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M. H. Ross Papers

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M. H. Ross:

A Guide to His Papers at Georgia State University Library

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia, 30303
404-413-2880
archives@gsu.edu

December 2001



Profile Description

Creation: This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2012-10-01T13:47-0400
Language: English

Repository: Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
creatorRoss, Myron Howard, 1916-1987.
Title: M. H. Ross Papers
Dates: 1916-1987
Quantity: 51.96 Linear feet
AbstractMyron Howard "Mike" Ross, was born November 9, 1919. Ross worked with a number of unions as an organizer, arbitrator, and advocate in the South. He ran for elective office in North Carolina on the Progressive Party ticket. After receiving public health training, he founded the Fairmont (West Virginia) Clinic, which had the mission of providing high quality medical care for miners and their families. Administering the clinic 1958-1978, Ross developed a longstanding interest in coal miners and worked on writing a history of them. The M. H. Ross papers consists of campaign materials from congressional races held in 1940 and 1948, labor union activities, social and political research, coal mining research, including a large collection of coal miner oral histories, manuscripts and those related research files, office files, photographs, audio/visual materials, and personal and family oral histories.
Identification: L.2001.05
Language:

Organization of the Papers

Series I. Progressive Party and Political Campaigns
Series II. Organizing and Arbitration
Series III. Social and Political Research
Series IV. Coal and Appalachia
Series V. Manuscript and Research files
Series VI. Healthcare and Administrative Files
Series VII. Personal and Family History
Series VIII. Labor and Folk Songs and Music

Scope and Content of the Papers

The Ross Collection contains 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, L2001-01 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 (1930's to the late 1970's/early 1980's). 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.


Biography of M. H. Ross

Myron Howard "Mike" Ross was born November 9, 1919 in New York City. He dropped out of school when he was seventeen and moved to Texas, where he worked on a farm. From 1936 until 1939, Ross worked in a bakery in North Carolina. In the summer of 1938, he attended the Southern School for Workers in Asheville, North Carolina. During the fall of 1938, Ross would attend the first Southern Conference on Human Welfare in Birmingham, Alabama. He would attend this conference again in 1940 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

From 1939 to 1940, Ross worked for the United Mine Workers Non-Partisan League in North Carolina, working under John L. Lewis. He was hired as a union organizer by the United Mine Workers of America, and sent to Saltville, Virginia and Rockwood, Tennessee. In 1940, Ross ran for a seat on city council on the People's Platform in Charlotte, North Carolina. During this time, he also married Anne "Buddie" West of Kennesaw, Georgia.

From 1941 until 1945, Ross served as an infantryman for the United States Army. He sustained injuries near the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944.

From 1945 until 1949, Ross worked for the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, then part of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), as a union organizer. He was sent to Macon, Georgia, Savannah, Georgia and to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he worked with the United Furniture Workers Union. He began handling arbitration for the unions.

In 1948, Ross ran for United States Congress on the Progressive Party ticket in North Carolina. He also served as the secretary for the North Carolina Progressive Party.

Ross attended the University of North Carolina law school from 1949 to 1952. He graduated with honors but was denied the bar on the grounds of "character." From 1952 until 1955, he worked for the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers as a union organizer, first in New Mexico (potash mines) and then in Arizona (copper mines).

From 1955 to 1957, Ross attended the Columbia University School of Public Health. He worked for the United Mine Workers of America Welfare and Retirement Fund from 1957 to 1958, where he represented the union in expenditure of health care for mining workers. By 1958, Ross began plans for what would become the Fairmont Clinic, a prepaid group practice in Fairmont, West Virginia, which had the mission of providing high quality medical care for miners and their families. From 1958 until 1978, Ross served as administrator of the Fairmont Clinic.

As a result of this work, Ross began researching coal mining, especially coal mining lifestyle, heritage and history of coal mining and disasters. He would interview over one hundred miners (coal miners). Eventually, Ross began writing a manuscript about the history of coal mining.

Working for the Rural Practice Program of the University of North Carolina from 1980 until 1987, Ross taught in the medical school. M. H. Ross died on January 31, 1987 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


Coal miners--Medical care--United States
Coal miners--West Virginia
Communism--United States
Congress of Industrial Organizations (U.S.).
Elections--North Carolina
International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers.
Ku Klux Klan (1915-).
Labor movements--United States
Labor unions--Georgia
Labor unions--New Mexico
Labor unions--United States
Lewis, John Llewelyn, 1880-1969.
North Carolina--Politics and government
Political parties--North Carolina
Progressive Party (U.S. : 1948)
Ross, Myron Howard, 1919-1987.
United Furniture Workers of America
United Mine Workers of America.
Wallace, Henry A., 1888-1965.
West Virginia--Coal mining

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Access to certain files containing information about grievances is restricted.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original. All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Some copyright restrictions may apply to photographs. Permission must be obtained from the owner of the physical property and the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permission.

Any use of the M. H. Ross manuscript must carry a credit reading: "M. H. Ross. Title, date: page numbers (unpublished). M. H. Ross papers, Southern Labor Archives, Georgia State University."


Administrative Information

Citation

[item], [folder title], [series title], M. H. Ross Papers, L2001-05, Southern Labor Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University, Atlanta.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Jane Ross Davis, 2001-2012, accession numbers L2001-01, L2002-09, L2006-16, L2011-01, and L2012-20.

Processing Information

Original accession processed by DeAnna Janecek, 2001. EAD finding aid created by Pam Hackbart-Dean and Aubrey Underwood, December 2001; edited by Amanda Brown, January 2006; updated by Jeremy Bright, July 2012.


Separated Material

Separated material: The collection includes the Ross library, periodicals and journals. All books are currently being cataloged with Library of Congress identification and will be placed in the Georgia State University's OPAC--On-line Public Access Catalog.


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