Cornell University

Catherwood Library Kheel Center

Catherwood Library Kheel Center, 227 Ives Hall, 607-255-3183

Radicals and Reactionaries

A preliminary guide to primary sources in the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation & Archives

Manuscript Collections in Original and Microfilm Format

*mf denotes collection on microfilm

  • Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Records.  #5619

This major archival collection is of some interest because of the socialist political leanings of some of many of its leaders in the period from the founding of the union in 1914 through the 1920's.  The union enjoyed a close relationship with the young Soviet Union which lead to the formation of the Russian-American Industrial Corporation.  The leadership of the union, nevertheless, felt it necessary to purge communists from its locals in battles which were particularly intense in the years 1924-1927.  Some of the leaders of the union, particularly Joseph Schlossberg, remained loyal socialists throughout their careers which lead to internal union friction as Sidney Hillman, the union president, became one of F.D.R.’s closest supporters and advisors in the labor community.

  • American Association for Labor Legislation.  Records, 1905-1942.  #5001mf.   *60 reels.

Non-political social action organization dedicated to the establishment of protective labor legislation including worker safety, social security, health insurance, etc.  Published guide available.

  • American Federation of Labor.  Correspondence, 1883-1925.  #5431mf.   50 reels.

Correspondence relating to the establishment of the Federation and Gompers early involvement with American and international socialism and his eventual disenchantment with the American movement.  Documentation of particular strikes to be found in the separate collection: AFL Records - Pt. 1 & 2.  Strikes and Agreement Files, 1893-1953.  5757mf 55 reels.

  • American Federation of Teachers, Local #2.  Papers.  #5249   1ft.

Files dealing with union difficulties with Communism during World War II and the McCarthy era.

  • American Federation of Teachers.  Executive Council. 

Hearings of Local 537, the New York College Teachers, Union on Notice by the Executive Board Revocation of its Charter.  Transcript of Record (Chicago, 1941) 125 pp.  #5020

Hearing of Local 5. the Teachers Union of the City of New York, on
Charges by the Executive Council and Order to Show Cause Why its Charter Should not be Revoked, 1941. #5019.

  • American Labor Education Service.  Records, 1927-1962. #5225.

Pamphlets and other documents re Brookwood Labor College available in this substantial collection.  Unpublished guide Available.

  • Brissenden, Paul. Notes and Raw Data for the First Decade of the IWW.  #5440
  • Brookwood Labor College. Pamphlets and documents.  Mostly ephemeral printed materials.  #5455.   4 inches.
  • Chavez, Cesar. "Revolution of the Rural Poor - the Delano Grape Strike." A Speech at Willard Straight Hall, April 23, 1967.  37/7/tr. 116
  • Darusmont, Frances Wright. Correspondence and Lectures. 

Papers relating to this leading 19th century free-thinker, sexual revolutionary and abolitionist are part of the records of Theresa Wolfson #5216 her biographer.

  • Debs, Eugene Victor. 1855-1924 Papers.  #5713mf.   21 reels

Papers of the major American socialist figure of the late 19th and early 20th Century.

  • East Saint Lewis Race Riot of 1917. Documents.  #5749mf   8 reels.

The public record on a murderous riot against Blacks sparked by the racial hatred and the uncertain economic conditions in post-World War I America.

  • Goldman, Emma, 1869-1940.  Selected Labor Related Tape Recordings. James Morris, collector.  #5518 tr. 

A pioneer feminist, anarchist, and advocate of birth control and sexual freedom, Emma Goldman is recalled by women who marched on picket lines with her; her friend Roger Baldwin, founder of the ACLU; and newspaper accounts of her exploits.

  • Hillquit, Morris.  1869-1933.  Papers.  #5430mf   10 reels.

Socialist labor leader and lawyer.  Originals in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.  Published guide available.

  • Howell, George.  Selected Papers.  #5423mf.  25 reels.

English reformer and labor leader.  Papers are noteworthy relative to American radicalism because of his work as Council of the International Workingmen's Association and his association with prominent American leaders.  Originals at the Bishopgate Institute in London.

  • Illinois. Legislature. House Committee on the Investigation of the Herrin Massacre. Transcript of Testimony.  #5180mf   1 reel.
  • Industrial Workers of the World. Collected Pamphlets and Documents.  #5210.  5 feet. 

Includes some manuscripts but mostly printed minutes, newsletters and other publications.  Unpublished guide available.

