ILGWU Education Department, Fannia Cohn Papers on Microfilm

Collection Number: 5780/049 mf

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


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
ILGWU Education Department, Fannia Cohn Papers on Microfilm, 1918-1962
Collection Number:
5780/049 mf
Creator:
Cohn, Fannia M. (Fannia Mary) International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU)
Quantity:
9 microfilm reels
Forms of Material:
Articles, reprints, pamphlets, correspondence, photographs, microfilm.
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
The collection contains correspondence, subject files, speeches, articles, photographs, and programs from Fannia Cohn's term as Executive Secretary of the ILGWU Education Department on microfilm.
Language:
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).

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Fannia Cohn was born in Minsk in the late 1880s (there is disagreement as to the exact year). She emigrated to the U.S. in 1904 and began working in a New York garment factory in 1905. She joined the ILGWU in 1909 and quickly emerged as a skilled leader and organizer. She was the first woman vice-president of the ILGWU and in 1918 became Executive Secretary of the Education Department, a position she held until her retirement in 1961. She played a significant role in worker education and was a co-founder of both the Workers' Education Bureau and the Brookwood Labor College. She died in 1962 in New York City.

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

Local union's of the ILGWU established and maintained robust, ambitious educational departments early on in the international's history. As these groups grew in size and scope, the international office sought to coordinate and centralize educational programming for the union's members, culminating in the formation of the Educational Department in 1918.
The department's programming included courses at the Workers' University at the Washington Irving High School in New York City, lectures at Unity Centers and Unity Houses in the northeastern United States, and other events. The educational offerings of the International's Education Department were varied, as had been the education departments of the local unions, and included not only classes in labor studies but also courses in languages, music, and the arts. The ILGWU's 1937 musical "Pins and Needles" exemplified the diversity of the union's programs.
Directors of the Education Department, especially Fannia Cohn and Mark Starr, wrote extensively on the ILGWU's programs and worker education in general. Longtime director Gus Tyler not only directed the department, but also served as the ILGWU's on-staff scholar. In later years, the Education Department went beyond collaborating with other education organizations and arranging in-house programs to also supporting post-secondary education for union members and their families.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The Education Department records document activities across the entire period of the department's existence, with the bulk of the records covering the 1970s and 1990s. It contains papers from directors of the Education Department: Fannia Cohn, Mark Starr, Gus Tyler, and Kitty Krupat.
The earliest documentation of the department's work is found in the Fannia Cohn papers (5780/049, 5780/049 P); these contain correspondence, subject files, speeches, photographs, and printed material from her work as director of the Educational Department. A microfilm copy of the Fannia Cohn papers held at the New York Public Library (5998 mf) complements the Kheel Center's holdings. Documentation of the work of another longtime leader of the Education Department, Mark Starr, is contained in these records (5780/166, 5780/166 PUBS), as well as in a related collection from Starr on worker education programs (5243).
Documentation of the work of Gus Tyler, who led the merged Education and Political Department after Mark Starr's retirement in 1960, is also contained in the ILGWU records (5780/052, 5780/088, 5780/096). Tyler's papers are complemented by those of Assistant Director Jasper Peyton (5780/086) and Special Projects Coordinator Beverly Shulman (5780/106). These collections contain routine correspondence and memoranda, reports, materials relating to training institutes, seminars, and conferences, and printed material.
The papers of Kitty Krupat, who was serving as Education Director at the time of the ILGWU/ACTWU merger in 1995, constitute the entirety of Education Department records from the 1990s. They include correspondence, memoranda, reports, and financial records relating to the ILGWU's independent and collaborative education projects, including the Worker-Family Education Program, the Joint Union-University Committee on Labor Education, and the Consortium for Worker Education, as well as numerous trainings, conferences, and seminars. Also included in the files are materials from local unions and regional departments of the ILGWU, files on the Internationals' conventions, and reports to the General Executive Board.
The Fannia Cohn papers (5780/049) contain correspondence, subject files, speeches, articles, photographs, and programs from Fannia Cohn's term as Executive Secretary of the ILGWU Education Department. The materials in Series I are primarily letters between Cohn and various individuals pertaining to trade union matters in general and the ILGWU in particular. Included in the series are programs for lectures, concerts, museum visits and tours of New York City that were offered to ILGWU members and others as part of the Education Department's activities. Series II consists of bulletins, articles, lectures and course outlines. Most of these materials were written by Cohn herself or were prepared under her direction for use at the union's Unity Centers and at the Workers' University. A number of articles are by Mark Starr. There are also lectures by Charles A. Beard; Robert Brure; Babette Deutsch; Paul H. Douglas; Harry Laidler; A.J. Muste; Grace Scribner; Alexander Trachtenberg; Carl Van Doren; and Theresa Wolfson, among others. Significant individuals represented in the collection include David Dubinsky, Samuel Gompers, Morris Sigman ,Rose Pesotta, and H.G. Wells. Organizations include the Education Department of the ILGWU, the Brookwood Labor College, the AFL, Pioneer Youth of America, the Rand School of Social Science, and Unity House.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Beard, Charles A.(Charles Austin), 1874-1948.
Brue`re, Robert W.(Robert Walter), 1876-1964.
Cohn, Fannia M.(Fannia Mary), 1885-
Deutsch, Babette, 1895-
Douglas, Paul Howard, 1892-
Dubinsky, David, 1892-1982.
Gompers, Samuel, 1850-1924.
Laidler, Harry Wellington, 1884-1970.
Muste, Abraham John, 1885-1967.
Scribner, Grace, 1882- 1922.
Sigman, Morris, 1880-1931.
Starr, Mark, 1894-
Trachtenberg, Alexander.
Van Doren, Carl, 1885- 1950.
Wells, H. G.(Herbert George), 1866-1946.
Wolfson, Theresa, 1897-1972.
American Federation of Labor.
Brookwood Labor College (Katonah, N.Y.)
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Educational Dept.
Pioneer Youth of America.
Rand School of Social Science.

