The Olive Tree
Fogler Receives Historic Files from Maine’s Carpenters’ Union
The University of Maine’s Fogler Library recently received a dozen containers with hundreds of historic articles, correspondence and ledgers from Maine’s first carpenters unions, dating back to 1864.
Called "jewels for Maine historians" by Charles Scontras, historian, author and research associate with UMaine’s Bureau of Labor Education, the records recently were accepted by the Bureau of Labor Education and Richard Hollinger, head of Special Collections at Fogler Library, where the materials will be archived. The records were donated by members and officers from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local 1996.
"We are exceedingly grateful to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local 1996, for entrusting the University of Maine with these invaluable records and documents," say William Murphy, director of the Bureau of Labor Education. The historic material chronicles the struggles and contributions of Maine earliest union organizers to bring equity and parity to the lives of workers in carpentry, one of the oldest trades in the world. "They will help light up the shadows of Maine Labor history, permitting researchers and writers of labor history to see more and understand more of the role and place of workers in Maine history," says Scontras.
Many of the records were recovered from an old hen house in Sabattus, and some of the publications contain language in both English and French, a reflection of the contribution of Maine’s Franco-American craftsmen in Lewiston, where the first carpenters’ union members coalesced under the wing of the Journeymen House Carpenters’ Union in 1864 and were required to swear to an oath of secrecy. In 1888, the Lewiston Local 407, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America formed. Now based in Augusta, it more recently changed the number in its name to Local 1996, and continues to represent carpenters throughout Maine.
The donated records are from several local unions, including those in Bangor, Portland and Waterville.
Receiving the materials on behalf of the University of Maine in late June were Murphy, Scontras, Hollinger, John Hanson, director emeritus of the Bureau of Labor Education, and UMaine interim Provost Susan Hunter from UMaine. Union representatives delivering the records included Bruce King, Kevin Guidi, Gary Graham, Paul Seaquest, Charlie Turgeon, Dana Goldsmith and Pamela Buckley from Local 1996.
Information about the records can be obtained by contacting William Murphy at Bureau of Labor Education in UMaine’s Chadbourne Hall, (207) 581-4124.
The Bureau, part of the University of Maine’s Division of Lifelong Learning, was
established in 1966 by the 102nd Maine Legislature and the Trustees of the
University of Maine. It conducts educational programs, presentations, and
research on labor related issues of interest to workers, students, educators,
public policy makers and leaders in government, labor and education.
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