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Franklin and Penelope Rosemont collection of IWW publications and ephemera

Identifier: Case-folio-HD-8055

Scope and Content of the Collection

Pamphlets, fliers, periodicals, books, convention minutes and proceedings, stickers, song books, official documents, and other ephemera created by the IWW and other related organizations and members.

The collection contains many of the IWW’s essential documents from its most crucial years, 1905 through 1935, as well as some of its later literature. Included are classic IWW pamphlets and magazines, volumes of convention minutes, and several editions of the IWW’s famous “Little Red Song Book.” Many of the publications are by well known labor authors such as Eugene Debs, Mary Marcy, Ralph Chaplin, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and William Trautman. In addition to the publications printed in Chicago, many of the pamphlets are in foreign languages such as Finnish, Hungarian, and Spanish, printed in IWW print shops in Duluth, Minnesota and Cleveland. The collection also contains several of the union’s numerous, varied and colorful dues and assessment stamps, buttons, stickers knows as "silent agitators," along with a wide range of other Wobbly paraphernalia. Materials pertaining to notable IWW members such as Joe Hill and Carlos Cortez and IWW related organizations round out the picture of the labor environment of the first half of the 20th century.


  • Creation: 1905-2005
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1905 - 1935



Materials are primarily in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Franklin and Penelope Rosemont collection of IWW publications and ephemera is open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum, and items in each folder will be counted before and after delivery to the patron (Priority I).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Franklin and Penelope Rosemont collection of IWW publications and ephemera is the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

History of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

Chicago based labor organization.

Founded in Chicago in 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, also known as the Wobblies), holds a special place in local and U.S. history. Locally, its prominence in Chicago labor and free speech history is second to none. With its strong links to the “Chicago Idea” labor radicalism of the Haymarket era, the IWW was an important influence on the Chicago Federation of Labor in the 1910's and 1920s, and a major force in the development of the workers’ education movement.

From 1905 through the 1930s the IWW was also a significant Chicago printer and publisher. Its printing facility in the large IWW building at 1001 West Madison Street printed large quantities of IWW books, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, convention proceedings, sheet music, leaflets, posters, stickers, and books. Not surprisingly, this IWW printing office was long recognized as the most productive Left press in the country. The later IWW print shop at 3333 West Belmont, though smaller, also had an impressive output.

During the first three decades of the last century, Chicago was the nation’s largest industrial city; the nation’s hobo (migratory worker) capital; and the vital center of the U.S. labor movement. As the leading proponent of industrial (rather than craft) unionism, the IWW's impact on the broader labor movement was large and ongoing. The union was renowned from the start for its profoundly democratic character and militant egalitarianism; at a time when most AFL unions admitted white males only, and discouraged the foreign-born, the IWW welcomed African Americans, women, and immigrants from all over. And when the AFL insisted that migratory workers were “unorgan-izable,” the IWW proceeded to organize them by the many tens of thousands.

The IWW’s many strikes, the General Electric strike in Schenectady, 1906 (the first “sitdown strike”), the Lawrence strike of 1912, involving 25,000 strikers from over sixteen language groups; the widespread May Day Strike of 1923, and the Colorado Coal Strike of 1927, were noted for their innovative strategies, and are still recognized as major landmarks in our nation’s labor history.

The IWW international headquarters remained in Chicago throughout its most active years (1905-1940) and several decades beyond. Even when headquarters moved away in the early 1990s, the IWW’s Chicago Branch, one of its more sizeable affiliates, stayed on, and remains active to this day.


7.5 Linear Feet (14 boxes, 1 oversize box, and 1 oversize folder)


Publications, official documents, song books, and other materials created by and related to the Industrial Workers of the World, an historic union and labor organization.


Papers are organized in the following series:

Series 1: Publications, approximately 1905-1985
Boxes 1-5
Series 2: Periodicals, 1924-1966
Boxes 6-8
Series 3: Song Books and Sheet Music, 1914-1990
Box 9
Series 4: Official Documents and Organizational Items, 1905-1984
Boxes 10-11
Series 5: IWW Member Subject Files, 1915-2005
Box 12
Series 6: IWW Related Materials, 1902-1989
Box 12
Series 7: Council for Union Democracy, approximately 1930s-1947
Box 12
Series 8: Photographs, 1928-1986
Box 13
Series 9: Artifacts, approximately 1910s-1979
Box 14

Location note

3a 19 4-5


Purchased from Franklin and Penelope Rosemont, 2006.

Separated Materials

Books Separated from the IWW Collection and Cataloged Separately

The following books came with the Franklin and Penelope Rosemont Collection of IWW Publications and Ephemera, and were removed from the collection to be individually cataloged.

