Women's Trade Union League and Its Leaders Reel Listing Anderson, Mary

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Anderson, Mary.

General Correspondence and Papers.


Collection III: Mary Anderson Papers; The volume of correspondence increases markedly on this reel, which covers the final five years of Anderson's tenure as director of the Women's Bureau. The letters for these years include a fair amount of information about Bureau activities, now largely directed to protecting the interests of working women in wartime. For American industry, the war period began in 1940, when Hitler's advances in Europe provoked a large expansion of military production, both to strengthen America's defense and to aid the beleaguered Allies. Various letters touch upon the Bureau's efforts to formulate and maintain standards for the employment of women in defense industries, to ward off attempts to relax protective legislation, to ensure access of women to new jobs and training programs, and to attain wage scales equal to those of men. There are references to the loan to the Bureau of Elisabeth Christman, national secretary of the WTUL, in 1942 and to her field work as trouble-shooter in employment controversies; her decision a year later to return to the League was a disappointment to Anderson. There is material also on Anderson's uncertain relationship with Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins; see particularly the controversy in November 1943 over Perkins' supposed reluctance to support an increased appropriation for the Bureau, and the strong protest registered by leaders of the WTUL. Other references to the League are meager, although there are a dozen letters from Mary Dreier, seven from Rose Schneiderman, three from Agnes Nestor, and one from Mollie Dowd.On other topics, several letters deal with postwar planning within the government; one (by Anderson, Jan. 27, 1944) suggests a coolness on the part of Frances Perkins toward women's issues. An Anderson letter of November 1942 about pressure upon her to appoint a black professional to her staff reflects current racial attitudes. Eleanor Roosevelt in February 1944 urges the Labor Department to make a new effort to fight the proposed Equal Rights Amendment. Other letters deal with the declining health of Margaret Dreier Robins and the final years and death of Alice Henry. The reel also touches on several personal events in Mary Anderson's life: her receipt of an honorary degree from Smith College in 1941, an FBI check of her alleged Communist-front membership (1942), her retirement in June 1944, and plans for the writing of her autobiography.In frequent correspondence during the reel, Anderson and Agnes Johnson O'Connor, an old Chicago friend and fellow shoe worker, exchange news and comments about current political and labor events. Other correspondents include Stella Franklin, Alice Henry, Catharine Waugh McCulloch, Kate F. O'Connor, Mabeth Hurd Paige, and, more briefly, Florence E. Allen, Margaret Bondfield, Carrie Chapman Catt, Dorothy Kenyon, the Norwegian labor leader Betzy Kjelsberg, Alice Thacher Post, Raymond Robins, Harriet Taylor Upton, Mary Van Kleeck, and Mary Winslow.

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National Women's Trade Union League Papers (Schlesinger Library).

Subject Files -- American Federation of Labor through Industries.

Collection II: National Women's Trade Union League Papers, Schlesinger Library; This reel, the first of three devoted to the League's subject files, begins with a small group of items pertaining to the American Federation of Labor: a letter from Gertrude Barnum to Samuel Gompers, Feb. 9, 1905, and three clippings about the Federation's plans in 1924 for organizing women. Brief groups on home work and industrial unionism follow.The balance of the reel is made up of files on particular industries which employed women. For some industries the material is minor or miscellaneous. Other folders touch upon WTUL organizing efforts, as in the new beauty parlor trade (1927) or among hotel chambermaids (1927-29), or upon attempts to publicize and secure government action on behalf of hotel and restaurant employees, textile workers, laundry workers, and domestics. The material on the telephone and telegraph industries includes clippings of articles by Julia O'Connor (Parker), among them three installments of her "History of the Organized Telephone Operators' Movement" (1922). Some folders contain typed reports of investigations into working conditions in a particular factory or region.The items sometimes reflect the work of the League's local branches (as in a 73-page report by the New York WTUL, "Conditions of Women Workers in the Hotel and Restaurant Industry," 1935) or of outside organizations, such as a black Joint Committee on National Recovery (1933) and the National Council on Household Employment (1940). They also record at least one grass-roots attempt to organize domestic workers. There is evidence also of League interaction with the federal Women's Bureau and with the Consumers' League and the YWCA.The correspondence scattered through this reel is mostly that of Elisabeth Christman. It includes three letters by Mary Anderson, two by Rose Schneiderman, and one each by Lucy Randolph Mason of the National Consumers' League, Frieda S. Miller, Pauline Newman, and Sadie Reisch, organizer for the New York WTUL.

