In July 1907, a class warfare conflict leading to a terrorist plot culminates in Idaho's trial of the century. This guide provides access to materials related to the "Haywood Trial" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.
Chronicling America is a searchable digital collection of historic newspaper pages from 1777-1963 sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
Included in the website is the Directory of US Newspapers in American Libraries, a searchable index to newspapers published in the United States since 1690, which helps researchers identify what titles exist for a specific place and time, and how to access them.
In connection with the bomb-rigged assassination of former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg, radical union official William "Big Bill" Haywood is arrested and extradited to Idaho in February of 1906 to face murder charges. Covered extensively by the media, Haywood's trial ended on July 29th, 1907 when he was acquitted with the help of defense attorney, Clarence Darrow. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
December 30, 1905
Frank Steunenberg, a former governor of Idaho, is struck and killed by a bomb planted outside his home.
January 1, 1906
Albert Horsley, a former member of the Western Federation of Miners, is arrested in connection with the murder.
February 1, 1906
Horsley confesses to killing Steunenberg. He implicates leaders of the Western Federation of Miners, including William Haywood, the organization’s secretary, George Pettibone, WFM’s president, and Charles Moyer, a former member of WFM’s executive board.
February 17, 1906
Haywood, Moyer, and Pettibone are arrested and extradited to Idaho./td>
December 3, 1906
The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the extradition of Haywood, Moyer and Pettibone was not unconstitutional.
May 9, 1907
Haywood, represented by Clarence Darrow, goes on trial for the murder of Steunenberg.
July 29, 1907
Haywood is found not guilty.
Pettibone is acquitted and charges against Moyer are dropped.
Horsley is convicted of murder and sentenced to death, but his sentence is commuted to life in prison.