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California Labor History Archives

California Labor History Archives

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Special Collections with Holdings in California Labor History
Special Collections with Holdings in California Labor History

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Published by: Mark on Jun 19, 2008
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06/16/2009

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Special Collections with Holdings in California Labor History
By Rory Litwin The following report presents information for library users who want todo original research in California Labor History. All of the major andsome of the minor collections of unique materials on unions and workermovements in California are described here, with contact informationincluded.
The Labor Archives and Research Center at San Francisco StateUniversity
480 Winston DriveSan Francisco, CA 94132Phone: 415-564-4010Fax: 415-564-3606Web: http://www.library.sfsu.edu/special/larc.htmlEmail address: larc@sfsu.eduInterim Director: Susan Parker SherwoodHours: Mon.-Fri., 1pm to 5pm The Labor Archives and Research Center (LARC) is unique in Californiabecause it is the only facility in the state entirely devoted to materialsgenerated by the labor movement. LARC's collection of papers andmanuscripts, processed and unprocessed, is extensive, as the facility isthe depository for archival materials generated by nearly all of theunions in the San Francisco Bay Area (with scattered materials fromelsewhere in Northern California). Unions that are still active arerepresented, as well as many important unions that are now defunct.Some archival holdings contain papers going back to the 19th Century.Also in the collection are a large collection of arbitration case files,papers of the California Labor Federation, papers of various Bay AreaCentral Labor Councils, California IWW papers, papers from theDataCenter relating to Bay Area Labor, and papers from the UnitedChurch of Christ's Northern California Conference documenting theirsupport for the United Farm Workers. Among the largest singlecollections in terms of cubic feet are the papers of Clark Kerr from hisservice on the U.S. National War Labor Board, Region 10, and thepapers of Norman Leonard, who was an important Labor attorney. Asummary of the collections can be downloaded from the website.LARC is a contributor to the Online Archive of California, where forty-nine of its finding aids can be located. There is also a print collection, containing books which are available atother institutions but well-collected for browsing, and periodicals of 
 
which some are difficult if not impossible to find elsewhere. Theseinclude labor newspapers such as
East Bay Labor Journal, Voice of theCooks Local No. 44,
and
Western Worker,
as well as a partial holdingsof the Communist Party's
People's World 
and the Northern CaliforniaCIO's newspaper,
Labor Herald 
. There are also collections of photographs, posters, films and videos,audio cassettes and vinyl records, as well as an oral history collection.LARC's small reading room is open to the public from 1pm to 5pm, withservices also available by appointment. The full-time staff of two,helped by several part-timers, expect to spend much of their dayhelping patrons, who in a typical week will include everyone from HighSchool students to scholars working on major projects. The staff offersservices to remote users via email and telephone.LARC is expanding its archival holdings to the extent that space allows,taking in papers within its scope as the primary depository for unionrecords in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
6120 South Vermont AvenueLos Angeles, CA 90044Phone: 323-759-6063Fax: 323-759-2252Web: http://www.socallib.org/Email address: archives@socallib.orgDirector: Sarah CooperHours: Tue.-Sat., 10am-4pm (closed Sun./Mon.)
The Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research (SCL) is a uniquelibrary and archive containing materials on progressive social movements and labor unions in California, especially Southern California and the Los Angeles area in particular.The origins of SCL are part of Los Angeles history in themselves. The library wasfounded by Emil Freed, an activist in the Labor Movement in Los Angeles in the first half of the 20th Century. He was involved with the organization of the CIO, the UnemployedCouncils of the 1930's, the Hollywood Studio strikes of the 1940's, and the Civil RightsCongress of the late 1940's and early 1950's. Freed built his collection with the aim of  preserving the history of Labor and the Left in Southern California, as many key activistsin his circle felt the need to abandon their personal libraries and papers due to therepression of the McCarthy era. Therefore the library, which Freed opened in 1963,contains unique materials documenting this history.
 
SCL's holdings include an un-cataloged collection of about 25,000 books, divided intosubject areas for browsing; a collection of about 20,000 periodical titles, some quite rare(e.g. the
California Eagle
, the oldest African American newspaper in California, going back to the 19th Century); a good collection of pamphlets, many unique; a collection of videos, including a large number made by Ralph Cole documenting local events (lectures,demonstrations, etc.); a film collection; and an archival collection managed by a professional archivist.The Southern California Library's labor collection includes videos, books, manuscriptcollections, ephemera, and the Julius Mel Reich Archives. The Julius Mel Reich Labor Archives contain records in the form of pamphlets, leaflets, correspondence, contracts,constitutions, and other forms of print material from local and international unions; over 150 unions are represented.The labor manuscript collections include the International Ladies Garment WorkersUnion (ILGWU) Project Papers, 1914-1993; International Typographical Union Records,1903-1970s; Los Angeles J.P. Stevens Boycott Committee Records, 1975-1980; the FarmWorker Organizing Collections, 1948-1996; and the Harry Bridges Papers, 1938-1955concerning his deportation cases.Using their archives SCL has produced their own Labor History Map of Los Angeles,entitled "We Built This City;" “Picking Up the Torch“, a video telling the story of immigrant labor in Los Angeles; and a book,
The ILGWU in Los Angeles, 1907-1988
,which was used as a source in the California Labor History Map project of which thisreport is an outgrowth.Seventy-one finding aids to the archival holdings of SCL (relating to Labor as well asCivil Rights and Social Justice Movements in Los Angeles) can be found in the OnlineArchive of California, to which the library is a contributor. The archives futuredevelopment is defined as providing further documentation on progressive, grassroots,social and political movements in Los Angeles County. Additionally, SCL is engaged inan ambitious schedule of public programs covering the community history of South LosAngeles and developing materials and educational workshops for secondary schoolteachers and students that use the Library's resources.A staff of eight (full and part time) offer reference services, community and educational programs, photocopying, and digitization. The Library also publishes a regular newsletter, Heritage. The reading room is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm.Staff members respond to inquiries by phone or email.
Urban Archives Center, CSU Northridge
Oviatt LibraryCSU Northridge18111 Nordhoff St.Northridge CA 91330-8326

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