Early American Marxism: Document Download Page by Year: 1888

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“Life of Eugene V. Debs, Grand Secretary and Treasurer. ” [September 1888] A rare early (pre-ARU) biography of Eugene Debs, reprinted from the 1888 convention book of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen. Very good detail of the major timeline of Debs’ activity within the BLF -- initiated into the Brotherhood on February 27, 1874, having served about 3 years as a fireman in an engine on the Vandalia Railroad. Despite leaving the employ of the railroad for work as a clerk, Debs remained active in the Brotherhood, attending the 1877 and 1878 conventions as a delegate. In 1878 Debs was made assistant editor of the BLF’s monthly magazine, in June 1880 he was appointed Secretary-Treasurer of the organization, and at the Sept. 1881 convention he was elected editor of the Locomotive Firemen’s Magazine. Debs was elected to the Indiana legislature in 1884 for a term beginning in 1885, the history indicates, adding that “his duties as a Legislator did not interfere with his duties to the Brotherhood, either as Grand Secretary or Treasurer or as the editor of the magazine.” Based on his popularity and success as a Democratic legislator, some had sought to run Debs as a candidate for Congress, “but his fealty to the great Brotherhood triumphed over the solicitations of political friends and every ambition for political distinction, and held him fast to the fortunes of the Brotherhood, in which by unwavering devotion and ceaseless labors for 8 years he had earned the confidence of the membership and flattering prominence,” the history states. Includes etching of young Debs with hair.