Click on the composite image of August Spies and his manuscript to read a transcription (approximately 5,270 words).

Between the autumn of 1886 and the spring of 1887, when their conviction was being appealed, autobiographies prepared by the Haymarket defendants in prison appeared in the local labor weekly Knights of Labor. These autobiographies were meant to raise money and evoke public support. The manuscripts of August Spies's and Albert Parsons's autobiographies, included in the Haymarket Affair Digital Collection, are in the Chicago Historical Society's collections.

Although undoubtedly colored by their own beliefs and desperate predicaments, and flawed by lapses and errors in memory, the manuscripts offer the best account of their own activities and of the formative events of the 1870s that led to their radicalization. They also offer a useful counterpoint to the highly prejudiced accounts in the mainstream press. To see a transcription of Spies's autobiography, click on the image to the left.