ABSTRACT

On September 13, 1918, when New Era was a little over four and a half years old, a small article in the corner of the back page, announced that "the eyes of the nation were focused on this prison last Saturday." The occasion, explained the reporter, "was the arrival here of ninety-four members of the Industrial Workers of the World" (IWW). The Can Opener was a lively little sheet, devoted in great part to making fun of the IWW members' captors and their captivity. The pair were well-known members of the IWW. Ralph Chaplin was considered the Wobblies' poet laureate. In September 1917, Chaplin and Charles Ashleigh, along with ninety other Wobblies, were arrested in Chicago. The Wobblies, who were kept in one section of the jail, organized educational and entertainment programs. In 1918, the Wobblies' stay in the Cook County Jail came to an end when they were found guilty.