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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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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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DUBUQUE TRAVELING AND BUSINESS MEN'S ASSOCIATION. A fraternal and beneficial organization, the Dubuque Traveling and Business Men's Association was organized on December 31, 1883. The officers included M. R. DEWSTOE, president and L. M. Langstatif, secretary and treasurer. (1) By 1894 membership had reached 356. (2) In 1910 it became an auxiliary of the DUBUQUE COMMERCIAL CLUB. (3)


Expanding membership was always important. In 1902 professional men were first considered for membership. In 1921 the organization extended a general welcome to traveling men, their employers and office staff in wholesale houses, manufacturing plants, insurance offices, express offices and other offices. The welcome reminded potential members that the Association provided accident and life insurance. The annual dues of two dollars paid the ten dollars per week accident indemnity and all expenses. The life insurance was provided at actual cost. (4) The organization was strictly limited to Dubuque with benefits provided to widows and orphans.

The organization could point to past local care of members: (5)

     January 6, 1901  J.C. Bracker eye injured by bursting 
     of shot-19 days of accident indemnity--$27.15
     February 3, 1901  G. M. Coykendall, rib fractured slipping 
     on icy pavement, one week payment-$10.00
     February 6th, 1901 Mrs. Annie H. Levens, beneficiary of Abe 
     Levens, deceased, first payment, first payment death assessment 
     No. 47--$700.00
     April 4, 1901  Mrs. Annie H. Levans, second payment death 

The social features of the organization included annual banquets which had been resumed in 1921. The group sponsored a daytime river excursion in 1931. (6) In 1941 the Association sponsored an "old-style family picnic" at LEISER'S GARDEN which was attended by six hundred men, women and children. The afternoon was devoted to games, races and sports, and contests for adults and children. (7)

Image courtesy: Dan Parkin
Image courtesy: Dan Parkin
1920s promotional sign

The Association was actively involved in the life of the community. In 1887 the members were interested in supporting a law which would challenge railroads from charging more for a short haul than a long one. (8) At their annual banquet in 1917, the members were encouraged to join the Patriotic League of America to "carry forth the spirit of patriotism." (9) In 1920 it took a stand against one-man street car operation. (10) Over the years of its existence, meetings were addressed by everyone from railroad presidents, to those opposed to the Good Roads Program in Iowa, and Senator William Boyd ALLISON



1. Oldt, Franklin T. History of Dubuque County, Iowa. http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/franklin-t-oldt/history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl/page-21-history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl.shtml

2. "Our Travelers, Dubuque Daily Herald, December 28, 1894, p, 5

3. "Travelers Oppose One-Man Car Plan," Telegraph Herald, Apr. 4, 1920, p. 11

4. "D. T & B. M. to Swell Membership, Telegraph Herald, June 5, 1921, p. 28.

5. "Annual Meeting," Telegraph Herald, December 26, 1901, p. 2

6. "Traveling Men and Business Men Back Day River Excursion," Telegraph Herald and Times Journal, August 23, 1931, p. 18

7. "The Interstate Law," Dubuque Daily Herald, Apr. 23, 1887, p. 4

8. "Traveling Men in Annual Banquet," Telegraph Herald, Dec. 28, 1917, p. 10

9. Ibid.

10. "600 Present at Traveling Men's Picnic," Telegraph Herald, Aug. 4, 1941, p. 12