Oral History Collections DescriptionsAFL-CIO New York City Central Labor Council Oral History Collection (OH 10)
The New York Central Trades and Labor Council (AFL) merged with the Industrial Union Council of Metropolitan New York (CIO) on February 19, 1959 to form the New York City Central Labor Council. Under the leadership of Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. who served as president from 1957 to 1986, the council established vocational and peer counseling through its Rehabilitation Council (1963), launched the first successful attempt to organize the city's cabbies through the Taxi Drivers' Organizing Committee (1964); set up advisory committees to better meet the concerns of minority workers in the Hispanic Labor Committee (1970) and the Black Trade Unionists Leadership Committee (1972); and furthered labor education by working for the founding of the "Labor College" - the Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. Center for Labor Studies of Empire State College, State University of New York (1971). In 1992 the New York City Central Labor Council was composed of about 500 affiliates representing nearly one million members. COLLECTION SUMMARY: The collection consists of sound recordings of delegates and executive meetings of the New York City Central Labor Council, produced by the secretary to facilitate the preparation of minutes. Regular monthly meetings provide a forum for unions to consider local as well as nationally important issues. Inventory available in repository.
Asian Garment Workers in New York City Oral History Collection (OH 18)
1 box. NYU undergraduate, Bichiluyen Nguyen, herself a Vietnamese immigrant, conducted these interviews as part of an internship in the history department in 1989. SUMMARY: The collection consists of interviews of garment workers from Vietnam, China, the Philippines, and California. Interviews were conducted mainly in English, but some were partially in the interviewee's native language. Transcripts or indexes exist in English for all of the interviews. Interviews are with ILGWU members and staff, and one interview is with a garment manufacturer. Topics covered include emigration to the U.S., working conditions, joining the ILGWU, and major strikes. Inventory available in repository.
Asian Women United (OH 74)
The Asian Women United (AWU) oral histories were collected as an attempt to add the individual stories and contributions of the members back into the processed archival collection at the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. I-Ting Emily Chu conducted the oral histories and created "Re-Membering Asian Women United (AWWU)," the web exhibit as part of the assignments for the Fall 2008 Oral History seminar taught by Professor Rachel Bernstein. Inventory available in repository.
Bernard and Jewel Bellush Oral History Collection (OH 23)
Bernard and Jewel Bellush conducted these interviews as part of their research for their book UNION POWER AND NEW YORK: VICTOR GOTBAUM AND DISTRICT COUNCIL 37 (Praeger, 1984). District Council 37 was chartered by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in November 1944. At that time its membership was limited to small numbers in the City's departments of Hospitals, Parks, Finance, and Health. Its first goals were to increase membership and to engage management in serious collective bargaining talks. Between 1950-1955, city employees gained Social Security coverage, improved pensions, the 40 hour week for blue collar workers. The AFL-CIO merger in 1955 brought many changes to the District Council. The AFL's AFSCME eventually merged with the CIO's Government and Civic Employees. In 1958, Mayor Robert F. Wagner signed Executive Order 49 which gave collective bargaining rights to employee organizations representing a majority of employees in a bargaining unit. Around that time, a series of strikes in cultural institutions resulted in union recognition for employees at Youth House, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Bronx Zoo, and the Coney Island Aquarium. Local 372, School Lunch Employees won bargaining rights for 12,000 employees by 1965. Local 375, the Civil Service Technical Guild negotiated its first contract in 1963 on behalf of its 5,000 engineers and architects. By 1972, DC 37 had 100,000 members. The New York City Fiscal Crisis of the mid-1970's threatened city employees with massive layoffs. Unions came to the rescue with pledges to invest billions of dollars in the Municipal Assistance Corporation. SUMMARY: The collection consists of 49 interviews with union and city officials. Among the notables interviewed were: Jack Bigel, Barry Feinstein, Victor Gotbaum, Stanley Hill, Carol O'Cleiricain, Felix Rohatyn, Donna Shalala, Al Viani, and Jerry and Mildred Wurf. Topics include: organization of New York City employees, public employee collective bargaining, hospital organizing, the 1966 Welfare Strike, the Fiscal Crisis, and the Taylor Law. Inventory available in repository. RELATED MATERIAL: Bernard and Jewel Bellush Collection.
