Reel: 7 Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League.
January 1920 - May 1921
Collection IV: Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League; The bulk of the correspondence on this reel is by Maud Swartz as secretary of the New York WTUL, but there are an increasing number of letters to and from the president, Rose Schneiderman. Topics include the usual matters of League memberships and finances, plans for public meetings, and legislation. The chief current legislative goals are state eight-hour and minimum-wage bills, strongly urged by the Women's Joint Legislative Conference, and, at the national level, support of the Women's Bureau and its director, Mary Anderson. Other subjects are labor education, particularly the planning of the Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers; and the founding, with WTUL participation, of the state Labor party, its merger into the national Farmer-Labor party, and its campaign of 1920, with Rose Schneiderman as its candidate for U.S. Senator. There is correspondence about a conference of Eastern locals of the WTUL, called by the New York branch (June 1920); about a Working Women's Conference at Albany (October 1920) which leads to the establishment there in 1921 of a WTUL committee headed by Hilda Svenson Boyle; about a research program in labor conditions undertaken by the New York WTUL; and, at the national level, about a committee (suggested by the New York WTUL) to consider the League's condition and future prospects.WTUL correspondents on the reel include Emma Steghagen, Alice Henry, and (on a few occasions) Margaret Dreier Robins of the National WTUL, along with Hilda Boyle, Mabel Gillespie, Frieda S. Miller, Agnes Nestor, Ethel M. Smith, and Anna Weinstock; there are single letters also from Elisabeth Christman, Mollie Dowd, and Leonora O'Reilly. Other correspondents include Mary Anderson, Katherine S. Dreier, Harriet B. Laidlaw, Mary McDowell, Nelle Swartz, M. Carey Thomas, and Mary Van Kleeck, with single letters from Mary W. Dewson, Congressman Fiorello La Guardia, and Secretary of Labor William B. Wilson.
Reel: 7 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Biographical and Personal Material -- Guests and Social Occasions, Biographical Material on Other Persons, Writings by Others, Addenda to Series 1.
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; This reel contains the final three segments of Series 1. The first, Guests and Social Occasions (frames 1-519), begins with groups of formal invitations, wedding invitations and announcements, and acknowledgment cards received by the Robinses, together with a small group of their own invitations to social affairs at Chinsegut Hill. (Folders of Christmas and Easter cards and other miscellany were not filmed.) The largest portion of this segment consists of guest books (frames 124-427) for Chinsegut Hill (1905-44) and Bimini's Isle (1928-44), which record the visits and reactions of family and friends. A section of Verses for Family Occasions (frames 428-513) reflects the Dreier tradition of elaborate, light-hearted celebration of birthdays and other anniversaries, often with verses composed by Mary Dreier.The next segment, Biographical Material on Other Persons (frames 521-620), begins with a group of items on Leonora O'Reilly assembled by Mary Dreier: a few pages of typed notes, including an interview with a cousin of O'Reilly's, and Mary Dreier's 43-page typed sketch, "Leonora O'Reilly: A Chapter of Memories." Scattered items follow on other persons, including Lisa von Borowsky, the young German who first came to Chinsegut in 1924 and became the Robinses' unofficially adopted daughter, and James Mullenbach, a Chicago friend and associate of both MDR and her husband.A final segment, Writings by Others (frames 622-802), is a very miscellaneous collection of typed poems, essays, etc., that found their way into the collection, some clearly connected with the Robinses, others not.At the close of Reel 7 is a section of Addenda to Series 1 (frames 803-866) containing items that turned up after the series had been filmed. Included are an astrological analysis or horoscope of MDR and Raymond Robins, drawn up in 1906, and additional items about Lisa von Borowsky.
Reel: 7 Women's Trade Union League.
Special Publications (1916-1922); Life and Labor Bulletin (1922-1950).
