The FRANKLIN CLUB was a discussion forum organized by progressive reformer, Dr. LOUIS TUCKERMAN. Club promotional cards circulated in 1896 demonstrated beliefs that "error is harmless if truth is free to combat it" and also that "labor produces all wealth." Members of the club took an active part in local politics, making their opinions known to local officials and government agencies. Originally known as the Union Labor Club, the name was changed to the Franklin Club sometime before June 16, 1889, because the term Union implied that the organization was national in scope. Rather, the club was local, although "organized to promote the nationalization of industry and brotherhood of humanity," according to a motto displayed on club petitions. In 1890, the group had an address of 38 Garden Street. By 1896, the club was meeting at Forester's Hall, 125 Champlain St. (cor Seneca) every Sunday at 3pm. Members came from all walks of life and there were no dues, but voluntary contributions were used to maintain the club's library. Although initial club discussions focused on economics and public policy, over time the range of topics expanded to include free love, ethics, religion, prohibition, PROSTITUTION, the role of women, and anarchy. After the club reorganized and became the Progressive Liberty Assn. in Dec. 1900, a lecture by Emma Goldman, a frequent speaker before the club on the topic of anarchy, supposedly incited LEON CZOLGOSZ to assassinate Pres. Wm. McKinley later in the year (1901). Following the assassination, the club's records were confiscated by the police and the organization declined in importance.

Cleveland City Council Archives.


Black, white and red text reading Western Reserve Historical Society

Finding aid for the Franklin Club Records. WRHS.

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