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Terence Powderly's World

Labor leader Terence Vincent Powderly (1849-1924) decided to write his autobiography a century ago. Titled, The Path I Trod, the book sets out to describe what Powderly saw as the major events of his life, including stories of his:

* Birth and youth in Pennsylvania's coal country

* Entering the labor market at 13 years old

* Precocious interest in labor union organization

* Three terms as the Mayor of Scranton, Pennsylvania

* A meteoric rise to head the Knights of Labor, the largest labor union of its time

* Activism for the cause of a free Ireland

* Involvement in American politics

* Civil service as the U.S. Commissioner General of Immigration.

Here, we tell Powderly’s story in the context of his autobiography. Included are objects from the Terence V. Powderly Papers, housed at Special Collections at The Catholic University of America.

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