Collection IX: Women's Trade Union League Publications; During its later years Life and Labor, the national magazine of the Women's Trade Union League, was sometimes criticized for not keeping League members well enough informed about League activities. Out of this sentiment grew several experiments with a supplementary publication of a more informal sort. The first was a mimeographed Newsletter, begun in January 1915 and supposedly issued quarterly over the next two years. Few copies survive. Besides the single issue reproduced here, three others (January 12 and October 30, 1915, and June 1916) may be found in the microfilmed Records of the National Women's Trade Union League at the Library of Congress (Reel 17, frames 224-226, 242-245, and 261-269).The next publication, a mimeographed Bulletin, appeared irregularly from November 1920 until April 1922 -- six months after Life and Labor had ceased publication. Meanwhile, during the war years, the League had published a four-page letterpress monthly, Women's Work and War (February 1918 through April/May 1919). This was sent not only to League members and affiliates but also to the members of the various Committees on Women in Industry under the Council of National Defense. These special publications comprise the first portion of the present reel.From them evolved the League's final serial, the long-lived Life and Labor Bulletin, whose files complete the reel. Much less than a magazine, it was nevertheless more than a newsletter, particularly in the first, typeset series. Its four pages (on rare occasions, six or eight), in a format adapted from that of Women's Work and War, combined feature articles with brief news notes. Although no editor is listed, Life and Labor Bulletin was almost wholly the work of the League's national secretary, Elisabeth Christman. First published in August 1922, it followed a somewhat irregular schedule for three volumes and then settled down to ten issues a year, omitting the months of August and September. Thus it continued until the depression brought it to a halt in February 1932.For a time thereafter financial stringency limited even makeshift efforts to fill the gap. A mimeographed Life and Labor Bulletin, initially subtitled "Home Edition," appeared in April 1933 and on three subsequent occasions during the next two years and then lapsed into silence. Not until four years later, in October 1939, did the new mimeographed series assume a regular format and the same monthly schedule as its printed predecessor. With Elisabeth Christman still at the helm, it maintained a steady and literate presence up to the final issue of June 1950, in which she announced with dignity the national League's reluctant decision to disband.The files reproduced here are all in the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College, with the exception of two issues of Women's Work and War for which photocopies were provided by the Boston Public Library. The Schlesinger Library's set of the first series of Life and Labor Bulletin, originally part of the headquarters files, contains typed indexes for Volumes I through VIII. These indexes have been filmed together at the beginning of the series.
Reel: 7 O'Reilly, Leonora.
1920-1927 and undated
Collection V: Leonora O'Reilly Papers; This final reel of Leonora O'Reilly's correspondence begins with a fairly large group of letters for the year 1920. For the remaining years of her life, 1921-27, only scattered letters survive. The reel ends with a section of undated letters.The topic that bulks largest in the 1920 correspondence is O'Reilly's assistance to Mrs. Parvatibai Athavale, a widow who had come from India to America to learn English and to enlist support for two enterprises in Poona directed by her brother-in-law, Professor D.K. Karve: the Hindu Widows' Home Association and the Indian Women's University. Earnest but impractical, Mrs. Athavale soon after her arrival somehow met O'Reilly, who in November 1919 took her into her Brooklyn home and, in exchange for household assistance, gave her lessons in English and helped find audiences for her message. The reel includes correspondence with Professor Karve and, after Mrs. Athavale's return to India in 1921, several letters from her and her son and daughter-in-law. (See also related material on Reel 3, frames 168-201, and Reel 10, frames 901-995.)The 1920 correspondence also reflects O'Reilly's involvement in the cause of Irish independence, including a trip to Washington to join in picketing the British embassy. There are a few references to the affairs of the WTUL in letters from Mary Dreier, Alice Henry, Pauline Newman, Emma Steghagen, and Maud Swartz. Margaret Dreier Robins (May 30, 1920) recalls that she first learned of trade unionism from O'Reilly and describes the weak financial state of the International Congress of Working Women, to which she had advanced "several thousand dollars." Other correspondents of 1920 include O'Reilly's old friends Arthur Brisbane, Katherine Dreier, Laura Griesheimer, Harriette Hifton King, Agnes O'Brien, and Louise Perkins, with one or two letters each from John Fitzpatrick, Father James O.S. Huntington, Harriet Laidlaw, Helen Marot, and Frank P. Walsh. The scattered letters of 1921-27 are mostly from old friends -- Brisbane, Mary Dreier, King, Perkins, Robins -- with several also from Mary Ryshpan Cohen and Pauline Newman.The undated letters that conclude the reel are arranged alphabetically by author. The two largest groups are from Louise Perkins (some 65 letters, cards, or fragments dating from various phases of their long acquaintance) and from a young suitor, George McGregor (25 letters, c. 1902-07 by internal evidence). The undated correspondence also includes 20 or more letters from Mary Dreier (some evidently before 1910) and small groups from the immigrant author Rose Cohen ("Rahel"), Katherine Dreier (with some mention of her participation in the WTUL), Bertha Eger, Laura Griesheimer, Pauline Newman, Alice Thursby, and Celia Frances Walsh (daughter of Frank P. Walsh). There are single letters from Margaret Hinchey, Edward King, and Melinda Scott.
