© 2012 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University
ILGWU Chorus Photographs.,
International Ladies' Garment Workers'
0.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Articles, reprints, pamphlets, correspondence,
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives,
Cornell University Library
The collection contains photographs of the chorus, including group
shots, as well as photographs and memorial material for Malcolm Dodds, the musical
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).
CHORUS ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY
The ILGWU Chorus was an organization within the ILGWU that brought together union members to
perform songs for television and radio, and at conventions and other public events. Under the
direction of Malcolm Dodds, the ILGWU Chorus was probably most-widely known for its performances
of “Look for the Union Label” on television commercials in the mid-1970s. The song, written by
Paula Green and composed by Malcolm Dodds, was part of the ILGWU’s general campaign to educate
the public about the union label, the work of the ILGWU, and the importance of both to consumers
and workers alike. The ILGWU Chorus appeared at ILGWU conventions, AFL-CIO conventions,
community and political events, and the group sang songs in Chinese, English, French, and
Local unions, district councils, and regional departments also organized choruses, and in many
instances, these groups pre-dated the ILGWU Chorus that gained national recognition in the
1970s. These smaller groups performed at local and regional meetings, community events, and
sometimes at the ILGWU’s international conventions. The musical revue, “My Name Is Mary Brown,”
for example, was performed by the Northeast Department at the ILGWU’s Golden Jubilee Convention
in 1950. Along with orchestras, theater groups, sports teams, and others, these choruses were
one part of the union’s active educational departments.
The records of the ILGWU Chorus consist primarily of sheet music, and minimal records relating
to the chorus including attendance lists and administrative aspects of the group's performances.
The photographs of the ILGWU Chorus include images from the group, as well as portraits of the
chorus director Malcolm Dodds.
The ILGWU Chorus records and photographs at the Kheel Center document a very small fraction of
the work of the group, thus researchers would do well to review other parts of the ILGWU Records
for further documentation. Researchers should consider review the Report and Record of
Proceedings of the ILGWU's conventions after 1975. These records of proceedings provide some
general information about the work of the organization, and when they chorus performed, they
list the songs performed. Also of interest are recordings of Union Label commercials in the
ILGWU Audio-Visual Collection (5780 AV). These include several of the different commercials that
were televised as part of the Union Label Campaign.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union --Archives
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union --Archives
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Operations
Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees
UNITE HERE (Organization) --Archives
Form and Genre Terms: