Guide to the William Martin Papers, 1866-1933 AIS.2005.06

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
William Martin Papers
Creator
Martin, William, 1845-1923
Collection Number
AIS.2005.06
Date [inclusive]
1866-1933
Extent
3.94 linear feet (9 boxes)
Abstract
William Martin is largely remembered as an active and influential participant in the labor movement of the late 19th century. This collection relates primarily to his involvement in the labor industry both as an elected union official and private entrepreneur. These records include financial ledgers, union meeting minutes, correspondence, wage scale and labor cost information, travel ledgers, letters of endorsement, newspaper clippings, patent information, and materials of genealogical interest.

Preferred Citation

William Martin Papers, 1866-1933, AIS.2005.06, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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Biography

Born January 7, 1845 in Caulderbank, Scotland, William Martin moved to Pittsburgh in 1870 and is largely remembered as an active and influential participant in the labor movement of the late 19th century. From 1878-1890 Martin served as Secretary of the National Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers of the United States. In 1889, he unsuccessfully petitioned Benjamin Harrison, the president elect, for the office of Commissioner of Labor, gathering in the process numerous endorsements from such prominent figures as Andrew Carnegie, United States Senators Mathew Quay and Boies Penrose, and B.F. Jones, President of the American Iron and Steel Association. In 1897 Martin would petition President William McKinley, again unsuccessfully, for the post of Commissioner of Immigration at Ellis Island.

From 1891-1893, Martin worked at the Carnegie Steel Company where he served as Chief of the Bureau of Labor. During this time Martin collected, sometimes covertly, wage scale and labor cost information related to competitor businesses and mills. This information was subsequently used by the Carnegie Steel Company as a determinant of wage payouts for the workers of the Homestead Mill and contributed to the Homestead Strike of 1892.

Between 1893-1898, Martin was involved with both the McCullough and Martin Manufacturing Company, a business responsible for manufacturing paint and grease products, and with the Olive Varnish Company, a business involved with the manufacturing of varnishes, japans, and lacquers. Both companies occupied space at 61stand Butler Streets in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Martin became co-owner of the McCullough and Martin Manufacturing Company in 1893, then known as Eureka Lubricants, and served as company salesman traveling throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and as far east as New York City. In late 1896, Martin purchased sole rights to the business and changed the name to Martin Manufacturing Company. The company survived two more years, eventually closing in 1898 due to lack of sales.

From 1895-1897 Martin served as a partner with the Olive Varnish Company, a Pittsburgh business responsible for manufacturing varnishes, japans, and lacquers. Much like his role with the McCullough and Martin Manufacturing Company, Martin acted as company salesman, often representing the interests of both companies in his travels.

Martin was also active in the field of invention and submitted to the Patent Office three applications for patent consideration, two of which, a 1906 patent for street car fenders intended to collect stray materials from the tracks and a 1907 patent for street car brakes, were awarded patent recognition.

Prior to his death in 1923, Martin was working as a night manager of Reymer and Brothers, a Fifth Avenue department store in downtown Pittsburgh.

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Scope and Content Notes

This collection reflects portions of the life of Pittsburgh resident William Martin and his involvement in the labor movement of the late 19th century as an employee with the International Iron and Steel Roll Hands and as Secretary of Treasurer for the National Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. This collection also contains information related to Martin’s involvement with private business, both as Chief of the Bureau of Labor for the Carnegie Steel Company and as an active partner with the Olive Varnish and McCullough and Martin Manufacturing Companies. Included also is business information related to invention and patent acquisition. In addition to Martin’s involvement with labor organizations and work in private business, the collection also contains materials related to Martin’s attempts to secure coveted government posts at the Federal level.

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Arrangement

Additional scope notes are found at the series level. The collection contains six series:

  • Series I. Labor Unions, 1866-1893
  • Series II. Chief of the Bureau of Labor, Carnegie Steel Company, 1891-1893, 1900
  • Series III. McCullough and Martin Manufacturing and the Olive Varnish Companies, 1893-1897
  • Series IV. Applications for the Office of Commissioner of Labor and the Office of Commissioner of Immigration at Ellis Island, 1889-1890, 1897-1899
  • Series V. Inventions and Patent Acquisition, 1905-1907
  • Series VI. Family and Miscellaneous Papers, 1860’s-1933

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, August 2006

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Custodial History

George F. Martin, Jr., grandson of William Martin, placed the William Martin Papers with the University Library System in 1961.

Acquisition Information

The University Library System transferred the papers from the Special Collections Department to the Archives Service Center where they were further processed in 2005.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Nathaniel Eddy in June 2005.

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Related Materials

Separated Material

Oversize materials are located in Range 1/12/4.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers of the United States.
  • Carnegie Steel Company.
  • International Rollers, Roughers, Catchers and Hookers of the United States.
  • McCollough and Martin Manufacturing Company.
  • Olive Varnish Company.

