Cornell University

Catherwood Library Kheel Center

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

Women and Work

This is a preliminary guide to collections in the Center in which women figure prominently as workers, labor leaders, arbitrators, or administrators of relevant voluntary organizations. 

The first section is a listing of manuscript collections in the Center.  The second section contains lists of collections of pamphlets, which are part of the Center's holdings.

Manuscripts Collections

  • Alter, Ida.  (Organizer, Amalgamated Clothing Workers, Kingston, NY.) Diaries/Scrapbook, 1934-37.  #5670 2 Vols.

These materials include handwritten accounts of organizing activities in New York State, as well as newspaper clippings, organizing leaflets, broadsides, arm bands  for strikers, song sheets and correspondence.

  • Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Records, 1914-1976.
     #5619.  600+ feet.

The Center is the official depository for the ACWA records.  Women played a significant role in the history of this union as members, organizers and officers.  Of special interest are the correspondence of women organizers and the papers of Dorothy Jacobs Bellanca, 1914-46.  Bellanca was chairman of the ACWA's Women's Department from 1923-46.  During this period she was the only woman to serve on the union's General Executive Board.  The files contain her correspondence with the union's women organizers whose activities she coordinated as well as other matters.

The collection includes the records of officers, joint boards and local unions, minutes, speeches and writings, contracts, departmental papers, printed materials, scrapbooks, photographs and memorabilia. Unpublished guide available.

  • American Association for Labor Legislation.  Records, 1905-1943.  5001mf. 60 reels.

The records of this lobbying organization contain substantial correspondence of Irene Osgood Andrews, Assistant Association Secretary  and head of the Association's Committee on Women's Work, and of Irene  Sylvester Chubb, the Association's lobbyist in Albany and Washington  between 1916 and 1924.  Other significant participants in the organization's  activities include Jane Addams, Elizabeth Brandeis, Mary Dreier, Alice  Hamilton, Florence Kelley, and Frances Perkins.  Maternity benefits, the  organization of women's unions, old age and mothers' pensions and  insurance, women's working hours, minimum wages for women, social  insurance, health insurance, industrial poisons, diseases and accidents,  working conditions and workmen's compensation are discussed in  correspondence and other documents throughout the collection. Published guide available.

  • American Federation of Teachers, Local 2.  Records, 1925-1957.  #5729. 26.3 ft.

This collection consists of the office files of Local 2, in which women were significantly involved.  The records document the historical development of the local, debates around issues of communism and socialism, legislative efforts, and various committee activities. Unpublished guide available.

  • American Labor Education Service.  Records, 1927-1962.  #5225.  167.6 ft.

ALES organized labor education programs for workers.  Records include school catalogs, curricula, and correspondence relating to various schools for women workers, including  Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers,  Summer School of Women Workers in Industry (University of Wisconsin), Southern Summer School, and the Vineyard Shore School of Women Workers in Industry. Unpublished guide available. 

  • Black Workers in the Era of the Great Migration, 1916-1919.  #5750mf.  25 reels.

Records relate to agricultural labor, industrial work, unionism, housing, race relations, returning veterans and their search for employment, and the process of migration from the South to the North.  Reels 10-11 contain the records of the U.S. Railroad Administration's Women's Service Section. Reels 16-19 of this collection include records from the U.S. Women's Bureau concerning black women. Published guide available.

  • Pamphlets.  #5214mf   16 reels.

This collection includes a section of pamphlets written by British women involved in the labor movement. Published guide available.

  • Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen. Ladies' Society. Grand  Lodge. Records, 1884-l972.  #5716.8 linear ft.

The Ladies' Society of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen was recognized as an auxiliary of the Brotherhood at its second biennial convention in 1890. The Ladies' Society was organized  to provide support to the activities of the Brotherhood and to organize charitable, cultural, and social events.  These records include constitutions, proceedings, financial records, lodge books, and other items. File folder listing available. 

  • Consumer's League of New York.  Records, 1920-1960.  #5307. 20 ft. 

