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Collection Title:
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Walter Macarthur papers, 1883-1944 (bulk 1913-1944).
BANC MSS C-B 411 CARTON 6; BANC MSS C-B 411 CARTON 7; BANC MSS C-B 411 oversize folder 1; BANC MSS C-B 411 CARTON 1; ...
Collection Overview

Title:

Walter Macarthur papers, 1883-1944 (bulk 1913-1944)

Creator/Contributor:

Macarthur, Walter, 1862-1944, creator

Abstract:

The Walter Macarthur Papers contain materials of interest to researchers of the history of seaman's rights, maritime law, and labor movements. The bulk of the collection begins with Macarthur's service as U.S. Shipping Commissioner from 1913 to 1932, including substantial materials pertaining to the implementation and interpretation of the Seamen's Act of 1915. This part of the collection includes correspondence, reports, court decisions, and clippings illustrating a turbulent period of maritime history: major issues include the protection of seamen, the opening of the Panama Canal, immigration from Asia, competition with Japan for Pacific trade, and the transition from sailing ships to steamers. The collection also contains printed matter and internal documents from the Sailors' Union of the Pacific and its umbrella organization, the International Union of American Seamen, led by Andrew Furuseth. Macarthur's writings on maritime and labor issues are represented in manuscript and print, primarily of articles written in the 1930s, as well as in correspondence with readers and publishers. Macarthur's own corrected copies of Handbook, Navigation Laws of the United States and The Seamen's Contract, 1790-1918 are also present, as are bound manuscripts of "San Francisco: A Climax in Civics" and the anthology "Papers on Seamen's Law." Macarthur's support of H.R. 2902, a bill to extend the benefits of the U.S. Public Health Service to seamen, appears in extensive correspondence with labor organizations and reports on the topic. The collection brings together extensive clippings from American and foreign newspapers on a variety of topics relating to maritime issues, labor, and World War II, as well as clippings that are personal or biographical in nature. Overall, personal material in the collection is limited to correspondence and a small number of official and manuscript documents.

Date:

1913 (issued)

Subject:

n------ -- n-us-ca -- n-us---
Macarthur, Walter -- 1862-1944 -- Archives
Furuseth, Andrew -- 1854-1938
United States. -- Shipping Board.
Sailors' Union of the Pacific.
Union Labor Party of San Francisco.
Shipping -- Pacific Coast (North America)
Sailors
Shipwrecks
Labor unions
Maritime law
Labor -- California -- San Francisco
San Francisco Bay (Calif.)
San Francisco (Calif.) -- Politics and government

Note:

COLLECTION STORED, IN PART, OFF-SITE: Advance notice required for use.
Carton 1 : also available on microfilm.
Walter Macarthur papers, BANC MSS C-B 411, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Gift; of E.E. Ellison; 1944.
Drawings, paintings and pictures transferred to Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.
Related collection: Ships, boats and San Francisco views from the Walter Macarthur collection [graphic] (BANC PIC 1905.04415-.04541--PIC).
Related item: The Red record: a brief resume of some of the cruelties perpetrated upon American seamen at the present time (HD8039.S4 .C6 v.2:4).
Related collection: James H. Barry papers (BANC MSS 98/186 c).
Related item: Poster honoring the signing of the Seamen's Act by President Wilson (BANC PIC 1945.012--D).
Coast Seamen's journal (F850.C7; periodical owned by Bancroft, donated by Macarthur).
Walter Macarthur was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1862. At age 14 he started his sailing career, working his way up to able seaman by 1881. In 1889 he began taking jobs exclusively in the coastwise trade of the western U.S., shipping on vessels traveling up and down the coast. He ceased being an active seaman in 1891, when, inspired by his participation in the Coast Sailor's Union (later the Sailors' Union of the Pacific) he became the business manager of The Coast Seaman's Journal. He assumed the editorship of that publication in 1895, and made the paper into a strong voice for seamen's rights as well as for labor rights more generally. After an unsuccessful run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1910, Macarthur left The Coast Seaman's Journal in 1913 to take up an appointment as U.S. Shipping Commissioner of San Francisco. As Commissioner, he focused on improving the lot of the common seaman, including through the Seamen's Act (also called the La Follette Act) of 1915. In 1932 he was forced to retire from his position due to a government policy that phased out federal employees at age 70. Macarthur published several books and articles on maritime and labor topics. His Handbook, Navigation Laws of the United States ran to 3 editions from 1915 to 1918. His other publications include The Red Record: A Brief Resume of Some of the Cruelties Perpetrated upon American Seamen at the Present Time (1895), Trade Union Epigrams (1904), The Seaman's Contract, 1790-1918 (1919), Under the Lee (as Martin Gale, 1924), Sea Routes of Commerce (1925), Last Days of Sail on the West Coast (1929), American Seamen's Law (1931, supplemented 1937), Voyage of the Sacramento (1934), and Last Ships Through the Golden Gate (1936). Walter Macarthur died in San Francisco in 1944.
In English.

Type:

Manuscripts (for publication)
Awards.
Sketches.

Physical Description:

print
5 cartons, 1 oversize folder, 8 volumes (8.25 linear ft.)
1 microfilm reel (40 exposures) : negative (Rich. 90:1) and positive.

Language:

English

Identifier:

BANC MSS C-B 411 CARTON 6
BANC MSS C-B 411 CARTON 7
BANC MSS C-B 411 oversize folder 1
BANC MSS C-B 411 CARTON 1
BANC MSS C-B 411 CARTON 2
BANC MSS C-B 411 CARTON 3
BANC MSS C-B 411 CARTON 4
BANC MSS C-B 411 CARTON 5
BANC MSS C-B 411 v. 1
BANC MSS C-B 411 v. 2
BANC MSS C-B 411 v. 3
BANC MSS C-B 411 v. 4
BANC MSS C-B 411 v. 5
BANC MSS C-B 411 v. 6
BANC MSS C-B 411 v. 7
BANC MSS C-B 411 v. 8
BANC MSS C-B 411
BANC MSS C-B 411

Origin:

California

Copyright Note:

COLLECTION STORED, IN PART, OFF-SITE: Advance notice required for use.