museum and education site about the amazing labor agitator, Mother Jones
songs from the DVD
Jones Festival 2013
the drive for a Mother Jones Stamp
of Mother Jones
"Mother Jones:A global
history of struggle and remembrance, from Cork, Ireland to Illinois"
Illinois Heritage May 2013
Brief photo essay introduction
to her life and context
Mother Jones: Raising Cain and Consciousness. Albuquerque:
University of New Mexico Press, 2010.
The latest work on
Jones. This one has a different (and I think deeper) understanding
of the Irish context than Gorn's book (below) and of the context
of Jones' religious life, and a few new points, and it's much shorter
than Gorn's, below, which can be useful. It takes the same approach
on the issue of gender politics as Gorn, and is a critical but appreciative
look at her.
Elliott J. Gorn,
Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America. Hill and
Wang, 2002. Short
Excerpt from Gorn's book
The leading biography of Mother
Jones, and the main historian source for our film. Gorn's analysis
allows us the best understanding of how Mother Jones created herself
within the context of gender norms and labor upheavals, and situates
her in the context of the violent response of corporate and state
authorities to the miners' search for just living conditions and
Mary Harris Jones,
Autobiography of Mother Jones (Charles Kerr, 1999). On-Line
Mother Jones' life as dictated
to Clarence Darrow's secretary. Read alongside Gorn's book it
is doubly interesting, both for understanding Gorn's revising
of Mother Jones' rendition of her life, but also for the issue
of memory and biography itself. For high school students, this
is much more engaging than Gorn's book, but students should be
cautioned about the issues of biography and memory.
L. Mother Jones, Revolutionary Leader of Labor & Social
Addresses Mother Jones connections
to traditions of revolutionary syndicalism, thereby also allowing
us to understand her as a feminist. Revises the sometimes
condescending version of her as a folksy figure who was anti-feminist.
Leslie F. Orear,
ed. Mother Jones and the Union Miners Cemetery: Mt. Olive, Illinois
J Mikael, "Mother
Mary Jones: The Labor Movement's Impious Joan of Arc," 1965 dissertation,
a compilation of articles, available
from the Illinois
Labor History Society
You can see how others have drawn
on this, but amended it. It's old, be careful, but since I have
it on hand, might as well share.
Speeches and Correspondence
S. Foner, Mother Jones Speaks: Speeches and Writings of a Working-Class
Fighter Pathfinder Press (NY), 1995).
A collection of classic
Mother Jones speeches..
M. Steel, The Correspondence of Mother Jones (Univ of Pittsburgh
Pr (Txt), 1985).
The introduction is
a wonderful resource for those who don't have the time to read either
her biography or Gorn's biography.
Edward M. Steel,
ed. The Speeches and Writings of Mother Jones (Univ of
Pittsburgh Pr 1988).
More comprehensive than
Foner's work, a terrific compilation. The introductionof this book
is a wonderful resource for those who don't have the time to read
either her biography or Gorn's biography
in labor disputes
Stephen H. Norwood,
Strikebreaking and Intimidation: Mercenaries and Masculinity in
Twentieth-Century America (The University of North Carolina
This book is an excellent
introduction to the history of the use of private and public police
forces in American labor disputes. It is excellent companion to
the movie Matewan. It discusses the use of Baldwin Felts agents
as well as national guard, two issues that arise in the Mother Jones
Cayo Sexton. The War on Labor and the Left. (Westview Press,
This is a terrific source
that places the repression of the U.S. labor movement in comparative
context. For those who assume that the U.S. must have a better record
on free speech and freedom of assembly for workers, this book is
a definite eye-opener
Michael Smith. From Blackjacks to Briefcases: A History of Commercialized
Strikebreaking and Unionbusting in the United States (2003)
As the book's title
suggests, this is a book that connects the use of agents such as
Baldwin-Felts with a longer history of the use of private mercenaries
that suppressed free speech. The main problem with the book is that
it doesn't connect the private use of these with the public use.
The key issue in Ludlow was the overlap between private and public
use of police forces to suppress work
Zinn, A People's History of the United States (see also the
children's version in that section)
Link to excerpt On the global issues, and if you can only read
one short thing, Zinn still captures the class warfare aspect of
Ludlow and Mother Jones better than all before and since.
