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Chicago History Museum

The Haymarket Affair: Chicago Anarchists on Trial

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This collection showcases more than 3,800 images of original manuscripts, broadsides, photographs, prints and artifacts relating to the Haymarket Affair. The violent confrontation between Chicago police and labor protesters in 1886 proved to be a pivotal setback in the struggle for American workers' rights. These materials pertain to: the May 4, 1886 meeting and bombing; to the trial, conviction and subsequent appeals of those accused of inciting the bombing; and to the execution of four of the convicted and the later pardon of the remaining defendants. Of special interest and significance are the two dozen images of three-dimensional artifacts, including contemporary Chicago Police Department paraphernalia, labor banners, and an unexploded bomb casing given to juror J. H. Brayton by Chicago Police Captain Michael Schaack. The cornerstone is the presentation, as images and searchable text, of the transcript of the 3,200 pages of proceedings from the murder trial of State of Illinois v. August Spies, et al.

The mission of the Library of Congress is to make its resources available and useful to Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. The goal of the Library's National Digital Library Program is to offer broad public access to a wide range of historical and cultural documents as a contribution to education and lifelong learning. Digital collections from other institutions complement and enhance the Library's own resources.

The Library of Congress presents these documents as part of the record of the past. These primary historical documents reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress and the Chicago Historical Society do not endorse the views expressed in these collections, which may contain materials offensive to some readers.

Special Presentations*
Haymarket Affair Chronology | The Dramas of Haymarket | Autobiographies of Two Defendants

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The digitization and presentation of these materials by the Chicago Historical Society (now known as Chicago History Museum) was supported by an award from the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition. Links marked * are to web pages mounted at the awardee institution. Digital reproductions of the materials are mounted at the Library of Congress. The same materials are also mounted at the awardee institution.

The source materials for this collection are housed at the Chicago History Museum. Contact the museum with requests for reproductions. For more information about the original materials use the museum's online contact page.

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