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Finding Aid to the Morris R. Evenson Papers, 1942-1988(Bulk, 1960-1987)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • Bibliography
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Archival Material
  • Indexing Terms

  • Title: Morris R. Evenson papers
    Date (inclusive): 1942-1988
    Date (bulk): 1960-1987
    Collection number: larc.ms.0044
    Accession number: 1985/027; 1987/056; 1988/062; 1991/06
    Creator: Evenson, Morris R.
    Extent: 3.5 cubic ft. (9 cartons)
    Repository: Labor Archives and Research Center
    J. Paul Leonard Library, Room 460
    San Francisco State University
    1630 Holloway Ave
    San Francisco, CA 94132-1722
    (415) 405-5571
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English.
    Abstract: The Morris R. Evenson Papers contain biographical material, personal correspondence, and writings, as well as records of the International Brotherhood of Painters & Allied Trades (IBPAT) Bay Area Local Unions (including correspondence, election records, news clippings, and administrative and legal documents). The collection documents Evenson's roles as IBPAT Local 4's Business Representative and Recording Secretary and his work to amalgamate separate Painters' locals in San Francisco. Union events, particularly the IBPAT hearing of Local 4 official Dow Wilson, Wilson's assassination in 1966, the subsequent murder trial of Carl Black and Max Ward, and the administration of the Bay Area Painters Trust Funds, are also documented. The collection includes copies of The Rank and File Voice (1986-1987), The Bay Area Painters News (1965-1970), THE VOICE of Painters, Tapers and Paperhangers (1970-1987), convention proceedings from the California State Conference of Painters (1956-1965), publications of the IBPAT, and a cloth banner from Local 1158 of the Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers.
    Location: Collection is available onsite.


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives and Research Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Labor Archives and Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Morris R. Evenson Papers, larc.ms.0044, Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University.


    The materials in this collection were acquired in four separate donations, from Morris R. Evenson (in 1985 and 1987) and from his widow Jill Evenson (in 1988 and 1991). Accession numbers 1985/027, 1987/056, 1988/062, and 1991/06.

    Processing Information

    The collection was processed by Carol Cuenod, 1997.

    Biography/Organization History

    Biography of Morris R. Evenson

    Morris R. Evenson was born in Wisconsin in 1920, but spent his childhood school years in St. Paul, Minnesota. He dropped out of school in the ninth grade. Later he wrote, "It took both his hands to count the unions he had been a member of--Teamos, Seamen, Electrical (Workers) in a radio factory, a busboy in the Culinary Workers, a switchman in the Railroad Brotherhood, a coffin maker in the Carpenters Union, and a plastic molder in the Machinists..." in addition to the Painters Union (Evenson). He claimed that it was his life as a merchant seaman in the National Maritime Union (NMU) which continued his education, teaching him about unions and different political points of view. It was as a merchant seaman in the NMU that he served his country during World War II. By 1948, Evenson had identified himself with the "left-wingers" in the Union, and became a victim of the purge of communists and their sympathizers by NMU President Joseph Curran. He was in New Orleans when he was expelled from the NMU. Evenson moved to San Francisco in 1948 and, in 1952, joined the Painters Union Local 1158.
    Evenson was elected Business Representative of Painters Union Local 1158 in 1961. He also became a member of a rank-and-file caucus working to amalgamate the two separate locals in San Francisco- Local 1158 and Local 19. This was accomplished in 1963, forming Painters Local Union 4- the largest Painters Local in the country. Evenson was elected its first Business Representative. He worked closely with Dow Wilson, who served as a Business Representative in Local 19. Wilson was elected the first Recording Secretary of Local 4.
    When Wilson was assassinated in 1966, Evenson stepped in to continue Wilson's work as Local 4 Recording Secretary. He was also elected a trustee of the Bay Area Painters Trust Funds and served for 10 years as its chairman.
    When he retired, Evenson focused his attention on the Bay Area Painters Trust Funds and also published a newsletter called The Rank and File Voice. He died in 1988.

