Guide to the Mining Men's Club of Spokane Papers 1911-1924
Cage 298

Summary Information

Repository
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Creator
Mining Men's Club of Spokane
Title
Mining Men's Club of Spokane Papers
ID
Cage 298
Date [bulk]
1911-1915
Date [inclusive]
1911-1924
Extent
1.0 box
General Physical Description note
.5 linear feet of shelf space
Language
English
Abstract
The Mining Men's Club of Spokane, a voluntary association, represented mining interests in the Inland Northwest from 1911 to 1916. The collection comprises correspondence, meeting minutes, copies of federal and state legislative bills, papers delivered at mining conventions, and print materials such as convention papers, posters, programs, and tickets.

Preferred Citation note

[Item Description] Mining Men's Club of Spokane, 1911-1924

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Biographical/Historical note

The Mining Men's Club formed in the early twentieth century in Spokane, Washington. From a sleepy frontier town of 350 in 1880, the city's population burst in a decade to almost twenty thousand thanks in large part to its role as the jumping-off point, not only for the booming mining districts of northern Idaho, but also for those of Colville, the Okanogan country of northern Washington, and southern British Columbia. By 1893, the intersection of spur lines into mining districts and the Palouse agricultural area with two transcontinental lines, the Northern Pacific and the Great Northern, marked Spokane as the transportation and commercial center of the region. In the 1890s, mining's dividends poured into the city and Spokane's captains of industry formed the Northwest Mining Association to represent their interests. But quickly the capital demands of deep underground mines could be met only by distant syndicates and legions of anonymous stockholders, and Spokane transformed into a service center for the mining industry, home to mining stock brokers not barons.

As its membership transitioned, the Northwest Mining Association languished in the first decade of the twentieth century until one of its founders, Lyndon K. Armstrong, clamored for "an exclusively mining organization, a miner's club." In January 1911 that club emerged after a meeting at the Spokane Hotel. The men who attended agreed to meet each Thursday and called their conclave the Mining Men's Lunch Club and then the Mining Men's Club of Spokane (MMC). In 1911, a smoker and banquet at the Spokane Interstate Fair introduced the group to the city, but the club's hosting the American Mining Congress (AMC) national meeting in November 1912 established an enduring legacy - not for hard-nosed advocacy for mining interests but for sponsoring bawdy entertainment. The "Spokane Diggin' s" offered the AMC delegates an old-fashioned mining camp reconstructed in an ice rink downtown. Complete with a gurgling stream and mountain backdrops for ambience, the camp contained the usual assortment of gamblers, prospectors, bartenders, dance girls, and burros, and notoriously one evening a female "muscle dancer" who took center stage in her tights and flowing gauze, both of which she lost piecemeal during her dance. "Spokane people," chastised the editor of Spokane's Spokesman-Review newspaper, "are not accustomed to such shamelessness." From 1912 on, Spokane's mining men tried to match the "Diggin's" legacy.

The Mining Men's Club of Spokane met for five years, from 1911 until the fall of 1916, but in that time assumed the role that the Northwest Mining Association had held in representing the interests of the inland Northwest's mining industry in local, state, and national issues and in hosting mining conventions. Gradually, the club evolved from a forum in which to discuss issues to a podium from which to promote the viewpoints of this distinctive mining community. By 1916 the club recognized its ascension to once again represent the region and reassumed the Northwest Mining Association name.

Source: Vetter, Susan M. "The Northwest Mining Association's First Century." Northwest Mining Association 1995 Service Directory. Spokane, Wash.: Northwest Mining Association, 1994. [Copy available in collection processing file.]

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Scope and Contents note

The collection comprises correspondence, meeting minutes, copies of federal and state legislative bills, papers delivered at mining conventions, and print materials such as convention papers, posters, programs, and tickets. Though dominated by items connected to the Mining Men's Club during its 1911 to 1916 tenure, a few items associated with regional mining conventions between 1917 and 1924 are included.?xm-replace_text {Text of the scope and content note, in paragraphs; separate each with paragraph tags; required}?>

The regional mining convention literature ranges from advertising ephemera to programs, with many materials from the 1915 Northwest Mining Convention featuring "Big Bertha's Theatre of Varieties" at the "Spokane Miners' Diggin's" as well as minutes from the convention with copies of a number of the papers presented. Programs from international mining conventions in Nelson, British Columbia in 1917 and 1920 appear along with ephemera from Spokane mining meetings in 1912, 1916, 1921, and 1924.

