Scope and Content of the Collection
Gabriel Edmonston was the General President of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of American from 1881-1882, a member of the FOTLU Legislative Committee from 1882-1886, and Treasurer of the AFL from 1886-1888. The collection contains about 250 items, primarily correspondence but also flyers, circulars and pamphlets. The letters dating from the early 1880's are mainly from Peter J. McGuire, General Secretary of the Carpenters from 1881 to 1901 and an officer of the AFL from 1886 to 1900. Concerned principally with the struggle to establish the carpenters' union and a national federation of trade unions, the letters from this period deal with local carpenters' disputes, the activities of the Knights of Labor, and McGuire's evaluations of Samuel Gompers' first years as AFL President. The letters dating from the late 1880's and 1890's are primarily from Gompers, and focus on Edmonston's roles as Treasurer of the AFL, lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and leader in the labor movement in the capital; also included is personal correspondence relating to Gompers' family. The few twentieth-century documents in the collection consist of personal items and material related to the carpenters' union.