The McNamara Brothers Trial
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"Unionist Bombs Wreck The Times" Headlines from abbreviated edition of the Los Angeles ...

Trial Documents

Final Report of the Los Angeles County Grand Jury 
Year long investigation into the bombing of the Los Angeles Times and the deaths of twenty employees. The report concludes that the theory that leaking gas caused the explosion was wrong.
Defense Attorneys Ask Judge Bordwell to Recuse Himself  Oct, 1911
Short transcript of meetings between McNamara defense attorneys and Judge Bordwell. The defense attorneys ask Judge Bordwell to recuse himself from the case but he denied the request. Courtesy of the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries.
Judge Bordwell's Deposition Denying Bias  Oct, 1911
Judge Bordwell gave a signed deposition denying he was biased or prejudiced against the McNamara defense after the defense filed a motion to get the case transferred to another judge citing bias by Judge Bordwell. Courtesy of the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries.
Deposition of Job Harriman and Letter from J.H. Levering 
Part of a deposition of Job Harriman in regard to the defense hiring of J. H. Levering, an engineer to study the bombing of the Los Angeles Times. Also includes a letter from Levering to Judge Bordwell about Clarence Darrow. Courtesy of the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries.
The People of the State of California vs. Matthew Schmidt, Appellate Briefs 
Matthew Schmidt and David Caplan helped Jim McNamara purchase the dynamite that was used to bomb the Los Angeles Times building. Schmidt and Caplan were indicted in 1911 along with the McNamara brothers but they evaded arrest until 1915. Detective William Burns could find no trace of Schmidt until some I.W.W. members were killed by their own bomb in 1915. Burns' detectives discovered that the bomb was made of the same material and was similar in construction to the one used in Los Angeles by Jim McNamara. Schmidt was arrested on February 13, 1915 by Burns and a police captain in Los Angeles. Caplan was arrested five days later. Schmidt was convicted on December 30, 1915 and on January 12, 1916 he was sentenced to life in prison. Caplan's trial began in April 1916 but ended in a hung jury. He was retried and convicted of second degree manslaughter in December 1916 and was sentenced to ten years in prison. Courtesy of the LA Law Library.

Cases

Ryan v. U.S., 216 F. 13 (7th Cir. 1914)  Jan, 1914
Frank M. Ryan, president of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers, and twenty-nine others were convicted of conspiracy and of transporting, aiding, and abetting the transportation of dynamite and nitroglycerin in interstate commerce in passenger trains and cars. The evidence in this case was the direct result of the investigation into the Los Angeles Times Bombing and involved substantial investigations in Indianapolis. Olaf Tveitmoe was also convicted and sentenced as part of this trial although he did not belong to the International Association. The case against Tveitmoe and five other defendants was remanded to the District Court for a new trial. During the retrial the court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to connect Tveitmoe to the conspiracy.

Statutes

An Act To create a Commission on Industrial Relations, Act of August 23, 1912, ch. 351, 37 Stat. L. 415  Aug, 1913
The bombing of the Los Angeles Times in which 20 people died was so shocking and traumatic that calls were made to investigate the causes of conflict between labor and industry. On December 30, 1911 a group of reformers led by Jane Addams and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise sent President Taft a petition, signed by numerous social reformers, professors and some businessmen, requesting that he create a commission to investigate the conflict that led to the bombing. President Taft agreed to form such a commission but he did not announce the names of commission members selected until December 1912, which was after he had lost his re-election bid to Woodrow Wilson. This allowed Wilson to choose his own members. The nine person commission was given a $100,000 budget and it held 154 days of hearings involving hundreds of witnesses. Among those called to testify were Clarence Darrow, General Otis, Walter Drew, William Haywood and numerous others with either pro-labor or pro-business viewpoints. The commission published its results in an 11 volume report in 1916.