As mining advocates, the Mining Men's Club corresponded with state and federal representatives. Most numerous are letters to and from Washington Congressmen, Senators Wesley Jones and Miles Poindexter and Representative William L. La Follette, Governor Marion E. Hay, as well as state senators and representatives. But the correspondence also includes replies from Senators William E. Borah (ID), George Chamberlain (OR), and Robert M. La Follette, Sr. (WI), and Representatives John A. Martin (CO) and Oscar Underwood (AL) as well as Governors George W.P. Hunt (AZ), John F. Shafroth (CO), James H. Hawley (ID), Edwin L. Norris (MT), Tasker L. Oddie (NV), William C. McDonald (NM), and Oswald West (OR). Not an elected representative, Albert Talmon Morgan, co-owner of the School of Money and Real Money Magazine in Denver, Colorado, figures prominently in 1912 and 1913 correspondence regarding the "smelter trust" and Morgan's arguments that the right to "free coinage" of gold and silver had been usurped by federal monetary policy and bankers.

Shouldering the interests of the inland Northwest' mining industry, the club pushed for opening the Spokane Indian Reservation and keeping the Colville Reservation open to mining claims, opposed any federal leasing program for mining claims, favored state control of mineral resources, urged western governors to convene in a western lands convention, supported funding for state geological surveys, mining experiment stations, and increasing the number of and silver coinage by western mints, railed against the "smelter trust," kept a close eye on metal tariffs such as on Canadian lead and zinc and on any attempts to revise the 1872 Mining Law especially its "apex rule" that allowed the miner to follow a surface lode claim from the apex to wherever it led underground, and in these days before any securities laws, the club members rose early and often to argue against any legislation, especially so-called "blue sky" laws, designed to rein in fraud that might also restrict investment in mining enterprises.

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Arrangement note

After acquisition and initial processing, the collection was later reprocessed during which some of the original order was lost. The current arrangement restores much of that original order. The collection is arranged in an essentially chronological single series with original order preserved as much as possible.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 2013

http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/masc
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610
509-335-6691
mascref@wsu.edu

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open and available for research use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

This collection was acquired by the Libraries from Lyndon K. Armstrong, circa 1942-1956.

Processing Information note

The collection was originally processed shortly after acquisition, then later reprocessed during which some of the original order was lost. In 2013, the collection was reprocessed by Susan Vetter to restore much of that original order.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Lyndon K. Armstrong Papers, Cage 244.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Mining Men's Club of Spokane -- History
  • Northwest Mining Association -- History

Personal Name(s)

  • Armstrong, L.K.--Archives

Subject(s)

  • Businesses and Corporations
  • Mineral industries -- Finance -- Washington (State) -- Spokane -- Societies, etc.
  • Mineral industries -- Washington (State) -- Spokane -- Societies, etc.
  • Mines and Mineral Resources

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Correspondence and related documents, 1911. Includes minutes and by-laws from organizational meetings of MMC, initial member list, adopted resolutions, copies of legislative bills, and so on as well as correspondence from Senators Jones and Poindexter and Representative William L. La Follette. 1911 

1 1

Correspondence, 1912, and related documents, 1911-1913. Includes resolutions (1911-1912), financial statements, newspaper clippings related to Whitman County farmers' losses in mining stock investments, 1912 Northwest Mining convention printed materials and list of delegates, club's 1912 annual report (1913), correspondence from Albert Talmon Morgan, with Representatives John A. Martin (CO) and Oscar Underwood (AL), Washington Senators Miles Poindexter and Wesley L. Jones and Representative William L. La Follette, with western governors regarding western lands convention, and with Washington Governor Marion E. Hay regarding a commission to write a "Blue Sky Law." 1911-1913 

1 2

Correspondence and related documents, 1913. Includes club financial statements and copies of federal and state bills, correspondence acknowledging founding of Idaho Mining Association, petitions from Albert T. Morgan, letters from Senators William E. Borah (ID), George Chamberlain (OR), and Wesley Jones (WA), and Miles Poindexter (WA). 1913 

1 3

Correspondence and related documents, 1914. Includes club minutes, 1912-1914, and correspondence from Senator Wesley Jones and Representative William La Follette. 1912-1914 

1 4

Correspondence and related documents, January-March 1915. Includes correspondence with Daniel Chase Corbin and Northwest Mining Convention materials (24-26 February 1915): "Big Bertha's Theatre of Varieties" program and facetious "Annual Report of the Midas Oro Mining Company" distributed to those attending Friday night banquet; daily convention minutes with inserts identified; and numbered inserts, primarily of presented papers. 1915 January-March 

1 5

Other Printed Materials. Includes mining convention programs sponsored by MMC (1916), by the Northwest Mining Association (1924), and international conventions in British Columbia (1917 and 1920), and 1921 Northwest Mining Convention advertising post cards. 1912-1924 

1 6

Miscellaneous undated items. Includes lists of names of individuals, of Northwest Mining convention attendees, and of Spokane businesses and individuals with categories for brokers and "mines and mining," and a pen and ink and a pencil mining-themed sketch. undated 

1 7