Workers Education Bureau of America Records

Collection Number: 5277

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


Workers Education Bureau of America Records, 1920-1954
Collection Number:
Workers Education Bureau of America
2 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Bibliographies, reports (documents) .
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Consist of governance and financial documents, reports, correspondence, memoranda and notes pertaining to radio programs, courses and programs to promote workers' education, adult and vocational schools and educational programs (1921-1951).
Collection material in English


Founded in 1921 by a group of unionists and educators, the Workers' Education Bureau of America (WEB) functioned under the directorship of Spencer Miller and John D. Conners as a service organization for research, teaching, publication, and extension work in workers' education. WEB received financial, political, and consultative support from American Federation of Labor (A.F. of L.) leaders, including Samuel Gompers, William Green, and Matthew Woll. In 1951, WEB was formally integrated into the A.F. of L. as its Education Department.


Section 1. History: Records consist mainly of correspondence, memoranda, and reports pertaining to the routine administration and activities of the Workers' Education Bureau of America. Organizational records include financial statements and auditors' reports (1922- 1947); bibliographies; reading lists; clippings; and certificates of incorportation and certification. Also, memoranda, letters and reports pertaining to the Labor Book Fund; workers' education programs in various states; the Federal Emergency Relief Administration-WEB jointly sponsored West Coast School of Unemployed Workers (1934); the WEB-A.F. of L. dispute with Brookwood Labor School (1929); financial matters; the establishment of a labor correspondence school, the International Labor News Service for Worker Education, the Pittsburgh Labor College, and the A.F. of L. Education Department.
Includes correspondence chiefly of Spencer Miller and John D. Conners with Samuel Gompers and William Green (presidents, A.F. of L.) and Matthew Woll (vice president, A.F. of L.); the American Association of Adult Education; William Haber (professor, Michigan State College); William J. Bowen (president, Bricklayers, Masons and Plasterers' International Union of America); Victor A. Olander (secretary-treasurer, Illinois State Federation of Labor); and Fannia M. Cohn (secretary, International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union) pertaining to the Workers' Education Bureau Press Inc., workers' education, A.F. of L.-WEB relations and joint programs, and leadership training.
Section 2. Organizational activities: Records consist of memoranda, reports, correspondence and miscellaneous documents pertaining to WEB relations with the A.F. of L.; various workers' education programs conducted by unions, academia, and government agencies; and the founding and development of WEB. Include documents pertaining to the establishment of the Labor Book Fund (1922-1928). Also, reports, memoranda and notes pertaining to vocational, adult, and workers' education programs in various states (1935-1939); A.F. of L-WEB joint conferences on labor and public education; Rutgers University-New Jersey Federation of Labor-WEB joint conferences on international labor relations (1946-1947); and Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) workers' education radio broadcasts (1939). Additionally, correspondence of Spencer Miller with Harry Russell (director, WEB, New England Region) on regional conferences and programs (1925-1928); of Sterling Fisher (director of educational radio talks, CBS) on research and radio broadcasts (1939); and of William Green on workers' education programs in academia (1935).
Also, correspondence of John D. Conners with Harold Taylor (president, Sarah Lawrence College) on Fulbright Scholarships, and worker and student exchange programs with Ruskind College, Oxford Univ., and with Matthew Woll on WEB and A.F. of L. cooperative projects and workers' education programs. Also, correspondence of Woll (in the capacity of labor chairman, National Advisory Council on Radio in Education) with William Green and President Franklin D. Roosevelt regarding WEB radio broadcasts (1932).
Section 3. Publications and research documents: Consist of reading lists and bibliographies; published and unpublished pamphlets and reports; notes, memoranda, and manuscript drafts of reports on research projects; and news releases and bulletins of WEB and various cooperating agencies. Include materials by Samuel Gompers, Edward C. Lindeman, Theresa Wolfson, John D. Conners, Mark Starr, Fannia Cohn, Nelson H. Cruikshank, and Arthur Elder pertaining to workers' education; public speaking; child labor; leadership training; collective bargaining; voluntary unionism; the history of the A.F. of L.; labor plays; social security; unemployment; workmen's compensation; labor and the economy; labor history; unions and the community; the construction industry; and the international labor relations programs conducted by the American Council of Education and the American Friends Service Committee.
Section 4. Miscellaneous correspondence and reports: Consist chiefly of published and unpublished reports; routine correspondence of Spencer Miller and John D. Conners; and notes and memoranda. Materials regard workers' education and the atomic age, international labor problems, leadership training, radio programs, technology and unemployment, regional workers' education programs, teacher training, and unemployment (1921-1951).