Reel: 8 Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League.
June 1921 - August 1922
Collection IV: Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League; There is some correspondence of Maud Swartz on the early part of this reel, but very little thereafter, as other duties take her away from the secretaryship of the New York WTUL -- a trip to Europe in the fall of 1921 to attend the congress of the International Federation of Working Women; appointment in May 1922 as director of the New York League's new advisory service to help women file claims under the state workmen's compensation law (see its correspondence on Reels 17-18); and election in June as the League's new national president. (The last part of the reel includes a few carbons of Swartz's letters as president-elect.) Since the New York League did not acquire a new secretary until October 1922, the bulk of the correspondence on this reel is by the president, Rose Schneiderman. It includes lengthy letters to Maud Swartz during her sojourn abroad, though not Swartz's replies. Topics include: labor education (a few letters about Brookwood labor college, a number about the Bryn Mawr Summer School); fund-raising, especially for the League's new clubhouse; and a few references to state legislation, although this is now mostly left to the Women's Joint Legislative Conference.Affairs of the National WTUL bulk more largely on this reel than in previous ones: support of the cause of disarmament at the time of President Harding's Washington Conference of 1921; defense of protective legislation for women against the National Woman's Party's newly proposed Equal Rights Amendment; plans for the League's convention of 1922 and for a retirement gift to Margaret Dreier Robins; and discussion of new officers to succeed Robins and Emma Steghagen. Ethel M. Smith, the national legislative representative, sends periodic reports on bills before Congress. Occasional letters touch upon affairs of other local Leagues, particularly a controversy within the Philadelphia League.WTUL correspondents on this reel include Margaret Dreier Robins, Elisabeth Christman (the new national secretary), Alice Henry, Agnes Nestor, and Pauline Newman, with single letters from Mary Dreier and Julia S. O'Connor. Other correspondents (mostly represented by single letters) include: Mary Anderson, Margaret Bondfield, Nancy Cook, John A. Fitch, Freda Kirchwey, Kate Manicom, Harriet May Mills, Rose Pesotta, Nelle Swartz, and M. Carey Thomas.
Reel: 8 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Organizational and Topical Material -- Woman's Municipal League; National Women's Trade Union League.
