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Industrial Workers of the World Photograph Collection: San Pedro, 1923-1924

Interpretive exhibit examining the historical and cultural context of the the Industrial Workers of the World Photograph Collection at the Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.

The Story

San Pedro, California, emerged as a significant center of IWW activity during the 1910s and early 1920s. The IWW's earnest attempts to organize workers in the region were frequently met with violent opposition from individuals and organizations that viewed them as a threat.

In a distressing episode in June 1924, the Ku Klux Klan launched a vicious attack on the members of the San Pedro IWW at their meeting hall. This brutal incident occurred during a benefit event intended to commemorate two workers who tragically lost their lives in a railroad accident. The KKK assault left many of the 300 IWW members severely beaten, while others were kidnapped, tarred, feathered, and the meeting hall was destroyed. Two children, May Sundsted and Andrew Kruglis, were scalded when a pot of coffee was used to harm them.

May Sundsted and Andrew Kruglis, the young victims of the attack, had to be hospitalized for the burns they sustained. This collection includes photographs of these children, complete with handwritten notes on the back, provided by the photographer, E. F. Moffett.


“Little children, little babies

Screaming, sobbing, dashed in steam

By the monsters who repaid them

Oath and blow for every scream….

Little children, raw and bleeding, burnt and tortured.”

--The Shame of California and Other Poems "The San Pedro Outrage.”

Industrial Workers of the World Seattle Joint Branches records, Labor Archives of Washington State, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections, Seattle, Washington.

San Pedro IWW Hall Raid Victims


For a comprehensive exploration of the San Pedro raid and the IWW's perspective, a valuable source is the IWW's newspapers. These articles shed light on events involving their members from the IWW's perspective, offering insight into the fervor with which they championed their cause.

To kickstart your research, here are some key articles to consider, all available within Industrial Solidarity (also known as Industrial Worker), a newspaper published by the IWW:

  1. June 18th, 1924 - "U.S. Navy Men Scald Children"
  2. June 15th, 1926

You can access these articles and more through the UW Libraries Microfilm (A5675). To locate the microfilm in the UW Libraries collection, please visit the following link: Industrial Worker Microfilm.

This resource will be instrumental in delving into the San Pedro raid and understanding the IWW's viewpoint during that period.

  • June 18th, 1924 "U.S. Navy Men Scald Children"
  • June 15th, 1926

Follow this link to find IWW Newspapers microfilm at the UW Libraries:


The Telling Captions

Here are some of the handwritten captions found on the back of the photographs:

  1. "May Sundsted, aged 9, was a beautiful and refined high school dancer, beloved by the workers of San Pedro, her birthplace. Her mother, a strong woman of Finnish descent, was also subjected to beatings and clubbing by the savage mob that attacked the I.W.W. Hall on June 14th. Numerous others faced beatings, burning, tarring, and feathering. The greatest suffering was endured by the children, and the malevolent assailants showed no mercy..."

  2. "Andrew Kruglis, aged 9, is in a critical condition. He was the first to flee the Hall as the assailants rushed in. Andrew sprinted as fast as he could for a block, only to be overtaken by a man in blue who callously threw a pot of scalding grease onto his bare legs. Notice the discolorations on his knee and right foot where new skin has formed. The bandaged areas are where the wounds are deepest. He bears his misfortunes with courage, although several weeks of suffering lie ahead.