A donor recently brought in a small ticket-size piece of gummed yellow paper on which was printed: Notice Workers! Stay Away from Butte, Montana. Overcrowded Now. The printer’s mark read “Allied Printers, Trades Council, Butte, Mont.”
In the archives world, we call items such as this “ephemera,” meaning that at the time of their creation, they were never meant to last. This particular piece of ephemera had no date. An Internet search showed that nearly identical language was used in publications such as the United Mine Workers Journals of 1917 and 1918. Such a notice would indicate to job seekers that certain mining locations were “overcrowded” or had “labor troubles,” lest they travel there and find nothing but disappointment. The gummed back surface of our label indicates that it was intended to be moistened and affixed to something (most likely a publication like the United Mine Workers Journal that had already gone to press).
If any of our blog readers can add any additional information about this bit of ephemera, we would love to hear.