University of Minnesota

Tyomies Society (Photographs), Records

Finding Aid


IHRC Archives


Immigration History Research Center Archives, University of Minnesota

Descriptive summary

Creator: Tyomies Society
Dates: 1900-1975
Abstract: The Työmies photograph collection is comprised of those photographs that were taken by the Työmies newspaper staff, as well as some that were given to the Työmies Society from other people interested in the Finnish-American labor movement. The collection visually documents the various ways that Finnish-American workers organized themselves and covers the time period from the beginning of the 1900s to the early 1970s.
Quantity: 4 linear ft.
Collection ID: IHRC2630

PROVENANCE

This photograph collection was deposited in the IHRC archives in November 1993, as a supplement to the IHRC’s Työmies Society collection (IHRC2635) that was deposited in the archives in February 1973. The photographs were a gift from the Työmies Society of Superior, Wisconsin, publisher of the Työmies-Eteenpäin newspaper. In January 1995, with funding from the Wirtanen Family Fund and the United Fund for Finnish American Archives, Heather A. Muir, an independent scholar and former IHRC intern, was hired to process these archival materials. Timo Riippa, Curatorial Assistant for the IHRC, served as the project supervisor and Joel Wurl, IHRC Curator and Assistant Director, served as project director. In 1999, Muir, then Assistant Curator, completed processing of the photographic portion of the collection, and Thomas Mackaman, student assistant, contributed the historical sketch. In 2004-2005, the photographs were digitized and included in the IHRC COLLAGE database (migrated to the U Media Archive in 2007) and the current finding aid was made available online in 2005.

HISTORICAL SKETCH

The Työmies Society came into existence as the organization that published Työmies (The Worker), which was founded in 1903 in Worcester, Massachusetts. The newspaper moved from Worcester to Hancock, Michigan in 1904, and to Superior, Wisconsin, in 1914 where it remained until its final printing in 1998.

The chief function of the Työmies Society was the publication of newspapers, periodicals, and books for Finnish speaking Americans in order to promote the ideas of the international working class and to educate Finnish immigrants. Toward that end, the Työmies Society published Työmies (1903-1998); the women’s newspapers Tyolaisnainen (Working Woman) and Naisten Viiri (Women’s Banner). It also published seasonal, humorous, and children’s periodicals, as well as hundreds, perhaps thousands, of books and pamphlets. Because of its various publishing endeavors, the Työmies Society can lay claim to being the most prolific publisher of the Finnish American community. At the time of its last printing, Työmies was the longest-running, continuously published Finnish immigrant newspaper in the United States, and at its peak it had the largest circulation. Throughout the course of its ninety-five year history, the Työmies remained an outspoken critic of American capitalism and a community voice for left-wing Finnish Americans, advocating socialism, cooperativism, and labor unions. The Society went beyond publishing, becoming a political, social, and cultural center in Finnish American working class culture.

The close relationship between the various Finnish socialist locals and Työmies allowed the newspaper to disseminate cultural information from Finland and review and photograph many aspects of Finnish American hall life including plays, musical performances, and athletic events. In turn, the locals would often advertise cultural events in Työmies. Further, the newspaper itself maintained among its employees a chorus and drama club. After finding its home in the Lake Superior area of the Midwest, Työmies was followed by two other socialist newspapers, Toveri (The Comrade, 1907, in Astoria, Oregon) on the West Coast and Eteenpäin (Forward, founded in 1921) on the East Coast. Both papers would later be absorbed by Työmies, the latter joining in 1950 and adding its name, hence Työmies-Eteenpäin. Työmies proved itself to be a quite durable publication, enduring erosion from the ranks of the Finnish American left and constant attacks from outside. Originally an advocate of the Finnish Socialist Federation (founded in 1906 as the first foreign language federation within the American Socialist Party), the newspaper twice found itself at the center of factionalism within the Finnish American left. In 1914, a group of Finns who were committed to industrial unionism under the leadership of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.) failed in a takeover attempt to acquire publishing operations and subsequently founded a separate newspaper in Duluth, Soscialisti (later Industrialisti). In 1920, an ideological shift occurred among Midwestern Finns under the leadership of Työmies, and socialist locals chose to affiliate with Lenin and the Third International, while East Coast socialist chapters tended to remain loyal to the American Socialist Party and the publication Raaivaaja (The Pioneer). Avowedly radical, the publication was attacked several times by reactionary forces. Printing was moved from Hancock to Superior after the tragic Copper Country strike of 1913 and the post-strike repression of activist miners and newspaper operations, which included the arrests of the editors and a boycott of advertising.

