Charlotte Wilson

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This article is about the 19th century anarchist. For the volunteer teacher murdered in Burundi, see Charlotte Wilson (VSO).

Charlotte M. Wilson (6 May 1854, Kemerton, Worcestershire – 28 April 1944, Irvington-on-Hudson, New York) was an English anarchist who co-founded Freedom newspaper in 1886 with Peter Kropotkin, and edited, published, and largely financed it during its first decade. She remained editor of Freedom until 1895.[1]

Born Charlotte Mary Martin, she was the daughter of a well-to-do physician, Robert Spencer Martin. She was educated at Newnham College at Cambridge University. She married Arthur Wilson and the couple moved to London. Charlotte Wilson joined the Fabian Society in 1884. In 1886, parliamentarians within the Fabian Society proposed that it organize as a political party; William Morris and Wilson opposed the motion, but were defeated. She subsequently resigned from the Society in April 1887, continuing her association with the anarchists from the Society.

She wrote extensively to Karl Pearson about the Fabians, the Karl Marx Society and about her "Russian Society" from 1884 to 1896.[2][3]

In 1886, Wilson and Kropotkin co-founded Freedom, an anarchist newspaper. The newspaper's mission statement is stated in every issue, on page 2, and summarises the writers' view of anarchism:

Anarchists work towards a society of mutual aid and voluntary co-operation. We reject all government and economic repression. This newspaper, published continuously since 1936, exists to explain anarchism more widely and show that only in an anarchist society can human freedom thrive.

Her publication Work (1888) was mistakenly attributed to Kropotkin for many years.[4]

In 2000 Freedom Press released a book consisting of a collection of her essays, edited by Nicolas Walter.


  1. ^ Nicolas Walter, ‘Wilson , Charlotte Mary (1854–1944)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 13 May 2009
  2. ^ Porter, Theodore (2004). Karl Pearson. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 1080. ISBN 0-691-11445-5. 
  3. ^ See the Pearson Papers (ref. 900) at UCL
  4. ^ "Book Review: Charlotte M. Wilson's Anarchist Essays", NEFAC, Dec. 2, 2002.


  • Charlotte Wilson, Nicholas Walter (Ed.) (2000). Anarchist Essays. Freedom Press. ISBN 0-900384-99-9
  • John Quail (1978). The Slow Burning Fuse: The Lost History of the British Anarchists. Flamingo. ISBN 0-586-08225-5
  • Parish Records, Kemerton, Gloucestershire.

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