Topics in the News
"An American Tragedy"—1906
The story of Grace Brown's life and murder—later immortalized in Theodore Dreiser's novel An American Tragedy (1925)—not only brought to public attention the plight of mill girls but also symbolized the dangers inherent in America's transformation from a rural to an industrialized economy. Like many young men and women, Brown left a rural life—in her case, a life on her father's impoverished farm in Otselic, New York—to move to the city to find work. As a young woman in the textile industry in Cortland, New York, she encountered poor working conditions, low wages, and exploitation. Her life was controlled by the factory owners and operators.
When he met Grace Brown, Chester E. Gillette, the son of roving evangelical missionary parents who ran a nonaffiliated religious mission out of their home in Kansas City, Missouri, was twenty-two-years old. Gillette had moved to Cortland in 1905 to escape an impoverished, unhappy, and recently troubled life. Although poorly educated and unskilled, Gillette became a supervisor at the shirtwaist factory owned by his paternal uncle. Brown, then nineteen, had worked at the factory for three years. While Brown hoped her romance with Gillette would lead to marriage, Gillette thought it was nothing more than a superficial relationship that passed his time....
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Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902
Coal Shuts Down.
The five-month-long Anthracite Coal Strike nearly crippled America. Led by John Mitchell, president of the United Mine Workers, nearly 150,000 miners began their strike on 12 May 1902 after a breakdown in ongoing negotiations that had begun in the aftermath of a brief strike of the year before. The issues of contention included the miners' demands for a reduced workday, better pay, and union recognition.
The "Divine Right" Letter.
In July a letter written by a photographer from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was sent to George F. Baer, president of the Reading Railroad and spokesman for the mine operators. The letter writer, who asked the Holy Spirit to send "reason to [Baer's] heart," requested that the strike be settled. Baer's response, written on Reading Railroad letterhead and dated 17 July 1902, has come to be known as the "divine right" letter. It clearly revealed the mine operators' contempt for labor:
My dear Mr. Clark:
I have your letter of the 16th instant.
I do not know who you are. I see that you are a religious man; but you are evidently biased in favor of the right of the working man to control a business in which he has no other interest than to secure fair wages for the work he does.I...
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Financial Panic of 1907
The relatively prosperous first years of the century came to a halt in 1907 when drains on the money supply revealed a weak national financial infrastructure of banking and credit and precipitated an economic crisis that lasted nearly a year. The money supply was low because of the lack of cash flow from farmers due to a late season and was further drained by overspeculation in copper, money being diverted to the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, the rebuilding of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake (exacerbated by huge insurance payouts), and the nationwide railroad expansion program. After the stock market fell drastically in March, prices soared, wages decreased, unemployment rose, and many businesses, including banks, failed.
The First Bank Failure.
The first bank in trouble was Mercantile National, whose owner, F. Augustus Heinze, was a primary figure in the copper overspeculation. Since there was no central banking system to assist troubled financial institutions in a crisis, the bank turned for assistance to the Clearing House Association, a banking agency that cleared checks. After the bank's collapse on Wednesday, 16 October, the Clearing House Association demanded the resignation of Heinze and those who held controlling shares in the bank. The Clearing House Association also investigated the financial...
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The Labor Trial of the Century
The trial of William D. "Big Bill" Haywood for the murder of former Idaho governor Frank Steunenberg is one of the most notorious trials of this century. The former governor was killed by a bomb rigged to the gate in front of his home in Caldwell, Idaho, on 30 December 1905. Shortly before he died from gaping wounds in his back and side, Steunenberg asked, "Who shot me?" There were no witnesses. The next day a reward of $15,000 was offered by the state and the Steunenberg family for the capture of the murderer(s). At the request of Idaho governor Frank R. Gooding, the investigation was headed up by James McPharlan, the head of Pinkerton Security, an established strikebreaking organization.
The Union Accused.
Initially a prounion politician, Steunenberg was never forgiven by the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) for calling out federal troops after an uprising at a lead mine in Couer d'Alene in 1899. Union members, imprisoned in bullpen conditions for months, were left feeling betrayed and bitter. Thus suspicions fell immediately on the WFM. Harry Orchard, a planted spy working for the mine operators, posed as a union member and virtually campaigned for arrest by publicly divulging his knowledge of the crime. Once arrested on 1 January 1906, Orchard reportedly endured ten days of grilling by McPharlan before he confessed to...