The Työmies Society endured two red scares: the first during World War I and the early 1920s anti-Communist, anti-foreigner hysteria and government censorship, and the second during the 1950s with McCarthyism, which resulted in the attempted deportation of two Työmies editors, Knut Heikkinen and William Lahtinen. Other notable editors include: Vihtori Kosonen, Leo Laukki, George Halonen, Richard Pesola, and Leo Mattson. Inevitably, Työmies fell victim to the gradual assimilation of the Finnish American community and the loss of Finnish readership, as immigrants and second generation Finnish Americans (veterans of the vibrant working class movement of the pre-World War Two era) passed away. As of 1999, the Työmies Society published only one all-English publication, the monthly Finnish American Reporter.


DESCRIPTION OF THE COLLECTION

The Työmies photograph collection is comprised of those photographs that were taken by the Työmies newspaper staff, as well as some that were given to the Työmies Society from other people interested in the Finnish-American labor movement. The collection visually documents the various ways that Finnish-American workers organized themselves and covers the time period from the beginning of the 1900s to the early 1970s. The collection represents local and regional political and social organizations, including groups for workers, women, children, musicians, actors, and athletes. Also included are photographs of significant, influential Finnish-Americans and other individuals with their families. The Työmies Society also kept file photographs of generic snapshots of people, buildings, and scenery.

There are over 600 photographs in this collection, mainly black and white with a few in color. They range in size from snapshots to 10” x 13” mounted photographs, and even some larger panoramic photographs that have been rolled up for storage. Also included are a few negatives, rose tinted positives, postcards, and clipped photographs from various publications. Because the sizes of the photographs vary considerably, like-sized items are stored together. Thus, the inventory reflects both an image number and a box number. Many of the photographs have some sort of identifying marks on them, such as a group’s name placed on the print or written on the back. Some of the photographs have hand written notes attached to them identifying key people in the photograph. Other sources of identification include first hand knowledge of the IHRC staff as well as others involved with Finnish Americans and their activities. Several of the photographs have been published in issues of the Työmies-Eteenpäin and other newspapers, Työmies Society anniversary editions, and other books and publications relating to Finnish American activities. Some photographs are in excellent condition, but a good portion of them suffer from age and/or mishandling and are bent, marred, written on, or torn. Therefore, a set of photocopies of the original photographs has been made for use by researchers. The originals have been placed in storage, but may be seen by researchers upon request. All digital images from all series can be searched in the U Media Archive.


ORGANIZATION OF MATERIALS

The photographs have been divided into three main series: organizational activity, people, and newspaper file photographs. (The oversize box contains photographs from all three series.) The series have been broken down further into more specific groupings (see below).


ACCESS RESTRICTIONS

The Tyomies Society (Photographs) collection is available for public research.

OWNERSHIP & LITERARY RIGHTS

The Tyomies Society (Photographs) collection is the physical property of the Immigration History Research Center Archives, University of Minnesota.

For further information regarding the copyright, please contact the IHRC Archives.


CITE AS

The Tyomies Society (Photographs) Records, Finnish American Collection, IHRC Archives, University of Minnesota

Index Terms

Finnish
Tyomies Society (U.S.)
Labor
Photographs

Description of Series

This section briefly describes each series in the collection. A more detailed description of the contents of each series may be found in the following section.

