Guide to the ILGWU. Leon Stein Collection,
1911-1977

Collection Number: 5780/069

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

Contact Information:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives
Martin P. Catherwood Library
227 Ives Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-3183
kheel_center@cornell.edu
http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/library/kheel
Compiled by:
Kheel Staff
Date completed:
June 2011
EAD encoding:
Cheryl Beredo, June 2011

© 2011 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
ILGWU. Leon Stein collection, 1911-1977
Collection Number:
5780/069
Creator:
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union; Stein, Leon.
Quantity:
4.5 linear feet
Forms of Material:
Records
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
Contains draft manuscripts of Leon Stein's writings, drafts of his translation of the work of Abraham Cahan, research material for books on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City and the Ludlow (Colorado) massacre, and some correspondence.
Language:
Collection material in English


ILGWU ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union was founded in New York City in 1900 by mostly Socialist immigrant workers who sought to unite the various crafts in the growing women’s garment industry. The union soon reflected changes in the sector and rapidly organized thousands of unskilled and semi-skilled women, mostly Jewish and Italian young immigrants. Exemplifying the “new unionism,” the ILGWU led two of the most widespread and best-known industrial strikes of the early Twentieth Century: the shirtwaist makers’ strike of 1909 in New York City and the cloak makers’ strike of 1910 in Chicago. The union also tried to adapt to the fragmented and unstable nature of the industry. It adopted the “protocol of peace,” a system of industrial relations that attempted to ensure stability and limit strikes and production disruption by providing for an arbitration system to resolve disputes.
The ILGWU exemplified the European-style social unionism of its founding members. They pursued bread and butter issues but provided educational opportunities, benefits, and social programs to union members as well. In 1919, the ILGWU became the first American union to negotiate an unemployment compensation fund that was contributed to by its employers. The ILGWU also pioneered in the establishment of an extremely progressive health care program for its members which included not only regional Union Health Centers but also a resort for union workers, known as Unity House. The Union also had an imaginative and pioneering Education Department which not only trained workers in traditional union techniques, but provided courses in citizenship and the English language.
David Dubinsky, an immigrant from Belarus who came to the US in 1911, provided strong leadership that led to unprecedented growth in the union during his presidency from 1932 to 1966. He led the union through successful internal anti-communist struggles, built on the ascendancy of industrial unionism by encouraging the formation of the Committee for Industrial Organization, and helped the union become an important political force in New York City and state politics, and in the national Democratic Party and Liberal Party as well.
In the period following the Second World War, the union suffered a decline in membership as manufacturers avoided unionization and took advantage of less expensive labor by moving shops from the urban centers in the northeast to the south, and later abroad. The ethnic and racial character of the ILGWU also changed as European immigrants were supplanted by Asians, Latin Americans, African- Americans, and immigrants from the Caribbean.
In July 1995 the ILGWU merged with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) at a joint convention, forming UNITE (Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees). At the time the new union had a membership of about 250,000 in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Leon Stein was born in Baltimore and raised in New York City. After graduating from City College of New York in 1934, he worked as a cutter and patternmaker. In 1939, Stein began writing for Justice, the official organ of the ILGWU, and in 1952 he became its editor. In 1962, he published The Triangle Fire, an account of the March 25, 1911 fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company that killed 146 people. He edited Justice until his retirement in 1977, the same year he published Out of the Sweatshop. He died at the age of 78, in Cranbury, New Jersey on February 13, 1990.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

Contains draft manuscripts of Leon Stein's writings, drafts of his translation of the work of Abraham Cahan, research material for books on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City and the Ludlow (Colorado) massacre, and some correspondence.

SUBJECTS

Names:
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
Stein, Leon, 1912-
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

Subjects:
Labor unions--Clothing workers--New York (State)--New York.
Labor unions--Clothing workers--United States.
Textile workers--New York (State)--New York.
Textile workers--United States.

Form and Genre Terms:
Papers.


INFORMATION FOR USERS

Access Restrictions:
The ILGWU Records, except for publications and materials produced for publication, are restricted. Materials created prior to twenty years from the current date are open to researchers only with prior written permission from the Director of the Kheel Center; materials created during the past twenty-years are closed; the minutes of the General Executive Board are closed. For more information contact the Kheel Center.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
ILGWU. Leon Stein collection. 5780/069. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Martin P. Catherwood Library, Cornell University.

RELATED MATERIALS

5780. ILGWU records
5780/087. ILGWU. Leon Stein papers
5780/087 P. ILGWU. Leon Stein photographs

NOTES

"Permanent deposit."

