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Bennett, John W., collector

John W. Bennett Labor Collection, ca. 1880-2000
John W. Bennett Labor Collection image

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

Deary, Tom

Tom Deary Papers, ca. 1970-2006
9 boxes (12.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 526

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.

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
Aurin F. Hill Papers image
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

Lipshires, Sidney

Sidney Lipshires Papers, 1932-2012
7 boxes (3.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 730
Sidney Lipshires Papers image
Sidney Lipshires

Born on April 15, 1919 in Baltimore, Maryland to David and Minnie Lipshires, Sidney was raised in Northampton, Massachusetts where his father owned two shoe stores, David Boot Shop and The Bootery. He attended the Massachusetts State College for one year before transferring to the University of Chicago and was awarded a BA in economics in 1940. His years at the University of Chicago were transformative, Lipshires became politically active there and joined the Communist Party in 1939. Following graduation in 1941, he married Shirley Dvorin, a student in early childhood education; together they had two sons, Ellis and Bernard. Lipshires returned to western Massachusetts with his young family in the early 1940s, working as a labor organizer. He served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946 working as a clerk and interpreter with a medical battalion in France for over a year. Returning home, he ran for city alderman in Springfield on the Communist Party ticket in 1947. Lipshires married his second wife, Joann Breen Klein, in 1951 and on May 29, 1956, the same day his daughter Lisa was born, he was arrested under the Smith Act for his Communist Party activities. Before his case was brought to trial, the Smith Act was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Disillusioned with the Communist Party, he severed his ties with it in 1957, but continued to remain active in organized labor for the rest of his life. Earning his masters in 1965 and Ph.D. in 1971, Lipshires taught history at Manchester Community College in Connecticut for thirty years. During that time he worked with other campus leaders to establish a statewide union for teachers and other community college professionals, an experience he wrote about in his book, Giving Them Hell: How a College Professor Organized and Led a Successful Statewide Union. Sidney Lipshires died on January 6, 2011 at the age of 91.

Ranging from an autobiographical account that outlines his development as an activist (prepared in anticipation of a trial for conspiracy charges under the Smith Act) to drafts and notes relating to his book Giving Them Hell, the Sidney Lipshires Papers offers an overview of his role in the Communist Party and as a labor organizer. The collection also contains his testimony in a 1955 public hearing before the Special Commission to Study and Investigate Communism and Subversive Activities, photographs, and biographical materials.

Subjects
  • Communism--United States--History
  • Communists--Massachusetts
  • Jews--Massachusetts--Northampton--History
  • Jews--Political activity--United States--History--20th century
  • Labor movement--United States--History--20th century
  • Labor unions--United States--Officials and employees--Biography
Contributors
  • Lipshires, David M
  • Lipshires, Joann B
  • Lipshires, Sidney
Types of material
  • Autobiographies
  • Photographs
  • Testimonies

Robinson, Craig D.

Craig D. Robinson Papers, ca.1980-2007
4 boxes (6 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 739
Craig D. Robinson Papers image
Robinson for president flier

A labor attorney and activist, Craig Robinson was born in Hartford, Conn., on August 6, 1952, and raised in Stafford. After rising tuition led him to drop out of the University of Connecticut in 1971, Robinson worked in a variety of manual jobs until he was hired by the US Postal Service in 1974. From the time of his assignment to the bulk mail facility in Springfield the next year, Robinson was an active member of the American Postal Workers Union, eventually serving as steward, vice president, and president of his Local, and his activism often created friction with management. Earning his BA at UMass Amherst (1980) and JD from the Western New England School of Law (1984), he began practicing labor law, moving to full time in 1991. Devoted to workplace justice, he served as General Counsel for the Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council and for Locals of the United Roofers Union and Amalgamated Transit Union, among others, and was a founding board member of the Western Massachusetts Coalituion for Occupational Safety and Health. Robinson died on June 17, 2007, and is survived by his wife Linda Tonoli, and son.

The Robinson papers contain a record of labor activism in the Pioneer Valley and beyond. The collection incldues retained copies of legal filings relating to arbitration and other labor-related cases, along with articles written by and about Robinson, and an assortment of other notes and correspondence.

Subjects
  • American Postal Workers Union
  • Labor laws and legislation
  • Labor lawyers--Massachusetts
  • Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council
Contributors
  • Robinson, Craig D.

Textile Workers Union of America. New Bedford Joint Board

TWUA New Bedford Joint Board Records, 1942-1981
19 boxes (9 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 134

Four local unions located in New Bedford, Massachusetts, that joined in 1939 and became the first affiliates of the New Bedford Joint Board of the Textile Workers Union of America. Includes by-laws, minutes of board of directors and local meetings, correspondence, subject files, photographs, and scrapbooks relating to the administration of the New Bedford Joint Board, documenting its role in addressing grievances filed against individual companies, in facilitating arbitration, and hearing wage stabilization Board cases.