SERIES 1. Organizational activity

SERIES 2. People

SERIES 3. Newspaper file photographs

SERIES 4. Oversize



Detailed Description of the Collection

DESCRIPTION OF THE SUBSERIES

SERIES 1. Organizational activity

SUBSERIES 1. Political
Subseries 1 covers political and social groups, gatherings, and events. Arranged geographically, this subseries gives a snapshot view of the political and political activities of several regions across the United States including New England, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, and the Pacific Northwest. There are also a handful of photographs from Canada and Finland. Here you will find photographs of local meetings and national conventions; local meeting halls; political events such as marches, strikes, and vigilantism; and social gatherings like summer picnics, Red Flag Day celebrations, and Festival of Struggle parades.
BOX 1.
FOLDER 1.
IMAGE: Photography
Negaunee, Michigan, Injunction placed on the Finnish Socialist Club during the copper miners' strike, 1913
IMAGE: Photography
Markham, Minnesota, Finnish Workers Hall, n.d. (From Viena Harris)
IMAGE: Photography
Mason, Wisconsin, unidentified group on a summer picnic, n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Mass, Michigan, Summer festival attendees in the grandstands, n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Negaunee, Michigan, Pioneers Parade, 1932
IMAGE: Photography
Negaunee, Michigan, Green Gymnastics group in May Day Parade, 1934
IMAGE: Photography
Negaunee, Michigan, Finnish Labor Temple May Day gathering, ca. 1930
IMAGE: Photography
New York, New York, 125th Avenue Socialist Hall, n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Ludlow, Colorado, Ludlow Tent Colony after the fire, 1913
IMAGE: Photography
Red Cross Coffee klatch, held on the Fraki farm on the shores of the King River, n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Finnish Socialist Chapter, unidentified, ca. 1910s (Children and adults attending a play or program at a local hall)
IMAGE: Photography
Reedley, California, Finnish Socialist Hall, February 15, 1915
IMAGE: Photography
New York, New York, Eastern District Committee, n.d. (People identified on original)
IMAGE: Photography
Ishpeming, Michigan, Festival of Struggle, July 4, 1932
IMAGE: Photography
Gardner, Massachusetts, Communist summer festival, 1921
IMAGE: Photography
Finnish Workers Federation of USA, 6th National Convention, delegates, n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Reedley, California, Hauli Huvila hall
IMAGE: Photography
Finnish Socialist Chapter, unidentified, n.d. (Members)
IMAGE: Photography
Waukegan, Illinois, Workers Hall built in 1910, n.d. (Copy 2)
IMAGE: Photography
Finnish Socialist Chapter, unidentified, n.d. (Founding members standing in front of their modest hall)
IMAGE: Photography
Finnish Socialist Chapter, unidentified, ca. 1910s (Cromwell?)
IMAGE: Photography
Finland, von Ursin and group, ca. 1900
IMAGE: Photography
Finland, Valkeakoski, May Day parade, 1922 (Postcard)
IMAGE: Photography
Finland, Siikajoki, May Day parade, 1917 (Postcard)
IMAGE: Photography
Finland, Refugees crossing frozen lake, 1944
IMAGE: Photography
Finland, Kuopio, May Day parade, 1923 (Postcard)
IMAGE: Photography
Finnish Socialist Federation, First Executive Committee, 1907
IMAGE: Photography
Summer picnic, unidentified group somewhere in New York, n.d. (Bjornbacka in photo?)
IMAGE: Photography
Brooklyn, New York, Finnish Socialist Hall, n.d. (copy 1)
IMAGE: Photography
Waukegan, Illinois, Workers Hall built in 1910, n.d. (Copy 1)
IMAGE: Photography
Virginia, Minnesota, Temperance Hall Valontuote (now the Kalevala hall), n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Upper Michigan Strikers March, 1913
IMAGE: Photography
Upper Michigan Song, Band, Drama and Gymnastics Festival Executive Committee, 1927 (People identified on original)
IMAGE: Photography
Unidentified Finnish Socialist Hall, n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Unidentified Finnish Socialist Club, Entertainment Committee, 1919
IMAGE: Photography
Timmins, Oregon, Finn Hall, ca. 1921
IMAGE: Photography
Swenson, Oregon, Finnish Workers Hall, Naisten Viiri 65th anniversary celebration, 1976
IMAGE: Photography
