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Vega, Carlos

Carlos Vega Collection

ca.1966-1995
148 volumes, 1 box, 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 800
Image of Carlos Vega ca. 1990
Carlos Vega ca. 1990

An Ecuadorian-born community activist, Carlos Vega moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts, with his family in 1955. Settling in the working-class “Flats” neighborhood at a time when many of Holyoke’s factories were relocating to the southern United States or Asia, the Vegas were one of the few Spanish-speaking families in the city, but when Carlos began to work on a local tobacco farm at the age of 14, he encountered the new influx of migrants from Puerto Rico who had been lured to the Connecticut Valley as agricultural laborers by the Department of Labor. With the Puerto Rican economy declining in the 1960s, many of these farm workers settled permanently in Springfield and Holyoke, but they soon discovered that the declining economy there combined with racism and urban decay blocked their hopes for upward mobility. Radicalized by the anti-colonial, anti-war, and Civil Rights movements of the late 1960s, Vega emerged as an important community organizer in the 1970s, working with Fair Share, New Unity, Urban Ministry, and other progressive organizations. With a backdrop of riots, arson, and racial tension, these organizations focused on issues relevant to the Puerto Rican community, particularly voter education and registration, fair housing, and education. In 1982, Vega helped found Nueva Esperanza, a non-profit community development organization whose mission was to restore and maintain blighted buildings in South Holyoke. He worked with Nueva Esperanza for over 30 years, continuing until 2010 after a brain cancer diagnosis in 1995.  He survived until April 2012.

The materials in this collection reflect Vega’s interests in left wing movements in Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, South America and Africa from the 1960s through 1980s and include leaflets, pamphlets, books, and newsletters. The approximately 300 items offer sometimes scarce documentation of internationalist liberation movements such as the PAIGC in Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, the Tupamaros in Uruguay, and the EFLNA in Eritrea. Of particular note is a small collection documenting Vega’s participation in the 1974 Venceremos Brigade and a collection of clippings, newsletters, notes, fliers, conference material, and newspapers from various groups such as New England Action Research, Friends of the Filipino People, The Latin American Student Association, and the Ethiopian Students Union of North America. Some printed materials are cataloged and housed with the rare books collection.

Gift of Jesse Vega-Fry, Apr. 2012

Subjects

  • Central America--Foreign relations--United States
  • Civil Rights movements--Africa
  • Civil Rights movements--Central America
  • Civil Rights movements--Chile
  • Civil Rights movements--United States
  • Civil Rights movements-Asia
  • Civil Rights movements-Caribbean
  • Latin America--Periodicals
  • Nicaragua--History--1979-1990
  • Radicalism--United States
  • Revolutionary literature
  • Socialism
  • United States--Foreign relations--Central America
  • Venceremos Brigade
Wright, John

John Wright Account Books

1818-1859
9 vols. 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 162

Descendants of one of the founding families of Northampton, Mass., John Wright and his brother Samuel were farmers and freight haulers during the first half of the nineteenth century. Before the 1840s, the brothers hauled freight by wagon from Northampton as far away as Hartford and Boston, however the advent of lower-cost carriers over canal and rail, led them to restrict their operations to a local clientele.

The Wright collection includes nine bound volumes and four folders of loose material associated with the businesses of John Wright, his brother Samuel, and son Edwin. They document the growth of a freight hauling firm that supported a substantial trade stretching to Boston, as well as the eventual decline of that business.

Subjects

  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Northampton
  • Freight and freightage--Massachusetts
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century

Types of material

  • Account books
Yankee Publishing Incorporated

Yankee Publishing Inc. Records

1799-1999 Bulk: 1935-1999
50 boxes 61.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 732
Image of First issue of Yankee Magazine
First issue of Yankee Magazine

Yankee Publishing was founded in 1935 by Robb Sagendorph, who saw an opportunity for a magazine devoted to depicting New England life and culture. With an initial subscription of 614, Yankee Magazine was launched in September of that year and despite the hardships of Depression and war, it has thrived, becoming a beloved institution. In 1939, Sagendorph purchased publishing rights for the Old Farmer’s Almanac, which had been published continuously since 1792, and quickly restored it to profitability. Still based in Dublin, N.H., Yankee remains an independent, family-owned enterprise, with responsibilities passing to his nephew Judson Hale, son-in-law Rob Trowbridge, and grandson Jamie Trowbridge. Although the company has made forays into other areas of publishing, Yankee Magazine and Old Farmer’s Almanac remain its core business.