  • Brooks, John Graham. American Syndicalism: The I.W.W. New York: Macmillan Co., 1913.
  • Cannon, James P. The I.W.W. New York: Merit Publishers, 1967.
  • Chaplin, Ralph. Adam Revisits Paradise. Lombard, Ill.: published by the author, 1935.
  • Chaplin, Ralph. American Labor’s Case Against Communism: How the Operations of Stalin’s Red Quislings Look From Inside the Labor Movement. Seattle: Educator Publishing Co., 1947.
  • Chaplin, Ralph. Only the Drums Remembered: A Memento for Leschi. Tacoma: Dammeier Printing Co., 1960.
  • Chaplin, Ralph. Somewhat Barbaric: A Selection of Poems Lyrics, Sonnets. Seattle: Dogwood Press, 1944.
  • Colorado. Supreme Court. In the Supreme Court of the State of Colorado. Industrial Commission of Colorado, Plaintiff in Error, v. The People of the State of Colorado, ex rel., Charles Metz, Defendant in Error. No. 12245. Denver: Eastwood Printing Co., n.d
  • Delaney, Ed. and M.T. Rice. The Bloodstained Trail: A History of Militant Labor in the United States. Seattle: Industrial Worker, 1927.
  • Dolgoff, Sam. The American Labor Movement: A New Beginning. Champaign, Ill.: Resurgence, 1980.
  • Dolgoff, Sam. Fragments: A Memori: Personal Recollections Drawn from A Lifetime of Struggle in the Cause of Anarchism. Cambridge, England: Refract Publications, 1986.
  • Ebert, Justus. American Industrial Evolution: From the Frontier to the Factory; Its Social and Political Effects. New York: New York Labor News Co., 1907.
  • Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley. Memories of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). New York: American Institute for Marxist Studies, 1977.
  • Hall, Covington. Battle Hymns of Toil. Oklahoma City: General Welfare Reporter, n.d.
  • Hall, Covington. Songs of Love and Rebellion. New Orleans: John J. Weihing Printing Co., 1915.
  • Hanson, Ole. Americanism versus Bolshevism. New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1920.
  • Hough, Emerson. The Web. Chicago: Reilly and Lee Co., 1919.
  • Langdon, Emma F. The Cripple Creek Strike. A History of Industrial Wars in Colorado, 1903-4-5: Being a Complete and Concise History of the Efforts of Organized Capital to Crush Unionism. Denver: Great Western Publishing Co., 1904-05.
  • Maatta, John. My Father’s Heritage. New York Mills, Minn.: Parta Printers, 1985.
  • Neill, Chas. P. Report on Strike of Textile Workers in Lawrence, Mass. In 1912. Government Printing Office, 1912.
  • Pfaff, Henry J. Didactic Verses. Buffalo: Henry J. Pfaff, 1983.
  • Sinclair, Upton. Singing Jailbirds: A Drama in Four Acts. Long Beach, Cal.: published by the author, 1924.
  • Spielman, Jean E. The Stool Pigeon and the Open Shop Movement. Minneapolis: American Publishing Co., 1923.
  • Trautmann W. and P. Hagboldt. Riot. Chicago: Chicago Labor Printing Co., n.d.
  • United States. Supreme Court. Mike J. Lindway, Petitioner, vs. The State of Ohio, Respondent. Petition for Writ of Certiorari to The Supreme Court of Ohio and Brief in Support of Petition. Cleveland, 1935.
  • United States. Supreme Court. Mike J. Lindway, Appelant, vs. The State of Ohio. Washington, D.C., 1936.
  • Japanese Pamphlets
  • “The Founding of the IWW,” Journal of the Faculty of Foreign Studies (Aichi Prefectural University) 7 (December 1972).
  • “Internal Conflict in the Early IWW – The 1906 Split and its Meaning,” Journal of the Faculty of Foreign Studies (Aichi Prefectural University) 8 (February 1973).
  • “The IWW and Western Workers,” American Studies, 5 (March 1971).
  • “The Western Federation of Miners – Background to the Foundation of the IWW,” Journal of the Faculty of Foreign Studies (Aichi Prefectural University) 7 (December 1972).
  • Foreign Language Books
  • Humon, Kirj. Geo. Uusi Yhteiskunta Ja Sen Rakentajat. Duluth, Minn.: Workers Socialist Publishing Co., n.d.
  • Nerman, Ture. De Basta Dikterna Om Friheten. Stockholm: Frams Forlage, 1917.
  • Nuottipainos. Tyovaen Laulukirja. Astoria: Lannen Tyovaen Kustannusyhtio, 1915.
  • Portis, Larry. IWW et syndicalisme revolutionnaire aux Etats Unis. Paris: Amis de Spartacus, 1985.
  • Rein, Wm. Nuoriso, Oppi ja Tyo (Youth, Learning and Labor). Duluth, Minn.: Workers’ Socialist Publishing Co., 1929.

Processed by

Lisa Janssen, 2006.

Inventory of the Franklin and Penelope Rosemont collection of IWW publications and ephemera, 1905-2005, bulk 1905-1935
Finding aid prepared by Lisa Janssen.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States