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Legislation and Supreme Court Rulings
A Decade of Regulatory Change.
The years from 1900 through 1909 stand in sharp contrast to the post-Civil War years, when the legislative and judicial branches were uncritical in their support of business efforts to rebuild the country's economic infrastructure. The first decade of the twentieth century saw an extraordinary amount of landmark legislation and Supreme Court rulings aimed at regulating business practices, involving such areas as antitrust laws, fiscal policy, labor disputes, and consumer goods.
The legislation passed in the decade that affected business included nine important acts, the earliest of which was the Gold Standard Act (1900). Passed by Congress as a means of developing an efficient national currency, the act established national banks, with capital resources of at least $25,000, in towns of fewer than three thousand inhabitants to finance agrarian demands. The act also included provisions for gold redemptions for monies, the creation of a gold reserve, and bond sale authorization for reserve maintenance. By creating a more efficient, stable national currency, the act was critical to the United States in its expanding role in international finance and commerce.
Regulating the Railroads.
The Elkins Act (1903) was drafted to regulate interstate...
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The Model T
Motor Car for the Multitude.
As the Model T was unveiled to the public in October 1908, Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, remarked of his "Tin Lizzie" that it came "in any color you choose, so long as it's black." He also called the automobile "a motor car for the great multitude." The latter statement was an appropriate tribute to the Model T, for mass production lowered its price and made it the first automobile average Americans could afford. The Model T car was not revolutionary, but the process of mass production revolutionized the automobile industry. As a result American life and culture would be transformed as the car became an everyday necessity in a mobile society.
Precursor to the Model T.
The Model N cars manufactured in 1906-1907 were the precursor to the Model T and introduced the interchangeable-parts system for large-scale production. The system was implemented under the direction of Walter E. Flanders, a former machine tool salesman and mechanic whom Henry Ford hired as a production manager in 1906. The concept of the static, or stationary, assembly line, where workers moved from car to car as they built them, was also used at this time. With improved production equipment, designs, and manufacturing methods, Ford was the first auto manufacturer that could fill hundreds of orders a day, a contribution...
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Resurrection of the Antitrust Movement
Economic Impact of Trusts.
By 1890, the year the Sherman Antitrust Act was passed, many saw the power of large business monopolies, or trusts, as a serious problem. Encouraged by the expansion of the transportation and communication sectors, trusts had proliferated since the Civil War, resulting in a continual squeezing out of small businesses and a concentration of economic power among fewer, larger businesses. But the effects of trusts were not wholly negative. As opposed to the duplication of efforts inherent in a competitive environment, trusts provided substantial savings and allowed for higher production capacity by assuring that businesses had dependable supplies of critical parts as well as reliable transportation and financing. The savings, however, were not necessarily passed on to the stockholder, working laborers, or the consumer.
Deficiencies of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
The Sherman Antitrust Act had deficiencies that were becoming evident at the turn of the century. One major problem was that the act did not define a trust or monopoly. The lack of such a definition left the interpretation of the law up to the judicial branch of the government, which resulted in some contradictory case decisions. Further, violating the Sherman Antitrust Act was only considered a misdemeanor offense, a crime whose punishment was not serious...
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Taylorism and Scientific Management
Principles of Taylorism.
Named after its creator, Frederick Taylor, Taylorism is the complete rationalization of all processes involved in the production of a product. The discipline is also referred to as scientific management, since it attempted to make a science out of the management of production processes by defining the "one best way" to do a job. Though the theory evolved through time, there were only a few simple principles in achieving scientific management: shift the responsibility of work organization to management, use scientific methods to establish the one best way to do the work, scientifically select and train workers, and monitor workers to ensure that they are doing their jobs properly and efficiently. The net result was that scientific management required laborers to match the speed of the machinery they used. Scientific management had both good and bad results. The positive side was that production rose by as much as 200 percent, which allowed for more profits and established the United States as a nation with efficient production.
Publication and Spread of the Theory.
The theory behind scientific management was first publicly introduced by Taylor in a presentation titled "Shop Management" in 1903 before the American Academy of Mechanical Engineers. The theory essentially exalted production as a moral act that should...
