Collecting area: Labor Page 2 of 8
Belanger, J. William, 1907-1986

J. William Belanger Papers

1932-1986
3 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 117

A leader in organized labor, William Belanger began as an organizer for the AFL’s United Textile Workers in 1932, eventually becoming the New England Regional Director and International Vice President of the TWUA and in 1958, the first President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

The Belanger Papers provide insight into the long career in labor activism, and include correspondence, writings, subject files, and printed materials. Of particular interest is a series of four oversized scrapbooks that cover Belanger’s career from 1934 through his final position as Director of the Massachusetts Department of Employment Security. These are especially enlightening on labor’s political activities, the CIO’s success in thwarting anti-labor referenda in 1948, and the efforts to expel Communists from the labor movement.

Subjects

  • Elections--Massachusetts--History--20th century
  • Labor leaders--New England--Biography
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1865-1950
  • New England--Economic conditions--20th century
  • Textile Workers Organizing Committee
  • Textile Workers Union of America
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Textile workers--Labor unions--New England

Contributors

  • Belanger, J. William, 1907-1986

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
Bennett, John W., collector

John W. Bennett Labor Collection

ca. 1880-2000
118 boxes
Call no.: MS 443
Image of

Labor historian John W. Bennett has researched the history of the labor movement since his days as an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts (Class of 1952). A born collector, he began accumulating memorabilia associated with unions, drawn to their potential as a visual record of labor iconography and self-representation.

Extending back to the 1880s, the Bennett Collection includes examples from around the country, but with a particularly strong representation of New England unions between the mid-1930s and mid-1970s.

Subjects

  • Labor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Bennett, John W

Types of material

  • Badges
  • Ephemera
  • Realia
Bruskin, Gene

Gene Bruskin Papers

1963-2018
8 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1020
Image of Gene Bruskin
Gene Bruskin

Gene Bruskin arrived at Princeton in 1964 as a basketball player and left as a political radical. After taking part in the Second Venceremos Brigade, Bruskin got involved in antiracist and labor organizing in Boston. As president of the United Steelworkers of America local during the busing crisis of the 1970s, he helped win overwhelming support among the city’s bus drivers to have the union represent them, leading successful campaigns for better wages and working conditions. In the years since, he has held numerous high-profile positions nationally and internationally, including as labor director for Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, Secretary Treasurer for the Food and Allied Service Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, and co-convener of U.S. Labor Against the War, an organization promoting peace and the demilitarization of U.S. foreign policy. Bruskin was a major figure in the largest private union election in the history of the United Food and Commercial Workers when he led the successful campaign to unionize 5,000 workers at Smithfield Foods in North Carolina. Since retiring in 2012, he has continued to consult with unions. In addition he has returned to some of his earlier undertakings in producing cultural works as a poet, songwriter, and playwright, centered on social justice and working class themes.

Documenting nearly fifty years of activism, Gene Bruskin’s papers are an exceptional resource for the labor movement in the 1970s through early 2000s, and particularly its radical end. Although Bruskin’s early years are relatively sparsely represented, there is a significant run of Brother, the first anti-sexist, “male liberation” journal that he helped found while in Oakland, and the collection includes important material from his work in Boston with the Hyde Park Defense Committee, the Red Basement Singers, and especially with the School Bus Drivers and their tumultuous three-week strike in 1980. The collection also contains a rich assortment of material on labor left and antiwar organizing in the 1990s and 2000s, the Justice at Smithfield campaign, and Bruskin’s work on behalf of single payer insurance, for International Solidarity, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees.

Gift of Gene Bruskin, April 2018

Subjects

  • Boston (Mass.)--History
  • Bus drivers--Labor unions
  • Charter schools
  • Jackson, Jesse, 1941-
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Labor unions--North Carolina
  • National Rainbow Coalition (U.S.)
  • Public schools
  • Smithfield Foods, Inc.
  • Strikes and lockouts--Bus drivers
  • Weatherman (Organization)

Contributors

  • Boston School Bus Drivers Union
  • United Steelworkers of America
Calkins, David

David and Marshall Calkins Account Books

1848-1855
3 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 178

Brothers from Wilbraham, Mass., David and Marshall Calkins received medical degrees together at the Worcester Medical Institution in 1848. Although David died at the age of 31 in 1855 while just beginning a career, Marshall went on to build a considerable reputation in medicine, working with the Springfield City Hospital for many years and teaching at the University of Vermont.

Kept during the Calkins brothers’ years in Monson, Mass., the three daybooks that comprise this collection list patients treated and their origin or race, along with medical class notes, services provided, remedies, and forms of pay, including bartering for goods. Also included is an account of a stay in Wilbraham.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987

Subjects

  • Monson (Mass.)--History--19th century
  • Physicians--Massachusetts--Monson

Contributors

  • Calkins, David
  • Calkins, Marshall

Types of material

  • Account books
Cambridge Central Labor Union

Cambridge Central Labor Union Minute book

1926-1932
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 482 bd

The Central Labor Union was active in the Boston and Cambridge area as early as the 1870s, and by the turn of the twentieth century, the Cambridge Central Labor Union was a thriving organization. Active in many of the significant labor campaigns of the day, including the struggle for an eight hour day, the regulation of child labor, and the fight for collective bargaining, the Cambridge Central Labor Union was said in the late 1930s to represent nearly 30,000 workers in the city.

