Almeda Sperry

Almeda Sperry was an anarchist and follower of Emma Goldman's ideas of "free love". She was born in Pennsylvania in about 1881 (although the 1910 census suggests 1871) to Alsatian parents. She married Fred Sperry in 1903, a machinist from Ohio born in 1865. The couple, whose marriage was open and not very loving, lived together in various parts of Pennsylvania but primarily in Pittsburgh from the time of their marriage through 1930. Almeda and her husband were also friends with other anarchists including Ben L. Reitman and Alexander Berkman.

Although married, Almeda wrote several passionate love letters to Emma Goldman which suggest a sexual relationship between the two, though clearly one sided. Emma herself, though understanding of Lesbians, did not seem to consider herself to be one and did not mention Almeda in her extensive biography. Almeda letters clearly, and often, note that her affections toward Emma where not entirely reciprocated. In one letter Almeda wrote "Never mind about not feeling as I do. I find restraint to by purifying. Realization is hell for it is satisfying and degenerating."


Newspaper Records

Blue Grass Blade (Lexington, Kentucky) - September 3, 1908
[published letter from Almeda to George O. Roberts]

From Almeda Sperry - Aug. 24, 1908

Mr. George O. Roberts, Dennison, Ohio:

Dear Sir - I regret very much that I cannot be present at the convention of the Secular Union.

I do not think there are many people in Braddock who have the courage of their convictions; at least, this is the case with most of the women. They are still held and haunted by the prejudices of the past or are cowards.

I am especially interested in Socialism and think that we shall be able to make Freethinkers out of the mass of humanity when they are no longer slaves. Then, indeed, will men become gods and rule the cosmic forces to a far greater extent than we of the present generation do.

Trust that the convention will be a great success I ream, very truly, Almeda Sperry. - Gen'l. Delivery, Braddock, Pa.

Census Records

936 2nd Ave., New Kensington, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania - April 15, 1910

Surname Given Age Years Married Kids Born Father Born Mother Born Occupation
Sperry Fred 45 7 . Ohio Ohio Ohio Machineman
Sperry Almeda 39 7 none Pennsylvania Alsace Alsace .

4102 Butler St., Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania - January 10, 1920

Surname Given Relation Age Born Father Born Mother Born Occupation
Sperry Fred Head 55 Ohio Ohio Ohio Salesman, machine shop
Sperry Almedia Wife 39 Pennsylvania Alsace-Lorraine Alsace-Lorraine none

206 W. Stockton Ave?, Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania - April 12, 1930

Surname Given Relation Radio? Rent Age Age 1st Marriage Born Father Born Mother Born Occupation
Sperry Fred Head Yes $25 65 35 Ohio Ohio Ohio operator, machine shop
Sperry Almeda Wife . . 50 23 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Pennsylvania .
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