Government Documents

William Haywood Testimony Before the Commission on Industrial Relations 
Copy of Haywood's testimony republished by the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.).
Testimony of Stephen "S.S." Gregory before the Commission on Industrial Relations 
S.S Gregory was a very prominent attorney and at one time the president of the American Bar Association. He worked with Clarence Darrow as associate counsel during the appeal of the Debs decision to the United States Supreme Court after the Pullman strike. He also worked with Darrow to try and save the life of Patrick Prendergast who was convicted and sentenced to death for the assassination of Chicago mayor Carter Harrison, Sr.
Los Angeles Ordinance 20586 (July 16, 1910)  Jun, 1910
Very controversial anti-picketing ordinance written by Earl Rogers as counsel for the Merchants and Manufacturers Association. The ordinance, unanimously adopted by the Los Angeles city council several months before the Los Angeles Times bombing, was aimed at disrupting union activities in Los Angeles. Rogers later lead the initial investigation into the Los Angeles Times bombing and subsequently defended Clarence Darrow against bribery charges.
Testimony of Clarence Darrow before the Commission on Industrial Relations  May, 1915
Clarence Darrow testified on May 17, 1915.
Testimony of Walter Drew Before the Commission on Industrial Relations  May, 1915
Walter Drew was counsel for the National Erectors' Association and a strong proponent of Open Shops.
Testimony of Mr. William D. Haywood before the Commission on Industrial Relations 
Haywood along with others, including Clarence Darrow, gave testimony before the Commission.
Testimony of Anton Johannsen before the Commission on Industrial Relations 
Johannsen was a powerful San Francisco labor leader. It was widely believed that Johannsen and Olaf Tveitmoe arranged for the bombing of the Los Angeles Times building.
The Open and Closed Shop Controversy in Los Angeles 
Begins with testimony from General Harrison Gray Otis on September 8, 1914. From volume 6 of the Final Report of the Commission on Industrial Relations.

Legal Articles

The McNamara Sentence Justified by Francis J. Heney 
From the Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology.
Earl Rogers, Esq.: A Noted Criminal Defense Lawyer  Oct, 1910
Article about Earl Rogers who lead the initial investigation into the bombing of the Los Angeles Times building. He later defended Clarence Darrow against charges of jury bribery. Coincidently, the article was published on the same day the Los Angeles Times was bombed.
The Limits of Counsel's Legitimate Defense by John H. Wigmore 
Very critical commentary about Clarence Darrow's handling of the McNamara defense by John Wigmore, Dean of Northwestern University Law School. 17 Virginia Law Register 743 (1912).
Does The American Bar Stand For It?  Mar, 1912
Article critical of Clarence Darrow's actions in the McNamara case. The article reprints Professor Wigmore's criticism and agrees with it. Published in "The Bar," the official journal of the West Virginia Bar Association.
Dynamite Conspiracy Case 
Brief coverage of the trial of numerous members of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Ironworkers. This trial was a direct result of the investigation into the Los Angeles Times bombing. 20 Virginia Law Register 793 (Feb. 1915).

Pamphlets

The Los Angeles Times on Trade Unions  Jul, 1907
This critical commentary on the anti-union stance of the Los Angeles Times was written approximately three years before the Los Angeles Times Bombing.
Capitalism's Conspiracy in California: Parallel of the Kidnapping of Labor Leaders Colorado--California by Frank Wolfe 
A pro-labor comparison between the arrest and extradition of the McNamara defendants with the arrest and extradition of the defendants in the 1907 Big Bill Haywood trial. Frank Wolfe, a journalist and former editor of the Los Angeles Herald, became a publicist for the McNamara defense and also ran as a Socialist candidate for city council.
A Letter from General Harrison Gray Otis 
Obituary for Harrison Gray Otis followed by a letter that Otis wrote in 1914 to his son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Chandler about the future of the Los Angeles Times. Otis was the President and General Manager of the Los Angeles Times.

