We hope you had a wonderfully relaxing Labor Day holiday. I took the opportunity to think about what we have in our Special Collections ephemera files that pertains to the labor movement or to local labor organizations and found two interesting items.
One is a photocopied manuscript complete with editing notes by Roy F. McNabney, a local historian, dated 1936. In it he states the first unions listed in Davenport appeared the same year the government enacted the eight-hour day law in 1868, namely the Coachmaker’s International Union and the Tailor’s Association. The Machinists and Blacksmiths Unions are first mentioned as active in 1880 and the local Knights of Labor formed Assembly 2179 in 1882, meeting every Monday evening at Schumacher’s Hall, 210 Harrison Street. The manuscript ends with a listing of local labor unions and the dates they began which includes the Buttonmaker’s Union of Iowa and Illinois, the Buttermaker’s Union and the Milkmen’s Union.
We also have a September 1911 Machinists Convention Souvenir Booklet. Davenport’s International Association of Machinists lodges evidently hosted the national affair that year. The Convention Committee consisted of J. C. Davenport, M. Gorman, B. F. Kindred, J. Hynes and J. Smithinger. This booklet contains their photographs as well as images of the ladies auxiliary and local active machinist’s lodges. It also provides brief histories and some very cool advertisements from local businesses including The Golden Lion restaurant at 210 Harrison Street (remember Schumacher’s Hall from McNabney’s piece?), the Brothers Silberstein, agents for Auto Brand Union Made Workingmen’s Clothes who boast garments that are “cut roomy but of good proportion”, and the Proclamation sponsored by M. Ziffrin, Rock Island, Illinois Local Agent that “Nothing is Too Good for the International Association of Machinists. They Drink Old Style Lager – the Beer with a Snap to it!!”
So “Snap to It” and view the rich resources available in the Ephemera files here in the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center.
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