Latest Installment of Labor Archives of Washington Exhibit

Check out the latest additions to the Labor Archives of Washington exhibit, “An Injury to One is an Injury to All”: The Legacy of the 1916 Everett Massacre and the Industrial Workers of the World in the Pacific Northwest, on display in the UW Allen Library North Lobby through January 29th! Containing additional ephemera and photographs and interpretive text, this new wave of material highlights the role of women in the Industrial Workers of the World. Selections include items from the IWW Photograph Collection, IWW Seattle Joint Branches Records, Anna Louise Strong Papers, and the Portraits Collection. Among the women featured are journalist and author Anna Louise Strong and skilled orator and radical activist Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, as well as lesser known figures such as “IWW Songbird” Katie Phar, who as a child corresponded with IWW martyr Joe Hill shortly before his execution.

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn addresses striking silk workers in Paterson, New Jersey, June 1913. 

As a way to make the exhibit more dynamic and augment the existing materials with new content, Labor Archivist Conor Casey and Assistant Labor Archivist Crystal Rodgers have added materials in planned waves throughout the exhibit run. This unique approach to exhibit design creates an anticipatory experience, inviting viewers to frequent the exhibit to view new additions. By providing additional historical context, it also builds onto what viewers have learned from previous visits, enhancing the educational impact of exhibit content. For more information on pop-up exhibits and museums, check out Nina Simon’s blog post, “A Radical, Simple Formula for Pop-Up Museums”.

Many of the items featured in this case are also available online within the UW Libraries Digital Collections as well as numerous other digitized items from collections at the Labor Archives of Washington. You can also research Labor Collections and find more information about visiting Special Collections on the UW Libraries website. The Labor Archives of Washington is also on social media, so be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. We hope you enjoy the exhibit!

Put on that gauze mask and smile*

The Seattle Star. Thursday, October 31, 1918, page 10.

Special Collections will be hosting two events this month in conjunction with our current exhibit, Washington on the Western Front: At Home and Over There. Both events will provide an opportunity to explore themes featured in the exhibit more fully. Please mark your calendars and join us for:


Lecture by Nancy Bristow, PhD, Professor of History, University of Puget Sound, focusing on the effects of the 1918 influenza in Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest. Author of American Pandemic: The Lost Worlds of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, Oxford University Press, 2012.

January 12, 2017 | 3:30pm – 5:00pm | Suzzallo Library 5th Floor East Conference Room


A Reader’s Theater, led by Lorraine McConaghy, PhD, Public Historian and Historian Emeritus, Museum of History and Industry, will bring together multiple voices and viewpoints from diaries, newspapers and other contemporary sources illustrating the mindset of America at war.

This talk is presented by Humanities Washington and the Washington State Historical Society in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of America’s involvement in World War I.

January 24, 2017  | 3:30pm – 5:00pm | Suzzallo Library 5th Floor East Conference Room

Washington on the Western Front: At Home and Over There will be in display through Tuesday, January 31, 2017. For questions or additional information contact Lisa Oberg at or 206-543-7492.

* The Seattle Star. Wednesday, October 30, 1918, page 1.

Labor Archives of Washington’s Latest Exhibit: “An Injury to One is an Injury to All”

From December 5, 2016 to January 29, 2017, you can view the Labor Archives’ latest exhibit, “An Injury to One is an Injury to All”: The Legacy of the 1916 Everett Massacre and the Industrial Workers of the World in the Pacific Northwest, in the UW Allen Library North Lobby. Featuring photographs, books, and ephemera from Labor Archives collections, several contributions from collections at related repositories, and digitized interviews, the exhibit highlights the history of the IWW in the Pacific Northwest and looks deeper into the events leading up to the Everett Massacre.


This exhibit was designed to use surrogates of photographs and documents, ensuring that the originals can be preserved and secured while sharing the information contained in them with a broader public. This enables the archives to host the exhibit at a variety of community venues. Portions of the exhibit have already been displayed at the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association Conference in May of 2016 in Portland, Oregon as well as the Everett Massacre Commemoration Centennial Boat Tour in November 12, 2016 on board the historic steamship the Virginia V. The exhibit is lightweight and portable and mounted on hardware of backdrop frames from a photographer’s studio to facilitate moving it and installing it in diverse venues.