The records of this lobbying organization contain minutes, correspondence, reports, surveys, research materials, photographs and publications.  The bulk of the collection is concerned with migrant labor.  Women are prominent in the administration of the League's activities, including lobbying for improved conditions for farm workers through education, better wages  and hours, health standards, and housing.  The records also cover their work on disability insurance, unemployment insurance, and wages and hours, and include a study on night work for women. Unpublished guide available.  (See separate listing for pamphlets)

  • Cook, Alice H.  Papers, 1952-1998 .  #25/12/3012. Restricted.  53.9 ft.

The papers of Professor Cook consist of course materials, correspondence, term papers, research materials, committee documents, student files, and publications produced during her career at the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

  • Donnelly, Betty Hawley.  Papers, 1930-1970.  #5393.  2.7 ft.

A vice-president of the New York State AFL-CIO for fifty years and chairman  of its committee on education.  Donnelly also worked with the N.Y.C. Board of Education for forty years and was a member of the President's and Governor's Committees for the Physically Handicapped.  Her papers include correspondence, subject files, photographs, publications, news clippings and certificates.

  • Ellickson, Katherine Pollack.  Papers, 1935-1937.  #5425mf.  3 reels.

Ellickson was Assistant Director of the Committee for Industrial Organizations (CIO) under John Brophy.  These papers include notes on meetings and conferences, articles and speeches, field reports, and plans and procedures for establishing and organizing local unions.

  • Grant, Alice.  Papers,   #25/6/3005.  5 ft.

A teacher and arbitrator, Grant served on the fact-finding panel for the N.Y.S. Public Employment Relations Board.  These papers include correspondence, reports and newspaper clippings relative to public employment activities in New York State.

  • International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, Archives, 1914-current  #5780.   1300 ft.

The ILGWU, founded in 1900, was mostly made up of immigrant women.   The Archives consist of the papers of executive officers, union departments, and locals.  Major women leaders in the union include Fannia M. Cohn,  and Rose Pesotta, .  Guides to the individual series within the Archives are available.

  • Ithaca (N.Y.) Teachers Club. Minutes, 1918-1932.  #5710.  1 volume.

The Club was organized November 6, 1918, at a meeting of several teachers representing all the public schools of Ithaca, NY.  The first elected president was Sara Kelly.

Topics covered are the affiliation with the City Federation of Women's Clubs, social activities, salary increases, sending a delegate to the National Education Association convention, a recommendation for a publicity campaign if the salary budget of January 1920 proved unsatisfactory, affiliation with the State Welfare League and with the New York State Teachers Association (Dec. 1920), salaries during illness, group insurance plans, and other routine business and social matters (the last few pages include handwritten articles of the constitution, November 1932.)

  • Jones, Brownie Lee (Director, Summer School for Workers, Inc.)  Letters. 1948-1951.  #5547m   29 sheets.

This collection consists of correspondence between Jones and Mary C. Barker (member, SSW Advisory Committee) relating to recruitment, public relations, financial support, and legislative and other activities of the School.   Also included is the resolution which dissolved the Corporation.

  •  Leslie, Mabel.  Papers,   #5025.  5 inches.

The papers of this arbitrator include files of mediation and arbitration cases which Miss Leslie handled as a member of the New York State Board of Mediation and as Impartial Arbitrator for building maintenance cases.

  • McDonald, Grace.  Papers, 1936-1969.  #5203.  4 inches.

Mrs. McDonald worked closely with her husband on the railroad unity movement of the 1930's.  She organized the California Farmer-Labor Association and issued a monthly bulletin, Farmer Consumer Reporter. She also was a successful lobbyist and organizer on issues of small farmer  welfare and labor cooperation.  The collection includes publications and reports. 

  • McKelvey, Jean T.  Papers.  25/12/3001.  Restricted. 30.8 ft.

Professor Emerita, arbitrator and author.  Collection includes papers relating to her career as teacher, author, former President of National Academy of Arbitrators, member of arbitration panel of American Arbitration Association, member of New York State Board of Mediation, member of Public Review Board of United Auto Workers, member of the Special Advisory Panel to the President's Review Committee on Federal Employee-Management Relations, member of mediation, fact-finding and arbitration panels of the New York State Public Employment Relations Board, member of the  Federal Service Impasses Panel and member of Emergency Boards appointed by the President under the Railway Labor Act.  Included are materials relating to the Women Arbitrators Development Program, which Jean McKelvey established.