G. Andrews. Killing for Coal: America's Deadliest Labor War
A prize winning account
of the Colorado mine wars focusing on workscapes as forming human
identity, in this case violence in strikes driven by the mine workscape.
Argues that militancy was driven by the violence beneath the earth.
Leaves out the wider context of Ludlow in the struggles of the UMWA,
and the UMWA is virtually ignored in this account.
Martelle, Blood Passion: The Ludlow Massacre and Class War in
the American West
so-called "neutral stance" but that often means that the
book feels disembodied from the events. A fairly cursory inclusion
of Mother Jones' role, in fact, it portrays her as somewhat of a
nag and a bother to the events. Women's roles minimally included.
S. McGovern and Leona Guttridgerd F. , The Great Coalfield War
(University Press of Colorado, 1996).
A good narrative history,
with maps, etc. Updated by Martelle on some points. Martelle struggles
to point out its errors, but it remains the book that allows you
to see the story unfolding.
Papanikolas, Buried Unsung: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre
(University of Nebraska Press, 1991).
Focuses on the leader
of the Greek miners, a powerful story of the ethnic context
Stein, Massacre at Ludlow: four reports
These unedited primary
source reprints from 1914 Ludlow investigations are extraordinarily
good sources for students to plumb the context of Ludlow, the use
of the national guard in Colorado and the Baldwin Felts agents.
Long, Where the Sun Never Shines: A History of America's Bloody Coal
Chapter 12 of the book
contains a compelling narrative of the events. Long's work is one
of the best reads available to bring you into the world of the miners.
DeStefanis, "Violence and the Colorado National Gaurd: Masculinity,
Race, Class and Identity in the 1913-1914 Southern Colorado Coal Strike"
p 195-212 of Mining
Women: Gender in the Development of a Global Industry, 1870 to 2005
ed. Gier and Mercier. Gives good overview of the defense of the
actions taken by the national guard. Read alongside Stein for more
Organizing and Uprisings
C. Blizzard, When Miners March
available from http://whenminersmarch.com/
history of the coal miners of West Virginia. William C. Blizzard
wrote the text in the early 1950s while his father, miner's hero
Fearless Bill Blizzard, was still alive and able to comment.
Political realities kept the book in a box for more than half a
century--unavailable to either scholars writing their own accounts
of the mine wars or Union families seeking to pass on their own
Corbin, Life, Work, and Rebellion in the Coal Fields: The Southern
West Virginia Miners, 1880-1922 (University
of Illinois Press, 1981).
The film Matewan by
John Sayles neglects to mention that Mother Jones was significantly
involved in organizing there. This book fills in that information
A film directed by John Sayles. 1987
You might be inclined
to think that the film is over the top as far as its portrayal of
life in the towns. But read Strikebreaking and Intimidation from
this list alongside this movie, and you will see that Sayles underplayed
the kind of repression experienced in these mine towns. Unfortunately,
Sayles left out Mother Jones from the history, and she was a vital
part of organizing West Virginia from the beginning.
Shogun The Battle of Blair Mountain: The Story of America's Largest
The real story behind
Matewan. Discusses Mother Jones and her controversial decision to
help stop the march. Discusses first peacetime use of the air force
to put down the uprising.
Mother Jones and related topics for young readers
are specifically directed to young readers, but there are books in
the other sections of this bibliography that are good for high-school
students, in particular her autobiography.
Colman, Mother Jones and the March of the Mill Children
Ages 9-12 Sets Mother Jones march
of 1903 from Pennsylvania to New York in illustrated context
Pinkerton Josephson, Mother Jones: Fierce Fighter for Workers'
(Lerner Publications, 1996).
Listed as young adult,
but probably appropriate for middle school as well.
Rappaport. Trouble at the Mines
Ages 9-12. A fictionalized
version of the Arnot, Pennsylvania struggle of 1899, where Mother
Jones initiated her famous women's "mop and broom brigade."
C. Hawxhurst, Mother Jones: Labor Crusader
(American Troublemakers series) (Steck-Vaughn, 1993).
Colwell Miller, Mother Jones: Labor Leader
(Capstone Press, 2006).