Albert Boni Interview (OH 62)
1 box. Transcript of interview with Albert Boni conducted by Alex Baskin on October 20, 1972.
Murray Bookchin Audiocassettes (OH 56)
4 boxes. Collection consists of audiocassettes, containing approximately 500 tapes; date span ca. 1984 - ca. 1998. The cassettes contain interviews, speeches and talks, radio programs, etc. Unprocessed. No index or finding aid available.
George Breitman Oral History Collection (OH 38)
Public Programs (meetings, speeches, radio shows, etc.). c. 1956 - c. 1983. In February, 1995, the Tamiment Institute Library received the papers of George Breitman (1916-1986), a leading American Trotskyist and historian of Trotskyism, as well as an authority on, and editor and publisher of, the works of Malcolm X. Among the thirty cartons of papers were these audiocassettes. Breitman was, in 1937, a delegate to the founding convention of the Socialist Workers Party, the main US Trotskyist organization, still extant. Breitman played a leading role in the SWP's campaigns of the 1930s to organize the unemployed, was for many years editor of The Militant, the SWP weekly newspaper, and was editor of the SWP's Pathfinder Press. He wrote pamphlets, numerous newspaper articles, and edited collections of the writings of Leon Trotsky. He was one of the first Marxists to appreciate the work of Malcolm X, edited three books of his writings, and wrote The Last year of Malcolm X: the Evolution of a Revolutionary (1967). Breitman also was the unofficial historian of the SWP, an expert on the history of international Trotskyism. SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE: Series I. Malcolm X and other personalities, mainly consisting of 44 programs. For 39 of these, Malcolm X was the speaker, or one of several speakers, while the other 5 are on topics related to the Civil Rights/Black Power movements of the 1960s. Most of these date from after Malcolm Xís break with the Nation of Islam, 1964-1965. Included are speeches at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, appearances on various radio programs, appearances at the SWPís Militant Labor Forum, and an interview from Cairo, Egypt. There are also 10 programs on contemporary and historical radical and socialist topics (the speakers are SWP notables), Series II, contains two programs, one on the Industrial Workers of the World, and one on the Fourth International. Inventory available in repository.
Burton Hall Union Democracy Oral History Project (OH 34)
These interviews were conducted by Jane LaTour in her capacity as archivist of the Burton Hall Papers, donated to the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives by Hallís legal partner Wendy Sloan after his death in 1991. Burton Hall was born in South Orange, New Jersey in 1929. He graduated from Williams College in 1951 and Yale Law School in 1954. While in college and law school he was a member of the Food, Tobacco and Agricultural Workers Union in Camden, New Jersey, the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, Local 11, and the International Association of Machinists, Local 751, on the West Coast. He served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956. He was admitted to the New York bar in 1957 and worked as a lawyer for a private firm and the Federal Aviation Agency before turning to labor law. Burton Hall set up his own practice in 1960 as a labor lawyer. Soon his practice was almost entirely comprised of rank-and-file members suing to protect their democratic rights within their unions. His office was located at 136 Liberty Street in Lower Manhattan. When the building was demolished to make way for the World Trade Center, he moved to 401 Broadway, Hall was one of the pioneer attorneys in developing the case law for the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, also known as the Landrum-Griffin Act. His precedent-setting cases involved protection of the rights guaranteed by law in that section of the Act known as the "Bill of Rights" of union members. Thus he represented rank-and-filers in numerous cases involving issues such as eligibility for running for union office, discipline against members for criticism of their leadership, and expulsion of union members for advocating radical political ideas. COLLECTION SUMMARY: The collection consists of interviews with rank and file insurgents, family members, representatives of union democracy organizations and others who worked with Burton Hall. The bulk of the interviews relate to Painters and Teamsters (Local 282) union reform efforts. Inventory available in repository.