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; This reel marks the start of the next major division of the Robins Papers, Series 2: Organizational and Topical Material. It begins with a section (frames 1-220) on the Woman's Municipal League of New York, in which the future Mrs. Robins played her first significant public role. An investigation led by Frances A. Kellor of the College Settlements Association had found that unscrupulous employment agencies were steering young girls to brothels. Margaret Dreier, as chairman of the League's legislative committee, led a vigorous campaign in 1903-04 which secured a state law regulating employment agencies. The material here - reports, drafts of bills, speeches by Margaret Dreier, testimony before legislative committees, lists of legislators and of public supporters -- together with the correspondence of these years on Reel 19, provides a good documentation of the campaign. There is some material also (1904-06) on two organizations through which Dreier and Kellor carried on the campaign's broader purposes, the New York Association for Household Research and the Inter-Municipal Committee on Household Research.By mid-1905 the Women's Trade Union League had become the primary focus of MDR's interests. Material on the National WTUL comprises the rest of this reel and continues through Reel 11. The earliest items -- typed minutes of the meetings in November 1903 at which the League was organized and of the meetings of its executive board through December 1905 -- originated not in MDR's papers but in those of Leonora O'Reilly (the first minutes have a marginal note in her hand). O'Reilly left her papers to Mary Dreier, and Dreier, when writing her sister's biography, evidently incorporated into MDR's papers various O'Reilly items pertaining to the early years of the WTUL; others are on Reels 12 and 66. One item that was clearly MDR's is a typed speech by Mary Kenney O'Sullivan (so identified on the back in MDR's hand), probably dating from March 1905 (see clipping in Reel 1, frame 458). For most of the remaining years covered on this reel, material is meager and marginal. Two printed items in 1906-07 and a draft letter in the NWTUL Addenda (Reel 11, frames 794-801) deal with the League's successful attempt, led by Mary McDowell, to secure a federal investigation of women's working conditions. (Two McDowell letters on Reel 20 add further details.) A few items in 1915 touch on negotiations with the American Federation of Labor over its appropriation of funds to the League. In 1919, itemized lists of loans by MDR give some indication of the level of her financial support. Other items record the founding, with NWTUL participation, of the Women's Joint Congressional Committee in Washington (1920) and the first reaction to the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (1921), viewed then and later as a threat to hard-won protective legislation for women workers. Also on the reel are scattered executive board minutes (1910, 1912, 1921, 1923) and financial statements.
Reel: 8 Women's Trade Union League.
Publications of the New York Women's Trade Union League.
Collection IX: Women's Trade Union League Publications; Among the various local branches of the Women's Trade Union League, the New York branch was the strongest and most active. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that its serial publications are more substantial than those of any of the other branches. The Annual Reports and related publications provide useful summaries of the League's work, and there is material of interest also in the Monthly Bulletins.The files of the two serials that have been assembled on this reel are drawn from the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College and the Baker Library of the Harvard School of Business Administration, with some additions from the Library of Congress and the Margaret Dreier Robins Papers at the University of Florida Libraries. Although extensive, the files are not complete. Publication of both the Report and the Bulletin was sometimes irregular, so that some missing issues may simply have been skipped. Others are not available in any library. Some additional issues of both publications are at the New York Public Library, but many of these, particularly for the years before 1920, are badly worn and fragmented and hence were not available for filming. As noted below, some issues of the Monthly Bulletin that are missing here may be found in the New York WTUL Records, as microfilmed elsewhere in the present edition.The Reports come first on the reel. The New York League issued its Annual Report in the spring, following the Annual Meeting at which officers reported on the preceding year and new officers were elected. The League's year thus included parts of two calendar years. The earliest Report known to exist is one for 1906-07 (a partial copy is at the New York Public Library); the file here begins with the next issue, for 1907-08. Annual Reports were published regularly thereafter, with a few exceptions. A Report for 1920-22 evidently took the place of individual reports for 1920-21 and 1921-22. The New York WTUL also prepared Convention Reports for the National League conventions of 1924, 1926, 1929, and 1936, each summarizing New York's activities since the preceding convention. Printed in the same format as the Annual Reports, the Convention Reports apparently took the place of the Annual Reports that would otherwise have been issued in those convention years. They have been interfiled with the Annual Reports to form a single series.The Annual Reports appeared in printed form through the year 1930-31. Thereafter they were mimeographed or otherwise duplicated. The Report for 1950-51 was probably the last to be issued (see letter in New York WTUL Records, Reel 16, frame 326).A file of the New York League's Monthly Bulletin makes up the rest of the reel. The Bulletin first appeared in February 1911 (see Annual Report, 1910-11, p. 21). The New York Public Library has a partial file for 1911-13 but no other issues until 1926. Whether the Bulletin appeared after 1913 on a regular basis is not certain. The file assembled here contains one or two issues each for 1917, 1918, 1920, and 1921, and scattered issues for 1922, 1923, and 1925. Fuller holdings follow for 1926 through 1945 and, after only one issue for 1946 and none for 1947, partial files for 1948-50 and scattered issues for 1952-54. Some of the missing issues can be found in the New York WTUL Records (on Reel 22 of the microfil edition), as follows: February 1919, May 1931, most of 1932-34, November 1935, February 1937, most of 1946-47, considerable portions of 1950-54, and a single issue (February) for 1955.
