Skip to main content

Franklin Rosemont-Haymarket research papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Rosemont-Haymarket

Scope and Content of the Collection

Research notes, photocopies, proofs, draft, correspondence, newspapers, and photographs comprising the research papers used to produce Rosemont and Roediger’s Haymarket Scrapbook (Charles H. Kerr Pub. Co., 1986), and for commemorating the centennial of the 1886-1887 Haymarket Affair.

The majority of the collection consists of photocopies of source materials used to make the Haymarket Scrapbook. These materials span from the labor movement preceding the Haymarket Affair to the commemoration of its centennial anniversary. Included are domestic and international media reactions to the events surrounding Haymarket, and a collection of scholarly articles, book excerpts, and notes gathered by the editors. The collection also includes drafts and proofs by the Haymarket Scrapbook contributors. Many of these drafts are annotated.

The majority of the materials are concentrated around the years of the Haymarket Affair, ca. 1886-1890, and the centennial anniversary, ca. 1985-1987.


  • Creation: 1975-2009
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1980-1993



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Franklin Rosemont-Haymarket research papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Franklin Rosemont-Haymarket research papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

Biography of Franklin Rosemont

American labor activist and surrealist, artist, historian, and poet who, along with colleague Dave Roediger, compiled the Haymarket Scrapbook, an anthology of articles, primary sources, and illustrations commemorating the centennial anniversary of the 1886-1887 Haymarket Affair.

A native of Chicago, Franklin Rosemont dedicated his life to art, scholarship, and political activism in support of labor and the American left. He was born October 2, 1943 to two labor activists, printer Henry Rosemont and jazz musician Sally Rosemont. Although he dropped out of Maywood schools after his third year of high school, he was able to gain admission to Roosevelt University in 1962 where he studied under St. Clair Drake. There he became involved with Roosevelt’s student movement. He was a lifelong member of the I.W.W. and co-founded of the Chicago Surrealist Group with his wife Penelope Rosemont in 1965. Throughout the 1960s he was also active in the Rebel Worker group, the Solidarity Bookshop, and Students for a Democratic Society.

After helping coordinate the successful World Surrealist Exhibition at Chicago’s Gallery Bugs Bunny in 1968, Rosemont became managing editor of the Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company, the oldest radical and labor press in the United States. A labor historian and poet, Rosemont also produced his own scholarship. His major publications include Joe Hill: The I.W.W. and the Making of a Revolutionary Workingclass Counterculture, An Open Entrance to the Shut Palace of Wrong Numbers, Revolution in Service of the Marvelous, and The Morning of a Machine Gun: Twenty Poems and Documents. He coauthored with Robin D. C. Kelley Brown and Beige, Surrealist Writings from Africa and the Diaspora.

In 1985 Rosemont and historian Dave Roediger began planning the production of an anthology to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Haymarket Affair. The Haymarket Scrapbook contains reprints of writings, speeches, and poems by influential radicals including Emma Goldman, Sam Gompers, Mother Jones, Lucy Parsons, Carl Sandburg, Eugene Debs and others. It also contains over three hundred cartoons, illustrations, and photographs related to Haymarket and its influence on domestic and international labor movements. A number of labor scholars contributed to the project including Paul Avrich, Alan Dawley, Richard Drinnon, George Esenwein, Philip Foner, Bruce Nelson, Penelope Rosemont, Richard Schneirov, and Fred Whitehead.

History of the Haymarket Affair

Violence at a labor rally in Chicago’s Haymarket Square led to the high profile trials of eight Chicago anarchists.

On Tuesday May 4, 1886, about 500 workers striking for an eight-hour workday gathered in Haymarket Square. Labor leaders called the meeting to protest police violence against strikers at McCormick Reaper Works the previous day that resulted in the death of several strikers. The peaceful rally turned violent when police forces showed up to disperse the meeting. An unknown striker threw a dynamite bomb that killed seven police officers. In response the police fired point blank into the crowd, killing or wounding an unknown number of protesters. The crown dispersed.

In response to the events at Haymarket Square, Chicago authorities convicted eight anarchist labor leaders of conspiracy. Despite the lack of evidence linking any of the anarchists to the bomb, five were sentenced to death, two to life in prison, and one to 15 years in prison. August Spies, Albert R. Parsons, George Engel, and Adolph Fisher died on the gallows in 1887. Louis Lingg committed suicide in prison the day before his execution. Governor John Peter Altgeld pardoned the remaining three conspirators, Samuel Fielden, Oscar Neebe, and Michael Schwab, on June 26, 1893.

The events surrounding the Haymarket riot and subsequent legal proceedings garnered national and international attention. Haymarket quickly became an international symbol of the labor struggle. In 1890, the AFL and the Second International chose May 1, May Day, to stage international demonstration in support of the eight-hour work day and to honor the Haymarket martyrs. May Day subsequently became International Workers’ Day.


3.2 Linear Feet (5 boxes and 1 oversize box)


Research notes, photocopies, drafts, proofs, photographs, and correspondence comprising the papers used to research and produce the Haymarket Scrapbook, edited by Franklin Rosemont and Dave Roediger (Charles H. Kerr Pub. Co., 1986). Also materials related to the activities commemorating the centennial of the 1886-1887 Haymarket Affair.


Papers are organized in the following series:

Series 1: Sources, approximately 1877-1987
Boxes 1-4
Series 2: Drafts, 1977-1986
Box 5
Series 3: Related Materials, 1985-1993
Box 5
Series 4: Additions, 1984-2009
Box 6

Collection Stack Location

1 31 6, 1 43 12


Gift of Penelope Rosemont, April, 2009.

Processed by

Emily Masghati, 2015.

Inventory of the Franklin Rosemont-Haymarket research papers, 1975-2009, bulk 1980-1993
Emily Masghati
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2023-01-27: Series 4: Additions added to the collection. Additional newspapers added to 1986 folder.

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States