Subjects:
Clothing workers--Labor unions--United States.
Labor unions--Officials and employees.
Labor movement.
Labor movement--United States.
Labor unions.
Labor unions-- United States.
Labor unions and education--United States.
Working class--Education--United States.

Form and Genre Terms:
Papers
Microfilm


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 Education Department, Fannia Cohn Papers on Microfilm, #5780/049 mf. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related Collections:
5780/106: ILGWU. Education Department. Beverly Shulman papers
5780/138: ILGWU. Education Department. Kitty Krupat papers
5780/166: ILGWU. Education Department records
5780/166 PUBS: ILGWU. Education Department publications
5780/086: ILGWU. Education Department. Jasper Peyton papers
5780/049: ILGWU. Education Department. Fannia Cohn papers
5780/049 P: ILGWU. Education Department. Fannia Cohn photographs

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
Reel 2 item 1 1921-1959
Reel 2 item 2 1938
Includes correspondence with Resettlement and Farm Security Administrations with Arch A. Mercey.
Reel 2 item 3 1918-1954
Includes correspondence with Samuel Gompers & C. Thorne.
Reel 2 item 4 1936-1941
Reel 2 item 5 1921-1957
Reel 2 item 6 1938-1943
1938, 1943
Reel 2 item 7 1913-1945
1913, 1945
Reel 2 item 8 1920-1948
Reel 2 item 9 1924-1928
Reel 2 item 10 1940-1941
Reel 2 item 11 1921-1935
Reel 2 item 12 1921-1960
Reel 2 item 13 1923-1947
1923, 1947
Reel 2 item 14 1926-1959
1926, 1942-1959. Includes correspondence with Harry J. Carman (dean) & William F. Russell.
Reel 2 item 15 1936-1958
Reel 2 item 16 1926-1950
Reel 2 item 17 1922-1953
1922, 1939-1953
Reel 2 item 18 1934-1945
Includes Liaison for International Education and Conference on the Educational and Cultural Organization of the United Nations.
Reel 2 item 19 1954
Fannia Cohn to Julius Hochman (chairman) outlining educational activities of Union.
Reel 2 item 20 1924-1954
Includes correspondence with The Labor Party, Ellen Wilkinson, Ernest Bevin and Morgan Phillips & ltr. from H.G. Wells.
Reel 2 item 21 1921-1957
Includes correspondence with Mollie Friedman.
Reel 3 item 1 1935-1951
1935-1936, 1941-1951
Reel 3 item 2 1922
Reel 3 item 3 1922-1942
1922-1928, 1942
Reel 3 item 4 1930-1931
Reel 3 item 5 1922-1956
Reel 3 item 6 1950-1959
1950s
Reel 3 item 7 1921-1959
Reel 3 item 8
Reel 3 item 9 1939-1952
Includes Isaacs, Stanley M., 1939, 1943.
Reel 3 item 10 1921-1960
1921, 1940-1960
Reel 3 item 11 1937-1959
Announcements of programs and related articles.
Reel 3 item 12 1926-1957
1926, 1940-1957
Reel 3 item 13 1921-1957
Includes correspondence with Lewis Lorwin (Louis Levine).
Reel 3 item 14 1921-1953
1921, 1933-1953
Reel 3 item 15 1921
(Publ. by Women's Trade Union League) Corres.
Reel 3 item 16 1922-1959
Reel 3 item 17 1919-1925
Includes correspondence with Elsie Gluck (education dir.).
Reel 3 item 18 1930-1931
Strike. Includes corres. of the Citizens' Emergency Committee is behalf of the striking ladies' Tailors and custom dressmakers of the Fifth Avenue Shops.
Reel 3 item 19 1924-1939
1924-1930s
Reel 3 item 20 1937
May-June 1937, Education Dept. program.
Reel 3 item 21 1933-1960
Reel 3 item 22 1926-1955
1926-1927, 1941-1955
Reel 5 item 1 1920-1959
1920s-1950s
Reel 5 item 2
Reel 5 item 3 1922-1958
Reel 5 item 4 1946-1960
Reel 5 item 5 1949-1950
Reel 5 item 6 1922-1947
Includes correspondence with Rose Pesotta.
Reel 5 item 7 1940-1959