Bowen, William J.
Cohn, Fannia M. (Fannia May), 1888-1962.
Conners, John D.
Cruikshank, Nelson H.
Elder, Arthur H.
Fisher, Sterling
Gompers, Samuel, 1850-1924
Green, William, 1872-1952
Lindeman, Eduard
Miller, Spencer, 1891-
Olander, Victor A., 1873-1949
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882- 1945
Russell, Harry A.
Starr, Mark, 1894-
Taylor, Harold, 1947
Wolfson, Theresa, 1897-1972
Woll, Matthew, 1880-1956
American Association for Adult Education
Bricklayers, Masons and Plasterers International Union of America
Brookwood Labor College
Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc.
Illinois State Federation of Labor
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
New Jersey State Federation of Labor
Ruskind College (University of Oxford)
Rutgers University
United States. Federal Emergency Relief Administration.
West Coast School of Unemployed Workers
Workers' Education Bureau of America
Workers' Education Bureau Press, inc.

Adult education teachers, Training of--United States.
Child labor--United States.
Construction industry--United States.
Educational exchanges--United States.
Press, Labor--United States.
Radio in adult education--United States.
Social security--United States.
Unemployment--United States.
Unemployment, Technological--United States.
Vocational education--United States.
Workers' compensation--United States.
Adult education teachers
Labor and laboring classes. Education. United States.
Labor and laboring classes. United States. Drama.
Trade-union leadership. United States.
Trade-unions. United States. Social activity.
Unemployment relief. United States.
Workers' education. United States.
Workers' education. United States. Curricula.

Form and Genre Terms:
Reports (documents)


