Milk Dealers’ Association Ledger and Minute Book

Dates: 1889-1895
Size: 1 volume
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: Archives_MDA
Provenance: The account book of the Milk Dealers' Association was received as part of the Calumet Pioneer Historical Society collections. It was originally cataloged in the Neighborhood History Research Collection as part of the Calumet Region Community, considered to be the oversize account book of Jessen and Turner, milk dealers. The last secretary of the Association was George T. Turner, and it is probable that he just kept the book after the Association disbanded.
Access: No restrictions
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: Milk Dealers' Association Ledger and Minute Book [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library.
Processed by: Galen R. Wilson, July 1992

Historical Note

The Milk Dealers' Association was apparently founded some time prior to April 15, 1891, the date of the first meeting recorded in this book. Accounts on page 146 date back to November 1889, but even the association seems to have been an established entity. The name of the Association is not entirely certain: "Milk Dealers' Association" appears on page 127 in the minutes, but the name is given as "Milkman Association" on page 192. While the association's beginning date is unclear, its date of disorganization is contained in the book: on August 6, 1895, the association voted to disband.

The location of the Milk Dealers' Association is identified only by the location of its meetings: Roseland neighborhood's Kensington Avenue, which in the 1890s ran from Michigan Avenue east to Lake Calumet, between 115th and 116th Streets. Of the six secretaries who kept the minutes of the association, three are listed in the 1893 Lakeside Business Directory of Chicago, all with Roseland addresses: T. Ibbotson, 230 111th Street; Frederick H. Niemeyer, Jr., State Street near 116th Street; and Williams J. Powers, 2551 [now ca. 125] Kensington Avenue.

It is probable that minutes began to be kept in this book when William J. Powers became secretary as Powers' name appears on the inside of the back cover. The first 10 pages of the book, which are missing could have contained unrelated material which was removed when the book was devoted to the Association’s records.

Scope and Content

The bulk of the written-upon pages of this book are taken up with the minutes of the Association’s meetings. These began at a place called "Tucks Hall" but were later moved to a location not specified but rather given simply as "Kensington Avenue." It is possible that the meetings were held at the home of William J. Powers who was heavily involved with the Association and lived on Kensington Avenue, see above. The meetings were primarily concerned with the importance of making the union effective. For instance, the minutes of April 24, 1891, contain the motion "that milk men are not allowed to sell milk to any milk man outside the association and that any milk man that takes a customer away from another in the association below the prices agreed upon is to be fined $5.00 for every offense." The value of the book is its documentation of a grass-roots union movement in Chicago within a service industry which itself is entirely gone from the landscape.

Container List

Pages 1-10 Missing
Pages 11-30 Accounts, member by member, of dues and assessments, April 1891-September 1892
Pages 31-55 Monthly household expenses, no name given, January 1912-January 1914
Pages 57-99 Blank
Pages 100-135 Meeting minutes, 1891 April 15-1895 August 6
Pages 140 Income accounts, 1889 November
Pages 146 Scab list; 23 November 1889
Pages 181 Meeting minutes (in pencil), [no year given] March 4
Pages 184-185 Household accounts, undated
Pages 186-187 Roll call, January 15-June 21, 1895
Pages 188 Receipts and expenditures, April 15-December 31, 1891
Pages 189 Money deposited by members of the Milk Association as a guarantee, March 7-May 31, 1893
Pages 190-191 Receipts and expenditures, 1892-1895
Pages 192-[193] Roll call, undated
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