ILGWU Local 91 Records

Collection Number: 5780/066

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


ILGWU Local 91 Records, 1934-1982
Collection Number:
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU). Local 91;
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU)
1 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Records (documents).
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
The collection consists primarily of Local 91's publication, Our Aim, from 1934 to 1947. Also includes other printed material, files on union contractors, and employment agreements.
Collection material in English


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.


Chartered in 1921, Local 91 of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), also known as the Children's Dress, Infant's Wear, House, Dress, and Bathrobe Makers Union, was formed with the merger of Local 41 and Local 50 and based in New York, New York.


The collection contains speeches and papers written for the newsletter, or to give at banquets and dinners by Belle Horensen. Horensen became the librarian for Local 91 in 1943, elected business agent in 1946, and was the manager from 1977 until her retirement in 1982. There is also some information on contracts and prices, scripts for membership meetings, and the 60th anniversary of Local 91 in 1973.
The collection also contains bound copies of Local 91's publication "Our Aim." Historical information of Local 91 can be found in the anniversary pamphlets, as well as the paper written by Morris Paladino for a Trade Union Fellowship Class at Harvard University, which provides an in-depth study of the industry, structure, governance, and organization of the union utilizing Local 91 as a case-study.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 91 (New York, N.Y.)

Labor unions--Clothing workers--New York (State)--New York.
Labor unions--Clothing workers--United States.
Children's clothing industry--New York (State)--New York.
Children's clothing industry--United States.
Industrial relations--New York (State)--New York.
Industrial relations--United States.

Form and Genre Terms:
Records (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:
ILGWU Local 91 Records #5780/066. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
5780: ILGWU records
5780/153: ILGWU Local 91, David Dubinsky Presentation Volume


Box 1 Folder 1 1962-1982
Box 1 Folder 2 1977-1979
Box 1 Folder 3 1955-1960
Box 1 Folder 4 1934-1936
(2 copies)
Box 1 Folder 5 1936-1938
Box 1 Folder 6 1939-1940
Box 1 Folder 7 1941-1942
Box 1 Folder 8 1945-1947
Box 1 Folder 9 1982
Box 1 Folder 10 1946-1980
Box 1 Folder 11 1943
Box 1 Folder 12