Skip to main content

Fast Facts

Media: 55 reels of 35mm microfilm
Format: A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the John Mitchell Papers, 1885-1919, edited by John A. Turcheneske, Jr.
Coverage Dates: 1885-1919

Get Started


  • Share


In the period from the end of the Civil War through the early decades of the twentieth century, it became clear that the burgeoning labor movement in America was no passing phenomenon. And men like John Mitchell, who became powerful forces within the various unions, affected the development of life in America to its social, political, and economic core.

The John Mitchell Papers offers students of labor law, political science, history, and social issues perspective on a man and union that were vital catalysts for labor reform. Among the topics analyzed are standardization of wages, the eight-hour workday, safe and sanitary working conditions, and Mitchell's struggle to have the United Mine Workers recognized as the sole bargaining agent for all classes of mine workers.

Mitchell rose quickly from his humble beginnings to become president of the UMW in 1898, and his zealous work brought the union out of obscurity and into the national limelight. His work, and thus the papers in this important collection, extend beyond into Mitchell's involvement with the National Civic Federation, and the New York Workmen's Compensation Commission, the New York State Industrial Commission, New York State Food Commission, and the Women's Trade Union League.

The collection is divided into five series for ease of access and maximum research utilization:


Series I: Contains correspondence to and from Mitchell, as well as third-party correspondence dealing with organizations and causes with which he was associated. Also included are speeches and articles written by Mitchell, minutes, and reports. Famous correspondents include Clarence S. Darrow, Samuel Gompers, and Theodore Roosevelt. Comprising approximately 75 percent of the collection, this series records Mitchell's thoughts, plans, and actions regarding the vital issues for which he struggled.


Series II: Focuses on the official minutes, union proceedings, and union constitutions and conventions from 1891-1908. Also featured is a report of the special convention called to consider the famous Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902.


Series III: Of the six parts of this series, three concern the AFL and Mitchell's tenure as one of its executive officers, and three deal with papers concerning his involvement with the various New York State commissions mentioned above.


Series IV: Forty-five pamphlets are reproduced in this segment covering the history and philosophy behind the eight-hour workday, labor ethics, improvement of miners' working conditions, and the 1902 coal strike.


Series V: Features 83 photographs that preserve a pictorial history of Mitchell and the United Mine Workers Union.

Related Products


A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century

Eight-volume English edition reprinted in two volumes; two very scarce volumes of the German edition, which were not translated into English, reprinted in a separately available third volume.

Learn More


A Concordance to the Poems of Dylan Thomas

Romantic. Affirmative. Rhetorical. The poetry of Dylan Thomas urged readers to ponder life as they never had before. Researchers now have access to a concordance and word list keyed to the 1978 printing of Dylan Thomas: The Poems, edited by Daniel Jones.

Learn More


A People at War

Letters, diaries, memoirs, and other personal papers from the Civil War holdings of the Library of Congress. Edited by John R. Sellers.

Learn More


Editors’ Picks for Faculty…Including Black History Content

Black history, music and disability studies, Dracula, the Salk vaccine and more!

Learn More

We Asked Three Questions About ProQuest One Business…

…and the product team shared new details about the industry’s newest business resource.

Learn More