist. I don’t have additional info about Clotilde.

Clotilde Adnet, anarchist

Gaetano Bresci was an Italian immigrant, who lived and worked in Paterson, New Jersey. In 1900, he abruptly called in his debts and left town. His friends were resentful toward him until they heard that he had gone back to Italy and assassinated King Umberto in July of 1900. Bresci was immediately captured, and put on trial. He sentence called for him to be exiled to the island prison of Santo Stefano. He received a life sentence and wrote despairing letters to his wife. His sentence ended far earlier than anyone thought. He was found dead in his cell in May of 1901, under circumstances that were described as mysterious.

Gaetano Bresci, 1900


Miss Goldman, again.

Emma Goldman, another mugshot from 1901



Benito Mussolini started his life of crime early, when he stabbed a classmate at the age of 10. His philosophy continually “evolved” throughout his lifetime. In 1903, he was arrested for his advocacy of a violent strike. At the time, he was studying anarchists philosophers. Mussolini’s evolution moved through socialism, fascism, and, of course, he later evolved into a dictator.

Benito Mussolini, 1903


Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian immigrants and anarchists who were convicted of murdering a guard and a paymaster during an armed robbery of the Slater and Morrill Shoe Company in April of 1920. The case is still called out as an example of the power of establishment politicians over the poor and politically troublesome populace.

Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti


Severino Di Giovanni was born in Italy in 1901, and executed in Argentina in 1931. Di Giovanni became famous for the campaign of violence he waged in support of Sacco and Vanzetti. On 16 May 1926, several hours after Sacco and Vanzetti’s death sentence was announced, Di Giovanni bombed the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires, destroying the front of the building.

The very handsome Severino di Giovanni, anarchist. 1931

Jean Quarré was a militant anarcho-communist who was born in Paris in 1919. He was killed by firing squad in 1942 in Paris, two months after he was arrested by French authorities.

Jean Quarré, 1942


Anarchism is still in existence today, though it has a lower profile than it once did.

Eight Republican candidates debated Tuesday evening at the historic Milwaukee Theatre. The venue choice is an interesting one for the Republican party: 103 years ago, popular Republican president Theodore Roosevelt was nearly assassinated minutes before his scheduled speech at the same venue. The would-be assassin was 36-year-old Bavarian immigrant named John Schrank. But who was he, and why did he want to kill Roosevelt?

John Shrank

John Flammand Schrank was born in Bavaria in 1876. He came to America with his parents at the age of 9, and when they died soon after, John was cared for by his aunt and uncle in New York. Schrank seems to have been positioned for a happy life: he grew up working in his uncle’s tavern, and he had a sweetheart named Emily Ziegler.


Everything started changing in 1904, when Emily was killed in the General Slocum excursion ship fire. Within a few years, Schrank’s aunt and uncle passed away. They left everything to their nephew, and their generosity should have allowed him to live comfortably. But Schrank had never recovered from Emily’s death, and with the loss of his aunt and uncle, his mind began to waver.

Overcome with loneliness, Schrank sold his inheritance and studied the Bible and the American Constitution intensely. John also wrote poetry, and was known to be intelligent and sensitive.  He spent most of his time alone, taking long, aimless walks, sometimes late into the night.


Leon Frank Czolgosz (pronounced show-gotz) was born in Michigan in 1873, to a large, poverty-stricken family. He went to work at the age of 10, and eventually landed a job with good wages at the American Steel and Wire Company, a wire mill in Cleveland, Ohio. Comparatively little is known of him. He was a reliable worker, but he witnessed scenes between striking workers and authorities which affected his mind. A mental breakdown occurred in 1898 which caused him to move home. By that time, he had developed a strong interest in anarchy.

Leon F. Czolgosz

Czolgosz believed American society, presumably represented by U.S. president William McKinley, enabled a handful of rich men to exploit the masses.

American Steel and Wire Company in Cleveland, Ohio
American Steel and Wire Company in Cleveland, Ohio

McKinley was reelected in 1900, and was scheduled to spend two days at the Pan-Am Exposition in Buffalo, New York. The president’s security team seemed to sense something sinister, and tried to dissuade McKinley from going to Buffalo. When that failed, the President’s secretary George Cortelyou twice removed a visit to the Temple of Music from McKinley’s agenda. In a series of decisions eerily similar to those made by another U.S. president some 60 years later, McKinley ignored his security team’s fears and requested the visit to the Temple of Music be added back to his schedule.