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Almeda Sperry

Almeda Sperry (born July 13, 1879) was an anarchist, political activist, and former prostitute. She was notably involved with fellow anarchist Emma Goldman, although the romantic aspects of that friendship are contested.[1]

Personal Life

Sperry was born in Pennsylvania to Alsatian parents, and married in 1903 to an Ohio machinist Fred Sperry. No documents have been discovered that give her maiden name. Together, the couple lived for most of the duration of their marriage in Pittsburg.[2] Her letters to Emma Goldman dating from 1912 reveal much about her personal life: her sexuality, contempt for men, occupation as a prostitute, and financial standing. On her sexuality, she says "I fear I never will love any man. I've seen too much and I am no fool."[3] By the same token, she was emotionally devoted to her husband Fred. In the same letter, she spoke about her prostitution: "I have absolutely no reciprocation as far as passion is concerned for a man who pays me for sex."


Sperry first became an activist after hearing anarchist Emma Goldman give a speech on white slavery, at least by the year 1912.[4] She became active in union organizing, and also wrote for several radical newspapers.


  1. ^ Katz, Jonathan Ned. "Almeda Sperry to Emma Goldman: 1912". OutHistory. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Almeda Sperry". Gay History Wiki. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Katz, Jonathan Ned. "Almeda Sperry to Emma Goldman: 1912". OutHistory. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Garber, Marjorie (May 13, 2013). Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life. Routeledge. p. 75.