Reel: 8 O'Reilly, Leonora.
Speeches and Writings.
Collection V: Leonora O'Reilly Papers; This reel contains the first and larger portion of Series 5 of the Leonora O'Reilly Papers, material pertaining to her speeches and writings. The items here are those that were or could be dated; they are arranged chronologically. Undated items are on the reel that follows.The principal types of material in the series are O'Reilly's notes and outlines for her speeches, along with occasional drafts; newspaper interviews and reports of her speeches; programs and announcements of occasions at which she spoke; drafts or manuscripts of articles; and clippings of published works, including occasional letters to the editor. Many of O'Reilly's notes for speeches are mere frameworks -- an outline, with key facts or statistics written out, and sometimes also important sentences or messages. These tend to be in her sharply pointed, aphoristic style. Occasional speeches are more fully developed. One, a 1913 address to a suffrage club in Rochester, New York, exists as she gave it, taken down by a stenographer.The most frequent topics of the speeches and writings are the conditions faced by working women, trade unions and the need for organization, and working women's need for the ballot. Other topics turn up occasionally: vocational education, the peace movement (1915-16), and, on one occasion in 1918, the cause of Ireland. There are drafts of some of O'Reilly's stories and homilies for Life and Labor and notes or statements for several appearances before the New York legislature.The earliest item on the reel is a newspaper report of a meeting in 1889 (on tenement-house children) at which O'Reilly was one of the speakers. Two other items indicate that she early gained access to the public press: a syndicated newspaper article of 1896 and a piece in the New York Journal in 1898. Other early items include two literary exercises of 1896, evidently written under the tutelage of her middle-class friend Annie W. Winsor; her graduation thesis at Pratt Institute, "Has Sewing a Right to Be Termed Manual Training?" (1900); and a critical review of Dorothy Richardson's depiction of a working girl's life, The Long Day (1905), a critique which O'Reilly had hoped the New York Journal would publish. Material in the series is especially voluminous for the years 1911-13. It falls off thereafter as illness curtails her speaking and other activities.Some additional notes for speeches or lectures are to be found in O'Reilly's diaries and notebooks; see especially Volume 15 on Reel 1 and Volumes 25 and 26 on Reel 2.
Reel: 9 Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League.
September 1922 - March 1923
Collection IV: Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League; With Maud Swartz, the New York League's former secretary and currently the head of its women's compensation service, now president of the National WTUL, it was natural for her to conduct the National's business from her New York office. Thus a considerable part of the correspondence on this reel is actually of the National rather than the New York WTUL -- long and frequent interchanges between Swartz and Elisabeth Christman, the national secretary (located in Chicago), and letters to or from other WTUL officers, national or local. National affairs touched upon in the correspondence include opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment, fund-raising and finances, administrative difficulties in the NWTUL training school and a shortage of students, and internal problems in the Philadelphia and Boston Leagues.The New York WTUL is represented by correspondence of Rose Schneiderman, president, and Mabel Leslie, secretary. The chief topics are a fund-raising bazaar and the opening of the League's new clubhouse on Lexington Avenue. Several letters in late September and October 1922 concern a disagreement between the League and its former member Harriot Stanton Blatch over the issue of protective legislation for women. Occasional letters concern the Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers and affairs of the International Federation of Working Women.Additional WTUL correspondents on the reel include Mollie Dowd, Alice Henry, Matilda Lindsay, Agnes Nestor, Frieda S. Miller (one letter), Pauline Newman, Margaret Dreier Robins (one letter), Miriam G. Shepherd, and Ethel M. Smith. Other correspondents include Mary Anderson, Lucy Carner of the YWCA, and, in single letters, Nancy Cook, Mary W. Dewson, Samuel Gompers, John Haynes Holmes, Freda Kirchwey, Cornelia Bryce Pinchot, Mary K. Simkhovitch, and Upton Sinclair.