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Carl Person Papers

Identifier: LP000230

Scope and Content

Series 1: Strike, 1911-1915 (Box 1). Strike-hearing proceedings, financial statements, circulars, membership lists, affidavits, correspondence, mailing lists, notes, mats for Strike Bulletin.

Series 2: Person Trial, 1914 (Box 2). Person Trial-proceedings, pleas of Frank Comerford, testimony of witnesses, notes, telegrams, clippings.

Series 3: Person vs. International Association of Machinists (IAM), 1916-1920 (Box 3). Person vs. International Association of Machinists (IAM). Correspondence, credential, railroad workers strike orders, "The Lizard's Trail" orders, IAM constitution.

Series 4: Personal Items and Various Materials (Box 4). "The Lizard's Trail," poultry netting machine drawings, certificates to practice before U. S. court.

Series 5: Strike Bulletin mailing lists (Box 5). Strike Bulletin mailing lists.

Series 6: Journals, 1910-1914 (Boxes 6-7). Bound volumes: Journal of the International Association of Machinists, Boilermakers' Journal.

Series 7: The Person Case (Box 8). "The Person Case," newspapers, multiple copies, fragile, probably 1916

Series 8: Audiovisual and Oversize Material (Boxes 9-11). Boxes 9 and 10: Many photographs of strikes and train wrecks from the nineteen-teens era. Box 11: Strike bulletins, oversize.


  • 1910 - 1920


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


Carl Emil Person was born in Kronedergs Lane, Sweden, in 1882. The Person family came to Illinois about 1890. At the age of 10, Carl and his older brother began working in a starch factory. At 18, Person began working in railroad shops. During the September 1911 to June 1915 strike against the Illinois Central and Harriman Lines, Person worked as strike secretary. He wrote and distributed weekly strike bulletins. In December 1913, Person was attacked by a strikebreaker and killed his assailant, setting a precedent for the times. Person was acquitted on the grounds of self defense. After the strike was ended by top officers of the union involved, Person was expelled from the International Association of Machinists for his protest against the action of the officers. "The Lizard's Trail," a publication by Person, gives his side of this dispute. In June 1919, Person received a Bachelor of Law Degree from the Chicago Law School. On April 2, 1927, he was admitted before the U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals as a qualified attorney.


6 Linear Feet (10 MB, 1 OS)


Carl Person served as strike secretary during the 1911 to 1915 railroad strike against the Illinois Central and Harriman Lines. He was a writer, editor and distributor of the weekly strike bulletins. He collected the materials included in this collection pertaining to the strike, to his trial for killing a strike-breaker in 1914 and to his expulsion from the International Association of Machinists. The U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations and strike-breaking are among topics included. Among the correspondents are Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Carlo Tresca and Woodrow Wilson. Many photographs of strikes and train wrecks from the nineteen-teens era are included.


This collection is arranged in 8 series. Materials grouped by subject.


The papers of Carl Person were deposited with the Labor History Archives in May 1967 by Carl Person.


Photographs have been placed in the Reuther Archives Audiovisual Department.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by CC and JSH in May 1968.


Guide to the Carl Person Papers
Processed by CC and JSH.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA