ILGWU. Education Department. Fannia Cohn papers

Collection Number: 5780/049

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
ILGWU. Education Department. Fannia Cohn papers, 1918-1962
Collection Number:
5780/049
Creator:
Cohn, Fannia M. (Fannia Mary), 1885- International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
Quantity:
6 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Articles, reprints, pamphlets, correspondence, photographs.
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
The collection contains correspondence, subject files, speeches, articles, photographs, and programs from Fannia Cohn's term as Executive Secretary of the ILGWU Education Department.
Language:
Collection material in English


ILGWU ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

Founded in 1900 by local union delegates representing about 2,000 members in cities in the northeastern United States, the ILGWU grew in geographical scope, membership size, political influence to become one of the most powerful forces in American organized labor by mid-century. Representing workers in the women's garment industry, the ILGWU worked to improve working and living conditions of its members through collective bargaining agreements, training programs, health care facilities, cooperative housing, educational opportunities, and other efforts. In 1995, the ILGWU merged with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) to form the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE).

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Fannia Cohn, garment worker, labor organizer and educator, and officer of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. She was born in Minsk in the late 1880s (there is disagreement as to the exact year). Cohn emigrated to the U.S. in 1904 and began working in a New York garment factory in 1905. She joined the ILGWU in 1909 and quickly emerged as a skilled leader and organizer. She was the first woman vice-president of the ILGWU and in 1918 became Executive Secretary of the Education Department, a position she held until her retirement in 1961. Cohn played a significant role in worker education and was a co-founder of both the Workers' Education Bureau and the Brookwood Labor College. She died in 1962 in New York City.

