ILGWU. David Dubinsky Scrapbooks,1940-1966.

Collection Number: 5780/136

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


ILGWU. David Dubinsky scrapbooks, 1940-1966.
Collection Number:
David Dubinsky, 1892-1982.
1.7 linear feet
Forms of Material:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
These scrapbooks concern David Dubinsky's visit to Europe and Israel in 1948, 1955, and 1956, and his retirement in 1966. Also included is a May 1940 presentation book from ILGWU Local 91.
Collection material in English and Yiddish.


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.


1892 Born February 22nd in Brest-Litovsk, then in Russia, son of Bezalel and Shaine Wishingrad Dobnievski.
Moved to Lodz, where the family operated a bakery.
1903 Began to work in father's bakery after attending three terms in Hebrew Zionist school.
1907 Qualified as master baker and joined bakers' union, organized by the General Jewish Workers Union, the Bund.
Served as secretary of the bakers' union.
Arrested, together with 60 other members of the union, in the course of a strike; released after payment of 25 rubles by father.
Left Lodz to live with an uncle in Brest-Litovsk; after three months returned to Lodz and rejoined the bakers' union.
1908 Arrested while attending an illegal meeting of the bakers and, as a second offender, exiled to a small Siberian village.
Escaped and made his way to Chelyabinsk and from there to Lodz, working as a baker under an assumed name.
1910 Sailed, with an older brother, Chaira, to New York City.
1911 Arrived in NYC on January 1st.
Lived on Lower East Side and became apprenticed to learn the cutter's craft.
Accepted as a member of Local 10, Cutters' Union of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, on July 13th.
1914 Married Emma Goldberg, an undergarment operator and member of the ILGWU. (The couple had one child, a daughter, Jean.)
1918 Elected to executive board of Local 10.
1919 Elected vice-president of Local 10.
1920 Elected chairman of Local 10.
1921 Elected president of Local 10.
Elected general manager (a new office combining duties of manager and secretary) of Local 10 in December.
1922 Elected vice president of ILGWU and member of General Executive Board.
1929 Elected General Secretary-Treasurer of ILGWU.
Served as Acting President of ILGWU.
1932 Elected by GEB in June as President, following death of President Benjamin Schlesinger.
1934 Elected vice president of American Federation of Labor in October.
1935 Joined with John L. Lewis of Mine Workers and Sidney Hillman of Amalgamated Clothing Workers to form a Committee for Industrial Organization.
First U.S. labor representative to the International Labor Organization.
1936. Joined in founding the American Labor Party in New York State.
Served as Democratic Party elector for the ticket of Franklin D. Roosevelt and John N. Garner.
1944 Joined in founding Liberal Party.
1945 Elected vice president of American Federation of Labor.
1966 Offered resignation as President to GEB at meeting of March 14th, to take effect April 12th.
Resignation effective June 15th, anniversary of date on which he was first elected President.
1982 Died in New York City on September 17, 1982.


These scrapbooks concern David Dubinsky's visit to Europe and Israel in 1948, 1955, and 1956, and his retirement in 1966. Also included is a May 1940 presentation book from ILGWU Local 91.

Dubinsky, David,1892-1982.
Dubinsky, David, 1892-1982.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 91 (New York, N.Y.)
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

Women's clothing industry--United States.
Labor unions--Clothing workers--United States.
Clothing workers--United States.
Industrial relations--United States.

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. David Dubinsky scrapbooks. 5780/136. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Martin P. Catherwood Library, Cornell University.


5780. ILGWU records
5780/002. ILGWU. David Dubinsky correspondence
5780/002 AV. ILGWU. David Dubinsky audio-visual recordings
5780/002 MB. ILGWU. David Dubinsky memorabilia
5780/002 P. ILGWU. David Dubinsky photographs
5780/179 MB. ILGWU. David Dubinsky memorabilia
5780/179 P. ILGWU. David Dubinsky photographs


"Permanent deposit"


Box 1 Folder 1
David Dubinsky Scrapbook
In English and Yiddish
Box 1 Folder 2
Commemorative Book from Local 91 to David Dubinsky
Box 2 Folder 1
ILGWU The David Dubinsky Scrapbook
Box 3 Folder 1
David Dubinsky - Address at Annual Meeting of the National Executive Board of the National Coat and Suit Industry Recovery Board
Box 3 Folder 2
Address by David Dubinsky at the Annual Meeting of the National Executive Board of the National Coat and Suit Industry Recovery Board
February 4
Box 3 Folder 3
David Dubinsky Retirement Scrapbook
Box 3 Folder 4
David Dubinsky - Trip to Europe Scrapbook
1948, 1955, and 1956