The Molly Maguires were a secret society whose goal was to protect their members from oppressive mine owners. This guide provides access to materials related to the “Molly Maguires” 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.
An Irish secret society known as the Molly Maguires is thought responsible for a string of violent attacks in the Pennsylvania coal fields. After Pinkerton detective James McParlan goes undercover to join their ranks, 20 Mollies are tried, convicted, and hanged. 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.
Wave of assaults, robberies, and murders attributed to the Molly Maguires.
“The Long Strike,” scene of some of the most violent crimes in labor history.
Molly Maguire Trials.
June 21, 1877
Ten Mollies convicted of murder hanged. Known as “Black Thursday” or “Day of the Rope.”
December 18, 1878
Jack Kehoe, alleged Molly Maguire leader hanged for the murder of mine boss, F. W. Langdon.
December 15, 1889
The suicide of Franklin B. Gowen, former railroad president leads to conspiracy theories.
Pinkerton James McPartlan recounts his infiltration of the Molly Maguires in various newspapers.