What Christina Carter found in the attic of the house her grandfather built is a treasure-trove of IAM history. Buried under generations of keepsakes were items belonging to Carter’s great-grandfather, Peter J. Conlon, a pioneer and builder of the IAM.
“I just couldn’t throw the artifacts away,” explained history-lover Carter. “I wanted to pass them on to people who would appreciate what they were.” That’s when she contacted the IAM.
Among the riches are souvenir convention journals; volumes of the early IAM Journal; pictures dating back to the 1899 Grand Lodge Convention; election posters; and three generations of IAM dues books belonging to her father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
It’s been said of Pete, who became an IAM member just nine months after its founding, that if a shop wasn’t organized when he got there, it was when he left. “What Chris Carter and her family have donated is a wonderful reminder of our hard-fought past,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “When we remember great warriors like Pete Conlon, an original ‘Boomer’ who traveled the railways to organize workers when working conditions and labor laws were deplorable, it encourages us for the future.”
The IAM Archivist at Georgia State University was excited to hear of the newly-found relics. They will be added to the IAM collection (http://www.library.gsu.edu/spcoll/labor/iam) where they will be preserved for future generations.