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

Local union's of the ILGWU established and maintained robust, ambitious educational departments early on in the international's history. As these groups grew in size and scope, the international office sought to coordinate and centralize educational programming for the union's members, culminating in the formation of the Educational Department in 1918.
The department's programming included courses at the Workers' University at the Washington Irving High School in New York City, lectures at Unity Centers and Unity Houses in the northeastern United States, and other events. The educational offerings of the International's Education Department were varied, as had been the education departments of the local unions, and included not only classes in labor studies but also courses in languages, music, and the arts. The ILGWU's 1937 musical "Pins and Needles" exemplified the diversity of the union's programs.
Directors of the Education Department, especially Fannia Cohn and Mark Starr, wrote extensively on the ILGWU's programs and worker education in general. Longtime director Gus Tyler not only directed the department, but also served as the ILGWU's on-staff scholar. In later years, the Education Department went beyond collaborating with other education organizations and arranging in-house programs to also supporting post-secondary education for union members and their families.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The Education Department records document activities across the entire period of the department's existence, with the bulk of the records covering the 1970s and 1990s. It contains papers from directors of the Education Department: Fannia Cohn, Mark Starr, Gus Tyler, and Kitty Krupat.
The earliest documentation of the department's work is found in the Fannia Cohn papers (5780/049, 5780/049 P); these contain correspondence, subject files, speeches, photographs, and printed material from her work as director of the Educational Department. A microfilm copy of the Fannia Cohn papers held at the New York Public Library (5998 mf) complements the Kheel Center's holdings. Documentation of the work of another longtime leader of the Education Department, Mark Starr, is contained in these records (5780/166, 5780/166 PUBS), as well as in a related collection from Starr on worker education programs (5243).
Documentation of the work of Gus Tyler, who led the merged Education and Political Department after Mark Starr's retirement in 1960, is also contained in the ILGWU records (5780/052, 5780/088, 5780/096). Tyler's papers are complemented by those of Assistant Director Jasper Peyton (5780/086) and Special Projects Coordinator Beverly Shulman (5780/106). These collections contain routine correspondence and memoranda, reports, materials relating to training institutes, seminars, and conferences, and printed material.
The papers of Kitty Krupat, who was serving as Education Director at the time of the ILGWU/ACTWU merger in 1995, constitute the entirety of Education Department records from the 1990s. They include correspondence, memoranda, reports, and financial records relating to the ILGWU's independent and collaborative education projects, including the Worker-Family Education Program, the Joint Union-University Committee on Labor Education, and the Consortium for Worker Education, as well as numerous trainings, conferences, and seminars. Also included in the files are materials from local unions and regional departments of the ILGWU, files on the Internationals' conventions, and reports to the General Executive Board.
The Fannia Cohn papers (5780/049) contain correspondence, subject files, speeches, articles, photographs, and programs from Fannia Cohn's term as Executive Secretary of the ILGWU Education Department. The materials in Series I are primarily letters between Cohn and various individuals pertaining to trade union matters in general and the ILGWU in particular. Included in the series are programs for lectures, concerts, museum visits and tours of New York City that were offered to ILGWU members and others as part of the Education Department's activities. Series II consists of bulletins, articles, lectures and course outlines. Most of these materials were written by Cohn herself or were prepared under her direction for use at the union's Unity Centers and at the Workers' University. A number of articles are by Mark Starr. There are also lectures by Charles A. Beard; Robert Brure; Babette Deutsch; Paul H. Douglas; Harry Laidler; A.J. Muste; Grace Scribner; Alexander Trachtenberg; Carl Van Doren; and Theresa Wolfson, among others. Significant individuals represented in the collection include David Dubinsky, Samuel Gompers, Morris Sigman ,Rose Pesotta, and H.G. Wells. Organizations include the Education Department of the ILGWU, the Brookwood Labor College, the AFL, Pioneer Youth of America, the Rand School of Social Science, and Unity House.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Beard, Charles A.(Charles Austin), 1874-1948.
Brue`re, Robert W.(Robert Walter), 1876-1964.
Cohn, Fannia M.(Fannia Mary), 1885-
Deutsch, Babette, 1895-
Douglas, Paul Howard, 1892-
Dubinsky, David, 1892-1982.
Gompers, Samuel, 1850-1924.
Laidler, Harry Wellington, 1884-1970.
Muste, Abraham John, 1885-1967.
Scribner, Grace, 1882-1922.
Sigman, Morris, 1880-1931.
Starr, Mark, 1894-
Trachtenberg, Alexander.
Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950.
Wells, H. G.(Herbert George), 1866-1946.
Wolfson, Theresa, 1897-1972.
American Federation of Labor.
Brookwood Labor College (Katonah, N.Y.)
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Educational Dept.
Pioneer Youth of America.
Rand School of Social Science.

Subjects:
Clothing workers--Labor unions--United States.
Labor unions--Officials and employees.
Labor movement.
Labor movement--United States.
Labor unions.
Labor unions-- United States.
Labor unions and education--United States.
Working class--Education--United States.

Form and Genre Terms:
Articles.
Files (document groupings)
Correspondence.
Lectures.
Photographs.
Outlines.
Speeches.


INFORMATION FOR USERS

Access Restrictions:
Access to the collections in the Kheel Center is restricted. Please contact a reference archivist for access to these materials.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
ILGWU. Education Department. Fannia Cohn papers #5780/049. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related Collections:
5780: ILGWU records
5780/106: ILGWU. Education Department. Beverly Shulman papers
5780/138: ILGWU. Education Department. Kitty Krupat papers
5780/166: ILGWU. Education Department records
5780/166 PUBS: ILGWU. Education Department publications
5780/086: ILGWU. Education Department. Jasper Peyton papers
5780/049 P: ILGWU. Education Department. Fannia Cohn photographs
5780/049 mf: ILGWU. Education Department. Fannia Cohn papers. Microfilm

