Teach PA History
The Most Dangerous Woman in America? The Mock Trial of Mary Harris "Mother" Jones
Further Reading

Foner, Phillip S., ed.. Mother Jones Speaks: Collected Writings and Speeches. Atlanta, GA: Pathfinder Press, 1983.

This book is a wonderful collection of Mother Jones’ own words. Foner provides the context for each speech or document and includes notes as well. An excellent resource of primary source material.

Gorn, Elliott J. Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America. New York, NY: Hill and Wang, 2002.

The leading biography of Mother Jones. Gorn's analysis allows the best understanding of how Mother Jones created herself within the context of gender norms and labor upheavals, and situates her in the context of the violent response of corporate and state authorities to the miners' search for just living conditions and free speech.

Jones, Mary Harris [Mother] and Charles Kerr. Autobiography of Mother Jones. Chicago, IL: Charles H. Kerr & Co., 1999.

This is an account of Mother Jones' life as dictated to Clarence Darrow's secretary. This can be engaging to younger students as it is in the words of Mother Jones; however, students should be cautioned about the issues of biography and memory.

Wake, Dorothy L. Mother Jones, Revolutionary Leader of Labor and Social Reform. Philadelphia, PA: Xlibris Corporation, 2002.

This book addresses Mother Jones connections to traditions of revolutionary syndicalism, thereby also allowing us to understand her as a feminist. It revises the sometimes condescending version of her as a folksy figure who was anti-feminist.

Web Sites

AFL-CIO-100 Years of Struggle and Success

This site provides a photo essay on the labor movement throughout the years. The essay is divided into chronological segments. An image and quote of Mother Jones is included in the years 1900-1919.

Debs-Jones-Douglass Institute, "Mother Jones"

This page summary of Mother Jones is produced by the nonprofit, educational arm of the Labor Party.

Illinois Labor Historical Society, "Mother Jones: The Miners’ Angel"

A six-page biography of Mother Jones by Mara Lou Hawse. It includes a photo of the monument in Illinois where Mother Jones is buried with other United Mine Workers of America.

Lakewood Public Library, "Women in History-“Mother” Mary Harris Jones "

This biography includes information on Jones’ family background, education, and a considerable section on her accomplishments. This section is well-written and is peppered with famous quotes from Mother Jones. It relates one story of how “Mother” Jones received her nickname of “mother”, explains the discrepancy often found in her birth dates, and gives vivid details of Mother Jones at work (from marching with children to the President’s house to bringing wives out to stop scabs from entering a mine) . Also provides bibliography.

Mother Jones Museum, "Learn More About Mother Jones and Her Times"

This website is comprehensive in that it provides an extensive bibliography consulted for references of this lesson. This “Mother Jones Museum” also provides links to important primary resources like Jones’ autobiography, the New York Times article “500 Women Cheer”, and a tribute from American Union leader Eugene Debs.

PBS, "Freedom: A History of US. Webisode 10: Yearning to Breathe Free. Segment 2"

This site offers a great summary of Mother Jones’ activism for the working class. This series in adapted from Joy Hakim’s award-winning book, A History of US. It is written in a style fit for middle school students. Audio files are included. The icon which looks like a scroll is called “Check the Source” and leads to a chapter of Marry Harris Jones’ autobiography.

South Florida, "Mother Jones' Crusade",0,4181270.story

Electronic transcript of an article, "100 Years Ago: The March of the Mill Children: Mother Jones Crusade" by Lawrence Striegel published in Newsday (newspaper from Long Island, NY). On the centennial anniversary it retells Mother Jones' March of the Mill Children. It also makes reference to a primary source letter by Benjamin F. Barnes, Theodore Roosevelt's secretary, who told Mother Jones that the it was not in the president's power to pass national labor laws, but the states must pass their own labor laws.

South Florida, "Mother Jones",0,

This electronic print of a political cartoon originally printed and published in the Philadelphia Evening Telegram depicts the “Strenuous Situation in Oyster Bay.” The cartoon shows Mother Jones chasing down President Roosevelt in his summer home at Sagamore Hill. The cartoon infers that President Roosevelt avoided a meeting with Mother Jones after her 100-mile March of the Mill Children because the caption reads that the president “saw…Mother Jones…first.”

The New York Times, "Dynamite Salutes Greet Roosevelt"

This site provides a PDF of The New York Times article of August 4, 1910 about Roosevelt’s reception when he visited towns in the Pennsylvania anthracite region. It reports on the enthusiastic supporters asking him to run again for president and wives of miners showing their families to him. He meets with former UMWA President John Mitchell and learns of the conditions in the Anthracite region. This is a second visit; the first he made while he was President in 1905.

The New York Times, "Judge Jackson Finds Strikers in Contempt"

A PDF is provided of The New York Times article dated July 25, 1902. The article addresses Judge Jackson’s decision to arrest and jail Mother Jones and other miners in West Virginia. It also reports that President Mitchell (of the United Mine Workers of America) “says the Decision Imperils the Rights of All Americans’ in the Courts.”

University of Pennsylvania, "Mary Harris (Mother) Jones “A Celebration of Women Writers”"

A brief summary of Jones’ life with links to an article she wrote in 1901 and a link to her autobiography.

West Virginia Archives and History, " 'Mother' Jones Under Arrest"

This electronic transcript of a short article printed in the Charleston Daily Mail on February 13, 1913 mentions that "Mother Jones was placed under arrest for causing a riot."

West Virginia Archives and History, " 'Mother' Jones Arrested in City"

This transcript of an article printed in the Charleston Gazette February 14, 1913, identifies her as “Mrs. Mary Jones, better known throughout the coal fields of West Virginia and other mining states as "Mother" Jones, the angel of the miners,…” The article also calls Mother Jones an “aged agitator.” Yet the author recognized “the deep respect which the miners have for the advocate” and feared Jones’ “arrest… may be the instigation of another outbreak of violence among the striking miners.”

West Virginia Archives and History, " 'Mother Jones' Will Tell ‘Em When and Where To Use Arms

This provides an electronic transcript of an article printed in the Charleston Daily Mail on February 13, 1913. It claims that Mother Jones told miners in West Virginia: “Buy guns, and buy good ones; have them where you can lay your hands on them at any minutes [sic], and I will tell you when and where to use them.”

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