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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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INDUSTRIAL LEADER. The Industrial Leader, a weekly newspaper, was established by the Knights of Labor Co-operative Publishing Company, a stock company around 1880 and was published every Saturday. It came about as the Knights enjoyed rising membership and influence in the community. Officers included John STAFFORD, president, and E. P. Lange, secretary, and Frank J. Sheridan as managing editor. (1)

The Industrial Leader was the news organ of the KNIGHTS OF LABOR in Iowa. Terence V. Powderly, the General Master Workman of the order, in the official journal, recommended the Industrial Leader as a paper that should be supported and read. Articles in the paper supported the idea of cooperatives for building homes, stores and profit-sharing as beneficial for labor (2)

In the January 1, 1887 issue, readers were encouraged to use independent political action to advance the themes of labor rather than depend upon the two major political parties. This resulted in an entire slate of Knight-supported candidates being elected to the Dubuque city government under the banner of the Labor Reform Party. (3)



1. The Industries of Dubuque: Her Relations as a Trade Center, Dubuque: J. M. Elster and Company, Publishers, 1887, p. 90

2. Scharnau, Ralph. "Workers and Politics--The Knights of Labor in Dubuque, Iowa 1885-1890, Annals of Iowa. Des Moines: State Historical Society of Iowa, Volume 48, Number 7 (Winter of 1987), p. 361

3. Ibid., p. 366