MORE OLD-TIME WOBBLY STUFF [HUNTER GRAY COLLECTION]
William D. "Big Bill" Haywood -- initially of the Western Federation of Miners and then a major figure in the Industrial Workers of the World -- was a Westerner [Rockies], a former cowpuncher and prospector and miner, and a Man of Action. He was also a very depthy and empathetically humanistic and lucid thinker -- not an ideologue -- and this quite rare 1911 pamphlet, 64 pages and co-authored by Frank Bohn, and published by Kerr, is a very solid exposition of Left socialism with many explicitly "industrial unionist" [anarcho-syndicalist] dimensions indeed! In 1912, Haywood -- a "Red" Socialist -- was forced from the Socialist Party by the conservative "Yellow" faction. He continued, of course, as a very militant and radical socialist and IWW leader. One of 150 IWW activists convicted under the spurious anti-radical and anti-labor Federal "Espionage Act" during World War I [Gene Debs was also a victim], Haywood eventually jumped bail and fled to Russia early in 1921 -- dying in the USSR in 1928. Half his ashes are buried in the Kremlin Wall and the other half at the final United States resting place for many notable radicals, Chicago's Waldheim Cemetery. His book, Bill Haywood's Book: The Autobiography of William D. Haywood, first published in 1929 with a number of subsequent editions, is a major classic.
This is a very rare copy of IWW editor, poet, and song-writer ["Solidarity Forever"] Ralph H. Chaplin's legendary and very substantial 1920 labor defense book -- about 85 pages with photographs and end papers -- on behalf of the Centralia, Washington Wobblies. World War I anti-radical and anti-labor boss-manufactured fear and hysteria passed into the infamous Red Scare epoch. For months in 1919, Wobblies at and around Centralia had been threatened and attacked by hoodlums. On November 11, 1919, the IWWs -- mostly lumber workers and including several World War I vets -- defended their Union hall against a cold and calculated armed Armistice Day raid by the Lumber Trust-manipulated Centralia American Legion. In the shooting, four Legion members were killed. A number of Wobblies were seized and, that night, Wesley Everest, a veteran and a prominent IWW leader, was taken from his jail cell by a mob, castrated, and lynched from a bridge trestle. A reign of anti-IWW and general anti-labor terror pervaded the entire region. Eight Wobblies were convicted of murder and sentenced to Walla Walla penitentiary. One died in prison and, in the 1930s, the remainder were eventually released at various points. They were ably and loyally defended by George H. Vanderveer of Seattle, and by Elmer Smith of Centralia -- himself initially a target. Smith, originally from Larimore, North Dakota, worked on behalf of all of the defendants until all were freed -- save the one victim who died in prison. The cover illustration, done by Chaplin, depicts the lynched and mutilated Wesley Everest.
This particular copy includes a full page, mimeographed letter dated June 30, 1920, written and ink-signed by Elisabeth Gilman of 513 Park Avenue, Baltimore, and, addressed to "Dear Fellow Member of the Church League," attaches a copy of the Chaplin work. There were obviously a number of recipients of the book and letter. Her plea is a vigorously courageous and moving statement on behalf of full justice and freedom for the Centralia defendants.
This book ranks in significance with The Everett Massacre: A History of the Class Struggle in the Lumber Industry, an important [300 plus pages with photos] 1917 cloth-bound book by IWW writer/activist Walker C. Smith and carrying a fiery preface by Wobbly editor and organizer C.E. Payne. [In the early 1920s, Walker C. Smith also published a pamphlet on behalf of the Centralia victims.]
The Everett Massacre book discusses the Lumber Industry, the IWW in the Pacific Northwest, the Everett Massacre and the death of several IWW activists -- and the subsequent arrest and imprisonment of a number of others charged with murder, all of this culminating in the Seattle murder trial and acquittal of the lead defendant, Wobbly activist Tom Tracy. The Wobblies, who had previously been badly beaten and forced from Everett, Washington by guns and violence, had attempted to enter the "closed" coastal town north of Seattle via boat -- on Puget Sound -- on November 5 1916 where they were met by organized gunfire from a throng of so-called "lawmen" and Lumber-Trust vigilantes. The Everett defendants were represented by George F. Vanderveer and, on May 5, 1917, Tom Tracy was acquitted. The others so charged were then freed forthwith.
The Everett Massacre was published in 1917 and was one of the first IWW books I ever secured and read as a young person. [My mother was born at Everett in 1906.] I have my copy of the book to this day. C.E. Payne, who had been a founder of the IWW in 1905 and who was almost 90 in early 1955, was a very key mentor and close friend of mine when I was barely 21.
This is an also extremely rare and substantial IWW book about 100 pages in length -- with a number of photos. And that is one hell of a soon-to-fall massive Pacific Northwest tree with a super-cut by the Wobbly loggers -- one on each side with heavy axe and two men sitting inside the cut itself! This was published in the very early 1920s.