Skip to main content
Use the right side menu to identify relevant boxes and place requests.

AFL Secretary-Treasurer's Office, Frank Morrison papers

 Collection 0031-LBR-RG2-003

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.


  • 1911-1914


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


1.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of the Collection

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.

Biographical / Historical

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.

Organization of the Collection

This collection is organized into two series:

Series 1
Executive Council Correspondence, 1911-1914
Series 2
Non-Political Campaign Committee, 1920-1924

Custodial History

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.

Existence and Location of Copies

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.

Related Materials

AFL Secretary-Treasurer's Office, Frank Morrison letterbooks consists of 440 volumes, 1904-1925. A card index is available in the archive.

Morrison's correspondence is also included in Executive Council Vote Books and Minutes (see RG4 collections).

Copybooks for 1925-1939 are held on 28 reels of 16mm microfilm at the University of Maryland. (see also RG2-004)

AFL Executive Council Correspondence, Minutes, and Vote Books

American Federation of Labor (AFL), Executive Council minutes

Processing Information

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.

Guide to the AFL Secretary-Treasurer's Office, Frank Morrison papers
George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archives
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742