Cornell University

February 12 2010

Heritage Project

International Ladies Garment Workers Union collection focus of Kheel archivist

The evolution of one of the nation's most influential and progressive unions is being charted more clearly through the Catherwood Library's Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation & Archives.

The 21st Century International Ladies Garment Workers Union Heritage Project is funding the work of archivist Cheryl Beredo '00 (Arts and Sciences).

She will spend the next two years further organizing and describing a collection that is a window into American life from 1900 to 1995. 

The International Ladies Garment Workers Union collection includes official files, correspondence, publications, photographs, audio-visual materials, artifacts and scrapbooks documenting the union's leadership in areas such as health care, housing, immigration and education.

The Kheel Center became the official repository for the union in 1987 and has received 3,000 lineal feet of material from the union. The relationship continued after the union merged in 1995 with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers' Union to form UNITE!, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees.

Kheel Center Director Curtis Lyons said "This project will enable researchers all over the world to more easily understand the vast resources that we have documenting the history and legacy of the ILGWU."

"The project will also create a web site with primary sources that illustrate the work of the ILGWU, similar to our Triangle Factory Fire site," he said.

The Triangle Fire site recorded over 31 million hits in 2009 and is considered the definitive on-line source for information on that important workplace tragedy.

Beredo, who began her work Feb. 1, received a master's degree in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh.

She is completing her Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.  Beredo has worked at Harvard's Schlesinger Library and at the Massachusetts Historical Society.