About the IWW and the Everett Massacre

November 5, 2016 marked 100 years since the Everett Massacre, remembered as the bloodiest day in Pacific Northwest labor history. On this day in 1916, 300 IWW members aboard the ship Verona were met by Everett Sheriff Donald McRae and 200 armed citizen vigilantes at a dock in Everett. A labor strike of the International Shingle Weavers of America had been underway in Everett since May, and the IWW saw the current labor unrest as an opportunity to win striking workers over to their vision of industrial unionism and to support the strikers. After the sheriff refused the Wobblies permission to land on the municipal dock, a gunfight broke out. In the aftermath, at least 5 Wobblies lay dead, and 2 citizen deputies had been killed by “friendly fire” by their fellow deputies. Countless others were injured. It is also likely many other IWW members drowned as the ship began to capsize when those aboard fled to the other side of the ship. The 74 IWW members who made it back to Seattle were thrown in jail, and leader Thomas Tracy was put on trial for the murder of the two deputies. Those in jail were released and Tracy eventually acquitted.

Why was the IWW repeatedly met with such hostility? Everett, a city of industry in the period, had a strong organized labor presence as well as a class of rich industrialists who owned the industries in which the union members worked. Sheriff McRae, who organized the citizen deputies and orchestrated a campaign of escalating violence against the Wobblies, was also pro labor and a former shingle weaver himself. These are puzzles the exhibit seeks to examine, investigating the leading figures involved, the state of the economy in Everett, and the history of the escalating tensions between labor and business as a result of the shingle weavers’ strike.

IWW Stickerettes

The IWW was met with varied responses by Everett trade unionists as a result of their emphasis on industrial unionism, internationalism, radical politics, and direct action organizing tactics. Many members subscribed to socialist and anarchist ideologies, seeking to organize workers under “one big union” and advocating for an end to oppressive working conditions under a capitalist system in favor of a cooperative commonwealth of industrial democracy governed by working people. The exhibit includes a look at this broader IWW history, featuring books on the IWW as well as leaflets, stamps, and stickerettes created and used by the organization to educate the public.

But Why Are Some of the Cases Empty?

As a way to make the exhibit more dynamic and augment the existing materials with new content, we are adding new materials in planned waves throughout the next month. Be sure to check back in throughout December and January! And if you’re interested in learning more about our collections on the IWW and the Everett Massacre, many items are viewable as a part of our digital collections.

We hope you enjoy the exhibit. Be sure to tell your friends and bring them along when you come back to see our updated installment!

New episode of the Labor Archives of Washington’s radio segment on the West Coast Maritime Strike of 1934 streams online this Tuesday

The latest episode of the Labor Archives of Washington’s regular segment, “Learn Yourself”, on the KSVR radio show We Do the Work will stream online this Tuesday December 13, 2016 at 6:30 PM PST. You can also tune in the old fashioned way on KSVR 91.7 FM!

This “Learn Yourself” segment will feature Labor Archivist Conor Casey speaking about the West Coast Maritime Strike of 1934. For more information, go to or email

The regular segment, called “Learn Yourself”, features Labor Archivist Conor Casey (Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections) being interviewed about a history topic by host Mike Dumovich with an emphasis on archival collections and secondary sources related to the topic in the hopes that it will inspire people to learn more about labor history on their own.

Links to Other Episodes in the Series:

  1. Labor Archives of Washington Overview
  2. Everett Massacre, also called Bloody Sunday, where a confrontation caused 7 to 12 people to be murdered on November 5, 1916.
  3. Filipino American Cannery Workers’ Unionism and the Murder of Domingo and Viernes
  4. Farmworkers’ History: The Chateau St. Michelle Grape Boycott and the Labor Archives of Washington’s second annual event Preserving Solidarity Forever: Washington State Farmworkers’ Struggles.
  5. Images of Labor and Social Justice: The Life and Art of Richard V. Correll
  6. Author, Poet, Worker: Carlos Bulosan’s Collections at the Labor Archives of Washington and Eva Urcia’s Quest to Uncover and Preserve Bulosan Family History
  7. The Everett Massacre Centennial Commemoration

Labor Archives Collection Highlights: The Joseph Clancy papers

An archival collection does not have to consist of countless boxes to be rich in historical information. Sometimes the smallest collections are the most interesting! The Joseph Clancy papers is a perfect example of this, consisting of 1.96 cubic feet of material maintained by Clancy during his time as Secretary of Seattle Local 104 of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, and Helpers of America. The materials span the years 1921-1972 and are records commonly kept by a union officer, including union constitutions and bylaws, correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, news clippings, publications, ephemera, and photographs.