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"One Big Union."
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a national industrial union, was formed in Brand's Hall on the North Side of Chicago on 27 June 1905. Leading union officials—including William "Big Bill" Haywood, Eugene Debs, Charles Moyer, Mother Jones, Father Thomas Hagerty, and Daniel De Leon—hoped to accomplish on a national scale what the Western Federation of Miners had done in the West for mining labor. Though the Western Federation of Miners was the largest constituency, other prominent unions that played a role in the IWW formation were the American Labor Union and the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance. The founding convention, borrowing its symbolism from the American Revolution, was called "The Continental Congress of the Working Class," and Haywood was named chairman. In his opening remarks Haywood incorporated classic Marxist economic theory that became central to the IWW doctrine: "The aims and objectives of this organization should be to put the working class in possession of the economic power, the means of life, in control of the machinery of production and distribution, without regard to capitalist masters."
The IWW advocated syndicalism, a revolutionary worker-controlled society. This Utopian view of the IWW was a backlash against the growing conservatism of the American Federation...
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The World's Fair at Saint Louis
The Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
Opening on 30 April 1904 with a dedication by President Theodore Roosevelt, the Saint Louis World's Fair lasted for seven months and was then the largest world's fair ever held. There were 187,798 attendees the first day. Officially the fair was named the Louisiana Purchase Exposition to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The Olympics were also a part of the fair, and America dominated the medal race. More than twenty million visitors attended throughout the fair's run, and the fair showed a $25 million profit.
World's fairs were the primary venues for exhibiting and introducing new technologies and inventions to the public, celebrating the triumphs of the Industrial Revolution, big business, and a growing economy. The Saint Louis fair stands as a tribute to the Progressive Era and with its elaborate industrial exhibits. Several new products were introduced that remain a part of the American lifestyle. Some of the food debuting included hamburgers by local German immigrants, the ice cream cone by a local pastry maker who made wafer cones when concession stands ran out of dishes, and iced tea when hot fairgoers passed up heated English tea.
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Carnegie, Andrew 1835-1919
INDUSTRIALIST AND PHILANTHROPIST
Andrew Carnegie, having acquired his wealth during the nineteenth century, spent much of the early 1900s giving away large portions of his fortune to worthy causes. His wealth was primarily built from his domination of the American steel industry by his company, Carnegie Steel. By the turn of the century Carnegie had vertically integrated his holdings from ore to finished products and built his company into one of the world leaders in steel. When J. P. Morgan set up a financing coalition to purchase his business in 1901, Carnegie sold his 58 percent share of Carnegie Steel to the new U.S. Steel Corporation, making him one of the world's richest men.
Carnegie's prowess in getting wealth and giving it away enriched his adopted nation even more than it did himself. The circumstances of his boyhood fostered both passions. A native of Scotland, Carnegie came to America with his family, looking to fulfill both material ambition and social idealism. Settling in Pittsburgh, young Andrew got his start as a telegrapher, and his work came to the attention of Thomas Scott, the superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Western Division. He appointed Carnegie his secretary and personal telegrapher. During his twelve years with the Pennsylvania Railroad,...
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Debs, Eugene V. 1855-1926
LABOR ORGANIZER AND SOCIALIST PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
A Political Life.
Eugene Debs grew up in the small midwestern city of Terre Haute, Indiana, where his parents, Alsatian emigrants, operated a grocery store. In 1875 he was elected secretary of the Terre Haute lodge of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen. His intelligence and commitment attracted the attention of the brotherhood leaders. By 1881 he was national secretary of the brotherhood, increasingly its spokesman on labor issues, and its most tireless organizer. Debs entered politics as a Democratic candidate for city clerk in 1879. In 1885 he was elected to the Indiana State Assembly.
Debs's evolving views on labor disputes led to his involvement in the strike of the American Railway Union (ARU) in 1894 against the Pullman Company of Chicago. By working intimately with federal authorities, railroad management was able to break the strike. Federal troops occupied Chicago; federal injunctions prevented communication between ARU...