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Nestor, Agnes.

General Papers and Correspondence.


Collection VII: Agnes Nestor Papers; The first six months of 1918 bulk largest on this reel, which continues the record of Nestor's wartime work. There is considerable material on the Advisory Council to the Secretary of Labor (January-March) and on her trip to England and France as part of the labor mission organized by President Gompers of the American Federation of Labor (April-May). The reel contains scattered references to the Chicago WTUL and to Nestor's appointment to the Illinois Industrial Survey. It concludes with a section of undated and miscellaneous items pertaining to wartime agencies. Correspondents include Mary Anderson, Elisabeth Christman, Margaret Dreier Robins, and Olive Sullivan, all of the WTUL. A letter from the Chicago philanthropist Charles R. Crane and references to him in other letters suggest his role in giving financial support to Nestor's work.

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Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League.

Minutes and Reports.


Collection IV: Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League; The documents on this reel follow the same basic pattern as on the last. Some minutes or reports appear to be missing, particularly in 1916, 1917, and early 1918. The secretary's monthly reports are generally shorter and more perfunctory after Helen Marot's resignation in 1913. Reports by the president become more frequent on this reel, especially in 1914-15 and 1918-20. Minutes of the League's annual meeting, held in March, first appear in 1920. The reel includes a few scattered organizer's reports, occasional minutes of the strike council, occasional monthly treasurer's reports (1921-24), monthly reports by Maud Swartz on her work as compensation adviser (1922, 1924), assisting working women in making claims under the state workmen's compensation act, and, in the final two years of the reel, financial reports on the League's clubhouse and cafeteria.These years mark a period of transition during which the New York League shifts its primary emphasis from direct organization to protective legislation. Thus the records for 1913-17, although they still contain a good deal of material on efforts to organize women workers, particularly in such peripheral industries as candy and artificial flowers and feathers, have more about other issues, notably legislation and woman suffrage. There is considerable documentation of the League's participation in the state suffrage referendum campaigns of 1915 and 1917. After New York women won the vote in 1917, the League became very much involved in political activity, seeking in local and state campaigns to elect candidates who favored protective labor legislation for women. One can also trace during these years the development of the League's arguments in favor of protective legislation, particularly in the early 1920's when the National Woman's Party launched a campaign against such legislation and in favor of its proposed Equal Rights Amendment.

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Robins, Margaret Dreier.

Biographical and Personal Material -- Margaret Dreier Robins (continued).

Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; MDR's speeches, which begin this reel (frames 1-233), are in chronological order. For the most part they are in draft or typescript form, although in some cases a printed text is included. The presence of more than one draft sometimes suggests how a speech evolved. A more striking contrast is the difference between MDR's spoken and written style as seen in a 1925 address on China to the Chicago WTUL, of which both a stenographic report and a revised version for publication in Life and Labor Bulletin survive. The earliest of the speeches, to the graduating class at Packer Institute in Brooklyn in 1902, sounds a strong inspirational note, one of two elements characteristic of MDR's public addresses. The other, her concern for social betterment, finds expression in a speech here (c. 1903) on "District Nursing" and an essay on Reel 1 on the care of the insane. By 1905, however, MDR's social concern had come to center on the condition of working women. Several manuscripts show her gift for conveying that concern to middle-class audiences through vivid, concrete accounts of her own observations and experiences. A diffusion of her interests after 1922 is suggested by speeches on prohibition, child welfare, and the South. (For additional speeches, see Reel 8, frames 177-220.)Of lesser interest are the groups of fragments and notes, extensive but often mere scraps, that follow (frames 234-585) and a group of miscellaneous lists of names (frames 586-702), including an address book from MDR's early Chicago period. A section of business and financial records (frames 703-1077) completes the reel. It includes her brother Edward's monthly reports of her investment income for the years 1912-25. Scattered reports for later years may be found in MDR's correspondence (Series 3), enclosed with letters from Edward Dreier.