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
Box 1 Folder 1 1921-1959
Box 1 Folder 2 1938
I.c.w. Resettlement and Farm Security Administrations with Arch A. Mercey.
Box 1 Folder 3 1918-1954
I.c.w. Samuel Gompers & C. Thorne.
Box 1 Folder 3 1936-1941
Box 1 Folder 4 1921-1957
Box 1 Folder 5 1938-1943
Box 1 Folder 6 1913-1945
Box 1 Folder 7 1920-1948
Box 1 Folder 8 1924-1928
Box 1 Folder 9 1940-1941
Box 1 Folder 10 1921-1935
Box 1 Folder 11 1921-1960
Box 1 Folder 12 1923-1947
Box 1 Folder 13 1954
Fannia Cohn to Julius Hochman (chairman) outlining educational activities of Union.
Box 1 Folder 13 1926-1959
I. c. w. Harry J. Carman (dean) & William F. Russell.
Box 1 Folder 14 1936-1958
Box 1 Folder 14 1953-1955
Box 1 Folder 15 1926-1950
Box 1 Folder 16 1922-1953
Box 1 Folder 17 1934-1945
Incl. Liaison for International Education and Conference on the Educational and Cultural Organization of the United Nations.
Box 1 Folder 19 1924-1954
I.c.w. The Labour Party, Ellen Wilkinson, Ernest Bevin and Morgan Phillips & ltr. from H.G. Wells.
Box 2 Folder 1 1921-1957
I.c.w. Mollie Friedman.
Box 2 Folder 2 1935-1951
Box 2 Folder 3 1922
Box 2 Folder 4 1922-1942
Box 2 Folder 5 1930-1931
Box 2 Folder 6 1922-1956
Box 2 Folder 7
Box 2 Folder 8 1921-1959
Box 2 Folder 8
Box 2 Folder 9 1939-1952
Incl. Isaacs, Stanley M., 1939, 1943.
Box 2 Folder 10 1921-1960
Box 2 Folder 11 1937-1959
Announcements of programs and related articles.
Box 2 Folder 12 1926-1957
Box 2 Folder 13 1921-1957
I.c.w. Lewis Lorwin (Louis Levine).
Box 2 Folder 14 1921-1953
Box 2 Folder 15 1921
(Publ. by Women's Trade Union League) Corres.
Box 2 Folder 16 1922-1959
Box 2 Folder 17 1919-1925
I.c.w. Elsie Gluck (education dir.).
Box 2 Folder 18 1930-1931
Strike. Incl. corres. of the Citizens' Emergency Committee is behalf of the striking ladies' Tailors and custom dressmakers of the Fifth Avenue Shops.
Box 2 Folder 19
Box 2 Folder 20 1937
May-June 1937, Education Dept. program.
Box 3 Folder 1 1933-1960
Box 3 Folder 2 1926-1955
Box 3 Folder 3
Box 3 Folder 4
Box 3 Folder 5 1922-1958
Box 3 Folder 6 1946-1960
Box 3 Folder 7 1949-1950
Box 3 Folder 8 1922-1947
I.c.w. Rose Pesotta.
Box 3 Folder 9
Box 3 Folder 10 1942-1946
Box 3 Folder 11 1947-1948
Box 3 Folder 12 1949-1952
Box 3 Folder 13 1953
Box 3 Folder 15 1929-1959
Box 3 Folder 16 1926-1933
Box 4 Folder 1 1934-1938
Box 4 Folder 2 1939-1960
Box 4 Folder 3
Box 4 Folder 4
Education Department announcement of coming events and programs.
Box 4 Folder 5 1940-1942
Box 4 Folder 6 1943-1946
Box 4 Folder 7 1948
Box 4 Folder 8 1949
Box 4 Folder 9 1950-1951
Box 4 Folder 10 1953-1961
Box 4 Folder 11 1921-1959
Box 4 Folder 12 1930-1953
Box 5 Folder 1