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Ford, Henry 1863-1947
Henry Ford did not invent the automobile, but he developed design concepts and production techniques that allowed its manufacture in such high volume and at such low cost as to bring it within reach of the average wage earner. His impact on American life in the twentieth century was enormous. Ford was born on a farm near Dearborn, Michigan. From his earliest days he displayed a marked mechanical aptitude, and all his life he loved working with machinery. In 1879 he became an apprentice in a machine shop in Detroit, repairing watches at night to make ends meet.
Farm to Factory.
In 1888 his father gave him a fortyacre tract of land in Dearborn on the condition that he abandon the machinist's trade and return to the farm. Ford built a house on the land and made a small income selling lumber and firewood. But he did not engage in farming and used his spare time to experiment with steam and gasoline engines in a shop attached to the home. In 1891 he left the farm for an engineering job in Detroit. In 1899, with...
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Haywood, William "Big Bill" 1869-1928
Out of the Mines.
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, William Hay-wood experienced a difficult early life, losing his father at the age of three, obtaining minimal formal education, and working for wages as an adolescent. At fifteen he became a miner and in 1896 joined the Western Federation of Miners (WFM), the era's preeminent radical labor union, in Silver City, Idaho. He served as secretary and president of his local chapter and in 1900 was promoted to the union's general executive board. In 1901 he moved to Denver where he served as editor of the WFM's journal and as secretary-treasurer. Within the radical milieu of the Denver headquarters, Haywood received an education in class struggle and socialism.
Between 1903 and 1905 Haywood participated in one of the most violent incidents in American labor history. The WFM waged a bitter conflict with mining and smelting corporations in Colorado that degenerated into a war between...
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Mellon, Andrew William 1855-1937
BANKER AND FINANCIER
A Father's Footsteps.
Andrew Mellon was the son of Judge Thomas Mellon of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who acquired a great deal of wealth from his legal practice but even more from his investments. Andrew learned a much from his father, and in the early 1870s he started his own lumber and building business in Mansfield, Pennsylvania. Because of the depression of 1873, his company went out of business. Mellon went on to build his financial reputation in his father's bank. By the age of twenty-seven he was running the banking house, and soon thereafter he received ownership of the bank from his father. Mellon built his fortune through his ability to shrewdly judge both businesses and businessmen and his faithfulness in following his father's rule of constantly reinvesting profits in the businesses that generated them.
Mellon was able to discover several companies in their infancy and provide them with the capital to become dominant American businesses. One such success was in the newly founded aluminum industry. In 1889 Mellon agreed to give the Pittsburgh Reduction Company $4,000 to meet an overdue note in exchange for stock and expressed his confidence in the company by continued financial support. In 1907 this company became the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa),...
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Morgan, J. Pierpont 1837-1913
To the Bank Born.
J. P. Morgan headed J. P. Morgan and Company, the most important force in American finance in the quarter century before World War I, a time when the American economy grew to be the largest and most powerful in the world. Morgan was born into a wealthy banking family in Hartford, Connecticut. His father instilled in him from childhood principles of integrity and trained him early in the business of international banking as it was practiced at the highest levels. Morgan graduated from the university at Göttingen, Germany, in 1857 and immediately went to work on Wall Street. In 1862 he opened his own firm, which eventually became the Morgan Bank. Morgan took over his father's firm when his father died in 1890, and renamed it J. P. Morgan and Company.
In 1901 Morgan was instrumental in establishing the United States Steel Corporation. Morgan underwrote a successful public offering of stock in the world's first $1 billion corporation. This offering netted millions for Morgan and paid $492 million to Andrew Carnegie for about $80 million in actual assets in order to eliminate the steel industry's major price-cutter. With the merger of Carnegie's properties and other steel properties, U.S. Steel controlled 65 percent of the U.S. steel-making capacity. Acquiring Carnegie's...
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Payton, Phillip A., Jr. 1876-
AFRICAN AMERICAN REALTOR
Getting a Start.