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Schneiderman, Rose.

Material on Special Topics; Biographical and Personal Material; Newspaper Clippings.

Collection VI: Rose Schneiderman Papers; The remaining portions of the Schneiderman Papers, as found on Reel 2, are more miscellaneous and fragmentary and not always well arranged. The reel is divided into two sections, Part I and Part II, in each of which the frames are numbered separately. An outline of the reel and its divisions follows:Part I FramesSeries 2: Material on Special Topics1. Women's Trade Union League 1-1862. Woman Suffrage 187-2333. First International Congress of Working Women 234-2434. International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union 244-2795. Committee on Sanitation and Comfort of Industrial Board, New York State Department of Labor (1913-14) 280-4506. Labor Advisory Board, National Recovery Administration 451-6617. Miscellaneous Speeches and Broadcasts by Rose Schneiderman 662-782Part IISeries 3: Biographical and Personal Material1. Rose Schneiderman 1-282. Friends and Associates 29-493. Miscellaneous 50-97Series 4: Newspaper Clippings1. Rose Schneiderman 98-1322. Women's Trade Union League 133-1813. Working Women 182-1924. Woman Suffrage 193-2175. Labor Advisory Board, National Recovery Administration 221-232In Part I -- Series 2, Material on Special Topics -- the items on the Women's Trade Union League are divided, somewhat haphazardly, into three groups: general material (frames 1-60), speeches and articles by Rose Schneiderman (frames 63-157), and miscellaneous (frames 158-186). Included in the first group are: typed copies of reports in the Chicago Union Labor Advocate of the founding meetings of the National WTUL in 1903 (by one of the participants, Ellen Lindstrom), of the national "convention" of 1907 (actually a small conference held during the annual convention of the American Federation of Labor), and of early meetings of the Chicago and Boston branches; a typed report by Rose Schneiderman of her work as organizer for the New York WTUL in 1908-09; minutes of a meeting of the Law Enforcement Committee of the New York WTUL in 1913; and the script of the League's surprise party for Schneiderman in 1943. In the second group (speeches and articles), the first two speeches each lacks page 1. In a speech or article at the end of the group Schneiderman looks back over the fifty-year history of the New York WTUL after its decision to disband.Continuing with Series 2, the woman suffrage items are minor, save for two speeches, presumably by Rose Schneiderman, given at a "suffrage school" in Washington, D.C., in 1913. The material on the Ladies' Garment Workers' Union consists largely of minutes of the Waist Makers Conference in New York City, 1910-11, of which Schneiderman was secretary. The section on the New York Industrial Board's Committee on Sanitation and Comfort includes letters to Schneiderman and other members from the committee's head, Pauline Goldmark, together with reports, drafts of sanitary regulations, and related papers. (See also letters on Reel 1, frames 356 and 363.) The material on the Labor Advisory Board of the NRA, although spotty and loosely organized, includes three Schneiderman speeches, some correspondence, various internal memoranda and minutes, and an unsigned typescript history of the board. Series 2 ends with a section of miscellaneous Schneiderman speeches and radio broadcasts.In Part II, the material in Series 3, Biographical and Personal Material, is mostly of limited value. Occasional pages of typed recollections by Rose Schneiderman probably relate to the writing of her autobiography. The section on her friends and associates includes a typed biographical sketch of Elisabeth Christman by Pauline Newman and two items on Mary N. Winslow. The miscellaneous section includes Schneiderman's commission from Governor Alfred E. Smith to represent New York State at a child labor conference in 1924.The clippings in Series 4 are sometimes useful. Those from Ohio newspapers (frames 199-207) give some measure of Schneiderman's role in the 1912 suffrage campaign there.

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Women's Trade Union League.

Union Labor Advocate (Chicago).

