Tucker, Benjamin

Tucker, Benjamin (Ricketson)

(1854–1939) anarchist, reformer; born in South Darmouth, Mass. Although he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1870–73), he was more drawn to social reform than engineering and became a convert to individualist anarchism (1872). Leaving school, he traveled to France to study the works of French socialist Pierre Joseph Proudhon, on whom he became an authority. He translated and published at his own expense Proudhon's celebrated work under the title What is Property? (1876). He founded the Radical Review (1877), but his most famous publication was the broadsheet, Liberty, which was issued regularly (1881–1908) and became a widely read clearinghouse for unorthodox thought. A brilliant polemicist, he wrote much of Liberty himself while on the staff of the Boston Globe (1878) and then as editor of the Engineering Magazine in New York City (1892). An outspoken, at times literary voice for individualist anarchism, he defied police arrest by selling banned books. His publishing venture collapsed (1908) when his New York establishment was destroyed by fire. He moved to France and never again found much of a public for his writings. He and his family moved to Monaco (1926) and letters from the 1930s reflect a growing despair at the rise of totalitarianism.
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They have three grown children: Tucker, Benjamin and Corinne and five grandchildren.