Civil Service Technical Guild, Local 375 AFSCME Oral History Collection (OH 22)
1 box. In 1983, the Civil Service Technical Guild Local 375 under the leadership of President Louis Albano approached the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives for assistance in documenting its history for its upcoming fiftieth anniversary celebration. Under the direction of historian Rachel Bernstein, the collection of oral history interviews and archival materials was undertaken which formed the basis of "Building a City, Building a Union: a history of the Civil Service Technical Guild Local 375" which she wrote under commission of the union. Local 375 was founded in 1937 by municipal engineers to fight the La Guardia administration's attempts to replace civil servants with private consultants, a practice subject to the abuses of political patronage. The Guild's most successful initiatives were on the legislative front. An affiliate of the Civil Service Forum, the Guild joined the CIO Government and Civic Employee's Organizing Committee in 1950. After the merger of the AFL and CIO, it affiliated with District Council 37, AFSCME. At the time of the 50th anniversary, it represented close to 5,000 engineers, architects, city planners, chemists, and other white collar technical workers employed by the City of New York. SUMMARY: The collection is comprised of 35 life history interviews with union veterans and city officials. Topics include the organization and development of Local 375, the Civil Service Forum and other white collar professional unionizing efforts including the Federation of Architects, Engineers, Chemists, and Technicians, and the Government and Civic Employee's Organizing Committee, CIO; the Buckley Law; the Fiscal Crisis; and union efforts to reform city contracting practices.
Peter Drucker Oral History Collection (OH 37)
Historian Peter Drucker donated these tapes to the Tamiment Library after the publication of his biography of Max Shachtman, Max Shachtman and His Left: A Socialistís Odyssey through the American Century (1994). SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE: The interviews, conducted in 1989, include Shachtman associates Herman Benson, Hal Draper, Joel Geier, Emanuel Geltman, and Abraham (Al) Glotzer. Inventory available in repository.
Gender Relations in the Building Trades Oral History Collection (OH 20)
RESTRICTED COLLECTION: Interviews are open only with the permission of interviewers. Contact the library for information. Jane Latour taped eight of these interviews in the summer of 1990 while working as director of the Association for Union Democracy's Women's Project. The interviews were collected with the intention of producing a pamphlet to encourage women in non-traditional jobs to engage in union activity. Francine Mocchio, while a faculty member at the Harry Van Arsdale Center for Labor Studies, Empire State College, conducted interviews primarily with women employed as electricians, members of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3, for a research project on gender relations in the building trades. COLLECTION SUMMARY: Interviews with women employed in non-traditional jobs discuss their strategies for on-the-job survival and their roles as activists within their unions. Occupations include women employed in the building and construction trades, transport (air and subway) and communications. Union involvement included serving as shop stewards, health and safety representatives, running for union office and organizing rank and file caucuses, teaching in apprentice programs and organizing women's committees. Discussions include routes of entry in the "non-traditional" sector of female employment, activism, organizing tactics and achievements, and advice for others. A major focus of the interviews was to illustrate how women in non-traditional jobs can overcome obstacles on the job and within their unions in order to participate in the affairs of their respective unions. Inventory available in repository.
Joe Glazer - Labor Songs Oral History Collection (OH 41)
In 1996, Joe Glazer donated to the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives a collection of tapes and records from among the more than two dozen he produced over the course of more than 50 years as "laborís troubadour." His voice and guitar have been heard at scores of picket lines, union halls, and union and political rallies from the merger convention of the AFL-CIO in 1955 to the Solidarity Day demonstration in 1980. He has revived dozens of labor songs as well as composing some which have become traditional including "The Mill was Made of Marble," "Automation," and "Too Old to Work, Too Young to Die." He is a founder of the Labor Heritage Foundation, a national organization which promotes labor music, drama and culture and for the past twenty years, has organized an annual "Labor Arts Exchange" at the George Meany Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE: The collection includes Glazerís tapes of folksongs of the American dream and immigration, songs of the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies), as well as other topical collections on the environment ("Garbage") and President Ronald Reagan ("Jellybean Blues). Inventory available in repository.
Michael Harrington - DSA Audiotapes (OH 48)
Collection contains recordings of Harrington's lectures at Queens College, audio notes on interviews with political leaders, various public speeches, and other assorted personal recordings. Inventory available in repository.