  • Mason, Lucy Randolph.  Papers, 1912-1954.  (Series V of "Operation Dixie"  microfilm collection.)  #5747mf  Reels 62-65.

Mason, a social reformer, was concerned with such matters as civil rights, labor legislation, working hours for women, minimum wages, social security, and rights of workers.

She served as southern public relations representative for the CIO for 16 years.  She was involved in the campaigns of the Operation Dixie organizing drive. Mason was also General Secretary of the YWCA for a period of time and active in several other social and civic organizations.

The papers include correspondence, addresses, minutes, memoranda, printed materials and miscellaneous documents. Published guide available. 

  • National Consumers League.  Records, 1911-l947.  #5235.

The records of this lobbying organization include minutes, correspondence,  research materials, reports, and publications.  Women significantly involved  in the League included Florence Kelley, Josephine Roche, Lucy R. Mason,  Mary Dublin, Elizabeth Magee, Frances Perkins, Clara Beyer, Mary Dewson,  Dorothy Kenyon and Josephine Goldmark.  The League effected the  passage, enforcement and defense of laws having to do with safety,  sanitation, night work, maximum hours, child labor, minimum wages, social  security, migrant camp conditions and fair employment practices.  (See  separate listing for pamphlets).

  • National Council on Household Employment Records, 1928-1942.  16.3 ft.

These records include organizational data, correspondence, publications and a topical file on aspects and conditions of household employment. Unpublished guide available.

  • National Women's Trade Union League of America.  Records, 1903-1950. #5709mf.  25 reels

These records include correspondence, reports, speeches, notes, printed matter, minutes of meetings, proceedings of the League and of the International Congress of Working Women, biographical material on the League's officers, and correspondence between the National League and its local branches.

Major issues covered include the eight-hour day, minimum wage, establishment of sanitary work areas, federal aid to education, civil rights, price controls and social security. Unpublished guide available.

  • New York State Teachers Association (NYSTA.)  Records. #5293.   335 ft.

The Center is the official repository for the records of NYSTA, which began its existence in 1845.  The bulk of the records cover the period 1950 through 1970.  The collection includes minutes and files of the Board of Directors, 1923-69; minutes and files of the House of Delegates, 1915-70; the files of various officers; legislative files; historical files; and subject files.

Among NYSTA's efforts on behalf of public education were the creation of the NYS Retirement System, the minimum salary law, the teachers' contract law, compulsory free education, state aid to local schools, teacher tenure laws, and the creation of the New York State Department of Education. Unpublished guide available.

  • Perkins, Frances.  Lectures, 1957-1965. #25/12/3047. 1362 pages (plus tape recordings.)

This collection consists of lectures given by Miss Perkins at Cornell University in the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Subject areas covered are generally labor related, with emphasis on the history of the labor movement during her appointment as Secretary of Labor.  Discussed are the effect of the Roosevelt administration on labor; New York State labor; labor legislation; poverty; various labor leaders and labor organizations, as well as significant labor incidents. Name and subject index available.

  • Program on Women and Work at the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. The Twentieth Century Trade Union Woman, Vehicle for Social Change [microform]: Oral History Project. Sanford, NC: Microfilming Corporation of America, 1979- , ©1978- .

Transcripts of oral history interviews with women union activists.

  • Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Local 1199. Records, 1933- 1968.  #5206.  135 ft. 

These records contain correspondence, minutes, reports, releases, clippings, publications and agreements relating to all aspects of union activities including grievances, strikes, arbitration cases, organizing, legislative matters, and civil rights.  A significant number of members of this union are women.

  • Robbins, Helen A. (Mins).  (Member, Teachers Union of the City of New York,  Local 5).  Papers, 1936-49.  #5472  1 ft.

Robbins was Chairman of the Union Teachers Non-Partisan Club (10th Assembly District, Manhattan); Chairman of New York Local 5, Academic Freedom Committee; and a member of Midtown Manhattan Citizens Committee to Defend Free Public Education. The documents pertain to her involvement with these organizations. Subjects covered include the charges of communist activity, free public education, and the fight for academic freedom, as well as other union activities.

