The first few weeks at the Steelworkers Archives have been enlightening and interesting. Enlightening because quickly you realize the vast amount of archives that are scattered around a large building that has room after room of boxes of records and photos, most starting around 1910, many of them not entered into the archives. It is obvious that if there were twenty interns they would have many hours ahead of them to categorize records that are still being added to the collection. Through all the years there are very detailed records that need to go through, and there is very little staff. CF&I was very diligent about taking photos and film of all the companies sites, the mill itself and the individual mines and mining towns that were established to make things more efficient. CF&I in an effort to keep unions out of the company, tried to install benefits that would help the employees, Called at first corporate welfare, starting about 1903 under Charles Osgood, These included schools in all the mining towns and Healthcare outside the mill. This background that I learned in the first few days would be a great deal of help as I culled through some of the Archives. After Ludlow in 1914 the company started their own in house union, again to avoid the United Mine Workers Union, which continued the practice of Corporate welfare. Of course this was not purely altruistic, as it did work for keeping the unions out, and after several years the mine workers would realize that an in house union had some restrictions that did not always benefit them.
After a few days of looking through the archives I started transferring photos, at first negatives, into the digital records. Have to admit this is a long process starting with scanning the photo and then placing it in three different files, Master, Service, and Access files. The next few days were spent scanning photos into the same files, the first ones from the mill itself, and then several from the Morley Mine down by Raton Pass. These were very interesting and through the process you learn all about the mines and the towns that supported the mines. This was very helpful in understanding the lives and work of the miners and their families, besides the photos I had an opportunity to look at maps that detailed the layout of the mines and start to understand the work that was done in them. The following few days I took those same photos and installed them in the Past Perfect files.
Unfortunately the funds were cut and Blake Hatton’s position was elimanated, because of funding , since then I have been directly working with Chris the Executive Director. He has been very helpful and patient with me, and I greatly appreciate that.