Maurice Isserman Oral History Interviews (OH 36)
This group of interviews was donated to the Tamiment Library by historian Maurice Isserman following the publication of "If I Had a Hammer. . .The Death of the Old Left and the Birth of the New Left" (Basic Books, Inc.: New York, 1987). Isserman conducted the interviews between 1983 and 1986. SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE: Isserman sought the roots of 1960s radicalism in the American Communist Party, the various groups led by Max Shachtman, the journal Dissent, and the Committee for Non-Violent Action. He conducted interviews with intellectuals and political partisans active in the 1950s and the 1960s, among them, Stanley Aronowitz, David Dellinger, Ralph DiGia, Hal Draper, Harry and Vera Fleischman, Manny Geltman, Todd Gitlin, Abraham (Al) Glotzer, Gordon Haskell, Richard Healy, Michael Walzer, Irving Howe, Julius and Phyllis Jacobson, David McReynolds, Debbie Meier, Juanita and Wally Nelson, Ronald Radosh, and Andre Schiffrin. Inventory available in repository.
James E. Jackson Audiotapes (OH 57)
Series XVII of the James E. Jackson and Esther Cooper Jackson Papers (TAM 347) describes the James Jackson audiocassettes that are housed in the Library as Oral Histories Collection 57. The collection contains 373 recordings. Most contain lectures and speeches, often of an educational nature, given by Jackson, usually at Communist Party forums. There are also some thirty recordings of talks by other Party leaders, including Gus Hall and Henry Winston, a recording of an event celebrating Jackson's 60th birthday, and an interview with Jackson by his daughter, Kathy. See the Audiocassettes series in the finding aid for the Jackson Papers (TAM 347) for an inventory of the oral history collection (OH 57).
Jewish Labor Committee Oral History Collection (OH 27)
Interviews were conducted by Gail Malmgreen, NYU students Aimee Kaplan and Nancy Schmarak, and JLC staff member Arieh Lebowitz. The Jewish Labor Committee was established by a coalition of Jewish unions and fraternal organizations in New York City in February 1934, with the purpose of rescuing and providing material aid to victims of Nazi persecution. The Committee included affiliates of the United Hebrew Trades, the needle trades unions, the Workmen's Circle, the Jewish Daily Forward Association, and other Jewish labor organizations representing nearly 500,000 members. Working with the AFL, the CIO and a number of mainstream Jewish organizations, the JLC engaged many forms of anti-Nazi activity, including a boycott of German goods, mass meetings, demonstrations, propaganda and active support for anti-fascist forces, both Jewish and non-Jewish, in Europe. In 1940, a special emergency visa program which was engineered by the JLC and William Green of the AFL, helped more than a thousand socialists, trade unionists, and intellectuals whose lives were threatened by the Nazis, to find refuge in the U.S. During the war the JLC worked both through official channels and through the anti-Nazi Underground to channel aid to its friends in Europe, even in Nazi-devastated Poland. After the war, the JLC assisted concentration-camp survivors and other displaced persons in every way possible. It helped to locate relatives, feed, clothe and resettle refugees and find them new homes and employment. In the 1950s, with the support of the British, French, and German labor movements, the JLC played a significant role in negotiating reparations claims against Germany. In the 1960s, the JLC aggressively addressed the issues of civil rights in the U.S. and human rights for Soviet Jewry and supported the grape and wine boycotts called by the United Farm Workers. It remains active as a liaison between the American labor movement and the organized Jewish community, and continues its educational work on anti-Semitism, Holocaust studies, and Jewish culture. SUMMARY: The collection contains nineteen interviews. Among the interviewees are Dussia Minkoff, who discusses her life history and the life and career of her late husband, Isaiah Minkoff, who served as JLC Executive Secretary, 1936-1941, and Eleanor Shachner, long-time chair of the JLC Women's Division. Emanuel Muravchik, who served as the JLC's Executive Secretary from the late 1960's through the early 1980's, discusses his family and political background and the position of the JLC on Middle Eastern issues. A series of 12 videotaped interviews with historians and JLC veterans were conducted in connection with the Wagner Archives JLC video documentary project. This series includes interviews with Benjamin Gebiner, Joseph Mlotek, Vladka Meed, Gus Tyler, Motl Zelmanowicz and historians Jack Jacobs and Kenneth Waltzer. The documentary, entitled "They Were Not Silent: the American Jewish Labor Movement and the Holocaust", previewed in 1998. Inventory available in repository.
