The Liberator in Full Online for Free!

$1,051 of $2,000 goal

Raised by 17 people in 36 months
Charles W. Johnson  AUBURN, AL

The Molinari Institute is sponsoring a project to make all 35 years of William Lloyd Garrison's abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, available for free online. Bitcoin (bitcoin:18Bojnp2UG3iDpXT9CxjutjsXQjWgbmSCW) or credit card donations will help us finish this project by August 2014. All of the issues will be scanned from microfilm sources and made freely available online at

Garrison's Liberator, running from 1831"“1865, was the most prominent periodical of radical Abolition in the united states. Garrison proclaimed, in the first issue, that:

": I am aware, that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hand of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; "” but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest "” I will not equivocate "” I will not excuse "” I will not retreat a single inch "” AND I WILL BE HEARD."

Together with the circle of black and white radicals that the paper attracted, Garrison's Liberator helped organize, and offered a forum for, the movement that spent the next 35 years arguing for the immediate abolition of slavery, the end of racial prejudice and "American Colorphobia," and insisting that emancipation could only truly come about by inspiring a radical moral and social transformation. It urged a politics of radicalizing conscience, and denied that electoral gamesmanship, partisan politics, or political compromise would ever bring about liberation on their own. In the age of the Fugitive Slave Acts, the Garrisonians denounced the united states Constitution as a weapon of the slavers, "A Compromise with Death and an Agreement with Hell." Rejecting the use of either political or military force as a means of overcoming the slave system, they argued for Disunion ("No Union with Slaveholders, religiously or politically"), holding that the Northern free states should secede from the Union, thus peacefully withdrawing the Federal economic, political and military support that the Slave Power depended on, and (they argued) driving the slave system to collapse, by kicking out the Constitutional compromises that propped it up. Garrison and his circle, against the condemnation of more conservative anti-slavery activists, also constantly drew parallels and connections between the struggle against slavery and other struggles for social liberation, taking early and courageous stances in defense of women's rights and international peace.

The Molinari Institute, through its online texts project at the Fair Use Repository, has made several volumes of The Liberator available online in the form of full-issue facsimile PDFs. We're looking for help with this project in progress. Our ultimate aim is to make all 35 years of The Liberator available in full on the web. Full-issue PDFs will be scanned from the reproductions available on microfilm (American Periodical Series, University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Mich.) through the Auburn University Libraries in Auburn, Alabama. (Scans from other sources are also welcome, if available, in order to supplement the collection when reproductions from the Auburn microform are illegible or defective.) All of the issues scanned will be made available for free through the Fair Use Repository. So far, 10 of the 35 volumes of The Liberator have been placed online, but to complete the task we could use your help.

The Liberator is huge -- 35 years, 52 issues published every year -- and the process of scanning the issues is time-consuming. The scanning has been done by volunteer labor, but given the number of hours involved we need to set aside some money to reimburse for the remaining labor. Moreover, in order to support an archive that we hope will become a very widely used historical resource for students, researchers and activists, will need to pay for additional resources to cover web hosting. We believe that this will be an immensely valuable resource for researchers, students, social-justice activists, anarchists, libertarians and anyone interested in the history of U.S. slavery, Abolitionism, and radical social movements. So we're looking for help with the following:

* Based on my experience so far, it takes about about two hours to scan one full year's worth of issues, including the time that it takes to take the scans and the time that it takes to integrate them into the website. To free up the time to do the scanning, which would otherwise be spent on fundraising for the Institute or day-job work to support its programs, we need to raise about $20 per hour of labor. With 24 volumes remaining to scan, that makes 24 vols * 2 hrs/vol * $20/hr = $960 to cover the labor needed to finish the scanning phase of the project. Without funding, this is likely to take years to complete. With funding, I estimate that we can set aside time to complete the scanning phase of the project within 14 weeks, wrapping up just before the beginning of August, with at least two new volumes being made available every week.

