National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Papers of Mother Jones

West Virginia University

University of Pittsburgh Press

Additional information and digital edition at

A selective edition of the papers of Mary Harris "Mother" Jones (1837–1930), Irish-American schoolteacher and dressmaker who became a prominent labor and community organizer. She then helped coordinate major strikes and co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World. After her husband and four children all died of yellow fever and her workshop was destroyed in a fire in 1871, she began working as an organizer for the Knights of Labor and the United Mine Workers union. From 1897, at around 60 years of age, she became known as Mother Jones. In 1902 she was called "the most dangerous woman in America" for her success in organizing mine workers and their families against the mine owners. In 1903, upset about the lax enforcement of the child labor laws in the Pennsylvania mines and silk mills, she organized a Children's March from Philadelphia to the home of then president Theodore Roosevelt in New York.

Complete in three volumes



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Mary Harris "Mother" Jones. Bain News Service, c. 1910. Library of Congress.


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