Dan Katz - International Ladies' Garment Workers Union Oral History Interviews (OH 49)
Interviews conducted by Daniel Katz for his dissertation, A Union of Many Cultures: Yiddish Socialism and Interracial Organizing in the International Ladies' Garment Union, 1913-1941. (Rutgers University, 2003). Inventory available in repository.
Robin Kelley - Hammer and Hoe Oral History Collection (OH 40)
Historian Robin D.G. Kelley donated to the Tamiment Library the interviews he used in the preparation of his book Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists during the Great Depression (University of North Caroline Press, 1990) after its publication in 1990. SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE: Conducted by Kelley between 1986 and 1988, the interviews include Dr. James Jackson, Hosea Hudson, H.D. Coke, Marge Franz, Laurent Frontz, Rob Hall, Esther Cooper Jackson, Alice Burke (Jarvis), Nannie Washburn, Charles Echols, and Mack Robinson. Inventory available in repository.
Marine Workers Historical Collection Oral Histories (OH 30)
Interviews were conducted between 1980 and 1992 by Joe Doyle, Morris Weiner, and Debra Bernhardt. Some of the interviews were funded by the Chelsea Waterfront History Project. SUMMARY: The collection contains six interviews with merchant seamen and longshoremen. Topics include the National Maritime Union, New York City waterfront corruption, the Chelsea Irish community, and political campaigns. Inventory available in repository. RELATED MATERIALS: See OH-01, New Yorkers at Work, for other oral accounts of New York's waterfront history.
Carl Aldo Marzani Oral History Collection (OH 42)
Interviews were conducted in Italy, mainly in Italian, in the late 1970s-1980 for Marzani's book, "The Promise of Eurocommunism", published in 1981 by Lawrence & Hill Co., Westport, CT. Unprocessed. No index available.
Miscellaneous Historic Sound Collection (OH 35)
This series contains odds and ends of sound actualities that have been donated to the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives from time to time. Some are cassette transfers of discs. SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE: Included in this miscellany are several speeches by or about Sidney Hillman including the September 1941 Salute to Labor, the dedication of the Hillman Health Center and Hillmanís funeral, all donated by Hillmanís daughter, Philoine Fried. Also included is a speech of Jay Lovestone in 1964 and a produced cassette featuring Bayard Rustin, the Singer (chiefly Negro Spirituals). Inventory available in repository.
National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET) Local 15 Oral History Collection (OH 32)
Tapes were donated to the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives in 1990 after NABET Local 15 joined IATSE. NABET Local 15 had its origins in the 1940s when the Association of Documentary Film Cameramen organized an independent union. In the late 1940s, the National Association of Broadcast Engineers, a CIO affiliate, approached the ADFC and gave them a charter. At that time the name was changed to the Association of Documentary and Television Craftsmen (ADTFC) to accommodate the expanding craft categories to be covered by the NABE union umbrella. The ADTFC organized film crews working on low-budget and television films, areas not organized by IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, affiliated with the AFL. In 1954, most of the 700 members of the ADFTC joined the various locals of IATSE. Those who remained with the ADFTC formed a new union affiliated with the CIO, the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians. When the AFL and CIO merged in 1955, IATSE and NABET remained separate entities. With the increased number of television commercials, series and feature production in the early 1960s, workers previously unorganized by IATSE now organized NABET Local 15, the Association of Film Craftsmen. The new local, formed on September 19, 1965, would organize all the craft positions under one contract, which it felt would be more effective for workers on low-budget productions. This encouraged Local 15 members to work in more than one craft in any area of production. NABET was predominantly organized around the television industry; Local 15's charter was one of only three NABET locals devoted to film craftsmen. By the early 1970s, Local 15 expanded as its members increasingly worked on more feature films. Regional offices opened the country in Boston, Miami and San Francisco. In the late 1980s, NABET set up a meeting between officials of IATSE and Local 15 to discuss a possible merger. Soon after, NABET accused Local 15 of trying to secede. The International brought charges against Local 15 which subsequently went to court in an attempt to retain its member status as a NABET local. It lost the case and the international revoked its charter in 1990. Local 15, membership voted to join IATSE; it was admitted in October 1990. This collection has not been processed. No inventory is available.
