Seattle General Strike Project

Sources and Research Guide to:

Anna Louise Strong

By Rebecca B.Jackson

Anna Louise Strong was an enigmatic character who embodied multiple roles in the Seattle General Strike of 1919. Born in Nebraska in 1885, Anna Louise was heavily influenced by her heritage throughout her life. Her writings reflect both the religious convictions inherited from her minister father and the determination to fight social injustice derived from a mother who abhorred the disenfranchisement experienced by women and African-Americans.

An incredibly gifted writer, Anna Louise became somewhat of a celebrity in Seattle through her multitude of editorials and poetry during the era leading up to Seattle General Strike. In 1917 she began to work for the Seattle Union Record, an opportunity which she utilized to display her seemingly many political voices. Most of her notoriety as a writer originated from her daily ragged verse poems, signed Anise, that wove some kind of individual perspective with the larger scope of labor politics. Of course, her most popular article, which she left unsigned, was perhaps the infamous NO ONE KNOWS WHERE editorial written after the Seattle General Strike broke out.

Eventually disillusioned with the labor movement in Seattle soon after the strike failed, Anna Louise would leave to pursue her quest for social change and peace in other nations; however, her years spend in Seattle proved to radicalize Anna Louise. Her journalism on the I.W.W. trial, her fight to stay on the Seattle school board, and her influential writing in the Seattle Union Record would remain nostalgic experiences for Anna Louise throughout the rest of her life.

Secondary Sources

There exist several secondary sources that provide material on Anna Louise Strongs involvement in the Seattle labor movement. Three important theses to examine are:

OConnell, Mary Joan. "The Seattle Union Record, 1918-1928; a Pioneer Labor Daily". (MA—University of Washington), 1964.

Ogle, Stephanie. "Anna Louise Strong, Progressive and Propagandist."(PhD—University of Washington), 1981.

Ogle, Stephanie. "Anna Louise Strong, the Seattle Years." (MA—Seattle University), 1972.

Another important secondary source on Anna Louise is a book by her great-nephew and his wife:

Strong, Tracy B. and Keyssar, Helene. Right in Her Soul. New York:Random House, 1983.


Primary Sources

Researchers can find an extensive collection of primary source documents from Anna Louise Strongs life. Three major categories of primary source material are:

Anna Louise's editorials and ragged verse poetry written for the Seattle Union Record -Anna Louise started her days at the Seattle Union Record writing under the name Gale; later she would sign her editorials by her real name or omit signing her name at all; her daily poetry column was usually attributed to Anise.

Anna Louise's autobiography I Change Worlds: the Remaking of an American—the sixth and seventh chapters, titles Signals from Moscow and Our Seattle Revolution, respectively, are primarily concerned with the events and circumstances leading up to Seattle General Strike, her involvement as a journalist, and, finally, the aftermath and its consequences. (A copy is available in the Special Collections Library at the University of Washington).

The Anna Louise Strong Papers at the University of Washingtons Manuscripts and Archives—the archives contain an a very comprehensive collection of Anna Louise's in-coming and out-going personal and professional letters, scrapbooks of articles in both their draft and published form, pamphlets, and an extensive compilation of her poetry.

Box 1 contains her basic biographical material and important received letters

Box 3 contains the Anna Louise wrote during the time surrounding the Seattle General Strike

Boxes 6 &7 are important sources of Anna Louises writings on the I.W.W. trial and Everett Massacre in the year 1916-7 in additional to letter written by her and sent to her regarding her recall from the Seattle school board 1917-8

Box 15 contains material that is most useful for investigating Anna Louise's writings: her scrapbooks of ragged verse poetry and articles from the Seattle Union Record

Seattle General Strike home page