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A Night Letter from Samuel Gompers

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Recently, the records of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) for the years 1883-1925 were digitized and placed online by the Library’s Manuscript Division. They make a rich source of primary materials  more easily available to researchers studying  labor history.

From the American Federation of Labor Records: 1914; Apr. 10-May 9.,0.363,1.562,0.591,0
F.J. Hayes, E.L. Doyle (center), Jas. Lord, between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915.

Among the many interesting documents in this collection is the above telegraph dated April 21, 1914. It was a reply sent by Samuel Gompers to Edward (E.L.) Doyle and is likely a response to the Ludlow Massacre of the day before, in which striking coal miners and some of their family members were killed by militia seeking to break the miners’ strike against the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.

In 1914, at the time of Ludlow Massacre in Colorado, Doyle was Secretary Treasurer of District 15 of the United Mineworkers of America in Colorado and was intimately involved in the events in Ludlow. Given his position and involvement, he later testified before Congress on the conditions of mineworkers in Colorado and followed that up right to the door of John D. Rockefeller Jr., the president of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.

This particular telegraph is part of the group covering April 9 – May 10, but if you’re interested in exploring the full American Federation of Labor collection, it is now digitized and can be found at

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