Western Federation of Miners records Edit


MSS 278 small


  • 1902-1915 (Creation)


  • .1 Linear Feet (Whole)
    1 folder



  • Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open for research.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    Copyright is retained by the author of the items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

  • Preferred Citation

    Item, Folder number and/or title, Box number, Western Federation of Miners, MSS 278, Special Collections, MSU Libraries, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Accession information unknown.

  • Processing Information

    This collection was processed by Jill Abood on July 7, 2005. Sources consulted in the creation of this finding aid: Buhle, M., Buhle, P., Georgakas, D. Ed. (1990). Western federation of miners. In Encyclopedia of the Left. New York: Garland Publishing. (2005). Western federation of miners. In The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. New York: Columbia University Press.

  • Biographical / Historical

    Western Federation of Miners (WFM) was a radical labor union formed in 1893 to defend miners from misuses of technology, promote safer working conditions, and improve pay. In 1905, WFM joined the International Workers of the World (IWW), with William “Big Bill” Haywood, Secretary-Treasurer of WFM, being a keynote speaker at the IWW founding convention. In 1906 Haywood and WFM President Charles Moyer were charged with the murder of former Idaho governor, Frank Steunenberg. Defended by Clarence Darrow, both men were acquitted in 1907. William Haywood’s career with WFM ends when he has a falling out with Charles Moyer. Due to factionalism within the IWW, WFM leaves in 1907. In 1911 WFM joins the American Federation of Labor (AFL). In 1913-1914 the WFM was actively involved in supporting striking copper miners in Calumet, Michigan. During this bloody strike Charles Moyer and other union leaders were assaulted and on Christmas Day over eighty children were killed in a fire. The union changed its name to International Mine, Mill, and Smelter Union (IMMSU) in 1916. While the Union saw lean years in the 1920’s, there was a renewed interest after the New Deal and the Union expanded its activities to the Eastern and Southern regions of the United States. In 1967, the waning Union merged into the Steelworkers Union.

  • Scope and Contents

    This collection of materials consists of correspondence, flyers, petitions, and ephemera about the Western Federation of Miners and affiliated local unions. Included is correspondence from WFM Secretary-Treasurer William D. Haywood, detailed letters concerning the Northern Michigan copper miners strike of 1913-1914, pamphlets requesting financial assistance to aid strikers around the country, leaflets listing delinquent and unfair workers, and flyers promoting the eight-hour work day.

  • Arrangement

    The materials in this collection are listed in chronological order. Undated materials are listed at the end with N.D. following the description.