Metal Manufacturers' Association of Philadelphia (Pa.) Records

Collection ID: 
URB 44
2 cubic feet
Collecting Area: 



A circular letter on December 4, 1903 issued by 22 manufacturers concerned with the "various problems which have recently arisen affecting the relations between employer and employee in all branches of trade," began the movement for the Metal Manufacturers' Association of Philadelphia. The employers set out to copy associations in other cities that promoted the anti-union open shop. For the next thirty-five years, the Metal Manufacturers' Association attracted a large proportion of the local companies in the trade for the purpose of keeping its members' plants free of trade unionism.

An iron molders' request for an increase in wages in 1904 provided the first test for the Metal Manufacturers' Association. The employers pooled their resources to prevent making concessions to the union and then established a labor bureau which kept members of the Association supplied with non-union workers in times of difficulty. Later, the Metal Manufacturers even developed their own apprenticeship program to remove trade training from the control of the unions. By 1916, when the Association defeated a strike of the International Association of Machinists, the employers had proved largely successful in their open-shop goal.

For the next two decades, the members of the Association, led by Secretary Earl Sparks, had relatively free reign their plants. During that time, they branched out into different directions, becoming involved in legislative, vocational education and insurance for Association members. But Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal administration changed con.ditions in their factories. With government support, industrial unions organized most of the metal manufacturing companies and forced the Association to accePt collective bargaining. Just prior to World War II, the Metal Manufacturers replaced their old anti-union employment bureau with a collective bar.gaining committee. Although the Association did not cease opposing unions, it channeled much of its activity in new directions. Responding to new conditions and new leadership in the organization (Earl Sparks resigned in 1959), the Metal Manufacturers became the Manufacturers' Association of Greater Philadelphia in 1960, and later the Manufacturers' Association of the Delaware Valley.


The papers of the Metal Manufacturers reveal the purpose and functions of the Association. Particularly informative are the secretary's reports and the minutes of the meetings. Other remaining documents, such as contracts, some correspon.dence, and wage surveys offer insights into the entire industry as well as to the Association's own activities.



The papers have been arranged into three series, as follows:

  • Series I: Administration
  • Series II: Subject File
  • Series III: Finances


Series I. Administration: The Administration Series consists primarily of the reports of the President and the Secretary and the minutes of Association meetings. Comprising the largest and most important series, the reports and minutes chronicle the policies, activities and decision-making processes of the Metal Manufacturers. Both the reports and minutes are chronologically arranged.

Series II. Subject File: The Subject File is an alphabetically-arranged series of documents concerning the various activities of the Metal Manufacturers' Association. Included are several negotiations, vocational and apprenticeship programs, wage surveys and membership materrials.

Series III. Finances: Composed mainly of treasurer's reports, auditor's re.ports and a ledger book covering the period 1915 to 1937, the financial series documents the financial status and expenditures of the Association.


Series I: Administration

Box 1

1 Constitution, 1904
2-3 History, 1903-1953
4 Organization Chart, ca. 1950
5-11 President's Report, 1904-1933
12-25 Secretary's Report, 1904-1956

Box 2

26-43 Minutes, 1904-1927

Box 3

44-56 Minutes, 1928-1941

Series II: Subject File

1 Apprenticeship Program, 1926
2-8 Banquet, 1905-1911
9 Banquet Ephemera, 1908-1912
10 Bill in Equity vs. Ralph M. Bashore, 1937
11 Circular Letter, 1903
12 City Tax Statement, undated
13 Contract Analysis--UE and MMA, 1946
14-18 Contract Negotiations, IMIU and MMA, 1913-1920

Box 4

19 Co-operative Apprenticeship Plan, undated
20 Draft of Association History, ca. 1950s
21 Employer-Employee Relations, 1937-1939
22 Executive Officers and Committees, 1931-1938
23 Executive Officers, 1903-1922
24 Inter-Company Conference on Collective Bargaining, 1946
25 Iron Molders' Dispute, 1916-1917
26 List of Presidents, 1904-1958
27 Meetings Attendance, 1924-1935
28 Membership Agreements, 1903-1912
29 Membership Applications, 1918, 1959
30-31 Membership Lists, 1903-1958
32 National Founders' Association Correspondence, 1905
33 National Industrial Council, 1922
34 National Industrial Recovery Act, 1935-1936
35 Notes for Order of Business, undated
36 Personnel Activities Committee, 1925
37 President's Acceptance Speech, 1944
38 Safety Committee, 1931
39 Summary of Practice in the Metal Industry, 1952
40 Vocational Education Committee, 1925, 1937
41-43 Wage Survey, 1902, 1918, 1928
44 Wage and Salary Survey, 1947
45 War Manpower Commission, 1944
46 "Your Future, What Next?" undated

Series III: Finances

1-4 Treasurer's Reports, 1905-1924
5-6 Auditor's Report, 1923-1932

Box 5

7-12 Auditor's Report, 1933-1966
13-14 Budget Estimate, 1927-1928, 1942
15 Finance Committee, 1905
16 Ledger, 1915-1937
17-20 Payroll Schedules, 1945-1966