St. Paul Branch of the Journeymen Stonecutters Association,
Late Nineteenth Century

This banner of the St. Paul branch of the Journeymen Stonecutters’ Association of North America proudly announces that the stonecutters were "Pioneers of the 8 hour day," and features a hand-painted depiction of a stonecutter at work. The founding date of the St Paul branch is included, December 5, 1887. The back of the banner features a hand-painted image of a muscular upraised arm gripping a stonecutters’ mallet. The symbol of the strong flexed arm of a workman is one repeated on banners across a wide variety of occupations.

The skilled men who cut and carved stone for St. Paul’s buildings included immigrants from Germany and Sweden as well as African Americans, who were recruited to work on the state capitol. The presence of black workers in the Stonecutters’ union, highly unusual for the late nineteenth century, was but one indication of the progressive character of the organization.

silk and cotton
57&Prime x 36&Prime
circa 1880s–1890s

Minnesota Historical Society (1995.74.2)