  • Roberts, Lillian.  (Associate Director, DC 37, American Federation of State,  County and Municipal Workers). Interview by Dick Cavett.  #5134 tr.  1 cassette.

This informative and sometimes amusing interview begins with Roberts describing her childhood in Chicago.  She goes on to explain how she moved to NYC to organize hospital workers and eventually became Associate Director of District Council 37.  Roberts discusses communist infiltration of unions, women's liberation, being jailed for striking, negotiations, and her organizing efforts.  She is presently the Commissioner of Labor for the State of New York. 

  • Rosie The Riveter Revisited: Women And The World War Ii Work Experience.  project director, Sherna Berger Gluck.  Long Beach, Calif.: School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Oral History Resource Center, California State University, 1983.

Collection of oral history interviews conducted with women who participated in the labor force during World War II.

  • Schneider, Anna Weinstock, 1898- . Papers. #5143. 10 inches, 22 transcripts.

Schneider was the first woman Commissioner of Conciliation, U.S. Department of Labor appointed in 1922.  A member of several minimum wage boards in Massachusetts, lobbyist for labor legislation in Massachusetts and organizer for the Massachusetts Suffrage Association, she was also active in union activities as President of Boston Women's Trade Union League and organizer for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.  Her papers include correspondence, clippings, photographs, a scrapbook and transcripts of interviews.

  • Tanner, Hilda.  Papers, ca. 1930s.   #5508m   62 Mss. Sheets.

Included are writings concerning Tanner's union involvement in the clothing and textile industries during the 1930’s.  These discuss the EZ Mills Inc. settlement, Bennington, Vermont; the Suffolk Knitting Co. strike, Lowell, Mass., 1937; the Wilder Strike, 1932; and a strike at Daisy Richmond Hosiery Mill, Soddy, Tennessee.  Also included are  excerpts from A Diary of An Operator at Har-Lee, Fall River, Mass.

  • Teachers Union of the City of New York.  Records, 1916-1964.  #5015.  38.9 ft.

This organization's long history of radical involvement is reflected in such materials as substantial documents on the Lusk Commission and on teachers' dismissals for unpopular political views during the 1950’s.   Women were significantly involved in the union as officers and as defendants in cases involving academic freedom.  Represented in the records are Leonna Abrams, Dorothy Albert, Elaine Berlin, Dorothy Bloch, Minna Finkelstein, Mildred Flacks, Mildred Grossman, Minnie Gutride, Lillian Lipowsky, Gladys Mann, Dorothy Rand, Rose Russell and Celia Zitron. Unpublished guide available.

  • Telecommunications International Union.  Records, 1949-1985. #5758. 111 ft.

The majority of the members and officers of the Telecommunications International Union were women.  At one time the union represented more than l00,000 telephone workers in the U.S. and Canada.

  • Wertheimer, Barbara (Professor, New York State School of Industrial and Labor  Relations).  Primary Documents on 20th Century Working Women, 1914-1983.  #5729. 12 ft.

This collection of historical documents on women workers pertains, for the most part, to ”Our Century, Our Time,” a book on working women in America, on which Wertheimer was working at the time of her death.

Documents are arranged in chronological order and then alphabetically by  subject.  Discussed topics include blacks, equal rights, protective laws, strikes, education, organizing, unions, and employment. Unprocessed.

  • Wolfson, Theresa, 1897-1972.  Papers.  #5216.  53.9 ft.

These papers document Wolfson's career as a professor, social activist, feminist and labor arbitrator.  Also included are papers collected as part of her own research on Frances Wright. Unpublished guide available.

  • Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor. Records, 1918-1965.  #5762mf. 23 reels.

Materials in this collection include reports of the director, conference proceedings, speeches, and articles.  The areas under discussion include  protective labor legislation and the ERA, women in industry, immigrant women workers, technological change and women's employment, child care, black women workers, occupational and safety hazards, women's employment patterns in wartime, and the legal status of women. Guide available in 1987.

