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Mother Jones and American Labor

During the early part of the 20th century, there were few women in the United States better known than Mary Harris Jones, better known as “Mother” Jones. Whether loved or hated, no one disputed her influence on labor organization between 1900 and the mid-1920s. Her tactics made her a much-loved icon of the working class, while they got her labeled as “the most dangerous woman in America” by business interests.

While working for several labor causes during her life, in addition to a stint as a lecturer for the Socialist Party of America, Jones concentrated most of her efforts on organizing coal miners, particularly in West Virginia and Colorado. While Jones became marginalized in the history of the labor movement and met with only moderate success, a renewed interest in her life came during the turbulent 1960s. This interest grew with the establishment of Mother Jones magazine and subsequent publication of her correspondence and speeches, as well as biographies about her. The documents on this site help to shed light on this “angel of the miners,” both her personal and public life, which are inextricably intertwined.

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