Superior, Wisconsin, Tyomies Society 50th Annual Meeting, 1953
IMAGE: Photography
Superior, Wisconsin, Building next to Tyomies is demolished, n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Sebeka, Minnesota, Finnish Workers Hall, n.d. (Copy 2)
IMAGE: Photography
Summer picnic, unidentified, n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Rockland, Michigan, Rockland Strike "The Condemned," March 1907 (See also For the Common Good, p. 140)
IMAGE: Photography
Summer picnic, unidentified group, n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Summer festival, unidentified, n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Sudbury, Ontario, Canadian Socialist Federation convention, 1945
IMAGE: Photography
Wyoming, unidentified Finnish Socialist Group, n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Worcester, Massachusetts, Sisu gymnastics group, Festival of Struggle Parade, 1934 (Copy 2)
IMAGE: Photography
Women's March on behalf of Mother Jones, Trinidad County, 1913
IMAGE: Photography
Superior, Wisconsin, Annual Meeting of the Cooperative Center Exchange and the Managers' and Directors' Conference, April 22-25, 1929
IMAGE: Photography
Sebeka, Minnesota, Finnish Workers Hall, n.d. (Copy 3)
IMAGE: Photography
Finland, Kemi, May Day parade participants, 1924 (Postcard)
IMAGE: Photography
Sebeka, Minnesota, Finnish Workers Hall, n.d. (Copy 1)
IMAGE: Photography
San Diego, California, Finnish hall members, 1945
IMAGE: Photography
Summer picnic, unidentified Socialist Chapter, ca. 1906
IMAGE: Photography
Astoria, Oregon, Socialist Hall, ca. 1915
IMAGE: Photography
Hancock, Michigan, Red Flag Parade/summer festival, July 28, 1907
IMAGE: Photography
Alengo, Minnesota, reunion of homesteaders who moved to farms from the city when land became available, ca. 1905 (same event in Image 4)
IMAGE: Photography
Superior, Wisconsin, Former Central Cooperative warehouse, n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Hancock, Michigan, Red Flag Day, 1907
IMAGE: Photography
Astoria, Oregon, Car caravan escorting deported Toveri editor Emil Parras, manager John Oravainen, and typesetter O. Mannisto, n.d.
IMAGE: Attendees of district meeting n.d. Photography
Attendees at Oregon-Washington District Committee meeting, Aberdeen, Washington.
IMAGE: Photography
Astoria, Oregon, Finnish Socialist Federation, Western District Convention, 1920, (people identified on original)
IMAGE: Photography
Quincy, Massachusetts, The Runo Group (poetry group or choir), n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Calumet, Michigan, Italian Hall in mourning the day after disaster, December, 1914 (same event as in Image 15, copy 1)
IMAGE: Photography
Calumet, Michigan, Italian Hall in mourning the day after disaster, December, 1914 (same event as in Image 15, copy 2)
IMAGE: Photography
Brooklyn, New York, Finnish Socialist Hall, n.d. (copy 2)
IMAGE: Photography
Chisholm, Minnesota, Choir performing during 70th anniversary of Tyomies Society at Mesaba Park, 1973
IMAGE: Photography
Alengo, Minnesota, reunion of homesteaders who moved to farms from the city when land became available, ca. 1905 (same event in Image 3)
IMAGE: Photography
Chisholm, Minnesota, Gathering for a group photo outside during 70th anniversary of Tyomies Society at Mesaba Park, 1973
IMAGE: Photography
Astoria, Oregon, Finnish Socialist Club summer festival, 1907
IMAGE: Photography
New York, New York, Unidentified group photo, ca. 1910s (Santeri Nuorteva in group, photo is in two pieces)
IMAGE: Photography
Ishpeming, Michigan, Finnish Workers' March, July 4, 1932 (Note on back of original by Ernest Koski)
IMAGE: Photography
Ishpeming, Michigan, Festival of Struggle, July 4, 1932 (Note on back of original by Irja Harju)
IMAGE: Photography
Chisholm, Minnesota, Orchestra group during 70th anniversary of Tyomies Society at Mesaba Park, 1973
IMAGE: Photography
Chisholm, Minnesota, Outside gathering during 70th anniversary of Tyomies Society at Mesaba Park, 1973
IMAGE: Photography
New York, New York, Finnish Labor Temple Executive Board, ca. 1940s (Includes Ivari Anttile, treasurer, and Sylvester Ylisipola)
IMAGE: n.d. Photography
Finnish Socialist hall vandalized by vigilantes, Aberdeen, Washington.
IMAGE: Photography