  • Women's Trade Union League and Its Principal Leaders. Papers, 1903-1950.  #5690mf.  131 reels.

The three main goals of the WTUL were the organization of women workers,  education, and legislation.  The League established the first residential workers' education program in the U.S. (the Training School for Women Organizers) in Chicago in 1914.

The collection includes papers of Margaret Dreier Robins, Leonora O'Reilly, Rose Schneiderman, Agnes Nestor, and Mary Kenney O'Sullivan, as well as Women's Trade Union League publications.
Guide available. 

Pamphlets

  • American Association for Labor Legislation.  Pamphlets.  #5001
  • Aronovici, Carol.  Women in Industry in Minnesota in 1918.  Field Investigation Carried on by Women in Industry Committee, Council on National Defense and Bureau of Women and Children.  St. Paul: Department of Labor and Industries, Bureau of Women and Children, 1920.  35 p. 
  • Brandeis, Louis. Women in Industry.  Decision of U.S. Supreme Court in Curt Miller vs. State of Oregon.  New York: National Consumers League,  1909.  610 p.
  • Campbell, J.M.  Immigrant Women.  Paper read at the New Jersey Conference of Charities and Correction, April 3, 1911.  New York: North American Civic League for Immigrants, 1911.  15 p.
  • Clearinghouse for Wartime Training for Women in Co-operation with the  Intercollegiate Bureau of Occupations. Opportunities for Wartime Training  for Women in New York City, 1918-1919.  New York: Council of Organizations for War Service, 1918.  171 p.
  • Cleveland Chamber of Commerce.  Committee on Industrial Welfare.  A Report on the Problem of the Substitution of Women for Manpower in Industry, Approved by the Board of Directors, July 17, 1918. Cleveland, 1918. 49 p.
  • Committee on Public Information.  War Work of Women in Colleges.  Washington, G.P.O., 1918.  21 p. 
  • Connecticut Bureau of Labor.  Report of the ... on the Conditions of Wage- Earning Women and Girls.  Charlotte Molyneux Holloway, Industrial  Investigator.  n.d. 
  • Elmer, M.C.  A Study of Women in Clerical and Secretarial Work in Minneapolis, Minn. Women's Occupational Bureau, 1925.  42 p.
  • Fox, Genevieve, M.  Women's Work from Primitive Times to the Present,  Topics and References for the Help of Discussional Groups.  New York:  Young Women's Christian Association.  16 p.
  • Hall, Elizabeth L.  Mother's Assistance in Philadelphia - Actual and Potential Costs. Minneapolis Sociological Press, 1933.  116 p.
  • Hodgen, Margaret.  Factory Work for Girls.  New York: Women's Press, 1920.  84 p.
  • Information Bureau on Women's Work.  The Floating World.  Toledo, 1927.  49 p.
  • Information Bureau on Women's Work.  Industrial Accidents and Ohio's Women Workers.  Toledo, 1928. 19 p.
  • Juvenile Protective Association of Chicago. The Girl Employed in Hotels and  Restaurants.  Chicago, 1916. 19 p.
  • Kentucky. Commission to Investigate the Conditions of Working Women in  Kentucky.  Report, 1911.  55 p.
  • Lattimore, Eleanor L. and Ray S. Trent.  Legal Recognition of Industrial Women.  New York: Industrial Committee, War Work Council of the National Board, Young Women's Christian Associations, 1919.  91 p.
  • Massachusetts. Bureau of Statistics.  Report on the Power Laundries in Massachusetts.  Boston, 1914.  44 p.
  • Merchants' Association of New York.  Increased Employment of Women in Industry: A Report on the Problems of Substituting Female Workers for Male to Meet the Present Labor Scarcity. New York, 1917. 22 p.
  • New York City. Mayor's Commission of Women on National Defense.  Semi- Annual Report.  New York, 1917.  l9 p. 
  • New York State. Department of Health.  Special Rules and Regulations for  the Practice of Midwifery.  Albany: Division of Publicity and Education, 1915.  15 p.
  • New York State. Department of Labor. Division of Women in Industry and  Minimum Wage. Bureau of Research.  Adequate Main