Manuscript and Research Files, 1893-1979
Scope and Content of the Papers
The Ross papers (1916-1987) contain information pertaining to labor, politics, social issues of the twentieth century, coal mining and its resulting lifestyle, as well as photographs and audio materials. The collection is made up of five different accessions; L2001-05, which is contained in boxes one through 104, L2002-09 in boxes 106 through 120, L2006-16 in boxes 105 and 120, L2011-01 in boxes 120-121, and L2012-20 in boxes 122-125.
The campaign materials consist of items from the 1940 and 1948 political campaigns in which Ross participated. These items include campaign cards, posters, speech transcripts, news clippings, rally materials, letters to voters, and fliers.
Organizing and arbitration materials covers labor organizing events from "Operation Dixie" in Georgia, the furniture workers in North Carolina, and the Mine-Mill workers in the Western United States. Organizing materials include fliers, correspondence, news articles, radio transcripts, and some related photos. Arbitration files consist of agreements, decisions, and agreement booklets.
The social and political research files cover a wide time period (1930s to the late 1970s/early 1980s). The topics include mainly the Ku Klux Klan, racism, Communism, Red Scare, red baiting, United States history, and literature. These files consist mostly of news and journal articles.
Ross interacted with coal miners while doing work for the United Mine Workers Association (UMWA) and while working at the Fairmont Clinic in West Virginia. Included in these related files are books, news articles, journals, UMWA reports, and coal miner oral histories conducted by Ross.
Tying in to all of the activities Ross participated in during his life were his research and manuscript files. He wrote numerous newspaper and journal articles on history and labor. Later, as he worked for the UMWA and at the Fairmont Clinic, he wrote more in-depth articles about coal miners, their lifestyle, and medical problems they faced (while the Southern Labor Archives has many of Ross's coal mining and lifestyle articles, it does not have any of his medical articles). Along with these articles are the research files Ross collected to write them, which consist of notes, books, and newspaper and journal articles.
In additional to his professional career, Ross was adamant about documenting his and his wife's family history in the oral history format. Of particular interest are the recordings of his interviews with his wife's family - they were workers, musicians, and singers of labor and folk songs.
Finally, in this collection are a number of photographs and slides, which include images of organizing, coal mining (from the late 19th through 20th centuries), and Appalachia. Of note is a small photo album from the 1930s which contains images from the Summer School for Workers, and more labor organizing. A few audio items are available as well, such as Ross political speeches and an oral history in which Ross was interviewed by his daughter, Jane Ross Davis in 1986. All photographic and audio-visual materials are at the end of their respective series.
Restrictions on Access
Collection is open for research use.
From the Collection: 51.96 Linear Feet (in 125 boxes)
Language of Materials
From the Collection: English