International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Benjamin Schlesinger, President. Records, 1928-1932

Collection Number: 5780/010

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


International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Benjamin Schlesinger, President. Records, 1928-1932.
Collection Number:
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. President's Office.
2 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Correspondence, subject files.
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Correspondence and subject files relating to Schlesinger's term, October 1928 to June 1932.
Collection material in English


Files of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) president Benjamin Schlesinger during his final term as president, from October 1928 to June 1932.
Schlesinger was a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania who began working in the garment industry in Chicago as a teenager. He became a union organizer soon after and rose quickly in the ranks of the Chicago Cloakmakers' Union. He served as president of the ILGWU for a brief time in 1903, and again from 1914 to 1923. Later, he was business manager of the Jewish Daily Forward in Chicago. He died in office on June 6, 1932.


Topics covered in these materials include: communist activity in the garment industry unions; contract negotiations; Schlesinger's role as business manager of the Jewish Daily Forward (Chicago); labor disputes in the women's garment industry of New York City; racketeering; socialism; garment industry strikes in New York City (including the 1929 Cloakmakers' Strike and the 1930 Dressmakers' Strike); the Tom Mooney Defense Committee; relations between manufacturers' associations and the union; union conventions; union elections; union finances; and worker education.
Individuals and organizations represented in the collection include: the Amalgamated Bank of New York; the Affiliated Dress Manufacturers' Association; the AFL (including letters from William Green); the Associated Raincoat Manufacturers of New York; Brookwood Labor College; Abraham Cahan; Thomas C.T. Crain; Eugene Debs; David Dubinsky; ILGWU Locals 8, 10 and 50; Sidney Hillman; Morris Hillquit; Charles Kreindler; Salvatore Ninfo; the Rand School of Social Science; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Arnold Rothstein; Jacob H. Schiff; Mortimer L. Schiff; Norman Thomas; Samuel Untermyer; B.C. Vladeck; and the Wholesale Dress Manufacturers' Association.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
Cahan, Abraham, 1860-1951.
Crain, Thomas C. T. (Thomas Crowell Taylor), 1860-1942.
Debs, Eugene V. (Eugene Victor), 1855-1926.
Dubinsky, David, 1892-
Green, William, 1872-1952.
Hillman, Sidney, 1887-1946.
Hillquit, Morris, 1869-1933.
Ninfo, Salvatore.
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
Rothstein, Arnold, 1882-1928.
Schiff, Jacob H. (Jacob Henry), 1847-1920.
Schiff, Mortimer L.
Schlesinger, Benjamin, 1876-1932.
Thomas, Norman, 1884-1968.
Untermyer, Samuel, 1858-1940.
Vladeck, B. (Baruch Charney), 1886-1935.
Affiliated Dress Manufacturers' Association.
Amalgamated Bank of New York.
Amalgamated Ladies' Garment Cutters' Union.
American Federation of Labor.
Associated Raincoat Manufacturers of New York.
Brookwood Labor College (Katonah, N.Y.)
International Clothing Workers' Federation.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union--Elections.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union--Finance.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union--Convention.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union--Presidents.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 8 (San Francisco, Calif.)
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 50 (New York, N.Y.)
Mooney Molders Defense Committee.
Rand School of Social Science.
Waterproof Garment Manufacturers' Association.
Wholesale Dress Manufacturers' Association.

Forverts (Chicago, Ill.)

Labor unions--Clothing workers--United States.
Labor unions--Clothing workers--New York--New York.
Labor unions--Clothing workers.
Women's clothing industry--United States.
Women's clothing industry--New York--New York.
Clothing trade--United States.
Clothing trade--New York--New York.
Clothing workers--United States.
Clothing workers--New York--New York.
Strikes and lockouts--Clothing trade--New York--New York.
Strikes and lockouts--Clothing trade--United States.
Industrial relations--United States.
Industrial relations--New York--New York.
Working class--Education--New York--New York.
Labor unions and communism--United States.
Socialism--United States.

Form and Genre Terms:
Organization files


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:
International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Benjamin Schlesinger, President. Records, 1928-1932. #5780/010. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


5780/009. Benjamin Schlesinger. President's records, 1914-1923.

Correspondence and subject files are arranged alphabetically within each section.