Family Name(s)

  • Martin family

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pittsburgh (Pa.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Martin, William, 1845-1923

Subject(s)

  • Business and Industry
  • Iron and steel workers -- United States
  • Labor
  • Labor unions -- United States

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Previous Citation

William Martin Papers, 1866-1933, AIS.2005.06, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. Labor Unions, 1866-1893 

Scope and Content Notes

This series contains financial ledgers, receipts, quarterly reports, correspondence, meeting minutes, union cards, newspaper clippings, wage scale information, photographs, and miscellaneous materials related to the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, the Iron and Steel Roll Hands, and the Rollers, Catchers, and Hookers Union. Also included is a handwritten account of the Hacking Valley Strike of 1884 and the contents of two oversize folders. Oversize 1 contains the 1874-1875 sub-lodge quarterly reports of the Iron and Steel Roll Hands while Oversize 2 includes an issue of the Labor Tribune newspaper, clippings from the Pittsburg Dispatch, and a historical background of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. This series also contains numerous decorative ribbons and medals used to commemorate union conventions and celebrations.

Subseries  1. Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers 

  BoxFolder
Sub-lodge Receipts and Disbursements, Ledger, 1870-1887 11
  Folder
National Lodge, Receipts, 1879-1890 2
  Folder
Abstract from the Quarterly Reports of Sub-Lodges, 1891 3
  Folder
Exchange Lodge No. 24, Committee Reports, 1880 4
  Folder
Sub-lodge Membership Information, 1892 5
  Folder
Correspondence as Secretary of Treasurer, 1878-1890 6
  Folder
Martin Union Cards and Time Card Information, 1866-1890 7
  Folder
Thomas A. Armstrong Monumental Committee, 1889 8
  Folder
Miscellaneous Newspaper Clippings, 1888-1893 9

Subseries  2. Iron and Steel Roll Hands 

  Folder
Meeting Minutes and Finances, Ledger, 1874-1876 10
  Folder
Sub-lodge Quarterly Reports and Wage Scale Information, 1874-1876 11
  Folder
Keystone Lodge No. 19 Membership Information, 1874 12
  Folder
Miscellaneous Sub-lodge Membership Information, 1874 13
  Folder
Copy of Speech Delivered at National Convention, Undated 14
  Oversize
Sub-lodge Quarterly Reports, 1874-1875 1

Subseries  3. Minutes and Publications 

  Folder
Rollers, Catchers, and Hookers Union, Meeting Minutes, Ledger, 1873-1876 15
  BoxFolder
Rollers, Roughers, Catchers, and Hookers Union, Sub-lodge Finances, Ledger, 1874 21
  Folder
Circular of Amalgamation to the Heaters and Roll Hands of the United States, 1875 2
  Folder
Miscellaneous Wage Scale Information, 1872, 1888 3
  Folder
Handwritten Account of the Hacking Valley Strike, 1884 4
  Folder
Miscellaneous Receipts and Union Cards, Scrapbook, 1873-1887 5
  Folder
Thomas Armstrong, John Jarret, William Martin, David A. Plant, William Weihe, Photographs, Undated 6
  Oversize
Newspapers and Clippings, 1887-1888, 1892-1893 2

Subseries  4. Awards 

  Box

Section: Union and Organization Ribbons and Medals 

2.1
  Box

Section: Union and Organization Ribbons and Medals 

2.2

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Series  II. Chief of the Bureau of Labor, Carnegie Steel Company, 1891-1893, 1900 

Scope and Content Notes

This series contains information related to Martin's tenure as Chief of the Bureau of Labor for the Carnegie Steel Company, including competitor mill wage scale and labor cost information, correspondence, memorandums, contracts, travel ledgers, and newspaper clippings. The bulk of the content is related to correspondence and competitor mill wage scale information compiled by Martin using industry contacts made during his previous involvement with labor union organizations. This data would later be used as the model on which the proposed 1892 Homestead Mill scales would be based.

  Folder
Correspondence and Competitor Mill Wage Scale Information, 1891-1893 7-9
  Folder
Competitor Mill Wage Scale and Labor Cost Information Compiled, 1891-1892 10-11
  Folder
Miscellaneous Competitor Wage Scale and Labor Cost Information, undated 12
  Folder
The Carnegie Steel Company, Memorandum of Wage Payout Agreement With Comparative Wage Scale Data, 1891-1893 13-14
  BoxFolder
The Carnegie Steel Company, Memorandum of Wage Payout Agreement With Comparative Wage Scale Data, 1891-1893 31
  Folder
Homestead Steel Works- Average Daily Wages, 1891-1892 2
  Folder
Homestead Steel Works- Proposed Scales and Contract of Agreement, 1892 3
  Folder
Homestead Steel Works- Newspaper Clippings, 1891-1893 4
  Folder
The Carnegie Steel Company, Miscellaneous Internal Correspondence, 1892-1893 5
  Folder
Correspondence to Henry Frick and Andrew Carnegie, 1900 6
  Folder
Travel Ledgers, 1890-1893 7
  Folder
Miscellaneous Newspaper Clippings, 1891-1893 8

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Series  III. McCullough and Martin Manufacturing and the Olive Varnish Companies, 1893-1897 

Scope and Content Notes

This series contains correspondence, travel ledgers, contracts,account information, business cards, and letterhead related to Martin's involvement in the McCullough and Martin Manufacturing Company and the Olive Varnish Company. Also contained is an 1893 letter of recommendation by future President William McKinley, then Governor of Ohio.