September 1904 - December 1910

Collection IX: Women's Trade Union League Publications; The Chicago Union Labor Advocate was a monthly magazine, privately published but closely tied to the local labor movement. During the first decade of the twentieth century it was the official organ of the Chicago Federation of Labor and of other labor bodies. Receptive to the cause of women, it ran a Woman's Department and reported the organization of the National Women's Trade Union League in late 1903 and of its Chicago branch in January 1904.Beginning with the issue of December 1904, the Chicago Women's Trade Union League assumed responsibility for the Advocate's Woman's Department, with Anna Nicholes, the League's secretary, as editor. Meanwhile the National WTUL came increasingly to feel the need of its own channel of communication. In 1908 the executive board voted to make the Woman's Department its first official organ. With the National headquarters located in Chicago, the transition was an easy one. A recently arrived Australian journalist, Alice Henry, took over an expanded Woman's Department in May 1908. Under her editorship, the department continued to the end of 1910, by which point the League was ready to launch a full-fledged magazine of its own, Life and Labor. (See Reels 5 and 6.)Since the Union Labor Advocate reflects some of the progressive spirit of the Chicago labor movement during the formative years of the Women's Trade Union League, it seemed useful to film the magazine in its entirety and not merely the Woman's Department. The file has been assembled from the holdings of three libraries: the University of Florida Library, Columbia University Library, and the Littauer Library of Harvard University. It begins at the start of Volume 5, in September 1904, a few issues before the Chicago branch of the Women's Trade Union League took over the Woman's Department, and continues through the final WTUL issue of December 1910. Library holdings of the Advocate are few and sparse, but the file assembled here lacks only three issues, those of February, March, and April 1906.A printed index to the material in the Woman's Department for the years 1907-10 can be found at the beginning of Reel 3.

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Anderson, Mary.

General Correspondence and Papers, 1945-1953; Correspondence with Margaret Dreier Robins, 1922-1943.

1945-1953; 1922-1943

Collection III: Mary Anderson Papers; The reel begins with the final portion of Anderson's General Correspondence and Papers. Most of the items date from 1945, the first year of her retirement, and pertain to two activities of that year: the drive for a federal equal pay law for women, which was introduced in both the House and Senate, and an organized effort to forestall approval of the Equal Rights Amendment, which came before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September. Anderson headed the committee (an offshoot of the Women's Joint Congressional Committee) working for the equal pay bill and was treasurer of the National Committee to Defeat the Un-Equal Rights Amendment. Scattered items for later years indicate that she continued to pursue both matters through 1950. Several letters of 1951-53 concern the donation of her papers to the Schlesinger Library. Correspondents on this segment of the reel include Elizabeth S. Magee, general secretary of the National Consumers' League, Margaret A. Hickey, president of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Anna Lord Strauss, president of the League of Women Voters, President William Green of the AF of L, Rose Schneiderman, and Maud Wood Park; and there are single letters from Carrie Chapman Catt, Frieda S. Miller, and Congresswoman Margaret Chase Smith. One of Park's letters (1949) affirms that she and Alice Stone Blackwell are still opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment.The next segment of the Anderson Papers, her correspondence with Margaret Dreier Robins, begins at frame 455. Apart from a few scattered items of 1922 and 1923, the correspondence starts in 1924, two years after Robins' retirement as president of the National Women's Trade Union League, and continues through 1943, or shortly before Anderson's retirement as head of the Women's Bureau. Coverage of the 1920's is uneven, but there is good material on several topics: the AF of L's proposed women's department to take over the work of the NWTUL (1924); friction between the two top NWTUL officers, Maud Swartz and Elisabeth Christman (1924-25); and conflict between the Women's Bureau and the National Woman's Party over the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, particularly in connection with the Bureau's Industrial Conference of 1926. There are brief references to the International Federation of Working Women and to the 1925 Conference on the Cause and Cure of War. Letters from Robins in 1929 describe the consultations she and her husband had with President-elect Hoover early in the year and her later successful appeal to Hoover for an increased appropriation for the Women's Bureau. Anderson in 1930 reports current agitation for the appointment of Grace Abbott as Secretary of Labor.The correspondence of 1931-33 includes considerable discussion of the depression: the increasingly severe unemployment, the growing sense that change is needed but uncertainty about what sort of change. There are references to the impact of the depression on working standards for women and on the finances of the NWTUL; Robins reports with distress in 1932 that for the first time in twenty-eight years she cannot make a contribution. Later letters touch upon other WTUL matters: renewed friction between Swartz and Christman (1933); the possibility of replacing Rose Schneiderman by Mary Winslow as national president (1936); persistent arrears in the per capita tax from local leagues; and the League's national convention of 1936. Various Anderson letters deal with activities of the Women's Bureau: the effort to eliminate differential wage scales for women in NRA codes; conferences on working standards and protective legislation -- particularly minimum wage laws for women, which the Supreme Court first declared unconstitutional in 1936 and then upheld in 1937. The Bureau's defense of protective legislation against the opposition tactics of the Woman's Party moves in this period to the international arena, at meetings of the International Labor Organization (1931) and the Pan American Union (1939). The correspondence of the 1930's includes discussion of current political and labor events, including the conflict within the AF of L over industrial unionism.Anderson's letters to Robins in 1940-43 usefully supplement the material in her general correspondence about the wartime role of the Women's Bureau. They suggest her firm and effective handling of relationships with defense industries, the War Department, and other government agencies, but a growing discouragement over failure to obtain an increase in her budget. There are a few references to the WTUL in connection with the loan of Elisabeth Christman to the Bureau.