Series I. General correspondence. Box 1
Series II. Subject files. Boxes 1-4
Series III. Miscellaneous items. Box 4


I. General correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 1
A. 1928-31.
Includes correspondence between Associated Raincoat Manfacturers of N.Y. and Local 20 (Waterproof Garment Workers Union) on negotiations for agreement, 1928-30.
Box 1 Folder 2
General Correspondence
Box 1 Folder 3
Includes letters from Thomas C.T. Crain (N.Y. District Attorney) on racketeering, 1930
Box 1 Folder 4
General Correspondence
Box 1 Folder 5
General Correspondence
Box 1 Folder 6
General Correspondence
Box 1 Folder 7
Includes list of bonds purchased by affiliated locals, 1929.
Box 1 Folder 8
Includes ltr. from William Mack offering impartial assistance, 1929; Tom Mooney Defense Committee, 1929.
Box 1 Folder 9
Includes letters to N.Y. Times and N.Y. World on Communist appeal in Daily Worker for Communists to participate in mass picketing in the dress industry, Feb. 1929.
Box 1 Folder 10
Box 1 Folder 11
Includes Rand School letters, 1929-30.
Box 1 Folder 12
Box 1 Folder 13
Ltrs. from Norman Thomas (4).
Box 1 Folder 14
Includes letters to B. C. Vladeck (Manager), Jewish Daily Forward, 1929-30.
Box 1 Folder 15
II. Subject files.
Box 1 Folder 16
Amalgamated Bank of N.Y.; 1924-31.
Correspondence, financial matters; agreement between Union and bank; shares of Int'l. Union Bank as collateral for Union loan.
Box 1 Folder 17
Amalgamated Ladies Garment Cutters Union, Local 10.
Ltr. urging Schlesinger to assume presidency, upon Morris Sigman's resignation, Nov. 14, 1928; Maurice Jacobs (Chairman), David Dubinsky (Manager), Local 10.
Box 1 Folder 18
American Federation of Labor: Oct. 1928-July 1929.
Includes letters from William Green.
Box 1 Folder 19
AFL: Aug. 1929-32.
Box 1 Folder 20
Affiliated Dress Manfacturers Association, Inc.
Correspondence re negotiations for agreements, 1929-32.
Box 1 Folder 21
American Cloak and Suit Manfacturers Association, Inc.
Benjamin Schlesinger conference address, March 1932.
Box 1 Folder 22
Couturiers Association of N.Y., 1930
Box 1 Folder 23
Wholesale Dress Manfacturers Association 1929-32.
Box 1 Folder 24
Brandeis, Louis.
Birthday greetings to Schlesinger 1926, 1931.
Box 1 Folder 25
Brookwood Labor College: 1928-32.
Ltrs. from A.J. Muste (Chairman of Faculty); releases, statements issued by College re controversy with AFL over teaching policies, 1928; correspondence with Roger Baldwin and A.J. Muste on American Fund for Public Service loan to Union during N.Y. : Cloakmakers strike of 1926, 1929-32.
Box 1 Folder 26
Cahan, Abraham: 1928-31.
Correspondence (non-Union matters).
Box 1 Folder 27
Chicago Joint Board: 1928-30.
Includes correspondence with Morris Bialis (Manager).
Box 1 Folder 28
Congratulatory Messages. Birthday, 1929.
Box 1 Folder 29
Congratulatory Messages.
Election to Union presidency, Oct. 1929
Convention (20th), Union: 1929.
Box 2 Folder 1
Convention call; memoranda to affiliates; telegrams to Raymond Ingersoll, James J. Walker, and Franklin D. Roosevelt (and his responses) on their help in terminating N.Y. Cloakmakers' strike of 1929.
Box 2 Folder 2
Schlesinger's and Abraham Cahan's Convention addresses, Dec.
Box 2 Folder 3
Ballots electing Convention delegates of Local 2 (Cloak and Suit Operators Union) and Local 9 (Cloak Finishers Union).
Box 2 Folder 4
Includes lists of committee members; report of Committee on Law.
Box 2 Folder 5
Citizens Committee to supervise elections for Convention delegates; Committee members (Jacob Billikopf, Arthur Garfield Hayes, Roger Baldwin) correspondence; report.
Box 2 Folder 6
Credential Committee. Includes correspondence between Isidore Nagler (Chairman) and local affiliates on local indebtedness to Union; reports.
Box 2 Folder 7
Invitations and responses; includes William Green, John L. Lewis, Morris Sigman, Norman Thomas, B.C. Vladeck.
Convention (21st), Union: 1932.
Box 2 Folder 8
General files.
Box 2 Folder 9
General files.
Box 2 Folder 10
Delegates and Alternates. Includes ballots electing delegates to Convention.
Box 2 Folder 11
Invitations and responses, arranged alphabetically by correspondence
Box 2 Folder 12
Dubinsky, David (and Hannah Haskel): 1928-30, 1932.
Correspondence between Dubinsky and Benjamin Schlesinger, when Schlesinger is away from office.
Box 2 Folder 13
Form Letters and Circulars: 1929-32.
Box 2 Folder 14
General Executive Board.
Ltr. from Special Committee informing Schlesinger of their decision to Separate Cloak and Dress Joint Board, April 1930; Dubinsky (Chairman), Salvatore Ninfo (Secretary).
