Born in 1874, Charles W. Wilkerson later married Elizabeth [Stark] Wilkerson in 1891. They had five children, two sons, Eugene E. Wilkerson and Frank D. Wilkerson, and three daughters, Alma Howe, Millie Franken and Elizabeth "Betty" Baron.
He committed his life to making significant contributions to the International Molders’ and Foundry Workers Union of North America. He helped found the Union after being fired from multiple jobs for being a "union agitator." Wilkerson worked as an international officer of the Union from 1906-1912, where he was then elected into the position of Vice President from 1912-1928. In 1928, he became the Assistant Financer of the International Molders' and Foundry Workers Union of North America. Wilkerson was a part of various industry committees and served on the U.S. War Production Board beginning in 1941.
A highly regarded individual, Wilkerson retired from his positions in in 1944 due to declining health. In 1949, Wilkerson spoke at both Southwest Missouri State College and Chamber of Commerce. He moved back to Springfield, Missouri to spend his remaining years with his wife, Elizabeth Wilkerson. Wilkerson passed away in 1950. Throughout his lifetime, he was an active member in many committees and was highly respected by the community.
In July of 2023 the HIST 483: Archival Collections & Methods class at Missouri Southern State University worked this collection. The collection was divided among the students of the class to organize and describe. The following exhibit is created by these students.
Exhibit curated by Emily Evans, Christina Hamilton, Jordan Heacock and Emilee Miller, with the assistance of Whitney Hamm, 2023-07.
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