Voltairine de Cleyre
Named after French writer-philosopher Voltaire, Voltairine de Cleyre was an anarchist, freethinker, and a prolific poet and writer. Fellow anarchist Emma Goldman called de Cleyre “the most gifted and brilliant anarchist woman America ever produced.” Born in poverty in Leslie, Michigan, she was educated in a convent. She began writing poetry after the 1886 Haymarket affair, and published one collection of poetry, The Selected Works of Voltairine de Cleyre (1914), edited by leading anarchist Alexander Berkman. Though her work is little-known today, historian Paul Avrich argues that de Cleyre possessed "a greater literary talent than any other American anarchist." For much of her life, she lived in Philadelphia, where she taught Jewish immigrants English, and helped form the Ladies’ Liberty League, a forum for radical, anarchist, and feminist ideas, as well as the Radical Library, which provided working people access to radical texts. After a lifetime of ill health, de Cleyre died at the age of 45. She is buried in Waldheim Cemetery, along with Emma Goldman and the Haymarket martyrs.