ILGWU. Louis Stulberg Photographs,1949-1968

Collection Number: 5780/004 P

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


ILGWU. Louis Stulberg photographs, 1966-1977
Collection Number:
5780/004 P
International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. President’s Office; Stulberg, Louis.
.3 linear feet
Forms of Material:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
This collection consists of a photograph of Stulberg with President Lyndon B. Johnson, inscribed by LBJ, and an invitation to Harry S. Truman's inauguration as President of the United States in 1949.
Collection material in English


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.


Louis Stulberg, union organizer and official, International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
Louis Stulberg was born in Poland in 1901 and emigrated with his parents to Canada in 1904. After graduating from the Harborn Collegiate Institute in Toronto in 1918, he moved to Chicago, where he worked as a cutter and joined ILGWU Local 81. Stulberg moved around the country, working as a cutter and union organizer in Toledo, Ohio, Chicago, and New York City. It was in New York that he finally settled, working as an official and organizer in ILGWU Local 10. Later he held a number of executive positions in the ILGWU, including the vice-presidency, a seat on the General Executive Board, the executive vice-presidency, and the office of General Secretary-Treasurer. He was elected president of the union in 1966, succeeding David Dubinsky, and served until his retirement in 1975. He died in 1977.
Stulberg's term was an inward-looking time, after the long tenure of David Dubinsky. A demographic shift in ILGWU membership, from largely Jewish and Italian workers to more Hispanic and African-American workers, had begun under Dubinsky, but accelerated rapidly during Stulberg's term. During this period, the ILGWU focused more heavily on organizing, and membership reached an all-time high in 1968. But by 1970, it had begun to fall dramatically, as more clothing manufacturers moved their operations abroad. The union also shed many of its political connections under Stulberg's leadership. In 1968 he led the union out of the Liberal Party, which it had helped to found, and severed its ties to the Americans for Democratic Action.


This collection consists of a photograph of Stulberg with President Lyndon B. Johnson, inscribed by LBJ, and an invitation to Harry S. Truman's inauguration as President of the United States in 1949.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
Johnson, Lyndon B.(Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973
Stulberg, Louis, 1901-1977
Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972
Tyler, Gus
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 22 (New York, N.Y.)

Form and Genre Terms:


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.
Cite As:
ILGWU. Louis Stulberg photographs. 5780/004 P. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Martin P. Catherwood Library, Cornell University.


5780. ILGWU records
5780/004. ILGWU. Louis Stulberg correspondence


"Permanent deposit"


Box 1 Folder 1
Louis Stulberg with President Lyndon B. Johnson
Includes inscription from LBJ
Box 1 Folder 2
Invitation to inauguration of Harry S. Truman