Actors Organize

A History of Union Formation Efforts in America, 1880–1919

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About the Book

This work offers a detailed history of American actors’ attempts to unionize in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Actors’ unions of this period faced a staggering amount of struggles, including a heavy industry reliance on the blacklist, severe media attacks on individual actors, and the frequent formation of illegitimate company unions. This work focuses specifically on the two main unions of the time, the White Rats Actors’ Union of America and the Actors’ Equity Association. The author chronicles the formation of the unions along with their achievements in the following decades and outlines the roles of union leaders Harry Mountford and Francis Wilson.

About the Author(s)

Cultural historian Kerry Segrave is the author of dozens of books on such diverse topics as drive-in theaters, lie detectors, jukeboxes, smoking, shoplifting and ticket-scalping. He lives in British Columbia.

Bibliographic Details

Kerry Segrave
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 215
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3283-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2070-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. General Conditions, 1880–1900      3

2. Early Efforts to Organize, 1880–1900      18

3. The White Rats Emerge, 1900–1901      29

4. Years of Stagnation, 1902–1907      44

5. Mountford Arrives; the White Rats Resurface, 1908–1911      59

6. Years of Stagnation Return, 1912–1915      80

7. Mountford Returns, a War of Words, 1916      89

8. Rats Strike Oklahoma, 1916      106

9. Rats Strike Again, Then Fade Away, 1917–1919      127

10. Actors’ Equity Association, the Beginnings, 1913–1919      144

11. Actors’ Equity Association Strike, 1919      154

12. Conclusion      177

Chapter Notes      183

Bibliography      195

Index      205

Book Reviews & Awards

“comprehensive…well-researched…valuable”—Library Journal.