The Autobiography of Mother Jones by Mother Jones, 1925. Labor organizer Mother Jones worked tirelessly for economic justice. Mary Harris “Mother” Jones (1837–1930) was an Irish-American schoolteacher and dressmaker who became a prominent labor and community organizer. She then helped coordinate major strikes and cofounded the Industrial Workers of the World.

While her opponents called her the “most dangerous woman in America,” fellow organizer Elizabeth Gurley Flynn called Jones “the greatest woman agitator of our times.” Jones combined dynamic speaking skills and radical organizing methods to mobilize thousands of laborers and working-class families.

She said of herself, “I’m not a humanitarian, I’m a hell-raiser.” Mary Harris Jones was born approximately August 1, 1837 in Cork, Ireland to Helen Cotter and Richard Harris. She had two brothers and two sisters. Jones later claimed a birthdate of May 1, 1830.

Biographers suggest that she chose 1830 to add to the image of white-haired “Mother” Jones, and May first to connect herself to the Haymarket demonstration for the eight-hour day. Mary’s father moved to the United States in the 1840s, and the rest of the family followed soon thereafter.

approx. 169 pages

Out July 2014


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

What a formidable woman.  She was way ahead of her time.  Fiesty wouldn’t begin to describe her. She was strong, determined and intelligent, refusing to back down and willing to endure plenty of hostility from the opposite sex in order to achieve her goals.

Labour laws and unions have a lot to thank her for. I can’t imagine a child going to school only if they were too injured or lost a limb and couldn’t work.  Child labor was a horrible part of history, especially for those under the age of fourteen. With Mother Jones’ hard work, new legislation was passed to keep the children out of mills until the age of fourteen. Even that is wrong, but it was a great start. Conditions of the mills in the 1800s made it a horrific place to work, especially for little children.

Mother Jones also spoke and lectured about the conditions of mines for children laborers. She marched around the country demanding attention to the dangers these children face for so little money.  The country got wealthy off the backs of children, some missing digits or limbs…

I would have loved meeting Mother Jones.  A true hero of the labour unions and equality for children forced to work in horrendous conditions.

I gave this book:



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