Magazine Articles

A Corner in Labor: What is Happening in San Francisco Where Unionism Holds Undisputed Sway by Ray Stannard Baker 
Article from McClure's Magazine describing the extent of union power and influence in San Francisco.
They Who Strike in the Dark by Will Irwin 
"True Stories of Plots, Abductions, Dynamiting and Attempted Murder That Have Been Undertaken Against Those Concerned as Witnesses, Lawyers or Supporters of the San Francisco Graft Prosecution." The American Magazine (1909).
Los Angeles Anti-Picketing Ordinance 
Criticism of the anti-picketing ordinance enacted in Los Angeles in 1910. Published in The Blacksmiths Journal.
What is the Matter with Los Angeles? 
Article about the upcoming mayoral election in Los Angeles in which Job Harriman, co-counsel with Clarence Darrow in the McNamara case, was running for election on the Socialist ticket.
The McNamara Case--Will They Get a Fair Trial?--Secretary McNamara Re-Elected 
From the Locomotive Firemen's Magazine published by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen.
Organized Labor's New Game 
Criticism of Clarence Darrow's article "Why Men Fight for the Closed Shop." From "American Industries: The Manufacturers' Magazine" published by the National Association of Manufacturers.
A Militant Editor-General  Jun, 1911
Commentary on General Harrison Gray Otis published in Sunset magazine.
Detective Burns' Own Story of His Great Case  Aug, 1911
This article in McClure's Magazine describes the investigation led by William J. Burns into the dynamite campaign by the International Association of Bridge and Structural Ironworkers union.
The Trial at Los Angeles by Christopher P. Connolly  Oct, 1911
Coverage of personalities in the McNamara case from Collier's.
Commentary on the Los Angeles Times Bombing 
Commentary on the Los Angeles Times bombing and the factors leading to it and the need for a Commission on Industrial Relations. Includes a symposium of contributions from various prominent citizens. Published in The Survey.
What the Dictograph Is 
Article about the dictograph bugging device. Briefly mentions its use in the McNamara case. Published in The World's Work.
How Burns Caught the Dynamiters  Jan, 1912
A short article from McClure's Magazine detailing William J. Burns' version of how he tracked down the McNamara brothers.
Gompers and Burns on Unionism and Dynamite  Feb, 1912
Interviews of Samuel Gompers and William Burns given to McClure's Magazine shortly after the McNamara brothers confessed to the blowing up of the Los Angeles Times Building.
Darrow's Lecture Scheme 
Criticism of Clarence Darrow, his defense of the McNamara brothers, his receipt of money for lectures, and the American Federation of Labor. From The Review, a monthly publication of the National Founders' Association and National Trades Association.
Conspiracy Trial of International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers union members  Feb, 1913
Article about the conspiracy trial of about fifty members of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers union including their president, Frank Ryan. This trial was the direct result of the investigation into the Los Angeles Times bombing and was the largest criminal conspiracy trial in American history up to that time.
Labor and the Law as Viewed by Those Who Represent Each by Graham Taylor 
Commentary and coverage of the United States Industrial Relations Commission. Published in The Survey.

Newspapers

Los Angeles Times 
Various editions of the Los Angeles Times published after the bombing. Quality varies due to microfilm.
The Los Angeles Times for 1911 and On 
Defiant Los Angeles Times commentary written before the arrest of the suspects in the Los Angeles Times bombing. Published by the Times-Mirror Company in its "Emergency Publication Office."
Spied on McManigal in Cell  Dec, 1911
News about the use of a dictaphone in Ortie McManigal's jail cell.
The McNamara Fund  Dec, 1911
From the Box Elder news, this news article is critical of labor leaders and the amount of money collected from union members to help pay for the defense of the McNamara brothers.
Dictograph Near Darrow  Mar, 1912
News article about the covert bugging of Clarence Darrow's conversations with John Harrington in the Hayward Hotel in Los Angeles.
Burns Wins Over A Hostile Audience  Mar, 1912
The New York Times published this article about a speech given by detective Robert Burns before the Liberal Club that Lincoln Steffens helped form. The speech occurred about five weeks after Clarence Darrow was indicted for jury bribery. Speaking about the McNamara case, Burns told the audience: "With the best of motives in the world [Steffens] was simply taken in by the clever Darrow. Darrow led him to believe that his proposition was being given weighty consideration. What he did not know was the pressure we had on Darrow that made the saving of Darrow a thing of prime importance. C.P. Connolly took the view of the case that Darrow moved to save Darrow, and Connolly was dead right."
Bomb Attack in Darkness  Aug, 1919
A newspaper account of the firebombing of Oscar Lawler's home which nearly killed him and his family in 1919. The attack was not related to the McNamara case but involved another person prosecuted for industrial warfare.
A History of Organized Felony and Folly: The Record of Union Labor in Crime and Economics 
Compilation of thirty-two articles critical of labor unions and union violence published in the Wall Street Journal during the fall and winter of 1922. It includes articles about the Los Angeles Times bombing.

Books

The Labor Problem by Herbert V. Ready 
Very critical commentary on labor unions in San Francisco.
The Masked War by William J. Burns 
Burns version of the detective work performed by him and his agency to apprehend the McNamara brothers for bombing the Los Angeles Times building and the related investigation of the International Union of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers for dynamite sabotage.
The National Dynamite Plot: being the authentic account of the attempts of union labor to destroy the structural iron industry by Ortie McManigal 
Ortie McManigal's confession of the nationwide sabotage campaign alleged orchestrated by the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers union.
The National Erectors' Association and the International Association of Bridge and Structural Ironworkers by Luke Grant 
Comprehensive study of the labor troubles between the National Erectors' Association and the International Association of Bridge and Structural Ironworkers prepared for the United States Commission on Industrial Relations.
"The System" As Uncovered by The San Francisco Graft Prosecution by Franklin Hichborn 
Earl Rogers played an important role in defending Patrick Calhoun, president of United Railroads of San Francisco, during an extensive graft prosecution in San Francisco involving corruption and bribery of public officials.
Cases and Other Authorities on Legal Ethics by George P. Costigan, Jr. 
This excerpt from a law school casebook published in 1917 is identified by a reviewer as perhaps the first casebook to provide a selection of cases as the basis for a course of instruction in legal ethics. The book uses Clarence Darrow's actions in the McNamara case and Darrow's subsequent bribery trial as examples. When Darrow learned that the author was going to publish these examples, he contacted the author, who published a written statement by Darrow.
Ironworkers 100th anniversary, 1896-1996 : A History of the Iron Workers Union 
Cover and chapters 1 & 3 of this 100th anniversary book. Chapter 3 covers the Los Angeles Times bombing. Used with permission from the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers.

