Tresca and Flynn

  • Nunzio Pernicone
Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)


Gossip among radicals suggested that when Tresca and Flynn first met in May 1912, she was involved romantically with Joe Ettor.1 If so, with Ettor in jail, Tresca had an easy time sweeping Flynn off her feet. Subsequent activities together in 1912 and 1913 solidified the political and personal partnership that would endure until 1925. Recalling the year they met, Flynn wrote that “he was then a tall, slender, handsome man in his mid-thirties, and I was deeply in love with him.”2 Indeed, Flynn’s memoirs and the many poems she dedicated to him indicate that Tresca was the great love of her life. Tresca had expressed his romantic sentiments during the Ettor-Giovannitti agitation with several inscriptions in the copy of Gabriele D’Annunzio’s The Maidens of the Rock?, which he gave her as a gift. The November 17 inscription reads: “Suppose at some time you read this book some flame is kindled in your heart—remember at this time mio dolce cuore, sogno, Speranza, luce dell’anima mi? [my sweet heart, dream, hope, light of my soul]—one heart has the same flame for you alone.”3 Flynn’s reciprocating gift was Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portugues?, with poignant passages underlined. This was the little volume that Tresca lost during the hotel workers’ strike.4


Eastern European Immigrant American Affair Violent Rhetoric Lexington Avenue Hang Jury 
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  1. 5.
    Flynn’s The Rebel Gir? is the best source of information about her early life and career. See also Helen C. Camp, Iron In Her Soul: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and the American Lef? (Pullman, WA: Washington State University Press, 1995); Gallagher, All the Right Enemie?, 41–43 et passimGoogle Scholar
  2. Rosalyn Fraad Baxandall, introduction to her Words on Fire: The Life and Writing of Elizabeth Gurley Flyn? ( New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1987 )Google Scholar
  3. Stephen C. Cole, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn: A Portrai? ( Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1991 ).Google Scholar
  4. 22.
    Flynn, The Rebel Gir?, 182–183; Paul Avrich, The Modern School Movement: Anarchism and Education in the United State? (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), 187; Foner, The Industrial Workers of the Worl?, 446–448.Google Scholar
  5. 34.
    Philip S. Foner, History of the Labour Movement in the United State?, vol. 5: The AFL in the Progressive Era, 1910–191? ( New York: International Publishers, 1980 ), 206–207.Google Scholar
  6. 35.
    Tresca, Autobiograph?, 234–235. See also Vincenzo Massari, “Il Massacro di Ludlow davanti alla storia,” La Parola del Popol? 9, 37 (December 1958-January 1959): 97–115.Google Scholar

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© Nunzio Pernicone 2005

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  • Nunzio Pernicone

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