Frank Morrison was the Secretary-Treasurer of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) from 1897-1936. This collection of his letterbooks consists of Executive Council correspondence and non-partisan political committee materials.
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1.50 Linear Feet
This small collection of papers of Frank Morrison consists of two series, Executive Council Correspondence (1911-1914) and Non-Partisan Political Campaign Committee (1920, 1924), and supplements other existing records that more fully document his responsibilities as Secretary (1897-1936) and Secretary-Treasurer (1937-1939) of the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Executive Council Correspondence includes 20 folders of material, arranged chronologically, from May 1911 to April 1914.
One folder of Non-Partisan Political Campaign Committee correspondence, 1924, for Colorado, Delaware, Florida and Georgia is also found in Box 1. Two copy books of committee letters, 1920 April- August, are contained in Boxes 2 and 3.
Frank Morrison, 1859-1949: Chronology
1859 November 23: Born in Franktown, Ontario, Canada. Son of Christopher, a Scots-Irish immigrant farmer and sawyer, and Elizabeth Nesbitt Morrison.
1865: Morrison family moves to Walkerton, Ontario, where he completes one year of high school, then leaves school to learn the printing trade in the composing room of the Walkerton Telescope.
1873: Emigrates to United States and secures employment on the Madison, Wisconsin Journal.
1886: Becomes a member of Local 16, International Typographical Union, Chicago.
1889 February: Receives citizenship papers in Superior Court of Cook County, Illinois.
1891 June 11: Marries Josephine Curtis.
1893-1894: Attends Lake Forest Law School and is admitted to the Illinois Bar.
1894-1896: Represents Local 16 in the Chicago Labor Congress and in the Chicago Federation of Labor.
1895: Enrolls in a post-graduate course in law and receives the LL.B. degree.
1896: Serves as a delegate to ITU national convention. Represents ITU at the AFL convention in Denver, Colorado, where he is elected Secretary of the American Federation of Labor for a term beginning January 1, 1897.
1897-1936: Serves as Secretary of the American Federation of Labor.
1906: Becomes secretary of the AFL Labor Representative Committee that was organized to coordinate non-partisan political activities to secure favorable legislation as outlined in Labor's Bill of Grievances. This committee later became the National Nonpartisan Political Campaign Committee.
1907: Sentenced, along with Samuel Gompers and John Mitchell, to six months in prison and $3,000 fine for contempt charges on alleged violations of an injunction prohibiting mention of Buck's Stove & Range Company (St. Louis) as a "scab shop." The convictions were later dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Continues fight against use of injunction in labor strikes through passage of the Clayton Act (1914) and, finally, the Norris-LaGuardia Act (1932).
1908: August 11: Marries Alice s. Boswell.
1936: Elected Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL.
1939: Declines seeking reelection as AFL Secretary-Treasurer, recognizing the office would be called upon to carry heavy burdens during the war. Elected Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus.
1949 March 12: Dies in Washington, D.C.
This collection is organized into two series:
Frank Morrison's copybooks as Secretary-Treasurer (440 volumes, 1904-1925), were sent to Duke University by the AFL-CIO in 1969. Duke University microfilmed the copybooks and by 1985, the original copybooks and microfilm were returned/transferred to the George Meany Memorial Archive.
The George Meany Memorial Archives transferred these records as part of a major transfer of their archive and library holdings to the University of Maryland Libraries in 2013.
Series 1 was microfilmed as part of reel 19 of The American Federation of Labor Records: The Samuel Gompers Era. The inventory describes the collection as follows in part:
Enclosed with the correspondence are other items such as speeches, clippings, pamphlets, and circulars. Among the most important subjects in this correspondence are strikes and other affairs of AFL affiliates, socialist activities, political developments, organizers' reports, National Civic Federation activities, and relations with the Canadian labor movement.
Archives staff at the George Meany Memorial Archives initially processed these records in 1985. The University of Maryland Libraries received the records and the finding aid in 2013. In 2017, Bria Parker migrated the information contained in this finding aid from the George Meany Memorial Archives' Eloquent system. All migrated finding aids have been cleaned using OpenRefine software and ingested into ArchivesSpace using programmatic scripts created in Python. Upon ingest, Rebecca Thayer reviewed and minor revisions to this finding aid. Revisions include changes to biographical/historical notes, scope and content notes, and the creation of new collection numbers. Rebecca Thayer also enhanced custodial histories and re-wrote collection titles to better conform to archival standards.