National Organization for Women: New York City Chapter Oral History Collection (OH 44)
Audio cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes of radio recordings and symposiums/conferences. Inventory available in repository.
New York City Immigrant Labor History Project Oral History Collection (OH 14)
34 boxes. The late Herbert Gutman, Professor of History at the City University of New York, project director, donated the tapes of the New York City Immigrant Labor Oral History Project to the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives in 1983. They were transferred from the New Jersey Historical Commission where they had been temporarily housed. The project began in 1973 under a two- year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Interviews were conducted by undergraduate City College students taught by Virginia Yans and Leon Fink, social history students at CUNY Graduate Center, and graduate student staff interviewers. Interviewers visited nursing homes such as the Workman's Circle Home and union retiree groups including the ILGWU Cloak Worker's Union and Longshoreman's Local 1814 to search out and tape immigrant workers whose memories dated to the turn of the century. The project focused on contrasting experiences of white ethnic and black newcomers to New York and the community, cultural and work lives of immigrants. Institutional history was not a priority. COLLECTION SUMMARY: The collection consists of 285 interviews with American Black, Irish, Italian, Jewish, and Scandinavian immigrant workers. Topics include: family life, education, assimilation, women's roles, work process, ethnic community relations, pre-immigration experiences, work in the garment industry and on the docks, living conditions, politics, leisure, religion, unions, Ellis Island, courtship, class. Indexes or partial transcripts are available for many of the tapes. Inventory available in repository.
New York City Taxi Drivers' Union Oral History Collection (OH 28)
1 box (1 linear foot). In 1964, under the direction of Harry Van Arsdale, Jr., the Taxi Driver's Organizing Committee was formed. In several weeks, 9,000 cab drivers had been signed up. On the strength of this showing, mass rallies were called for by Van Arsdale. Top labor leaders, among them George Meany, pledged their support for the cab drivers. The fruit of their efforts became evident when in July 21, 1965, in elections called for by the fleet owners, the TDOC won elections conducted by the National Labor Relations Board in 22 garages. Within the next year, it went on to win elections and bargaining rights in 82 garages and came to represent nearly 18,000 taxi drivers and other workers within the fleet garages. The culmination of the taxi drivers' struggle to organize was the granting of a charter by the AFL-CIO, on July 1, 1966 to the newly organized NYC Taxi Driver's Union, directly affiliated Local Union 3036. In the first election of union officers held in November of 1966, Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. was elected President of the Local. By September 1967, its membership had grown to 28,000. During the 1970's Local 3036 became affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In the early 1990's, Local 3036 claimed 8,000 members. COLLECTION SUMMARY: The span dates for the collection are 1966-1981, with the bulk of the material between 1966 and 1972. Local 3036 donated this collection to the Wagner Labor Archives in 1985. The collection totals 255 tapes of Union meetings, demonstrations and speeches. Inventory available in repository.
New York City Waterfront Oral History Collection (OH 60)
Collection contains seventeen interviews regarding organizing longshoremen on the NYC waterfront. Inventory available in repository.
