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International Association of Siderographers archives

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1705

Abstract

Title:
International Association of Siderographers archives
Author/Creator:
International Association of Siderographers
Collection number:
93-85
Size:
6.25 linear feet
Bulk dates:
1899-1991
Inclusive dates:
1899-1991
Collection Area:
State of Maryland and Historical Collections
Repository:
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email: askhornbake@umd.edu
Abstract:

The siderographers, first organized in 1899, are printing plate engravers employed primarily in the printing of paper money, securities, bonds, and other similar documents. The union's archives consist of membership records; correspondence; minutes; constitutions; bylaws; programs; financial records; certificates; and newspaper clippings. The collection also includes audio tapes, photographs, and memorabilia.

Important Information for Users of the Collection

Restrictions:

This collection is open for research.

Preferred citation:

International Association of Siderographers archives, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Status:

This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

The International Association of Siderographers was organized as the Association of Steel Plate Transferrers on January 11, 1899, in Washington, D.C. The American Federation of Labor (AFL) granted the organization a national charter in March 1901. At that time, the organization's membership was limited to transferrers working for the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing, but individuals associated with private firms in Philadelphia and New York were soon recruited, and a New York local was established on February 21, 1902. Four years later, union officers requested a new national charter, which the AFL issued on June 22, 1906.

The Association achieved international status in 1915 with the organization of the Ottawa, Canada local. In the summer of 1922, the organization applied to the AFL for a change in title. The request was approved by the AFL executive committee on June 25, 1922, and on July 20, a new charter was issued to the union under the name "International Association of Siderographers."

Siderography refers to a process for producing engraved steel plates for printing currency that was invented by Jacob Perkins in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. The members of the Siderographers made the steel plates from which currency, stamps, stock certificates, and other securities were printed. The application for the national charter filed with the AFL in 1906 stated that the jurisdiction of the union covered:

"all steel plate transferrers, those that can practically operate a transfer press and apprentices thereto accepted by our association as members. Alos the cleaning or burnishing of dies and plates or the dressing of rolls or the hardening of same."

The International Association of Siderographers was the smallest union in the AFL-CIO for many years. Membership reached a peak of approximately sixty-five members in the 1950s. Retirement and advances in technology eroded union membership through the years, and total membership declined to eleven by 1987. By 1991, membership was reduced to a total of eight, and the International Association was dissolved shortly thereafter. Remaining members of the union who were still active transferred to machinists' or engravers' locals.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Archives of the International Association of Siderographers consist of correspondence, convention reports, membership and financial records, minutes of business meetings, audio-visual materials, and memorabilia that span the entire history of the union and its precursor organizations. Also included are booklets containing the constitution and by-laws of the association, files and scrapbooks of historical notes and newspaper clippings, records generated by the AFL that contain information relevant to the Siderographers, and blank forms, certificates, and stationery used for a variety of purposes by the union. Materials in the collection date between 1899 and 1991.

The records of the International Association comprise the largest component of the collection, which also include the records of the National Association before the group achieved international status. The remainder of the collection consists of the records of the New York and Washington, D.C. locals.

The International Association of Siderographers was primarily concerned with job security for its members and maintenance of parity in wages between the public and private sectors where siderographers were employed. These topics are discussed at length in the correspondence in the collection. Other records document the day-to-day operation of the union, particularly the various procedures governing membership, business meetings, and other events held at the biennial conventions. The collection also documents the relations between the union and management at the institutions where siderographers were employed, as well as several disputes between the union and individual members.

Perhaps due to its small size, the Siderographers Association appears to have functioned as something of a social club for the membership. Many of the records in the collection, particularly correspondence, record significant events in members' personal lives. The procedures for obligating members conventions and other siderographer's events reflect the dual nature of the association as well.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers donated the archives of the International Association of Siderographers to the University of Maryland at College Park Libraries in June 1993.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by James M. Harmon, January 1997.

Processing note:

Initially housed in six cardboard boxes, the collection contained significant evidence of its original arrangement, although there was some mixing of file types.

Following initial assessment, the collection was divided into series. The original order of the collection, where discernible, was retained. Non-reactive padded fastners were used to replace metal staples and paper clips that originally grouped the documents.

Many of the individual membership records associated with the locals had been folded and placed in envelopes or larger file folders. These documents were unfolded, flattened, and placed into acid-free file folders.

