B. Scott Holmes

Just trying to stay alive and keep my sideburns too

New Osburn House, Rochester, NY

December 7 - Elks Lodge, New Osburn house, Rochester, New York - speech. Text not available.
Mark Twain and his manager James B. Pond were guests of the Rochester Elks Lodge. According to a report titled "The Elks' Social," in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, 8 December 1884, p. 6, "Mark Twain entertained the assemblage for some time by relating some of his personal experiences..." Text recovered by Leslie Myrick.

On this site stood the New Osburn House, a hotel which hosted many meetings of Rochester's Socialist Party and where the Knights of Labor held its twentieth convention in 1896. The KOL was the largest national labor organization of 19th century America. In his welcoming remarks, Rochester mayor George Warner praised the Knights for accomplishing "a great deal of good for the working men and women" including shorter hours, safety regulations, factory inspections, payment in cash, etc. The Knights played an important role in Rochester, organizing between 1877 and 1894 fifty-nine Local Assemblies as well as two District Assemblies; at their height the KOL had 7000 members here. Local Assemblies represented workers in many of the construction trades and in manufacturing, especially the clothing and shoe industries. In 1888 KOL shoemakers met here at the call of Rochester District Assembly 63 and formed the KOL National Trade Assembly 216, which later became the Boot and Shoe Workers Union.

The [Rochester Elks] Lodge held its first social session at the New Osborne House, March 2, 1884 in honor of a visit from Grand Secretary Arthur C. Moreland. This session had left an indelible impression upon those fortunate enough to be present, and when referred to, recalled fond memories of a pleasant past. Mark Twain took part in the program.

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