Recently (May 2003) the Conservancy received correspondence from a Beverly Jones, Research and Editorial Assistant, The Usery Center for the Workplace at Georgia State University. She was conducting research on a bust of Thomas Talbot in preparation for a visit from members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. She was curious to find any information the Conservancy might have. Unfortunately, the Conservancy had no information but asked that she share her findings when available.
Her research provides the following information and speculation:
It is not known exactly why the Machinists chose Grant Park as the site for the monument but here is a guess. There is a strong connection between the park and the history of railroads in Atlanta. Many of the early machinists repaired trains, and the founding of what is commonly referred to as the "Machinists" union took place, in 1888, at the old East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad repair shops (later known as the Southern Railway Locomotive Shops), on Windsor Street in the Mechanicsville neighborhood. Since Grant Park is both close to that shop site and has its own railroad connection (in terms of Lemuel Grant, as well as the fact that the Cyclorama exhibits an historic locomotive), it seems logical that the monument was erected at Grant Park. Also, Grant Park is the park that is best known and most frequently toured by visitors to Atlanta.
Ms. Jones also enclosed three articles from the Atlanta Constitution dated May 1948, that document the dedication of the bust. 1948, marked the 60th anniversary of the International Association of Machinists. The articles follow:
8-A The Atlanta Constitution Sun., May 2, 1948
1,500 Will Attend Machinist Meet Here
Approximately 1,500 visitors and delegates from all over the United States and Canada are expected here Tuesday and Wednesday for the sixtieth anniversary celebration of the International Association of Machinists, which was founded in Atlanta May 5, 1888.
A climax of the celebration will be the dedication in Grant Park Wednesday of a bronze and marble monument to Thomas Wilson Talbot, who organized the IAM in a locomotive pit in what is now the Pegram Shop of the Southern Railway. In 1888, it was a part of the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad.
Talbot served as the first President of the organization which now numbers approximately 750,000 members in 1,900 local lodges and 200 district lodges in the U.S., Canada, Panama Canal Zone, Hawaii, Newfoundland and Alaska.
The monument, created by George Bridges, Birmingham sculptor, has been erected at a cost of between $10,000 and $12,000 raised by popular subscription of all lodges within the IAM. It will be dedicated by Earl Melin, IAM General Vice President in charge of the Southeastern territory, and Thomas Talbot, youngest grandchild of the IAM founder.
A tour of the Cyclorama at Grant Park and a fish fry at Lakewood will conclude the celebration along with a fireworks display and presentation of veterans' badges to members with 50 years continuous good standing in the organization.
The opening day of the celebration Tuesday will include a pilgrimage to the birthplace of the organization, a sightseeing trip around Atlanta, and to Stone Mountain, and an address at the Municipal Auditorium Tuesday night by Harvey W. Brown, International President of the IAM. A dance, to which all members of organized labor, their families and friends are invited, will follow Brown's address.
The anniversary celebration is sponsored by the three lodges, Atlanta Lodge No. 1, Fulton Lodge No. 2 and Automotive Lodge No. 35, with a combined membership of 1,600 machinists, apprentices and helpers, manufacturing production workers and automobile mechanics.
Chairman of the Celebration Committee is George R. Beauchamp, President of Atlanta Lodge No. 1, and Secretary is W.C. Buckhalt, Vice President of Automobile Lodge No. 35.
Atlanta Constitution Wed. May 5, 1948
Machinists Hear Blow At T-H Law
by Wellington Wright
Harvey W. Brown, President of the International Association of Machinists, an organization with more than 650,000 members in the United States and Canada, and Chairman of the Machinists' Non-Partisan Political League, Tuesday night advocated the defeat of every member of Congress who voted for the Taft-Hartley Act.
"As far as organized labor is concerned," he said, "every one of them has got to go. In their places, we want representatives who will vote for measures which bring the greatest good to the greatest number."
Brown was present at the sixtieth anniversary celebration of the founding in Atlanta of the International Association of Machinists. He spoke at the Municipal Auditorium to a crowd which included 1,000 delegates from all parts of the United States and Canada.
Brown said the faults of the Wagner Act, which the Taft-Hartley Act replaced, were largely in its administration.
Besides Brown, other officers of the Association present included: Earl Melton, Birmingham; Al J. Hayes, Washington; Sam L. Newman, New York City; J.L. McBreen, Seattle; P.L. Siemiller, Chicago; Elmer E. Walker, Cleveland; and Harry J. Carr, Chicago - all Vice Presidents; and Eric Peterson, Washington, General Secretary and Treasurer. Fred Laudermann of Birmingham, and Harley F. Nickerson, of Chicago, both former Vice Presidents, were also present.
At 1 p.m. today in Grant Park, the officers and delegates will attend the unveiling of a bust commemorating Thomas William Talbot, of Atlanta, founder of the union in 1898.
The celebration will close at 8 p.m. tonight with a fireworks display at Lakewood Park.
Atlanta Constitution Thurs. May 6, 1948
Two Descendants Of IAM Founder Unveil His Bust
In the presence of delegates from all parts of the United States and Canada, a grandson and a great-grandson of Thomas William Talbot, founder of the International Association of Machinists, Wednesday unveiled a bust of their grandfather in Grant Park.
The occasion climaxed the sixtieth anniversary celebration of the founding of the organization here by Talbot and 18 other machinists in 1888.
The grandson is Thomas Wilson Talbot, 15, sond of Mr. and Mrs. Paul J. Talbot, of New York City, and the great-grandson is Thomas G. Talbot, five, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas H. Talbot, also of New York City.
The bronze bust, mounted on a pedestal of Tennessee marble, stands opposite the main entrance to the Grant Park Pavilion. It is the work of George Bridges, sculptor, of Birmingham.
Harvey W. Brown, of Washington, President of the International Association of Machinists, delivered a dedicatory address.