The collection also included newspaper clippings, photographs, audio tapes, and printed certificates. Newspaper clippings were photocopied onto acid-free paper, and the originals were discarded. Photographs were separated from the collection, placed into acid-free envelopes, and filed with the photograph collection. The audio tapes were repacked onto new reels, and the printed certificates were flattened and placed into an oversized flat storage box.

The collection also contained several steel siderographic plates and the official seal of the Washington, D.C. local. These items were separated from the collection and placed in the memorabilia collection.

Following arrangement, all items were placed in acid-free folders and acid-free storage boxes, and the guide was prepared.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Henry Allen.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: International Association of Siderographers, 1899-1987 (3.5 linear feet)

Documents in this series include constitution and by-laws, booklets, awards, certificates, bulletins, correspondence, membership forms, and records generated during the biennial conventions of the association. Financial records consist of several ledgers documenting payment of membership dues, payments into and out of the unemployment benefit fund, and other expenditures on various union activities. Documents generated by the National Association between 1899 and 1915 prior to the organization of the Ottawa, Canada local are included. Much of this series reflects the original organization of the collection, and processing consisted of minor chronological sorting and arrangement under major headings.

The records of the biennial conventions of the Association comprise a large portion of this series. Reports of union officers, banquet programs, and meeting minutes are included under this heading. The records of an election of national officers held in 1906 are also included in this series, and this election appears to have been a precursor of the convention proceedings. Of note in this portion of the series are the records of the Fourth Biennial Convention held in 1913, which document the organization of the siderographers' unemployment benefit fund.

Convention planning is an important topic of discussion in the correspondence in this series. Another majot topic is the wage scales paid to siderographers at various places where they were employed. The behavior of individual members of the union and breaches of union work rules by non-members are alos important subjects. Later correspondence contains information relating to technological advanes that eliminated the need for many siderographers amd documents the union's efforts to protect its membership and survive as an organization.

The association had a relatively complex process for initiating members which included apprentice, junior, and recognized steps. Different forms were used for each of the membership steps, and completed copies of these forms comprise the bulk of the membership records in this series. Also included are several bound ledgers that record lists of members, changes in membership status, and other related information. The ceremonies by which members were initiated were called obligations and consisted of a verbal charge read by the president or other officer of the association to the new member. These ceremonies were modified through time, and copies documenting the procedures used between 1899 and 1921 are present.

The history of the union became a topic of concern for members during the planning for the fiftieth anniversary banquet, held at the Twenty-First Biennial Convention in New York City in 1949. Research materials and notes that were used to assemble a summary history for the banquet program comprise a small part of this series. Also in this series is a small bound journal that an unidentified member used to record information of interest to the association, particularly that relating to members employed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C. In addition to the history notes, the series included newpaper clippings that report on the union itself or topics of interest to the union's membership.

