United Mine Workers of America, President's Office Correspondence with Districts, 1894-1983

01822

Collection Overview

Title:
United Mine Workers of America, President's Office Correspondence with Districts
Dates (Inclusive):
1894-1983
Creator:
United Mine Workers of America
Abstract:
The President's Office of the United Mine Workers of America dates from the formation of the union in 1890. Union districts evolved and changed throughout the organization's history. This collection consists of correspondence between the head of the United Mine Workers of America and district officers or their representatives in the field, arranged by district.
Collection Number:
01822
Size:
176.8 Linear Feet
Size:
(170 containers)
Location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the  library catalog.
Repository:
Special Collections Library. Pennsylvania State University.
Languages:
English

Historical Note

The office of president dates from the formation of the United Mine Workers of America (UMW) in 1890. The president presided over international union conventions and meetings of the International Executive Board, appointed committees, organizers, and field workers, interpreted the meaning of the union constitution, led wage negotiations, endorsed or denied strikes and work stoppages, ruled on countless individual, local, and district issues, served as the union's main spokesman for legislative goals and for health and safety concerns, and supervised the editorial stance and news policies of the United Mine Workers Journal. Under John L. Lewis, the presidency of the UMW became one of the most powerful positions in the American labor movement.

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Scope and Contents

This collection of correspondence between districts and the president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMW) has been separated from the remainder of the UMW President's Office Records because of the extent, coherence, and significance of its contents. This collection provides a key entrance for research into the union. This correspondence documents substantive issues that filtered through district representatives in situ to executives at UMW district and international offices, as well as the presidential decisions on action to be taken. Mine disasters, organizing activities, wildcat strikes, rivalries with competing regional unions, and diverse grievances are among the concerns that reached the president. Series 1 through 31 correspond to District 1 through District 31. Series 32 has correspondence from District 50, comprising the mine industry's construction workers. Series 33 hold correspondence pertaining to all districts during the 1970s. Series 34 consists of photographs removed from district correspondence for the sake of preservation. There is a small amount of President-District correspondence and related records for several districts from the period 1894-1910 and a slightly more substantial run in the years 1911-1919. The bulk of these records date from the presidencies of John L. Lewis, Thomas Kennedy, William Boyle, Arnold Miller, and Sam Church, 1920-1982. The correspondence proceeds in chronological order. Some series also hold typescript or printed materials generated by that particular district, including convention minutes and speeches, executive board minutes, secretary-treasurer reports, and pamphlets on diverse topics. The records from District 2, District 12, and District 26 also include files on membership restoration cases. Otherwise, most files on these types of grievances and appeals reside elsewhere, in the Special Membership Committee series of the UMW International Executive Board Records subgroup in the Special Collections Library.

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Administrative Information

Access to Collection

Collection is open for research. Records less than 20 years old shall be made accessible only with the written permission of the designated representative of the donor.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], United Mine Workers of America, President's Office Correspondence with Districts, HCLA 1822, Special Collections Library, Pennsylvania State University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of United Mine Workers of America, 1994-2012.

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections staff.

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Collection Inventory

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