Subjects
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Textile workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Textile Workers Union of America
Picket line, New Bedford
Picket line, New Bedford, 195
“Teamsters crossed the Hathaway picket line”

Western Massachusetts was an early and important center of both industrialization and the development of organized labor, and in recent years, it has experienced many of traumatic effects of de-industrialization and economic transformation. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives seeks to document the history of organized labor, the experience of work, and business and industry in New England.

At the heart of the SCUA holdings is a suite of collections documenting the organized labor movement in New England. The official records of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, a large and important collection, is joined by records for trades ranging from clothing and textile workers to carpenters, electrical workers, and granite cutters.

Of particular note is the John W. Bennett Labor History Collection, a large assemblage of labor-related realia and ephemera, including hundreds of badges, pins, watch fobs, lighters, and other artifacts distributed to union members at annual conventions and other union events. The collection is a unique resource for study of the iconography of organized labor and includes items from representative unions and locals ranging from the Knights of Labor in the 1870s to the present. While centered on New England, the Bennett Collection extends nationally.

Notable collections

  • Organized Labor
    • From the records of the Massachusetts State AFL-CIO to the papers of union locals and labor leaders.
  • See all Business and industry
    • Manufacturing
      • The industrial heritage of New England is represented in collections ranging from the records of the Clement Co., Lamson and Goodnow, and the Northampton Cutlery Company (manufacturers of cutlery), the American Writing Paper Company, the Rodney Hunt Co. (a manufacturer of textile machinery and waterwheels), and Smith and Wesson. The most recent collection is the papers of Sidney Topol, CEO of Scientific-Atlanta, a corporation at the forefront of the growth of cable television in the United States.
    • Merchants and commerce
      • Account books and other business records for a number of New England merchants dating back to the eighteenth century, ranging from small scale traders to keepers of rural general stores to shipping merchants trading in the Atlantic economy.

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Two girls in carriage, Quabbin region, ca.1910
Two girls in carriage, Quabbin region, ca.1910

SCUA is dedicated to documenting New England history, including primary materials relating to the political, cultural, economic, and intellectual life of our region, and the lives and experiences of its residents.

The collections in SCUA touch on many aspects of the history of the region with developing depth in immigration, labor, work, and industry, social change and movements for social change, and literature and the arts. Of particular note are two exceptionally large and rich collections: the records of the Hampshire Council of Governments, which contains over 325 years of county-level governance in western Massachusetts, and the records of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, which contains 350 years of Quaker history.

The recent political history of the region is documented through the papers of congressmen Silvio O. Conte and his successor John Olver, Governor Jane Swift, state Senator Stanley Rosenberg, state representatives John G. Clark, Maurice Donahue, Whiting Griswold, and John Haigis, and other figures involved in the political life of the Commonwealth.

In addition to holding material relating to many individual towns and communities in western Massachusetts, SCUA maintains a special interest in the history of the towns of the Quabbin watershed.

Significant collections

  • Business and industry
    • In addition to collections relating to organized labor and the labor movement, SCUA attempts to document the experience of work and the business community to provide a rounded understanding of work life in New England. For a more complete listing, see our guide for Labor, Work, and Industry.
  • Civic organizations and charities
    • Collections ranging from the records of charitable organizations that provide social services to groups that foster civic engagement and social justice, benevolent and ethnic self-help societies, to organizations that support social and professional communities.
  • Family history
    • SCUA has a strong interest in “family collections,” typically collections that include correspondence, photograph albums, family and farm accounts, and other materials that reveal the every day lives of New Englanders. Researchers on family life and genealogy should note that many collections indexed under other subjects contain personal and family information of some importance. Our printed materials collections include many local and county histories, genealogies, and other resources which may be useful for understanding family life.
  • Immigration, demography, and ethnicity
  • Medical history
    • Collections include daybooks and medical accounts of physicians, primarily from the nineteenth century, personal papers of physicians, and some materials on public health policy.
  • Military history
    • Although SCUA has scattered holdings relating to earlier wars, the department houses interesting materials relating to World War II and the War in Vietnam, with the latter concentrated on the antiwar movement.
  • Political life and culture
    • The distinctive political culture of Massachusetts and formal and informal political activity in the Commonwealth. Although the collections extend back into the nineteenth century, our focus is primarily on the post-World War II period.
  • Printing in rural Massachusetts
    • SCUA collects books, broadsides, and other materials printed in rural New England prior to 1900. The collections include a growing collection for the printers in the Quabbin region, Solomon and John Howes, but also includes works printed in small towns throughout Berkshire, Hampshire, Hamden, and Franklin Counties.
  • Quabbin Regional collections
    • Collections relating to all aspects of life and the legacy of the four towns inundated by the Quabbin Reservoir: Dana, Greenwich, Enfield, and Prescott, as well as surrounding communities such as New Salem, Petersham, and Wendell. In our rare books holdings, we have a number of works printed in Enfield or Greenwich, mostly by Solomon and John Howe.
  • Religious life
    • Our efforts to document the spiritual lives and religious commitments of New Englanders has resulted in a number of manuscript and archival collections. Our social change holdings include a number of collections on spiritually-motivated social reform, and our rare book holdings include hundreds of published sermons and other printed materials relating to religious life in the region.
  • New England regional history

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