The series is arranged alphabetically under major headings and chronologically within these headings.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Apprentice Agreement, undated series 1box 1folder 1
Biennial Convention (First), 1907 series 1box 1folder 2
Biennial Convention (Second), 1909 series 1box 1folder 3
Biennial Convention (Third), 1911 series 1box 1folder 4
Biennial Convention (Fourth), 1913 series 1box 1folder 5
Biennial Convention (Fifth), 1915 series 1box 1folder 6
Biennial Convention (Sixth), 1917 series 1box 1folder 7
Biennial Convention (Seventh), 1919 series 1box 1folder 8
Biennial Convention (Eighth), 1921 series 1box 1folder 9
Biennial Convention (Ninth), 1923 series 1box 1folder 10
Biennial Convention (Tenth), 1925 series 1box 1folder 11
Biennial Convention (Eleventh), 1927 series 1box 1folder 12
Biennial Convention (Twelfth), 1929 series 1box 1folder 13
Biennial Convention (Thirteenth), 1931 series 1box 1folder 14
Biennial Convention (Fourteenth), 1935 series 1box 1folder 15
Biennial Convention (Fifthteenth), 1937 series 1box 1folder 16
Biennial Convention (Sixteenth), 1939 series 1box 1folder 17
Biennial Convention (Seventeenth), 1941 series 1box 1folder 18
Biennial Convention (Eighteenth), 1943 series 1box 1folder 19
Biennial Convention (Nineteenth), 1945 series 1box 1folder 20
Biennial Convention (Twentieth), 1947 series 1box 1folder 21
Biennial Convention (Twenty-First), 1949 series 1box 1folder 22
Biennial Convention (Twenty-Second), 1951 series 1box 1folder 23
Biennial Convention (Twenty-Third), 1953 series 1box 1folder 24
Biennial Convention (Twenty-Fourth), 1955 series 1box 1folder 25
Biennial Convention (Twenty-Fifth), 1957 series 1box 1folder 26
Biennial Convention (Twenty-Sixth), 1959 series 1box 1folder 27
Biennial Convention (Twenty-Seventh), 1961 series 1box 1folder 28
Biennial Convention (Twenty-Eighth), 1963 series 1box 2folder 1
Biennial Convention (Twenty-Ninth), 1965 series 1box 2folder 2
Biennial Convention (Thirtieth), 1967 series 1box 2folder 3
Biennial Convention (Thirty-First), 1969 series 1box 2folder 4
Biennial Convention (Thirty-Second), 1971 series 1box 2folder 5
Biennial Convention (Thirty-Third), 1973 series 1box 2folder 6
Biennial Convention Proceedings Book, 1907-1935 series 1box 2folder 7
Biennial Convention Roll Call Book, 1907-1957 series 1box 2folder 8
Bulletins, 1933-1948 and undated series 1box 2folder 9
Certificates and Awards, 1922-1968 series 1box 2folder 10
Constitution and By-Laws Booklets, 1906-1947 series 1box 2folder 11
Constitution and Bylaws of the Allied Trade Council of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing [Preliminary], undated series 1box 2folder 12
Constitutional Amendments, 1939-1943 and undated series 1box 2folder 13
Correspondence-Letter Book, 1905-1920 series 1box 2folder 14
Correspondence, 1906-1924 series 1box 3folder 1
Correspondence, 1906-1924 series 1box 3folder 2
Correspondence, 1906-1924 series 1box 3folder 3
Correspondence, 1906-1924 series 1box 3folder 4
Correspondence, 1906-1924 series 1box 3folder 5
Correspondence, 1906-1924 series 1box 3folder 6
Correspondence, 1906-1924 series 1box 3folder 7
Correspondence, 1906-1924 series 1box 3folder 8
Correspondence, 1925-1949 series 1box 4folder 1
Correspondence, 1925-1949 series 1box 4folder 2
Correspondence, 1925-1949 series 1box 4folder 3
Correspondence, 1925-1949 series 1box 4folder 4
Correspondence, 1925-1949 series 1box 4folder 5
Correspondence, 1925-1949 series 1box 4folder 6
Correspondence, 1950-1971 series 1box 5folder 1
Correspondence, 1950-1971 series 1box 5folder 2
Correspondence, 1950-1971 series 1box 5folder 3
Correspondence, 1950-1971 series 1box 5folder 4
Correspondence, 1950-1971 series 1box 5folder 5
Correspondence, 1950-1971 series 1box 5folder 6
Correspondence, 1950-1971 series 1box 5folder 7
Correspondence, Foreign, 1966-1967 series 1box 5folder 8
Correspondence, Secretary's Copies, 1965-1967 series 1box 5folder 9
Election of National Officers, 1906 series 1box 6folder 1
Financial Records -- Benefit Fund, 1913-1941 series 1box 6folder 2
Financial Records -- Receipt Summaries, 1960-1963 series 1box 6folder 3
Financial Records -- Receipts and Expenses Ledger, 1909-1972 series 1box 6folder 4
Financial Records -- Receipts and Expenses Ledger, 1909-1972 series 1box 6folder 5
Financial Records -- Supplies Purchased and Disbursed, 1906-1924 series 1box 6folder 6
Financial Records -- Treasurers' Reports, 1905-1938, 1947 series 1box 6folder 7
History and History Notes, undated series 1box 6folder 8
Journal, 1889-1915 series 1box 6folder 9
Membership Obligation, 1899-1921 series 1box 6folder 10
Membership Obligation, President's Charge, undated series 1box 6folder 11
Membership Records -- Apprentice and Junior Members Roll Book, 1907-1955 series 1box 6folder 12
Membership Records -- Dispensations, Transfers, Donations, Statutes, and Resolutions, 1907-1925 series 1box 7folder 1
Membership Records -- Lists of Members, 1965 and undated series 1box 7folder 2
Membership Records -- Members in Order as They Were Admitted...[Ledger], 1899-1917 series 1box 7folder 3
Membership Records -- New York local, 1906-1971 series 1box 7folder 4
Membership Records -- New York local, 1906-1971 series 1box 7folder 5
Membership Records -- Ottawa local, 1913-1969 series 1box 7folder 6
Membership Records -- Recognized Members Roll Book, 1899-1953 series 1box 7folder 7
Membership Records -- Washington, D.C. local, 1907-1970 series 1box 7folder 8
Newspaper Clippings, 1957-1987 and undated series 1box 7folder 9
Related Trades (AFL-CIO), 1966 and undated series 1box 7folder 10
Wage Scales and Adjustments, 1920-1958 and undated series 1box 7folder 11
War Bond Award Radio Broadcast, 1942 series 1box 7folder 12

