Markham of Chesterfield
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Bio: Isaac David George


Bio: Isaac David George from the Inland Printer, American Lithographer, Volume 7; Maclean-Hunter Publishing Company, 1890

Isaac D George, ex-president of the International Typographical Union, was born at Cleveland, Ohio, May 31, 1837. When three years old his parents removed to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where his father is buried and his mother still resides.

He had scarcely learned to read when he was seized with a desire to become a printer, and the wish grew upon him until it was almost a passion. When twelve years of age he entered the office of the Kenosha Telegraph, published by C. Latham Sholes, a man of considerable note in the early political history of Wisconsin, and who is the inventor of the typewriter. John C. Reid, at present managing editor of the New York Herald, was his fellow apprentice. After serving some time at the business, he went to school for two years, and then returned to work. In the spring of 1857, being then not quite eighteen years of age, he came to Chicago, and soon obtained a situation on the Tribune. There were then nine compositors on the paper. In the early fall of 1856 he went to New Orleans, stopping a short time on the way at St. Louis and Memphis. He returned to Chicago in the following spring. During his stay in New Orleans that winter, he made the acquaintance of Mr. W. J. Hammond, who was his successor as president of the International Union. In July, 1857, he commenced the publication, at Kenosha, of a democratic weekly newspaper, called the Times, which he continued for two years, when he accepted an advantageous offer to sell, and returned to Chicago. The winter of 1859 and 1860, he spent in New Orleans, getting back to Chicago in September, 1860, where he remained until the close of the war.

He worked on the initial number of the Morning Post, which afterward became the Republican, and is now the Inter Ocean. When the Journal came into the union he accepted a situation on that paper, and held the position of assistant foreman.

In the fall of 1865 he again went south, where he remained five years, one year of which was spent in New Orleans and four in Nashville. During the time he was in Nashville he held the position of foreman, at first of the Press and Times, and afterward of the Banner.

He returned to Chicago in the fall of 1870, and shortly after went to work on the [Evening?] Post as an assistant foreman, and continued at that office over six years, until February, 1877, when the paper was "ratted " for refusing to pay the scale.

He was initiated a member of Chicago Typographical Union in June, 1855, the obligation being administered to him by M. C. Misener, who was president at the time. He was elected delegate from Chicago, in 1863, to the national convention which met at Cleveland, his competitors being Joseph C. Snow and A. M. Carver, than whom at that time there were probably no more deservedly popular men in the union. He was elected vice-president of the New Orleans union in 1867, and in 1869 was chosen delegate from Nashville, Tennessee, to the convention at Albany. At this meeting the international constitution was adopted. A writer of a brief history of the International Union in the "Souvenir" presented to the delegates to the Denver convention says that the session at Albany was "the most important one up to that time." It was at this meeting that he was elected president.

In 1872 a bill was introduced in congress for the appointment of a labor commission (which, however, was unfortunately defeated), when he was recommended by the Chicago Typographical Union as one of the appointees.

In referring to and indorsing such recommendation, the Chicago Evening Journal, of Wednesday, January 31, 1872, said:

Mr. Isaac D. George, who is named and recommended in the above resolution, is not only a representative printer, but really a representative of the more intelligent class of practical workingmen of the country. He is a man of great experience and a large acquaintance among the actual workers of the Northwest, and is familiar with the interests and requirements of labor. His appointment on the commission in question would draw to it the confidence of the working men of the nation, inasmuch as it would give it a practical and intelligent representative of the laboring masses of the country. He is, and for over sixteen years has been, a practical printer - most of the time in this city, where he has the respect of all classes of working men. Having for several years been employed in the [?], we are personally cognizant of his qualifications for the discharge of any position to which he might be called, in which the interests of labor are concerned. We bespeak for his claims, as above presented, due and respectful consideration when the question of the appointments of the members of the commission shall come up for final decision.

He has always taken an earnest and active interest in everything pertaining to the local union and was the author of the working-card system in this country, as also of the organization of chapels in Chicago. In fact, it is not too much to state that a majority of the distinctive features of the constitution of the International Typographical Union were proposed by him.

At the time of the first strike in the Chicago Times, in 1863 (which lasted only one night), on the recommendation of the president, a resolution of thanks for his services was passed by the union, although he was not an officer of the union nor serving on any committee.


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Biography of Isaac David George; submitted by Pamela Hutchison Garrett for John Markham of Chesterfield website; 2015.