Box 2 Folder 15
Greetings (New Year's).
Box 2 Folder 16
Hillquit, Morris: Nov. 1928-29.
Correspondence on legal matters, negotiations for collective agreements.
Box 2 Folder 17
Hillquit, Morris: 1930-32.
Includes copies of letters on loan by Int'l. Madison Bank and Trust Co. to 130 E. 25th St. Corporation, 1930.
Box 2 Folder 18
International Association of Machinists: 1930-31.
Correspondence re Machinists' loan to Union.
Box 2 Folder 19
International Unions: 1928.
Union request for loan from various unions to help rehabilitate ILGWU.
Box 2 Folder 20
Jewish Daily Forward, Chicago: 1923-28.
Benjamin Schlesinger (Manager). Includes letters from Abraham Cahan and Eugene Debs
Box 2 Folder 21
Kreindler, Charles: 1928-31.
Box 2 Folder 22
Local 8: 1928.
San Francisco, Calif. Correspondence with J. Mencoff.
N.Y. Cloakmakers Strike of 1929
Box 3 Folder 1
July 2-15.
Correspondence is arranged in chronological order; pre-strike items; includes ltr. to Cloak and Suit Manfacturers on negotiation for agreement; replies from individuals to whom copies of ltr. were forwarded; statement to Cloakmakers
Box 3 Folder 2
May 28-July 4.
Correspondence includes Shop Chairmen's meeting, May; General Executive Board manifesto to Cloakmakers, June? messages from local affiliates and individuals wishing Union success; letters pledging cooperation in aiding strikers; correspondence includes August Claessens with enclosed list of services for aiding strike; FDR ltr. inviting Union and manufacturers for conference in attempt to reach settlement, July 2.
Box 3 Folder 3
July 15-July 16.
Copy of ltr. to FDR from Industrial Council of Cloak Manfacturers stating their position, July 5; letters of support and congratulatory messages upon conclusion of strike; includes letters from Sidney Hillman, Norman Thomas.
Box 3 Folder 4
July 7-24.
Congratulatory messages and correspondence
Box 3 Folder 5
July 25-Dec. 2.
Includes congratulatory message from FDR, Aug. 1.
Box 3 Folder 6
General items; includes list of General Strike Committee individuals; Union statements.
N.Y. Dressmakers Strike, 1930
Box 3 Folder 7
Feb. 4-12.
Jan. 31-Feb. 16, correspondence; FDR ltr. inviting Union to conference with manufacturers to settle strike, Feb. 4; Schlesinger statement at conference, Feb. 7? Herbert H. Lehman ltr. re Jobbers Association, Feb. 16.
Box 3 Folder 8
Feb. 17-Mar. 16.
Correspondence; congratulatory messages upon conclusion of strike.
Box 3 Folder 9
Jan. 28.
D.D. and Schlesinger addresses at Dressmakers mass meeting
Box 3 Folder 10
Ninfo, Salvatore (Manager), Local 48 (Italian Cloak Makers Union): 1929-31.
Box 3 Folder 11
Philadelphia: 1928, 1930.
Includes correspondence on strike in Local 50.
Box 3 Folder 12
Poland: 1920-31.
Includes correspondence with Garment Workers Union; financial support to Jewish cultural institutions and newspapers.
Box 3 Folder 13
Referendum for Electing General Officers: Jan. 7, 1930.
Includes correspondence between Louis Reiff (Chairman), National Election Committee and local officers.
Box 3 Folder 14
Referendum Election: 1930.
Includes local letters informing Election Committee of election results.
Box 3 Folder 15
Referendum Election: 1930.
Same as above.
Box 3 Folder 16
Rothstein, Arnold: Nov. 1928.
D.D. telegrams to Schlesinger re District Attorney's evidence that Rothstein was connected with communist strikes in industry.
Box 3 Folder 17
Schiff, Mortimer L. and Jacob H.
Letter from Jacob on Union activities in relief for war sufferers in Europe (n.d. prior to 1920); letter from Mortimer on donation to Union.
Box 3 Folder 18
Schlesinger, Speeches and Statements: 1928-Jan. 1929.
Box 3 Folder 19
Schlesinger, Speeches and Statements: Feb. 1929-30.
Box 4 Folder 1
Tailors and Garment Workers Union, London.
Includes pub., Garment Workers, 1928; agreement between Wholesale Manfacturers Federation and Tailors Union, 1921.
Box 4 Folder 2
Untermyer, Samuel: 1926, 1928.
III. Miscellaneous items, 1897-30.
Box 4 Folder 3
Newspaper Clipping Files. Articles by Schlesinger (n.d.)
Box 4 Folder 4
Newspaper Clipping Files. Articles re Schlesinger or Union.
Box 4 Folder 5
Notes (holograph).
16 items (n.d.).
Box 4 Folder 6
50 items.
Box 4 Folder 7
Includes Socialist Party membership cards; membership dues card, Local 1; certificate of membership in Forward, 1916-25; military certifications, 1917-18 (3 items).
Box 4 Folder 8
Includes Union constitution and by-laws, 1916; visas; autobiographical sketch, Dec. 1931.
Box 4 Folder 9
Includes correspondence with family members in U.S.A. and Poland.
Box 4 Folder 10a-10b