Louise Michel Bibliography

Query From Caroline Waldron caroline@students.uiuc.edu 13 Nov 1996

My dissertation on immigrant miners and their families in the Illinois River Valley has brought me to a group of Italian and French-speaking women who named themselves "Luisa Michel". The group was formed in late 1900 in Spring Valley, Illinois and members note that the name refers to their "valiant French comrade." Has anyone come across Luisa Michel, the individual , or the group named in her honor? Any information would be greatly appreciated.


{Ed. note: Multiple responses identified the French woman in question as Louise Michel...below are resources cited and biographical background provided by list members.)

Goldman, Emma Living My Life Vol.1, esp pp.166-168

Gullickson, Gay Unruly Women of Paris

Mann, Nora article in Margaret Sanger's magazine The Woman Rebel (April 1914) ..available in the U of NY Dept of History edition of the Margaret Sanger Papers: Collected Document Series, as well as in a reprint by Alex Baskin

Rowbotham, Sheila Women, Resistance, and Revolution

Thomas, Edith The Women Incendiaries

Biographical information [a compilation of list member responses]:

Louise Michel (1830-1895) or (1830-1905?) the French socialist heroine of the 1871 Paris Commune; pseudonym "Clemence" (the first e has accent)

Michel was a schoolteacher and active in the Paris Commune and the French Revolution of the 1870s--both in looking after the wounded and fighting. She was transported to New Caledonia, but returned to France after the Communards were granted amnesty. Much admired among the worker's movement.

Cite from Encyclopedia Universalis: Louise Michel was the daughter of a noble man and his servant; she grew up in the castle of her grandparents and got a liberal/progressive and good education (in the spirit of Voltaire) and became a schoolmaster. She refused to take an oath of allegiance to the emperor and opened a private school. She wrote poems and opposition journals; she frequented public meetings. In 1870 she took part with the French Commune on the barricades as an ambulance woman, and lead a revolution club. At the fall of the Commune she was deported(1871). Victor Hugo wrote a famous poem in her honour: Viro Major.

She arrived in New Caledonia in 1873, where she tried to educate Canacs and support their revolt against colonization. After amnesty was granted, she returned to Paris in 1880. Capitalist newspapers gave her the name of "the red virgin" and depicted her in caricatures and words as ugly and masculine. She drew huge crowds in the meetings for the worker's movement, and was a tireless militant who held many conferences in France, England, Belgium and the Netherlands.

In 1881 she took part in the anarchist congress in London. After a demonstration against unemployment, she was sentenced to six years in jail, then pardoned. From 1881 to 1895 she lived in London, as head of a libertarian school. She returned to France and her travels, dying in Marseilles. Her burial was the occasion of a large demonstration. END CITE

>From Micheline Dumont

Louise Michel est cette femme revolutionnaire et socialiste qui s'est rendue celebre par sa participation a la Commune de Paris en 1870. Il exists, en francais, plusieurs publications sue Louise Michel, que malhueureusement je ne peux donner ici car je ne suis pas dans mon bureau. Je pourais toutfois en fournir.

Je suis tres etonnee que des femmes de mineurs se soient nommees Luis Michel dans l'Illinois. Je voudrais en savoir davantage.

et more from Micheline Dumont

Sur Louise Michel toujours

Voici quelques details supplementaires sur Louise Michel (1830-1905)

Ses Memoires ont ete publies chez Maspero, en 1979.

Voir aussi:

Edith Thomas: Louise Michel ou la Velleda de l'anarchie (Paris, Gallimard, 1971)

Pierre Durand Louise Michel: la passion. (Paris, Messodir, 1987)

Exceptionnellement instuite pour son epoque et sa condition sociale, d'abord puis a Paris a partir de 1856. Elle est membre de la Premiere Internationale en 1864. Elle est associee, a partir de 1869, au Groupe "Le droit des femmes" qui publie un Manifeste et un journal. Tres engagee dans les combats de la Commune de Paris, elle est arretee, jugeee et deportee en Nouvelle-Caledonie ou elle pren partie pour le Canaques contre les Francais. De router en France, elle fonde le "Cercle social des Femmes" et participe a de nomreuses manifestations ouvrieres et condamnations. Ses funerailles donnet lieu a un impressionnant cortege populaire. Elle est l'heroine de peuple, que la memoire officielle s'est gardee d'oublier.

>From Max Dashu

...A photograph from this period shows her wearing a dashing (cross-dressed) military uniform and looking solemn and determined.

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