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450 S Michigan Ave, AUD 1851
Chicago IL 60605
United States


Illinois Labor History Society

Biographies: Q-R

Biographies: Q-R

Ben L. Reitman, M.D.

(1880-1943) Grave 60, Sector G

Known as "King of the Hobos," Benjamin Lewis Reitman was the leader of the International Itinerant Migratory Workers Union, better known as Hobos of America, Inc. While working at the Chicago Polyclinic as a janitor, Reitman was taken under the wing by some doctors. They helped him jump from a fourth-grade education to medical school. The eccentric Reitman was an avid lecturer on venereal disease. He set up a transient workers' education project, called Hobo College, on Madison Street. It was there, in 1910, where he met Emma Goldman. They became lovers and political co-workers for about ten years.

Reitman's letters are in the collection of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Books include; The Damndest Radical: The Life and World of Ben Reitman, Chicago's Celebrated Social Reformer, Hobo King, and Whorehouse Physician; No Regrets: Dr. Ben Reitman and the Women Who Loved Him. Also in the Plot with Reitman is Paul Dollinger (1913-1948) and a person whose last name is Schwanke. We welcome information on these persons.

Medina Oliver Reitman

(1904-1969) Grave 61, Sector F

Born in Medina, Texas, Medina Oliver Reitman was the third wife of Dr. Ben L. Reitman. Medina married Ben in1935. Medina delivered her first child at Cook County Hospital. Their 4th daughter died shortly after Ben's death. More information is needed on Medina Reitman.

Edward F. Rice-Maximin

(1941-2006) [ashes scattered]

Edward was one of 9 siblings born into a conservative Irish family in Oak Park, Illinois. He went to a Jesuit High School, which trained him for what he called "a very well-rounded liberal arts background" and "a great thirst to keep on learning." Edward attended Loyola University and in 1963 entered the graduate history program at the University of Wisconsin Madison, where he became radicalized. He came to say that "his life now had meaning--things began to make sense," as he studied under Professors Arthur Goldberg and William Appleman Williams.

In 1966 Edward, became involved in civil rights activities and began a teaching career in southern African-American high schools and historically Black colleges. He and his wife Micheline Maximin made good on their promise to move to France if George W. Bush was reelected as president in 2004. Edward was an eccentric cook, a wine lover, and he co-authored the biography, William Appleman Williams: the Tragedy of Empire.

Gina Ross Rosasco

(1974-2007) Grave 62, Sector D

On this plaque are the words, "Lover of Social Justice." Our research has yet to uncover additional information about Ms Rosasco's life.

Franklin Rosemont

(1944-2009) Grave 63, Sector E

A member of the IWW since his childhood, Franklin was the son of Henry Rosemont, a prominent figure in the Chicago Typographical Union, and of Sally Rosemont, a jazz musician and union member.

Inspired by Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Franklin hitchhiked 20,000 miles around the USA and Mexico and wound up in San Francisco in 1960, the heyday of the beat generation poetry renaissance. Franklin and his wife Penelope went on to create the Chicago Surrealist Group after traveling to Paris in 1965 to meet André Breton and attended meetings of the Paris Surrealist Group. The group played a major role in organizing the 1976 World Surrealist Exhibition in Chicago. Franklin was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Labor History Society (ILHS) in 1981, where he served until his death. Franklin and Penelope were inducted into the Union Hall of Honor of the ILHS in 2005. The citation describes them as "faithful stewards of the Charles H. Kerr Company, publishers of labor and radical classics since 1886."

Franklin was author of books Joe Hill: The IWW & the Making of a Revolutionary Working Class Counterculture, Haymarket Scrapbook, written with David Roediger in 1986 to mark the centennial of the Haymarket Tragedy. The Big Red Song Book was his most recent collaboration with David Roediger, Salvatore Salerno and the great folklorist Archie Green.

Henry P. Rosemont

(1904-1979) [ashes scattered]

The youngest son of San Francisco pioneers, Henry P. Rosemont joined the Typographical Union in his hometown in 1926 and moved to Chicago the following year. From 1947-49 he co-led Chicago Typographical Union No, 16's 22-Month-long strike against Chicago daily papers—organized labor's first major battle against the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act. Although he never completed high school, Rosemont became an accomplished historian. His monograph, Benjamin Franklin and the Philadelphia Typographical Strikers of 1786, originally published in the scholarly journal Labor History was the first detailed study of what is widely recognized as the first strike on U.S. soil.