ILGWU. Education Department records

Collection Number: 5780/166

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


ILGWU. Education Department records, 1920-1979
Collection Number:
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
0.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Articles, reprints, pamphlets, correspondence, photographs.
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Contains correspondence, memoranda, and reports documenting the work of the Education Department between 1920 and 1979, including material relating to several of the ILGWU Education Department's Social and Education Centers in New York City such as attendance sheets and correspondence of Fannia Cohn.
Collection material in English


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).


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.


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.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Education Dept.

Women's clothing industry--United States.
Labor unions--Clothing workers--United States.
Clothing workers--United States.
Industrial relations--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:
ILGWU. Education Department records #5780/166. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
5780: ILGWU records
5780/106: ILGWU. Education Department. Beverly Shulman papers
5780/138: ILGWU. Education Department. Kitty Krupat papers
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


Box 1 Folder 1 1935-1936
Box 1 Folder 2 1935-1936
Box 1 Folder 3 1935-1936
Box 1 Folder 4
Box 1 Folder 5
Box 1 Folder 6 1930-1934
Box 1 Folder 7
Box 1 Folder 8 1935-1936
Box 1 Folder 9 1926-1927
Box 1 Folder 10
Box 1 Folder 11 1951-1954
Box 1 Folder 12
Box 1 Folder 13
Box 1 Folder 14 1943
Box 1 Folder 15
Box 1 Folder 16
Box 1 Folder 17 1927
February 1927.
Box 1 Folder 18 1925-1928
Box 1 Folder 19 1935-1937
Box 1 Folder 20 1935-1936