Skip to main content

Joseph Giganti papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Giganti

Scope and Content of the Collection

Papers and literature related to communist, socialist, and anarchist movements. Also includes some personal material, a disassembled scrapbook, newspaper clippings, and internal member bulletins.


  • Creation: 1917-1986
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1930 - 1950



Materials are mainly in English, although a few items are in Italian, French, or Spanish.

Conditions Governing Access

The Joseph Giganti papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Joseph Giganti papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Joseph Giganti

Joseph Giganti was born in 1904 and spent his childhood in southern Illinois where his father worked as a coal miner. In 1920, the family moved to Chicago, where Giganti was apprenticed to a barber.

In the 1920s, Giganti joined the Communist party and advocated strongly for the release of Sacco and Vanzetti. He became the Midwest coordinator of the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee, organizing street demonstrations and pamphlet distribution. He also participated in the defense organization for Tom Mooney, achieving success in 1939.

After being expelled from the Communist party on charges of being a “Trotskyite.” While at the time, Giganti knew nothing about Trotsky, he soon joined the local group of Trotskyists after spending some time reading and researching Trotsky.

In the 1930s, Giganti became involved with Maximiliano Olay, a prominent Spanish born anarchist. Giganti worked closely with Olay on translations and publication of literature from Spain’s revolutionary organizations. At some point in the 1930s, Giganti married a woman named Rose.

In 1951, he received his PhD at the University of Rome despite never having attended high school. He taught labor economics and economic history at DePaul and Roosevelt Universities until his retirement in 1981.

Giganti was also pivotal to the reorganization of the Charles H. Kerr Company, a radical publishing house, in the 1970s. Elected as chairman of the board of directors in 1973, Giganti worked to release new and classic titles alike, bringing the company back to its previous standing as one of the fastest growing and oldest radical publishing houses in the United States.

Joseph Giganti died in 1986.


1.7 Linear Feet (4 boxes )


Papers and photographs pertaining to Chicagoan Joe Giganti, a labor defense activist who served as the Chairman of the Board of the Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company. The collection includes 1930s periodicals, documents, and ephemera of Communist and Socialist groups in Chicago, New York, Italy, and elsewhere. Also included are Giganti's University papers, a file on Giorgio del Vecchio, an audio recording of Giganti, and a photograph album, which features Joe's wife, Rose.


Materials arranged alphabetically.

Collection Stack Location

1 41 6


Gift, Penelope Rosemont, 2014.

Separated Materials

The following materials have been separated from the collection for individual cataloging:

  • Towards a Revolutionary Party: ideas on Strategy and Organization, undated
  • Labor Defense Manifesto Resolutions Constitution, 1925
  • Elementary Historical Materialism, undated
  • Non Mi Fido Del Prete!, 1920
  • Comunismo, 1931
  • Security at Coyoacan. An Eyewitness Demolishes a 37 Year Long Coverup, c. 1977

Processed by

Emily Richardson, 2020.

Joseph Giganti papers, 1917-1986, bulk 1930-1950
Emily Richardson
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States