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Johns Hopkins University Sacco-Vanzetti collection

Identifier: MS-0365

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Scope and Contents

The Sacco-Vanzetti Collection consists of four pamphlets published in 1927 by defense committees organized on behalf of the two accused men. The pamphlets were produced in the months immediately preceding the August execution of Sacco and Vanzetti. The pamphlets contain summaries of testimony at the trial, copies of affidavits, extracts of arguments to the court, and a copy of Bartolomeo Vanzetti's petition to Governor Fuller of Massachusetts.


  • Creation: 1927


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti emigrated to the United States from Italy in 1908. They resided in South Braintree, Massachusetts where Sacco worked as a shoe worker and Vanzetti as a fish peddler.

Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested, May 5, 1920, and charged with the murders of F. A. Parmenter and Allessandro Beradelli. The crimes were committed during a robbery of a shoe factory where the victims were employed as paymaster and guard. Sacco and Vanzetti were brought to trial, May 31, 1931 at Dedham, Massachusetts. The sensational trial lasted seven weeks. and during that time serious legal questions concerning the American system of justice were raised as well as ethical questions related to the treatment of the immigrant men. They were found guilty of the murders and sentenced to death. The case received international attention as it was widely believed that Sacco and Vanzetti were tried and convicted more for their radical, anarchist beliefs than for the crime for which they were tried. Their cause was taken up by Socialists, intellectuals, journalists, academics, and other citizens. Defense committees were organized to petition for appeals on their behalf, and committee members included Anatole France, Albert Einstein, Henri Barbusse, Frank G. Goodnow, Fabian Franklin, Edgar Lee Masters, and Bliss Perry. Felix Frankfurter, John Dos Passos, and Elizabeth Glendower Evans published material dealing with the case and the apparent judicial improprieties. All efforts for a retrial and finally, a pardon were denied. Sacco and Vanzetti were executed, August 23, 1927.

In 1959, a proposal was submitted to the legislature of Massachusetts to recommend a retroactive pardon for Sacco and Vanzetti. This proposal was also denied.


0.167 Cubic Feet (4 pamphlets)

Language of Materials



Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian-born US anarchists who were convicted of murdering a guard and a paymaster during an armed robbery on April 15, 1920, in South Braintree, Massachusetts. The collection consists of four pamphlets published in 1927 by defense committees organized on behalf of the two accused men.


The collection was transferred from Rare Books in 1993.


Frankfurter, Felix. The case of Sacco and Vanzetti; a critical analysis for lawyers and laymen. New York: Universal Library, 1971.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in August 1994.

Johns Hopkins University Sacco-Vanzetti collection
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA