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Sacco Vanzetti Project: Chronology
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CHRONOLOGY OF THE SACCO VANZETTI CASE compiled by Robert D'Attilio
from: The Sacco-Vanzetti Case: Transcript of the Record of the Trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti in the Courts of Massachusetts and Subsequent Proceedings, 1920-7. 5 vols. with supplemental volume. Mamaroneck, N.Y.: P. P. Appel, 1969.
1880 The beginning of large-scale immigration by Italians to the United States. Important figures of the anarchist movement F. Saverio Merlino, Pietro Gori, Giuseppe Ciancabilla, Errico Malatesta, Carlo Tresca, Luigi Galleani were among the arrivals.
1886 The Haymarket Affair: a bomb explodes during an outdoor anarchist meeting protesting police brutality in the McCormack Reaper strike. Police fire upon the crowd. Eight policemen and many civilians are killed. The bomb is attributed to anarchists and leads to great public outcry against them.
1887 Four anarchist leaders are executed for the Haymarket Affair; one other commits suicide. There is a great international outcry against execution.
1890 The beginnings of nativist anti-alien, anti-radical movements. Boston is a major center for these movements.
1900 Gaetano Bresci, an Italian immigrant and anarchist, leaves Paterson, N.J., to kill King Umberto I of Italy.
1901

posterPresident McKinley is killed by Leon Czolgosz, an avowed anarchist.

Luigi Galleani arrives in U.S.

1903

ronacaCronaca Sovversiva, edited by Luigi Galleani, begins publishing in Barre, VT.

The Immigration Act of 1903 is passed as reaction to McKinley assassination. Alien anarchists are barred from U.S. This is the first time in American history that political beliefs are used to bar immigrants to U.S

1908

Anarchist scare sweeps United States because of alleged anarchist outrages.

Theodore Roosevelt signs federal law directed against the anarchist press.

saccovanzettiFerdinando Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti arrive in the United States.

1912 The great Lawrence Textile strike of 1912. Carlo Tresca is prominent in the post-strike agitation for the jailed strike leaders, Ettor and Giovannitti, falsely accused of murder. Cronaca Sovversiva moves from Barre, VT, to Lynn, MA.
1913

Draper Co., Hopedale, Mass., strike. Sacco takes part in it and soon after becomes an anarchist and a supporter of Cronaca Sovversiva.

Vanzetti becomes supporter of Cronaca Sovversiva.

1914 The Ludlow, Colorado massacre: an unprovoked attack by the militia upon striking miners and their families.

Three anarchists, Berg, Hanson, Caron, are killed while making bomb to blow up John D. Rockefeller, owner of the Ludlow mines, in retaliation for Ludlow massacre. As a result, the New York City Bomb Squad is formed.

Aldino Felicani flees Italy because of his anti-war activities and arrives in the United States.

Felicani publishes La Gioventu Libertaria in Cleveland and, later, La Questione Sociale in New York City.

1915

Anarchists Abarno and Carbone are entrapped by police in plot to blow up Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

Italy enters World War 1.

1916

The Plymouth Cordage Company strike; Vanzetti takes part in it.

The Mesabi Iron Range strike; Carlo Tresca is among the strike leaders.

Sacco is arrested for supporting Mesabi strikers in public meeting.

1917

The United States enters World War 1.

J. Edgar Hoover begins to work for Department ofJustice.

vanzettiSacco and Vanzetti go to Mexico with other anarchist comrades.

The Russian Revolution begins.

Nicola Sacco returns from Mexico.

1918

Under Woodrow Wilson, Immigration Laws are enacted for use against alien radicals.

Cronaca Sovversiva is suppressed and its editors arrested.

Aldino Felicani comes to Boston.

Vanzetti returns to Plymouth.
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1919

May 1: May Day riots in Boston and throughout country.

Bombs that are addressed to leading figures in the anti-radical drive are intercepted; Attorney General Palmer is among those addressed.

palmer houseJune 2: Bomb explosions throughout U.S. are attributed to anarchists; Attorney General Palmer's house is among those bombed.

June 24: Luigi Galleani and other Cronaca Sovversiva supporters are deported.

August 1: J. Edgar Hoover becomes first chief of the Department of justice anti-radical division and heads investigation of bomb plots.

November 7: First of "Palmer" raids directed against alien radicals.

December 24: Attempted Bridgewater hold-up for which Vanzetti was later convicted.

December: Vanzetti and Aldine Felicani discuss plans for new anarchist journal, Cara Compagna.

1920

January 2: Second series of "Palmer" raids in 33 cities throughout U.S.

February 25: Anarchist editors, Andrea Salsedo and Roberto Elia, are detained by the Department of justice for questioning in bomb plots.

April 15: Payroll hold-up and murders in South Braintree, Mass.

April 16-18: Anarchist Feruccio Coacci is arrested in Bridgewater for his activities supporting Cronaca Sovversiva and deported from New York City.

pistolsApril 20: Anarchist Mike Boda, a fellow boarder of Coacci, is interviewed by police, but not arrested. He is suspected of involvement in Braintree affairs; a trap is later set for him at garage where his car was to be repaired.

April 25-29: Vanzetti takes trip to New York City to see Carlo Tresca about Salsedo-Elia affair.

May 2: Meeting in Boston of anarchists; Sacco, Vanzetti, Orciani, Felicani, and others discuss Vanzetti's MY trip.

May 3: Salsedo falls to his death in New York City while in custody of the Department of justice.

May 4: Sacco gets passport for himself and family to return to Italy.

May 5: Sacco, Vanzetti, Boda, and Orciani go to Johnson house to get Boda's car.

Sacco and Vanzetti are arrested in trap set for Boda.

