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From Redstone to Ludlow: John Cleveland Osgood’s Struggle against the United Mine Workers of America

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Title:
From Redstone to Ludlow: John Cleveland Osgood’s Struggle against the United Mine Workers of America
Series Title:
From Redstone to Ludlow: John Cleveland Osgood’s Struggle against the United Mine Workers of America
Creator:
Montoya, Fawn-Amber
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
Center for Colorado and the West
Publication Date:
Language:
English

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Source Institution:
Auraria Library
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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From Redstone to Ludlow: John Cleveland Osgoods Struggle against the United Mine Workers of America | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/redstone-ludlow-john-cleveland-osgoods-struggle-against-united-mine-workers-america[12/8/2015 12:43:21 PM] Home From Redstone to Ludlow: John Cleveland Osgoods Struggle against the United Mine Workers of AmericaFrom Redstone to Ludlow: John Cleveland Osgoods Struggle against the United Mine Workers of AmericaSubmitted by jainlayconley on 8-2-2010 12:35 PMAuthor: F. Darrell Munsell Publishing: Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado, 2009. 392 pages. Photos, maps, endnotes, bibliography, index. 6-1/4 x 9-1/4. $37.50 hardcover. Reviewer: Fawn-Amber Montoya Reviewer Affiliation: Colorado State UniversityPueblo Darrell Munsells From Redstone to Ludlow: John Cleveland Osgoods Struggle against the United Mine Workers of America recalls the life of John Osgood from his roots in coal mining in 1883 when he and three others formed the Colorado Fuel Company (CFC). Munsell traces the growth and changes of CFC until 1892 when the company merged with steel magnate William Jackson Palmers Colorado Coal & Iron Company. This merger formed the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company (CF&I) making Osgood the dominant coal entrepreneur in Colorado and the West (15). While Munsell recounts Osgoods contributions as Fuel King of the West, he does not overlook Osgoods policies and response to unions. He shows that Osgood embraced policies of violence and intimidation against unions that he believed to be politically and financially motivated. Munsell argues that Osgood felt that the best approach to battling the emergence of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) was to push for industrial betterment in the coal camps and steel mill. Osgood believed that a program designed to enhance the workers moral character and physical quality of life would improve his corporations public image (33). Munsell argues that workers in Redstone, a town privately funded by Osgood, enjoyed the positive aspects of industrial bettermentbetter quality housing, a more sanitary environment, more extensive entertainment offerings, and better educational opportunities than the old company towns provided (49). From Redstone to Ludlow documents Osgoods steps to save his fuel empire by searching for additional capital when CF&I experienced an economic downturn in the early 1900s (a decline which ultimately led to the failure of Redstone). Osgood found individuals and corporations willing to invest in his empire; but with the introduction of new investors, Osgood lost his hold on the Colorado fuel industry and was replaced with men who represented oil tycoon John D. Rockefellers financial interests. Munsell points out that with this change in ownership, Osgood retained control of the Victor Fuel Company, the second largest producer of coal and coke in the state, and remained a player in labor relations in southern Colorado. During the 1903 strike in Colorado, Osgood represented the interests of the coal companies.Osgood viewed the UMWA and union organizers as anarchists and revolutionaries bent upon destroying the American way of Life (95). Munsell argues that the defeat of the UMWA in the 1903 strike was simply a EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanKatherine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics of America the Beautiful after an awe-inspiring trip to the top of Pikes Peak in 1893.

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From Redstone to Ludlow: John Cleveland Osgoods Struggle against the United Mine Workers of America | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/redstone-ludlow-john-cleveland-osgoods-struggle-against-united-mine-workers-america[12/8/2015 12:43:21 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us prelude to the strike of 1913. Munsell views Osgoods involvement in the Great Coalfield War of 1913 and the Ludlow Massacre as one of political influence. Osgood pushed for Governor Elias Ammons to ignore labor leaders and encouraged the ordering of guns to Ludlow. When we were unable to get protection from the sheriff and when the governor refused to order out the troops . then we ordered the machine guns, and I take all the responsibility coming to me on my part. . if the strikers had not come to our boundaries they would never have gotten in contact with them. (169) While From Redstone to Ludlow does not place the entire blame for the massacre on Osgoods shoulders, Munsell clearly shows Osgoods stand in representing capitals interests. Munsells final chapters address the cleanup of the Ludlow Massacre. In the chapter The Ten Days War, he includes Osgoods attempts to reclaim a moral high ground. Osgood highlighted the violence in order to place blame on the miners agitating as a reason for the massacre. In the chapter titled Kings Verdict,Munsell addresses the coordinated efforts of William Lyon Mackenzie King and John D. Rockefeller to make the Colorado coal camps more in line with company goals that encouraged worker participation in CF&Is successes. Munsell demonstrates the antagonistic nature of Osgoods and Kings relationship. Osgoods personal life, King believed, illustrated the universal truth that men of poor character created social conflict (331). King, after concluding his investigation into the events at Ludlow, felt that the blame for the massacre rested in the hands of the mine operators. King left Colorado with the hope of implementing a plan that would bring greater representation to CF&I employees. For more information on the employee representation plan established by John D. Rockefeller Jr., I would recommend Jonathan Reess Representation and Rebellion: The Rockefeller Plan at the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, 1914 1942. Munsell does an excellent job of illustrating Osgoods rise to prominence and his ultimate flaw of failing to work with the United Mine Workers. The text addresses the complexities of Osgoods career and ends with his fall from /power after Ludlow, when he is replaced by John D. Rockefeller Jr. Darrel Munsells From Redstone to Ludlow is an excellent way to gain greater insight into the inner workings of the ownership of the Colorado fuel industry. Reviewer Info: Fawn-Amber Montoya is an assistant professor of history at Colorado State UniversityPueblo. Her research interests include U.S. Southwest, labor, gender, and ethnic history. Add new comment