Subseries  1. McCullough and Martin Manufacturing Company 

  Folder
Business Correspondence to William S. McCullough, 1893-1896 9-15
  Folder
Business Correspondence to Martin Manufacturing, 1896-1897 16-17
  BoxFolder
Business Correspondence to Martin Manufacturing, 1897 41-2
  Folder
Travel Ledgers, 1894-1897 3-5
  Folder
Eureka Lubricants, Purchase Agreement and Account Information, 1893 6
  Folder
Martin Manufacturing, Agreement to Purchase Share of Company from William S. McCullough, 1896 7
  Folder
Miscellaneous Financial and Company Account Information, 1894-1897 8
  Folder
Company Business Cards and Blank Letterhead, Undated 9

Subseries  2. The Olive Varnish Company 

  Folder
Business Correspondence to Olive Varnish Company, 1895-1896 10-11
  Folder
Company Purchase Agreement, 1895 12

Subseries  3. Business Correspondence 

  Folder
Business Correspondence Including Letter of William McKinley, 1893-1899 13

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Series  IV. Applications for the Office of Commissioner of Labor and the Office of Commissioner of Immigration at Ellis Island, 1889-1890, 1897-1899 

Scope and Content Notes

This series contains handwritten letters of endorsement, form-letters of endorsement, correspondence, circulars, and newspaper clippings related to Martin's attempts to secure a post within the Federal government. This includes information of Martin's 1889 bid for the office of Commissioner of Labor and Martin's 1897 effort to secure the office of Commissioner of Immigration at Ellis Island. Notable contributors of letters include Andrew Carnegie, United States Senators Mathew Quay and Boies Penrose, B.F. Jones, President of the American Iron and Steel Association, and Pittsburgh Mayor William McCallin.

Subseries  1. Office of Commissioner of Labor 

  Folder
Circular to the Trade and Labor Unions of America, Request for Endorsements, 1889 14
  BoxFolder
Handwritten Letters of Endorsement, 1889 51
  Volume
Bound Forms of Endorsement, 1889 1
  Folder
Unbound Forms of Endorsement, 1889 3-4
  BoxFolder
Correspondence Related to Status of Application, 1889-1890 61
  Folder
Newspaper Clippings, 1889 2

Subseries  2. Office of Commissioner of Immigration at Ellis Island 

  Folder
Letters of Endorsement, 1897-1898 3
  Folder
Correspondence Related to Status of Application, 1897-1899 4-6

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Series  V. Inventions and Patent Acquisition, 1905-1907 

Scope and Content Notes

This series contains patents, blueprints, correspondence, brochures, and photographs related to inventions and patent acquisition. Included is a series of thirty-six photographs illustrating the perceived advantages of street car fenders in sweeping foreign debris and human casualties from trolley tracks.

Subseries  1. Patent Information and Documentation 

  Folder
Street Car Fenders, 1905-1906 7
  Folder
Street Car Fenders, Photographs, Undated 8
  Folder
Window Locks, 1906 9
  Folder
Street Car Brakes, 1907 10

Subseries  2. Correspondence 

  Folder
Correspondence Related to Patent Marketing and Sales, 1905-1907 11

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Series  VI. Family and Miscellaneous Papers, 1860s-1933 

Scope and Content Notes

This series contains family correspondence, genealogical sketches, family bibles, birth and marriage certificates, death announcements, newspaper clippings, bank statements, receipts, and information related to Martin's involvement as an insurance salesman.

Subseries  1. Genealogical 

  BoxFolder
Family History and Related Documents, 1860s-1930s 71
  Folder
Family Bibles, 1884, 1893 2
  Folder
Certificates and Documentation of William Martin, 1860, 1865, 1874, 1914 3
  Folder
Materials Related to Son William Joline Martin, 1913, 1918, 1919 4
  Folder
Materials Related to Grandson George F. Martin Jr., 1933 5

Subseries  2. Family Correspondence 

  Folder
Directed to Members of the Martin Family, 1862-1913 6
  Folder
Directed to Wife Melissa Caroline Hopkins Martin, 1873-1878 7
  Folder
Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1901-1913 8

Subseries  3. Statements and Receipts 

  Folder
Insurance Information, 1889, 1905, 1907 9
  Folder
Bank Statements, Receipts, and Disbursements, Masonic Bank, 1880-1890 10-11

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