Miscellaneous

William J. Burns Advertisement 
This advertisement for detective William J. Burns calls him "The Greatest Silent Factor In American Public Life."
Miscellaneous Letters Written to Judge Bordwell and the Grand Jury 
Courtesy of the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries.
Cyrus F. McNutt 
Bio of Cyrus F. McNutt, a retired Indiana judge, who assisted Clarence Darrow during his defense of the McNamara brothers.
Proceedings of the Asiatic Exclusion League  Dec, 1907
The Asiatic Exclusion League was a racist labor organization formed to prevent Asians from competing for jobs. It's formation on May 14, 1905 in San Francisco is the official beginning of the anti-Japanese movement. Among those attending the first meeting were labor leaders Patrick Henry McCarthy and Olaf Tveitmoe of the Building Trades Council of San Francisco. Tveitmoe became the first president of the organization. Tveitmoe was a major figure in the labor troubles that led to the bombing of the Los Angeles Times. He was believed by the prosecution to be one of those behind the bombing. He also allegedly laundered money for Clarence Darrow to be used for jury bribery. McCarthy was an influential labor leader in San Francisco and Mayor of the City from 1910 to 1912.
Proceedings of the Asiatic Exclusion League  Dec, 1908
Contains an editorial written by Olaf Tveitmoe, president of the Asiatic Exclusion League, about proposed legislative changes to the Chinese Exclusion Act.
Letter from Father of the McNamara Brothers to Judge Bordwell  Mar, 1911
John A. McNamara wrote this letter to Judge Bordwell asking for mercy for his sons. Contains copies of the transcription and the handwritten letter. Courtesy of the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries.
Clarence Darrow's statement given to newspapers the day of the McNamara Brothers' guilty plea  Dec, 1911
Clarence Darrow's statement explaining why his clients pled guilty.
Judge Bordwell's Response to the Father of the McNamara Brothers  Dec, 1911
This typed letter, along with a handwritten draft, was written by Judge Bordwell in response to John A. McNamara's plea for mercy for his sons. Courtesy of the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries.
George Ray Horton 
Short bio of George R. Horton, a young assistant district attorney who worked on the McNamara prosecution. Published in the "Press Reference Library" (1912).
Joseph Scott 
Bio of Joseph Scott who was part of the McNamara defense team. The bio was written as the McNamara case was still pending. From the Press Reference Library (1912).
Petition to the President for a Federal Commission on Industrial Relations 
In the aftermath of the Los Angeles Times bombing and the McNamara guilty pleas, this petition was presented to President Taft on December 30, 1912 asking him to appoint a commission to study industrial problems between labor and capital. The petition led to the formation of the Commission on Industrial Relations.
Report of McNamara Defense Fund 
Published in the Railway Carmen's Journal.
A Federal Commission on Industrial Relations--Why it is Needed 
Article discussing the need for the Commission on Industrial Relations created in the aftermath of the Los Angeles Times bombing. Published in the Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science.
The Field Before the Commission on Industrial Relations by Paul U. Kellogg  Dec, 1913
Discussion of the factors leading to the creation of the Commission on Industrial Relations. 28 Political Science Quarterly pp. 593-609 (Dec. 1913).
Mr. Otis and the Los Angeles "Times" 
Criticism of General Harrison Gray Otis "Prepared by an Authorized Publicity Committee of Los Angeles Typographical Union No. 174."
Famous McNamara Case  Aug, 1915
Speeches by Anton Johannsen, Clarence Darrow and Mother Jones given at a labor meeting in 1915.
Some Phases of the Labor Question  Feb, 1921
Speech given by Walter Drew, commissioner of the National Erectors' Association.
 

Photos - Key Figures

Photos