1940s-1950s
Reel 5 item 8 1942-1946
Reel 5 item 9 1947-1948
Reel 5 item 10 1949-1952
Reel 5 item 11 1953
Reel 5 item 12 1953-1955
Reel 5 item 13 1929-1959
Reel 5 item 14 1926-1933
Reel 5 item 15 1934-1938
Reel 5 item 16 1939-1960
Reel 8 item 1
Reel 8 item 2 1930-1939
1930s Education Department announcement of coming events and programs.
Reel 8 item 3 1940-1942
Reel 8 item 4 1943-1946
Reel 8 item 5 1948
Reel 8 item 6 1949
Reel 8 item 7 1950-1951
Reel 8 item 8 1953-1961
Reel 8 item 9 1921-1959
1921, 1937-1959
Reel 8 item 10 1930-1953
1930, 1953
Reel 8 item 11 1940-1959
1940s-1950s
Reel 8 item 12 1941-1950
1941, 1947-1950
Reel 8 item 13 1924-1959
Reel 8 item 14 1924
Reel 8 item 15 1924-1932
1924, 1930, 1932
Reel 8 item 16 1921-1959
1921, 1935-1959
Reel 8 item 17 1958
Reel 8 item 18 1939-1954
Reel 8 item 19 1932
Reel 8 item 20 1949-1962
Visits of Union members to UN.
Reel 8 item 21 1945-1952
Reel 8 item 22 1920-1922
Reel 10 item 1 1921-1933
Includes correspondence re lectures held at Unity House.
Reel 10 item 2 1937-1938
Reel 10 item 3 1918-1953
1918, 1934-1953
Reel 10 item 4 1938-1959
Reel 10 item 5 1922-1931
Reel 10 item 6 1921-1949
Workers' Defense League, 1921
Reel 10 item 7 1921-1943
1921, 1923, 1925, 1929, 1938-1943. Includes correspondence, minutes and reports.
Reel 10 item 8 1943-1958
Reel 10 item 9 1936-1939
Reel 10 item 10 1943-1953
1943, 1947, 1953
Reel 10 item 11 1946-1949
Bulletin.
Reel 10 item 12
Reel 10 item 13
Reel 10 item 14
Reel 10 item 15
Reel 10 item 16
Reel 11 item 1
Reel 11 item 2
Reel 11 item 3
Reel 11 item 4
Reel 11 item 5
Reel 11 item 6
Reel 11 item 7
Reel 11 item 8
Reel 11 item 9
Reel 11 item 10
Reel 11 item 11
Reel 11 item 12
Reel 11 item 13 1937-1959
Reel 11 item 14 1937
One-act play by Fannia M. Cohn & Irwin Swerdlow, 3rd ed.
Reel 11 item 15 1921-1925
Announcement of Courses given at Workers University.
Reel 11 item 16 1921-1922
Attendance records.
Reel 11 item 17 1921-1926
Reel 11 item 18
Reel 11 item 19
Reel 11 item 20
Reel 11 item 21
Reel 11 item 22
Reel 11 item 23
Reel 11 item 24
Reel 11 item 25
Reel 13 item 1
Reel 13 item 2
Reel 13 item 3
Reel 13 item 4
Reel 13 item 5
Reel 13 item 6
Reel 13 item 7
Reel 13 item 8
Reel 13 item 9
Reel 13 item 10
Reel 13 item 11
Reel 13 item 12
Reel 13 item 13
Reel 13 item 14
Reel 13 item 15
Reel 13 item 16
Reel 13 item 17
Reel 13 item 18
Reel 13 item 19
Reel 13 item 20
Reel 13 item 21
Reel 13 item 22
Reel 13 item 23
Reel 13 item 24
Reel 13 item 25
Reel 13 item 26
Reel 13 item 27
Reel 13 item 28
Reel 13 item 29
Reel 13 item 30
Reel 13 item 31
Reel 13 item 32
Reel 13 item 33
Reel 13 item 34
Reel 13 item 35
Reel 13 item 36
Reel 13 item 37
Reel 13 item 38
Reel 13 item 39
Reel 13 item 40
Reel 13 item 41
Reel 13 item 42 1920-1926
Reel 13 item 43
Reel 13 item 44 1952
Syllabus for the six lessons.
Reel 13 item 45
Reel 15 item 1
Reel 15 item 2
Reel 15 item 3
Reel 15 item 4 1922-1940
Reel 15 item 5 1941-1956
Reel 15 item 6
Reel 15 item 7
Reel 15 item 8
Reel 15 item 9
Corres.
Reel 18 item 1 1942-1943
Corres.
Reel 18 item 2
Reel 18 item 3
Reel 18 item 4 1934
Article
Reel 18 item 5 1939-1941
1939, 1941. Garment Workers of Other Lands by Abe S. Weiss, 1941.
Reel 18 item 6 1935-1941
Reel 18 item 7 1946-1947
Reel 18 item 8 1946-1947
Reel 18 item 9 1940-1956
GEB Reports to Convention.
Reel 18 item 10 1926-1941
1926, 1929, 1935, 1941A quarterly journal of American Workers' Education.
Reel 18 item 11 1940-1953
Includes newsletters.