New York Metro Area Postal Union Oral History Collection (OH 03)
Barbara Wertheimer, labor educator at Cornell NYSSILR's New York Labor Extension, conceived of an oral history project utilizing union retiree groups to document workers' contributions to New York City. The study of the New York Metro Postal Workers began in 1976 with a small grant under the direction of Dana Schecter and was meant to be a prototype project. For two years, Schecter met with a group of retired postal workers, trained them in oral history techniques, and set them to the task of the interviewing. The collection also contains an extensive interview with Morris Biller, President of the union from 1959-80, when he became president of the national union. Schecter donated the tapes and transcripts to the Wagner Archives in 1980. The New York Area Postal Union represents over 21,000 postal clerks, motor vehicle operators, maintenance, and mailhandlers in New York and New Jersey. The local resulted from the 1958 secession of officers and members of Local 10, National Federation of Post Office Clerks, an organization dating back to 1901. The secessionists favored an "industrial" organization that would include all postal "crafts." SUMMARY: The collection consists of life history oral interviews of 15 retired officers or activists of the New York Metro Area Postal Union including Morris (Moe) Biller, who went on to become president of the national union. The interviews cover the following topics: postal service working conditions; Local 10, National Federation of Post Office Clerks; organization of Postal Union of Manhattan-Bronx Clerks, National Postal Clerks Union; evolution of the New York Metro Area Postal Union; the National postal strike of 1970; and highlights of work histories and union leadership development. Transcripts are available for each of the interviews. RELATED MATERIALS: New York Metro Area Postal Union Collection at the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives and the Josie McMillian oral history interview in the New Yorkers at Work Oral History Collection.New York State AFL-CIO Oral History Collection (OH 17)
As part of her duties under the Harry Van Arsdale fellowship offered to Cornell ILR undergraduates, Leslie Braginsky conducted these interviews in 1988 with active and retired officers of the state labor federation. The New York State AFL-CIO was formed in December 1958 by the merger of the separate state bodies of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. The state AFL traces its activities as far back as the 1860s, when existing labor unions called meetings to protest the Folger Anti-Strike Bill in the State Legislature. In 1865, the first state organization of labor unions was founded as the New York State Trades Assembly, with Henry Rockefeller of the Troy Typographical Union as president. Later that year, the name was changed to the Workingmen's Assembly of the State of New York. The name was again changed in 1898 to the Workingmen's Federation of the State of New York when the Assembly merged with the State branch of the American Federation of Labor. Finally in 1910, the name New York State Federation of Labor was adopted. After World War I, the State Federation fought for several labor reforms such as Workmen's Compensation. During the Depression, the Federation fought for State unemployment insurance and the New York State Labor Relations Act. The New York State CIO was chartered in November 1938, three years after John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers, became chairman of the Committee for Industrial Organizations, and one year after the CIO was expelled from the AFL and changed its name to the Congress of Industrial Organizations. At the 1938 New York State CIO founding convention, President-elect Allan Haywood adopted the principle that labor would take a greater role in the State's political affairs. The merger of the two rival labor federations took place on a national level in 1955. At that time, the State organizations began merger negotiations, but did not reach an agreement until 1958. COLLECTION SUMMARY: There are no transcripts for these interviews, but brief summaries do exist for all interviews. Narrators discuss their family backgrounds, their work as organizers and/or officers of their unions, and their experiences as officers of the State AFL-CIO. Interviewees came from various unions, including the Building Trades, IUE, Shoe and Boot Workers, RWDSU, Civil Service Technical Guild, and the American Communication Association. Narrators discuss the merger of the AFL-CIO, personalities within the State Federation, their positions on Taft-Hartley, and the current condition of the labor movement. Inventory available in repository. RELATED MATERIALS: The Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives are the repository for the historical records of the New York State AFL-CIO.
Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives (OH 73)
The OPEL oral history collection is an ongoing series of life history interviews conducted primarily by graduate students in Professor Rachel Bernstein's oral history classes since 1997. Many of the interviews were intended to expand the documentation of the history of work and workers in the NYC area, and to be of use to the OPEL documentation survey, exhibit, book and web exhibit by Debra Bernhardt and Rachel Bernstein. Topics include often undocumented aspects of work and family life, political activism, union activism, immigrant experience, domestic life, and religion. There are brief indices prepared by the interviewers for each recording. The collection is organized chronologically, and for each yearly series there is a list of the topics the student intervierers were researching. An inventory is available in repository. RELATED MATERIAL: A related series of interviews can be found in OH 33, the Lower East Side oral history project. These are also life history interviews conducted by graduate students in the oral history class, and also by volunteers who attended a series of oral history training workshops. Also see OH 74.