Series 2: New York Local, 1901-1971 (0.5 linear feet)

The records of the New York local contain correspondence, membership forms, and a single copy of the local's by-laws. Membership records date from 1901 to 1971, and the correspondence dates between March 25, 1952, and April 29, 1963. The by-laws are dated 1919.

Correspondence from officials of the New York local consists of incoming and outgoing letters from the secretary and the president. Most of the correspondence in this series documents negotiations between union and private sectoremployers of siderographers. Also discussed are relations of the union with other labor organizations in allied trades, including requests for cooperation in strikes and other work action, requirements for achieving apprentice status as a siderographer, and the employment of individual siderographers. In addition, the correspondence contains some personal information regarding members of the association, often appended as a final paragraph to business letters.

Membership records for the New York local consist of completed application and obligation forms for Apprentice, Junior, and Recognized Members, Non-Communist Affidavits, and transfer of membership forms. The membership records are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the individual members.

This series is arranged alphabetically by document type.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
By-Laws of the New York Association, 1919 series 2box 1folder 1
Correspondence, 1952-1963 series 2box 1folder 2
Correspondence, 1952-1963 series 2box 1folder 3
Membership Records, 1901-1971 series 2box 1folder 4
Membership Records, 1901-1971 series 2box 1folder 5
Membership Records, 1901-1971 series 2box 1folder 6

Series 3: Washington, D.C. Local, 1899-1951 (1 linear foot)

Like Series I and II, this series contains correspondence, membership, and financial records, but it also contains the minutes of business meetings held by the local, reports of delegates to the biennial conventions, and records that document a training program for foreign nationals conducted by the Department of State in the years after World War II. Records in this series date from 1899 to 1951.

The earliest records of the formation of the organization that became the International Association of Siderographers are included in the series. These records document the initial formation of the Washington, D.C. association and include correspondence regarding the recruitment of new members in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

A large and unique element of this series are the minutes of business meetings held by the local between 1914 and 1947. These records document the procedures followed during the meetings, the union's relationship with the other locals, membership issues including payment of dues, and other business of concern to the union. Meetings are apparently held monthly throughout the thirty-three year period, and there are existing minutes for some of these.

The bulk of the correspondence in this series dates between 1928 and 1931, although there are single letters whose rates range from 1899 to 1947. Included in this portion of the series are several telegrams notifying the local of the deaths of members in the New York local.

Also notable in the Washington, D.C. local series are the records of three trials or cases that document disputes of individual members with the union as a whole. These disputes are filed under the last name of the individual member involved. In all three cases, individuals were charged with violating the principles of the association and with conduct unbecoming a member; the charges appear to be violations of work rules or secrecy codes.

The siderographers who were members of this local were all employed by the United States Bureau of Engraving and Priniting, and many of the records in the series reflect the special concerns of this place of employment.

The series is organized alphabetically by document type and/or subject, then chronologically.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Business Meetings-Minutes, 1914-1947 series 3box 1folder 1
Business Meetings-Minutes, 1914-1947 series 3box 1folder 2
Business Meetings-Minutes, 1914-1947 series 3box 1folder 3
Business Meetings-Minutes, 1914-1947 series 3box 1folder 4
Business Meetings-Minutes, 1914-1947 series 3box 1folder 5
Business Meetings-Minutes, 1914-1947 series 3box 1folder 6
Business Meetings-Minutes, 1914-1947 series 3box 1folder 7
Correspondence, 1899-1947 series 3box 1folder 8
Financial Records-Ledger, 1919-1946 series 3box 1folder 9
Louderback Case, 1904-1905 series 3box 2folder 1
McNally Trial, 1907-1908 series 3box 2folder 2
Membership Records, 1899-1947 series 3box 2folder 3
Membership Records, 1899-1947 series 3box 2folder 4
Membership Records, 1899-1947 series 3box 2folder 5
Membership Records, 1899-1947 series 3box 2folder 6
Organization of Association, 1899 series 3box 2folder 7
Pentland Case, 1901-1905 series 3box 2folder 8
Reports Re: Biennial Conventions, 1931-1949 series 3box 2folder 9
Training of Foreign Students, undated series 3box 2folder 10
Wages and Retirement Benefits, 1947-1955 series 3box 2folder 11

