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Soler, José A.

José A. Soler Papers

1972-2014
20 boxes 26.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 864
Image of José Soler (center) at District 65 rally
José Soler (center) at District 65 rally

A scholar of labor studies and activist, José Soler was born in New York City to a Dominican mother and Puerto Rican father and has been an activist in the cause of Puerto Rican independence and human rights since the 1970s. While a student at the University of New Mexico (BA 1972), Soler emerged as a leader in the Chicano rights organization, the Brown Berets, and while living in Puerto Rico in the late 1970s, he joined the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. Soler has subsequently worked in the labor movement as a shop steward, union organizer with UAW District 65, and labor journalist. As a committed Marxist and prolific writer and editor, he has taken part in causes ranging from anti-imperialist work in the Caribbean and Central America to the anti-apartheid struggle, and he has served on the Executive Board of the US Peace Council. From 1993 until his retirement in 2015, Soler worked as Director of the Arnold M. Dubin Labor Education Center at UMass Dartmouth where he has continued to work on behalf of public education and human rights and national self-determination.

The Soler Papers chronicle over forty years of a life-long activist’s interests and participation in left-wing political, labor, and social justice movements. There is a particular focus on topics relating to socialism and the pro-independence movement in Puerto Rico, anti-imperialist movements in South and Central America and Africa, and issues affecting Puerto Rican and Hispanic workers in the United States, New England, and the New York City area. Published and promotional materials such as periodicals, magazines, newsletters, and pamphlets make up the bulk of the collection, with extensive coverage of the concerns of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Puertorriqueño, PSP), the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), as well as New Jersey chapters of the unions Communications Workers of America (CWA) and District 65, which eventually joined the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW). An additional seven boxes were added to the collection in June 2016, which remain unprocessed. The new materials offer additional documentation from the Dubin Labor Education Center and Soler’s work and interests in education (testing, privatization, and unions), labor, Marxist-Leninism, and various events in the United States and Latin America.

Gift of Jose Soler, 2015, 2016

Subjects

  • Communications Workers of America
  • Labor unions--New York (State)--New York
  • Partido Socialista Puertorriqueño
  • United Automobile, Aircraft, and Vehicle Workers of America. District 65

Types of material

  • Photographs
Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Journeymen Tailors Union. Local 115

ACWA Journeyman Tailors Union Local 115 Records

1945-1984
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 025

Local 115 of Connecticut was comprised of branches from Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury, and affiliated with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.

The ACWA records consist of minutes of meetings, correspondence, reports, and contracts. Also included are a number of agreements between local businesses and the union identifying the union as the bargaining representative of their employees.

Subjects

  • Clothing trade--Labor unions--Connecticut
  • Labor unions--Connecticut

Contributors

  • Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America
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
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
Friedman, Harvey

Harvey Friedman Papers

1922-1992
3.75 linear feet
Call no.: FS 004

Born in June 1922, Harvey Friedman attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and enrolled in the Boston University School of Law in 1941. After serving as a non-commissioned officer with an Army medical unit in France from 1942-1946, Friedman returned home to Massachusetts and became a member of the bar in 1948. For the next fifteen years, he was the Assistant New England Director for the Amalgamated Clothing Worker Union, AFL-CIO. After refusing the position several times, Friedman accepted an offer from the University of Massachusetts Amherst to become Assistant Director of the Labor Relations and Research Center in 1965, earning promotion to Director in 1970. During his tenure at UMass, Friedman taught classes in Political Science, Legal Studies, Government, and Education. He retired from UMass in 1990 and passed away in 1992.

The Friedman Papers contain correspondence, newsclippings, and course materials dating from Friedman’s time at UMass. Also included are materials related to unions with which Friedman worked and documentation of his relationship with the American Arbitration Association.

Subjects

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Labor Relations and Research Center

Contributors

  • Friedman, Harvey
Graphic Communications International Union. Local 48B

GCIU Local 48B Records

1952-1985
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 059

Local of the Graphic Communications International Union that represented over 1000 bindery workers in the Holyoke, Massachusetts area. Records include detailed minutes, shop reports, committee reports, reports of delegates sent to the Holyoke Central Labor Union and national conventions, copies of agreements, notes on contract negotiations, copies of three newsletters, and subject files that document activities as well as the emergence of factionalism within the union.

Subjects

  • Carrying on
  • Collective bargaining--Paper industry--Massachusetts --Holyoke--History--Sources
  • Holyoke (Mass.)--Economic conditions--Sources
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts--Holyoke
  • National Blank Book Co.--History
  • Old unionist
  • Paper industry workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts--Holyoke

Contributors

  • Graphic Arts International Union. Local 48B
  • International Brotherhood of Bookbinders. Local 48

Types of material

  • Newsletters
Hill, Aurin F.

Aurin F. Hill Papers

1885-1929
8 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 579
Image of Aurin and Izetta Hill at Lake Pleasant,<br />ca.1928
Aurin and Izetta Hill at Lake Pleasant,
ca.1928

The self-styled “insane architect” Aurin F. Hill (b. 1853) was a free thinking carpenter and architect in Boston who waged a concerted campaign for his vision of social reform at the turn of the twentieth century. A Spiritualist, social radical, and union man, Hill carried the torch for issues ranging from the nationalization of railroads and corporations to civil rights and women’s rights, and joined in opposition to vaccination, Comstockery and censorship, capital punishment, and lynching. A writing medium, married to the Spiritual evangelist Izetta Sears-Hill, he became President of the National Spiritual Alliance in 1915, a Spiritualist organization based in Lake Pleasant, Mass.

Esoteric, rambling, and often difficult to follow, the Hill papers provide profound insight into the eclectic mind of an important Boston Spiritualist and labor activist at the turn of the twentieth century. Whether written as a diary or scattered notes, a scrapbook, essays, or letters to the editor, Hill’s writings cover a wide range of topics, from spirit influence to labor law, from his confinements for insanity to police strikes, hypnotism, reincarnation, and housing. More than just a reflection of one man’s psychology, the collection reveals much about broader social attitudes toward gender and race, sexuality, urban life, politics, and religion, and the collection is a particularly important resource for the history of the American Spiritualist movement between 1890 and 1920.

Subjects

  • Architects--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Boston (Mass.)--History
  • Carpenters--Labor unions
  • Hypnotism
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Lake Pleasant (Mass.)--History
  • Mediums--Massachusetts
  • Montague (Mass.)--History
  • National Spiritual Alliance
  • Spiritualism
  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

Contributors

  • Hill, Aurin F.
  • Sears-Hill, Izetta B.

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Scrapbooks
International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers. Local 206

IUERMW Local 206 Records

1936-1986
30 boxes 14.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 132

Union that represented workers at the American Bosch plant in Springfield, Massachusetts, affiliated with the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers after 1949.

Records include by-laws, minutes of the Executive Board, General Council, and Membership meetings, correspondence, membership reports, grievance and arbitration records, contract negotiation proposals and counter-proposals, strike materials, and publications documenting the administration, activities, and membership of Local 206. Effects of changing national economy and international trade on workers and union affairs, through time, are evident.

Subjects

  • American Bosch--History
  • Collective bargaining--Machinery industry--Massachusetts --Springfield
  • Industrial relations--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers. Local 206 (Springfield, Mass.)
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Machinists--Labor unions--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Metal-working machinery industry--Massachusetts --Springfield
  • Plant shutdowns--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Industries
  • Strikes and lockouts--Machinery industry--Massachusetts --Springfield
  • United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. Local 206 (Springfield, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)