General Otis and M & M

Between 1890 and 1895, sometimes with other newspapers, more often alone, General Otis waged war on the International Typographical Union, Local 174 (“ITU” or “Local 174”). Throughout this period, he viewed his showdowns with Local 174 as a death struggle, part of a holy war with the goal of remaining “masters of our own business.” […]

Clarence and His Family

Towards the end of his days, Clarence wrote of Amirus, “My father [was] willing to meet all comers on the mysteries of life and death. As a listening youth, my moral support was with my father. I never doubted that he was right, and the fact that most of the community was on the other […]

Rogers & Appel: Mental Illness

There is truth to the cliché, “There is a fine line between genius and insanity.” The lives of Horace Appel and Earl Rogers are a testament to this phenomenon. Today, psychology acknowledges that the association between genius and madness is not based on fables. Many serious studies endorse the notion of the “tortured genius.” As […]

Earl Roger’s Young Old Friend

Though Rogers recognized the need for organized labor and generally sympathized with their goals, he rejected violence in the name of reform. With the Times bombing, what angered him almost as much as the death and destruction, was the lack of a warning to the innocent people working the night shift. Rogers viewed it a […]

Clarence & Mary Field

It’s likely that when Darrow met Mary Field, he was searching for respite from the tension entailed in all that he had committed himself to upon returning to Chicago following the ordeal of the “Big Bill Haywood” trial in Idaho. He was bound to his “irksome law work” but also to his marriage.  After his […]

Job Harriman, Socialist Lawyer and Candidate for Mayor

General Otis didn’t have the public dialogue all to himself. There was vocal opposition from a small group of union activists and socialists. This group was led by Job Harriman, a young, idealistic and articulate lawyer who believed passionately that fairness in the workplace was crucial to Southern California’s future. At the time Harriman arrived […]

Hugh Baillie, Newspaper Reporter

During the two years that Clarence and Ruby were in Los Angeles they had few friendly acquaintances with whom they could spend time in a casual manner. In addition to spies, each side had newspaper reporters upon whom they relied for confidential tidbits, as well as favorable news stories telling their side of the battle […]

Understanding Labor, Capital & Violence

Less than two weeks after his arrival in Los Angeles, and having met with dozens of people, plus several times with Darrow, Lincoln Steffens had a better feel for the situation in Los Angeles, and understood that conviction of the McNamara brothers followed by a public hanging would do little to find peace between organized […]

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Author Nelson Johnson




Darrow's Nightmare
Boardwalk Empire
Battleground New Jersey
The Northside