ILGWU Legal Department Donnelly Garment Company v. ILGWU Records

Collection Number: 5780/162

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


ILGWU Legal Department Donnelly Garment Company v. ILGWU Records, 1935-1943
Collection Number:
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU)
6 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Records (documents).
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Contains transcripts, briefs, and other legal documents relating to Donnelly Garment Company v. ILGWU.
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.


From very early on in its existence, the ILGWU had need for legal counsel, and this was handled in the union's main offices in cooperation with hired attorneys. As the union grew and especially after the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947, the union found cause to establish a Legal Department. The department provided general legal counsel to the union and its affiliates, worked to develop collective bargaining agreement terms, and represented the ILGWU in litigation and arbitration. After the formation of the Master Agreements Department in 1965, the responsibilities for developing CBA terms shifted to the new department.


The Legal Department records do not comprehensively document the ILGWU legal activities, instead focusing on specific cases or series of cases.
Two ILGWU cases are documented in the Legal Department records. The first case involved the Kellwood Corporation, and the second involved the Donnelly Garment Company. The records relating to the Kellwood case (5780/107, 5780/107 AV, 5780/107 P) include court documents, correspondence and memoranda, surveys of strikers, organizing leaflets and newsletters (from both the union and the company), Steve Honeyman's draft accounts of the strike, audio and transcripts of Honeyman's interviews with ILGWU members and staff, newspaper clippings, photographs, and other printed material. The Donnelly Garment Company's case against the ILGWU is documented primarily through transcripts of the case, legal briefs, and related court documents.
Records on series of cases are the most general and extensive of the Legal Department records. They include records on ILGWU cases in the U.S. courts (5780/081), records documenting cases before the National War Labor Board (5780/085), and records relating to a wide variety contract negotiations, arbitration proceedings, and courts cases (5780/063).
Researchers may find complementary material in the other parts of the ILGWU records, such as the papers of the international leadership, especially the papers of ILGWU presidents (Series IV); the records of local unions in instances where these affiliates were involved in litigation or arbitration (Series III); and the collective bargaining agreements (Series VI). Related collections at the Kheel Center include decisions of the Coat and Suit Industry's Impartial Chairman (6036/015) and decisions of the Dress Industry's Impartial Chairman (6036/017).
This collection soley focuses on legal documents relating to the Donnelly Garment Company, including transcripts, briefs, and cases.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

Women's clothing industry--United States.
Clothing workers--Labor unions--United States.
Clothing workers--United States.
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 Legal Department Donnelly Garment Company v. ILGWU Records #5780/162. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
5780: ILGWU records
5780/107: ILGWU Legal Department Records
5780/107 AV: ILGWU Legal Department Audio-Visual Materials
5780/107 P: ILGWU Legal Department Photographs
5780/081: ILGWU Legal Department Records
5780/063: ILGWU Legal Department Records


Box 1 Folder 1 1937
Box 1 Folder 2 1943
Pgs. 1-967.
Box 1 Folder 3 1943
Pgs. 968-1835.
Box 1 Folder 4 1943
Pgs. 1-967. Second copy
Box 1 Folder 5 1943
Pgs. 968-1835. Second copy
Box 2 Folder 1 1943
Pgs. 1836-2218
Box 2 Folder 2 1943
Pgs. 2219-3030
Box 2 Folder 3 1943
Pgs. 3031-4190
Box 2 Folder 4 1943
Pgs. 1836-2791
Box 2 Folder 5 1943
Pgs. 2792-3566
Box 3 Folder 1 1943
Pgs. 4191-5103.
Box 3 Folder 2 1943
Pgs. 5104-5752.
Box 3 Folder 3 1943
Pgs. 5753-6580
Box 3 Folder 4 1943
Pgs. 4191-5103. Second copy
Box 3 Folder 5 1943
Pgs. 5104-5752. Second copy
Box 4 Folder 1 1939
Box 4 Folder 2 1939
Pgs. 1-138(10)
Box 4 Folder 3 1939
Pgs. 138(11)-388
Box 4 Folder 4 1939
Pgs. 389-552
Box 4 Folder 5 1939
Pgs. 553-638
Box 4 Folder 6 1939
Pgs. 639-777
Box 4 Folder 7 1939
Pgs. 778-852
Box 4 Folder 8 1939
Pgs. 853-1034
Box 4 Folder 9 1939
Pgs. 1035-1282
Box 4 Folder 10 1939
Pgs. 1283-1365
Box 4 Folder 11 1939
Pgs. 1366-1411(91-e)
Box 5 Folder 1 1939
Pgs. 1413-1670
Box 5 Folder 2 1939
Pgs. 1671-1927(1)
Box 5 Folder 3 1939
Box 5 Folder 4 1939
Pgs. 2156(1)-2397
Box 5 Folder 5 1939
Pgs. 2398-2556(1)
Box 5 Folder 6 1937
Pgs. 1-340
Box 5 Folder 7 1937
Pgs. 341-659
Box 5 Folder 8 1935
Pgs. 1-200
Box 5 Folder 9 1935
Pgs. 201-318
Box 5 Folder 10 1935
Pgs. 319-443
Box 5 Folder 11 1935
Pgs. 444-663
Box 5 Folder 12 1935
Pgs. 664-813
Box 5 Folder 13 1935
Pgs. 814-957
Box 5 Folder 14 1935
Pgs. 958-1053
Box 5 Folder 15 1935
Pages 1054-1115
Box 6 Folder 1 1943
Pgs. 1-228
Box 6 Folder 2 1943
Pgs. 229-495
Box 6 Folder 3 1943
Pgs. 496-693
Box 6 Folder 4 1943
Pgs. 694-782
Box 6 Folder 5 1938
Box 6 Folder 6 1938
Box 6 Folder 7 1938
Box 6 Folder 8 1938
Box 6 Folder 9 1938
Box 6 Folder 10 1938
Box 6 Folder 11 1939