"Mother" Jones Collection


Papers and photographs documenting the life of labor organizer Mary Harris "Mother" Jones (1843?-1930), drawn from the Mother Jones, Terence Powderly and John Mitchell collections of The Catholic University of America Archives.

She was the "Miners Angel;" she was the "most dangerous woman in America." She was an "impious Joan of Arc;" she was a "secular nun."

Mary Harris was born in County Cork in Ireland, probably in 1836. She came to Toronto in the early 1840's, attended public school and normal school, and in the early years of her adult life taught in Catholic schools in Monroe, Michigan and Memphis, Tennessee. In Memphis she married George Jones, and official of the Moulders' Union, but George and their children perished a few years later in a Yellow Fever epidemic. Sometime in the 1870s she drifted into organizing and radical politics and over the next sixty years she seemed to find her way to every dramatic event in the history of the radical politics and labor in America.

Her work in behalf of the miners was the central effort of her career and would win her the most fame. One of her first great triumphs was in the coalfields of West Virginia organizing miners during the great anthracite coal strike of 1902. ?Many of her letters reveal the drama, danger and heartache of those [industrial war] battles.

----From the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library proposal, written by Timothy J. Meagher


Background images used with the kind permission of The Anthracite Museum Complex, Bureau of Historic Sites & Museums, Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission, MG 369. Special thanks to Mr. Chester Kulesa and Ms. Diane Reed.