Box 5 Folder 2 1941-1950
Box 5 Folder 3 1924-1959
Box 5 Folder 4 1924
Box 5 Folder 5 1924-1932
Box 5 Folder 6 1921-1959
Box 5 Folder 7 1958
Box 5 Folder 8 1939-1954
Box 5 Folder 9 1932
Box 5 Folder 10 1949-1962
Visits of Union members to UN.
Box 5 Folder 11 1945-1952
Box 5 Folder 12 1920-1922
Box 5 Folder 13 1921-1933
Incl. corres. re lectures held at Unity House.
Box 5 Folder 14 1937-1938
Box 5 Folder 15 1918-1953
Box 5 Folder 17 1938-1959
Box 5 Folder 18 1922-1931
Box 5 Folder 19 1921-1949
Workers' Defense League, 1921
Box 5 Folder 20 1921-1943
Incl. corres., minutes and reports.
Box 6 Folder 1 1943-1958
Box 6 Folder 2 1936-1939
Box 6 Folder 3 1943-1953
Box 6 Folder 4 1946-1949
Bulletin.
Box 6 Folder 5
Box 6 Folder 6
Box 6 Folder 7
Box 6 Folder 8
Box 6 Folder 9
Box 6 Folder 10
Box 6 Folder 1
Box 6 Folder 2
Box 6 Folder 3
Box 6 Folder 4
Box 6 Folder 5
Box 6 Folder 6
Box 6 Folder 7
Box 6 Folder 8
Box 6 Folder 9
Box 6 Folder 10
Box 6 Folder 11
Box 6 Folder 12 1937-1959
Box 7 Folder 1 1937
One-act play by Fannia M. Cohn & Irwin Swerdlow, 3rd ed.
Box 7 Folder 2 1921-1925
Announcement of Courses given at Workers University.
Box 7 Folder 3 1921-1922
Attendance records.
Box 7 Folder 4 1921-1926
Box 7 Folder 5
Box 7 Folder 6
Box 7 Folder 7
Box 7 Folder 8
Box 7 Folder 9
Box 7 Folder 10
Box 7 Folder 11
Box 7 Folder 12
Box 7 Folder 13
Box 7 Folder 14
Box 7 Folder 15
Box 7 Folder 16
Box 7 Folder 17
Box 7 Folder 18
Box 7 Folder 19
Box 7 Folder 20
Box 7 Folder 21
Box 7 Folder 22
Box 7 Folder 23
Box 8 Folder 1
Box 8 Folder 2
Box 8 Folder 3
Box 8 Folder 4
Box 8 Folder 5
Box 8 Folder 6
Box 8 Folder 7
Box 8 Folder 8
Box 8 Folder 9
Box 8 Folder 10
Box 8 Folder 11
Box 8 Folder 12
Box 8 Folder 13
Box 8 Folder 14
Box 8 Folder 15
Box 8 Folder 16
Box 8 Folder 17
Box 8 Folder 18
Box 8 Folder 19
Box 8 Folder 20
Box 8 Folder 21
Box 8 Folder 22
Box 8 Folder 23
Box 8 Folder 24
Box 8 Folder 25
Box 9 Folder 1
Box 9 Folder 2
Box 9 Folder 3
Box 9 Folder 4
Box 9 Folder 5
Box 9 Folder 6 1920-1926
Box 9 Folder 7
Box 9 Folder 8 1952
Syllabus for the six lessons.
Box 9 Folder 9
Box 9 Folder 10
Box 9 Folder 11
Box 9 Folder 12
Box 10 Folder 1 1922-1940
Box 10 Folder 2 1941-1956
Box 10 Folder 3
Box 10 Folder 4
Box 10 Folder 5
Box 10 Folder 6
Box 10 Folder 7 1942-1943
Corres.
Box 10 Folder 8
Box 10 Folder 9
Box 10 Folder 10 1934
Article
Box 11 Folder 1 1939-1941
Garment Workers of Other Lands by Abe S. Weiss, 1941.
Box 11 Folder 2 1935-1941
Box 11 Folder 3 1946-1947
Box 11 Folder 4 1946-1947
Box 11 Folder 5 1940-1956
GEB Reports to Convention.
Box 11 Folder 6 1926-1941
A quarterly journal of American Workers' Education.
Box 11 Folder 7 1940-1953
Incl. newsletters.