New York, New York, Finnish-American Rally for Peace, Security and Freedom at Finnish Labor Temple (Finnish Communist Hall), n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Chisholm, Minnesota, Cutting cake at 70th anniversary of Tyomies Society at Mesaba Park, 1973
IMAGE: Photography
Newberry, Michigan, Carl Paivio speaking at a Finnish gathering, September 4, 1932
IMAGE: Photography
Norwood, Massachusetts, Members of Finnish Workers Federation Chapter, 1923
IMAGE: Photography
Peoples' Farm League board of directors (Kiev, Ukraine), November 22, 1958
IMAGE: Photography
Portland, Oregon, Finnish Socialist Club picnic, 1909
IMAGE: Photography
Finland, Jyvaskyla, Political March with 4,500 participants, n.d. (Postcard)
IMAGE: Photography
Portland, Oregon, Finnish Socialist Hall, n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
New York, New York, Finnish Progressive Society Hall, n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Embarrass, Minnesota, Finnish Socialist Hall and its builders, September 11, 1913
IMAGE: Photography
Crosby, Minnesota, Finnish Socialist Hall, ca. 1915
IMAGE: Photography
Crystal Falls, Michigan, Young people's group, 1917
IMAGE: Photography
Detroit, Michigan, Finnish Socialist Club, May 10, 1910
IMAGE: Photography
Calumet, Michigan, Italian Hall, bodies of some of the victims in the morgue , December, 1914 (same event as in Images 13 and 14)
IMAGE: Photography
Detroit, Michigan, Finnish Socialist Federation chapter members, May 8, 1910
IMAGE: Photography
Duluth, Minnesota, Work Peoples College, n.d. (Copy 1)
IMAGE: Photography
Cleveland, Ohio, "The New Deal," another CCRA eviction, ca. 1930s
IMAGE: Photography
Duluth, Minnesota, Work Peoples College, students scattering Joe Hill's ashes, 1917
IMAGE: Photography
Detroit, Michigan, Workers Camp, n.d. (Mother Bloor in center)
IMAGE: Photography
Finland, Civil War Massacres, ca. 1917
IMAGE: Photography
Finland, Helsinki, First Post War International Women's Day at the Exhibition Hall, February 8, 1945
IMAGE: Photography
Finland, Helsinki, Finnish Americans and Finnish Members of Parliament, Alexis Kivi Day, October 10, 1947 (Group includes Olympic runner Hannes Kolehmainen. People identified on back of photo. Same event as Image 45)
IMAGE: Photography
Finland, Helsinki, Finnish Americans and Finnish Members of Parliament, Alexis Kivi Day, October 10, 1947 (People identified on back of photo. Same event as Image 44)
IMAGE: Photography
Finland, Helsinki, 1st Convention of the Finnish Women's Democratic League (SNorth DakotaL), June 8-19, 1946
IMAGE: Photography
Finland, Helsinki, unidentified group photo, ca. 1945
IMAGE: Photography
Finland, Joutseno, May Day celebration, 1912 (Postcard)
IMAGE: Photography
Duluth, Minnesota, Work Peoples College, n.d. (Copy 2)
IMAGE: Photography
Hancock, Michigan, Laying Cornerstone to the Kansan Koti (United Finnish Hall), ca. 1910 (Copy 9)
IMAGE: Photography
Hibbing, Minnesota, Home of the Hibbing 7 and Minnesota's Longest Strike, ca. 1970s
IMAGE: Photography
Iron River, Michigan, Socialist choral society, ca. 1910
IMAGE: Photography
Detroit, Michigan, Finnish Socialist Club summer picnic, n.d. (Caption: A few comrades from Detroit. Do you know any of them?)
IMAGE: Photography
Hancock, Michigan, Laying Cornerstone to the Kansan Koti (United Finnish Hall), ca. 1910 (Copy 10)
IMAGE: ca. 1930 8 x 10 in. Photography
Brooklyn, New York, Finnish Workers Federation meeting, ca. 1930 (Carl Paivio, Oscar Corgan, Suvanto and Sandbacka among those in attendance)
IMAGE: Photography
Chisholm, Minnesota, Gathering outside during 70th anniversary of Tyomies Society at Mesaba Park, 1973
IMAGE: Photography
Chisholm, Minnesota, Kitchen crew at 70th anniversary of Tyomies Society at Mesaba Park, 1973
IMAGE: Photography
Classport, Pennsylvania, Fall Festival, n.d.
IMAGE: Photography
Chisholm, Minnesota, 70th anniversary of Tyomies Society at Mesaba Park, 1973
IMAGE: Photography
Chisholm, Minnesota, Vocal trio performing during 70th anniversary of Tyomies Society at Mesaba Park, 1973
IMAGE: Photography
Chisholm, Minnesota, Volunteer helpers at 70th anniversary of Tyomies Society at Mesaba Park, 1973


SERIES 2. People



SERIES 3. Newspaper file photographs



SERIES 4. Oversize




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