Charles H. Kerr Library

The Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company was established in Chicago, Illinois in 1886 as Charles H. Kerr & Co. by Charles Hope Kerr, originally to promote his Unitarian views. As Kerr’s personal interests moved from religion to populism to Marxism and he became interested in the labor movement, the company’s publications took a similar turn. During the 1920s Kerr ceded control of the firm to the Proletarian Party of America, which continued the imprint as its official publishing house throughout its four decades of organized existence.

Control moved again during the decade of the 1960s, this time to a circle of Chicago radicals with close affinity to the ideas of the Industrial Workers of the World, who gave the company its current operating moniker.