EDWARD LAWRENCE DOYLE PAPERS
Scope and Contents
Edward Lawrence Doyle’s papers span his career as a miner and labor union representative in Colorado. The main emphasis of the collection is on his tenure as Secretary-Treasurer for District #15 of the United Mine Workers of America from 1912 until 1917. During this time, the Colorado coal strikes and the Ludlow Massacre occurred. Materials include Doyle’s correspondence with Mary Harris Jones (Mother Jones), author Upton Sinclair, and newspaper clippings and articles that chronicle the coal miners’ labor movement in Colorado.
Edward Lawrence Doyle’s role in the organization of the labor movement among coal miners provides insight into Colorado’s labor history. The bulk of material and emphasis is on Doyle’s association with the United Mine Workers of America. The material includes correspondence, financial records, legal defense records, lists of killed and wounded strikers, union politics, transcripts of speeches and election ballots. Other items consist of newspaper clippings and publications, scrapbooks, pamphlets and flyers of events dating from 1909 to 1953.
The Denver Public Library’s Western History and Genealogy Department owns a collection of publications regarding Colorado mining labor conflicts, strikes, the Ludlow Massacre, militarism in Colorado and Mother Jones. Publications that supplement the Doyle papers include the following:
Collection also available on microfilm: Mflm33.
The series records Doyle’s career with the United Mine Workers of America, both as a miner in Lafayette and as the Secretary-Treasurer of District #15 during the time of Colorado’s
Coal Wars. Material includes correspondence and telegrams, legal documents, lists, union financial records, meeting minutes and notes, speeches, newspapers and clippings, publications, depositions and transcripts of testimonies.
This short-lived independent union formed with Doyle as Secretary-Treasurer and John Lawson as President. The series contains correspondence and newspaper articles.
An offer made to Doyle to work as union organizer for the local steel workers union in Pueblo comprises this series.
The series contains documents from Doyle’s career as traveling auditor for the union and as national legislative representative. Materials include manuscripts, a short biography, notes, drafts of speeches, research materials, newspaper clippings, newspaper and employment application.
Doyle’s work with the Colorado Works Progress Administration and application to Social Security Board comprise the series. Correspondence, resume applications, newspaper clippings and a recommendation for John Lawson are included.
The series contains business and personal correspondence, notes, newspaper clippings and his obituary.
His scrapbook containing articles on the coal strikes, Mother Jones and his wedding appear in this series.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.
Biographical / Historical
Edward Lawrence Doyle was born July 15, 1886, in Spring Hill, IL. His father, William Francis Doyle, a coal miner who immigrated to the United States from England, settled in Illinois where he worked in the coal mines. Doyle grew up in Spring Valley. In 1899, at the age of twelve, Doyle entered the mines of the Spring Valley Coal Company as a miner. In 1905, he was elected to the post of Check Weigh-man with Local Union #8617 of the United Mine Workers of America. Doyle moved to Colorado in 1908, with his mother, three sisters and a brother. The Doyles settled in Lafayette, where Doyle went to work as a Check Weigh-man for Local Union #1388. During this time Doyle engaged in union organizing of mine workers and various strike activities.
In 1910, Judge Greeley Whiteford sentenced Doyle and fifteen miners to one year in the Denver County Jail for violating an injunction issued on behalf of the Northern Coal and Coke Company. This led to protests over Whiteford’s handling of the case, appeals to the Governor for intervention, and a labor march through the streets of Denver. Judge Whiteford released Doyle and the striking miners after two months.
The Colorado House of Representatives honored Doyle in 1911 for helping Sheriff Capp stop the lynching of five non-union mineworkers who murdered a striking miner. In 1912, Doyle was elected President of the local. Doyle served as local President for two years until becoming Secretary-Treasurer for District #15 of the United Mine Workers of America. Doyle served as Secretary-Treasurer during the turbulent labor troubles between coal workers and mine owners that came to be known as the “Coal Wars.” During this time, threats, intimidation, beatings and gun battles took place. The conflict between strikers and mine guards, strike breakers and law officers culminated in the Ludlow Massacre.
The Ludlow Massacre led to union officers calling for all striking miners to arm themselves. The union and many others called for John D. Rockefeller, Jr. to be brought to trial. Investigations and committee hearings convened on both the resolutions of labor problems in the coal fields and the actions of the Colorado National Guard. In his testimony and speeches to these committees, Doyle, put forth the union position. As its Secretary-Treasurer, he managed the union financial records from 1913 to 1917. He was in charge of dues, distribution of the strike funds for all the union locals in Colorado, and recording the meeting minutes.
In 1917, District #15 officials of the United Mine Workers of America lost their positions. Questions arose about voting irregularities, but the election was declared valid. Feeling that the international organization did not represent the concerns of Colorado miners, Edward Doyle and John Lawson formed the Independent Union of Mine Workers. The Independent Union of Mine Workers was a short-lived organization because it could not garner the support of any national organization such as the American Federation of Labor.
Doyle worked in and out of the labor movement until 1921, when he was hired by the Brotherhood of Maintenance of the Way (the union of workers who maintain the railroad tracks and related equipment), as their Traveling Auditor. In 1936, Doyle took a leave of absence from his position for a year to work for the Federal Works Progress Administration. Doyle became National Legislative Representative for the Brotherhood of Maintenance of the Way, where he spoke and lobbied for legislation on behalf of working people until his retirement in 1952.
Doyle met his wife, Zita Brown, during the two months he spent in the Denver County Jail for violating Judge Whiteford's injunction. Zita Brown came to Denver from Lohrville, Iowa to visit friends. She joined her friends in visiting jailed miners. Edward Doyle and Zita Brown married on January 15, 1914, in Lohrville, Iowa. They honeymooned at the United Mine Workers Convention in Indianapolis. The Doyles had three daughters, Madonna, Margaret and Constance. Edward Lawrence Doyle died July 17, 1954.
2 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
1 oversize folio
4 microfilm reels (Mflm 33)
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift, Mrs. William R. Jackson (daughter of Edward L. Doyle), 1965.
REVISED AND ENCODED BY:
Merrie Jo Schroeder
- Labor unions -- Coal miners -- Colorado. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Letters. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Microfilms. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Strikes and lockouts -- Coal mining -- Colorado. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- United Mine Workers of America -- Archives.
- EDWARD LAWRENCE DOYLE PAPERS
- Language of description
- Script of description
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