The records of Yankee Publishing offer insight into the early years and growth of the corporation and its remarkable survival in age of media conglomeration. The collection includes two boxes of materials relating to the founder, Robb Sagendorph, and extensive correspondence, reports, memos, and other materials relating to Yankee Magazine and Old Farmer’s Almanac through 1999. In addition to nearly complete runs of both of the mainstay periodicals, the collection also includes a variety of materials accumulated by Yankee’s owners over the years, including several hundred glass plate negatives depicting New England and its characters.

Gift of Yankee Publishing, Mar. 2012

Subjects

  • Almanacs, American
  • New England--History
  • New England--Social life and customs
  • Old Farmer's Almanac
  • Perodicals--New England
  • Publishers and publishing--New England
  • Yankee Magazine

Contributors

  • Hale, Judson D
  • Sagendorph, Robb Hansell
  • Trowbridge, Rob

Types of material

  • Almanacs
  • Photographs
Barkin, Solomon, 1907-

Solomon Barkin Papers

1930-1988
11 linear feet
Call no.: FS 100

Born in 1902, Solomon Barkin was an economist, education director for the Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA ), and from 1968 to 1978 a professor at the University of Massachusetts and research associate at the Labor Center.

The bulk of the Barkin collection, over 10.5 linear feet, consists of bound notebooks containing speeches, typescripts, and printed versions of articles, book reviews, congressional testimony, forewords, and introductions — nearly 600 in all — written by Barkin. One box (0.5 linear foot) contains correspondence, bibliographies, tributes and awards, and a biography. Generally, the collection illustrates Barkin’s life as both a union organizer and an economist. His writings reflect his attempts to create “a system of trade union economics” as a counterpoise to standard “enterprise economics,” as well as his belief that labor should not be viewed as a commodity.

Subjects

  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Textile Workers Union of America
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Labor Relations and Research Center

Contributors

  • Barkin, Solomon, 1907-
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
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
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
Friedman, Alice H. (Alice Howell)

Alice Howell Friedman Papers

ca. 1967-2014
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 169

Alice Howell Friedman, a professor in the School of Nursing from 1967 until her retirement in 1984, was a strong advocate for the professionalization of nursing, and an activist for unionization and equitable compensation for nurses. Friedman arrived during a period of rapid growth for the School of Nursing and her push to broaden the educational content of nursing students played a significant role in the further growth and success of the program. This approach is exemplified in the International Experiences program she founded. After retirement, Friedman remained very involved in the field of nursing and, among many significant activities, focused on the history of nursing, becoming a tireless lay-archivist, forming the Nursing Archives at Boston University and developing the School of Nursing collections at UMass Amherst.

The Alice Howell Friedman papers document Friedman’s time as an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at UMass and her work as a labor activist, including lecture notes, publications, correspondence, clippings, and biographical materials.

Subjects

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. School of Nursing
International Brotherhood of Paper Makers. Eagle Lodge

International Brotherhood of Paper Makers Local 1 (Eagle Lodge : Holyoke, Mass.) Records

1901-1978
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 081

First organized as Eagle Lodge in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the United Brotherhood of Paper Makers was granted a charter by the AFL in May 1883. Almost as soon as the union was established, however, it faced a serious struggle for power from within. Hoping to maintain their higher economic and social status, the machine tenders ultimately organized their own union, and the two remained separate for a number of years until they finally merged in 1902 as the International Brotherhood of Paper Makers.

The surviving records of the Eagle Lodge, Local 1 of the International Brotherhood of Paper Makers, include by-laws, minutes, correspondence, some contracts, a ledger, and three histories of the local and the early days of the union.

Subjects

  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Paper industry workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Paper industry workers--Massachusetts--Holyoke

Contributors

  • United Paperworkers International Union

Types of material

  • Minutes (Administrative records)
International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers. Local 278

IUERMW Local 278 Records

1942-1984
4 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 252

Local chapter of the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers that represented workers at the Chapman Valve Manufacturing Company of Indian Orchard, Massachusetts. Records include detailed minute books of general and executive board meetings as well as several ledgers that reflect the activities of the credit union and the Chapman Valve Athletic Association.

Subjects

  • Chapman Valve Manufacturing Company
  • Electricians--Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts