Guide to the ILGWU records

Collection Number: 5780

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-center
Compiled by:
R. Miles, March 14, 2016
EAD encoding:
Randall Miles, March 24, 2016

© 2016 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
ILGWU records, 1884-2006
Collection Number:
5780
Creator:
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU)
Quantity:
1.4 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Records.
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
Archives of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) which document the history of the most significant labor union representing workers in the women's garment industry in the United States and Canada.
Language:
Collection material in English


ILGWU ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

The International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union was once one of the largest labor unions in the United States founded in 1900 by local union delegates representing about 2,000 members in cities in the northeastern United States. It was one of the first U.S. Unions to have a membership consisting of mostly females, and it played a key role in the labor history of the 1920s and 1930s. The union is generally referred to as the "ILGWU" or the "ILG". The ILGWU grew in geographical scope, membership size, and 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. The ILGWU merged with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union in 1995 to form the Union of Needle trades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE). UNITE merged with the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union (HERE) in 2004 to create a new union known as UNITE HERE. The two unions that formed UNITE in 1995 represented only 250,000 workers between them, down from the ILGWU's peak membership of 450,000 in 1969.

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

The International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union was once one of the largest labor unions in the United States founded in 1900 by local union delegates representing about 2,000 members in cities in the northeastern United States. It was one of the first U.S. Unions to have a membership consisting of mostly females, and it played a key role in the labor history of the 1920s and 1930s. The union is generally referred to as the "ILGWU" or the "ILG". The ILGWU grew in geographical scope, membership size, and 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. The ILGWU merged with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union in 1995 to form the Union of Needle trades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE). UNITE merged with the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union (HERE) in 2004 to create a new union known as UNITE HERE. The two unions that formed UNITE in 1995 represented only 250,000 workers between them, down from the ILGWU's peak membership of 450,000 in 1969.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

This broadly representative and substantial collection of union records was initially assembled as an internal ILGWU archives by Henoch Mendelsund, Vice President and General Manager of the New York Cloak Joint Board and was maintained by the Union under his supervision for over a decade before the records were transferred to Cornell in 1987. The records include substantial historical documentation from most of its key officers, every department of the national union and many of its most important regional units, joint boards and locals. The heart of the collection is the papers of David Dubinsky. In addition to the correspondence, minutes, and publications, the ILGWU archives contains union and garment industry work artifacts and memorabilia, audio-visual materials and a substantial series of historical photographs.

SUBJECTS

Names:
Sigman, Morris.
Schlesinger, Benjamin, 1876-1932.
Dubinsky, David, 1892-
Stulberg, Louis.
Chaikin, Sol.
Antonini, Luigi, 1883-1968.
Zimmerman, Charles S., 1896-1983.
Pesotta, Rose, 1896-
Cohn, Fannia Mary, 1885-1962.
Nagler, Isidore, 1895-
Tyler, Gus.
Stein, Leon, 1912-
Mazur, Jay.
Daniels, Wilbur.
Solomon, Irwin.
Howard, Alan.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Unity House.
American Federation of Labor. Committee for Industrial Organization.
Jewish Labor Committee (U.S.)
Democratic Party (N.Y.)
Liberal Party of New York State.

Subjects:
Trade-unions -- Clothing workers -- United States -- History.
Trade-unions -- Clothing workers -- New York (State) -- New York -- History.
Clothing workers -- United States -- History.
Clothing workers -- New York (State) -- New York -- History.
Clothing trade -- United States -- History.
Clothing trade -- New York (State) -- New York -- History.
Jews -- Employment -- United States -- History.
Jews -- Employment -- New York (State) -- New York -- History.
Italian Americans -- Employment -- United States - - History.
Italian Americans -- Employment -- New York (State) -- New York -- History.
Afro-Americans -- Employment -- History.
Afro-Americans -- Employment -- New York (State) -- New York -- History.
Trade-union health centers -- United States.


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 records #5780. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

CONTAINER LIST

Description
Container
New York Factory Regulations O.K. Death - [Sketch]
Box 1.1 Folder 1
Photo and frame/plaque -- 18x22 wooden frame with a 8x10 photo set in the center with beveled glass, (photo is not identified) -- small card at the bottom of the plaque 'Sincerely yours Garrington Emerson'
Box 1.2 Folder 1
Henry
Box 2
ILGWU Locals
Box 3
ILGWU Proclamations and certificates
Box 4
Misc. - Some copies of Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Broadsides
Box 5
ILGWU Convention Photos
Box 6
Exh. A - Large picture of women working in a factory - was housed in Oversize (wrapped)
Box 7