Moss, Bertha Bradley. Collection on the Progressive Miners of America, circa 1897-1949

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Collection Overview

Title: Moss, Bertha Bradley. Collection on the Progressive Miners of America, circa 1897-1949

Extent: 0.7 cubic feet

Subjects: Coal mines and mining, Jones, Mother, 1837-1930, Labor, Labor unions

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists of material collected by Bertha Bradley Moss about the Progressive Miners of America, Illinois coal mining, and miners. Materials include newspapers and clippings, biographical materials on Alexander “General” Bradley and Mary G. Harris “Mother” Jones, ephemera, and correspondence.

Bertha Bradley Moss was born in Staunton, Illinois, in 1884. Throughout her childhood, her older brother Alexander "General" Bradley (1866-1918) worked as a coal miner in Illinois. She wrote about growing up with Bradley and watching him organize Illinois workers to join the nationwide United Mine Workers strike in 1897. Later in life, Moss actively donated and took part in the Mother Jones Monument Committee. After her death in 1946, Moss was buried in the Union Miners Cemetery, where her brother is also buried.

The Progressive Miners of America (1932-1999) was a coal miners’ union that was organized in downstate Illinois. As a response to a 1932 United Mine Workers’ contract proposal which reduced workers’ wages, the Progressive Miners of America broke away from the United Mine Workers of America and formed their own union. The union issued a weekly newspaper called the Progressive Miner. In 1999, the Progressive Miners of America formally dissolved.

This collection contains newspapers, clippings, biographical materials, ephemera, and correspondence collected by Bertha Bradley Moss, the sister of Alexander Bradley. Materials include eight issues of The Progressive Miner, five issues of The Litchfield News-Herald, three issues of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (including a pictorial supplement), two issues of The American Miner, one issue of the Illinois State Journal, and one issue of the Mount Olive Herald, as well as various clippings from these and other newspapers. The newspapers in this collection are organized chronologically and the clippings are organized alphabetically by title. This collection also contains biographical materials such as handwritten biographies, funeral notices, clippings, and writings by Alexander “General” Bradley and Mary G. Harris “Mother” Jones, who were both famous union organizers and labor activists. This collection also contains various photographs, poems, songs, and ribbons, as well as a correspondence series, which consists of 11 letters from 1918 to 1946 addressed to Bertha Bradley Moss from various senders. Many pieces of correspondence include the original envelope addressed to Moss along with other items enclosed such as clippings and calling cards.  

This collection was donated to the Library in February 2022 by David Nassar.

Subject/Index Terms

Coal mines and mining
Jones, Mother, 1837-1930
Labor unions