CONTAINER LIST

Date
Description
Container
Untitled Manuscript and Edits. Part I
Box 1 Folder 1
Untitled Manuscript and Edits. Part II
Box 1 Folder 2
Untitled Manuscript and Edits. Part III
Box 1 Folder 3
Untitled Manuscript and Edits. Part IV
Box 1 Folder 4
1957-1972
"The Triangle Fire". Miscellaneous
Box 2 Folder 1
1944-1945
Selective Service, Local Board No.186
Box 2 Folder 2
1944-1976
Writings of Pauline M. Newman
Box 2 Folder 3
"Through the Needle's Eye", Collected and Edited by Leon Stein [folder 1 of 2]
Box 2 Folder 4
"Through the Needle's Eye", Collected and Edited by Leon Stein [folder 2 of 2]
Box 2 Folder 5
"The ILGWU" by Leon Stein [folder 1 of 2]
Box 2 Folder 6
"The ILGWU" by Leon Stein [folder 2 of 2]
Box 2 Folder 7
1951-1963
Correspondence of Leon Stein
Box 3 Folder 1
Excerpts on Fashion
Box 3 Folder 2
1964-1966
Leon Stein. Miscellaneous Articles and Correspondence
Box 3 Folder 3
1951-1953
Leon Stein Lectures
Box 3 Folder 4
1951-1979
Correspondence
Box 3 Folder 5
ILGWU Label Ads
Box 3 Folder 6
1956-1966
Fire Sprinkler Bill [folder 1 of 2]
Box 3 Folder 7
1956-1966
Fire Sprinkler Bill [folder 2 of 2]
Box 3 Folder 8
Beyond Wages. ILGWU UHC Social Service Program
Box 4 Folder 1
1970
Report of Work, 1904-1906
Box 4 Folder 2
1958-1968
Fire Warden Program [folder 1 of 2]
Box 4 Folder 3
1958-1968
Fire Warden Program [folder 2 of 2]
Box 4 Folder 4
1959
Fire Safety in Factories
Box 4 Folder 5
1961-1966
Triangle Fire Materials
Box 4 Folder 6
1972
Leon Stein. Africa and Israel
Box 5 Folder 1
1960-1975
Leon Stein. Correspondence
Box 5 Folder 2
1967-1975
Leon Stein. Correspondence
Box 5 Folder 3
1961
Triangle Fire Anniversary Articles
Box 5 Folder 4
1944-1975
Leon Stein. General [folder 1 of 2]
Box 5 Folder 5
1944-1975
Leon Stein. General [folder 2 of 2]
Box 5 Folder 6
1972-1977
Leon Stein. Correspondence
Box 5 Folder 7
1957-1968
Leon Stein. Lecture Materials
Box 6 Folder 1
ILGWU Notice to Apparel Buyers
Box 6 Folder 2
1960
Leon Stein. Trip to Israel
Box 6 Folder 3
1956-1957
Columbia Pictures
Box 6 Folder 4
1962-1964
Ludlow Mines
Box 6 Folder 5
1957-1963
Fire Warden Clippings
Box 6 Folder 6
1958-1963
Fire Warden Program and Materials
Box 6 Folder 7
1959-1961
Labor's Story
Box 6 Folder 8
1959-1963
Fire Warden Program Publications
Box 6 Folder 9
1912
Industrial Relations. Final Report and Testimony
Box 7 Folder 1
1913-1914
From Tape Recorder [folder 1 of 3]
Box 7 Folder 2
1913-1914
From Tape Recorder [folder 2 of 3]
Box 7 Folder 3
1913-1914
From Tape Recorder [folder 3 of 3]
Box 7 Folder 4
How the Journal Began
Box 7 Folder 5
1914
The Ludlow Massacre, by Walter H. Fink
Box 8 Folder 1
1962-1964
Ludlow
Box 8 Folder 2
1913-1914
Tape Transcripts [folder 1 of 2]
Box 8 Folder 3
1913-1914
Tape Transcripts [folder 2 of 2]
Box 8 Folder 4
1911
Triangle Fire Images and Cartoons
Box 9 Folder 1
1926
Leaves From My Life by Abraham Cahan [folder 1 of 3]
Box 9 Folder 2
1926
Leaves From My Life by Abraham Cahan [folder 2 of 3]
Box 9 Folder 3
1926
Leaves From My Life by Abraham Cahan [folder 3 of 3]
Box 9 Folder 4
ILGWU Anniversary Album
Box 10 Folder 1
Reprint