Phillip A. Payton Jr. was born and reared in Westfield, Massachusetts. He received his education from Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina, and went to New York in 1899 to seek his fortune. Payton's early jobs included being a handyman at six dollars a week, a barber, and a janitor in a real estate office. Intrigued by the boom atmosphere at the turn of the century, Payton entered the real estate business. In an interview he described his first break: "I was a real estate agent, making a speciality of the management of colored tenement property for nearly a year before I actually succeeded in getting a colored tenement to manage," he said, "My first opportunity came as a result of a dispute between two landlords in West 134th Street. To 'get even' one of them turned his house over to me to fill with colored tenants. I was successful in renting and managing this house, and after a time I was able to induce other landlords to … give me their houses to manage." In 1904 he organized the Afro-American Realty Company.
A Thriving Business.
The Afro-American Realty Company had its beginnings in a partnership of ten blacks organized by Payton. The partnership specialized in acquiring five-year leases on Harlem property owned by whites and subsequently renting...
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Penney, James Cash 1875-1971
CHAIN STORE OWNER
James Cash Penney was born in Hamilton, Missouri. When he was eight years old his father decided that he must begin to buy his own clothes, and he earned enough that year to buy a pair of shoes. He was educated in the public school of his hometown and graduated from high school in 1893. Two years later he began his career as a clerk in a general store in Hamilton. In 1897 he went to Denver, Colorado, where he was a clerk in a department store, later moving to Longmont, Colorado. Penney started a meat and bakery business that was not a success, but as a result he went to work for T. M. Callahan, drygoods merchant of Johnson and Callahan, whom Penney called "the man who gave me my great opportunity in life."
The Start of a Chain.
In 1899 Callahan sent Penney to his store in Evanston, Wyoming, and in 1902 sent him to open a new store in the frontier town of Kemmerer, Wyoming. Penney was given the opportunity to purchase a one-third partnership in the enterprise, which had a capital stock of $6,000. Penney borrowed $1,500, added $500 of his own savings, and on 14 April 1902 opened the Golden Rule store. Opening-day receipts of Penney's first store, open from dawn to midnight, were $466.59. By the end of the first year the store had done $29,000 worth of business. This experience...
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Schwab, Charles Michael 1862-1939
STEEL MANUFACTURER AND FINANCIER
As a young grocery clerk in Braddock, Penn-sylvania, the site of the Edgar Thomson Steel Work of Carnegie Steel, Charles Michael Schwab made the acquaintance of "Captain" William R. Jones. Jones was the plant's general superintendent and got Schwab a job as an engineer's helper at two dollars a day in the early 1880s. From this position Schwab was able to learn a great deal about the steel business. He studied the chemistry and metallurgy of steel late into the night in his chemistry laboratory in his home. Schwab rapidly moved up within Andrew Carnegie's company by using his managerial skills to solve labor and public-relations problems. In 1897 he was appointed president of Carnegie Steel Company, earning more than $1 million a year with bonuses, most of which he reinvested in the firm.
In 1900 Schwab sparked J. P. Morgan's interest in the profit potential of a huge new steel combination at a 12 December dinner at the University Club in New York City. He drew up a basic list of companies to be integrated and proposed the financing by which...
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Taylor, Frederick Winslow 1856-1915
Obsession with Order.
Born into a puritanically disciplined family, Frederick Winslow Taylor became a man preoccupied with control. He had an obsessive-compulsive character and was driven by a relentless need to tie down and master almost every aspect of his life. His activities at home, in the garden, and on the golf course, as well as at work were dominated by programs and schedules, planned in detail and rigidly followed. Even his afternoon walks were carefully laid out in advance. The obsession with order that was manifested later in Taylorism began when he was a child. Childhood friends described the meticulous "scientific" approach that he brought to their games. Before playing baseball he would insist that accurate measurements be made of the field, so that everyone would be in perfect relation. A game of croquet was a subject of careful analysis as Taylor worked out the angles of the various strokes, calculating the force of impact and the advantages and disadvantages of understroke and overstroke. As an adolescent, before going to a dance, he made lists of the attractive and unattractive girls likely to be present, so that he would be sure to spend equal time with each.
Beginnings of Taylorism.
During the course of the nineteenth century, unskilled workers and machines had begun to...
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People in the News
William Crapo Durant chartered the General Motors
Company in 1908. It acquired four motor vehicle firms—Buick, Cadillac, Oakland (later Pontiac), and Oldsmobile—and several parts manufacturers. Durant's bankers told him that Henry Ford's company was not worth the $8 million in cash that Ford demanded, so Ford did not join.
