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WILLIAM ANDRADE, ANARCHIST, BOOKSELLER , & ANTI-CONSCRIPTIONIST

The incompletely seen cartoon advertising cover shows a caricature of an eastern gentleman apparently standing on a log fishing; the text reads ‘No Ketchem Ten Days return to The House of Mystery and Magic, Will Andrade, 173 Pitt St., Sydney’. It is addressed to Messrs S.S. Adams & Co., Ashbury Park, New Jersey, U.S.A. It has a blue AIR MAIL sticker and the one shilling six pence Airmail and the 2d 150th Anniversary of the Foundation of N.S.W. stamps are cancelled by an AIR MAIL/ SYDNEY postmark of the late 1930s (Figure 1).

The receiving company in New Jersey, USA was founded by Soren (‘Sam’) Adam Sorenson who was born in Denmark in 1879 and he migrated with his family at age 4. He grew up in New Jersey, where his father Hans operated a saloon. Sam founded a company on a ‘sneezing powder’, but when the public’s crave for it wore off, he diversified with a multitude of ‘comedic’ inventions, and the company became known as the S.S. Adams company, eventually at Ashbury Park, N.J. One of his best sellers, the ‘Razzberry Cushion’ is seen in Figure 2.

Later in Will Andrade’s serious career, he presumably was a buyer of S.S. Adams novelties. Earlier, William Charles (1863-1939) and David Alfred (1859-1928) Andrade were anarchists and booksellers who were born at Collingwood, Victoria to Abraham Da Costa Andrade and wife Maria, both from Middlesex, England. William was born on 12 October 1863, and he had to leave school early, studying at night after working long hours in a drapery shop. Both brothers were active in Joseph Symes’ Australasian Secular Association, but their increasing interest in the advocacy of anarchy caused tensions within this free thought society, which they left and they helped to form the Melbourne Anarchist Club in May 1886.

David set up as a bookseller, stationer, newsagent and printer at North Brunswick and later at his 'Liberty Hall' in Russell Street, Melbourne. An active speaker, he was also founder of the Melbourne Co-operative No. 1, a workshop at Albert Park. He contributed news and theoretical items to overseas anarchist papers, but his more significant works were published locally. When the Anarchist Club dissolved in 1888, David sought unsuccessfully to revive the Sunday Free Discussion Society. In the early 1890s he became secretary to the Unemployed Workers' Association in Richmond, concerned to encourage co-operative production and assist in land settlement. He turned to the South Sassafras village settlement when, in 1894, business failure reduced him to near destitution, and he became a '10-acre selector', storekeeper and mailman. His later years are obscure. He died in hospital at Wendouree on 23 May 1928.

By 1887 Will had moved to Sydney with his wife Emma Louisa, whom he married at the Richmond registry office on 3 February 1886. He represented the Anarchists' Club at the Australasian Freethought Conference in Sydney, staying there to become a 'dealer in progressive works'. He did not succeed in establishing an anarchists' club, and sought to influence the newly formed Australian Socialist League. After some time in Mackay, Queensland, he returned to Melbourne, set up in a grocery business and became interested in acting. In 1898 he started a bookshop at 201 Bourke Street, moving in the late 1920s to Swanston Street. Andrade stocked mainly theatrical and conjuring books and supplies, but his shop also became a significant propaganda and organizing centre for emergent socialist groups throughout Australasia. His imports of radical literature ordered by left-wing groups were detained several times during World War I, but an intelligence report vouched for his 'good character'. He was an active anti-conscriptionist but later withdrew from political activity, though still radical in outlook.

In 1920 Andrade moved to Sydney, opening a branch in Central Square, later transferring to 173 Pitt Street, as shown on the cover. His first wife died in Melbourne in 1894 and on 6 September 1907 at North Sydney he married Hilda, and their only son later managed the Melbourne business. Andrade made three trips to Europe between 1910 and 1935; in 1910 he also visited the United States of America. He was surfing at South Steyne beach on 11 November 1939 when a ‘dumper’ flung him into shallow water; he died at Manly District Hospital half an hour later, survived by his wife, their son, and two daughters of his first marriage.

This paper was abstracted from the Australian Dictionary of Biography on Will Andrade.

 

 
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