Benjamin R. Tucker (1854 – 1939)

Benjamin Ricketson Tucker was an author, translator, publisher and bookseller. At the age of 18 he attended a lecture delivered by anarchist William Greene, inspiring a life-long pursuit of liberty. That same year he met the anarchists Ezra Heywood and Josiah Warren; he also entered a free love relationship with prostitute and Presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull. Tucker published the first English-language translation of What is Property? by Pierre Joseph Proudhon in 1876.

Tucker launched Liberty in 1881. Liberty is “widely considered to be the finest individualist-anarchist periodical ever published in the English language” (Wendy McElroy, The Independent Review Volume II Number 3 (Winter 1998) pp. 421 – 434) and “a milestone in the history of the anarchist movement, and it won an audience wherever English was read” (Paul Avrich, Anarchist Portraits Princeton University Press 1990).

Tucker received an inheritance from his mother, which he invested in an annuity. For the rest of his life, he received $1,650 a year (somewhere between $34,000.00 to $1,000,000.00 in 2018 USD). In 1906 he opened “Tucker’s Unique Book Shop” in New York City. Tucker hired and then wed Pearl Johnson, the two giving birth to Oriole Tucker. In 1908 a fire destroyed the book shop and his complete back catalog of books and pamphlets. Tucker and his family moved to France, where he largely retired from individualist agitation.

Benjamin R. Tucker died in 1939 in Monaco.  In 1973, Paul Avrich interviewed Tucker’s daughter Oriole:

Father’s attitude towards communism never changed one whit, nor about religion. He was very consistent all his life. In his last months he called in the French housekeeper. “I want her,” he said, “to be a witness that on my death bed I’m not recanting. I do not believe in God!” I was interested, even sympathetic, in his ideas. But I was never really an anarchist. I don’t think it would ever work. Neither did father at the end. He was very pessimistic about the world and in his political outlook. But he was always optimistic about himself, always cheerful, happy; he never sat and brooded but was content to look out at the view and at his books. He sang hymns from Sunday School – the Rock of Ages and that sort of thing – and couldn’t keep a tune. He had a reputation as a cold person. But how he loved mother! And he cried easily at anything noble.


  • Proceedings of the Indignation Meeting Held in Faneuil Hall, Thursday Evening, August 1, 1878: To Protest Against the Injury Done to the Freedom of the Press by the Conviction and Imprisonment of Ezra H. Heywood (Boston: Benj. R. Tucker 1878)
  • Anarchism or Anarchy? / a Discussion Between William H. Tillinghast and Benj. R. Tucker (Boston: Benj. R. Tucker 1881)
  • State Socialism and Anarchism / How Far They Agree, and Wherein They Differ (New York : John Oksanen 1888)
  • Instead of a Book, by a Man Too Busy to Write One / a Fragmentary Exposition of Philosophical Anarchism (New York: Benjamin R. Tucker, 1893)
  • Staatssozialismus Und Anarchismus / In Wieweit Sie Übereinstimmen Und Worin Sie Sich Unterscheiden (Berlin: B. Zack, 1895)
  • Henry George, Traitor (New York: Benjamin R. Tucker, 1896)
  • A Blow at Trial by Jury: An Examination of the Special Jury Law Passed by the New York Legislature in 1896 (New York: Benjamin R. Tucker, 1898)
  • Der Staat in seiner Beziehung zum Individuum (Berlin: B. Zack, 1899)
  • Sind Anarchisten Morder? (Berlin: B. Zack, 1899)
  • Was ist Sozialismus? (Berlin: B. Zack, 1902)
  • The Attitude of Anarchism Toward Industrial Combinations (New York: Benj. R. Tucker, 1903)
  • Individual Liberty / Selections from the Writings of Benjamin R. Tucker (New York: Vanguard Press, 1926)
  • Why I Am an Anarchist (Detroit: Laurance Labadie, 1934)
  • Anarchist Action / A Selection From the Writings of Benjamin Tucker (Willimantic: Lysander Spooner Society 1981)


  • What is Property? by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1876)
  • God and the State by Mikhail Bakunin (1882)
  • The Malthusians by P.J. Proudhon (London, International Publishing Co., 1886)
  • The Kreutzer Sonata / and Other Stories by Leo Tolstoy (Freeport: Books for Libraries Press 1890)
  • My Uncle Benjamin / a Humorous, Satirical, and Philosophical Novel by Claude Tillier (Boston: Benjamin R. Tucker, 1890)
  • The Rag-Picker of Paris by Félix Pyat (Boston: Benjamin R. Tucker, 1890)
  • Belle-Plante and Cornelius by Claude Tillier (New York: The Merriam Company, 1893)
  • A Chambermaid’s Diary by Octave Mirbeau (New York: B. R. Tucker 1900)
  • What’s to be Done? A Romance by Nikolay Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky (New York, Manhattan Book Co., 1909)


  • The Lust of Empire: Speech of Hon. George F. Hoar of Massachusetts in the United States Senate, April 17, 1900 (New York: The Tucker Publishing Co. 1900)
  • Mutual Banking: Showing the Radical Deficiency of the Present Circulating Medium and the Advantages of a Free Currency by William B. Greene (New York: Benjamin R. Tucker, 1906)
  • The Ego and His Own by Max Stirner, Byington trans. (New York: Benjamin R. Tucker, 1907)


  • Radical Review (1877)
  • The Weekly Bulletin of Newspaper and Periodical Literature (1891 – 1892)
  • Liberty (1881 – 1908)


  • Benj. R. Tucker’s Unique Catalogue of Advanced Literature: The Literature That Makes for Egoism in Philosophy, Anarchism in Politics, Iconoclasm in Art (New York: 1906, 1907)