Out in the Union: Gays and Lesbians in the Labor Movement, Miriam Frank Oral History Collection (OH 39)
The Out in the Union Oral History Project was initiated in 1994 by Dr. Miriam Frank, Master Teacher of Humanities in the School of Continuing Education at New York University with support from the Stephen Charney Vladeck Junior Faculty Fellowship Program. Frank, the co-author of "Pride at Work: Organizing for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Unions" (Lesbian and Gay Labor Network, 1990), sought out gay and lesbian union activists in New York City, Boston, Detroit, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Portland and Seattle. SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE: The interviews are both biographical and topical covering such themes as family and class identity, the influence of the institutions of the political left and/or the church, love, and death. Specific labor topics Frank sought to document were institutional policies and new bargaining issues with regard to lesbians and gays; the history of gay participation in unions, both hidden and "out"; resistance to gays and lesbians in some sectors of the labor movement; labor education and AIDS education; and the influence of community organizing. Frank attempts to document individual struggles which had engaged activists in trying to live a gay life in the union world. Inventory available in repository. Contact the library for information on obtaining permission to use the collection. RELATED MATERIALS: See the archives of the Lesbian and Gay Labor Network, Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives.
Produced Audio Tapes Collection (OH 24)
These titles were donated to or purchased by the Tamiment Library/Wagner Labor Archives. COLLECTION SUMMARY: Produced tapes include documentary histories of Fiorello LaGuardia, Emma Goldman, the Scottsboro case, and Eugene Debs. There are two tapes from a CWA talk show program. In most cases there are no transcripts for these tapes. Scripts are protected by copyright. Inventory available in repository.
Songs of Social Justice Collection (OH 16)
This series consists of produced sound recordings of labor or left music, donated to the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. Included are user copies of sound recordings that are part of the Archives' holdings as well as cassettes produced by labor musicians and occasional public events staged by the Archives around themes of labor music. RELATED MATERIALS: See also Tamiment-Wagner Disc Collections (NS-D) listings of recorded sound. Inventory available in repository.
Tamiment Library Events Oral History Collection (OH 05)
This ongoing series of audiotapes consists of recordings of educational forums, conferences, commemorations, radio broadcasts, memorials, addresses and other formal events relating to the history of American labor and radicalism. The bulk of the events were staged by the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives and the Tamiment Library and related organizations such as the New York Labor History Association beginning from 1980 to the present. "Pillar of Labor" dedications provide biographical information about important unionists. The series also includes a few sound recordings of New York political organizations of the 1980s such as C.A.R.D., the Coalition against Registration and the Draft, and the Citizens' Party. Where programs or leaflets advertising events existed, they have been assembled to document the tapes. Inventory available in repository.
Tamiment Playhouse Alumni Oral History Collection (OH 31)
Interviews were conducted between 1980 and 1988 by Andrew Horn of the Tamiment Playhouse Archives and by NYU Performance Studies graduate student Martha S. LoMonaco for her dissertation and subsequent book on the Tamiment Playhouse, entitled Every Week a Broadway Revue. The Tamiment Playhouse, located at the Socialist Party's retreat, Camp Tamiment, in Pennsylvania's Pocono mountains, became the preeminent workshop and a major creative outlet for theater, dance, film, and television of the mid-twentieth century. Actors such as Danny Kaye, Bea Arthur, Imogene Coca, and Carol Burnett, directors Max Liebman, Herb Ross, and Joe Layton, choreographer Jerome Robbins, and writers Woody Allen and Neil Simon are a small sampling of the major entertainment figures nurtured at Camp Tamiment. Much of the original material performed at Tamiment found its way to the professional stage, Broadway, and television. All interviewees were involved in the Tamiment Playhouse, mainly in the 1950s. Most of the interviews consist of recollections of the Tamiment summer theater, as well as discussions about the importance of the Playhouse for Broadway. Of note in the collection are interviews with Woody Allen, Carol Burnett, Imogene Coca, and Neil Simon. Inventory available in repository. The Shows were recorded (live, on reel to reel audiotape) at the Tamiment Playhouse from 1955-1960.
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