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Frank Keys Foster
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Birth: Dec. 19, 1854
Palmer
Hampden County
Massachusetts, USA
Death: Jun. 27, 1909
Belmont
Middlesex County
Massachusetts, USA

Frank Foster grew up in Palmer and was educated in common schools and at Monson Academy. Between 1872 and 1876 he learned the printer's trade at the office of Churchman in Hartford, Connecticut. By 1878 he was working in Boston as a compositor and by 1882 as an editor. Frank Foster took an active leadership role in the early formation of trade unions in the United States. He was a member and secretary of the Hartford Typographical Union; president of the Cambridge Typographical Union; a delegate to the Federation of Trades Convention; secretary of the Boston Central Trades and Labor Union; and secretary to the Knights of Labor. Frank Foster, along with Samuel Gompers, helped to found the American Federation of Labor (A. F of L.), was its first national secretary and president of the state chapter.

Frank Foster helped to steer labor unions away from Socialist and Marxist philosophy and toward the Democratic Party. He was nominated for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts at the Democratic Party Convention in Worcester on September 30, 1886. Although he narrowly lost the election by some two thousand votes he led the ticket and had an impressive showing in Boston. He was founder and editor of the Haverhill (Mass.) Daily and Weekly Laborer, editor of the Labor Leader and editor and publisher of the monthly magazine The Liberator. He authored several books including a novel, The Evolution of a Trade Unionist (1901), and a book of poetry, The Karma of Labor, and other Verses (1903).

Frank Foster also attained fame through a historic debate at Faneuil Hall in 1904 in which he engaged Charles W. Eliot, President of Harvard University, on the principles of trade unionism. He was a great lecturer and Labor Day orator who spoke in 23 states. He was also a member of the board of managers of the Franklin Fund, a trustee of the Boston Public Library, a member of the Committee of 100, Boston Chamber of Commerce, The New England Civic Federation, the Boston Economic Club and the Boston Chess Club.

Frank Foster was taken ill in February 1907. The Federation provided financial assistance to his family during his illness until his death in June 1909. The funeral was held at his home at 61 Wrentham St., Ashmont, on 29 June 1909. The Rev. Arthur Little, Pastor of the Second Congregational Church at Dorchester, conducted the services. Internment was at Cedar Grove Cemetery. Pallbearers included the Hon. John Fitzgerald, Mayor of Boston, Henry M. Whitney, E.A. Grozier, and Benjamin Joy. 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Charles Dwight Foster (1826 - 1897)
  Jane Elizabeth Burgess Foster (1833 - 1882)
 
 Spouse:
  Lucretia Ella Ladd Foster (1854 - 1910)*
 
 Children:
  Charles Hawthorne Foster (1880 - 1942)*
  Cecile Ella Foster Smith (1884 - 1914)*
  Florence Emily Foster Parkhurst (1888 - 1967)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Cedar Grove Cemetery
Dorchester
Suffolk County
Massachusetts, USA
Plot: Lot 1199, Section 05
 
Created by: Joseph A. Betz
Record added: Dec 22, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 122031096
Frank Keys Foster
Cemetery Photo
Added by: BobBoston
 
 
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