Cripple Creek and Denver, Co. 1912-1916. Eight partially-printed forms completed in manuscript. Minor wear and soiling. Very good. Item #3385
A collection of seven applications for membership in the Miners' Protective Association and one application for the Western Federation of Miners, all filled out by prospective members in the early 20th century. The applicants range in age from 23 to 59, and were born in a wide variety of locations, including several midwestern states, Canada, and England. They report varying levels of mining experience, from four to forty years, with one applicant reporting no experience, having worked previously as a rancher. None of the men were members of any other labor organization at the time of their applications.
Interestingly, the Miners' Protective Association and the Western Federation of Miners worked at cross purposes from each other. The former was a cooperative association formed by mining companies in order to discourage the unionizing of workers; the Western Federation of Miners was a notable labor union that had previously participated in widely-reported and violent strikes in Cripple Creek in 1894 and 1903. The forms themselves echo the competing motivations of the two groups. The application for the MPA asks applicants if they are or ever have been members of the Western Federation of Miners or any other labor organization. The Western Federation of Miners' application asks applicants if they have ever taken the place of strikers, been a scab, or assisted law enforcement or the Pinkerton Agency with opposing organized labor. An additional point of interest on the Western Federation of Miners application is the implication that the applicant is African American. The applicant, William Judson, reports his complexion as "Dark." People of color working as miners was rare in the west, though certainly not unheard of.