May 6: Arrest of Orciani at home.

Interview of Sacco and Vanzetti by Katzmann.

Formation of Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee. Aldino Felicani is treasurer.

May I: Orciani is released.

May 18: Vanzetti's preliminary hearing on Bridgewater charge; he is held for Grand jury.

May 26: Sacco's preliminary hearing for South Braintree; Sacco held for Grand jury.

June 11: Vanzetti indicted for Bridgewater holdup.

June 22-July 1: Vanzetti tried and convicted for Bridgewater hold-up.

August 16: Vanzetti sentenced.

August 19: Fred Moore formally joins Sacco-Vanzetti defense upon recommendations of Carlo Tresca.

September 11: Sacco and Vanzetti indicted for South Braintree crimes.

September 16: Wall Street explosion; it is attributed without proof to Galleani group by newspapers throughout the country.

September 28: Sacco and Vanzetti plead not guilty.

October: Department of Justice begins surveillance of Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee; it places an informer next to Sacco in Dedham jail.

Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee begins to publish Italian-language journal, L'Agitazione, edited by Aldino Felicani.
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1921

May 31-July 14: Sacco and Vanzetti trial at Dedham. The trial judge is Webster Thayer and the prosecutor is Frederick Katzmann. Both men are found guilty.

October: Mass demonstrations organized by anarchists against the verdict throughout Europe.

1922

October: Fascists take power in Italy.

1923

April 23-September 29: Sacco is committed to Bridgewater Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

1924

sieveMay: Immigration Act establishes quota system and effectively stops large-scale emigration to the U.S. until after World War 11.

August: Fred Moore withdraws from defense on Sacco's demand.

October: J. Edgar Hoover becomes chief of the F.B.I.

November: William Thompson takes over defense for both men.

1925

January-May: Vanzetti is committed to Bridgewater Mental Hospital.

December: Official Bulletin of the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee begins publishing.
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1926

May 12: Conviction of Sacco and Vanzetti upheld by Massachusetts Supreme judicial Court.

May 26: Celestino Madeiros confession of participation in South Braintree crimes is basis for defense appeal for new trial.

October 23: Judge Thayer denies Madeiros motion.

1927

January 27-28: Thompson appeals Thayer denial to Massachusetts Supreme judicial Court. March: Felix Frankfurter writes article on Sacco-Vanzetti case for Atlantic Monthly. Some months later his phone is tapped by Massachusetts State Police because of his Sacco-Vanzetti activities.

April 5: Supreme Court upholds judge Thayer's denial of Madeiros motion.

April 9: Sacco and Vanzetti sentenced to death by judge Thayer on July 10.

May 3: Governor Fuller receives clemency petition signed only by Vanzetti.

June 1: Fuller appoints Advisory ("Lowell") Committee.

June 29: Fuller grants 30 day delay of execution to August 10.

July 27: Advisory Committee reports findings to Gov. Fuller.

August 3: Upon recommendations of Advisory Committee, Fuller refuses clemency.

August 7: Demonstrations throughout world.

August 10: Fuller grants Stay of execution for 12 days to August 22.

August 15-22: The Department of justice refuses to open its files to the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee, claiming they contain no evidence of guilt or innocence nor of any collusion between state and federal authorities prior to, during, or subsequent to the arrest and trial of the two men.

August 19: Luigia Vanzetti arrives in U.S. to see brother.

August 22: All legal appeals are denied or ignored. Mrs. Sacco and Miss Vanzetti ask Gov. Fuller for clemency.
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August 23:

Sacco, Vanzetti and Madeiros are executed.


August 28: Sacco-Vanzetti funeral from North End to Forest Hills Cemetery. The bodies are cremated.

September: All Hollywood newsreels on Sacco and Vanzetti are ordered destroyed by Will Hayes, movie czar.
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1927-1929

The Lantern, anti-Fascist journal, inspired by Sacco-Vanzetti agitation, is published by Aldino Felicani and Gardner Jackson.

1937

borglumA bas-relief of Sacco and Vanzetti by noted sculptor Gutzon Borglum is offered to Massachusetts Governor Charles F. Hurley on 10th anniversary of execution August 1937 and it is refused.

1938-1951

Aldino Felicani publishes Italian and English language anti-Fascist journal, Controcorrente/ Countercurrent.

Gaetano Salvemini, Enzo Tagliacozzo, Davide Jona, and many other anti-Fascist refugees are among its contributors.

1947

Borglum plaque is offered to Governor Bradford and Acting Mayor of Boston John B. Hynes, and it is refused.

1957-1967

Aldine, Felicani publishes Italian language anarchist journal Controcorrente. Many of its pages are dedicated to the Sacco-Vanzetti case.

1959

April 2: Rep. Alexander Celia introduces bill for posthumous pardon for Sacco and Vanzetti to Massachusetts Legislature. The petition is denied.

1967 Aldino, Felicani dies.
1974 Department of justice Sacco-Vanzetti files are opened under Freedom of Information Act.
1977

Fifty years after execution of Sacco and Vanzetti Mass. Governor Michael Dukakis proclaims August 23,1977, Sacco and Vanzetti day, removing any stigma from their names.

Massachusetts State Police files are opened under Freedom of Information Act, showing Felix Frankfurter's phone was tapped in 1927 because of his Sacco-Vanzetti activities.

Harvard President A. Lawrence Lowell SaccoVanzetti papers are opened to the public.

1979 bplBoston Public Library accepts Felicani SaccoVanzetti collection and holds Sacco-Vanzetti conference to mark occasion. Borglum plaque accepted by Boston Public Library as part of the Felicani Sacco-Vanzetti collection.
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