George Frederick Baer, by John Colin Forbes, 1911.
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Oil on canvas of a bearded man, seated and wearing a suit.

Credit: Formerly in the collection of the Reading Public Museum, Image courtesy of Reading Public Museum

As spokesman for the coal operators during the 1902 anthracite coal strike, Reading Railroad President George Frederick Baer made a disastrous series of statements that rallied workers and earned the owners widespread public scorn for their arrogance. In a letter leaked to the press, Baer insisted that "The rights and interests of the laboring man will be protected and cared for not by the labor agitators, but by the Christian men of property to whom God has given control of the property rights of the country..." Speaking about work conditions in the mines during his closing statement to the Anthracite Coal Commission Baer stated, "These men don't suffer. Why, hell, half of them don't even speak English."

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