Listed for ages 9-12
Harvey Kraft, Mother Jones: One Woman's Fight for Labor
(Diane Pub Co,
Ages 9-12 - an updated
version of her biography, with interjections of some primary source
Laughlin, The Ludlow Massacre of 1913-14
(Morgan Reynolds Publishing, 2006).
A. Koestler-Grack, The Story of Mother Jones (Chelsea
Gay, Mother Jones (Morgan
Reynolds Publishing, 2006).
Linda. Mother Jones, the most dangerous woman in America
. New York : Crown
Zinn and Rebecca Steffoff, A Young People's History of the United
States : Class Struggle to the War On Terror (Seven
Stories Press, 2007)
For ages 7-10. Has
a chapter that deals with Ludlow and also mentions Mother Jones,
explains socialism in this era in an understandable way
Campbell Bartoletti Growing Up in Coal Country
Ages 9-12, 128 pages. Pennsylvania.
Stunning photographs of child miners and life in the mining camps.
Freedman Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child
material from the Progressive Era muckraker
Moore, Women in the Mines: Stories of Life and Work (Twayne
Stories and profiles
of women across the decades, mineworkers and mining women
E. Roberts and Carol Cook-Roberts. Mother Jones and Her Sisters:
A Century of Women Activists in the American Coal Fields.
A nice collection of stories that
connect workplace and community with narrative stories. Also includes
women as miners
Stepenoff, Their Fathers' Daughters: Silk Mill Workers in Northeastern
, Susquehanna University
and articles by Bonnie
Stepenoff, “Keeping it in the family: Mother Jones and the Pennsylvania
Silk Strike of 1900-1901,” Labor History , Fall, 1997; "I'm
a Johnny Mitchell Man: Gender and Labor Protest in the Pennsylvania
Hard Coal Uprising, 1900-1902," in Mining Women: Gender,
Labor, Capital, and Community in a Global Perspective , edited
by Laurie Mercier and Jaclyn Gier Viskavotoff, Palgrave/Macmillan,
2006, pp. 181-194
Stepanoff offers a
highly critical look at Mother Jones' gendered views of protest,
one that I think is not sustained by the evidence. Stepanoff argues
that Mother Jones reinforced gender roles as much as she challenged
them, and reinforced the patriarchy of the male breadwinner. "The
solution became, not a better deal for the female workers, but a
better deal for the fathers, who, in Jones's view, should support
them." Read alongside Dorothy Wake, Dorothy L. Mother Jones,
Revolutionary Leader of Labor & Social (2001)
for 2 contrasting perspectives of Mother Jones and feminism.
Guerin-Gonzales, "From Ludlow to Camp Solidarity: Women, Men,
and Cultures of Solidarity in U.S. Coal Communities, 1912-1990,"
in Mining Women: Gender in the Development of a Global Industry,
1670 to 2005 ed. Gier and Mercier
Sara. No Separate Refuge: Culture, Class, and Gender on an Anglo-Hispanic
Frontier in the American Southwest, 1880-1940
connects gender and
community-based activism in the coal fields and has section on Ludlow
the Labor Movement
Sue Cobble, The Other Women's Movement Workplace Justice and Social
Rights in Modern America
Kessler-Harris, In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men, and the
Quest for Economic Citizenship in 20th-Century America
sources to come as we launch out new website!!!
"Sit Down and Read.
Educate Yourselves for the Coming Conflict."
for tent city evicted in W. Virginia
Mother Jones in Seattle
Mother Jones and Copper Miners and their
families, in Calumet, Michigan strike of 1913
Mother Jones believed in organizing
entire communities. She brought that style to Colorado and elsewhere
Some Children of Ludlow Tent Colony
Mother Jones and Sid Hatfield in Center,
with organizers for West Virginia
Organizers faced the forces of strikebreaking
and repression in what Mother Jones called "feudal" W. Virginia.
This led to some of the most dramatic
moments in U.S. labor history.
Mother Jones Monument, Mt. Olive, Illinois
Top of the Mother Jones monument, Mt.
Mother Jones puppets have travelled
the world to put the spotlight on violations of workers' rights.
"Old Mother Jones" under house
arrest during the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek Mine wars