  • Industrial Workers of the World.  Miscellany.  #5177mf   3 reels.

Includes materials related to the labor troubles at Centralia and Everett, Washington.  Originals at the Wisconsin State Historical Society.

  • International Fur and Leather Workers Union.  Records.  #5676

Among the most interesting collections in the Documentation Center insofar as the study of radicalism is concerned.  The history of the union is one of battles between the right and left within the union and the subsequent successful war fought by the left wing leadership of the union against organized crime.  The union was hard hit by the anti-radical provisions of Taft-Hartley which ultimately resulted in the resignation of long time president of the Union, Ben Gold.

  • International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Archives. #5780

This union shared the socialist and communist bent reflected in early garment leadership which was heavily influenced the Jewish Bund movement and Italian Socialist movements in Europe.  A right and left wing of the union soon developed with bitter battles for control of the ILG being waged in the 1920’s and early 1930's.  Some of the major figures involved in these battles were of national significance in radical politics. Jay Lovestone and Charles Zimmerman are among those whose papers are part of the Archives. 

  • International Workers Order.  Papers. #5276   26 feet.

New York based ethnic fraternal order with multi-national membership.  Papers include many items related to Socialist, Communist and radical activities. Partial unpublished guide available.

  • International Workingmen's Association.  Papers.  #5213mf   2 reels.

Records of a seminal socialist and Communist international labor movement. Under the leadership of Karl Marx,  this organization was originally based in London.  The Association moved to New York in 1872. Originals in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Published guide available.

  • Kamp, Joseph.  Anti-Walter Reuther Pamphlets.  #5233   3 inches.

Several pamphlets which attack Walter Reuther as a Communist conspirator and CIO as a Communist front.

  • Labor Song Books.  #5189   8 inches.

Include various issues of the Little Red Song Book of the IWW.

  • League for Industrial Democracy.  #5266   1 foot.

Miscellaneous Publications.  Primarily a Socialist-oriented reform group.

  • Miller, J.F.  Report to Joseph Wood, General Manager, Pennsylvania Lines West of Pittsburgh, on the 1894 Strike of the American Railway Union.  #5449   222pp.

Two hundred and twenty-two page typescript carbon of are port on the Pullman Strike.

  • Miners For Democracy, 1972 Convention.  Interviews with Delegates.
    5138tr. (2 tapes, 3" transcripts.)
  • Mooney, Thomas J. Application for A Writ of Habeas Corpus in 1938. #5436
  • Mooney, Thomas J.  Speech.  5146tr.  1 reel.
  • National Child Labor Committee. Miscellany.  #5242   4 inches.
  • Operation Dixie-CIO Organizing Committee, 1946-1953. Papers. 5747mf   75 reels.

Documents the remarkable campaign of the CIO to organize the South particularly in the textile, wood, chemical, oil, and iron and steel industries.  In its emphasis on the need to organize Black and White workers in this part of the United States, certainly for the times, Operation Dixie was a "radical” movement.

  • Pittsburgh Strike of 1877.  Newspaper Accounts.  # 5155mf   1 reel.
  • President's Mediation Commission, 1917-1919. Documents. # 5751mf 3 reels.

A commission spawned by Samual Gompers and Secretary of Labor William B. Wilson to address the labor unrest in the western United States and meet what both men feared was the growing influence in that area of the radical IWW.  The remaining fragments of the Commission’s records and reports as housed in the National Archives.

  • Socialist Labor Party.  Records, 1878-1906. #5168mf.  39 reels.
    The records of the party and the papers of Daniel DeLeon.  Originals in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.  Published guide available.
  • Southern Tenant Farmers Union. #5204mf  60 reels. Records, 1934-1970. 

Records of a bi-racial union of share-croppers, tenant farmers and small landowners. Originals at the University of North Carolina. Published guide available.

  • Teachers Union of the City of New York.  Records, 1916-1964.   #5015, 5445.

Organization with a long history of radical involvement.  Substantial materials on the Lusk Commission, teachers dismissals for unpopular political views during the 1950's, etc.  Unpublished guide available.  73 feet.

  • Women's Trade Union League, Papers, 1903-1955. 5690 (131 reels),  #5709 (25 reels)

An organization of working class and middle class women devoted to bettering the lot of their working class sisters.  Included in this listing because of the strong feminist tradition inherent in the organization -- a tradition that outsiders (mostly male trade union leaders) viewed critically.

Compiled by Richard Strassberg and M. Constance Bulkley.