Harvey Samuel Firestone organized the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in 1900, joining a group that controlled a "crosswire" patent for solid tires. A large order from the Ford Motor Company in 1906 marked the beginning of a long and important business relationship between the companies and led to a personal friendship between the two owners.
In 1903 the Harley-Davidson motorcycle was introduced by Milwaukee draftsman William Harley, pattern maker Arthur Davidson, mechanic Walter Davidson, and toolmaker William Davidson. Harley-Davidson produced fifty motorcycles in 1906, incorporated in 1907, and by 1917 produced eighteen thousand motorcycles to become the leading U.S. producer.
In 1903 Milton Snaveley Hershey began construction of a new plant in Derry Church, Pennsylvania, for a chocolate factory. Hershey's products dominated the chocolate candy and beverage industry by making milk chocolate affordable for the middle class.
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Philip Danforth Armour, 68, meatpacker who was a major supplier of pork during the Civil War and played an important role in the expansion of refrigerated meatpacking, 6 January 1901.
James Anthony Bailey, 58, circus operator and promoter of the Barnum and Bailey Circus, 11 April 1906.
Alexander Johnston Cassati, 67, railroad executive for Pennsylvania Railroad who was instrumental in solving rebate problems that plagued the railroad industry in the 1890s, 28 December 1906.
Moses Herman Cone, 51, textile manufacturer whose Cone Mills Corporation pursued the development of denim mills, 8 December 1908.
Charles Henry Deere, 70, agricultural implement manufacturer whose father founded John Deere and Company, 29 October 1907.
William Lukens Elkins, 71, public utility and traction entrepreneur, United Gas Improvement Company, 7 November 1903.
Marshall Field, 71, department store pioneer who developed Marshall Field and Company into the largest wholesale and retail dry-goods seller in the world, 16 January 1906.
Edward Henry Harriman, 61, entrepreneur and railway executive who headed Illinois Central, Union Pacific, and Southern Pacific Railroads, 9 September 1909.
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James Burrill Angell, The Age of Quickened Conscience (Ann Arbor: University, 1908);
John Graham Brooks, The Conflict Between Private Monopoly and Good Citizenship (Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1909);
Andrew Carnegie, The Empire of Business (New York: Doubleday, Page, 1902);
Lorin Fuller Deland, Imagination in Business (New York: Harper, 1909);
Lawrence Robert Dicksee, Office Organization and Management Including Secretarial Work (London: Pitman, 1906);
Morris Friedman, The Pinkerton Labor Spy (New York: Wilshire, 1907);
Arthur Twining Hadley, Standards of Public Morality. The Kennedy Lectures for 1906, in The School of Philanthropy Conducted by The Charity Organization Society of the City of New York (New York: Macmillan, 1907);
George Hall, The Common Sense of Commercial Arithmetic (New York: Macmillan, 1901);
Cheesman Abiah Herrick, Meaning and Practice of Commercial Education (New York: Macmillan, 1904);
Harlow Niles Higinbotham, The Making of a Merchant (Chicago: Forbes, 1906);
Elbert Hubbard, Helpful Hints for Business Helper (East Aurora, N.Y.: Roycrofters, 1909);
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Important Events in Business and the Economy, 1900–1909
- In January, 250,000 U.S. children under age 15 worked in mines and factories rather than attending school.
- On January 10, the National Civic Federation is established in Chicago to promote labor-management relations with representatives from business, labor, and the public.
- In February, the Alabama State Federation of Labor becomes the first U.S. union to integrate African American and white workers.
- On March 14, Congress passes the Gold Standard Act, empowering the U.S. Treasury to use gold in its transactions.
- On March 18, veteran train engineer John Luther "Casey" Jones, thirty-six, is killed when his train crashes near Vaughan, Mississippi. His heroic efforts to save as many lives as possible are later immortalized by another railroad worker in the ballad "Casey Jones."
- On March 31, The Saturday Evening Post carries the first national advertisement for automobiles.
- On May 1, more than two hundred miners die in an explosion in Scofield, Utah.
- On May 26, the horsecar era ends as the last horsecar in the United States makes its final run in Washington, D.C.
- On June 3, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) organizes the International Ladies Garment Workers Union in New York City.
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