SCUA

International Brotherhood of Paper Makers. Eagle Lodge

International Brotherhood of Paper Maker Records. Local 1 (Eagle Lodge : Holyoke, Mass.) Records, 1901-1978.

1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 081

First organized as Eagle Lodge in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the United Brotherhood of Paper Makers was granted a charter by the AFL in May 1883. Almost as soon as the union was established, however, it faced a serious struggle for power from within. Hoping to maintain their higher economic and social status, the machine tenders ultimately organized their own union, and the two remained separate for a number of years until they finally merged in 1902 as the International Brotherhood of Paper Makers.

The surviving records of the Eagle Lodge, Local 1 of the International Brotherhood of Paper Makers, include by-laws, minutes, correspondence, some contracts, a ledger, and three histories of the local and the early days of the union.

Background on Eagle Lodge

With its abundant waterpower resources, Holyoke, Mass., became a center for the production of paper by the mid-nineteenth century, earning the nickname the “Paper City.” In the unstable economy of the post-Civil War years, labor relations deteriorated, with the influx of immigrants seeking work raising tensions within the workforce. Facing the economic depression of 1884-1885, paper workers organized as the United Brotherhood of Paper Makers and was granted a charter by the American Federation of Labor in 1883. Its early years were not auspicious. Almost as soon as the union was established, it faced a serious struggle for power from within. Hoping to maintain their higher economic and social status, the machine tenders ultimately organized their own social club, later union, the Eagle Lodge, and the two remained separate for nearly twenty years, until they finally merged in 1902, becoming the International Brotherhood of Paper Makers, with Eagle Lodge designated as Local 1.

The Eagle Lodge focused initially on reducing the long hours associated with the two-tour system, in which workers were scheduled for eleven-hour days and thirteen-hour nights in alternate weeks. A although Whiting Paper conceded, agreeing to reduce machine tenders’ hours from 72 to 60 hours per week, the backtenders voted accept a pay increase over the shorter week. A small organization, the Lodge persisted in their advocacy for higher wages and reduced hours, leading a major strike in 1901 that effected every paper mill in the city with the exception of Whiting and Valley Paper Co., both of which agreed immediately with the strikers’ demands. After two weeks of closure, the American Writing Paper Co. settled, granting a 20% increase in pay and a cap at 66 hour work week.

With its ranks swelling in response to their success, the Lodge became a leader in the tumultuous strike of 1903, in which women in the rag sorting rooms walked out after being denied a wage increase their male counterparts had been granted. This time the agitation lasted for months, not weeks, and failed, with the leaders of the strike being blacklisted by the mill owners. Eagle Lodge lost much of the momentum it had gained just two years before, but survived as a significant voice in Holyoke labor up until the deinstrialization that accelerated in the years after World War Two.

Contents of Collection

The surviving records of the Eagle Lodge, Local 1 of the International Brotherhood of Paper Makers, include by-laws, minutes, correspondence, some contracts, a ledger, and three histories of the local and the early days of the union.

Collection inventory
By-laws and ritual
1901, 1907, 1943
Folder 1
Minuets
1938/1940
Folder 2
Ledger (1921-1925) with minutes (1928)
1921-1928
Folder 3
Withdrawal cards
1917-1923
Folder 4
Correspondence
1922, 1937
Folder 5
Contracts
1938-1967
Folder 6
Help stop pollution, don’t help stop jobs [leaflet]
1978 1943
Folder 7
“A group of men, 1884-1900″ [early history of the Eagle Lodge]
ca.1950
212 p.
Folder 8
Rush, Tom, Portrait of Eagle Lodge [paper written for Harvey L. Friedman]
ca.1980
Folder 9
Zwerling, Harris, “Eagle Lodge, 1914-22: A case study in AF of L craft unionism” [paper written for Bruce Laurie]
Folder 10
Administrative information
Provenance

Gift of Raymond Beaudry, 1985.

Processing Information

Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf, Jan. 1986, and I. Eliot Wentworth, July 2015.

Related Material
Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: International Brotherhood of Paper Makers. . Eagle Lodge (Holyoke, Mass.) Records (MS 081). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Subjects

  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Paper industry workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Paper industry workers--Massachusetts--Holyoke

Contributors

  • United Paperworkers International Union

Types of material

  • Minutes (Administrative records)
Special Collections and University Archives logo