Ballad of the American Dreyfus Case. SOCIALISTS, ANONYMOUS, Tom MOONEY.

Ballad of the American Dreyfus Case

n.d. but 1934. Lengthy unpublished ballad of 86 4- and 5-line stanzas recounting the plight of iron molder and IWW leader Tom Mooney from his birth to the present date (1934, based on the penultimate stanza on p. 6 describing Judge Griffin: "all these eighteen years [since the 1916 trial], / Has fought on Mooney's side"). Though no author is provided, the poet has a detailed knowledge of Mooney's biography and trial, beginning before his birth with his father, "A tall trade-union Irishman, / Choking his lungs out mining coal"; progressing to Mooney's early childhood helping his widowed mother make ends meet as a paperboy; and the first trial against him after dynamite was found (or planted) on a boat in the San Pablo Bay, a crime for which he was exonerated. The poem additionally recounts the first meetings between Mooney and Warren K. Billings, as well as the tireless travel and work his mother and sister shouldered to bring justice after it was revealed that the star witness, Frank Oxman, had perjured himself. The poem ends with the heartbreaking death of Mother Mooney, who was laid in state at the gates of San Quentin, and the mournful plea: "Warren Billings is forty years old. / Tom Mooney's hair grows white. / How soon will California turn / Her long, long wrong to right?" Another five years would pass before liberal Governor Culbert Olson would pardon him, in 1939. Original clean copy typescript poem; 9ll. on onionskin; previous mail folds, ex-Mooney Papers, Bancroft Library, with their small rubberstamps to each leaf, else Very Good and sound.

Price: $250.00

Go Back