Illinois Railroad Laborer Diary
The one year Excelsior brand diary of an unidentified man from Illinois who worked for the railroad contains entries from January 1 through December 31, 1894. The author and his family appear to have lived near Springfield, Illinois. The entries comment on the weather, strikes by coal mine and railway workers, the Panic of 1893 and ensuing economic depression, and daily life. There are references to injuries to fellow employees in the railyard and some later dying. The diary writer does not seem to be wholeheartedly in agreement with the labor movement and the railroad strike in 1894. Also included in the collection is a five page typed document, "Proceedings Concerning This Diary In the Courts of The Italian Society of Letters."
Partial transcription provided by the seller:
Jan 12, 1894
Bossiness some better Martin was hurt in the yard today don't know how bad the brakeman who was hurt yesterday died last night at the Hospital.
Jan 28, 1894
Has been cloudy today very little if any wind has got warm and has thawed some looks like some snow this evening. Has been my Sunday afternoon off Business seems worse if anything instead of better!
Has been a nice day after the storm clear frost of the day thawing some yesterdays storm said to be one of the worst for years, over a great deal of territory Alice left this morning for Springfield Illinois there she goes to work in the Singer office and we will miss her very much.
April 24, 1894
Business very quiet in the yard. Conditions at present all very peculiar thousands of coal miners strike hundreds of men marching towards Washington.
April 25, 1894
Clear and warm today wind south east. Still it is hard times papers full of the industrial armies marching on to Washington: coal miners strike and railroad employees of the North West on strike. What is this county coming to.
April 26, 1894
The same old story in regard to business everyone seems uneasy cant tell who the result is going to be it looks as tho there is going to be trouble with these industrial armies as they call it.
May 7, 1894
Cloudy this morning with threatening rain wind in the North West. Business very quiet on the road and in the yard. The river is still coming up no change in the coal miners strike yet !
May 14, 1894
Has been warm today very dull on the road today about 600 people here from off the narrow gage railroad by invitation of the businessmen of Buel they had a fine time and were well entertained.
May 15, 1894
Very quiet as usual river on the decline papers still full of news pertaining to strikes and the industrial armies the outlook is anything but encouraging.
May 19, 1894
It was a terrible day on the lakes ! A great many lives lost and vessels lost the cold has done lots of damage in a great many places.
May 31, 1894
The miners strike is still on and it is getting to be a serious matter with the railroads for fuel ! Very dull in the yard today.
July 2, 1894
Everything is very quiet here - no people ? To about to anything but times in Chicago are exciting. The strikers are on top so far.
July 5 1894
Railroading very quiet here ; Caused by the strike matters in Chicago anything but quiet not much change in the strike both sides feel confident of wining. Troops have been called out.
July 6, 1894
Everything very quiet but little business being done by the road it is getting forty once more ? in Chicago are getting serious they are destroying property and lives are being lost also.
June 7, 1894
Pretty fair on the road and in the yard, river is falling again the striking miners are making trouble in places now.
June, 6 1894
Things along the ? Outside of Chicago are very quiet but in Chicago just inside the city there is rioting and blood being split great excitement all over the country.
July 9, 1894
The strike situation is no better the mob part of it has been checked to a certain extent Mr. Cleveland has issued a proclamation which is similar to marital law in Chicago.
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0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder) : Diaries
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Purchased from ebay seller matts_diaries_curiosities_dustytomeson April 29, 2019.
- Men -- Illinois -- 19th century -- Diaries Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Railroads -- Illinois -- Employees -- 19th century -- Diaries Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
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- personal papers Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Illinois Railroad Laborer Diary
- Amy Schindler; Angela Kroeger
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