Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

History Vault

American Federation of Labor Records: The Samuel Gompers Era, 1877-1937

American Federation of Labor Records: The Samuel Gompers Era, 1877-1937

As leader of the American Federation of Labor, Samuel Gompers (1850-1924) championed a set of tactics and an ideology, rooted in craft-union traditions, which profoundly shaped the course of American labor history. Over 350,000 pages of union documentation throw light on the momentous struggles within the American labor movement during and just after the Samuel Gompers era. Most of the records in the collection date from the formation of the AFL in 1886 until Gompers’ death in December 1924, but there are a few materials from before 1886 and after 1924. One of the strengths of this collection is its documentation of Gompers' own activities. Gompers’ general correspondence, speeches and writings, conferences, and congressional testimony make up a major portion of the collection. In addition, the National and International Union Correspondence consists largely of letters to and from Gompers. The materials in this collection reveal the personalities, issues and ideas that forged the modern American labor movement.