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:
Workers Education Bureau of America Records #5277. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Box 1 Folder 1
Box 1 Folder 2-5 1922-1925
Box 1 Folder 6 1921-1947
Worker's Education Bureau Press, Inc.
Box 1 Folder 7 1947-1948
Box 1 Folder 8 1924-1928
Includes correspondence from Matthew Woll, Fifth Vice-President, American Federation of Labor and Peter J. Brady, President, Federation Bank and Trust Company on routine matters (1927); letter from F. P. Keppel, President, Carnegie Corporation, praising the Bureau (1928); financing plan outline from Will McCord, The Organization Finance Bureau.
Box 1 Folder 9 1929-1937
Contains correspondence from Haley Fiske, President, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. on routine matters (1929); two letters from Franklin D. Roosevelt, Vice-President, Fidelity and Deposit Trust Company of Maryland praising the objectives of the Bureau (1925) and declining to make a fund raising appeal in the newspapers (1925); correspondence from Dr. Frederick D. Keppel, President, Carnegie Corporation regarding grant application and approval (1932); grant approval notification from W.W. Brierly, Secretary, General Education Board (1934); letter from William Green, President, American Federation of Labor regarding increased contribution (1937); undated loan agreement signed by several members of the Executive Committee of the Bureau.
Box 1 Folder 10 1921
Includes letter from Samuel Gompers, President, American Federation of Labor and correspondence with Florence Thorne, American Federation of Labor on routine matters; suggestions from W. H. Manwaring, The Labor College regarding proposed structure of Bureau courses (5 pp, handwritten).
Box 1 Folder 11 1922
Contains correspondence from Florence Thorne, American Federation of Labor regarding articles of agreement between the American Federation of Labor and the Worker's Education Bureau (3 pp typed, 4 handwritten); letter from Matthew Wall, President, International Photo-Engraver's Union regarding the election of executive board chairman; critique of agreement by J. M. Budish, Editor, The Headgear Worker; "American Federation of Labor and Worker's Education", stenographic report of Matthew Woll, Chairman, Education Committee, American Federation of Labor and excerpt of Samuel Gomper's speech delivered at the Second Annual Conference Worker's Education Bureau; letter from Gompers regarding formation of joint executive board; correspondence with Florence Thorne on routine matters; letter from Gompers naming representatives to Executive Committee.
Box 1 Folder 12 1923-1924
Includes form letter from Matthew Woll urging affiliates to form permanent education committees (2pp, 1924); and routine (1923); routine correspondence with Florence Thorne; proposal to assist in developing labor legislation in Nicaragua from Chester M. Wright, English Language Secretary, Pan American Federation of Labor (1924).
Box 1 Folder 13 1925
Contains correspondence from Florence Thorne regarding labor research and routine matters; Oliver Carlson, Director, Worker's School application for affiliation (and subsequent denial); letter of appreciation from William Green on general labor research; notes and suggestions on a variety of issues connected with the Bureau possibly from Lloyd Cosgrave (12pp handwritten).
Box 1 Folder 14 1926
Includes routine correspondence with Florence Thorne; letter of praise to Matthew Woll from Herbert Hoover, Secretary, Department of Commerce.
Box 1 Folder 15
Contains requests of Grace B. Kleug, Chairman, Educational Committee of the Ladies Auxilllary, International Association of Machinists for advice on initiating an education program; routine correspondence from William Green; letter opposing limiting membership of Executive Committee from Fannia Cohn, Executive Secretary, Education Department International Ladies Garment Workers Union; letter praising the commencement of regularly scheduled conferences from William Green.
Box 1 Folder 16 1928-1930
Includes correspondence from James H. Maurer, Superintendent, Department of Accounts and Finance (Reading, PA) reluctantly agreeing to remain President of the Worker's Education Bureau (1928)
Box 1 Folder 17 1931-1932
Includes correspondence and attachments with William Green concerning preliminary plan for developing a Department of Education within the American Federation of Labor (1931).
Box 1 Folder 18 1933
Contains queries from the executive officers of the Bureau regarding the continued solvency of the Bureau; correspondence with Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor regarding establishing an Education Department within the Labor Department; affiliation fee from David Dubinsky, President, International Ladies Garment Worker's Union; letter regarding funds for Bureau run labor institutes from Horse A. Cartwright, Director, American Association for Adult, Education.
Box 1 Folder 19 1934-1935
Statement given by Thomas E. Burke, President, Workers Education Bureau, at a conference called by the Secretary of Labor and the Commissioner of Education (1934); correspondence with Peter J. Burke regarding the anticipated affiliation of the Worker's Education Council of New York City (1934); correspondence from William Green regarding the Western Labor College (1935).
Box 1 Folder 20 1936-1938
Box 1 Folder 21 1939-1941
Includes routine correspondence from William Green(1939); letter of praise from George Meany, Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of Labor (1941); four photographs labeled "WEB 20th Anniversary-April 1941".
Box 1 Folder 22 1943
Contains correspondence with Mark Starr, Chairman, Labor Advisory Council, Worker's Service Program, WPA regarding the beginning of the Labor Extension Service under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Labor; letter from C.J. Haggerty, President, California Federation of Labor refusing to participate in programs offered by the People's Educational Center; letter from William Wolff, Executive Secretary, People's Educational Center outlining organization and objective.
Box 1 Folder 23 1944-1946
Includes letter from Glen Burch, Editor Adult Education Journal regardinq postwar activities (1946); correspondence with Florence Thorne, Director of Research, American Federation of Labor regarding suggestions on the Labor Extension Service (1946); routine correspondence with Matthew Woll, Chairman, Committee on Education, American Federation of Labor (1946); routine correspondence from Walter G. O'Donnell, Chairman, Adult Education Committee, American Federation of Teachers, Local 279 (1946).
