For information about collections at the University of Chicago Library, you may contact the Special Collections Research Center.

University of Chicago Library
The University of Chicago Library

Guide to the George A. Schilling Papers 1887-1936

Finding aid prepared by FGB, 1964; KLT, 2007

© 2008 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Schilling, George A., Papers




0.75 linear feet (2 boxes)


Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


George A. Schilling, labor movement leader and Secretary of the Illinois State Board of Labor Commissioners. The papers include five bound letterbooks, which span the period 1887 to 1907, correspondence, notes for and drafts of speeches, articles and letters, pamphlets, and miscellaneous items including clippings. The twenty unbound letters cover the period from 1913 to 1936.

Information on Use


Open for research. No restrictions.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Schilling, George A., Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

George A. Schilling was born in Baden, Germany in 1850. His parents, who left Germany as a result of the Revolution of 1848, brought George Schilling to Ohio in 1852. He was educated in the Ohio public schools and was a cooper by trade. Moving to Chicago in 1865, he joined the advertising department of the Arbeiter Zeitung, a German language newspaper of socialist leanings. His association with the newspaper continued until the 1890’s. Schilling, prominent in the trade union movement of the late 19th century, was a member of the Cooper’s Union and held a high executive position in the Knights of Labor. He was active in the Labor Party movement in 1886, which endorsed John P. Altgeld for a judgeship, a position Altgeld won.

With the election of Altgeld as Governor of Illinois in 1892, Schilling was appointed secretary of the State Board of Labor Commissioners and served in that post until 1897. He compiled its Eighth Biennial Report on Taxation, of which 20,000 extra copies were printed on demand. Schilling was also prominent in the Single-Tax movement. In 1903, he was appointed to the Chicago Board of Local Improvements, serving as its president from 1905 to 1907.

Scope Note

The papers of George A. Schilling consist of .75 linear feet and cover the period 1887 to 1936. The papers have been divided into two series: Letterbooks and Unbound Material. The papers include five bound letterbooks, which span the period 1887 to 1907, correspondence, notes for and drafts of speeches, articles and letters, pamphlets, and miscellaneous items including clippings. The twenty unbound letters cover the period from 1913 to 1936.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:

Subject Headings

Schilling, George A., b. 1850

Altgeld, John Peter, 1847-1902

Socialist Labor Party

Socialist Party (U.S.)

Knights of Labor

United Mine Workers of America

Labor movement -- United States

Haymarket Square Riot, Chicago, Ill., 1886

Woman -- Suffrage -- United States


Series I: Letterbooks

Box 1

Folder 1

Letterbook photocopies

Box 1

Folder 2

December 4, 1894 - November 20, 1898. 145 p. State Board of Labor Commissioners, taxation and land monopoly, Anti-Convict Labor League

Box 1

Folder 3

July 10, 1903 - November 16, 1905. 490 p., name index. Letters to Chicago and Cleveland mayors dealing with municipal reform

Box 1

Folder 4

November 17, 1905 - December 18, 1906. 490 p., name index, Letters to Samuel Gompers, Altgeld, and others

Box 1

Folder 5

December 18, 1906 - May 21, 1907. 182 p., name index, Chicago Board of Local Improvements, political correspondence

Box 1

Folder 6

August 12, 1887 - September 2, 1888. 64 p. Advertising for the Arbeiter

  • Zeitung, the consequences of the Haymarket Riot, affairs of the Knights of Labor, and other topics related t the labor movement

Series II: Unbound Material

Box 2

Folder 1

Miscellaneous Letters

  • Item 1: Unsigned copy, letter from Schilling to William Jennings Bryan, January 30, 1913
  • Item 2: Copy, letter from Schilling to Michael J. Faherty, May 27, 1915
  • Item 3: Copy, letter from Schilling to the Editor of the Chicago Herald & Examiner, October 27, 1920
  • Item 4: Letter to Schilling from Albert Henniges, December 18, 1920
  • Item 5: Unsigned copy, letter from the citizens of Rogers Park (probably written by Schilling) to Governor Len Small, April 7, 1921
  • Item 6: Letter to Schilling from Louis F. Post, October 27, 1922
  • Item 7: Eleven letters to and from Schilling concerning alleged libels on him in the work of Melville E. Stone, February - August, 1922
  • Item 8: Copy, letter from Schilling to the Editor of the Chicago Tribune, July 19, 1923
  • Item 9: Mimeographed letter from Schilling to persons unknown, October 22, 1924
  • Item 10: Letter to Schilling from A. H. Simpson, February 18, 1926
  • Item 11: Letter to Schilling from Jo Labadie, November 2, 1927
  • Item 12: Letter to Schilling from A. M. Todd, May 19, 1928
  • Item 13: Letter to Schilling from Jack Macbeth, November 5, 1931
  • Item 14: Letter to Schilling from Mary Kenney O’Sullivan, February 22, 1933
  • Item 15: Letter to Schilling from Ralph E. Bircher, August 24, 1933
  • Item 16: Letter to Schilling from A. W. Masden, June 25, 1934
  • Item 17: Letter to Schilling from Clarence L. Swartz, July 30, 1935
  • Item 18: Mimeographed letter to Schilling from Emil O. Jorgensen, January 21, 1936
  • Item 19: Mimeographed letter (page 2) from Schilling to persons unknown, undated
  • Item 20: Unsigned, undated copy of letter to the Editor of the Record Herald

Box 2

Folder 2


  • Item 1: Clippings of and about Schilling articles on current social questions
  • Item 2: Photograph of Schilling with Charles Aiken

Box 2

Folder 3

Assorted notes and drafts of speeches, letters and articles by Schilling on social questions

  • Item 1: John P. Altgeld and the Haymarket Affair
  • Item 2: The Single Tax movement
  • Item 3: Women Suffrage

Box 2

Folder 4


  • Item 1: Pamphlets
  • Item 2: Speeches
  • Item 3: Membership list 1930-1933 (possibly the German Club of Chicago)

Box 2

Folder 5

Miscellaneous letters and drafts

  • Item 1: Schilling (?) to Henry George, Jr. March 1, 1912
  • Item 2: Draft of comments on Lyman J. Gage
  • Item 3: Draft of comments on Samuel Gompers
  • Item 4: Draft of comments on war
  • Item 5: Draft of letter to Mr. Faherty
  • Item 6: Draft of comments on kindergarten
  • Item 7: Draft of letter to Mr. Schimdt, July 13, 1932
  • Item 8: Draft of comments on the destruction of Jerusalem
  • Item 9: Printed order of the District court of the U.S. in re: John Bain

Box 2

Folder 6

Scrapbook--1896 clippings (Altgeld), pamphlets (Altgeld and United Mine Workers of America)