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Monthly Feature - October

Joe Hill: "Don't mourn for me -- Organize!"

Bibliography | Web Sites | Archives

Joe Hill was born October 7, 1879 in Gavle, Sweden. He immigrated to the United States in 1902 via Ellis Island. An itinerant laborer, he worked all over the country. He joined the Industrial Workers of the World in 1910 and began writing songs that captured the fighting spirit and plight of working people, that were often set to the tunes of popular songs or hymns. Shortly after arriving in Utah to work in the mines, he was accused of murder and convicted on circumstantial evidence. The IWW claimed his arrest and conviction were in retaliation for IWW activity in the area. Despite appeals by the Swedish government, the American Federation of Labor, President Woodrow Wilson, and tens of thousands of supporters throughout the world, Joe Hill was executed by a five-man firing squad at the Utah State Penitentiary on November 19, 1915.

We have provided a selected Bibliography of materials about Joe Hill and the Industrial Workers of the World from the library's holdings. The Holt Labor Library collection includes many more materials about the IWW and published by the IWW. Please refer to the library's Online Catalog for additional titles. Related Web Sites and Archives are also listed to assist you in your research.


Conlin, Joseph R. , ed. At the Point of Production: The Local History of the I.W.W. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981. Collection of studies of the I.W.W. from the 1912 textile strike to the 1931 strike at the Boulder Canyon Project. Includes a significant bibliography.

De Caux, Len. The Living Spirit of the Wobblies. New York: International Publishers, 1978. Chapter devoted to Joe Hill. Written by a former Wobbly.

Foner, Philip S. The Case of Joe Hill. New York: International Publishers, 1965. Well respected labor historian's extensive study concludes that Joe Hill was the victim of a frame-up.

Kornbluh, Joyce, ed. Rebel Voices: An I.W.W. Anthology. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1964. Chapter on Joe Hill includes song lyrics, letters of Joe Hill, and brief biography.

Miles, Dione, comp. Something in Common: An IWW Bibliography. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1986. Expansive bibliography compiled by an archivist from the Walter P. Reuther Library, official depository of IWW historical records.

Renshaw, Patrick. The Wobblies: The Story of Syndicalism in the United States. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1967. Joe Hill is included in chapter, "Three Martyrs," that also includes Frank Little and Wesley Everest.

The Return of Joe Hill. [videocassette]. Chicago: Prairie Grass Productions, 1990. Film examines the life and work of Joe Hill. It includes interviews with Hill biographer Gibbs Smith, labor historian Joyce Kornbluh, and others. Songs performed by a variety of musicians.

Songs of the Workers to Fan the Flames of Discontent. Chicago: Industrial Workers of the World: 1964. The 31st edition, also known as the "Little Red Songbook" and the "IWW Songbook." Includes songs by Joe Hill.

Stegner, Wallace. Joe Hill: A Biographical Novel. New York: Ballantine Books, 1950. Controversial novel that implies Joe Hilll was guilty. First published as "The Preacher and the Slave," a title taken from a song by Joe Hill.

Thompson, Fred W. The I.W.W., Its First Fifty Years, 1905-1955: The History of an Effort To Organize the Working Class. Chicago: Industrial Workers of the World, 1955. Written by IWW historian who participated in many of the events. Dione Miles (see above) referred to him as a "walking encyclopedia" on the IWW.

Winters, Donald E. The Soul of the Wobblies: The I.W.W., Religion, and American Culture in the Progressive Era, 1905-1917. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985. Examination of the relationship between the IWW and American Protestantism. 

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The Holt Labor Library provides these links for your convenience. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, the Holt Labor Library makes no guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of the information on these sites, and is not liable for any inaccuracy, error, or omission, regardless of cause.

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Pages created by Shannon Sheppard, MLIS
revised 01/22/09