Box 1 Folder 24
Box 1 Folder 25-26 1946
Box 1 Folder 27-29 1947
Box 1 Folder 30 1926-1930
Includes plan outline for Organization of Washington Labor Institute from Richard S. Harvey, Lawyer.
Box 1 Folder 31 1922-1931
Contains several letters from Fannia Cohn in her capacity as a trustee of the Labor Text Book Fund (1922, 1928, 1929).
Box 1 Folder 32 1922-1941
Includes a refusal to contribute from William L. Hutcheson, General President, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (1927); Correspondence with John Brophy regarding his membership on the Executive Board (1927); routine correspondence from James H. Maurer and Thomas E. Burke (1927); letter from William Green regarding the denial of affiliation to the Union Labor College of Pittsburgh (1928), letter from William Collins, General Organizer, American Federation of Labor, regarding John Brophy and the removal of his endorsement by the Pittsburgh Central Labor Union (1928).
Box 1 Folder 33 1936
A Brief History of the Origin Development and Present Activities of the National Civic Federation typescript, 22pp.
Box 1 Folder 34 1928-1936
Routine Correspondence with Harry A. Russell, Regional Director, Worker's Education Bureau (1928, 1929, 1934, 1935); routine correspondence with Nelson Cruikshank of Connecticut (1935); routine correspondence with William Green (1935); letter from Harry A. Russell regarding program implementation (1928).
Box 1 Folder 35 1931-1938
Includes program agenda and selected script for "The People's Platform" which aired weekly from July 20, 1938 to April 23, 1939; program agenda and selected script for "Americans at Work" a program aired weekly from April 28, 1938 to April 15, 1939; correspondence with Sterling Fisher, Director of Education and Radio Talks, Columbia Broadcasting System regarding decision to discontinue research services of the Bureau (1939); routine correspondence front Levering Tyson, Director, National Advisory Council on Radio in Education (1934); letter to Matthew Woll from Franklin D. Roosevelt, Governor, State of New York, praising the radio series (1932); letter from William Green praising radio programs (1932).
Box 1 Folder 36-37 1947-1950
Includes routine correspondence from Harold Taylor, Chairman, Committee on Ruskin Labor Scholarships (1947).
Box 1 Folder 38-40 1946-1947
Box 1 Folder 41 1923-1926
Contains routine correspondence from Matthew Woll, Seventh Vice-president, American Federation of Labor(1923); letter to Lloyd Crosgrave, Assistant Secretary, Worker's Education Bureau regarding the Gary system from F. G. Stecker, Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of Teachers (1926),
Box 1 Folder 42 1930
Box 1 Folder 43 1949
Contains travel authorization for John D. Connors, President, Worker's Education Bureau, to the meeting of the Committee on Education of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Box 1 Folder 44 1924-1930
Box 1 Folder 45 1935-1939
Box 1 Folder 46 1934-1935
Includes routine correspondence from E. W. Mounce, State Supervisor of Worker's Education Bureau in Missouri (1935); routine correspondence with Paul Vogt, Western Regional Director, Worker's Education Bureau (1935); tentative draft of Worker's Forum from Paul Vogt (1935).
Box 1 Folder 47 1923-1926
Box 1 Folder 48 1927-1928
Includes correspondence from Chester M. Wright, Editor, International Labor News Service regardinq joint venture with the Bureau (1927); criticisms of "Trade Unionism in the Building Industry" from William J. McSorley, President, Building Trades Department, American Federation of Labor and William J. Bowen, President, Bricklayers, Masons and Plasterers Union of America (1927); routine correspondence from William Green (1928).
Box 1 Folder 49 1929-1935
Contains correspondence concerning the litigation Fleming & Reavley vs. The Worker's Education Bureau (1929); Victor C. Olander, Secretary-Treasurer, Illinois Federation of Labor critique of pamphlet (1931).
Box 1 Folder 50 1940
Correspondence regarding Samuel Hasanovitch and his unauthorized us of Bureau credentials for the purpose of personal gain.
Box 1 Folder 51 1954
Box 2 Folder 1 1935-1950
Box 2 Folder 2 1940
"The Pros and Cons of Consumer Credit" by Constance Kent, 16pp. typescript
Box 2 Folder 3 1944
"Labor in the Postwar World" by Dr. John L. Childs, 4pp. reprint
Box 2 Folder 4 1945
"Labor's Stake Abroad" by Dr. William Withers, 6pp, reprint "Labor and Social Security" by Nelson Cruikshank, 6 pp, photocopied reprint
Box 2 Folder 5 1946
"Workers Education: What? Why? How?" by John D. Connors, 18pp (12pp typescript, 6pp photocopy) "Money and How It Works" by Jerry Voorhis, 6 pp, (5pp photocopy, 1p reprint).
Box 2 Folder 6 1947
"Workers Interdependence in Our Economy" by Arthur A. Elder, 6pp, reprint (plus additional typescript, reprint and photocopies)
Box 2 Folder 7
"Sweden: Laboratory in Economic Democracy" by Arnold S. Zander, 17 pp, typescript (plus additional reprints)
Box 2 Folder 8 1948
"Labor and the Law" by Matthew Woll, 6pp, reprint "Organized Labor's Stake in Tax Policy" by Arthur A, Elder, 6pp, reprint.
Box 2 Folder 9 1949
"Labor and UNESCO" by John D. Connors, 6pp, reprint (plus additional reprints) "The Soviet System - of Mind Control" by George S. Counts, 3pp. Reprint
Box 2 Folder 10 1939
"Short Stories on Economics", 12pp. typescript.
Box 2 Folder 11 1940
"More Short Stories on Economics", 12pp. typescript.
Box 2 Folder 12 1941
"National Defence", 13 pp, typescript. "More on National Defense", 12pp, typescript,
Box 2 Folder 13 1942
"America at War", 13pp, typescript, "The World at War", part I-VI, 13 pp, typescript.
Box 2 Folder 14 1943
"The World at War", part VII-XII, 12pp, typescript. "After the War", 12pp, typescript
Box 2 Folder 15 1932
Box 2 Folder 16 1928
Includes correspondence from William Green regarding opportunity for the American Federation of Labor and the American Library Association to cooperate.
Box 2 Folder 17 1926-1936
Box 2 Folder 18 1946-1954
Box 2 Folder 19-20 1946
Box 2 Folder 21 1921-1925
Box 2 Folder 22 1926-1933
Box 2 Folder 23 1934-1946
Box 2 Folder 24 1950
Original, manuscript
Box 2 Folder 25 1935-1947
Box 2 Folder 26 1923
Box 2 Folder 27 1926
Box 2 Folder 28 1924-1928
Box 2 Folder 29 1936-1938
Routine correspondence with Dr. Carole Blume, Dr. Mollie Ray Carol/ Director of Research and Ursula Batchelder Stone.
Box 2 Folder 30 1947-1950
Box 2 Folder 31 1936
Box 2 Folder 32 1927
Box 2 Folder 33 1947
Contains original typescript and sketches
Box 2 Folder 34 1947
Box 2 Folder 35 1920-1926
Box 2 Folder 36 1935-1945
Box 2 Folder 37 1924-1926
11pp, miscellaneous reprints