The World of Work: History of Work in Minnesota


Many unskilled immigrant workers came to this country from Socialist backgrounds, resulting in one of the first serious union organizational efforts in the industry through the formation of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). The struggle for the right to meet, protest and organize was curtailed by state and federal authorities, and many leaders were jailed.

During the boom period of 1890 to 1910, lumber companies took lumber valued at one-billion dollars from the state. As the boom ended, loggers gradually abandoned camps and associated facilities, and moved into other work in expanding, changing, Minnesota.




Smoking him out

Cartoon “Smoking him out.”
Law and order vs. I.W.W. agitators
in northern Minnesota Lumber Camps, 1917

From: Duluth News Tribune, January 3, 1917.
Minnesota Historical Society

Unloading logs

Unloading Logs

Engraving from Harper’s Weekly, ca. 1890s

Breaking a jam

Breaking a Jam

Engraving from Harper’s Weekly, ca. 1890s


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