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Kingsport Press Strike Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AppMs-152
George L. Carter, a land purchasing entrepreneur, believed Kingsport, Tennessee could become a "model industrial city" if the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway extended its line from Johnson City, Tennessee to Kingsport. Extension of the CC&O rail line from Johnson City north through Kingsport began in 1905 and was completed by 1915. Once the extension of the CC&O line had been completed, John B. Dennis, John Nolan, Col. James Blair, and Joseph Sears envisioned the construction of a book manufacturing plant in Kingsport that was capable of producing inexpensive books, publications that could be "purchased by anyone."

The planning and early construction of the Kingsport Press began in 1919 and was completed sometime during the early 1920s. The principle products of the Kingsport Press were textbooks, reference books, Bibles, religious books and juvenile-adult trade books. During the 1950s, the company became the largest complete book manufacturing firm in the world.

In 1933 three unions were established at the Kingsport Press to protect the rights of its employees; these were the International Printing Press Union, International Stereotypers and Electrotypers Union, and the International Brotherhood of Bookbinders Union. These unions went on strike March 11, 1963 to demand increased wages, a reduced work week, and improved vacation benefits from company management. However, after four years of unsuccessful deliberations between the company's arbitrators and its unions, the strike ended April 28, 1967 with a disbanding of the unions. At the present time the Kingsport Press is owned by Arcata Graphics.

The Kingsport Press Strike Collection contains correspondence, reports, pamphlets, photocopies of articles taken from commercial publications, newspaper clippings, speeches, cassette audiotapes, memorabilia, and broadsides documenting the events surrounding the strike between Kingsport Press and its unions between 1961 and 1967. The correspondence and speeches describe events leading up to the strike, chronicles union activities during the strike, and identifies the problems surrounding the unsuccessful resolution of the labor dispute. The reports document specific union issues that served as the progenitors for the strike. The pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and photocopies of articles define the general issues and describe the activities surrounding the Kingsport Press strike. The two 60-minute audio cassette tapes (dated April 27, 1982) contain an interview with Earl Derrick about the Kingsport Press strike.


  • 1961-1982


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.


0.50 linear feet (1 Hollinger box, 2 cassette audiotapes)

2.00 Sound recordings

1.00 Boxes


The collection is divided into four series: Series 1, Correspondence, Reports and Speeches, 1963-1965; Series 2, Pamphlets and Broadsides, 1963-1965; Series 3, Articles, Memorabilia and Newspaper Clippings, 1964-1966; and Series 4, Cassette Tapes, 1982.

Method of Acquisition

The Kingsport Press Strike Collection was compiled by Dale Larkin, a union correspondent, during the Kingsport Press strike, Kingsport, Tennessee, between 1963 and 1967. The papers were donated to the Archives of Appalachia by Dale Larkin in March 1983 and opened to researchers April 27, 1990.

Processing Information

Scott Schwartz, Dawn Gentry and A.Kilgore completed processing in April 1990.
Scott Schwartz, Dawn Gentry and A.Kilgore
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives of Appalachia Repository

PO Box 70295
344 J.L. Seehorn Jr. Rd.
Johnson City TN 37614 USA