American Typographical Union?

I’m interested to know if anyone has some info related to the American Typographical Union? If found some refernces to it at the U.S. Dept. of Labor (1850s), but not much after that. Does anyone know if a copyright to this name still exists or any manifestation of it continued much after this time?

Thank you,

Craig Malmrose
Trade Union Press

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The original printing trade union in the US was the National Typographical Union, founded in 1852, which became the ITU, International Typographical Union in 1869. Many of the other printing craft unions split off from it (pressmen, bokbinders, etc.).
What remains of the ITU was merged into the CWA.

When I was an apprentice I came across a typecut which, if I recall correctly, was for the Typothete (or Typothaete) of America. I showed it to the foreman and he told me it was the forerunner to the ITU.

If anyone else has ever heard of it, I’d be curious to know as well.

Jim Rimmer

Jim, the Typothetae, United Typohetae of America or UTA, were actually the forerunners of the PIA, Printing Industries of America, a group representing employing printers (manufacturers too?). Theodore Lowe DeVinne was a driving force in the UTA. I can’t find a reference to the active dates of the organization.
The National Typographical Union was formed from 14 local preexisting unions like the Philadelphia Typographcal Society, the Columbia Typographical Society, Eureka Typographical Society, etc. Many locals were not the first attempts in their area, for example New York’s earlier Franklin Typographical Society. But if there were any earlier attempts at organizing beyond the local level, I don’t find them in the histories, nor any reference to an “American Typographical Union”. Maybe it was just a colloquialism or a temporary working title as the organization was in its birth-throes.

Thank you all very much. The only reference I’ve found for this presumably small organization was from the U.S. Dept. of Labor in 1851, and indicating it was located in the Baltimore area. I suspect that it was later absorbed by one of the larger unions or simply replaced entirely.


Craig Malmrose
Trade Union Press

The Baltimore Typographical Society was one of the original fourteen NTU locals, being local 12. It also hosted the Second Session of the NTU in 1851. At the time, the local was headed by J. L. Gibbons. It was formed in 1831. An earlier Baltimore group existed from 1814 to 1826, not named in my sources. (A Study of the History of the ITU, vol I, p 54, and vol II, p 401; History of Typographical Union, No. 6, p 206n; Union Democracy by Lipset et al is also a good read on the subject.)