Hellraisers Journal: Patrick Quinlan, Hero of Paterson Silk Strike, Released from New Jersey Prison

You ought to be out raising hell.
This is the fighting age.
Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones


Hellraisers Journal, Thursday November 30, 1916
From the New Jersey State Penitentiary: Patrick Quinlan Set Free

The Appeal to Reason of November 25th reported the happy news:

Will Parole Quinlan

Paterson Silk Strike, Pat Quinlan, Current of 1913

According to a telegram received from Mrs. Anna Sloan, of 88 Washington Place, New York city, we learn that Pat Quinlan will be paroled on Thursday, November 23. This report is written on Tuesday, so by the time the Appeal readers get this issue we will have final verification.

The long, weary months Pat Quinlan spent in the New Jersey penitentiary were his punishment for being loyal to the striking silk workers of Paterson, N. J. There is not the slightest doubt that he was railroaded to the penitentiary because he had aroused the ire of the silk capitalists and their cohorts. Quinlan was in no sense guilty of the charges made against him, as the evidence clearly demonstrates. Quinlan is supposed to have aroused sentiment for violence at a meeting-which he never attended!

Quinlan will come out radiant in spirit, ready to take up anew the fight for the oppressed toilers. But the prison sentence has had its cruel effect on his health.


[Photograph added.]

From the Trenton Evening Times of November 23, 1916:

I. W. W. Agitator, Whose Release
Is Expected Soon, Says Several
Positions Await him

Quinlan, Tresca, EGF, Lessig, BBH, Paterson Silk Strike, 1913
Quinlan, at far left, with I. W. W. organizers during Paterson Silk Strike.

Stating that his proposed release from the New Jersey State Prison was a surprise and not expected or altogether unexpected, Patrick Quinlan, the I. W. W. agitator, who, according to reports, is to be granted a reconsideration of his sentence at Paterson tomorrow and released from the institution, was highly pleased at the expectation of gaining his liberty. In an interview with a Times representative yesterday afternoon, Quinlan refused to talk of his past and put it off by saying that is was buried.

Quinlan as yet has had no official notification that he is to be released, but has read accounts of his case in the newspapers and has had personal information from friends that he might expect his release momentarily. Yesterday morning he received a letter stating that he would be released today, and a visitor Tuesday informed him to the same effect

That he would be released today was beyond Quinlan’s hopes, for the late mail received at the prison yesterday afternoon contained no information from the judiciary of Paterson. The mail, however, brought him several letters and some newspapers.

Quinlan refused to talk about his release and said that it was a matter entirely in the hands of the Quinlan Agitation Committee, of which George H. Strobel, a Newark jeweler is treasurer, and of which Mrs. Anna Sloan, wife of an artist [John Sloan of The Masses], and Rose Pastor Stokes, is interested.

Even should his release not come tomorrow-Quinlan’s minimum sentence will expire February 7. Contemplating his release on either date, Quinlan has commenced packing his library of upwards of 450 books, the works of Shaw, Stevens, Wells and other radical authors. During his stay at the institution he has been greatly interested in books dealing with Socialism and political economy.

Quinlan, whose health is in good condition, stated that he has been offered several positions. Offers came from the People’s Institute, New York, Robert Ingersoll, New York, and a Girard, Kansas newspaper [the Appeal to Reason].

When asked whether or not he would take any interest in labor matters at Paterson after his release, Quinlan stated that he did not know present conditions, but he understood by the newspapers there was much improvement. He believes that this improvement is indirectly due to previous agitation.

Quinlan said he had no particular program mapped out, but that he expected to make his home in Paterson. As to labor matters he said the field was large and wide.


[Photograph added.]

From the Trenton Evening Times of November 24, 1916:

Famous I. W. W. Agitator’s $500 Fine
Promptly Paid and Rest of
Sentence Annulled

Patrick Quinlan, the famous I. W. W. agitator, was given his liberty this morning, when Judge Abram Klenert, at Paterson, granted him a reconsideration of his sentence of two to seven years and a fine of $500, and sentenced him to pay a fine similar to that previously imposed. Quinlan’s fine was immediately paid and he was liberated.

Quinlan’s friends had not anticipated that he would be compelled to pay his heavy fine, expecting that his reconsidered sentence would be a day in State Prison. However, they were prepared for any emergency, and when the fine was imposed Mr. Anna Sloan, wife of the famous artist, put up $500 and obtained the release of Quinlan. Mrs. Sloan is a member of the Quinlan agitation committee.

Quinlan, who served all of but 10 weeks of his minimum sentence, will make his home in Paterson. He has not yet decided what part he will take in labor matters, an interest that was responsible for his imprisonment.



Appeal to Reason
(Girard, Kansas)
-Nov 25, 1916

Trenton Evening Times
(Trenton, New Jersey)
-Nov 23, 1916, page 3
-Nov 24, 1916, page 11

Pat Quinlan from Current Opinion of 1913
Pat Quinlan, Carlo Tresca, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Adolph Lessig, and Big Bill Haywood at Paterson, New Jersey 1913

See also:

Patrick L Quinlan

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and the Paterson Silk Strike
-by JayRaye

Hellraisers Journal: Quinlan Defiant as Silk Barons Railroad Him to Prison: “Down With Capitalism!”

Hellraisers Journal: Eugene Debs for the Appeal to Reason on the Crime Against Patrick Quinlan

Tag: Patrick Quinlan

For more on Anna Sloan (Mrs John Sloan):
From Woman’s Who’s Who of America, 1914

For more on John French Sloan:

For more on the marriage of Sloan to Anna Maria (Dolly) Wall:

Rose Pastor Stokes

For statement of the Judge on release of Quinlan:
The Commercial and Financial Chronicle, Volume 103, Part 2
William B. Dana Company, 1916
From the Dec 23, 1916, edition:

Workers of the World and an agitator in the Paterson (N. J.) silk weavers’ strike of 1913, who had been sentenced to an imprisonment term for having incited the strikers to injure others, was released on Nov. 24 by Judge Klenert in the Passaic County Court of Common Pleas at Trenton. Quinlan was adjudged guilty under the indictment of “in citing to riot” in the Paterson strike on May 14 1913. In commuting the prison term Judge Klenert re-imposed the fine of $500. The term served by Quinlan covers a period of one year and nine months. The fine of $500 was paid by his friends, headed by Mrs. John Sloan of New York, a member of the Quinlan Agitation Committee which has been working for his release. Judge Klenert in announcing the decision of the Court said:

I have received a petition signed by more than 20.000 names, and I have gone over it carefully. I feel Justified in reconsidering your case. I believe you have been sufficiently punished for your past misdeeds, and I Intend to allow you your liberty. I hope that in the future you will be more careful of your speech and conduct. The Court will vacate the punishment previously imposed upon you, and sentence you to pay a fine of $500.