At 1:07 A.M. an explosion rips through the offices of the Los Angeles Times. In the ensuing fire many fell to their deaths by jumping out windows to escape the fire, while even more could not escape the flames. 21 people died in the explosion and fire, but the investigation revealed the Dynamite Conspiracy, which was linked to more than 100 bombings across the country. Read more about it!
The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.
Jump to: Sample Articles
- October 1, 1910. An explosion tears through the offices of the Los Angeles Times, killing 21 people. LA Times officials immediately blame organized labor.
- October 28, 1910. California State Federation of Labor releases a report concluding that the explosion was caused by a gas leak, not by dynamite.
- April 12, 1911. James McNamara and Ortie McManigal are arrested in Detroit and taken to Chicago.
- April 13, 1911. Ortie McManigal confesses to the LA Times bombing and provides evidence against McNamara.
- April 22, 1911. John McNamara is arrested by detective William Burns in Indianapolis, IN and quickly extradited to California with his brother James and Ortie McManigal.
- April 26, 1911. William Burns is arrested in Indianapolis, IN for the kidnapping of John McNamara.
- December 1, 1911. John McNamara pleads guilty to first degree murder in the LA Times bombing and his brother James pleads guilty to bombing the Llewellyn Iron Works.
- February 14, 1912. Nearly all of the fifty-four defendants indicted in connection with the “Dynamite Conspiracy” are arrested.
- August 17, 1912. Clarence Darrow is found not guilty of bribing a juror during the McNamara trial.
- December 28, 1912. Thirty-eight union officials are found guilty on charges related to the LA Times and other bombings, namely illegal transportation of explosives across state lines. Among the convicted was Frank Ryan, President of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers.
Suggested Search Strategies:
- [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as
phrases using Search
Pages in Chronicling America.] Los Angeles Times, Dynamite Conspiracy, dynamiter, John J. McNamara, James B. McNamara, William Burns, International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers, Ortie McManigal, Clarence Darrow, Samuel Gompers, Llewellyn Iron Works, and Dupont Powder Works.
- It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results.
- Be prepared to differentiate between articles about other labor trials, such as the Haywood trial for which Clarence Darrow was also defense counsel.
Sample Articles from Chronicling America:
- "Los Angeles Times Plant Wrecked By Explosion and Twenty Are Killed,"
El Paso Herald (EL Paso, Texas),
October 1, 1910, Page 1, Image 1, Col. 3-5.
- "Dynamite Los Angeles Times,"
The Wenatchee Daily World (Wenatachee, Washington),
October 1, 1910, Page 1, Image 1, Col. 6-7.
- "Los Angeles Disaster Reviewed by Gene Debs,"
The Labor Journal (Everett, Washington),
October 21, 1910, Page 1, Image 1, Col. 1-4.
- "Explosion Caused by Gas Says Labor Federation Committee,"
Daily Capital Jounral (Salem, Oregon),
October 28, 1910, Page 1, Image 1, Col. 1-3.
- "Labor Leaders Brand Dynamite Arrest As Plot,"
The Washington Times (Washington, DC),
April 23, 1911, Sunday Evening Edition, Page 1, Image 1, Col. 6-7.
- "Armed Guard Bringing Prisoners West,"
The San Fransisco Call (San Fransisco, California),
April 24, 1911, Page 2, Image 2, Col. 1-7.
- "Berger Resolution Calls Upon Congress For An Investigation,"
The Washington Times (Washington, DC),
April 25, 1911, Last Edition, Page 1, Image 1, Col. 6.
- "Burns Must Tell Story,"
The Tacoma Times (Tacoma, Washington),
April 26, 1911, Page 1, Image 1, Col. 1-2.
- "The McNamaras Confess Los Angeles Murders,"
Aberdeen Herald (Aberdeen, Washington),
December 4, 1911, Page 1, Image 1, Col. 5.
- "Dynamiters by Score are Behind Bars,"
Rock Island Argus (Rock Island, Illinois),
February 14, 1912, Page 1, Image 1, Col. 1-2.
- "Not Guilty of Bribery,"
The Evening Standard (Ogden City, Utah),
August 17, 1912, Page 1, Image 1, Col. 2-4.
- "Notable Victory For Government in the Dynamite Conspiracy Case,"
Weekly Journal-Miner (Prescott, Arizona),
January 1, 1913, Page 4, Image 4, Col. 1-6.