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Finding aid to the Burnette G. Haskell diaries and receipt, 1878-1885
MS 952  
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Collection comprises two diaries and a receipt for a registered letter, kept by California labor leader Burnette G. Haskell. Volume 1 (1878-1879) mostly concerns Haskell's failed courtship of Sophie McFarlane (1878-1879); volume 2 (1885) documents his labor career, including the activities, organization, and membership of the International Workmen's Association (IWA) and the Progressive Assembly of the Knights of Labor, both of which Haskell founded.
Born in 1857 in Sierra County, Burnette G. Haskell was a lawyer; radical editor, publisher, and journalist; founder of the Kaweah Colony; and one of the most prominent union organizers of the 1880s on the Pacific Coast. A lawyer for the Republican State Central Committee, Haskell first became active in the San Francisco labor movement in 1882 when labor leader Frank Roney recruited his fledging newspaper Truth as the official journal of the San Francisco Trades Assembly. During its brief career (1882-1884), Truth published local, national, and international labor news, and printed a wide range of radical literature. In 1882, Haskell founded the International Workmen's Association (IWA) in San Francisco; between 1882 and 1887, the IWA organized dozens of unions, including the Coast Seamen's Union, throughout the Pacific Coast. In 1884, Haskell organized the Progressive Assembly of the Knights of Labor, a mixed San Francisco assembly that held weekly educational meetings on progressive themes. Beginning in 1886, Haskell turned his attention to the cooperative movement, establishing the Kaweah Colony in Tulare County with other IWA members; the enterprise collapsed in 1890. After the 1888 publication of Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward, Haskell became active in the Nationalist movement and later resumed his law practice, representing the Coast Seamen's Union. He died in 1907.
2 volumes and 1 receipt
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