Anna Bensh Panoramic Anniversary and Convention Photographs

Collection Number: 6036/088 P

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


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
Anna Bensh Panoramic Anniversary and Convention Photographs, 1948- 1953
Collection Number:
6036/088 P
Creator:
Anna Bensh
Quantity:
0.1 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
PHotographs.
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
The collection contains panoramic photographs from ILGWU conventions and anniversary dinners.
Language:
Collection material in English


ILGWU ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

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.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Anna Bensh was born on June 17, 1907 in Mahanoy City, PA, and resided in Coaldale, PA, and Nanticoke, PA. According to the 1930 census, she worked as a seamstress in a shirt factory in Morea, PA.
By the mid 1930s, she had moved to New York, living first in the Bronx and then Queens while working again as a seamstress in the garment district. She was able to purchse a 3-family townhouse in Astoria, NY, in the 1950s. She was last employed as an operator at Bruck's Uniform Company in New York and was also a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and attended several conventions.
Family lore indicates that her boss asked her to go into business with him but she didn't have the money to do so. Lore also indicates that she saw/met Eleanor Roosevelt at a union dinner.
In 1967, she sold her town home and purchased a house in Boonton, NJ. She retired shortly after from Bruck's. She continued to sew and create draperies and slipcovers for her home and clothing for herself and relatives. She died at home on December 22, 1995 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Boonton, NJ.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

Included in the collection are five panoramic photographs orignally belonging to Anna Bensh. There is the 35th Anniversary of Local 91 of the ILGWU taken during the dinner party at the Hotel Commodore on December 18, 1948. And the 40th Anniversary of Local 91 of the ILGWU taken during the dinner party at the Hotel Commodore on December 12, 1953. Also included is the ILGWU Golden Jubilee Convention from May 23-June 1, 1950 in Atlantic City, NJ taken outside the convention hall, as well as two images from inside the convention hall with the delegates at long tables.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Bensh, Anna.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.


INFORMATION FOR USERS

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:
Anna Bensh Panoramic Anniversary and Convention Photographs #6036/088 P. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related Collections:
5780: ILGWU records

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
Box 1 Folder 1 1948
Box 1 Folder 2 1950
Box 1 Folder 3 1950
Box 1 Folder 5 1950
Box 1 Folder 5 1953