    Biography of Dow Wilson

    Dow Wilson's life had many parallels with Evenson's. He was born in 1926 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Like Evenson, his formal education ended in the ninth grade. In 1942, at age 16, he also went to sea as a member of the National Maritime Union. Like Evenson, he was charged by the NMU leadership of being a communist; however, he successfully fought the charges while acting as his own attorney. Wilson left the NMU in the early 1950s, became a house painter and a member of Painters Union Local 19 in San Francisco. Wilson and Evenson had known about each other in the NMU, but did not meet until they became union brothers in the San Francisco Painters locals. Wilson was elected a business representative in Local 19 and was also in the caucus working for the amalgamation of the two painters locals. When the amalgamated local was chartered, Wilson was elected the first Local 4 Recording Secretary- the Local's most important officer.
    Dow Wilson was assassinated three years later in 1966. A month later, Lloyd Green, an official of the Painters Union Local 127 in the East Bay, was also killed. A significant motive for these assassinations was the fight waged by Wilson and his supporters against the misuse and embezzlement of the Painters Union Trust Funds. Evenson was elected Recording Secretary to replace Wilson during the period of turmoil and fear following the deaths of Wilson and Green.


    Evenson, Morris. The Brotherhood of Blood and Allied Crimes.


    The Morris R. Evenson Papers are divided into six series.

    Scope and Content

    In addition to manuscripts and documents generated by Morris Evenson himself, the collection contains a large amount of originals or copies of the Bay Area Painters Union records covering the years when Evenson was an official and after his retirement.
    Series I contains records relating to Evenson's early life, his personal interests outside the Painters Union, and his friends. Additional biographical information can be found in Series III in Evenson's manuscript The Brotherood of Blood and Allies Crimes.
    Series II contains records of the Bay Area Painters Unions, including correspondence, election records, circulating letters to the membership, copies of news articles about the Union, records of political activity, some negotiating files, and Union Constitution and Bylaws.
    Series III documents Evenson's association with Dow Wilson. It includes Evenson's manuscript The Brotherhood of Blood and Allied Crimes , a fictionalized account of Wilson's life and murder. Series III also includes the murder trial transcript, notes taken by Evenson, and contemporary newspaper accounts.
    Series IV contains records relating to the Bay Area Painters Trust Funds, documenting Evenson's fight for honest administration of these Funds and his efforts to improve members' benefits under them. It includes a case file on Douglas Page, a Trust Fund attorney, whom Evenson accused of illegally signing Trustees' names and notarizing them.
    Series V holds a run of The Rank and File Voice (1986-1987) which Evenson published, as well as the records generated by its publication--drafts of articles, cartoons, a collection of publications from the League for Industrial Democracy, a group which fought corruption in unions. There are flyers from different "rank and file" groups in Local 4 and other unions. Also present is Dow Wilson's defense testimony from his 1965 International Brotherhood of Painters & Allied Trades hearing, which includes a detailed description of collective bargaining for painters in the San Francisco Bay Area.
    Series VI contains Local 4's newspapers which Evenson prepared for deposit in the Archives. Included are The Rank and File Voice (1986-1987), The Bay Area Painters News (1965-1970), THE VOICE of Painters, Tapers and Paperhangers (1970-1987), convention proceedings from the California State Conference of Painters (1956-1965), and publications of the IBPAT.
    A banner from Local 1158, Evenson's first Local when he joined the Painters Union in San Francisco, is also part of this collection.

    Related Archival Material

    For additional sources in the Labor Archives on Morris Evenson and the Bay Area Painters Union, see:
    Title: Organized Labor


    See columns "Painters News-Local 19" by Dow Wilson, mid-1955 to 7/22/63, "1158 Painters" by Morris Evenson, 1/14/63 to 7/22/63, "Painters News-Local 4" by Dow Wilson, 8/12/63 to 10/11/65)
    Identifier/Call Number: larc.pho.0054
    Title: Morris Evenson Photograph Collection
    For additional sources in the Labor Archives on Dow Wilson, see:
    Identifier/Call Number: larc.ms.0139
    Title: San Francisco Building Trades Council records, 1907-1986

    Indexing Terms

    Evenson, Morris R.
    Wilson, Dow.
    International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades.
    Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers of America.
    International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.
    Labor unions--California--History.
    Labor unions--California--Periodicals.
    Trials (Murder).