Series 4: Scrapbooks, 1919-1955 (0.75 linear feet)

This series contains two scrapbooks probably assembled by an individual or several members of the International Association of Siderographers. One contains copies of materials related to the life and inventions of Jacob Perkins, the inventor of the siderographic process. This scrapbook is undated, but the copied materials were originally published between 1806 and 1943. The other contains newspaper clippings, photographs, and typed or handwritten notes concerning union members and activities; material in this scrapbook dates between 1919 and 1955. Based on notes inside the scrapbooks, it is likely that siderographer Lloyd Hull compiled them.

The scrapbooks are arranged chronologically.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Scrapbook, 1919-1955 and undated series 4box 1folder 1
Scrapbook, 1919-1955 and undated series 4box 1folder 2

Series 5: Audio Tapes, 1961 (0.25 linear feet)

The two audio tapes in this series are recordings of the business meeting and other proceedings of the 27th Biennial Convention held in New York City in 1961; Series I includes other records from this convention, including written minutes of the business meeting. The tapes are audible, but individual voices are difficult to understand.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Audio Tapes, 1961 series 5box 1folder 1
Audio Tapes, 1961 series 5box 1folder 2

Series 6: Photographs, 1919-1949 and undated (26 items)

The twenty-six photographs in this series depict banquets held at the biennial conventions, association social events, members, and officers of the association. Also included is a 1942 photograph of International Association President James Filgate accepting the association's award for one hundred percent participation war bond drives during World War II; the certificate and a transcript of the radio broadcast of the ceremony are included in Series I. The series also contains portraits of Jacob Perkins, inventor of the siderographeric process, and William Green, president of the AFL between 1924 and 1952, as well as the glass plate negatives for both. Several of the loose photographs are duplicated in the scrapbook of newspaper clippings and other material dating between 1919 and 1955 in Series IV.

The photographs have been transferred to the photograph collection.

The box inventory for this series is not currently available online. Please refer to the series description above for a broad description of the materials or contact the department for more information.

Series 7: Memorabilia, 1919-1991 (12 items)

Association memorabilia consists of eleven steel siderographic plates produced by members of the union. These plates were made for printing banquet programs, logos, and stationery for the association. This series also includes the official seal of the Washington, D.C. local.

These items have been transferred to the memorabilia collection (Memorabilia # 1052-1063).

The box inventory for this series is not currently available online. Please refer to the series description above for a broad description of the materials or contact the department for more information.

Series 8: Printing Samples, undated (0.75 linear feet)

The twenty-seven items in this series consist of amples of the forms and stationery used by the International Association and its constituent locals for membership and business records. Also included are certificates of affiliation, membership, and honorary membership in the union.

Completed copies of the membership application forms are included in Series I, II, and III under the heading "membership records." The certificated and forms in this series are all blank.

The printing samples are arranged alphabetically by form or certificate name.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Apprentice Membership Application [International], undated series 8box 1folder 1
Apprentice Membership Obligation Form [New York local], undated series 8box 1folder 2
Apprentice Membership Obligation Form [Washington, D.C. local], undated series 8box 1folder 3
Certificate of Affiliation [National], undated series 8box 1folder 4
Certificate of Affiliation with American Federation of Labor, 1922 series 8box 1folder 5
Certificate of Best Wishes upon Retirement [International], undated series 8box 1folder 6
Certificate of Recognized Membership [International], undated series 8box 1folder 7
Honorary Retirement Certificate [International], undated series 8box 1folder 8
Membership Application Objection Form [International], undated series 8box 1folder 9
Membership Transfer Form [New York local], undated series 8box 1folder 10
Non-Communist Oath Form, undated series 8box 1folder 11
Recognized Membership Application [International], undated series 8box 1folder 12
Recognized Membership Obligation Form [Ottawa local], undated series 8box 1folder 13
Recognized Membership Obligation Form [New York local], undated series 8box 1folder 14
Recognized Membership Obligation Form [Washington, D.C. local], undated series 8box 1folder 15
Stationery [International], undated series 8box 1folder 16

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