Who were Redfern Mason and United Labor party?

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Sirs: I have two old political buttons. They say "Redfern Mason for Mayor Vote United Labor" They were manufacted by Irvine & Jachens in S.F. so I assume they were for a local campaign. When did this election happen and did Mr. Mason win? Thank you. Corey J. Smith

-- Corey J. Smith (gryphon_94901@yahoo.com), November 30, 2001


The United Labor Party was active in SF in the early part of the century. It was the subject of graft investigations by the so-called Progressives when Hiram Johnson made his political name. You can follow these leads along with the names: Abe "Curly Boss" Rueff and Eugene Schmitz. Now Redfern Mason is another matter and I think you are going to have to dig a lot to find much. The only thing that I know of him is that he wrote music criticism for the SF papers. Since Eugene Schmitz was an orchestra leader who became the successful U.L.P. candidate for mayor, I suppose that he could have been a U.L.P. candidate in another election. Let us know.

-- Don Martinich (dutchm@dcn.davis.ca.us), December 02, 2001.

Are you sure the buttons didn't say Union Labor Party rather than United Labor Party because I don't remember any United Labor Party. Only a Union Labor Party whose member happened to be the ones who were bought into office all the way from the mayor to I think it was all the board of supervisors. -- As far as Rafern Mason goes, he became a reporter and music critic for the Examiner but I don't know if that was before or after he ran for mayor. I wonder about that too because it's possible that the contacts he made in running for mayor might have helped him get that job at the Examiner. Lots of newspapermen in those days in San Francisco got their jobs through hook and crook.

-- Harry Murphy (harrymurphy@my-deja.com), December 03, 2001.

Whoops! Thanks for the correction Harry. I had confused Union with United. There was a United Labor Party founded in 1886 and led by Henry George. I don't know how active they were in SF.

-- Don Martinich (dutchm@dcn.davis.ca.us), December 04, 2001.

Redfern Mason for many years (from at least 1914 until the 1930s) was the music critic for the San Francisco Examiner. He was very progressive in that capacity, advocating world and vernacular musics as well as the modernist music of Arnold Schoenberg. He became very active in the newspaper labor union, which probably led to his mayoral candidacy. He definitely did not win.

-- Jason Gibbs (minhnghia@hotmail.com), December 24, 2001.

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