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Date Original

1927 July 23


This letter is a report from J.G. Puterbaugh of the McAlester Fuel Company, to Governor John Martineau on the state of coal production in Arkansas. Mr. Puterbaugh's report focuses on the struggles of the mines to make a profit, the causes of which he claims are not only the competition from other sources, but the cost of labor as well. To this end he spends a large amount of his letter discussing the typical wages of miners in Oklahoma and other coal producing states, as well as conflicts with the United Mine Workers organization over wage negotiations. He provides a unique look into a company's view of a declining industry.

Biographical/Historical Note

Located mostly in the Arkansas River Valley area of the state, coal mines in Arkansas produced over 106 million tons of coal between 1880 and 2006, with the peak of the mining production arriving in the early 1900s. By the 1920s coal production in the state was declining, thanks to the rising popularity of natural gas and fuel oil or petroleum.

Physical Description

6 pages, 8.5" x 11"


Correspondence; Governors; Coal miners; Coal mining; Coal; Wages


J.G. Puterbaugh

Geographical Area

Little Rock, Pulaski County (Ark.)




MS.000414, Box 6, Folder 176

Resource Type



Governor John E. Martineau papers, MS.000414


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Letter, J.G. Puterbaugh of the McAlester Fuel Company to Gov. John E. Martineau, Governor John E. Martineau papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History


There are several generations of coal miners in my family. Although they were based in Ohio and not Arkansas I have always been interested in the way the industry worked. I find the company's struggle to determine a course of action in the face of declining profit and production relevant to today's discussions about fuel production and use. The letter also serves as a sort-of chronicle of the industry shift in Arkansas from union-only mines or "closed shops" to non-union mines or "open shops," at least from the owner side of things. - Lauren Jarvis


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Letter, J.G. Puterbaugh of the McAlester Fuel Company to Gov. John E. Martineau