Reel: 3
National Women's Trade Union League Papers (Schlesinger Library).

Subject Files -- Injunctions through Part-time Employment.

Collection II: National Women's Trade Union League Papers, Schlesinger Library; The first file on this reel, Injunctions, contains miscellaneous items on the use of court injunctions in labor disputes. Included are pamphlets issued by the Chicago and National Leagues and two letters voicing the views of the veteran labor leader Andrew Furuseth, one by Furuseth himself, the other by Alice Henry.Several files follow under the general heading of Insurance. These include an undated leaflet in support of a state health insurance bill in New York, issued by the Women's Joint Legislative Conference, of which the New York WTUL was a member; and correspondence between Elisabeth Christman and Justice Louis D. Brandeis of the U.S. Supreme Court about savings bank life insurance. A small folder on the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union includes a letter from Fannia M. Cohn (1939) describing the work of the union's Educational Department, which she headed. A folder on the Labor Party contains data on recent labor-related third-party activity, prepared for Maud Swartz to use at the 1923 congress of the International Federation of Working Women.Most of the remainder of the reel is taken up with the topic of legislation. A general file at the beginning includes several pamphlets issued by the NWTUL. One is Samuel Gompers, The Significance of the Labor Sections of the Clayton Act (1915), published to soothe the AF of L leader, whose feelings had been ruffled by public criticism of the act by a League member.A large file on the Equal Rights Amendment contains material on the League's long campaign against the amendment as a threat to protective legislation for women workers. As documented here, the campaign begins in 1922, soon after the amendment was first proposed by the National Woman's Party, and continues through 1947. Included are statements by Maud Swartz, Rose Schneiderman, Elisabeth Christman, Agnes Nestor, Ethel M. Smith, and others setting forth the League's case against the amendment; indications of support for the League's position from other women's organizations; and items pertaining to particular phases of the campaign. Among these are the Women's Bureau's investigation into the effects of protective legislation on women's work (1926-29; see also the Mary Anderson Papers); an endorsement of protective legislation secured by the League from Herbert Hoover during the 1928 presidential campaign; and, outside the United States, efforts to ward off a resolution against protective legislation at the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (1926) and to forestall possible endorsement of an Equal Rights Treaty by the International Labor Organization, the League of Nations, and the Pan American Union (1931-39).Other legislative files are on hours of labor, minimum wage, and social security laws. The first is divided into two groups, one on the general case for a shorter working day and the other on particular campaigns, especially in Illinois. Included are leaflets issued by the Chicago and Illinois Leagues and by the Chicago Federation of Labor (1909-25) and correspondence of Agnes Nestor.Of the remaining files on the reel, the one on NRA codes consists mostly of material compiled by the Women's Bureau but includes a few instances of WTUL action. The files on older workers and part-time employment are minor.Correspondents on the reel not already mentioned include Clara M. Beyer, Mary Dreier, and Edwin E. Witte.

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