When rehousing the collection in new acid free folders, a fascinating story began to emerge from the small assortment of materials, highlighting the tensions that can arise between international union and local union leadership. [1]  In 1946, International President of the boilermakers union, Charles J. MacGowan, demanded Local 104 turn over control of their records, newspaper, and funding to a governing board created by MacGowan. Unsurprisingly, the president was met with great resistance by Joseph Clancy and other members of Local 104 who did not like the idea of an external board controlling the activities of the local. Secretary Clancy and fellow officer Bill Miller refused MacGowan’s requests, resulting in the suspension of Clancy and Miller from the union


Telegram sent by President MacGowan suspending Clancy from the union on February 24, 1947. (Joseph Clancy papers, 2218-001)

MacGowan’s actions were initially upheld after the matter was taken to court by members of Local 104 in the late 1940s; however, the case was eventually brought to the Washington State Supreme Court in the early 1950s, ultimately reversing the decision. This enabled the local to take back control from the international and hold elections for local officers, resulting in the re-election of Clancy as secretary. He then served as Secretary of Local 104 until 1972, just a year before his passing. Local 104 was not the only regional chapter of the boilermakers union to experience interference from international leadership. Several news clippings talk about the efforts of Local 72 in Portland, Oregon, to maintain control of their own local activities.

The Joseph Clancy papers also highlight other issues relevant to union organizing during this time. For instance, one folder of public elections campaign and legislative initiatives material includes ephemera from the 1958 November election campaign urging voters to vote no to Right-to-Work Initiative 202 which would undermine the strength of union organizing in the state. The labor movement was able to effectively organize and counter this initiative, which is part of a long series of attempts to break the power of labor organizations by anti-union advocates.

1958 November election campaign ephemera. (Joseph Clancy papers, 2218-001)

To learn more about the Joseph Clancy papers, click here for the updated finding aid in Archives West. And of course, this collection, along with many others in the UW Libraries Special Collections, can be viewed in person during our open reading room hours! Come discover the “people’s history” at the Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections. Who knows what stories you might uncover?

[1] An International union is the parent labor organization of a union of workers in a particular trade or industry. Local unions are geographically distinct units of the parent organization, which sometimes represent groups of workers in different bargaining units within the same geographical area. “International” denotes that the umbrella organization represents workers in multiple countries—usually the United States and Canada in North America. Umbrella organizations that have a national scope are often called “American Association” or “National Association” or simply “Association” rather than containing the term “international” in their title.


Washington on the Western Front

Armistice Day Parade, Puyallup, November 11, 1918
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, UW28295z.

The exhibit Washington on the Western Front: At Home and Over There  is on display in Special Collections at the University of Washington (UW) through January 31, 2017. In the Spring of 1917 when the US declared war on Germany and became involved in the Great War, now known as World War I, the UW campus wasn’t yet a quarter of century old. In 1893 the Legislature approved the purchase of 350 acres for a new campus. Early buildings such as Denny, Lewis, Clark and Parrington Halls were later by augmented by the ephemeral buildings leftover by the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909.

President Henry Suzzallo saw the war as a way to bring national distinction and growth to the University. The campus was quickly swept up in the war effort with the formation of the Student Army Training Corps and the creation of a naval training ground on the site of the Medical Center. Local physicians – commanded by Dr. James Eagleson – formed Base Hospital 50, which served under the banner of the UW, and Professor of Hygiene and Student Health Center Director Dr. David C. Hall formed Ambulance Corps 12.

The UW transitioned to a quarter system so the curriculum could adapt quickly to the need for new courses in support of the war effort. Food rationing, Red Cross drives and knitting all became a part of campus life. Following the declaration of war, students withdrew from classes in droves to enlist. Fifty-eight students and alumni lost their lives to the war and the Spanish Influenza epidemic which followed. Join us on Veterans Day, November 11, 2017, for a special opportunity to visit the exhibit and learn more about the impact of World War I on the UW at an Open House from 1:00-5:00 p.m. All are welcome and parking is free!

New History Resource on LGBTQ Activism in Seattle

Advertisement for UW Gay Students Association dance, ca 1971-1974

This week marks the launch of a new UW online project: the LGBTQ Activism in Seattle History Project.   Part of the larger Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, this effort “details and documents the history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender activism in Seattle with a narrative history, photos, oral histories, a timeline and catalog of LGBTQ activist organizations.” The resource was compiled by UW History doctoral student Kevin McKenna and features many materials from the Libraries Pacific Northwest Collection.

The site is celebrated by the campus community and activists and members of the LGBTQA community.  Kevin McKenna, who is currently teaching at Lewis and Clark in Portland, talked about the project, the oral history interviews, and the work that still needs to be done to document and bring awareness of the history and legacy of LGBTQ activism to new generations.  Kevin stated “the launch of the online project as part of the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project is just the beginning.”

Take time to read through the website, view the digitized materials from our many collections, and watch the oral history interviews.

The PNW Collection’s LGBTQ materials continue to grow.  Visit this PNW guide to explore the LGBTQ collections (archival collections, published works, websites, and photographs) in Special Collections.

Anne Jenner
Pacific Northwest Curator