* In addition to the labor involved in the scanning, we will also need to purchase significant upgrades to the hosting service for in order to handle heightened traffic and increased demands on our web server. Our existing VPS hosting costs about $15 / mo (depending on traffic); an upgrade to the next highest class of VPS service would mean an additional expense of 15 / mo on top of that. So you can help support the project by helping us raise money for the first year of upgraded hosting -- $15/mo extra per month * 12 months = $180

* In addition to the $960 for scanning labor and the $180 for hosting services, we're asking for some stretch funds, up to a total of $2,000, if you support the project. Additional funding for The Liberator project will go towards: (1) covering costs for an additional year of web hosting, and (2) covering the labor to begin Phase II of the project, including the transcription of full-text searchable HTML transcriptions of articles and preparing an online hypertext index of names, titles and periodicals appearing in The Liberator.

Help us bring The Liberator onto the free and open web!

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Update 6
Posted by Charles W. Johnson
36 months ago
Up to 12 donors, $381 of the $2,000 budget raised for THE LIBERATOR online archive.

To-day: 52 issues from Volume XIV (Jan. - Dec. 1844)
prepped and now available in the online archive.

Scanning some new issues from 1855.

Thanks for all y'all's support!
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Update 5
Posted by Charles W. Johnson
36 months ago
We're at 11 donors, $351 of the $2,000 budget raised for THE LIBERATOR online archive (Thanks y'all!)

I'm uploading a couple volumes from the later 1840s today to be prepped for adding to the public archives, and scanning some from the early 1850s. Maybe finishing another reel of the microfilm by lunchtime?
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Update 4
Posted by Charles W. Johnson
36 months ago
Hey all: Progress update. I'm happy to announce that two more volumes -- 104 new issues -- of THE LIBERATOR have been added to the online archive. As of this morning, all the issues of Vols. XII-XIII (Jan. 1842-Dec. 1843) are now available in full as PDFs, bringing the archive up to 14 years' worth of THE LIBERATOR. The early 1840s were an especially heady and often controversial time for Garrison, THE LIBERATOR, and his fellow radicals.

Vol. XI (1841) is available in full at:
Vol. XII (1842) is available in full at:

For more details on what's been added:

I should be adding about 2-4 volumes of THE LIBERATOR each week from here on out, which should keep us on track to finish around the end of July or the start of August 2014!

I've also added a "Thank You" credits roll at the bottom of the archive pages, acknowledging all y'all who have made this archive possible through your generous donations. (If you've donated but your name isn't listed yet, and you'd like it to be, contact me to let me know the name or name(s) you'd like to be listed under. I'd like to list everyone, but donations remain private, as part of the "N other contributors..." until I hear back from the donor that they are O.K. with their name appearing.)

Thanks to some donations through Bitcoin, we have reached $351 of our goal of $2,000, from 11 donors. Thank you all for your support! If you know anyone else who might be interested in supporting this project, please spread the word far and wide!

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Update 3
Posted by Charles W. Johnson
36 months ago
Thanks to all y'all who have supported this project so far! Thanks to your contributions, two new volumes of THE LIBERATOR (Vols. X and XI, 1840-1841) are available in full online, adding 105 issues of THE LIBERATOR that are now available in full online.

Another two (Vols XI-XII, 1842-1843) are being prepped and should be ready to go online before the end of the week. You can check out an update on the progress of the LIBERATOR scanning project and more on the schedule from here on out at:
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Read a Previous Update
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$1,051 of $2,000 goal

Raised by 17 people in 36 months
Created May 1, 2014
Charles W. Johnson  
Jennifer Rycenga
9 months ago
Alan Crouch
22 months ago

This is an important historic publication that should be shared with the world.

Louise Knight
24 months ago

Thank you so much! This has been so badly needed for such a long time. You folks are heroes!

David Smith
25 months ago
Charles Johnson
36 months ago (Offline Donation)

Coinbase is giving away $10 worth of Bitcoin for free to any college student with a .edu e-mail account. So, my bit of BTC is going to THE LIBERATOR archive project.

Jock Coats
36 months ago
Alliance of the Libertarian Left Distro
36 months ago (Offline Donation)

Some proceeds from Fall tabling events. Donated via Bitcoin

Matthew Desjardin
36 months ago
Sean Sittig
36 months ago

Sean and Jenn

kirk sticken
36 months ago

Sandy and Kirk

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