Elaine Leeder Collection of Rose Pesotta Papers

Collection Number: 5928

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


Elaine Leeder Collection of Rose Pesotta Papers, 1912-1961
Collection Number:
Pesotta, Rose Leeder, Elaine
2 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Papers, correspondence,photographs, videotapes, motion pictures (visual works).
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Correspondence, publications, photographs, and videotapes of Rose Pesotta, organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union.
Collection material in English


Born Rakhel Peisoty in Derazhnia, Ukraine in 1896 to grain merchants, Pesotta was well educated and influenced by the Narodnaya Volya (People's Will), and eventually adopted anarchist views.
Pesotta emigrated to New York City at the age of 17 (1913), and found employment in a shirtwaist factory, she joined the ILGWU very soon after. The ILGWU was a union that represented mostly Jewish and Latina female garment workers. She was elected to the all male executive board of ILGWU Local 25 in 1920. Pesotta went to Brookwood Labor College for two years in the 1920s.
In 1933 the union sent her to Los Angeles to organize the garment workers there. The organizing of the Mexican immigrant garment workers lead to the Los Angeles Garment workers Strike of 1933. As a result of this success, she was made vice-president of the union in 1934.
In 1944, she resigned from the executive board of the union in protest of the fact that, despite 85% of the union's memebership were women, she was the sole female executive member.
Rose Pesotta died in 1965.
1896 Born in Derazhnya, Russia, November 20
1909-12 Attended Rosalia Davidoffs private girls' School
1913 Arrived in USA with her grandmother
1914 Joined Local 25, ILGWU
1914-24 Worked as a seamstress
1919 Theodore Kushnarev deported to Russia
Father dies in Derazhnya
1922 Attended Bryn Mawr summer school
Researched Sacco Vanzetti case for Local 25
1924-26 Attended Brookwood Labor College
1926-33 Worked as a seamstress in NYC
1930 Attended Wisconsin summer school
1933 Organized in Los Angeles for ILGWU
1934 Elected Vice-President of ILGWU
Sent to Puerto Rico to organize seamstresses
1935 Organized in Seattle
Organized in Buffalo
1936 Organized rubber workers in Akron
Began involvement with Powers Hapgood
Organized in Montreal
1937 Organized auto workers in Flint for CIO
Returned to Montreal to organize
Reelected to second term as vice president
Slashed by razor during Cleveland Knitting Mill Strike
1942 Vacation in Mexico
1944 Resigned as ILGWU vice president
Published "Bread Upon the Waters"
1945 Worked for Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith
1946 Traveled to Norway, Sweden, Poland
Resigned from ADL and returned to New York City as a seamstress
1949 Worked as Midwest regional director for the American Trade Union Council of the Histadrut
Death of Powers Hapgood
1950 Visited Europe and Israel
1955 Married Albert Martin (Frank Lopez)
1958 Published "Days of Our Lives"
1965 Died in Miami, Florida on December 6

Pesotta, Rose, 1896-
Leeder, Elaine J.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
B'nai B'rith. Anti-defamation League.

Labor disputes -- United States.
Labor unions -- United States.
Labor movement -- United States.
Working class -- United States.

Form and Genre Terms:
Motion pictures (visual works)


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:
Elaine Leeder Collection of Rose Pesotta Papers #5928. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

Series I. Correspondence
Series II. Poland-Norway-Sweden
Series III. Publications and Manuscripts
Sub-Series A. Drafts of manuscripts
Sub-Series B. Pamphlets and Articles
Sub-Series C. Broadsides, Leaflets, Announcements
Sub-Series D. Newspaper clippings
Series IV. Address File
Series V. Miscellaneous


Arranged in alphabetical order.
Box 1 Folder 1 1943
Form letter from treasurer asking for support.
Box 1 Folder 2 1954
Personal correspondence to "Albert and Rose."
Box 1 Folder 3 1958
1 letter-untranslated.
Box 1 Folder 4 1955
Holiday greetings.
Box 1 Folder 5 1953
Box 1 Folder 6 1950
Personal correspondence on Joint Board; Millinery Workers letterhead
Box 1 Folder 7 1940-1949
Personal and business correspondence. Dicsusses John L. Lewis broadcast, the CIO, FDR, Ford Strike (1941), organizing prudential agents, Carlo Tresca murder, UAW membership, work on family farm and many other topics. Closes one letter (1940) "my Rose of Akron and Flint." Also includes four page tribute by Rose Pesotta after his death in 1949 and newspaper clippings
Box 1 Folder 8 1940-1949
Box 1 Folder 9 1940-1949
Box 1 Folder 10 1940-1949
Box 1 Folder 11 1940-1949
Box 1 Folder 12 1935-1943
Includes greeting card and miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 13 1958-1959
Box 1 Folder 14 1951
Box 1 Folder 15 1912-1925
Personal love letters to Rose after his deportment to Russia
Box 1 Folder 16 1912-1926
Box 1 Folder 17 1912-1927
Box 1 Folder 18 1912-1928
Box 1 Folder 19 1946-1959
Box 1 Folder 20 1959
Box 1 Folder 21
Ticket - "Salute to A.P. Randolph," n.d.
Box 1 Folder 22 1959
Memo from Pesotta with biographical information
Box 1 Folder 23 1952
Box 1 Folder 24 1951
Box 1 Folder 25 1956
Box 1 Folder 26 1954-1957
Note of thanks for her financial support; letter from Thomas requesting additional biographical information in order to write an introduction for her book (1957).
Box 1 Folder 27 1954
Greeting card
Box 1 Folder 28 1955
Greeting card
Rose Pesotta traveled to Poland, Norway and Sweden in 1946. She was invited by the Norwegian Labour Party to addres an International Labor Institute on the labor and social situation in the U.S. She visited Poland to see the effects of World War II. This series includes correspondence, manuscripts, notes and related pamphlets.
Box 1 Folder 29 1946-1948
Box 1 Folder 30
Includes index cards with notes and addresses
Box 1 Folder 31
Box 1 Folder 32
Box 1 Folder 33
3 pages Anti-Semitism in Russia; 3 pages Prologue; 1 page David and his family
Box 1 Folder 34
75 pages
Box 1 Folder 35
13 pages
Box 1 Folder 36
Box 1 Folder 37
Box 1 Folder 38
5 pages description of her travels; 10 pages describing her visit to Norway and other manuscript drafts
Box 1 Folder 39
22 pages
Rose Pesotta's writings
Box 1 Folder 40
Box 1 Folder 41
Publications by others. Arranged alphabetically
Box 1 Folder 42
Beals, Carlton, "Rifle, Rule in Cuba"; Cox, James, "Hitler's Hatchet Man!" Dressmakers' Voice, December 1934; and others
Box 1 Folder 43
ILGWU, "The Communist Plague in Our Unions"
Box 1 Folder 44
Nash, Al, "The Shop Steward System"
Box 1 Folder 45
Articles by Walter Reuther; article by Sidney Solomon
Box 1 Folder 46
Box 1 Folder 47
Box 1 Folder 48
Box 1 Folder 49
Box 1 Folder 50
Box 1 Folder 51 1927-1961
Includes index and business cards with addresses
Box 1 Folder 52
Box 1 Folder 53
Box 1 Folder 54
Box 1 Folder 55
Box 1 Folder 56
Box 1 Folder 57
Box 1 Folder 58
Box 1 Folder 59
Includes Pesotta's insurance cards, membership cards, identification and business cards
Box 7