ILGWU Chorus Photographs.

Collection Number: 5780/214 P

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


ILGWU Chorus Photographs.,
Collection Number:
5780/214 P
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
The collection contains photographs of the chorus, including group shots, as well as photographs and memorial material for Malcolm Dodds, the musical director.
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).


The ILGWU Chorus was an organization within the ILGWU that brought together union members to perform songs for television and radio, and at conventions and other public events. Under the direction of Malcolm Dodds, the ILGWU Chorus was probably most-widely known for its performances of “Look for the Union Label” on television commercials in the mid-1970s. The song, written by Paula Green and composed by Malcolm Dodds, was part of the ILGWU’s general campaign to educate the public about the union label, the work of the ILGWU, and the importance of both to consumers and workers alike. The ILGWU Chorus appeared at ILGWU conventions, AFL-CIO conventions, community and political events, and the group sang songs in Chinese, English, French, and Spanish.
Local unions, district councils, and regional departments also organized choruses, and in many instances, these groups pre-dated the ILGWU Chorus that gained national recognition in the 1970s. These smaller groups performed at local and regional meetings, community events, and sometimes at the ILGWU’s international conventions. The musical revue, “My Name Is Mary Brown,” for example, was performed by the Northeast Department at the ILGWU’s Golden Jubilee Convention in 1950. Along with orchestras, theater groups, sports teams, and others, these choruses were one part of the union’s active educational departments.


The records of the ILGWU Chorus consist primarily of sheet music, and minimal records relating to the chorus including attendance lists and administrative aspects of the group's performances. The photographs of the ILGWU Chorus include images from the group, as well as portraits of the chorus director Malcolm Dodds.
The ILGWU Chorus records and photographs at the Kheel Center document a very small fraction of the work of the group, thus researchers would do well to review other parts of the ILGWU Records for further documentation. Researchers should consider review the Report and Record of Proceedings of the ILGWU's conventions after 1975. These records of proceedings provide some general information about the work of the organization, and when they chorus performed, they list the songs performed. Also of interest are recordings of Union Label commercials in the ILGWU Audio-Visual Collection (5780 AV). These include several of the different commercials that were televised as part of the Union Label Campaign.

Dodds, Malcolm
Tyler, Gus
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union --Archives
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union --Archives
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Operations Department--Archives
Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees --Archives
UNITE HERE (Organization) --Archives

Form and Genre Terms:


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 Chorus Photographs. #5780/214 P. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
5780: ILGWU records
5780/214: ILGWU Chorus Records and Sheet Music.


Box 1 Folder 1
Box 1 Folder 2 1996