The minutes of the Cambridge Central Labor Union document the day to day operations of a union representing a cross-section of trades in the city of Cambridge, its relations to other organized labor groups, and the impact of the Depression of 1929 on working people in Massachusetts.

Subjects

  • Cambridge (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts--Cambridge

Types of material

  • Minute books
Center for Popular Economics (U.S.)

Center for Popular Economics Records

1978-1986
21 boxes 12.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 109

Established in 1978 by a group of radical economists at UMass Amherst and local community and labor activists, the Center for Popular Economics. The Center’s staff grew to include a diverse group of economics professors, degree candidates, and activists from a wide range of educational institutions and social forums.

The collection documents the development of the Center’s program, curriculum, and staff, as well as their fund raising, advertising, outreach and networking activities.

Subjects

  • Economics
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Economics

Contributors

  • Center for Popular Economics (U.S.)
Cigar Makers of the U.S.A. Local 39 (New Haven, Conn.)

Cigar Makers of the U.S.A., Local 39 Minute Books

1886-1941
2 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 383

Founded in 1864, the Cigar Makers were charted by the AFL in 1887. The collection consists of two minute books for Local 39 of New Haven, Connecticut, the earlier dating from 1886-1891 and the later volume dating from 1930-1941. Beginning in 1880, cigar manufacturers who negotiated labor contracts with the union affixed blue labels to boxes of “union made” cigars. A sheet of these union labels are laid into the back of the earlier minute book.

Subjects

  • Cigar makers--Labor unions
  • Labor unions--Connecticut

Contributors

  • Cigar Makers Union
Communist Party of Massachusetts

Communist Party of Massachusetts Collection

1932-1957
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 538

A branch of the Communist Party of the United States of America, the Communist Party of Massachusetts enjoyed strong popularity during the 1930s and 1940s, organizing the textile and other manufacturing industries.

This small collection is comprised of a miscellaneous assemblage of fliers, broadsides, and ephemera issued by the Communist Party of Massachusetts and its affiliates from the mid-1930s through the repression of the McCarthy era. Originating mostly from Boston, the items in the collection center on significant themes in Communist thought, including opposition to Fascism and militarism, labor solidarity against capital, and elections. A small number of items relate to Party-approved cultural productions, including plays and gatherings to celebrate Lenin or the Russian Revolution. Many items are associated with Otis A. Hood, a perpetual candidate for public office on the Communist Party ticket who became a target for McCarthy-era repression in the mid-1950s.

Acquired from Eugene Povirk, 2008

Subjects

  • Antiwar movements--Massachusetts
  • Communists--Massachusetts
  • Elections--Massachusetts
  • World War, 1939-1945

Contributors

  • Communist Party of Massachusetts

Types of material

  • Broadsides
  • Fliers
Deary, Tom

Tom Deary Papers

ca. 1970-2006
9 boxes 12.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 526
Image of Tom Deary (right) at meeting of New England Labor News
Tom Deary (right) at meeting of New England Labor News

Tom Deary was an union organizer for the IUE, serving on the executive board of Local 201 at the GE Plant in Lynn, Massachusetts. Involved in the 1969-1970 strike, Deary joined the IUE staff in 1971 and served for 30 years as an organizer, negotiator, and strike leader in the northeast and southern states. Frequently at odds with union careerists, he built a small labor newspaper in the 1980s into one with a regional focus, New England Labor News and Commentary.

The Deary papers include organizer reports, correspondence, IUE election campaign literature, and oral histories and videotapes. Letters, financial records, and business plans document Deary’s establishment of a regional labor newspaper, the New England Labor News and Commentary.

Gift of Marge Deary, June 2007

Subjects

  • Labor unions--New England
  • Labor unions--Organizing--United States--History--20th century
  • Labor unions--United States--Officials and employees--History--20th century

Contributors

  • Deary, Tom
Fall River Loom Fixers’ Association

Fall River Loom-Fixers' Association Records

1895-1917
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 003

Members of the Fall River Loom Fixers Association included some of the most skilled workers in the New England textile industry. The association, on behalf of its members, sought to improve poor working conditions, to provide assistance for members affected by pay reductions or layoffs, and to intervene in conflicts between members and management. The union also served a social function, organizing parades, social gatherings, and excursions. In the 1910s it became affiliated with the United Textile Workers for America.

Records of the Loom Fixers Association include executive committee minutes (1900-1901 and 1911-1917), a treasurer’s book (1901-1905), and six dues books (1895-1907).

Subjects

  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Textile workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts